Decolonizing Our Diets, Nourishing our Souls: Interview with Keon Dillon, Founder of Millennial Soul Food

There is so much more to food than what you put on your plate and chew in your mouth.  Food is embedded in and representative of cultural norms, power, privilege, gender, race, sexuality, and identity.

I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Keon Dillon, Founder of Millennial Soul Food, which is a spiritual, life-coaching, tarot project based in Chicago but practiced all over the country.  Keon is a dynamic and innovative Chicagoan who has thought deeply and comprehensively about food and our relationship to it for a very long time.

He provided such a remarkable understanding of the many ways food is embedded in these power and identity relations.  In my interview with him, he provides insight into his relationship to food as someone who is a queer-identified, black American male within a patriarchal, Eurocentric, heterosexist, capitalist society.  A plant-based diet has been a means of resisting these power structures, it has been an act of survival for him.

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Keon Dillon – Founder of Millennial Soul Food

What has food represented to you throughout your life?  What is your relationship to food?

Food, specifically soul food, has constituted a large part of my cultural experience as a Black southerner. “Soul food” is what we folks down south call southern cuisine. It’s tied to so many memories of my life, like my grandmother’s house and the smell of her cooking…the warm feeling of her presence, love, and care. It is also tied to many of my experiences of growing up in the Black Southern Baptist Church, as we often gathered after events or services to fellowship over food. Some of the BEST soul food  that I’ve ever tasted has been at the church…maybe not the healthiest, but it was so rich in flavor! Whenever I eat soul food, it brings back so many childhood memories of Mississippi. Food has been very “social” for me. In my opinion, it serves as a kind of social fabric that helps people connect to their culture and also to other people, across cultures.

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Chiveg (me on the left) and Keon Dillon (on the right)

My relationship with food has definitely changed since I became more conscious of what I eat.  When I was younger (from birth to early teens), taste mattered more than nutritional content…and in my teens (around age 15) is when I stopped eating chicken, beef, and pork…basically all meat except seafood. That is when I started thinking of food according to the motto, “I’m eating to live, not living to eat.” I started thinking about eating sustainably and the animals involved in the process of creating what was on my plate. These days, most of the meat that’s reasonably priced in supermarkets is very poor quality and filled with all kinds of growth hormones. My grandmother often remarks that the meat these days just “don’t taste right”.  She grew up in a different era, when mass industrialization of meat farms and use of growth hormones hadn’t become so widespread.

During my transition from a primarily meat-based diet, I learned about how meat production, specifically beef, is one of the main factors in the global water shortage and pollution of the ocean. It takes over 500 gallons of water to produce ONE hamburger patty. My relationship to food changed after I learned about this and other information related to the environmental impacts of society’s overconsumption of meat.  This phenomena is unique to the United States. People here have a particular obsession with meat and dairy that is rooted in a historically northern European diet that dates back to the Middle Ages.

Deciding not to meat (except seafood very occasionally) made me think more about how this relates to my Black identity in terms of self-care.

It’s empowering for me to look after myself in a social, 
political, and economic system that doesn’t do that.  If I 
paid attention to the restaurant billboards and followed 
what they advertise to eat, my life expectancy and QUALITY of life and health would decrease dramatically. 

 I feel that it’s a responsibility to my spiritual self to look after my own health.  That’s what being holistically spiritual is – making sure to nourish the mind, body, and soul.

What does eating sustainably mean to you?  How is not eating meat indigenous to being black?

In West, East, and South African cultures, they don’t consume the amount of meat and dairy that a typical Westerner does.  The diets in these countries are more based on vegetables, fruits, and grains. This is what people have survived on for thousands of years.  Primarily eating meat and dairy, as many folks in this country do, is not sustainable for the long-term health of the human body. The rest of the world, except Europe, has historically not consumed meat, and might I add alcohol, to such a degree. The overconsumption of meat and dairy today is a feature and implication of a northern European, capitalist system of earth colonization.

A primarily plant-based diet is indigenous to a lot of cultures around the world.  They understood reciprocation and not wasting what the earth provides. A lot of cultures understood that animals are conscious beings (e.g. Halal) with perceptions of self, morality, ethics, etc.  Indigenous cultures respected animals more. I am not going to condemn people for eating meat, but the way people eat meat in the modern times of “Western capitalism” is very excessive and has led to a health (and moral) crisis in the United States.

