Our house is one of God's greatest blessings to us and I am thankful for it everyday, especially in the middle of a pandemic!
I have a lady’s lounge and J has a man cave because it’s essential for everyone in the house to have their own space. On Sunday’s, after church, our routine was to pretty much disperse and everyone have their own time. Friday’s and Saturday’s were family time.
One Sunday I went upstairs, to the man cave, to spend a little time with J. He was laying down in the middle of the day which was unusual for him. I asked him if he was ok and he said he had a horrible headache; he never gets headaches. I gave him some Tylenol and waited a couple of hours. The headache continued so I had him check his blood pressure. I’ll never forget it, 245/112. I was panicked, he was not. I INSISTED we go to the ER but him being him, said that he would only go to urgent care. MEN! Of course, once we got to urgent care, they immediately sent him to the ER.
That day the Dr.s prescribed blood pressure medicine and that was the beginning of our journey to clean-er eating.
I was determined to figure out why J had high blood pressure after all these years. When I thought about it both me and Tori, who are sufferers of migraines, were having an increase in the frequency in which we had our migraines and after watching “What the Health” on Netflix, I was sure that diet was the contributing factor in all our issues. I had been cooking chicken thighs, chicken breasts, chicken wings, beef burgers, bacon, ribs, roast; after all this was during the time owned Big J’s BBQ restaurant. (I know many people have arguments against What the Health but this is my story, calm down)
Growing up in the Florida, seafood has always been a part of J’s life and I LOVE catfish with spaghetti (don’t @ me, spaghetti is a side dish, not a main meal). Anyway, I knew that our new diet had to consist of seafood or we would be miserable. After doing considerable research and understanding why we couldn’t consume seafood EVERY day due to mercury level concerns, we still decided that we needed seafood in our life so the pescatarian diet we soon adopted.
Pescatarians basically eat a vegetarian diet but they also include fish and other seafood. As with vegetarian diets there are a variety of ways that people choose to eat. Some include dairy and eggs (or animal by-products) and others do not.
Want to make God laugh…
Fast forward 2 years. Shortly after we started this new lifestyle change, I found out I was pregnant. Now that in itself was telling because in what world does J’s aging sperm and my fibroid filled uterus create a baby, especially after I had already suffered a miscarriage and had 2 D&C’s… HOW SWAY?!
There we were, though, pregnant and I knew that my diet had everything to do with it. During my pregnancy, because of the risk of too much mercury, I definitely adhered to more of a Vegan lifestyle but I did indulge seafood when I wanted it, just not often. This meant I consumed mostly whole grains, vegetables, fruits and on a RARE occasion I had a craving for some chicken.
Once Amina was born, that same diet pretty much continued while I breastfed her for a year. Well, Amina had the worst eczema I had ever seen and her pediatrician suggested I get an allergy test done on her. Welp, she was allergic to pretty much everything that I ate on a regular: wheat, soy, shellfish, peanuts, salmon, eggs, cow’s milk and more. *insert sobs*. You would have thought someone told me she had some incurable disease.
Welp Amina’s diagnosis soon thrusted us into a Vegan-ish lifestyle. A vegan diet is completely plant based and while some will include some animal by-products MOST do not. (this lifestyle is almost religious so I won’t go too deep into the specifics of it as to not offend or upset a TRUE Vegan).
Amina is vegan. She is allergic to cow’s milk so after I finished breastfeeding, we found a plant-based milk, Ripple, that she loves. We are also huge fans of Beyond Meat and their products as well as Daiya as our cheese substitute. I promise you; I make Vegan food taste good!
The rest of us, toggle between Vegan and Pescatarian for the most part. J has not consumed any red meat, chicken include, in over 4 years and his blood pressure has never been better, only having to take his meds after long bouts of traveling. I try to refrain from red meat altogether but recently I was craving some ribs and ox tails (I know, I choose the fattiest, meatiest thing I could think of) and I had to indulge.
HUGE MISTAKE, my body rebelled against me for at least 3 days. Everything from migraines, stomach cramps and vomiting and before you ask, it wasn’t the food. The food was great and the kids enjoyed… I on the other hand have a body that no longer wants to accept animal flesh *insert tiny violin*
The Point of it All
I don’t believe in complete elimination diets, however, when your body speaks you must listen. I am no longer at a point where consuming red meat is doing my body any good so I am giving it up completely; at least for now.
Part of being able to fight injustice and survive this global pandemic, begins with our health. While there is a study to debunk every other study: high fat, low fat, no carbs, tons of carbs, high protein, low protein; you have to find what is right for your body and get regular check-ups from a quality doctor.
Our health is something that we have to constantly fight for. It is not lost on me the ability to grow some of my own vegetables in my yard (what I cant grow I buy from a local fresh veggie stand) and purchase a quality food supply from grocery stores; is a privilege.
The reason why I am so vocal on reparations is because we ALL should have that accessibility but of course it all comes back to money. Trust me, I am not sitting over here living the life of wealth. I am couponing, cutting back, shopping deals just like the next person because, of course, groceries are one of the most expensive bills a household can have.
With the unavoidable stress that comes along with being a black person in America, what we consume has to be healing to our bodies edifying our spirit. Let’s continue to help each other on this journey to total wellness. We are better together.
Love & Light,
If you are looking for some dope black foodies to follow who have great recipes (don't worry they aren't all vegan) try: