Monthly Archives: January 2008

Raw Veganism in Afrika – Could be Ideal (?)

master13_1.jpgI think that the ecological and economic reasons for raw veganism, or even conventional veganism, make it one of the best diets for Afrikans on the continent. Most Afrikans have other ideas, and Afrika might be the continent with the least vegetarians, or at least the fewest conscious vegetarians. A lot of Afrikans see meat as a prestige. It was isolating being vegan in Afrika, and it made me think a lot about how I could spread vegetarianism there, even though I usually never operated as a vegan evangelist before. The sorts of classes I took in Ghana, on sustainable agriculture, women and development, and traditional medicine, all helped confirm for me that we need a vegan movement in Sub-Saharan Afrika. I feel we need to grow all sorts of great tropical fruits and vegetables for ourselves, and eat them. We must move away from cash-crop economies which leave us dependent on the West, and make us import their rotten meat, their subsidized rice, and so on.

 

It is winter in New York, my first winter in two years since last winter I was in Ghana. I have the profound sense of not only missing Afrika, but feeling like I really belong there. I find myself sunbathing almost religiously in this wintertime, since as a very very dark-skinned Afrikan I am supposed to be getting the amount of sunlight I would be getting in the tropics to generate the right amount of Vitamin D. I think I am doing well here because I just sit in the sun whenever it is sunny; I’m sitting in the sun right now. I LOVE THE SUN. I like hot weather. I like keeping my skin melanin-stimulated, dark, black, no matter what time of year or what weather. Raw veganism, fitness, and health all require maad sunlight and fresh air, especially for Afrikans.

 

If I was in Afrika right now, I would be eating maad mangos, Afrikan avocados (whose taste I didn’t allow myself to get used to as I am so accustomed to Mexican/ Californian avocados), maad greens, tomatoes, papayas, guavas, bananas, all the great tropical fruits. Maybe a few raw cashews or raw groundnuts. It would be so easy, as it’s all in the market and is maad affordable, at least to someone who has Western currency.

 

As Afrika moves towards holistic and self-contained economic and health development, perhaps we could begin to grow more of the superfoods of Asia and elsewhere in our vast, rich soils. We could start cultivating durians, certain types of berries, herbs, nuts and seeds. It would be sweet.

 

The practice of pastoralism, the grazing of cattle, sheep, etc., is scientifically proven to be an unsustainable way of life compared to settled agriculture, as the browsers eat away the grasses and help expand the Sahara and other deserts. The consumption of meat is scientifically proven to be able to feed far, far fewer humans than mass vegetarianism would. It consumes far, far more water resources, land, food even, to produce meat than to produce veggies. Our starvation could be stemmed with a lot more veganism, and a lot more macrobiotic, self-sufficient, self-feeding agriculture.

 

And tropical fruits are some of the most heavily relied on ones by raw vegans and fruitarians. Being actually in the tropics would mean easy access to, and ability to grow, our favorite foods.

 

If I return to Afrika, or move there (or to the Caribbean), I would get land and grow maad tropical fruits and veggies, keep the soil well nourished, make babies with a raw-vegan Afrikan beauty queen, practice and teach fitness and martial arts, eat raw vegan stuff, and live a long life as a revolutionary Afrikan renaissance man. I’d learn an Afrikan language, I’d be maad healthy, build an all-Afrikan bicycle factory powered by wind and solar, spread African Internationalism and socialism, etc. But that’s just crazy dreaming. Afrika is grossly underdeveloped and neo-colonized, though we must stand and fight.

 

I visited an organic farm in Aburi, Ghana (north of Accra) where the old Afrikan genius there practices sustainable agroforestry. He plants trees. He plants all sorts of fruits, greens, yams, etc. all around them. He was maad inspiring. The photo above is from his land, the photo below of his contact info. I could do that. I could live like that. We all could. “Make the world a garden…”

 

How I wonder. 

 

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On Being Vegan in Ghana and Nigeria

I landed in Accra on January 7, 2007. I’ve been a vegan since I was 15, starting back in 1999. My trip was a rare opportunity to use my grad school fellowship money to get out of New York City and its winter, as well as the winter of the anemic and ideologically whack Africana studies department at my university. As a person steadily rising in Pan-Afrikan consciousness over the previous year-and-a-half, my journey was a chance to express and cement my commitment to Pan-Afrikanism and my love and solidarity for Afrikan people. It was a chance to directly study the conditions of Afrikan peoples on the continent. As an Afrikan of Nigerian descent, it was a chance to visit family last seen over ten years ago and barely remembered. As a profoundly alienated Afrikan youth in urban Amerikkka, it was a chance to connect with my own people more deeply and perhaps find more community. It was a chance to be totally immersed in societies where everyone looked like me.

