Who’s Making Your Child Fat? 

“Listen To The Kids, Bro” – Kanye West 

I’m a firm believer that it’s our job to leave the world better than we found it. And one way to do that is by paying more attention to the rise in childhood obesity. I know, I know, nothing’s more precious then a “chubby baby” but… nothings more devastating than watching a kid deal with: self esteem, weight, health issues either. 

To be fair, it’s not all “our” fault, society, media, social construct, and even economical status play a part, let’s dig in. 


Try watching TV with a kid, you might loose your mind on how many times McDonald’s big ass arches flash across your screen. Now take into consideration that More than 80% of all advertisements in children’s programming are for fast foods or snacks and for every hour that children watch TV, it’s said that they see an estimated 11 food advertisements.

Systematically, Low-income youth and adults are exposed to disproportionately more marketing and advertising for obesity-promoting products that encourage the consumption of unhealthful foods and discourage physical activity (e.g., fast food, sugary beverages, television shows) I want you to count how many food ads you see during some of the shows minorities tend to watch. Just use VH1s Love & Hip-Hop as an example. 

Fast food is big business, Americans spend more than $110 billion annually… let’s highlight a few. 
Popeye’s Chicken 

 Black folk support this place like they own the farm the chickens were raised on … and yet, not ONE franchise (that we could find) is Black owned or operated. So basically a bunch of people not from your community are placing Popeyes on every corner of underprivileged neighborhoods and keeping us fat. 

McDonalds :

These guys have employed images of poetry-loving, “uppity” blacks to help push this product, just think about the 2004 commercial in which Mary J Blige sold her soul to help McDonald’s reach some street cred to secure its stronghold on minority consumers. 


The gap between healthy areas and poor :

When available, healthy food may be more expensive in terms of the monetary cost as well as for perishable vs nonperishable items. I’ve been thinking about this since my vegan post and it’s often times overlooked. The potential for waste in certain foods is very real in underprivileged communities. 

While on the other side: refined grains, added sugars, and fats are generally inexpensive, and readily available in low-income communities. So, Now take a Households with limited resources to buy enough food, logically they will try to stretch their food budgets by purchasing cheap-filling food. (My childhood) my mom basically tried to maximize “calories per dollar” in order to keep all three of her kids fed. This brings the childhood obesity full circle in a way. 

Strategic locations: 
Low-income communities have a lot more fast food restaurants readily in the vicinity , one great example of that is our public schools. So not only do today’s kids have to fend off the lunch lady from putting 3-day old sloppy joes on their plates, when they walk out side they’re faced with 4 bodegas, 2 McDonald’s, 3 Chinese restaurants and 11 pizza shops ( interestingly enough, none are black owned). At this point, beating obesity is a gift, not a norm.

So I say all that to say this…
Don’t always listen to the kids, bro. Educate them on making healthier choices and take the extra step in showing them a healthier lifestyle from working out to nutrition. 

* runs down the block to play laser tag… like the good old days with dial up Internet, no ipads, and no Netflix * 

The Top 7 Reasons Black People Hate Vegans

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Black-Health culture, and somehow it led me into a rabbit hole and forged the question ” why do Black people hate vegans?” So I’ve gathered data through social media, my hate for milk and articles online which helped me create: 
The top 7 reasons black people hate vegans:
Chicken.
Black People love chicken, according to studies, two things bring black People together: the electric slide and fried/BBQ chicken. So by removing chicken you essentially remove A LARGE PART of the black experience. That’s something we aren’t ready for, and for anyone to want to part themselves from this glorious event, they must be the enemy.

*disclaimer: studies show that people who eat a lot of chicken/meat tend to be unhealthy.. considering there’s a Popeyes on every block in the hood. Touché. 



They’re pretentious. 



Being pretentious is very subjective in my opinion, how do you even define that?. While vegans make up 2% of the population, this minority group has managed to ruffle the feathers of Black America due to their stance on living a healthier lifestyle and using their platform to speak about it. I would be lying if I said Assh*** vegans didn’t exist, something about being healthy around people who aren’t ” as healthy” will always make you an asshole. And for the most part most vegans keep quiet in fear of public ridicule and hateful jokes.
* disclaimer: African Americans lead the league in every negative health category ; heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, obesity… that’s not healthy. 


