“Anything you can’t fast from you are a slave to”
We’ve survived Maafa or the Black/African Holocaust, but Heart disease and Type 2 diabetes appears to be something we cannot conquer. We’ve withstood the Middle Passage, the dehumanization and subjugation of chattel slavery, the extreme injustice of Jim Crow, and the terror inflicted on us by the worst terrorist group known to man, the Ku Klux Klan. But we are currently in the seemingly inescapable throes of chronic disease and the US Health Care System. While many of us were able to escape life on the plantation, we can’t seem to escape the vicious cycle of doctor visits, trips to the pharmacy and a deteriorating quality of life, which ultimately and sadly leads to premature death.
I live in Buffalo, NY, the 5th most racially segregated, and 3rd poorest city in America. African Americans who reside in zip codes 14204, 14206, 14211, 14212 and 14215 have many of the worst health outcomes in Erie County. The rate of premature death of African Americans living in these zip codes is 300% higher than whites who live outside of these areas (premature death is any death that occurs before age 75). According to The Erie County New York Health Assessment for 2017-2019, and the 2015 Task Force on Health Care Disparity in the African American community, heart disease is the number one cause of death in NYS and Erie County. But the rates of Blacks dying from heart disease is 40% higher than whites. These reports also reveal that African Americans are twice as likely to have diabetes as whites. Blacks have double the hospital admission rates than whites for diabetes-related conditions. We have absurdly looked to the US Health Care System for a remedy, a cure even. But as we still await our 40 acres and a mule 165 years later, we are much better off to look within ourselves for healing.
I shared these statistics not to be negative and dismal, but to put things in its proper perspective. Our health needs to be our greatest priority. It’s been said, “There are many issues facing the African American community, but if we don’t have our health, not much else matters”. The situation looks dire but there is a solution, a weapon as we like to call it. Intermittent fasting is our greatest defense against chronic disease and is the sure path to freedom and escape a system that gets rich while we get sick. In this article I will discuss what intermittent fasting is, why breakfast is not the most important meal of the day and the incredible things that happen to the body while fasting.
The Myth of 6 small meals a Day.
Admittedly, I was once a proponent of eating 6 small meals a day. This was what was taught in my Nutrition training. The premise is, the body needs a constant source of energy to fuel its activities and aid in a functioning metabolism. We’ve all been taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and if you skipped breakfast, you might as well throw the entire day away. The truth is, there is no science behind the myth of breakfast being the most important meal of the day or eating six small meals a day. It’s propaganda. The truth is, eating first thing in the morning and then eating every 2-3 hours until you go to bed takes a tremendous toll on the body, especially when the body must process, transport, store or eliminate the myriad of unhealthy food we consume. It results in weight gain, premature aging and chronic disease. I promise you won’t starve if you fast. In fact, I read that the average American has enough fat storage to go at least 2 months without food.
Intermittent fasting is a practice that our ancestors have practiced from the slave quarters all the way back to Africa. Dr. Llaila Afrika, author of African Holistic Health explains, “food ideally should be eaten from 12 noon to 7pm, metabolized in the blood from 7pm to 4am and from 4am to noon the body is cleansing”. If we are constantly eating, the body does not have time to cleanse, repair and heal. There are many ways that one can engage in intermittent fasting. I prefer the 16/8 method. 16 hours of fasting, with an 8- hour feeding period. Ideally one’s last meal should be no later than 7pm and the first meal of the day (break fast) should be eaten at 11am the following day.
What Happens to Your Body When You Fast?
Amazing, incredible things happen to your body when you fast. I have been on an intermittent fasting journey for 227 days now. I have fasted a total of 4,060 hours, spending 74% of my time in a fasting state. Honestly, I am so pleased with the results that I will fast the rest of my life (barring any vacations). Normally each year I get a cold. This year, while I have been fasting, I haven’t had a sore throat, cough or runny/stuffy nose. Whatever has been going around I have been able to avoid. I attribute this to fasting. When you fast, a process called autophagy occurs. This is when the body recycles the old defective protein and mitochondria in the cells. It actually takes the diseased parts of our cells and transmutes them into functioning parts. The body literally begins to heal itself from the inside out when you fast. Here are some other incredible things that happen to your body when you fast:
- Weight loss
- Improvements in blood pressure
- Improvements in cholesterol
- Improvements in insulin sensitivity
- Reboots the immune system
- Increased mental clarity
- Increased energy levels
- Toxins are removed from the body
- Slows down the aging process
- Greater spiritual growth and stamina
If you would like to start fasting and are currently taking medications, please let your doctor know that you intend to fast. Your blood sugar and blood pressure readings should be closely monitored. Once you start fasting you will see improvements in your numbers and your medications may need to be adjusted. Fasting is a healing way of life and one that is embedded in our DNA as Africans. It is our greatest weapon against chronic disease and the most viable option to escape the cycle of doctor visits and diminishing health. Remember, “anything you can’t fast from, you are a slave to”. If you ask me, we’ve been a slave to the Standard American diet for far too long. If you would like to learn more about intermittent fasting, please visit the following website, The Fast Life 28 Day Challenge
Kathleen, “The Nutritional Truth Teller” is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant and a Certified Vaginal Steam Facilitator. She is the owner of Beauty In A Barbell Nutrition, whose sole mission is to optimize the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the Black community through African Holistic Health. She carries with her the ancestral knowledge and wisdom of the medicine men, women, healers and warriors she lovingly calls her ancestors.