As beautiful as the sun rising and setting each day, so is the beauty of our lives. The light of the sun shines, and we must not let anything obscure its radiance, as growth is ever present. Enjoying life and feeling good should always be our natural state of being, but we know through experience that life often brings us growing pains and uncomfortable situations in order to check our egos, to force mindfulness, or to lead us toward our purpose. In order to maintain peace through our adversities, it’s important to develop healthy habits that support transcending painful experiences.
Unfortunately, many of us seek unhealthy forms of relief, like abusing harmful substances, to reclaim peace. These substances are toxic to the body, and with prolonged use can control the body’s cells and functions causing physical, mental, and spiritual deterioration. In the words of holistic wellness entrepreneur and natural health practitioner, Queen Afua, “When we are addicted to anything or anyone, our lives are not our own. Addictions are a toxic reflection of how we view our connection with ourselves and the world. All addictions drain our life force, leaving us less than we are.” (1)
Throughout my life I have witnessed and experienced the suffering caused from the dis-ease of addiction. I observed that the majority of adults around me had some form of substance dependence. Today I realize that many of them perceived life’s challenges as suffering, as opposed to a springboard to something greater; they viewed life as a hell they had to escape.
One of the most serious addictions I’ve witnessed is among African American women. Our poor relationship with food has led to having the highest rate of obesity in the U.S.
“Currently, major causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States are related to obesity, mainly caused by poor diet and inadequate physical activity. Some specific diseases linked to poor diet and physical inactivity include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, and some cancers.” (2)
According to the Office of Minority Health (3):
- African American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. About four out of five African American women are overweight or obese.
- In 2010, African Americans were 1.4 times as likely to be obese as Non- Hispanic Whites.
- In 2010, African American women were 70% more likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic White women.
- In 2007-2010, African American girls were 80% more likely to be overweight than Non-Hispanic White girls.
Obesity is linked to higher risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and a host of other maladies.
The prevalence of night eating syndrome (NES), binge eating disorder (BED), bulimia nervosa (BN), and the general experience of food cravings are key words to describe some of the addictive habits behind the high rate of obesity among African American women.
Those cravings are usually for junk food, which can be defined as highly engineered toxic substances; and often times their effects are far worse than narcotics.
Unfortunately, this is especially prevalent in predominantly low-income communities due to food inequality; fast food restaurants, liquor stores, and convenience marts are on almost every corner. Processed foods that make us sick, tired, and addicted are easily accessible while healthy, nutritious foods that our bodies need are unavailable and unaffordable. For example, in Columbus, Ohio (specifically near the South and Eastside), there are no grocery stores in walking distance, so people are mostly dependent upon the local convenience marts that sell junk food and other toxic products that are destroying our health.
What are some inexpensive natural healing methods that can be implemented to address food addiction? A part of the answer to the healing process is embracing the concept that was introduced in my previous post: Health is W.E.A.L.T.H.S., the acronym for water, exercise, air, light, thinking happy thoughts, healthy food, and sleep. Other key steps include the following:
- Recognizing and admitting that you have a problem.
Flush your system: Begin to cleanse the body by fasting. There are many detoxification recipes that focus on cleansing and healing to break addiction. A great place to begin? Health Thyself: For Health and Longevity by Queen Afua
- Meditating on a daily basis, as often as three to four times per day, to build mental and spiritual strength to overcome the addiction.
- Incorporating more raw fruits, vegetables, and super greens such as spirulina and chlorella into your body to feed and nourish your cells. When we consume empty calories, our cells become malnourished.
- Spending your money wisely, not from a state of addiction and poor eating habits, but as a wellness activist!
- Eating healthy as a family to develop better habits, especially for children.
- Creating a wellness plan that includes food education – taking time to research and understand the nutritional value of your food choices is very important.
- Surrounding yourself with people who will support you on the path to wellness.
- Supporting the development of local food systems and cooperative economics.
- Growing your own food for sustainability, ensuring that you’re eating foods while they are in season.
If you don’t know how to begin these steps, there are many organizations and programs that can help you get started. Circle 77 builds a healthy institution on the South Eastside of Columbus, Ohio that supports the restoration and revitalization of our community by offering products and services that promote healing and wellness.
Invest in your health!
(1) Afua, Queen. City of Wellness: Restoring Your Health through the Seven Kitchens of Consciousness. Heal Thyself Incorporated. 2009. Print.
(2) Institute for Alternative Future. School Based Wellness Programs: A Key Approach to Preventing Obesity and Reducing Health Disparities. The DRA Project. Report 08-04. October (2008): 72 pgs. Print.
(3) Obesity and African Americans. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Minority Health. Web. 6 September. 2012.
Systar Roni Auset is a licensed yoga instructor, healthy living practitioner, holistic educator, master joyologist, and founder of Circle 77! Her aim is to improve her community’s quality of life by promoting a healthy lifestyle. By offering educational workshops, health oriented events, youth productions, and training programs, Systar Roni teaches and encourages holistic health as a way to empower people to make choices that will positively impact their own health and that of their peers, families, and communities. Using the latest information about nutrition and natural living, as well as sharing knowledge about the benefits of physical activity and meditation, she intends to be a strong source of vitality within the community. If you would like to schedule a workshop/yoga class, participate in the Circle 77 buying club, or support her work with youth, please visit The Children Shall Lead Them Productions.