Vegans love (living) animals and The environment.
How dare a group of people hate the killing, cruelty, slaughtering farms of innocent animals…Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, massive water and air pollution, soil erosion and contamination. These guys are are something else. 
* Disclaimer : Captain Planet hated that too… and he was BLACK! . My childhood is ruined!

Vegetables aren’t fun
Most Black kids grew up hearing ” You better eat your veggies before I make you eat em” so this early childhood trauma has impacted us so much that we can’t understand why anyone would want to eat so much veggies .. willingly.
*disclaimer: veggies are healthy, high in fiber, some EVEN have protein, while most of them contain many of the essential vitamins and minerals we need while helping with weight maintenance… 


It appears that most vegans are white.
That’s a fair point

( vegans Take up a small iota of the population but this group seems to carry a level of privilege; resources to pick from, healthy food locations, and a “voice” on what healthy “should” look like in a world where white beauty standards were the only ones we were shown for a while.)
Vegans don’t eat bacon. 
This is a tough one, I’ve done studies to show that bacon can actually have positive effects on ones body if used the right way, so I’m torn… but, Black America has heralded bacon as a way to fight a cold, cancer, even repair race relations. I can’t argue this one. 
*disclaimer: sodium is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure, the average stripe of. bacon contains over 195mg which is very high considering the recommended daily intake. 



And lastly…

Vegans love imitation food. 

They make cupcakes, cookies, muffins and a whole bunch of stuff without any butter, cream, cheese, milk..they even make friend un’chicken which doesn’t require meat… to be honest, that’s a great thing! They’re removing the things we don’t need, saving a planet and still managed to create brownies… HOW DARE THEY!! 
So I get it, aside from the moral ” oh, so you think your better than me cause you consciously care more” (black) people might hate vegans, because of they aren’t one. 

Simple. 

Friend or Foe?: Apple Cider Vinegar 

Just like I predicted, we’ve reached the 6 month mark for a new fitness trend to be discovered. Today’s culprit is : Apple Cider vinegar. Yes, that bottle that’s been under you sink for months, used to clean dirty counters, kill weeds, and even as deodorant ( don’t ask) is now holding the flag for MVP of health and fitness. It’s suggested that you have a teaspoon of it every morning ( raw or mixed into a drink)So let’s breakdown down the benefits of it and allow you to be the judge yourself.. Just most informed.

  

1. Helps Heartburn and Acid Reflux
Acid reflux usually results from having too little acid in the stomach. Apple cider vinegar is full of antibiotic properties. To improve the acid content of your stomach, drink one tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar mixed in a glass of water.
2. Promotes Healthy Cholesterol
Not only does apple cider vinegar support healthy cholesterol, studies have shown that it can protect from arterial damage or oxidation, which is the main risk of high cholesterol.
3. Can Aid in Healthy Weight Loss
Yep, apple cider vinegar can help you lose weight. The acetic acid it contains helps to suppress your appetite, increase your metabolism and reduce water retention. Being that a lot of us carry unnecessary water weight due to high sodium intake, and lack of exercise, this can be a great way to suppress that.   
4. Promotes Healthy Blood Sugar
Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar has strong anti-glycemic properties that support a healthy blood sugar level. The vinegar actually blocks some of the digestion of starch, preventing it from raising your blood sugar. Personally… This is a big deal
6. Improves Nutrient Absorption
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar can increase your body’s absorption of important minerals from the food you eat. Adding vinegar to your salad dressing may also help you absorb more nutrients from your leafy greens!

Honestly, we can go on and on about the benefits of this product but these six are the best ones. So, now your interested in trying it-cool. Take some every morning, for starters and if drinking it isn’t your thing you can add it to meals, smoothies, or even water.
If you decide to do it, report back your finding here-I’ll wait for you guys before I jump on the trend

How to “Physically” Beat Depression


I want to start off by thanking Kid Cudi, while I recognized his genius from the first time I heard “Pursuit of Happiness” last week he penned a touching letter to us about his health. It made some of us happy(for him), some of us cry for him, and some of us pray for him. But the most important thing this letter did was open up a much needed conversation in the black community about mental Health. And while still taboo, it was good to see. 
Being black in America alone is a large part of the Depression and anxiety we face daily, now try adding the stigmas, cultural pressure, cops, and even Sallie Mae to this pot.. we almost feel hopeless at times. 

