For new readers, let me explain that this is a six-part series, published for the first time back in 2003 as a free online blog. Since its online debut 14 years ago, this article is now published on thousands of health websites around the world. It’s posted in Africa, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, Europe, Asia, in Spanish countries and many others around the world; and has been translated into various languages.
To avoid having had my mother’s living be in vain, I posted this story on her life and suffering with the implications of diabetes and how we learned, after her death, that Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with diet and exercise. This has been done to help others, but there are millions of people who do not know these simple facts.
Those of you who have followed this column faithfully know the devastation suffered by my mother and family. You will learn how to avoid the horrors of this disease if you follow these proven principles by making a simple lifestyle change. My mother suffered for 12 years with diabetes and through all the complications that resulted from having had the disease has influenced the continuation of her story.
In the last installment, I shared how my mother had both legs amputated, suffered least seven strokes and was on kidney dialysis for the last few years of her life. Mother was young, 61 years old, when she had a major stroke that caused paralysis. She ended up in Howard University Hospital. During this time, her Type 2 diabetes was discovered, extremely late. Her A1C was off the charts!
This week, let’s continue with that research. The problem dates back to the beginning of the slave trade, documented as beginning in 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. It really doesn’t matter what the diets were of African people hundreds of years ago, as they moved around freely on the African continent, in townships like Johannesburg, Freetown, Rwanda, Sudan, South African and Sierra Leone. What does matter is the fact that those Africans who managed to survive the slave trade here in America arrived on the shores very strong. The majority of them worked in the fields from sunup to sundown, at least six days a week. Slaves ate scraps, like hog maws, chitterlings, pig tails, pig feet, pig ears, and they drank milk from a trough alongside other animals.
Slaves ate whatever was made available to them, fed last, after the horses and pigs! They ate scraps, leftovers, garbage; in an effort to create a delicious meal, the women worked at creating recipes they could all enjoy. They loved collard greens with fatback meat, baked sweet potato pies. Chitterlings became a delicacy eaten on special occasions; pots of beans seasoned with ham hocks, or pig tails, seasoned with pork; homemade biscuits from white flour and lard, hush puppies, candied yams, potatoes of all types, and they ate plenty of cornbread. Sound familiar?
African people who became Americanized beginning in the late 1700s had a very different diet than Euro-Americans. Even though this wasn’t a “good” and “healthy” diet for the slaves, they ate it, they enjoyed it, and they were able to sustain themselves easily. They worked so very hard in the fields — 12-16 hours a day — since so-called “thrifty genes” allowed their bodies to preserve food in an appropriate manner, when food was scarce (More next week to show statistics of what is happening today).
Lyndia Grant is an author, inspirational and motivational speaker, radio talk show host and columnist. Visit her website, www.lyndiagrantshow.com, or contact her at 240-602-6295. Tune in Fridays at 6 p.m. to “The Lyndia Grant Show” on Spirit 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station.