Monday, October 08, 2018

The Secret Behind the so-called "Hispanic Paradox" by Angela Valenzuela

My aunt, "tía Brenda," from the mountains of Guerrero located in Southern Mexico just shared with me that the indigenous people there eat tacos daily made of "pitija," "chipíl," and "guaje," with avocado and either a green chile or with a green chile salsa on corn tortilla that is delicious and good for the body. She said that native people there where she lives rarely get ill and that they live for many years.

I never heard of these ingredients. Not even sure if I heard or spelled "pitija," "chipíl," or "guaje," correctly. I got the impression that these were some combination of fruit, a type of bean, and herbs that grow in the region. (Please feel free to let me know by posting a reply on my blog below.) She promised to take me to eat a taco with her sometime, saying that they're truly satisfying and delicious.

She spoke to me about all of this in the context of a discussion on poverty and nutrition and how she thinks that so many of the maladies that she is seeing there in México, especially with the young, have to do with nutrition ("alimentación"), or a lack thereof.

The conversation made her free associate to the good, healthy food that native people in the area eat and how it preserves and maintains them.

Our conversation reminded me of a book titled, "Decolonize Your Diet,"  authored by  Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel.  Do check out this website for resources on how to do this. 

I covered this book on August 20, 2016 in a post titled, "Scientists unlock a secret to Latinos' longevity, with hopes of slowing aging for everyone.  

Captivating title, right?

Don't we all want to know the secret?!

// Drum roll. Drumbeat. 🥁 //

According to Dr. Steve Horvath, a bioinformatician at the University of California Los Angeles:

“It suggests that what gives Hispanics their advantage is really their Native American ancestry, because they share ancestry with these indigenous Americans.”

My tía was spot on this afternoon.

We all need to decolonize our diets, my friends. A K'iche’ friend of mine from Guatemala put it to me this way, "Eat food that you can breath through—or that can breathe through you."  Today, I subject a lot of food that I eat to that simple test.  

Do they eat or drink dairy or eat cheese? I asked my tía, as I downed my protein drink with whey in it.  "No," she said.  "None of that.  It's all from the ground—fresh, natural, and nutritious."

I thought that might be her answer.  
"At least my drink is watery," I told myself, slightly embarrassed by my own question.  

Oh well...thought I'd ask.

So, much "food for thought" this evening.

For an interesting read and other links, do read my thoughts and comments on the piece I link to herein.

I find indigeneity all so very interesting and very often, downright life-saving.

Angela Valenzuela


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