Slave Food

Soul FoodBlack Health: Slave Food – Soul Food or Leftovers 

The second installment of the Black Health topic focuses on the concept of soul food and how it effects the Black Community.

The 3 Questions

1. Is there something wrong with “Our” eating habits?

2. How much do you believe diet is responsible for Blacks over all health issues?

3. Why do we feel so connected and attached to our traditional foods i.e. soul food?


One of my favorite shows, the Boondocks, had an episode in which they made fun of a recently relatively successful Black movie entitled “Soul Food.”  They playfully pointed out how the family got together every Sunday to cook and eat “soul food” and showed the dangerous consequences when they emphasized the death of the grandmother from complications of diabetes.  The ultimate irony was exhibited when they accurately depicted the family mourning her death by eating the same thing that gave her diabetes in the first place.  All jokes aside, Our traditional foods were derived from leftovers the slave owners and their families did not eat.  In essence we  made lemonade out of lemons.  Our will to survive gave Us what we now consider our stable foods such as chitlins, collard greens, and fried chicken.  Recently, rich and famous Blacks have began to become vegans and have abandon our traditional foods in the name of better health and longer lives.  Does soul food contribute to the destruction of the Black Community?

Please write in and respond to our 3 poll questions or post some questions that you would like to see asked.  These questions and more will be addressed during the discussion found on YouTube beginning on  x/xx/20xx.


4 thoughts on “Slave Food”

  1. soul food is a part of our culture but given the wealth of information makes always reconsider our eat habits. Thanks for the post.

  2. 1. Is there something wrong with “our” eating habits?

    I think American society in general has serious issues with eating habits. There may be a misconception via popular media that the common diet among black America consists overall of poorer food choices than the rest of the country, but I think you don’t need to go far to find high-fat, high-cholesterol, high-carb diet that comes with a slew of related health issues among white Americans (i.e. the mid-west and rural south). There may be issues in the community’s eating habits but I don’t believe them to be unique compared other Americans.

    2. How much do you believe diet has to do with Blacks over all health issues?

    I believe that a poorly balanced diet can definitely lead to long-term health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, over-stressed digestive organs and gland systems, higher risk of heart disease and heart attacks, etc. Not everyone’s bodies will react to the same way to the same diet depending on genetics and lifestyle (active vs sedentary e.g. bustling about on a small family farm vs chairborne desk jockey in a cube farm). But as I stated above I don’t believe these diet-related issues to be uniquely problematic to black America.

    3. Why do we feel so connected and attached to our traditional foods i.e. soul food?

    Life essentially revolves around food (growing it, procuring it, preparing it, eating it). Traditions, festivals, all kinds of social bonding occur over the sharing of a meal. Traditional foods and meals are part of one’s heritage whether you’re Italian or Jamaican. But, “soul food” seems to be akin to traditional Southern food and country home cooking in general (as in a lot of deep fried stuff and boiling any greens until they’re devoid of nutrients and you can slurp them through a straw). But there can come a time when traditions are badly in need of revision and you can take a cue from Outkast:
    Or some inspiration from chef Gina Neely: 

  3. 1. Is there something wrong with “our” eating habits?

    As a whole yes, I believe that we have problems when it comes to eating. I believe that we lack the proper understanding of how dangerous our often heavily greased and fat laced diets can affect our bodies and how eating these foods on a consistent basis can affect our health when we get older. Fried anything every day will eventually catch up to you internally.
    2. How much do you believe diet has to do with Blacks over all health issues?

    If I had to put a percentage on it I would say 70%. Black folks for the most part are pretty active when they are younger, but once we get to working age and the activity level falls off we become more vulnerable to the bad eating habits that a majority of us have. We suffer from Heart Disease and Diabetes more than probably any other race in the world because of poor lifestyle which includes are less then stellar choices in food.
    3. Why do we feel so connected and attached to our traditional foods i.e. soul food?

    Certain foods mean certain things, in the Black Community especially. I know that when I have certain foods, it brings back good memories and thoughts of good times. I think this is why Black people end up eating these same dishes generation after generation because they feel that the recipe that was handed down, or the process of the meal is part of their heritage. I feel there is nothing wrong with that….but everything in moderation.

  4. I don’t know if there is anything “wrong” with “our” eating habits per se as it is pretty subjective as to how one judges eating habits. But certainly the data shows that the dietary choices amongst many in our community does contribute to some negative health outcomes. How much does the diet contribute? I don’t know how to put a number on that but certainly it is significant, right? What we put into our bodies matters a lot. I don’t think this can be disputed. I think we feel connected to these traditional foods because they are exactly that, traditional. It is hard to break tradition. I don’t think it is necessary to stop eating these foods altogether either. I think moderating how much we have of them, how often we have them, and increasing our consumption of healthier food options will go a very long way. How to get there is another topic.

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