LeMoyne Owen College students, faculty and community residents learned important lessons Feb. 5 about the health and wellness of African Americans and women nationally. Phyllis Charlie Harris Reid, this year’s Women’s History Month featured speaker, provided keys to healthy eating.

Harris said food can be your best friend or your worst enemy. She discussed the importance of how food affects the body and how the audience should and should not eat.

“The foods that you eat can be the most amazing medicine or the most powerful poison,” she said.  “I love it when I help communities figure out how to find good, clean, food so you can feel better and look better.”

Harris discussed how food in some supermarkets is not real food, using potato chips’ effects on the body as an example.

“When you eat a potato chip, it doesn’t register in your brain that you ate it,” she said. “It tastes like food, but it is not real food; they are toxins destroying our body. Frito Lay has people working night and day to design chemicals…. that will make you eat a potato chip and it disappears in your mouth, but it doesn’t register in your brain that you actually just ate a potato chip. They design it so you eat like several bags. So what happens is you are eating pure chemicals consistently.”

She said African Americans are more likely to be obese than Caucasian people.

“The most awful thing for me as a woman is that obesity in black women is higher than obesity in any other women,” she said. “African American women are 80 percent more likely to be obese that any other women.”

Harris told the audience there are seven keys to healthy eating: sleep, hydrate, read nutrition labels, skip the diet, eat whole foods, and learn to distinguish fact vs fiction.

“The average American consumes 142 pounds of sugar every year,” Harris said. “An article in Time magazine also states that sugar is a secret killer. Artificial sweeteners are not recommended either. The main ingredient in Splenda or Equal is an ingredient used in bombing fluid.”

She said hydration is important to lose weight.

“If you hydrate naturally it actually flushes out toxins and makes your skin really beautiful, and it helps you to feel energetic,” she said. “Drinking half your weight in ounces every day is what you should do. You need water to metabolize.”

Harris said resting properly can help you lose weight.

“Sleep is when your body restores itself, and your body sets itself up so you can lose some weight effortlessly,” she said. “If you don t get enough sleep I don’t care how much exercise you do or little food you eat it is so hard to lose weight because the hormones that your body secretes when your are sleeping help you to lose weight.”

Harris said skip the diet because it won’t work.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true,” she said. “You might be able to take that pill, but it will affect your heart rhythm and your blood pressure and it can potentially kill you if you take too much of it.”

She said Americans as a whole take pills for everything.

“We over eat and we want a pill to make us skinny,” she said. “If we drink too much we want a pill to fix our liver so we don’t have diabetes or we don’t die of cirrhosis of the liver. We eat too much pork fat and we eat too much food that causes our blood pressure to rise and fatty deposits to end up on our arteries and we get high blood pressure and we want a pill for that.”

Harris advised listeners to bring back Sunday dinner or some other tradition that included good, whole, real food. She said create good eating habits and how to take advantage of local farmers markets.

“You as a human being have a God given right to be healthy, to be happy, so you can change the world and create the life you desire,” Harris said.

This year’s program was sponsored by The Center of African American Studies and the LeMoyne Owen chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Inc.


Post Written March 12, 2014

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