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  • Melvin Tre' Harden

Black Health & The Mental Ambush That Has Been Unintentionally Created Due To Coping Mechanisms

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

One thing no one likes to hear is “YOU NEED TO EAT HEALTHIER!”. The first thing

that pop into most people’s head is a salad with everything they hate as the

toppings/mix ins. Contrary to most people’s belief, eating healthy is not eating foods

you hate all day everyday. It is eating foods than better benefit your body more than

you eat fried, fattening foods that require a nap after due to your body trying to

process it.


As a whole the black community has used our troubled times to indulge in great

tasting food and laughter to keep our mental sanity. As it has helped us it has also

hindered us to the point we will eat food even though we know its not good for us. My aunt yelled LITERALLY at the Popeye’s employee through the drive thru window

and said “This wing has no meat on it. Give me the wings with the steroids in it! Thank you!” Now you’re probably laughing hysterically like I was, but I had to examine the facts after

wiping my tears from my face. She knows steroids are bad and since it made the

chicken have more meat she was willing to deal with the consequences down the

road or did not care at all. That is frightening to say the least.


We too often as a black community “heckle” those who eat healthier and workout,

which is backwards. It’s a tactic many family members unintentionally use to pull

people back into the person they are comfortable with. Instead of encouraging we

crack jokes and laugh as if everyone in the room isn’t on some type of medication.

I’m plant based and gave up meat over 2 years ago. I’m also a personal trainer and

everything I eat is either vegan or healthy. I had someone ask me “Is that a vegan

potato?”, yes the IGNORANCE was at an all time high but being uneducated on a

topic will cause someone to say things before they think. Stop heckling your family

members or friends that decided to make a diet change and are striving for better.

It’s hard enough to make the change, but even harder to have the people you love

make remarks as if you turned on them or something. As much as I love eating good

food with my family, listening to music, dancing, playing cards, etc., we must start

making small changes that will create beneficial habits to combat our lives for the

long run.


So as a community, it is up to each individual to break that toxic cycle and be the

trailblazer for their family and friends like myself. If a person can stick to their

diet/exercise changes it shows everyone around them it is possible. Reason being is

because that person used to eat the same food everyone else ate. They know how

good the food tastes and makes them feel and they still choose their current

healthier lifestyle! A healthier, more vibrant you is possible!


So to conclude, I challenge you to make ONE adjustment for a healthier you. It could

be exercising 15 minutes a day, drinking more water and less soda, cutting

sugar/sodium from your diet, etc. All it takes is ONE domino to make the rest of the

dominos tumble over. Be that trailblazer for your crew, team, family, etc. This is a

collective effort, and small collective efforts repeated daily will make a MAJOR

difference!

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