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Soul Food: When Tradition Kills

December 21, 2010

This time of year black folk eat even more soul food than normal. That means more butter, more grease, more pork fat, more cholesterol and more death. I saw on the web earlier that Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, has a malignant form of pancreatic cancer. You know Aretha eats a lot of soul food being the Queen of Soul and probably not the modern healthier versions either. My family still eats buckets of fat and grease for Thanksgiving and Christmas as well. Don’t you love it when the food in pots cools off and there’s that layer of solidified lard on top? That’s what you’re eating when it’s warmed up and then it cools inside your body again. Nice huh?

Luckily I don’t celebrate Indian genocide on Thanksgiving or pagan holidays like Xmas so I also don’t have to worry about feeling the pressure to consume this crap like when I was younger and less healthy. I’m no health nut but that stuff doesn’t even taste good to me anymore. I don’t even want to live much past sixty years old so people ask why do I care. I care because I don’t want to be sick the entire time on my way to forty. I want to be healthy all the way up to and including death. Why suffer needlessly out of lack of self-control? Now if I could only get completely off sugar. Getting off sodas was a good start and not just for my teeth but for my bones too. Now when I have a soda they taste so much better than when I used to drink them everyday.

Why do we do it to ourselves? Is the food so good it’s worth dying over? I’ve heard people to say something is to die for but they don’t mean that literally. Soul food is not worth dying over plus we should remember the origin of the junk: slavery. African slaves used to get the scraps and leftovers that whites didn’t want to eat. Of course black people are good at turning a negative into a positive, at least in our minds, but mind over matter won’t stop you from having cardiac arrest or developing malignant cancer if you eat traditional soul food too often. Soul food has become a beacon and bastion of blackness in America. That’s fine but we should make it as healthy as possible too so it doesn’t kill us much like slavery did and hypertension does today. Am I asking too much? If you turn a negative into a positive it should be reflected externally as well as internally. This is not the same thing as the battle between young folk and old fold over nigga vs nigger. That’s all bad.

I’m really tired of seeing people abuse their bodies year after year after decade and then die way before they reach life expectancy. Not only is it uncalled for but it’s irresponsible to the people that still need you to be alive and that count on you as part of their human family. It’s selfish too especially if you have kids. The same goes for smoking. Eating grease is the same thing as pulling the trigger on a loaded gun or playing Russian roulette. You never know when that bullet is going to load into the chamber and pull your card unexpectedly. Sometimes I think black people want to die and, in all honesty, I can understand that. White people as a whole continue to treat us with contempt worldwide. Other races treat us the same or worse because they want to be as white as possible to make more money. Sadly blacks even treat blacks bad as well. Sometimes we are the worst offenders, jealous at each other over the over who gets the most table scraps from the Jews and the white man. Loving yourself is more than just talking a good game. It is demonstrating it through love of others and love of your body as long as you can. That has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with common sense.

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