Let’s get real! Black folks don’t fare well when it comes to health; 70 percent are overweight, 56 percent are obese, 47 percent have hypertension and 37 percent have diabetes. We now know, all of these conditions weaken your immune system and place you at risk for contracting COVID, leaving you without any defense to ward off the worse of it. Hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and lung disease caused by smoking are all lifestyle diseases, which means they are a result of the choices we make, the foods we eat, how we manage stress, and whether or not we keep our bodies fit.

I recall as a young teen when the first Kentucky Fried Chicken take-out opened in our neighborhood. My family frequently found us in line, anxious to enjoy this novelty of having food instantly prepared for us. But because the women (and men) of my family were excellent cooks, we quickly realized the Kentucky Fried fare was poorly prepared, loaded with salt and grease. It did not meet our expectation and we quickly refused to accept it. Unfortunately, many others did not have that same discernment and easily became addicted to salt, sugar, meat and fat. By the mid 1970’s, diabetes tripled in the US along with a widening waistline. Fast food, drive-through, take out or eat-in became our normal way of dining.

New highly effective treatments were developed for hypertension and heart disease which left no reason for addressing the food-related causes of disease. By that time, many were already addicted to mass-produced meals. Now, here we are, today, well-medicated but in poor health. Treatment of a disease often means controlling the condition, not curing it. Unknowingly, your organs remain in a weakened state, placing you at risk for other conditions such as novel viruses, delayed healing, and even, early death.

If you have been under a doctor’s care and not been given a plan to create the kind of health that you want, you may be requiring an apology for your care. The question I often ask is: What do you want for your health?  How do you plan to achieve it? And, what’s been stopping you? Most important, how do you want to feel? Because most have never reflected on the idea that you can choose the kind of health that you want, there’s often a long pause. If you have not been given a plan to have the health, energy and vitality that you want, you are likely paying for more of what you don’t want and getting less of what you need.

My hope is the answer to “Why us?” is becoming clearer. It’s not your fault if you’ve never been taught or told how to take control of your health, yet it’s still your responsibility.  First, you must define “what do you consider to be great health?” Many African American’s gave up a more wholesome way of living – home cooked meals, growing our own food and a connection with nature – for a more convenient life. What most have forgotten, is wholesome practices have a secondary benefit – less healthcare costs. Everyone has adopted a life of more conveniences. Unfortunately, African Americans have been more adversely affected.

“The pain of regret is far worse than the rewards of discipline”. Given a choice, what are you choosing for your health?  Consider creating a new habit:

  • Include a vegetable (or two) with each meal.
  • Eat meatless one or more days a week.
  • Exercise or walk 30 minutes three times a week.
  • Limit social and news media.
  • Learn a new hobby or rekindle an old one.
  • Challenge yourself with 10 days without sugar.  

​Your options for a healthier body and a more peaceful life are limitless! ​
You’re Worth It!

By Dr Lori Eanes (Jan 2021)

home (drlorieanes.com)