By Carter Higgins –Blackdoctor.org
Comedy, activist and author Dick Gregory began his career as a comedian while serving in the military in the mid 1950s. After being drafted in 1954, he served in the army for a year and a half at Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Lee in Virginia and Ft. After being discharged in 1956 he returned to the university but did not receive a degree. With a desire to perform comedy professionally, he moved to Chicago.
From there Gregory performed in night club after night club before being noticed by Hugh Hefner. Hugh offered him a job which added to him becoming more of a household name in comedy at the time.
Many say that Gregory’s activism started with his style of comedy. Gregory’s comedy focused on current events and politics. But it was then that some of the funny one liners about the state of Black America weren’t as funny as it used to be. In 1984 he founded Health Enterprises, Inc., a company that distributed weight loss products. With this company, Gregory made efforts to improve the life expectancy of African Americans, which he believes is being hindered by poor nutrition and drug and alcohol abuse. In 1985 Gregory introduced the “Slim-Safe Bahamian Diet”, a powdered diet mix. He launched the weight-loss powder at the Whole Life Expo in Boston under the slogan “It’s cool to be healthy”. The diet mix, drunk three times a day, was said to provide rapid weight loss. Gregory received a multi-million dollar distribution contract to retail the diet.
In 2001, Dick Gregory was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. He refused traditional medical treatment – chemotherapy –and with the assistance of some of the finest minds in alternative medicine, put together a regimen of a variety of diet, vitamins, exercise, and modern devices not even known to the public, which ultimately resulted in his reversing the trend of the Cancer to the point where today his body shows no sign of cancer and is cancer free.
Gregory journey to stop eating meat came long before, beginning in the South during the late 1950’s. “I became a vegetarian after I saw a Mississippi sheriff kick my wife when she was nine months’ pregnant,” he says. “I had to convince myself that the reason I did nothing was that I was non-violent. I was scared. But afterwards I decided that if I wouldn’t hit a man who kicked my pregnant wife, I couldn’t participate in the destruction of any animal that never harmed me. That’s when…
… I became a vegetarian. Before then, I didn’t even know the word. In the 1960’s you rarely saw a Black person in a health food store. But it was something I knew I had to change.”
In the late 1960s he regularly fasted in excess of 40 days at a time, to publicize world famine. For two-and-a-half years, he ate no solid food as a protest against the Vietnam War. He was still following this regime when he completed several long-distance runs – one from LA to New York – frequently accompanied by Muhammad Ali, who described Gregory as “one of the greatest Americans of modern times”.
“The first time I met Dick,” Ali said, “I knew I was good for five miles. I decided I was going to take this chump and see what he could do. We went four miles and Dick wasn’t even breathing hard. I stepped up the next mile real fast. Dick followed me, then he got faster. After that, I got into the car. Dick ran another 15 miles. I said to myself, ‘This man is crazy.’”
At legendary singer and composer John Lennon’s request, Gregory devised a diet to help him withdraw from opiates and alcohol.
“When John called me,” he says, “he told me to come to Holland, where he was ‘living in a cave’. To me, a cave was a dark place where bats hang out. His cave looked like Buckingham Palace.”
These days,, he rarely performs comedy, he’s still married for over 50 years, but he’s constantly on the road, lecturing on diet and ethics.
Blacknews.com :Published August 2015
Nationwide — New research published by JAMA Oncology has revealed that the chances of dying from very early breast cancer are small. However, DCIS breast cancer (even if caught early) is much riskier for young women of all ethnicities, and black women of all ages. And to make it worse, the same disparities are seen when it comes to more advanced cancer.
What is DCIS breast cancer?
DCIS (Ductal carcinoma in situ) breast cancer is the presence of abnormal cells inside a milk duct in the breast. It is considered to be the earliest form of breast cancer, and is non-invasive, meaning it hasn’t spread out of the milk duct to invade other parts of the breast.
The study analyzed more than 100,000 women diagnosed from 1988 to 2011, and found that 20 years after being diagnosed, the average death rate of a woman with breast cancer is just 3 percent. But the death rates are twice as high for those younger than 35 at diagnosis and in blacks.
But why are Black women more affected?
The findings did not reveal why this is the case, but it does re-open the debate on how to treat tumors that are discovered early on in women. Some tumors have previously been ignored if thought not to be cancerous or if was determined that the cancer would not spread.
Dr. Steven Narod, the lead author and a senior scientist at Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto, says that the results may indicate that both young women and black women may need to seek more aggressive treatment including chemotherapy.
“Women diagnosed with DCIS [however] shouldn’t panic,” Narod said. “Because chances for being cured are good. Still, the study shows the disease can behave like invasive cancer and doctors should discuss rates for recurrence and death, and inform patients of all options.”
But the study has been criticized…
Dr. Richard Bleicher, a breast cancer expert at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA says that the study lacked critical information that may have influenced women’s outcomes. For example, he says the study should have included information on whether the women who died had genetic mutations that may have put them at more risk.
For more details about the study, visit:
For more details about DCIS breast cancer, visit:
Lily Workneh -Huff Post Black Voices
One activist wants to remind the public that mental health issues are “not a white person’s disease.”
Dior Vargas, a self-described Latina feminist, says the mainstream narrative around people with mental illness often neglects men and women of color. So she turned her frustration into fuel to produce a photo project that reflects a more accurate picture.
“The media portrayal of people of color in general is so dehumanizing and usually created by white people who have no idea what it is to be a person of color who experiences multiple oppressions,” Vargas told The Huffington Post. “It’s important to provide a space where people can be in charge of their own narratives.”
Vargas did just that by creating a venue where the stories of people of color with mental illness were both validated and valued.
The project, so far, includes over 60 photos of men and women of color. These individuals submitted photos of themselves to Vargas holding signs that identify their name, the mental health issue they battle and, if they wished to share, an important message they want to express.
By interacting with these individuals and asking them to share their stories, Vargas combatted the stigma around mental health in communities of color in way that she said no longer left them excluded and invisible.
“That they are not alone and there is hope,” she said. “A mental illness diagnosis is not a death sentence and there are so many people who continue to live meaningful fulfilling lives.”
Vargas said she is still accepting submissions for her online photo project. However, she also held a successful Kickstarter campaign to help fund the next phase of the project which hopes to bring on a photographer to create a print book and, eventually, exhibit the high resolution images in galleries.
In the meantime, Vargas is working hard to do what she can to battle the stigma around mental health. As part of those efforts, she wrote a detailed essay in The Huffington Post earlier this year titled, “People Of Color Deal With Mental Illness, Too.”
“There are many ways to remove the stigma of mental illness in communities of color. Why not start here?” Vargas wrote. “I know it’s not a simple task. It’s going to take time to change the norms but we need to get started now.”
See more of the powerful images below, and click here to learn more about Vargas’ project.
By Gwendolyn Harris –Blackdoctor.org
Iesha Thomas has been in and out of hospitals battling sickle cell disease since she was only 8 months old. This summer, 33-year-old Thomas became the first adult to be cured of sickle cell disease with a chemotherapy-free procedure at University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (UI Health), the University reported. Thomas is one of 12 adult patients cured of sickle cell disease as part of a clinical trial at UI Health that used a unique procedure for stem cell transplantation from healthy tissue matched from a sibling donor.
Findings from phase I/II of the clinical trial are published online in the journal Biology of Blood & Marrow Transplantation.
A Less Harsh Treatment
Stem cell transplants have been used for years as a means of possibly curing sickle cell disease. However, before the stem cell transplant could be completed patients would have to endure a taxing course of drugs to kill the cancer cells, otherwise known as chemotherapy.
The more traditional form of stem cell transplant uses chemotherapy to destroy the patient’s own bone marrow, which shuts down their immune system and makes them vulnerable to infections.
The new technique – first developed and performed at the National Institutes of Health campus in Maryland – eliminates the need for chemotherapy to prepare the patient to receive the transplanted cells and offers the prospect of cure for tens of thousands of adults suffering from sickle cell disease – many of them Black Americans.
According to the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (NIH), about 1 in 13 African American babies is born with sickle cell trait. About 1 in every 365 black children is born with sickle cell disease.
About 90 percent of the approximately 450 patients who have received stem cell transplants for sickle cell disease have been children. Chemotherapy has been considered too risky for adult patients, who are often more weakened than children by the disease.
“Adults with sickle cell disease are now living on average until about age 50 with blood transfusions and drugs to help with pain crises, but their quality of life can be very low,” says Dr. Damiano Rondelli, chief of hematology/oncology and director of the blood and marrow transplant program at UI Health, and corresponding author on the paper.
“Now, with this chemotherapy-free transplant, we are curing adults with sickle cell disease, and we see that their quality of life improves vastly within just one month of the transplant,” said Rondelli, who is also the Michael Reese Professor of Hematology in the UIC College of Medicine.
While there are a number of people telling you that you should eat “this” vegetable or “that” fruit, but many people forget about the power of the seeds. Some seeds can give you the same, if not more nutrients than the fruit or vegetable themselves. Here’s a few that you need to keep a handful of:
1. Hemp Seeds – Their high-quality protein and stellar nutrition numbers make them a heavenly choice for anyone following a plant-based diet.
Nutrients – The big plus of hemp seeds, a factor that separates them from all others, is that they’re a complete protein, one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids or building blocks of protein. Also noteworthy: generous amounts of vitamin E, plant-based omega-3 fats and minerals, including phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc. Two tablespoons contain 90 calories, 6 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.
2. Chia Seeds – Yes, the ones from the “ch-ch-ch-chia pet plants” commercials. Eat the seeds raw on their own or add to almost any kind of food, like juice, yogurt, soup, eggs, pancakes, salad dressing and smoothies.
Nutrients – Chia seeds pack a whole lot in their little round package. There are large amounts of protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and plenty of those plant-based omega-3 fats (alpha linolenic acids).
3. Pumpkin Seeds – Raw pumpkin seeds are a rich, green color, but they turn brown when toasted. Easily found in whole food or natural grocery stores, they make a crunchy topping for baked goods, yogurt and cereals.
Nutrients – An ounce of roasted pumpkin seeds has 126 calories, 5 grams of protein and 5.5 grams of fat, giving it the skinniest nutrition profile of the seed family. Like other seeds, they’re also a good source of minerals, including magnesium, potassium and zinc.
4. Flax Seeds – Food companies may add them whole to snacks, but the only way to open yourself up to the health benefits of these tiny, nutty-flavored seeds is to grind them (or buy them already ground up). Try them in a healthy smoothie or sprinkled on yogurt and cereal. Both seed colors (dark brown or golden-colored) are good for you. Their nutrition profile is identical.
Nutrients – Rich in plant-based omega-3 fats, each 35-calorie tablespoon of ground flaxseed meets government guidelines for alpha linolenic acid — 1.1 grams per day for women and 1.6 grams per day for men. Also, count on that same tablespoon giving you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber, a big reason why flax is considered such a good laxative.
5. Pomegranate Seeds – The pomegranate, with its edible seeds inside juicy sacs, is high in vitamin C and potassium, low in calories (80 per serving, which is just under one-third of a medium fruit), and a good source of fiber.
Nutrients – In simple words, pomegranate juice pumps the level of oxygen in your blood. The antioxidants fight free radicals and prevents blood clots. This eventually helps the blood to flow freely in your body in turn improving the oxygen levels in your blood.
Pomegranates are especially high in polyphenols, a form of antioxidant purported to help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. In fact, pomegranate juice, which contains health-boosting tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid, has higher antioxidant activity than green tea and red wine.
6. Sunflower Seeds – No, we’re not talking about the salty shells or BBQ-flavored shells that sometimes surround the sunflower seeds–look inside the shell. The beautiful yellow flower is a sight to behold, but its real gold can be found in its black-and-white hulled seeds. Great for snacking or as a topping for cereal, crisps and yogurt. Or chop them into a healthy coating for pan-fried chicken tenders.
Nutrients An ounce (1/4 cup) of shelled seeds delivers one-third of the daily requirement for vitamin E and phosphorous. That same 170-calorie serving also offers up small amounts of protein, fiber, zinc, folate, vitamin B6 and choline, which has been linked to better memory and cognitive performance in older adults.