Food for Medicine, My New Radio Show!!!!

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Peace Family,

I would like to put ya’ll up on a fairly new venture of mine and that is talk radio. At the beginning of this year I have had the pleasure of being invited to be apart of a blacktastic revolutionary radio network called Dynasty 1382, which has a variety of Afrikan-centered shows on different topics, including my show Food For Medicine, which I host along with another brilliant Sis-star Kenya Jones. 

The Premise of Food for Medicine is to Enlighten African people on how to use food, not just as an alternative to medicine, but also to use food as it was intended by our Ancestors… Our show is designed to teach you, how to “Eat to Live, instead of Living to Eat.

Here is a link to our Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/foodsformedicine

Here’s the link to our blogtalk station:

www.dynastynetwork.net/foodformedicine.html

 

Listen, enjoy and be healthy!

 

~Afivi

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Plant-Based Proteins

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Myth: Vegans/Vegetarians don’t get enough protein

Fact:  Vegan and Vegetarians can get plenty of protein, and it is not difficult for them to get because there are so many different plant protein sources.

Let’s break it down shall we????

****AAs=amino acids*****

What is protein and why protein is important?

Proteins are large biological molecules, or macromolecules made up of one or more chains of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of these protein molecules and are the essential aspects to making protein.

Proteins are important to us because several different kind of proteins perform a vast array of biological functions within our bodies, including, building muscle (which is why animal flesh is all protein), proteins work in facilitating metabolic reactions, making our DNA, responding to stimuli in our environment,  creating things like buffers to stress responses or produce inflammation when we need it they signal WBSs, they make up larger transporting molecules that carry different essential nutrients from one location in the body to another.  So it is for this reason that adequate protein intake is important to our health.

I mentioned that proteins are made from amino acids right? Well there are actually 22 amino acids that are scientifically known about in nature and 9 of those AAs are essential amino acids, and Essential amino acids are “essential” not because they are more important to life than the others, but because the body does not synthesize them or it does not make them by itself. Essential amino acids must be present in the diet or else they will not be present in the body.

In addition, some amino acids are what is called conditionally essential, meaning they are not necessarily required in the diet for an organism to carry out life, but must be supplied by the diet in the case of an extraordinary condition in which that person does not synthesize an essential AA in adequate amounts or at all. An example of this would be with the disease phenylketonuria (PKU). People with PKU must keep their intake of phenylalanine very low to prevent mental retardation and other metabolic disturbances. So you the body needs phenylalanine (the essential AAs) to produce tyrosine (which is necessary for proper brain function and production of neurotransmitters and hormones) and PKU folks cannot synthesize tyrosine from phenylalanine in the diet, so now tyrosine (which is considered conditionally essential) becomes essential in the diet of PKU patients because they need it to make that biologically necessary tyrosine.

Here is a List of Essential and Non-Essential (conditional) Amino Acids:

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Essential

Nonessential **

Histidine* Alanine
Isoleucine Arginine*
Leucine Aspartic acid
Lysine Cysteine*×≥
Methionine Glutamic acid
Phenylalanine Glutamine*
Threonine Glycine*
Tryptophan Proline*
Valine Serine*
Tyrosine*
Asparagine*
Selenocysteine

So, back to the question of whether or not vegans/vegetarians can get enough protein…Well I like many other vegetarians or vegans have been asked this or been told this plenty of times and usually I get a sermon about how I should really try to eat meat because it’s the best source of protein or it’s the most complete protein blah blah blah. And then I say “ok, you ‘re absolutely right, animal flesh contains a lot of protein and in essence it is pure protein! But, I would also pose the question…where do you think the cow or the chicken or the fish or whatever animal you are eating got it’s protein from? Because most of those animals are herbivores! Unless you eat lion, tiger, or cheetah meat in which they are eating other animals…but the animals that THEY eat like gazelle and antelope are herbivores and all they eat are plants! Even fish, i.e. larger fish like shark, Chilean sea bass, mahi mahi etc they do eat smaller fish but those smaller fish eat sea vegetation, which means that they are herbivores!  So, what am I getting at? Well despite what many people and practitioners say about the necessity of eating meat for protein, the truth is that the building blocks for animal flesh protein like our muscles, are not being synthesized in those animals alone, they have to consume things that contain essential AAs just like we do…and where is that original source of essential AAs???? Plants! Plants contain every essential AA there is, and so yes if you consume an animal that eats plants or consume an animal that consumes animals that eat plants you will passively receive the essential AAs that the herbivore initially ate, but now you are receiving it second or third-hand (from the plant àherbivore animal à carnivorous animal) in the form of animal flesh that you are now consuming…and I don’t know about you but if I can help it I am always trying to get first dibs on things in their most optimal form for my body to consume (no sloppy seconds here).

cow eating grass 

 

Complete vs Incomplete Protein

Now this is another topic that comes about when health-heads talk about proteins and its really not that hard to figure out even though many people will make it like a hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro!  Basically put, a protein being complete or incomplete is essentially determined by the amount of each essential amino acid it contains. With that said when a food contains all nine of the essential amino acids, especially in sufficient quantities, the protein from that food is referred to as a “complete” protein.

Once again animal products are often a go to source because they tend to contain larger amounts of all of the amino acids and thus, are said to be complete proteins. However, animal products tend to also be high in other things that we don’t want in abundance in our diet (or at all) i.e. arachadonic acids from low ratios of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids which produce inflammation, meat can also contain parasites, hormones, and antibiotics just to name a few, and all of this can contribute to underlying causes of many health problems.This is especially something to be conscious of if you are buying conventional meat products from wal-mart, safeway, fry’s or other supermarkets that don’t sell organic grass-fed  or wild caught meats. And those better quality meats are usually much more expensive.

 

On the other hand most plants in this arena of protein have been drug through the mud because they are considered to contain incomplete proteins, and this is because they are said to always be missing one or more of the essential amino acids… this is true, one vegetable or fruit may be missing one or two essential AAs if that one vegetable ot fruit is all you eat… Well, this is why it is important to combine more than one plant protein source in their diet. This is also why it is important to eat a variety of vegetables that are different colors because from each one you get a different variety of proteins but also you get a wide variety of nutrients and antioxidants and essential oils etc. and these nutrients you do not get from animal flesh. Also when you combine different plant-based proteins you actually end up with a complete protein source on your plate. For example, combining foods like red lentils and collard greens (gomen), or chickpeas in a callaloo greens soup, or okra and peas, or brown rice peas and cabbage, or plantain with a red stew or egusi (which is a melon seed stew)…all of these are forms of wonderful Afrikan foods that are traditionally served together right? And I believe that there was much Ancestral wisdom behind these food combinations because together they provide us with optimal vitamins and mineral amounts as well as complete proteins.

Rice-and-Peas                 Callaloo

 

Plant-foods with abundant protein

All plants contain AAs but some plants are a little more dense with potential energy, meaning that they are packed with proteins and other nutrients in their natural form.

These include foods like nuts, legumes, seeds, and starchy vegetables. And when you look at these plants they are basically in the storage phase or their life cycle (i.e. seeds, nuts, or they are a means of energy/food storage for the whole plant i.e. roots, tubers, bulbs). It is for this reason that these foods are so rich in or are essentially all protein and they may also be rich in good fats and healthy sugars as well.

So foods like almonds, brazil nuts, macadamia, pecans, pine nuts, lentils, peanuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds these are the baby plants and so will be packed with protein because like our babies (human babies) they are full of fatty tissue because they need energy to develop. Same goes for the nuts and seeds and legumes

Starchy vegetables include: beets, carrots, yam, sweet potatoes, corn, potatoes, grains (rice, rye, oats, millet) and squash they are storage parts of the plant for energy and foods so as we know they are usually what? Sweet and full of starch because these are the roots of the plant that hold all of the food for it’s growth.

A little note here, remember that starchy vegetable are great but they should be eaten in moderation, especially for those of us who have diabetes or heart disease because those starches turn to sugar in our bodies and can lead to spikes in blood sugar for those people who are sensitive, so know your body in this. Also none of us should eat an over abundance of starch because it can weigh us down and make our digestive systems sluggish…which is another reason to load you plate up with green leafy vegetables when you eat starches. Pay attention to the seasons also, are more starchy foods in season? i.e. the all and winter when it is cooler and you need a little more heavy and warming vegetables? Then perhaps you body can handle a little more of these starches in comparison to in the spring and summer seasons when you should eat lighter.

 

Where they is fat there is protein!

tropical fruits

 

So some vegetables and fruits are extraordinary in their own right and are in a class of their own when it come to their protein content.  Examples of these are:

avocado, ackee, coconut, pineapple, and papaya,

Avocado and coconut- are said by many Afrikan holistic healers to contain protein because of the presence of fat in them. Well after I heard that I researched it as well and found that there is in fact some wonderful proteins in these foods. Fore example: Avocado has anywhere from 3g to 5g of protein in a fruit, 1c of ackee can have anywhere from 8-10g of protein, and 1 coconut can contain up to 13g of protein! So don’t sleep on these plants ya’ll! These higher amounts of protein are actually seen in many other tropical fruits also i.e. breadfruit, jackfruit, durian, and mamey so definitely get these in your diet when you can too!

Also, there are 2 more plants that I love that are also very unique in their own right and that is pineapple and papaya! Both of these plants are unique in that they both contain enzymes that breakdown protein: Bromelain and papain, and these enzymes are put in things like natural digestive aid products, like anti indigestion and overindulgence products and they are also used in most meat tenderizing products too.

When I learned this I asked? Why would fruit contain such powerful protein digesting enzymes? Well the reason for this is because both pineapple and papaya contain superior proteins! A pineapple can contain as much as 8-13g protein, and a papaya can have as much as 5-10 g. What’s more is that these proteins improve digestion, they soothe and heal the gut by eliminating inflammation and when eaten on an empty stomach these digestive enzymes work to dispel inflammation throughout the body. But again be careful diabetics because these foods contain ample amounts of sugars that may aggravate your condition.

Fake Meats for Transitionors

mock meats

So there are products available out there for those of us who are transitioning to a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle but who miss and are looking for another protein-rich something to replace the meat that the used in their dishes. Some common “fake meat” or vegan/vegetarian meat substitutes include (but are not limited to): Tofu, Seitan, Tempeh, and TVP (texturized vegetable protein).

Tofu

Tofu is basically soybean curd, or coagulated soybeans. So it is made by coagulating soymilk and then pressing it into these larger blocks which are called tofu. Tofu is used in many East Asian and Southeast Asian dishes and is very high in protein. Now-a-days you can find tofu in your local health-food store (even some super markets now) in either a soft, medium or extra firm consistency. You can also get smoked tofu, herbed tofu, and many other flavored tofu products to use in your dishes.