On landing, a friend of my uncle retrieved me from the airport and delivered me to a very loose contact of his, a family of a mother, her three young children, and their grandmother at a house in East Legon. The first thing I ate in Ghana (I was a vegan, not a raw vegan while I was in Afrika, because had not yet even considered raw veganism) was some organic oatmeal I brought with me. I had fasted for a long time between taking off at JFK and landing in Accra (on a long but descent non-stop flight via North American Airlines). The family’s attitudes were accepting of my veganism and there was no drama about it. I stayed with this family for the first two-and-a-half weeks, until I got a place in a hostel right up the road, a hostel full of Ghanaian students, not an international hostel.

My initial experience being a vegan in Ghana was an overall nice one. I had to buy a gas canister, gas stove, and some pots and utensils for storage in the outdoor kitchen area of the hostel, with which I cooked meals all the time. I regularly ate the locally grown brown rice (which had to be thoroughly washed as it was maad soily), as well as local gari (cooked cassava meal), with vegetable and bean stews I made. I also regularly steamed plantain very frequently. I introduced some very expensive cereal-and-soy-milk eating (sourced out of the downtown foreigner-oriented, Arab-owned grocery stores like Koala Market and Max Mart). I didn’t do this long, though. But mid-way through my five-month semester in Ghana I began to get lazy, even perhaps somewhat exhausted, with cooking all the time, so me eating cereal and even peanut-butter and jelly very late in my stay happened more frequently.

Also towards the end I identified two vegan restaurants in Accra. One was called just “Vegetarian Restaurant” or something. It was very close to the Airport and “37” bus depot. And I think they may no longer be there because they posted notices that they would be leaving at the end of May, around which time I was either in Nigeria or returning to Amerikkka. The other restaurant has a name I forget. It was near Nkrumah Circle and across from one of the biggest and most prestigious internet cafe’s in town, whose name I also presently forget. This restaurant is run by Hebrew-Israelites from Amerikkka. Any Rasta or serious vegetarian in Accra knows what I’m talking about. When I’m reminded of the names of these establishments I will correct this post.

Towards the end, especially the last month or so, of my stay in Ghana, I became much more heavily reliant on these establishments for my food. For even a very poor traveler from Amerikkka like me, all the food was really cheap. The “Vegetarian Restaurant” near “37” was the better of the two restaurants, with much lower prices and much tastier, and completely traditional, Ghanaian vegetarian meals. The restaurant near Nkrumah circle served a lot of rice dishes, veggie burgers, and so on. Their food was rather salty and sometimes oily, while the food at the “Vegetarian Restaurant” was very starchy and fatty. I would eat my favorite, fufu with groundnut or palm-nut soup, all the time and voraciously. I think that sort of eating was part of why my immune system began to weaken by the last month of the Ghana tour, and I was getting sick, feeling flu-like for some time.

I never took any malaria meds or what not while in Ghana. All that stuff is overratted and toxic, especially if one is already an Afrikan and one keeps the immune system strong. And I was stung by every mosquito in West Afrika. No problem. Before heading to Ghana, I looked into natural preventatives of malaria, like garlic and lemon oil. I didn’t deal much with lemon oil. I had some oregeno oil and I think echinacea something with me. Didn’t use them much. And I was supplementing with vegetarian multivitamins and multiminerals throughout my stay.

In the second week of April, I went to Nigeria. I flew the 45 minute flight from Accra to Lagos, was picked up by my father from the airport, spent the night at a Lagos hotel, and flew the hour flight from Lagos to Port Harcourt, Nigeria, where I spent the week. This was during the chaotic and corrupt gubernatorial elections Nigeria was trying to hold, though things never went as bad as they got in Kenya this past month. My cousins on my father’s side, who are some of the coolest Afrikans around, were all cool with and intrigued by my veganism. They considered it progressive and intuitively understood it as a way of obtaining the best health. I ate lots of fruit while there. I made, and was made, vegetable stews, served with Nigerian-style fufu, a Kalabari yam/plantain dish, and rice. I had salads. I did alright overall in Nigeria and ate better than I had in Ghana, where at the time I was beginning to get lazy, eat cereal, and go to restaurants.

