A few years ago while visiting my mother in San Diego, she said to me she wouldn’t know I was her son by the way I ate. I, of course, thought about how differently I do eat in comparison to my mother and siblings and I began to think about why and how this occurred. My family ate and eats the traditional so-called “Soul Food” diet, ham, chicken, beans and greens with ham hocks on Sundays. During the week would be spaghetti, fried pork chops, or a fast food spot.
Your surrounding environment influences your “daily bread”, so to speak as well. My mom is from the south thus the traditional “Soul Food” regimen. But, since she’d lived a large part of her life in Southern California, and all her children were born or grew up there, in comes the enchiladas, burritos (from mixed to machaca, to California), sopes or tostadas we ate them. Not to mention my mother learning to make some of the best Menudo that we would eat some Saturdays. Yep, that was the regimen growing up Black in Southern Cal.
However, my mother’s statement had a more profound effect on me more than she would know. I also thought about so many other ways I think about life and how I conduct myself accordingly. Maybe one of the reasons I eat the way I do now has a lot to do with learning about our bodies, where and how food is grown and handled and how and what we consume affects us. I suppose, in a way, I have revolted against my parents way of life. Their standards in a way. And maybe it’s more of an evolution rather than a revolt. More of a spiraling than coming full circle.
We invest a quite a bit into education and learning. We spend many hours in college and university studying to learn. We learn about our jobs, and understanding what we need to know to progress on the job. Or, we study marketing and how to drive people to our websites for increased sales. But, why does learning for many of us stop there? Why don’t we know what makes our own bodies function? And how to better nourish our bodies. Why haven’t my siblings and other relatives taken the time to learn this?
What I think my mother doesn’t get, and many of my relatives and a few people I know don’t get, is that we are not put on the Earth to continue in traditions adhering only to what our people before us did .exactly to a T. We are here to continue the learning process those before us began. Our ancestors did not create traditions and culture from a static position, but from continued observation and application. This is why many people maintain unhealthy eating habits, they see life’s progression from a static mindset. People tend to eat exactly like their parents ate when they become adults and manage their own households. Don’t you find this curious?