Tofu or I should say soy has been the center of much controversy and scandal amongst people concerned with their health, and this I because people are saying that it is linked to cancer development because of the phytoestrogens in the soybeans.  Well to that I will say that it is not true because if that where the case then most other legumes and their sprouts would be off limits to cancer patients too, because all plants and especially nuts, seeds, legumes and sprouts contain phytoestrogens. But phytoestrogens are not real estrogen so they are not going to enable to complicate an estrogen dependent cancer i.e. breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer or anything for that matter! Phytoestrogens actually work to regulate hormones because in people who have imbalances because they help the body balance what hormone production it needs or doesn’t need (but that’s a whole ‘nother story). My concern with soy is more so the GMO situation and the fact that 90% or more of the soybeans in this country are GMO (a genetically modified organism), and this my friends is what is leading to more health problems because of the over consumption of soy products. So if you are going to avoid soy do it for this reason and not because of the phytoestrogens, which is the better reason.

Tempeh

Tempeh, is another soy product that originally came from the traditional diets of southeast asians. It is made by a natural culturing which involves a controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. So this is basically another soybean curd-cake but I like tempeh more than tofu for the fact that it has the added benefit of being fermented so it can provide you with gut-friendly probiotics that are “all the rage” now for those folks who want to aid their digestion and banish out unfriendly bacteria like candida. Tempeh can be used in the same way as tofu in dishes, it will just have a flavor that is more on the “culture” side and little more earthy tasting which adds a nice flavor to dishes.

Seitan

Is another common fake-meat product and it is composed of pure Wheat gluten, which is the the main protein of wheat. I personally have never liked the idea of consuming wheat let alone the gluten of wheat which is the reason the people who are sensitive to gluten are in fact sensitive to it. Also this glu-ten like the name implies will “glue-up” you digestive tract, slow it down, and can also create inflammation and food allergies reactions in the body as a great deal of the population are sensitive to gluten now. In my opinion there are much better choices than this little diddy to replace meats.

TVP

Textured or texturized vegetable protein, is actually textured soy protein (which it it called in many products that contain it as an ingredient). What is it? Well this mystery non-meat is a defatted soy flour product and is actually a by-product of extracting soybean oil from the soybeans during production. And ya’ll know that these processed food manufacturers do not waste a damn thing! So what do they do with their soy oil byproduct??? They sell it back to the vegetarian or transitioning folks as an alternative meat source. Once again this is not one of the meat substitutes I would recommend b/c of the information you just read, but you will often see it like seitan in many mock-meat products. I have personally tried TVP and it did taste darn good, but it also made me feel like crap after I ate it (I had heartburn and upset stomach like a mug) so since then I have not consumed it again.

So with all of this said about the fake-meats, in he end just be careful with these items because as you can see a lot of times they are just as highly processed as any other processed packaged foods. Whats more is that they can often  contain things like msg, sugars, dyes, and other undesirable ingredients just to make it taste like meat to the consumer.  The farther away it gets from being the original plant the more likely it is not as great for you to consume. And  believe it or not there is such a thing as vegan/vegetarian junk food  and some of these foods mentioned can make the cut.

Also in regards to eating healthy vegetable proteins and good nutrition in general, it is wise to do your best to consume only whole foods that you know for sure what the ingredients are. If you are picking up vegan/vegetarian products and they have an ingredient list that is a mile long then that is a red flag that this is probably not something you should consume. Red flag number 2 would be if you can’t pronounce the names of the ingredients in the food and it sounds more like a chemistry project…you should be putting down the food and walking away by now.  The next thing you can look at critically is, how far away from the original plant food has the product gone? Does it even resemble the plant anymore? So if it looks like a chemistry project then its also a good idea not consume it.  Whole foods then are those which most of the time you are preparing yourself or you know who is preparing it for you and what ingredients they are using, which should be fresh fruits, vegetable, nuts, seeds and legumes.  And check this out, you can still make something like a burger with these whole foods! For example my roommate and I in college used to make lentil burgers, and it was just the cooked lentils, with some chopped onion, garlic, bell pepper, chili powder, salt, pepper and basically the same spices you would use in your hamburger. Then you can bake it or gill it or whatever cooking method you prefer and put it on your favorite whole grain or gluten-free bun…or no bun (I have eaten them on a bed of green and they were fabulous)!  And when I tell you these burgers were all the way on-point! Mm Mm Mmm, make you wanna slap somebody (no don’t do that ya’ll lol)!  Oh, and remember you are now getting in a dish like this a fabulously complete protein because you have combined legumes with other veggies but you also have the added benefit of it being highly nutrient dense as well! To me that sounds way better than a hamburger!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So now that you have been equipped wit the real deal on vegan/vegetarian protein, go forth and take your diet to another level be incorporating these wonderful health promoting, energy enhancing and protein packed foods into your life and the life of your families!

lentil b

 

Stay Healthy my friends,

Afivi

Want Mixed Girl Natural Hair like Tracee Ellis Ross??? Article Review and Reflection

tracee-ellis-ross-hair-love

 

