Heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, these are just some of the health issues that are affecting black women in staggering numbers. Author Karrie Marchbanks wants to do something about it. Her book Sweet Tea & Cornbread, 21 Days to the Body you Deserve seeks to break the cycle of unhealthy habits and help women live healthier lives.
What was the inspiration for writing this book?
I know from personal experience the toll chronic disease takes on our bodies, but I didn’t understand how it impacts the African American community until I started my own journey back to a healthier lifestyle. Once I discovered the connection between the African American culture, the food we eat and chronic disease, I realized I was on to something, and I felt that the only way to help spread the word and help my community was to tell my story.
How did you arrive at the title?
I knew before I had even decided to write the book what the title would be. I used to joke to my friends that one day I was going to write a book and the title was going to be “Sweet Tea and Cornbread”. After completing the book I realized that the title represented my family upbringing. sweet tea and cornbread were staples in our household, so it was probably a subconscious thing that in the end just worked out.
What makes your book different than a diet book?
It meets the reader where they live by getting to the core of the problem. Diet books tell you what to eat and what not to eat.” Sweet Tea and Cornbread” takes you on a journey back in time to help you discover the “why” of health and nutrition from a cultural point of view. It also incorporates a journal with Christian affirmation pages that help you digest the information and apply it to your own life. To my knowledge, there isn’t another book out there like it.
What kind of research did you do in writing this book?
The research for the book began with me over 9 years ago; I had eaten my way to poor health and found myself at 225 pounds. I tried unsuccessfully to lose the weight with every over-the-counter weight loss remedy you could purchase; I even became a vegetarian for a while. I think I owned every workout DVD ever made and still gained back every pound I lost plus more. It wasn’t until I learned the basics of nutrition that the light bulb finally clicked on and here’s why– as an African American, my food choices were based on culture, heritage, and tradition… everything but nutritional value. Connecting those dots changed my life and is the basis for this book.
Cultural biases and traditions. In the African American community it’s still considered acceptable to be overweight or “big boned” as some people call it. We wear chronic disease like a badge of honor and pass it down from generation to generation. The food we eat and the way we cook it goes back to slavery times and until we modernize our thinking and change the way we view nutrition and exercise, African American women will continue to suffer disproportionately from the effects of chronic disease.
What message do you want black women to come away with after reading this book?
The message is clear; chronic disease is the number one killer of black women and yet, it is preventable. My goal is to empower the reader with the information they need to see themselves and the food choices they make as interdependent, and not separate from one another. Chronic disease is a food borne illness, so we can literally eat our way to health or eat our way to death. My intention is that after reading this book you will have had a good laugh, maybe a cry or two and the strength to make the necessary changes to live a life of health beyond pills and dieting.
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