With all this happening, it got me thinking, health/fitness and mental health are synonymous and while I love talking about coconut oil and sugar in fruits I realized that I can’t ignore the importance of my own mental health along with yours. So with that being said, let’s cover some of the best workouts to do to help with depression and anxiety… I figured I’d help how I can. 

1) Running. 

All our lives we’ve heard that running is the best workout you can actual do, it’s ability to reduce cravings, burn calories, and lose weight is almost second to none. And while this is true. Running also has positive effects on mental health. This workout can cause lasting changes in our ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, both during and after exercise. The mental benefits can be especially powerful for people who suffer from depression. Researchers also found evidence that running can work in a similar way to antidepressants, alleviating major depressive disorder by promoting the growth of new neurons in the brain.

So wether you’re running away from cops or in a 5k… it’s healthy. 

2) Hiking. 

If you find your self near the waters of lake Minnetonka and the beautiful mountains around it, take a hike. Studies say that being around plants, trees, and especially decaying trees can help reduce anxiety because these plants emit chemicals to slow down the process of their decay, which appears to slow us down as well. Along with higher memory function, according to research done in 2009 people who (nature) walk at-least 20mins are said to have lower stress hormone levels and even felt less anxious. Who would have known, if you want to be healthy, do white people stuff. 
3) Yoga:

Personally I go to yoga for pretty women and to be more flexible but I can’t deny that every visit left me feeling mentally better than I was when I came in. Due to findings that yoga reduces depression, anger, anxiety, and neurotic symptoms. In 2007 it was listed clinically as a method to treating depression( literally). 

This is attributed to the deep breathing, and center of self awareness. It’s very hard to feel down when you get to be in a quiet space were you can slow your heart rate, breathing patterns down… all while watching people stretch. 

4) Weight lifting/cardio @ your local gym
This is really simple, hence why it’s last there’s a study that links to an Improved self-esteem as key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine… I understand drug users now. 
Honorable mention: 
A List of some other specific workouts you can do: 

Golfing 

Low-impact aerobics

Playing tennis

Swimming

A lot of irony some of these sports, seeing that a lot of them aren’t in “every”community. This again speaks to the black experience. 

Hopefully this list helps you.. yes, YOU. You’re not alone in this fight. We all struggle and while talking about it might not be easy. Finding a space to allow your body to control your mind for a while, can help.
Trust me, I know. 

Chicken Does Not Cause Cancer…Don’t listen To “They”

I pen this poem about my beloved chicken due to the fact that I was raised on it, created my size from it, and can’t see myself living a life without it…. Yes, I get I’m being dramatic but as a person who observes health and fitness on a nerd level I had to do research into the claims that ” Chicken causes cancer” so let’s break it down
Why do they say chicken causes cancer ?
Due to the fact they put arsenic in the chicken( which they have been doing since 1940)
Well, why do they put arsenic in the chicken if it’s considered cancerous ?
Well, it’s used to combat blackhead disease; however, arsenic combined with other drugs also increase weight gain and create a “healthy color” in poultry meat.
So, how exactly does that create the cancerous cells in the chicken that we eat?
It’s complicated but scientists acknowledged that under the “right” conditions, the arsenic used in animals can  morph into the more toxic inorganic arsenic.


Ohhhh, so what are u defending exactly ?
Well for starters, the title that chicken causes cancer is extremely misleading.. It doesn’t, assuming they are under the wrong conditions we may have a recall problem but since 1940… We haven’t ( due to arsenic usage)
So why do you think they are pitching this 1+ 1=2 idea?
My theory to be honest is, we are losing America as a country to obesity and this “new study” is a way to get people to cut back on chicken.. Why? Simple, some characteristics of meat eaters are : they tend to workout less, eat less fruits and vegetables, take in less fiber and tend to take in more total calories.
So?
Now, look lets at the type of cancer that these people tend to get: intestinal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon,bowel cancers  which are all  energy driven cancers which means there’s a cause and effect, so if your eating a lot of meat,processed meats, high fats, and consuming too many calories.. The chance of getting cancer is higher and it has zero to do with the arsenic placed in poultry.