Even though I am late on seeing this article I still like the ever-lingering issues about body image that this article brings up that are within our (black folks) community so that we can discuss some thangs. I mean, even with the whole natural hair movement spreading like wildfire to more and more Sistas across the country, the question still remains…do even so called natural Sistas still have deep-seeded issues about their hair, or that one person’s natural is better or prettier than another? It is almost as if the struggle for black women to remove the divisive mindsets placed on us during our enslavement continues to plague us even in the supposed sanctity and empowering environment of the natural hair circles….and it seems as if we are manifesting this division with the good hair vs bad hair situation in these spaces! Now, I do not mean to sound pessimistic but I just like to look at things critically so that we understand why we do some of the things we do, or even come to the realization that we do things that maybe we didn’t know we were doing…I mean let’s be real, how many of us natural Sistas (and even those not natural) have spent many hours or know people who have, in an attempt to perfect the perfect twist-out,  stretch-out, find the right curly-pudding  or even add in the hair to transform our kinks into that “Joan from girlfriends” hair (not to say Tracee’s hair is not beautiful by any means)! Even though this may seem harmless and just another style option, I think we should consider that there are still some underlying reasons why many of us are trying to make our hair into something it is not trying to be, especially for those of us who have opted to ditch the “creamy-crack” and liberate our Afrikan tresses to be themselves in the first place! I remember having a similar discussion with some friends about this topic and asking the questions “Do you think we have just traded one form of hair manipulation for another?”  “Why is just having your au natural fro that you simply braid, or twist into a beautiful style not enough?” “Are the curly puddings and curl definers, and stretching techniques, and habitual twists outs the new relaxers? Are these things covering up the real issue of some of us are still secretly wishing we had someone else’s hair? Is the fact that we can’t or choose not to wear our natural tresses as they are in some environments (i.e. work, school) reinforcing some of these deep-seeded issues regarding our hair and body images, with some institutions deeming some natural hair styles as being unacceptable and others acceptable? As Laurie brought up in her article, How many of us would have failed the infamous “doll test” during the Clark experiment , or even fail it today as adults???

Anyway, check out Sista Laurie Favors’ article and see for yourself the things she brought up, perhaps you experienced similar things as well.

What do you think? Let’s rap a taste…

http://www.afrostateofmind.com/want-mixed-girl-natural-hair-like-tracee-ellis-ross/

(P.S. I love Tracee’s video she is so cute and encouraging)

 

Afivi

 

Ujamaa and Afrikan Solidarity for Liberation

Black wall street

Htpu! I am so glad many people have  been inspired to participate in  a blackout day, or week or however long folks are deciding to do this, even though the circumstances are horrific we should still guide our anger, passion and energy to a useful purpose towards liberation! So in this spirit of solidarity, for those in the Phoenix,AZ metro area as well as in Austin, TX and Pflugerville, TX , and Charleston,SC I have provided a list of  places  I have frequented that are black owned so that we can support them instead of our enemies’ institutions…This by no means is a complete list of black owned establishments in these areas or surrounding them, so I encourage everyone in this spirit to do their own research and explore where other black owned business are located in your area, or if you already know of some then you have no excuse but to support them more now….oh and also, I know we as a people can be very critical of our businesses (and we put in more of our 2 cents and choose not to support each other with a swiftness over minor things, more so than we would with a white establishment that treats us like crap consistently).To this I say, we should definitely provide each other with constructive criticism in order to better serve our communities needs as business owners and nation builders (and be honest folks, tell them what you desire of them so they can provide)…but don’t see an issue and completely dismiss the business saying “see that’s why I don’t go to black stores because they never act right, or don’t have what I need etc.” Everyone has to start somewhere, and we all have room to grow, so if you want to see your community businesses be “mo’betta” than they are, which they can be… but only to the degree that we collectively support, maintain and sincerely enrich them. Enjoy the list and Buy/Support Black 24/7-365!!!  ~Htpu

Pflugerville, TX

Taste of Ethiopia  Restaurant

1100 Grand Ave Pkwy  Pflugerville, TX 78660

(512) 251-4053

AfriqMart

2700 Pecan W
Pflugerville, TX 78660 (in three points plaza)

Austin, TX

AfriCarib Market

825 st Rundberg Ln, Suite F-5 Austin, TX 78753

Phone: (512) 339-4535

Aster’s Ethiopian Restaurant

2804 N I-35 Austin, TX 78722

Neighborhood: University of Texas

(512) 469-5966

Karibu Ethiopain Restaurant

209 E 7th St

Austin, TX 78702

Neighborhood: East Austin

Phoenix/Tempe/Chandler, AZ

Ako International

400 S McClintock Dr  Tempe, AZ 85281

(480) 317-9000

Tsom Vegetarian Flavors

933 E University Dr #115  Tempe, AZ 85281

(480) 625-3406

Hot Pot Caribbean Cuisine

2081 N Arizona Ave132

Chandler, AZ 85225

(480) 722-7577

The Bread Fruit fresh seafood and Rum Bar (Jamaican, veggie options available)

108 E Pierce St  Phoenix, AZ 85004

(602) 267-1266

One Body One Mind Fittness/ Purple Rain  (work out studio)

3302 N 24th St

Ste 101

Phoenix, AZ 85006

(602) 374-3227

http://www.onebodyonemindfitness.com

Baleros Hair Salon (2 locations in tempe and chandler)

747 W Southern Ave  Tempe, AZ 85282

(602) 431-9001

2081 N Arizona Ave  Chandler, AZ 85225

(480) 857-1387

http://www.balaros.net

Authentic EhioAfrican- Organic Flavors of Ethiopian Cuisine

1740 E McDowell Rd Suite A

Phoenix AZ

(602)252-2286

Look for the big mural of Halie Salassie I When you come off the freeway- a can’t miss downtown!*

Caribbean Marketplace and Kitchen (they have veggie patties!)

