What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? — 1st Corinthians 6:19 KJ
This seven-part series, published online in 2003, appeared on thousands of health websites around the world. It has made its rounds. Translated and posted in Africa, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, Europe, Asia, several African countries, Mexican countries and others.
Those who follow this column faithfully are able to understand the possible devastation that Type 2 diabetes can wreak in our lives. Learn to avoid the horrors of this disease. My mother only lived 12 years after her diagnosis of diabetes and through all her extreme complications.
Last week, I shared how mother lost both of her legs to amputations. Kidney dialysis became the norm for the last few years of her life; seven strokes, ending with paralysis; all within the final 12 years of her life. Howard University Hospital staff cared for mother during that first major stroke; however doctors did not discover she had Type 2 diabetes in full bloom. Back in the 1980s, doctors did not routinely do bloodwork to see A1C levels.
Last week, I shared the definition of diabetes mellitus, and how we get it. This week, I’m continuing with that research. Let’s talk about the problem, which dates back to the beginning of the slave trade. This period in American history dates back to 1790, and for those enslaved ones, food was still scarce, thus the “thrifty genes” protected them. If you research the documentations found on record at the National Archives and Records Administration, slaves received rations in America.
It really didn’t matter what African people ate hundreds of years ago, as they roamed around freely on the African continent, in townships like Johannesburg, Freetown, Rwanda, Sudan, South African and Sierre Leone. What does matter is the fact those Africans who managed to survive the slave trade here in America, arrived on the shores very strong. The majority of them worked in fields from sunup to sundown, at least six days a week. Slaves ate scraps such as hog maws, chitterlings, pigtails, pig’s feet and pig ears, and they drank milk from a trough alongside other animals. This is true!
African people, no longer in their homeland had to eat whatever was made available to them, they were fed last, after the horses and the pigs, fed whatever was left — scraps. In an effort to create a delicious meal, the women worked at creating recipes they could all enjoy. They loved collard greens with fat back meat; they used lard, and learned to bake sweet potato pies, cleaned chitterlings (hog guts) and made them into a delicacy to be eaten on special occasions. They made pots of beans seasoned with ham hocks, or pigtails, pig’s feet, and they seasoned with pork, a harmful but delicious tradition that still lives on today. They made biscuits from self-rising, white flour and lard, learned to make hush puppies, candied yams, all types potatoes, and cornbread.
Africans became Americanized beginning in the late 1700s. They had a very different diet than Euro-Americans. Even though this wasn’t a “good” or “healthy” diet for the slaves, they ate it, they enjoyed it, and they were able to sustain themselves easily. Why? Exercise! They worked very hard in the fields 12-16 hours a day, so diet didn’t kill them as it’s doing today!
According to NIH, the work was the difference — 10-12 hours each day of physical labor, that’s a lot of time exercising! Plus, they had the so-called “thrifty genes,” which allowed their bodies to preserve food in an appropriate manner when food was scarce.
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrantshow.com, email email@example.com or call 202-558-2107. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.