It’s hip. It’s hot. It‘s totally fab. All the cool kids are doin’ it….going VEGAN, that is. And, one of them -the cool kids, I mean – a sister by the name of Breeze Harper, actually wrote a book about it. The book is called…get this…. Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society! Booyahkashaaa! How you like them apples? That’s some title. Sounds all smart and ish. Probably because the sister who wrote it, A. Breeze Harper (who will henceforth and forever more be “Cool Breeze” to me) is a Ph.D candidate at University of California, Davis (did her Master’s at Harvard, btw) has been doing some super smarty pants research on the “intersections of black feminisms, critical race theory and food politics”. Then, of course, she wrote a book about it. Like to hear it? Here it go:
“Sistah Vegan explores food politics, identity, sexuality, health, womanism, feminism, decolonization, anti-racism, eco-sustainability, and animal rights through the lens of the black female vegan experience in the USA. It is the first volume of its kind to address the racialized-gendered vegan experience in the USA.”
I don’t know about you, y’all, but I got my lighter in the air behind that mess! Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am not a vegan. Not even hardly. Please, mama ain’t never laid eyes on a pork chop, strip of bacon or rib tip she could say no to. I try not to eat too much junk, but I have my weaknesses. Oh Clutchettes, I have so many weaknesses. I could give a damn about fast food and Oreos, but get me around some good, crusty French bread and a stick butter and IT IS ON! You know that annoying chick in the restaurant who keeps calling the waiter to her table asking for another bread basket? I’m that girl!
But, I’m trying, y’all. Truly I am. I hit the gym a few times a week for kickboxing class, go hiking on the weekends, even tried a few yoga classes (okay, ONE yoga class…..damn!) And, although I fall way short of the nutrition goddess glory, I do attempt to steer clear of absolute krap, except under emergency circumstances, of course (translation: when I’m PMSing, I will kill any fool who tries to take my Peanut M&Ms. Trust!) Having said all that, I know I can do more. I work in the public health field, and I hear too many statistics about Black Women and our health. I’m sick of hearing stuff like: “34% more likely to die from breast cancer” and “twice as likely” to be diagnosed with diabetes. Don’t get me started on our numbers related to AIDS, heart disease, obesity and infant mortality – I’ll SCREAM! That is, after I cry.
Look, I know bupkis about veganism – I wouldn’t know a soy curd from a doggie’s chew toy. But, I’m open. And, though Cool Breeze might have to come to my house personally and pry the pork chop out of my cold, dead hands, I’m willing to at least take a read. I totally dig that a young sister is putting these ideas out there and hope that maybe it opens the space for more African Americans to begin a dialogue about the place nutrition plays in our health and about at least considering incorporating some holistic ideas and practices into bettering our lives. I hope some other Clutchettes out there, the committed vegans and just the curious, will check out Sistah Vegan and at least listen to what Sistah Cool Breeze has to say. I want us to lead strong healthy lives, so we can have more time to SHOP FOR SHOES!
Harper’s book will be released on March 1, 2010.
*For more on Sistah Vegan and A. Breeze Harpers work
**The health stats quoted in article came from The Office of Minority Heath: