Good Health for African Americans

Written by admin   // May 6, 2010   // 0 Comments

By Dr. Patricia McManus–President, Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin

“Good Health for African Americans” by Barbara Dixon is an excellent resource to which I have referred in a previous column.

Dixon discusses healthy living with such a down-to-earth approach, as she plainly talks about what we need to do to be healthy.  Remember, I said “we” because this is a journey for me as well.

It is now May and so far on my journey, I have been very good about not getting unhealthy foods at fast food places. I am very proud of myself; but I also want to make it clear that I have a long way to go.

Let’s talk about being overweight. Barbara talks about being on the cycle of losing weight and gaining it back. I can certainly relate to that. She also references the non-traditional diet book titled, “Cooking with Mother Nature” by Dick Gregory.

She illustrates, through her book and Gregory’s, that you can balance herbal and holistic medicine and nutrition, and that it can be compatible with traditional modern approaches. For instance, in “Cooking with Mother Nature,” Gregory, recommends eating less red meat and having an exercise routine.

That’s going to be my next goal: Developing an exercise routine that works for me. Each of us will have to determine what that routine will be. I have exercise equipment in my home that I have not used for several years. I also used to walk on a regular basis, but I’ve allowed myself to make up excuses for not engaging in this simple and easy form of exercise.

Since I’ve conquered my fast-food addiction, it’s time for me to add another step in this journey. What are you going to do to motivate yourself to get going? I can only tell you what I, and others, plan to do.

The bottom line is this: You must take that first step. It really doesn’t matter how big the step is, just take it so you can start the trip.

I’ve also mentioned in a previous column the importance of behavior modification. Do not be concerned about the words. Just know that it means, “We Must Change What We Do.”

Here are some more steps from Barbara Dixon that you can apply to begin or continue this journey:

  1. Plan your food in advance and stick to the menu.
  2. Try eating several small meals daily to keep your metabolism working at a higher speed.
  3. Dish up servings in the kitchen so excess food isn’t on the table to tempt you.
  4. Use small plates so portions seem bigger.
  5. When you eat, just eat. Don’t read or watch TV at the same time. (This is going to be hard for me). By not reading or watching TV during your meal, you’re forced to concentrate on the food and enjoy it more.
  6. Make food attractive and tasty. Use herbs and spices, but not salt.
  7. Don’t feel compelled to clean your plate.
  8. Eat slowly. Take at least 20 minutes to eat your meals. Put your fork down between mouthfuls.  (This is another one that is going to be hard for me since I eat too fast).
  9. Never eat standing up or lying down in bed.

Put these tips on your refrigerator door. Look at it every day, until you remember it. Identify the areas that may be difficult for you to stay disciplined like I did. Again, get the support you need from your family and friends. Do this with a group of people who have the same goals.

If you have questions, send an e-mail or call the Milwaukee Community Journal’s offices. They well get the information to me.

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