THE FORK AND SPOON CHRONICLES

How about some good news! Every since the arrival of African-Americans in this country, the church has long been the bedrock of our survival, the foundation of our hopes, and the source of our inspiration. That much everyone knows to be true, but if you are like most people, you are well on your way to becoming a “spiritual millionaire” as you have (hopefully been racking up bonus points by practicing what you (or your ministers) preach, but after a lifetime of these earnings, you may not have ended up with anything in terms of physical rewards.

Basically, since hardly anyone teaches us how to nourish our temples, we practice haphazard, hit-or-miss, trial-and-error mis-education procedures that we have inherited from parents, school, and yes, church. Because we don’t get blessed with any meaningful formal education about nutrition and health, our eating habits and food choices are more times than not derived from the culinary “School Of Hard Knocks. And the attendant results are not pretty because death is not a passing grade. To be honest, so many African-Americans who seemed so naturally good at “eating” have died as a direct consequence of our symptomatic “hand-to-mouth dietary ventures (or should I say misadventures.)

In the African-American community, eating has become one of our greatest disappointments. We invest tremendous energy in our financial strategies and we leave no stone unturned when in search of rules or advice to make our relationships work, but we lose very little sleep at night over how what we eat qualifies us for a host of life-threatening and debilitating diseases. Essentially, we are eroding our health.

Do you find it odd that you read the label of products and can parrot every ingredient contained in that particular food brand and then have no idea as to what that food item can do to your body? Why is this? It’s because we are the foolish prisoners of our palettes. We listen to our tongues. We invest such culinary stock in what great pleasure we derive from our tongues that we pay scant heed to the potential damage that could be wreaked on our bodies. We are such suckers for our tongues that we suffer proudly when our tummies ache due to some gastronomical violation.

But wait a minute. There’s something else you need to know. The fork and spoon are deadlier than the crack pipe! How hypocritical is it of us to rant and rail about the street corner drug-dealers and then don’t do or say a mumbling word about the street corner grocery store that deals in death. How big is the difference of a death whether it is by an ingestion of cocaine or a digestion of unhealthy food? It’s still a demise that’s advoidable. If there is, at all, a difference, it lies in the fact that the dope fiend knows almost to a certainty what it is he is ingesting into his system whereas the food fiend has no clue. These days, cocaine and heroin have a lot less harmful preservatives and additives than the wares sold in the food store.

We will eagerly go out of our way or readily take the long way home simply to avoid taking our children past the corner where drugs are sold and then think nothing of walking into a corner store and buying that same child a sugar-loaded soft drink that is almost as big a detriment as a joint of marijuana.

Isn’t it laughably ironic that safe-sex programs are spreading across the country and not safe-food programs? What does it say about African-Americans as a collective when we employ “procreation as recreation” and we eat to die. It says we enjoy flirting with death.

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