African-Americans, Disease, Solutions, Lifestyle and Death- Part 1. Fast Food

This is the first installment of an ongoing series addressing the health concerns within African-american community and the diet and lifestyle changes needed to correct those concerns.

First – The Facts.

-Before age 50, African-American's heart failure rate is 20 times higher than that of whites (New England Journal of Medicine 2005)
-63 percent of  African-American men and 77 percent of  African-American women are overweight or obese. (American Heart Association 2013)
-African-Americans are nearly twice as likely to have diabetes than whites. (American Heart association 2013).
-Lung cancer was 36 percent more common in African American men than in Caucasian men. (Centers for Disease Control 2001-2005)
-Colorectal cancer is 20% higher and mortality rates are about 45% higher in African-americans.(American Caner Society 2011-2013)
-Prostate cancer rates are two-thirds higher in African-american men than whites. (National Caner institute)
-African American adults are twice as likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician. (Office of Minority Health 2013)
-African American adults are 1.6 times as likely than their White adult counterparts to have a stroke (Office of Minority Health).
-African-Americans have a slightly higher risk of Alzheimer's disease than people of largely European ancestry. (The Journal of American Medical Association 2013) 
“The PROBLEM & SOULTION are the same thing: FOOD!”  Rod Finley
Those that have known me for a while remember the 5 year stretch in which I was a vegetarian.  Some might even remember  prior to that when I could be found eating cheese sticks, chili fries, and a club sandwich on a daily basis. Yes; that was my tri-fecta! I also recall always having stomach aches, acid reflux, and flatulence. I got tired of feeling crappy, and decided to do a complete overhaul of my diet.  Though I understand now becoming a vegetarian was not the wisest choice; at least I tired.

I was 24 then.  I'm 37 now; I eat a high protein, medium fat, and low carbohydrate diet and I rarely have a stomach ache.  When I go the doctor for blood work and physicals- I get treated like a 4.0 student.    But I know plenty of folks who still eat like I ate when I was 21.  I know folks who eat fast-food everyday and happily wash it down with a Pepsi!  I know people that eat so many Better Made chips that they should own stock in the company.  I know folks that were borderline suicidal when they stopped making Twinkies.  Some of these people have grown to be obese, others have always been obese, and some are naturally lean.  I hear complaints about their weight, failed exercise attempts, and various medical problems.  

2 things the folks listed about have in common is that they're all black and they're all doing their bodies a great injustice.

The PROBLEM & SOULTION are the same thing: FOOD!
This blog post is not about going organic or grass feed.  This post is not about supplementation or exercise.  All that stuff will get written about future posts.  This is about lifestyle changes and the easiest one to start with is limiting fast food.  This is simply about cooking your own patties instead of going through the drive-thru, making the chicken salad instead of buying fried chicken fingers, drinking a glass of water instead of grabbing a Coke, adding broccoli & carrots with your meal instead of fries and onion rings.  The discussion has to start with buying your own groceries, cooking your own food 5 times a week, and making healthier choices.  

In some way or another – we are all slaves to convenience.  Remote controls, microwaves, cell phones, cubicle jobs, the internet, and fast-food has vice-grips on all us.  Its easier to make cereal for breakfast than steel cut oatmeal and eggs.  Most times you will drive past 10 fast-food restaurants on the way to the grocery store.

The PROBLEM & SOULTION are the same thing: FOOD!
My grandmother didn't always practice the most optimal diet but certain things made a lot of sense.
-Fast food was a once a week experience (no matter how much I begged for a Big Mac).
-Cod Liver oil was given to me every night (“This will make you smart,” she said).
-Fish & rice, beef stew & peas, chicken & green beans, salmon pattie and potatoes, were some of her combinations.
-We didn't own a microwave or buyh frozen meals until she passed and my grandfather and I were forced to fend for ourselves. Lol

I listed a series of diseases above and the problem has been laid out- now lets look at solutions

-The same thing that causes Alzheimer's is the same thing that causes diabetes.  Too much damn sugar.  There is sugar in bread, sugar in cereal, sugar in breakfast bars, sugar in low-fat food, etc.....  Alzheimer’s is like diabetes of the brain.  Since we all have I-Phones/Smart phones – when you go shopping  look up how much sugar you're buying either on the label or in your phone (i'm sure there is an app for that-lol)
-Bad fats and bad carbohydrates lead  to Heart disease and strokes.  This means limiting foods fried in vegetable or canola oil (when those oils get heated – they become toxic).  Here's another secret – you don't have to put flour on wings to make them taste good! lol  If upgrading to Coconut or Macedonia nut oil is too costly – then just bake your chicken!
- a reduction in colon issues and other intestinal concerns can be aided by proper fiber consumption.  Kale, spinach, Romain lettuce, and mix nuts are all excellent sources of fiber that should be consumed on a a regular basis. Aslo, saurkrout and cabbage has great probiotics in them to keep your gut healthy!
-The longer men live, the more likely they are to get prostate issues. But that doesn't mean they should die from them.  A decrease in processed carbohydrates and daily ejaculations will reduce possibly problems. 
-Eating bacon, chicken and steak won't take you to obesity land; but eating toast, jelly, corn, and cookies will.

The PROBLEM & SOULTION are the same thing: FOOD!
These are just a handful or choices to think about but doing all those doesn't mean you won't live forever or you won't get sick.  But I'm all about stacking the odds in my favor, and lets me honest – do you really want to be on 30 different medications instead of just changing your eating habits?  Do it before its too late, the damn clock is ticking.

Again: I am not a doctor, personal trainer, health guru, nutrientalist, dietician, sociologist, or mastermind. In the grand scheme of things – I’m a nobody; a regular guy who figured out what works for me and maybe it will work for you. We are all made different with different metabolisms, genders, birth dates, different genetics/medical histories, and different body types. You have to make/learn what works for you.

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