Going back to Ghana to finish out the semester, I ate the roadside baked yam and plantain pieces, with dry-roasted salted groundnuts, for lunch often. I had bananas on my way back home. I had my brown-rice-stew-and-plantain meals mornings and evenings. The grandmother in my initial host family sometimes made me copious groundnut stew which I would freeze for days and eat with brown rice. And so on.

I got my produce primarily from Medina Market, the big open-air market north of Legon. I got some of what I used for my sauces at the downtown supermarkets, including Indian-style sauce bases, occasionally.

After exams were over, I flew again to Nigeria, this time to spend a week in Lagos with my cousins on my mother’s side. My aunt is a caterer, so she made a lot of rice-and-bean meals which I could eat. I didn’t cook at all while in Lagos because of this. I didn’t eat too many fruits either.

By the time I returned to Amerikkka from Nigeria at the end of May 2007, I think my immune system was exhausted from eating so much cooked food, ultimately more cooked food than I had been eating in Amerikkka before I left for Ghana. I wish I had considered raw veganism for my whole stay in West Afrika, which would have made everything more convenient and simple, and left me much healthier. Which I will expand on in my next post.

But I thought it was important to share my experience being vegan in West Afrika, which was not without its challenges, but was for the most part pretty easy. The bulk of the challenge came in doing it alone, and trying to cook every single time I went to eat, which I eventually got lazy and exhausted about. The only person who challenged me for being vegan was this stupid, stuck-up, narrow-minded jerk from the geography department at University of Ghana.

While in West Afrika, fitness-wise I did lots of calisthenics and walked as much as I could in the nice hot sun, which some Ghanaians thought ridiculous, but kept me very fit and ready to jump right into Kung Fu not long after I returned to New York.

There needs to be more resources for vegans and raw vegans in Afrika, so I hope this little contribution helps.

Raw Veganism and Kung Fu

I think raw veganism is probably the best lifestyle for athletes. Check out a black fruitarian fitness trainer here, or here (these sites belong to Richard Blackman and his fruitarian fitness program) for further evidence. In my own experience in being a dedicated student of Kung Fu (Wu Shu) and a raw vegan, my endurance, flexibility, muscle strength, reaction speed, mental clarity, retention, and everything else important to excellence in martial arts, seem at their pinnacle according to the level of study I’m at. The martial artist must be flexible, must be quick on the feet. She must also be compassionate, humble, and straightforward. The artistry of Kung Fu is best expressed, it seems, in those who have moved away from the greed and anger associated with meat. It is also best delivered by those whose bodies are as clean, self-disciplined, and balanced as possible.

I imagine that great martial artists, great Kung Fu generals, also had excellent diets, and maybe some were even some sort of raw vegan, given the vegetarian Buddhist dietary principles followed by authentic monk soldiers. I’m down with that stuff. Living in self-discipline, being clean and healthy, training hard, stretching long, being super attentive, and in a spirit of brotherhood with one’s peers, and diligent humility before one’s teacher. And Kung Fu expresses a deep appreciation for the natural world and the ways and movements of animals, of insects, of birds, even of seasons. I always imagine practicing Kung Fu in great quiet alpine mountains, where it is said in the legends of Zen Buddhism that enlightened monks lived off nothing but berries and got around leaping over cliffs, living over 200 years. For now I live in Gotham City and ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. But the true Zen Masters always stressed that one should be in as complete a state of mindfulness and Zazen in a crowded and noisy market as they would be in the monestary or on a mountain. And it seems to me that one who imitates nature would be most successful to the degree that he leaves it ecologically unharmed as a compassionately meat-free, sustainably raw vegan.

I’ve been a vegan for nearly nine years, and have always been quite healthy. I’ve been a Kungfuista for over seven months and a raw vegan for the past three months, and have never felt healthier. I’m only 24, but I wish other young people could be living close to this experience. In Amerikkka these days, it’s even the young people now that are getting “old people’s” diseases and living sedentary, unhealthy, un-energetic, junk-food lives. I want to get into fasting in the near future to reach an even more serious level of purification, clarity, and energy. In the next few years, I definitely want to begin studying Capoeira as well (I’m too busy with other studies to commit to it right now). Especially as an Afrikan, I really want to master a discipline of my ancestors. And Capoeira acrobatics, and its aesthetics that I appreciate as a lover of dance, should complement the boxing and dancing of Kung Fu beautifully, enabling me to get into some mixed martial arts. Combining Capoeira, Kung Fu, raw veganism, and seasonal fasting should be extremely awesome. And I intend to be living in Kung Fu, raw veganism, and soon, Capoeira, for the rest of my life – raw veganism forever!