4220 W Northern Ave #104

Poenix, AZ 85051

(623)915-7941

Golo Family Organic Farms (fresh organic produce all Afrikan/Black grown and owned)

Here is the Golo’s Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Golo-Family-Organic-Farms/303820419658745

But you can also catch the Golos on Saturday mornings at the downtown phoenix farmers’ market at the intersection of Central and Filmore (look for the white tents- you can’t miss it)

Phoenix Natural Medicine and Detox Center

301 W Roosevelt St  Phoenix, AZ 85003

(602) 307-0888

http://phxnaturalmedicine.com

I will add more to this list as I do some research and recolection myself (as I hate to leave out anyone), to also see if there are anymore services that are being provided. Oh, and if anyone else knows of any other places please share them on this post so we can all know whats up!  Alrighty, that all for now, when you go check out these places tell the folks that Afivi sent you and said hi!

Juneteenth: A Different Perspective

Growing up in Texas Juneteenth was always a big deal. I remember days of going to places like Givens Park and other outdoor settings, and as I approached I was flooded by a sea of celebratory imagery– seeing all of the American flags and other decor blowing in the breeze, waving to the elder women brining in covered dishes of baked goods, hearing the mic check on the stage preparing for a day of poetry and singing, and smelling the bar-b-q as I walked down the field to meet up with the many smiling faces of family, friends and their guests. These were some great memories of my childhood and wouldn’t trade them for the world (as I love spending time with fam and friends), however as I have gotten older I have come to want to delve deeper into the meanings behind any and all Afrikan (that also means Afrikan-american) traditions that we engage in so that I have a full understanding of what it is we are celebrating. Juneteenth is one I have overlooked for a while, until now, don’t ask me why, but I have did some contemplating as well as pulling from my current knowledge of American history and past grade-school knowledge from “interesting” texas history classes (southerners I know ya’ll know what I’m talking about) to think critically of why Afrikan/Black people in this country celebrate this day…Lets break it on down shall we?

 

So, for those of you who are from states that observe Junteenth I am definitely preaching to the choir, but for those of you who don’t know the history behind the holiday, here it is:

 

 

Juneteenth aka Freedom day or Emancipation day, is promoted to be a day of observance for the Emancipation of Enslaved Afrikans in America during the Civil War, and is in particular a proposed day of celebration for the enslaved Afrikans in Texas. Juneteenth is also the oldest day of observance for what is called the “end of slavery” in America by the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln in 1862.

 

The signing of the proclamation was on September 22, 1862, and was not even put into effect until the January 1st of the next year (1863). Even after the proclamation was signed the enforcing of its laws—the abolishing of slavery—was not quickly acknowledged by many states especially in the south, where the labor of enslaved Afrikans was tantamount to the business practices in this part of the country. But the messed up thing was in Texas (east Texas mostly) no one had even heard of the signing of any proclamation, and the enslaved Afrikans in this state were never notified of the abolishment of slavery and they were deemed freemen/women. This was most likely s deliberate act of slave owning whites who wanted to squeeze the last little bit of slave labor they could get out, before the union troops came to enforce the law. But that wasn’t until June 19th of 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger arrived with his troops in Galveston, TX (after General Lee surrendered—for you history heads out there) he stood before the plantation workers and overseers to read the following proclamation:

 

    “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”   —General Order Number 3 

 

After which I’m sure many of our enslaved Ancestors were either jubilated, pissed off or both, but either way went on to take advantage of their proclaimed freedom by the president of the US. To start, many of our Ancestors decided that they would leave the south all together to get a fresh start and headed north in order to take advantage of the job opportunities the bustling industrialized north promised them. By the way, this period of time is known in American history as The Great Migration and even though it is dated between 1910-1930, the migration of Afrikan people from the southern states to the north after the signing of the emancipation proclamation started around 1880, and then by 1910-1930 was when the Afrikan/Black population increased in northern states by almost 40-50%!  

 

What I love about his time in our history was the nation building spirit that we had! We were so eager to build our own communities and have our own businesses. Many of our Ancestors began the pooling together of money saved by families over the years so that they could collectively by land and start their own communities. And of course money was also put into creating black owned businesses to continue to bring wealth into these communities—this is the time when you see pockets of thriving black communities with their own grocery stores, schools, doctors, realtors, barber shops, clothing stores, hotels, airplanes etc… because even after so called emancipation, we were still not allowed in many white owned establishments so, we created our own. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of this is the once bustling and independent Greenwood Ave in Tulsa, Oklahoma aka “Black Wall Street”! But as many of you know, this community was destroyed in the “Race Riots” of 1921 from late May-early June, by a mob of whites entering Greenwood with torches, Molotov cocktails, and other explosives to set fire to hundreds of business and homes, while killing many people in the process (men, women and children). Around 1926 Greenwood’s residents rebuilt parts of their community back and had a stint of creative time with a lot of new businesses and with a growing jazz music scene, but unfortunately this town fell prey to gentrification and urban renewal of the state county, as well as the loss of many businesses from lack of support in the community after some white businesses in surrounding towns opened their doors to Afrikan/Black people (a shame huh?). And sadly enough to say, this was a trend that happened to many of the Afrikan/Black communities during those times that led to their loss of self-power and eventual destruction.

