Is the Way to Your Man’s Heart Killing Him?

BY: - 14 Jan '13 | Documentary

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Photo Credit: Jen SFO-BCN via Flickr

Photo Credit: Jen SFO-BCN via Flickr

We’ve all heard the old adage that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Based on my observations, this adage definitely carries some serious weight (pun intended). Sure, things have changed, and not knowing how to cook isn’t a deal-breaker for most men these days, but if a woman does know how to cook, her man certainly isn’t complaining. As a matter of fact, he’s probably as happy as can be.

Eating is an essential part of life. Now, what we eat — well, that is a completely different story. As much as mac & cheese, cornbread, and fried chicken taste good, it’s tough to argue that they are essential to our diet. Yet, no one can argue that a good plate of soul food does just as much for the soul as it does for the stomach. Soul food often comes with satisfaction and comfort, and there is no denying that. What happens though, when our love for soul food puts us in danger by jeopardizing our health? How do we change our recipes? Because, even though they please everyone in our home, our doctors aren’t crazy about what we are having for dinner? How do we tell our men that we definitely want to find the way to their hearts, but it just can’t be through food?

Soul Food Junkies, created by Byron Hurt, is a documentary that looks at the historical and culinary roots of our beloved soul food. The film interviews doctors, cooks, historians, and everyday people in an attempt to bring light to the root of soul food, while also bringing attention to what these satisfying dishes are doing to our communities. Soul food carries some advantages, but those have to be weighed against the disadvantages, and this film takes a look at that reality.

Creating Soul Food Junkies was truly a labor of love for Hurt since his inspiration to create the film came from watching his father lose his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2007. Even after Hurt’s father became aware of his diagnosis, it still took quite some time for him to change his eating habits, and once he did it was too late. How many of us see this happen in our communities everyday? It begs the question — with the prevalence of heart disease and hypertension in the black community, is someone’s life worth a piece of fried chicken?

Food brings families together. Some of the best moments in my life happen right in my kitchen. However, I am realizing more and more that just because something provides comfort doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Comfort can come with a price. Maybe we can prepare soul food less often? Maybe we can create healthier versions of our favorites? I am sure the solution is different for everyone, but the end result should be the same — taking better care of ourselves and the ones we love.

Food tastes best when it’s made with love, but it would probably serve us all to remember that loving ourselves comes before loving whatever is on our plates. There are surely many ways to your man’s (and family’s) heart, and food does not have to be one of them.


Soul Food Junkies premieres on PBS today, January 14th. Check your local listings for the exact date and time in your area.

Will you be tuning in to watch Soul Food Junkies?

 

Video Credit: Soul Food Junkies via YouTube

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 405 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a lifestyle consultant who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create lives they love. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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7 WordPress comments on “Is the Way to Your Man’s Heart Killing Him?

  1. Ronnie Tyler

    Great post Martine. So while I do love soul food, I have been trying to create healthier versions of our favorite foods. Plus, I just don’t have time to be cooking in the kitchen like “big mama” every day! lol

  2. Pingback: Witches' Brew | White Jesus Approved » Blog Archive » Will You Watch?: Soul Food Junkies

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Review: Byron Hurt’s Soul Food Junkies Documentary

BY: - 15 Jan '13 | Documentary

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Photo Credit: Jen SFO-BCN via Flickr

Filmaker Byron Hurt’s documentary, Soul Food Junkies, premiered last night on PBS (check your local listing for dates and times). Now, when I first heard the title of the documentary, I was less than enthusiastic about checking it out. I assumed it was going to be another one of those films that talked about all the hot spots where you can get some good ol’ soul food. But after watching the trailer, I realized that Hurt was taking a completely different (and slightly radical) approach to this particular film. Hurt was inspired to create this documentary based off of his personal experiences and the intricate relationship he and his own family had with soul food. This film is way more than just discussing the goodness of fried chicken, collard greens, sweet potatoes, mac ‘n cheese, and chitterlings. It digs deeper into the history of African American soul food and the effects it can potentially have on our health.

The film is an eye-opener in so many ways. There were several parts where I was laughing (when he was bullied into eating turkey neck, then admitting how delicious it was, pork juice and all), and still some more that I was getting choked up (when he discusses his father losing his battle with pancreatic cancer). It’s real and it forces the issues surrounding health and wellness amongst African Americans.

Several questions are explored such as whether or not his father’s death was a result of his deep love of soul food? Is soul food really “death food” as proclaimed by Dick Gregory? Do fried foods increase your risk of exposure to carcinogens? Hurt does an exceptional job of exploring all of these questions and more by speaking candidly with health professionals, family members, cooks, scholars, and everyday people off the street…or tailgating at the Jackson State football game.

This film also takes a peek inside the issues regarding a lack of health food options available within lower income communities. One woman stated that “the vegetables look like they’re having a nervous breakdown because they are so shriveled up (speaking about the food options in her local grocery store).” Her analogy amused and infuriated me all at the same time. They then go on to discuss the fact that depriving African Americans from having access to healthy foods, is an example of 21st century genocide. Most people are forced to buy pre-packaged and processed foods. There is talk about the large disparity between lower income communities and higher income communities when it comes to having access to healthier food options.

My husband was diagnosed with high blood pressure in his early twenties. He’s never been overweight in his lifetime. However, he grew up in a Haitian household with soul food regularly prepared. When he moved out on his own at the age of eighteen, he did what any young man does at this age who doesn’t know how to cook: stock up on pre-packaged, processed, and ridiculously high-in-sodium foods. For several years, he lived off of frozen pizzas, burritos, pastas, and steak-umm sandwhiches. In trying to identify the cause of his high blood pressure, he decided to give up red meat three years ago since the blood pressure medication did nothing to decrease his numbers.

When he still didn’t see any change in his high blood pressure last year, he decided to take drastic matters into his own hands…he became an overnight vegan. This is probably one of the biggest challenges he has had to face. But it’s also been a challenge for me as well in learning how to alter my cooking habits (heck, I had finally learned how to make his momma’s mac n’ cheese and sweet potatoes!). But now, with restaurants like Everlasting Life Café, we can enjoy (and learn to make) a healthier version of soul food. As Hurt mentioned changing his eating habits and wanting to be around for his future grandkids, I want my husband to be around for ours too.

BMWK: If you haven’t had an opportunity to catch Soul Food Junkies, check out the sneak peek here. For those of you who tuned in to watch, are you a soul food junkie?

About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 144 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.

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