Self-discipline incessantly!

Martial arts never die!

I sit in the sun even during winter here in New York. I stay melanated at all times and get my vitamin D, my fresh air, my blameless long walks.

I’m Only Interested in People that Want to Live

Someone once said “let’s make the world a garden, not a graveyard.” It seems much of the world today, and for some time now, is fine with doing the latter.

There are many many forms of suicide:
smoking
drug use
bad eating
not exercising
negative attitudes
not confronting stress
anger
greed
hatred
violence

and so on.

There are many ways of not being alive:
willing zombification by mass-culture
delusion
mindlessness
sedentariness
laziness
being out of touch with nature
having unhealthy relationships
ignorance
dogma
narrow- and closed-mindedness

and so on.

I thrive on the energy of my being as much as it is in tune with all other things in existence. Nothing exists but through its relationship and interaction with other things. Consciousness, an expression of energy and electricity, best fires up off the act of being mindfully aware of all things in each consecutive moment of being. The lamp of mind is exponentially and immeasurably powerful and vast. The nourishment of mind from life itself, from what we consume (physically and intellectually) and how we live, is of greatest concern to me, as it should be to all humans and all sentient life for that matter. Do we want to live in complete awareness of what we do, or in distraction, in the clouds of emotions, fears, desires, stress, worries, etc.? I want to live. The clouds of distracted minds and mass delusion from society are not unlike death itself, for we lose full awareness of and control over our beings in states of delusion. And that’s no fun.

I’m interested in living. And I’m really only interested in other people that want to live. Those that want to propagate wars, pollute the planet, slaughter animals and humans by the millions for profit and gratification; those who want to exploit humans, land, and creatures down to a level of enslavement and domination in the name of capitalism – I don’t take an interest in them. Those that want to live like monsters and conquistadors, who measure their self-worth by their sexual and material conquests, do not interest me. The greedy, the vicious, the violent, the angry, the patriarchal and chauvinistic, the deluded, the brainwashed, the tribalistic, the corrupt, the exploitative, the hateful, the dishonest – they are as if dead already.

And I truly hate religion if this is what it sound like.

I just don’t have time for those busy making the world a graveyard. Even if it seems like most of the world is going down that road.

So the gardeners have to keep working harder and multiplying their numbers. The only world we have will only survive through gardening, not gravedigging.

Greens to the Mouth

From my original blog: “Yes I Eat Like a Silverback Gorilla!”

I think raw foodism is correct. This may seem a departure from my usual discussion of Afrikan revolution, but it is not really. The health of the Afrikan – the optimal, primal, longevity-promoting, warrior-class health – is one of my priorities as a revolutionary. I promote martial arts to the Afrikan, for even when it is declared that martial arts is unimportant in modern warfare, I argue that hand-to-hand combat is the foundation of all other aspects of war. It is also an excellent means of preserving the health, balance, harmony, and discipline of the body and mind. For much the same reason I think the Afrikan needs to move away from meat, dairy, starches, and even cooked foods altogether. This is a radical notion for many Afrikans to hear, but there is much reasoning to this. We in the human species should eat living foods rich in vitamin and mineral content, not dead food which in its nutrient-deficient state serves mainly only as filler. We should thus observe the eating habits of our nearest relatives such as the chimpanzee or the mountain gorilla.

I have been a vegan for over eight years, having started at a very young age, and it has been a great experience thus far. But in the last two months I have been experimenting with and transitioning to what is known as a raw-food or living-food diet, of nothing but raw fruits and vegetables. I have also been using raw nuts modestly and having a little flax seed oil, and most recently hemp seed oil, every day. And I have been using some vegetarian vitamin and mineral supplements from the past but I increasingly think they aren’t so necessary in this dietary mode, at least that’s what my body seems to be hinting at me. And in this mode, with the living enzymes of raw fruits and living greens, there is a very marked difference in how I feel in the deepest ways, compared to my physiological state under cooked-food veganism, not that before this all I ate was cooked foods. But now the appetite is more self-regulated and moderate, since my body is acquiring all the nutrition it needs and is no longer hungry so much. I can eat a bunch of fruits in the morning and a large salad of lots of greens and some more fruits in the early evening, with a handful of nuts sprinkled throughout the day, and I am good to go, feeling light, fully alive, fully aware, completely awake, and ready for war.