 

But now, back to Juneteenth…So, the celebration on June 19th by Afrikan/Blacks in America was born post-emancipation signing, and recognition of it being put in effect. Traditions were thus born as the day included grand festivals that were themed around freedom, and accomplishment, family, historical remembrances, and of course fun socializing around a variety of soul food! The term “juneteenth” was coined as a merging of the day of so called emancipation for Texas Afrikan/Blacks the 19th and then the month of June, so you have Juneteenth! About 32 states now have celebrations and/or observances of this day so it is no longer just recognized by folks in Texas.

 

 

 

The Civil War, The Emancipation Proclamation, and the Mythical Fight for Freedom of Enslaved Afrikans  

 

 

 

The Civil War

 

Some facts: The Civil War was called “the war fought amongst brothers” having the Northern US fighting against the Southern US due to…conflict of interest (lets say that for now). This war went on from about 1861-1865 and is said to have been initiated because the south succeeded from the union. It is true that The North wanted the South to end their enslavement of Afrikans/Blacks and end slave labor on their plantations, but the south said in so many words “hell to than no, we won’t stop it, this is our livelihood” (that’s my interpretation).

 

Not so much facts (Lies): (1) It is not true that the North was this heroing champion to the enslaved Afrikans in America (stop thinking that right now!). Yes they had many, what they called, abolitionists in the North, and other folks who wanted to end slavery in the south, they wrote pamphlets, many brothas and sistas worked with them (of course because they really wanted us to get Free), but as for the northern whites collectively being concerned with our freedom, they did not want it for the reasons that you think or were taught in you history book. (2) Not everyone on the “northside”  of America was for abolishment of slavery. As a matter of fact the newly immigrated Europeans from places like Ireland, germany, Poland, dutch, etc were terrified of the thought of an influx of highly skilled and able bodied free-Afrikans to come up north and give them the competition of their lives for jobs they desperately needed. These folks voted against your Ancestors’ “emancipation” with vigor, to the point of rioting in the streets. This influx of Afrikans north was also the igniting fire for the formation of job unions in this country and believe me their purpose was not to provide job security for the blue-collar working man, but it was to provide job security for the white-blue collar man, from the black man, but that’s a whole ‘nother story…

 

There are many theories for the initial cause of the civil war, but in my opinion the one that stands out the most is the difference in economic practices being the cause (it makes the most sense to me). I mean messing with someone’s money can cause a fight! I have heard of this argument in a history class, but a brotha by the name of Booker T Colemen broke it down in a way that really resonated with me and I present my interpretation of it below…

 

So, the south and north had different economic systems (which used to all be the same when they all got here, by the way). The north was becoming more urbanized with bustling cities, making it nearly impossible to sustain a plantation type of business. However it was perfect for building big factories with mass productions machines that could do the work much faster, and also created jobs for the influx of people from the south (white people) and new immigrants (Europeans), since somebody had to run the factory machines. Now, the South on the other hand had of course, the plantation as part of their business practices, and produced raw material and relied on slave labor to harvest their crops. They were reliant on the buying and selling of their raw materials and their products which were processed by enslaved Afrikans, for their profit so were not reliant on factories for their end product.

 

Long story short, the north had a conflict of interest with the south because the institution of slavery was making the market less competitive for industrialized states. As overall it was cheaper for slave owners to buy a few hundred Afrikans for a few hundred dollars to work FOR LIFE to process all their raw materials, than it was for a person to open a factory and then have to pay workers hundreds of dollars yearly to do the same thing. So, because the south said they are definitely not giving up their enslaved Afrikans, they succeeded from the union. The North still feeling the heat from the economic competition then declared war on the south. As you can see this has nothing to do with the northern whites having a sudden epiphany and seeing the evil-ness of the slavery system. It has everything to do with protecting the interest of white male land and business owners—but of course, to get the added man power for the war, you best believe that abolition propaganda was used to get Afrikan/Black men to join the union army with promises of freedom for them and their families, which is why you see brothas fighting alongside union soldiers. The South on the other had either forced their enslaved to go to war for them or made empty promises of better treatment and conditions if they helped to “preserve their way of life” (many opted out of the former, for fear of the enslaved Afrikans turning on them with their own guns).

 

Hear Baba Colemen Speak on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ivVcjHGh5w&list=WL00BFFE5D91FC11AD&index=52&feature=plpp_video

 

 

 The Emancipation Proclamation

 

