Not one indigenous group in the world is vegan. While American women of color contract and die of cancer and other treatable diseases at greater rates, the oldest person in the world recently, 116 year-old Jeralean Talley, was an African-American woman born in Georgia. Her successor Ms. Susannah Mushatt Jones, also an African-American woman from the South, suggests Black women hold critical information to add to the dialogue about health, nutrition and longevity. The African Heritage Diet, which is a modified version of West African diets eaten by Black people across the Diaspora, is primarily plant based Рthe typical dinner plate being 3/4 fruits or vegetables and 1/4 animal protein and grains combined. The ratio of carbohydrates to proteins is very similar to the touted Okinawan diet; Okinawans and Black Southern women also share the habit of maintaining strong community and social ties which are more critical than perhaps once thought; scientists theorize that loneliness is equal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Integration certainly set us back, but if Black women keep showing up for one another like Black Lives Matter did last month, I think we will begin to see our health disparities diminish and new millennium COINTELPRO type plots destroyed.

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