I love sugary, fatty, and nutrition-less food just as much as the next person. I am actually nomming on a doughnut (a beignet to be exact) which my girlfriend fried for me while I type this. I think fat shaming is a nasty assault on women and WOC in particular. I am naturally petite but understand that bodies will decide their own state of comfort if treated with respect. That means some bodies will be lean, fat, athletic, scrawny, dimpled, and more and we shouldn’t abuse ourselves to fit into some skinny jeans.
Having said that, we cannot neglect the damage that colonization has done to communities of color and how it has impacted our mental and physical health. Before colonization, societies were made up of a variety of natural, healthy, fit bodies. That’s not to say that all bodies were thin or athletic. But they were active and healthy. You ate what the region around you provided and it nourished you. After colonization, cultural and physical genocide was implemented to enslave and destroy indigenous communities and controlling food sources was one of the many ways to accomplish this. If the colonizer didn’t kill off a food supply, they would replace a familiar, healthy diet with a foreign, unhealthy one that was dense in calories but lacking in nutrients.
Many communities made do with what they were given while still trying to keep food traditions alive. The impact of this has been an increase in high risk health complications like diabetes due to poor nutrition (not related to fat itself, but relation to an unhealthy lifestyle) among communities of color, specifically I am talking about my fellow Chican@s.Today, there is an effort among some to reclaim the healthy and tasty food traditions of our ancestors to restore health to our community. I came across a partial list of healthy foods that are indigenous to communities in many part of Mexico prior to colonization. Here they are:
Types of Cacti Tunas-Visnaga, etc
Iguana eggs and probably Turkey eggs
Yum! some of those things sound delish and some I wouldn’t touch. The point is, that it’s up to you. You don’t have to stop eating what you are eating now or only eat the foods on the list. But it might be beneficial to add some of these things to your current menu. A little variety never hurt anyone. And just for fun, here is my family recipe for Atole, with my own personal touches. I never measure so bear with me…
you will need: Maseca, honey or other sweetener, cinnamon sticks, chocolate, milk (optional)
Boil water (fill an average to large pot a little over half way) with cinnamon sticks in it until the water turns reddish
Turn heat down to Low heat and slowly sift Maseca into the water while stirring
Do not stop stirring or Maseca will turn clumpy. Stir in until desired amount of thickness.
Grate in raw (if available, otherwise Abuelita brand is cheap and tastes good) chocolate and stir until dissolved
Pour in honey/sugar/agave nectar to taste
Add just a 1/4 cup of milk (soy or almond can work here too) and stir in completely
Sprinkle some cinnamon on top and serve while hot
To store, put it in a container and refrigerate. It will thicken in the cold but simply pour it back into the pot and reheat, stirring.
This is a traditional Mexican food that is magical in the winter time. You can make it healthy by using raw, dark chocolate and honey or agave nectar instead of sugar. Cinnamon is also excellent for naturally helping to regulate blood sugar levels! Enjoy