Once again I have to stress, Abraham Lincoln was not (and never was) a champion for the freedom of enslaved Afrikans in America. Actually under his presidency and during the civil war, it was ordered that any Afrikans seen out and about with suspicion of being a “runaway” were given back to slave owners…that is, given back to slave owners, and not rescued by union soldiers, so Abe was pretty much on board with slavery too (or was not in as big a hurry to stop it as we thought) …Anyway, throughout the war Lincoln was consistently pressured by congressmen and other cabinet officials to emancipate the enslaved Afrikans, and this was because the South depended on slave labor for a lot of their supplies during the war, whether it be food, clothing, weaponry maintenance, trackers etc. So in order to strike an effortless blow to the confederate army, many union officials wanted the emancipation to be signed and issued out in order to get all of those free laboring enslaved Afrikans to pick up and leave the south, thus leaving the confederacy weakened. Because Lincoln was the president of the US and has interest in maintaining that union between the states (even though the southern states were “actin’ up” at the moment) he was hesitant to quickly emancipate the enslaved Afrikans for fears of upsetting the already steaming confederacy, with no hopes of reconciliation. But eventually Lincoln could no longer hold this attitude with pressure coming from the Union he was a part of, and had to do what he knew was good to protect the northern industry interests. And behold! The Emancipation Proclamation was written up and later signed and issued by September 22nd 1862, and was not effective until January 1st of 1863 (so this was all during the civil war, in order to cripple the south). Believe it or not, the “EP” was supposed to be a temporary war measure to break down the south, and actually if you read the thing, it shows that slavery was not abolished in any of the “border states”—slave states that did not succeed the union—and it did not make slavery illegal. So once again we can see that Abe Lincoln was not the great emancipator he is promoted to be. He wouldn’t even have signed such a proclamation if it wasn’t needed by his own people.

 

All of these things from civil war to emancipation proclamation had nothing to do with a fight for our freedom, for our freedom’s sake—in my opinion our “freedom” or the talk of it, was used as a pawn, in a trifle between two bickering brothers, in order for one or the other to meet their end goal of acquiring a position of power over the other.

 

I was never told of these historical events during ANY of the many Juneteenth celebrations I have attended in texas (an I am sure many of you haven’t heard it wither). I mean we learned about what juneteenth is and how our Ancestors were happy to hear they were emancipated, but then we do things like give thanks to Lincoln, General granger and the union etc…but would we still do it if we knew the truth?  I will actually be attending another juneteenth in Phoenix,AZ, to provide free health screenings, but I am curious as to what will be the discussion topics and festivities of the day at this one…will they talk about the deeper history of The Afrikan experience in America and the longer history behind why Juneteenth even happened? I think these kinds of things are important to discuss, and I mean we should discuss our history in its true form, and not fluffed up with a patriotism that was forced on our Ancestors to make it seem like this day was something it was not. I also find it a bit disturbing that we, proud Afrikan people in north America, even celebrate a day where someone else has TOLD us we are free, or someone else GAVE us our freedom…I don’t even believe it is possible for someone to give another person freedom, because as long as a person thinks that they cannot reclaim their own freedom all by themselves, they are not themselves removed from slavery, for their mind is still a slaves mind, and they will behave as such once out and about…real freedom is taken back…and our Ancestors did that, are we doing it now?

 

That brings me to another interesting historical piece that I will visit quickly…the 13th amendment! Another favorite of our people! The amendment issued by Lincoln again abolishing slavery and supposedly making it illegal this time. Check it out:

 

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

 

“Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

 

So, I look at this and then think about the incarceration rate of black men in this country. According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics “non-Hispanic blacks accounted for 39.4% of the total prison and jail population in 2010”(not that statistics are the be-all-end-all but the fact that brothas are in jail is bad period)….and an increasing number of black women are going into the jails as well. Incarceration is one of the new forms of slavery, second only to mental slavery because the education system is a plantation in itself teaching Afrikan/Black children non-self history and other things that do not enrich them culturally.

 

 

 

 

 

So as for our celebration of Juneteenth, I worry that our celebration of this day, which was once a day with purpose and celebrated in a time when we did do a lot of nation building and creating of things for ourselves, I feel it has lost its “steam” from our Ancestors’ time (have we gotten comfortable amidst our integration/assimilation into american society and forgotten how to build for self-sustainability and independence?).  I feel now the juneteenth celebration (and other observances) can possibly be more detrimental to our real unification and building efforts than it is good, because it gives us a false sense of reality of what has happened and is happening to us…There are white people who celebrate juneteenth, and there are juneteenth organizations and “national day of remembrance of the Slave trade and it’s abolition” Day organizations that I found were white people are the heads of these things and managing these events…now I feel that there is a problem when your oppressor can celebrate with you one of your historical observances, because it means it is cool for them too, and not so much a threat that you are making a comeback to your greatness…Baba Amos Wilson sums this up (and everything else) beautifully in his quote which I think we should all carry with us from day to day as we study, and observe our history (when he speaks of Black history month just insert juneteenth or any observance or holiday you wish–anything):

 

“The study of history cannot be a mere celebration of those who struggled on our behalf. We must be instructed by history and should transform history into concrete reality, into planning and development, into the construction of power and the ability to ensure our survival as a people. If not Black History Month becomes an exercise in the inflation of egos; it becomes an exercise that cuts us further off from reality. Ironically, we now see even other people who are not our friends joining us in this celebration, which means that they must see in it something that works for them, and possibly against us. If they can celebrate our history and see it as something positive, then it means that we are not using it in a revolutionary sense. They do not see our study of it as a threat to their power. If we are not studying it in a way that is a threat to their power then we are studying it incorrectly, and our celebration of it is helping to maintain us in a state of deception…” – Dr. Amos Wilson 

 

 

 

Sending Love&Light,

 

Afivi            

 

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Healing Pretty: Calendula, a Cute Flower w/ healing powers!!!