The cooking of food naturally kills the food, just like fire will kill skin cells and eventually kill a person. And we are the only species on Earth that cooks anything! Eating dead things including dead meat is not natural to our physiology, which with our long intestines, alkaline saliva, dull teeth, flattened nails, and so on, suggest a vegetarian persuasion similar to the other primates. The discovery of fire with which to apply to food is argued to have occurred relatively recently in human history (last 10-20 thousand years). Thus before the imposition of that custom over our dietary lives, human history was possibly predominated by raw-foodism, with the eating of various herbs, fruits, seeds, nuts, stems, roots, and leaves that were encountered by pre-modern people. And these foods, being alive and thus containing the energy and magnetism associated with living things, gave us thorough nourishment wherein we didn’t feel much need to overeat, nor did they leave us with weak immune systems.

The psychological effect of raw-foodism is significant. The mere elimination of meat can bring about serious changes in consciousness wherein one being removed from the immense suffering of animal slaughter has a clearer mind and often can exhibit more compassion not only towards animals, but towards fellow humans. It is often remarked that the mark of how a society treats its people is found in how it treats its animals. So a more purposefully and consciously vegetarian society can potentially be a much more humane society.

Beyond this, with the living cells and enzymes present in living uncooked greens and fruits, exclusive of any cooked food to weigh one down, one feels much more fully alive, which makes perfect sense given the consumption of non-dead things. I have heard that the level of electro-magnetism in the bodies of raw-foodists is measurably much higher than that of people eating cooked food. The creativity levels, stamina, clarity, and so on that I have been experiencing since moving more squarely into a raw-foodist practice force me to conclude that living food is what the human body truly wants.

It seems like a no-brainer though. Soft drinks? Sweets? Chemical food colorings, drugs, sweeteners, etc? Processed foods? Empty starchy grains? Bread? Meat or dairy of any kind, or the milk of non-humans (which is strictly meant for infantile non-humans)? Food cooked to the point of killing it and the enzymes which are supposed to work in our bodies to provide complete oxygen and nutrition to our cells? All these things to me seem deviations from the human blue-print, even though most humans are living like this. Having lived in Afrika, I notice that so much of the diet there is empty-calorie filler starches, whether in the form of fufu, corn, etc. We Afrikans have the shortest lifespans and the highest susceptibility to many diseases, so we should be able to be open-minded enough to review our dietary practices even though they may be centuries old. Whether on the continent or in the diaspora, we should experiment with more living foods. A lot of leafy greens are added to stews in Nigeria, but perhaps they should be eaten raw. Increasingly, that’s how I’ve been doing it lately, and I feel all the stronger, more alive, and more kingly for it. Yes I eat a lot like a silverback gorilla. But that’s our cousin, living high in the Rwenzoris, in the mountains of Eastern Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda, laughing at us from his perch while we slaughter each other and die unnecessarily of malnutrition. Maybe we can learn something from him. There is a great case to be made, after all, that humans are not the most evolved species, and we should humble ourselves to study from and respect the lives of other species. This is even a principle of Kung Fu, my current martial arts practice.

Towards Afrikans moving away from empty starchy cooked food, greasy soul-food, and other unhealthy practices, and into raw and live veganism!

Afrikans Getting Maad Healthy

Uhuru,This blog is dedicated to Afrikans going raw, being serious about raw veganism, live foodism, fruitarianism, etc. I hope to get people and posts up here who are organizing and spreading the raw word among the Afrikan community, as the blog owner is a die-hard Pan-Afrikanist and Afrikan Internationalist as well as a martial artists and raw vegan. Y’all Afrikans that are making raw gourmet recipes from Ethiopian, Ital, Nigerian, Ghanaian, etc. cuisine? I want to hear from you. Y’all Afrikans that travel to or live on the continent or elsewhere and struggle to be vegan, let alone raw vegan, in your travels? Talk to me! I’ve been there! Y’all Afrikans that see the great potential in our community that is locked down by our poor health? Say something! Y’all Afrikans that strive for natural living, natural thinking, natural eating, natural being, and nature itself? Be heard! I will be saying plenty of things. Word!I also have an older political blog: http://lionsroar.wordpress.com or http://newpalmares.blogspot.com.

I hope as well to be announcing and hosting All-Afrikan raw food potlucks here in the NYC area. For such events, keep an eye on this blog.