What does sustainability mean to you?

There are a lot of definitions and types of sustainability, but I believe that sustainability means acting in accordance with the processes of a system that keeps it running smoothly for as long as possible. In terms of eating sustainably, that means eating in a way to ensure that my body is able to function well.

On a societal level, people are not eating in a way that ensures the longevity of our ability to survive on this planet. We are using land in such wasteful ways to produce outrageous amounts of processed meat for people to eat. Meat and dairy farms monopolize thousands of acres of land to produce one agricultural product, like beef. They take land from folks who have inhabited it for thousands of years. This process displaces many groups and happens all over the world, especially in South America.

We’re using up all of this land and there’s a surplus of shit (read: fecal matter) draining into the ocean.  We literally aren’t irrigating our crap right, that’s what happened in the Middle Ages in Europe – that’s partly how the Plague became so widespread.

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The consumption of meat and its ties to cultural nostalgia create a situation in which most of society turns a blind eye to the ways that the meat industry is messing up the environment.

When I was studying sociology at the University of Michigan, we read about how food shapes perceptions of other folks’ social identities and their own.

 Food is not only a marker of economic status, but also one closely 
tied to gender. Men are always strongly encouraged to eat more meat 
than women because our patriarchal society equates that with 
“strength”….which is a false correlation.

People don’t want to give up eating meat because they have emotional ties to it…for some, it’s a nostalgic experience that connects them with the only “positive” moments of their childhood….people should be going to therapy instead of processing these unconscious dynamics through eating food that isn’t good for the body.  Process emotional trauma through therapy…not through self-harm.

Dr. Sebi from Honduras was a proponent of the “alkaline diet” and eating “electrifying foods,” like raw fruits and vegetables. He believed in the healing power of herbs. Before his untimely death, he was about to do some really amazing things on a larger scale, like facilitate international alliances to advocate the alkaline diet for Black populations. This diet is how black people are meant to eat – not the diet that was introduced during our enslavement by Europeans. Google “Dr. Sebi”!  The meat industry is part of everyone’s nostalgia. In most supermarkets, they package it in ways that disconnect it from how cows are slaughtered and mistreated. The meat is just packaged neatly in plastic. You barely even see blood until you actually open it. Cows die in mortal distress on meat farms, some even have cancerous lesions growing on them from poor sanitation and nutrition. They don’t tell you that at the supermarket cash register. It’s just not safe to eat meat from most supermarkets anymore.

A lot of people use the excuse that they need to eat meat to get their iron and protein, but that’s not true. I weight lift but don’t eat chicken, beef, or pork and still have gains (lol). Over 80% of my iron and protein comes from plants.

“You need to drink your milk to be a healthy kid”.  “Eat that steak 
so you can get your iron”. These are all popular misconceptions basedon bias that misconstrues the truth. There are numerous scientific 
sources that validate that humans can get enough protein from a 
plant-based diet.

Earlier you mentioned how our practices of slaughtering and consuming animals while exploiting the Earth’s products defies cosmic law.  Who defines cosmic law?

I don’t necessarily know who defines cosmic law, that’s up to subjectivity in my opinion. But for me, I define cosmic law as working with a system, in this case the earth, to ensure a sustainable continuation of all involved in said system…whether that be in terms of how we treat the environment, how we eat, how we treat each other…it all has to do with reciprocation and equilibrium. The earth has everything we need, however our current global economic system does not work with nature, but against it.

Pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and doctors all prescribe medicine that has worse side effects than herbal remedies for many forms of chronic illness. When I lived in Michigan for graduate school, I had a medical cannabis card for depression and anxiety. When I visited the dispensaries, I had the opportunity to talk to so many people who had either suffered devastating side effects from pharmaceuticals or they were just too expensive to afford, so they decided to try out medical cannabis. Cannabis is just one plant with so many natural remedies for chronic illness that are very prevalent today. They even have types of medicinal cannabis that don’t induce the psychoactive “high” effects. Plant medicine is the ONLY medicine we need… to be honest.

Modern western culture works against nature in so many ways. Rather 
than fund research into natural forms of medicine, scientists create “synthetic” forms. Rather than use natural forms of energy, we 
continue using outdated forms like fossil fuel. We are robbing the 
earth and doing ourselves a huge disservice by acting like we are 
more intelligent than Mother Earth. This, in my opinion, is 
corrupting cosmic law. Earth is like our spaceship, and we are surelyheading towards destroying it.

