16/07/2024

Care Health

Prioritize Healthy life

Black business owners, farmers create changes in food culture

Black business owners, farmers create changes in food culture

Soul food has been a staple of traditional African-American culture dating back to the 17th century.The tasty, hearty meals often lead to several health problems in the Black community.There are several people in Central Florida hoping to change the food culture, while preserving its soul, by preparing our favorite meals in a healthier way.One of those community members is Zak Wallace. He and his wife, Robyn, opened The Local Green. It’s Disney World’s first Black-owned food truck offering vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian meals.”It’s green, it’s healthy, it’s fun, you know, it’s light,” Wallace said.Located on the West Side in Disney Springs, the Wallace family opened their plant-based food truck in the spring of 2022 with one goal in mind, educating the Black community on ways to eat healthier.”Even though I started with my Black community in mind knowing our culture’s challenges, I was just tired of us being the first to die. Seeing my elders in my village late 60s, early 70s and hearing the stories, it’s like dang, you just retired and now, you know, it’s only five or seven years before you pass? That’s just so unfortunate,” he said.African Americans have higher chances of developing diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer.It’s why Dr. David Spurlock, from AdventHealth Orlando, says small changes to your diet, such as eating plant-based foods, can make a big difference.”If we really stress in the community, prevention, prevention, prevention, yeah, it might taste different until you get it down right. I’d rather have not-as-good of tasting something, or something different, than having a stroke,” Spurlock said. “My community deserves healthier food options as well. It’s not that we don’t like it. It’s just that we haven’t been exposed to it,” Zak Wallace, The Local GreenAbout 20 miles away from The Local Green is another community leader who encourages people to eat green.Ray Warthen and his wife, Cherette, are planting change.They own Infinite Zion Farms. It’s located at the corner of South St. in Parramore. It’s one of Orlando’s oldest, historically Black neighborhoods.Warthen is a fifth-generation farmer. He and his family opened this in honor of his late father who died 13 years ago from prostate cancer.He’s teaching the community how to grow their own organic produce and showing them better ways to eat the food they love.”I’m also letting other people know when they come in here, with that little can of soda and potato chips, we’re not eating that here. I’m not giving you Coca-Cola. Here’s an apple juice, here’s something more healthy,” Warthen said. “We’re seeing the dynamic shift from both the mental mindset and the physical feeling of people eating fresh produce from the farm. They have more energy, they feel more vibrant. I feel it myself,” he said.Warthen, Wallace and Spurlock say it’s about taking proactive steps to avoid these devastating health conditions.”Let’s say you take the macaroni and cheese out and double up on spinach. Well, you’re already talking about positive effects in terms of weight loss and decrease in obesity,” Spurlock said. “Let thy food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be thy food. God created these beautiful, wonderous plants for us to eat and thrive on,” Wallace said.

Soul food has been a staple of traditional African-American culture dating back to the 17th century.

The tasty, hearty meals often lead to several health problems in the Black community.

There are several people in Central Florida hoping to change the food culture, while preserving its soul, by preparing our favorite meals in a healthier way.

One of those community members is Zak Wallace.

He and his wife, Robyn, opened The Local Green. It’s Disney World’s first Black-owned food truck offering vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian meals.

“It’s green, it’s healthy, it’s fun, you know, it’s light,” Wallace said.

Located on the West Side in Disney Springs, the Wallace family opened their plant-based food truck in the spring of 2022 with one goal in mind, educating the Black community on ways to eat healthier.

“Even though I started with my Black community in mind knowing our culture’s challenges, I was just tired of us being the first to die. Seeing my elders in my village late 60s, early 70s and hearing the stories, it’s like dang, you just retired and now, you know, it’s only five or seven years before you pass? That’s just so unfortunate,” he said.

African Americans have higher chances of developing diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer.

It’s why Dr. David Spurlock, from AdventHealth Orlando, says small changes to your diet, such as eating plant-based foods, can make a big difference.

“If we really stress in the community, prevention, prevention, prevention, yeah, it might taste different until you get it down right. I’d rather have not-as-good of tasting something, or something different, than having a stroke,” Spurlock said.

“My community deserves healthier food options as well. It’s not that we don’t like it. It’s just that we haven’t been exposed to it,” Zak Wallace, The Local Green

About 20 miles away from The Local Green is another community leader who encourages people to eat green.

Ray Warthen and his wife, Cherette, are planting change.

They own Infinite Zion Farms. It’s located at the corner of South St. in Parramore. It’s one of Orlando’s oldest, historically Black neighborhoods.

Warthen is a fifth-generation farmer. He and his family opened this in honor of his late father who died 13 years ago from prostate cancer.

He’s teaching the community how to grow their own organic produce and showing them better ways to eat the food they love.

“I’m also letting other people know when they come in here, with that little can of soda and potato chips, we’re not eating that here. I’m not giving you Coca-Cola. Here’s an apple juice, here’s something more healthy,” Warthen said.

“We’re seeing the dynamic shift from both the mental mindset and the physical feeling of people eating fresh produce from the farm. They have more energy, they feel more vibrant. I feel it myself,” he said.

Warthen, Wallace and Spurlock say it’s about taking proactive steps to avoid these devastating health conditions.

“Let’s say you take the macaroni and cheese out and double up on spinach. Well, you’re already talking about positive effects in terms of weight loss and decrease in obesity,” Spurlock said.

“Let thy food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be thy food. God created these beautiful, wonderous plants for us to eat and thrive on,” Wallace said.