Hmm.. I see what your saying
You know what else has arsenic?.. Everything :

– soil

-rice

– fruits

-vegetables

-seafood

-air
So should we stop eating all of these things?
No exactly, there’s a difference between organic arsenic and inorganic arsenic. Most of these things are organic which is proven to have little to no health risk involved. The problem(like mentioned before) is under the wrong conditions these chicken may still contain them instead of shitting them out, that now puts chicken at risk of becoming “inorganically induced chicken” ( which is a problem)
So when they say that chicken causes cancer, they are really saying chicken can cause cancer if things go wrong with the production of chicken, fortunately, in December of 2015, the FDA agreed to stop using the drug to help grow our beloved chicken. I should mention, they stopped using Roxarsone which is one of the few arsenic that are used on chicken.. So you, your food still has it, just less of it.
So what’s the point here? This all sounds like funny bullshit
Simple, eat what your going to eat, but moderation and a balanced nutrition program is key, anything at this point can cause cancer if your not careful… according to “they”.
* grabs baked chicken off the skillet with my barehands and proceeds to enjoy it *

LYBF episode 1 – The Journey 

so, over the last couple months I’ve been working with Taqee Bond of Word Of Mouth Radio on a great project. He came to me in January and told me he wants to change his life around and needs my help. We decided to document his weight loss Journey into a mini doc. The reason this is important is because right now is someone who is struggling wight weight loss and needs motivation. This is his ” Last Year Of Being Fat” and for anyone watching this is your last year accepting anything that you have the ability to change! 
Yesterday you said tomorrow… Now time to get to it! I’m really proud of this documentary. You guys will get a look into the up and down struggle of dealing with weight, food, and me. 

Hope you enjoy episode one! And stay tuned for his story as it unfold over the course of the next couple weeks. 

Epiphany on a Sectional Plate

  

Saturday I ran my second half marathon, (I ran the first one just 2 weeks prior). It was hard  but mainly because I ran on a sprained foot, (don’t ever do that, it’s dumb) and partly because I didn’t eat enough food.

  
What my race taught me was maybe I have to change the way I look at food. Maybe food shouldn’t just been seen as this treat. Maybe I need to start looking at food as fuel and think of my body as a machine. And when you think about it your body is a machine and the food is fuel to keep it moving. When you give a machine only what it needs it runs more efficiently and with more power.

But that concept is a little hard for me because what you need may not always taste good. At least thats what people tell me. I like what tastes good and that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for me. But that doesn’t mean what’s good for you can’t taste good either.

In talking with some friends yesterday, I noticed that I ate better when I was eating off my sectional plate. And by better I mean waaaaay less take out. Now don’t judge me I was eating off a sectional plate because I didn’t want my food to touch not for portion control. But now because I don’t I feel like I’m losing that sense of portion control. I think I over eat now and that’s probably what most people consider their regular meal.

  
So for tonight’s dinner…

  • 3 barbecue pieces of chicken (2 wings and a leg)
  • 2 medium roasted potatoes
  • 6 asparagus stalks

Everything was grilled. I like grilling it’s easy and quick. All of those things are good for me and will fuel my body so that it can function at its highest peak. Just remember that each meal is a new opportunity to start over.

 

QLFs Top 20 Fruits Ranked By Sugar Intake #4-1 

Annnnnnnnnnnd the winners are !!!! 

* somewhere along the way I stopped going to math class… Don’t judge my ranking… It went left somewhere *

4) cantaloupe, 9.4g of sugar

  
I’m not a big fan but I respect the Cantaloupe because it’s high in water content. And has a the fat-soluble vitamin that helps maintain eye and skin health in addition to boosting immune function. Enjoy it.  
3) watermelon, 9.4g of sugar 

  
Well, well, well, the watermelon gets a horrible rep, but look who made it to the top 5. ( some of that rep is from culture but we won’t go there) It could partly be because it tastes so sweet, and it’s low in slow-digesting fiber, but the Good news is because watermelon has some impressive health benefits like  improving  lipid profiles and lower fat accumulation. 