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I walked by this Calendula plant in our herb garden at school and had to take a picture because it was on MONSTER MODE!!! It was so vibrant and full, almost as if it was saying “you know you wanna come see me”…and I did lol (and I took some home)!!! Here are some quick medicinal uses of calendula:

Calendula Officianalis

• Calendula is one of the best herbs for treating local skin problems, because it speeds healing time
• It can be used safely wherever there is skin inflammation due to infection, so it is ideal for first aid treatment of minor cuts, burns and scalds. It will also be of benefit in slow-healing wounds and skin ulcers.—it is also great to apply over exposed, dry, or chaffed skin and lips!!!
• For use locally it may be put in with a lotion, a poultice or fomentation
• Internally, Calendula is a valuable herb for digestive inflammation and healing
• Calendula is a mild, stimulating and diffuse lymphagogue (especially in the pelvis and breasts), so It can enhance the drainage of large and inflamed lymph nodes.
• Calendula is also a great source of the antioxidant rutin which protects and nourishes the eyes (this is what makes it yellow).
• You can enjoy a refreshing calendula enhanced tea by using 1tsp-1TBS dried calendula, ½ tsp lavender and ½ tsp lemon balm in 8oz of hot (not boiling) water and steep for at least 10-15mins (or until its cool enough to drink). You can add any natural sweetener you like to taste if you wish (but I like mine au natural).
• Also note that if you have a strong allergy to any Asteraceae plants i.e. daisies, dandelions etc. calendula can aggravate this allergy when used on the skin. The most common sign of this allergy is an itchy eczema-like rash that will go away with discontinued use of the herb.

Alright family, I wish you all happy healing!

Love, Light, and Liberation,

Afivi

North African Falafel Recipe w/ Tahini sauce

falafel

Yum! Who doesn’t like a crispy, savory, spicy falafel for lunch in the middle of a full bustling day? At my school many people frequent local Mediterranean spots to indulge in these treats and they are a staple amongst the catering companies that work school related events (you know to appease the vegan/vegetarian crowd with something lol). But now we don’t have to wait for caterers or shell out $4-$6 dollars for a falafel plate etc. when we get the urge for a fix of these lovelies!  And what I like best of all about this comfort food is that they are traditionally vegan and packed with nutrition!

So just a side note, the North African style falafel can be more fluffy, in comparison to the Middle Eastern kind of “gritty” texture. So for those used to eating at Mediterranean spots, I just wanted to give you a head up lol!

Falafel  Recipe

1 cup dried, frozen or canned  fava (broad) beans (use what you have availavle)

¾ cup dried chickpeas (or frozen, so you don’t have to soak them)

1 small onion, chopped

1/3 cup flat leaf parsley

½ cup coriander

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

Pinch chilli powder (or more if you like it spicy)

3 tbsp water

Oil for frying (which is traditional), ideally with coconut oil which has a higher smoke point, use enough to fill your pan to 2 inches deep OR you may bake the falafels

Directions:

Soak the beans in water overnight OR thaw out frozen beans

Blend all the ingredients except the oil together in a food processor, making a gritty-looking light green paste.

-Frying method: Heat your oil to 350F and then Spoon rounded teaspoons of the mixture into the oil & fry for 2 minutes on each side.

-Baking method: Heat oven to 350F, place teaspoon sized dollops of falafel mix on a lightly oiled baking sheet/dish and then let bake for 15-25mins until golden brown. At this point you can flip the falafels over and bake for an extra 5mins if they are not brown enough (just don’t exceed 25mins or they will dry out).

Next drain falafes on kitchen paper & serve with tahini sauce, vegetable sides & salad.

Tahini sauce Recipe

 

½ cup tahini

½ cup lemon juice

½ cup vegan yogurt or chopped zucchini (optional)

2 cloves garlic

Salt

1 tbsp water

Directions:

Blend all ingredients together with a food processor or high speed blender to a smooth paste. Thin with water to desired consistency (the mixture should be smooth and creamy enough to spread, but I have seen both thin and thick versions).

OMG! We got some heavy-hitter health ingredients in this recipe but our stars today that I gotta speak on are the chickpeas and tahini (sesame butter)!!!! Did you know that 1 cup of chickpeas contains 12.5g of fiber! That’s is 50% of the recommended daily value which is 25g! Also the fiber in chickpeas is insoluble (meaning this fiber is not digested until it reaches your colon) so it sweeps through your digestive tract cleaning out toxins and moving waste to be released (so it keeps you regular). This fiber once in your colon is broken down by bacteria into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and these SCFAs feed the cells that make up your colon (colonocytes) so that they can function properly, and this decreases our chances for developing digestive disorders, immune system, and mental problems and colon cancer (yes a healthy colon can help with all of that). Chickpeas also contain  wide array of antioxidants including vitamins A, and E, healthy fats like omega-3 and polyunsaturated fats, and ALA (alpha-lipoic-acid). All of this in combination with the fiber content in chickpeas make it helpful in regulating blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, it can help with weight-loss (it keeps you full between meals) etc.  Tahini, which is just sesame seed paste, is an amazing food! It contains high amounts of minerals needed by the body daily like zinc, copper, calcium, and manganese. Sesame seeds also contain high amounts of fiber, and antioxidants in the form of plant phytosterols, which in combination make sesame seed consumption helpful in preventing cardiovascular disorders, rheumatoid arthritis flares, migraines, PMS and osteoporosis (to name a few)!

So, yes! This meal is all the way on point when it comes to healthfulness and taste! I mean who says that being vegan and health conscious means you have to give up our beloved Afrikan dishes? Who says that we have to eat “rabbit food”? In Afivi’s world that is what we call ridiculous-ness!!! Let’s Eat, and be well for real!!!

Htpu