Health Through Heritage


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designates heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes among the top 10 leading causes of death for African Americans. Diseases that are preventable through diet.

A study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh demonstrated an increase in resistance to chronic disease when people shifted to their indigenous diets.

What’s that you say? Looking to the foods and habits of our heritage lead us to healthier choices? The scientists are catching up with what most mothers and grandmothers have known. Turns out that when we return to pre-colonized, pre-diaspora diets, we experience greater health.

An article in Think Progress goes further to state:

“…historians say that some of [the food] items [that the slave masters gave enslaved black people] didn’t match the food choices that their African ancestors would have made — similar to the experience that Native American communities had after the U.S. government relegated them to settlements where they couldn’t engage in their indigenous lifestyle.”

This is also a point made by Luz Calvo and Catriona Esquibel over at Decolonize Your Diet.

“The recovery of the people is tied to recovery of food, since food itself is medicine—not only for the body but also for the soul and the spiritual connection to history, ancestors, and the land.” – Winona LaDuke

Cultivating Justice in Food Systems: People, Power, and Policy

A drop the mic moment with Saru Jayaramen: “…the food system is not a bad employer, it is the absolute worst employer in the United States. And for anybody who cares about anything related to sustainable food, if we cannot think about sustainable working conditions and wages as part of a sustainable food system, then we will never actually achieve any kind of sustainability in our lifetimes in the United States. ”


Reclaim Our Wisdom and Our Bodies

We have not lost our wisdom. A powerful statement when it comes to our food. We do not have far to look to find the food wisdom of our family and community to live healthy lives, as is so beautifully told by Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, one of Africa’s leading advocates for food and nutrition security (shout out to Decolonize Your Diet for your great local work):