The current United States economic, political and social situation is definitely breaking cosmic law and is leading to making the earth being uninhabitable for many species on the planet. It’s great to see a renewed interest in how primarily plant-based diets have been a sustainable way of eating for so many cultures around the world for so long. People are waking up and doing their research, especially more people of color, which I love! It is time that we decolonize our understanding of our narrative on this planet.

How do you respond to the critique that veganism/vegetarianism/pescatarianism are too bourgeois and white?  Also, to the critique that there are humans being exploited, which should take higher priority over animal exploitation?

To say that vegetarianism and veganism is inherently bourgeois is very grounded in a stereotype.  There are a lot of websites with information on how to afford to eat a primarily plant-based diet. Beans, grains, spices, etc. are generally not very expensive if you shop wisely. It’s very easy to shop on a budget, meal plan, and have enough to eat for days while maintaining a plant-based diet.

There is also the argument that other parts of everyday life, like the production of our clothing, is done in sweatshops. Many people have posed the question “Why care about animals when there are humans suffering too?” As much as I would love to only wear clothing created based on ethical labor standards, I currently don’t have the economic mobility to do that. It’s like I’m trapped in the matrix of it all. I definitely don’t have enough money to buy primarily organic clothing, but it’s easier for me to control what I eat. And eating a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be as expensive as most seem to think. Do your research! Use google and search “plant-based on a budget.” The information is out there.

The meat industry is so pervasive and damaging. It is 
anticapitalist to live in a somewhat sustainable way as a 
Black queer-identified male.  

I’m learning how to cook my own food.  I’m not going out and buying McDonald’s and supporting this industry as much as I used to. I strive to eat more holistically.     

Me existing as a queer black body and looking out for my own 
health is anticapitalist. Modern capitalism was built on my 
ancestor’s backs and assumes Black folks’ disposability.  A 
plant-based diet is inherently anticapitalist. By eating a 
primarily plant-based diet, I am not only cooking my own food (most of the time), but I also engage in community with othersover food in an effort to look out for each others’ health. 

Over 80% of the time this is with other queer people of color.That kind of community intervention is radical. This is 
radical because we are looking out for each others’ health an well-being in a social climate that is so hostile to our very existence.

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Has your perception food and eating shifted since you became an adult and became more independent? What was that catalyst that led you to shift how you ate?

I stopped eating red meat, pork, and chicken at 15. I did it mostly for health reasons. After only one week, I noticed so many positive changes: heightened energy, less constipation…like I actually started pooping twice day lol.

What does ethical eating mean to you?  Why is ethics an important part of one’s diet for you?  What does healthy eating mean to you? Why is health an important part of one’s diet for you?  How do they intersect?

I like to think of ethical food as eating in a way that is going to heal my body.  Being ethical to yourself. I do think vegetarianism is pretty ethical as far as not killing animals.  I pay attention to eating healthy in a way that’s going to sustain me and give me energy to do what I need to do, go to work, do spiritual stuff, etc.

I think of eating healthy as doing justice to myself as I am 
looking out for my body and future self. I need to sustain my body so that I can fulfill my spiritual purpose and have a 
clear mind!

***I understand that much of the way that food is farmed is very exploitative, so I recognize my limited ability to eat in a completely ethical fashion. I’m doing the best that I can within my means!

Your idea of ethical and healthy eating is the same idea as self-sustaining?  To be ethical is to be healthy in order to self-sustain?

Yes and everyone doesn’t view it like this, I’ve had to come to view it like this so I can incorporate it into my lifestyle – like a mindset change.  If I’m sitting here repeatedly eating food that’s not healthy for me and I know it, then I’m creating terrible karma for myself. A lot of people’s eating habits are related to emotions and nostalgia, so it’s much deeper than just choosing not to eat certain stuff. It kind of requires a psychological transformation and change in one’s relationship to food. I don’t think many people really understand how eating healthy actually enables your mind, body, and spirit to function together at a higher level.