2) Strawberries, sugar of 7.4g

  
The strawberry is Americas darling so I’m just going to tel you how to eat them…When it comes to how to prepare them, be sure you’re eating them whole, slicing up strawberries exposes them to light and oxygen, which can break down their precious vitamin C!
1) Blackberries, 7g of sugar – 7g of fiber

  
The amazing part about blackberries is it has more grams of fiber than there are grams of sugar, you can snack on them knowing they’ll be furthering your weight loss goals.

1) raspberries, 5.4g- 8.0 of fiber 

  
Due to the high fiber count, raspberries are small and great to eat all day without doing any damage to your waistline. Eat them solo or throw them in Greek yogurt for a quick snack.
1) cranberries, 4.3g of 3.6 of fiber 

  
The reason they have that tart taste is cause they literally have just enough sugar in them to qualify. You can literally overdose on this fruit- and to still give tall something ” smart” – In an analysis of the cancer-fighting phenol antioxidant content of 20 fruits, cranberries were found to have the highest amount.

Fin.

QLFs Top 20 Fruits Ranked By Sugar Intake #14-10

Okay…. See, I told you guys to take a seat before you got into that list. Trust me, I cried all over my iPhone as I wrote it. I actually think It has water damage now. But, the show must go on. Let’s jump right into 14-10 sighhhhhh… I know, I know…
14) Grapefruit, 15g of sugar 

  
This is very tricky , because According to a study in the journal Metabolism, eating half a grapefruit before meals helped reduce belly fat and lower cholesterol levels. So it’s benefits might outweigh its high sugar content. 
13) Apricot, 15.3g of sugar 

  
Packed with vitamin A, helps your skin glow, and potassium which can help  keep your metabolism running high, and is crucial for the digestion of nutrients such as carbohydrates and fat, as well as the absorption of energy from these nutrients.

Pro Tip: lay off the dried version of these ( more sugar ) 
12) Grapes, 15g of sugar 

  
Grapes contain this thing called resveratrol content, because it’s a plant compound that has been linked to improving heart health, burning fat, and boosting weight loss. 

11) Blueberries, 14.7g of sugar – my favorite 

  
According to studies blueberry intake  has been shown to improve blood fat balances, including reduction in total cholesterol, raising of HDL cholesterol, and lowering of triglycerides and taste amazing.
10) Oranges, 14g of sugar 

  
I learned this a while ago,vitamin C before a workout can reduce muscle soreness and prevent the formation of free radicals. A single orange supplies 116 percent of your DV for vitamin C. Try eating about half at a time. 
This is like a great horror movie, the suspense of who will be number one on this list is great. Tune in next time as we go over 9-5!!

Snacks Save Lives 

Irresponsible snacking is the diet killer. And when I say diet I don’t mean that temporary “get slim quick” starve yourself for 3 months diet. I mean diet as in this is what you eat daily-may it be good or terrible. 

Anyways, having a treat or something bad occasionally is fine, making it a daily ritual, not so much. When considering your snacks keep in mind. A snickers bar is not a good snack, nor is potato chips or any other sugar laden “food”.

So here are some nutritious, tasty but low cal snack options that I’ve been using over the last couple weeks of this challenge. 
  

Peanuts and all their nut cousins (I try to get low sodium options) – I like pistachios and peanuts 
Fruit – I like apples, plums, kiwis, grapes, and berries
Raw veggies – broccoli, peppers, carrots 
Shrimp cocktail – I can get fancy. 
Popcorn (2 cups) – for Netflix and chill nights. 
Pretzel
Salsa & chips!
Guacamole
Humus 
Yogurt- I ideally try to keep it Greek yogurt. 
1 packet of instant oatmeal, yes, I know old fashion oatmeal is better, but God is still working on me. 

  

If you want to put things into high gear, portion out your snacks for the week, so you don’t over eat. Keeping yourself full also will prevent you from over eating. And don’t eat till the point you feel stuffed. Snacks between meals will provide you with the necessary nutrients so you don’t over eat. 
  

I figure I’m eating 1200 calories for the day,( everybody’s intake is different ) use them wisely. Don’t waste them on things like greasy chips and candy. 
  
Nia Raquelle is Brooklyn native, currently having a secret love affair with desserts while in a long term relationship with long distance running. 

Follow her antics on IG, EatWithNia, SnapChat, GarminConnect – EatWithNia
And you can challenge her to a run on the Nike+ app – NiaRaquelle. She might beat you though.