Vegetables and fruits are high vibration foods as they are more alkaline and aid in the bioelectrical processes that transfer essential information across the body for its proper functioning. Low vibratory foods are foods like beef are very low vibration, especially if the cow was stressed while it was being killed. This food is very low vibratory and that’s the reason it’s not healthy for your body.  Meat literally sits in your body for three days. But if you’re eating vegetables, your body is breaking that down and absorbing the nutrients for energy and you get rid of the waste products easily, you’re not constipated. Whenever I’m eating in a way that naturally works for my body,  I can go to sleep at 10:30pm, wake up at 6am and be fine. I have so much energy.

How do these concepts of being ethical and healthy transcend the realm the of eating and food?  How is it a lifestyle for you?

I want to show up and be at my best whenever I’m doing anything and controlling what I eat is one of the single best ways – it’s one of the only things I really have control over in life. I know that what I eat directly influences my clarity of mind and amount of energy that I have to do my work. Eating healthy and ethically for me is a lifestyle because I have to actually walk the walk and live the life that I advocate for my clients to reach the best versions of themselves. If I’m not actively working towards living the highest quality lifestyle that I can, who am I to preach this to my clients?!

Do you dress vegan and abstain from wearing leather and fur?  Do you abstain from using products that were tested on animals or is vegetarianism mainly in the realm of what you eat?

For my pocket/finances, it’s in what I eat right now.  You can eat a vegetarian diet and live on a very tight budget.  You can save a lot of money by not eating meat. Those kinds of vegan products are more expensive.  I try to incorporate those kinds of products where I can as much as possible. I don’t really buy fur or anything like that.  As far as leather, I don’t really buy leather. Leather isn’t even that warm.

How do you embody plant-based living in your daily life in Chicago?  What do you eat on a typical day?

I usually start my days with a smoothie, made of frozen berries, bananas, peanut butter, frozen kale or spinach.  It gives me this huge boost of energy and regulates my sugar/insulin levels. It’s a great start to my day. After my smoothie, I drink black coffee.  I usually snack on dates and nuts throughout the day. Sometimes I make oatmeal or banana bread and snack on that. For lunch, my plate usually consists of rice, beans, and/ or greens. For example, I may have a quinoa burger with some rice, beans, and a salad. Same for dinner. Sometimes I’ll have a banana or eat some fruit before bed. On the weekends, I like to experiment and make recipes that I find online. I also really enjoy customizing recipes that contain meat for vegan palates.

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There is the perception that it takes a lot of time to be healthy and vegetarian.  How do you integrate cooking and making smoothies into your busy day?

For smoothies, using frozen fruits helps so much.  I don’t have to chop anything, I just peel the bananas, add frozen berries or other types of fruit and blend it up.

As for lunch and dinner, cooking ahead of time helps a whole lot. I usually cook for three or four days out and may eat out once during the week. If people did more intentional research, they could definitely learn a process to make meal planning and living a healthy/ vegetarian lifestyle possible with a limited time schedule. They should contact me if they’re looking to adopt a lifestyle more geared towards wellness! Lol #shamelessplug.

Do you have any favorite cafes or restaurants in Chicago that you’d like to recommend or believe represent this conscious, healthy, ethical lifestyle?

Loving Heart Vegan Cafe in Uptown is one of my favorites. Also Indian food has a lot of vegetarian options, any place on Devon Avenue is good! If I’m feeling in the mood for Ethiopian, I go to Diamond Ethiopian near Edgewater. Reno, located in Logan Square, is a really good place to eat and get drinks. They have a ton of vegetarian options. Chicago Diner, Handlebar, Umami Burger, and Native Foods are also some good places with vegetarian options. Umami Burger has a vegetarian burger. There are a lot of restaurants with vegetarian and plant-based options!

I cook more than I go out though. I like to know what goes into my food and I really enjoy the process of cooking. I enjoy going to the store, searching for ingredients, and going home to figure out how to make whatever dish I want. The process is even more fun with friends! I love the collaborative nature of cooking with friends. I love making food that’s healthy for the body, as well as the soul! I like to call myself a kitchen witch, meaning that many of the ingredients that I use for cooking are also used in herb-based spiritual practices, like shamanism, rootwork, and New Orleans & Mississippi hoodoo. Many of the herbs that I use for cooking also have a spiritual component too. For example, I use sage when I make gumbo, but sage is also burned as a way to cleanse one’s aura.

I looove cooking while friends are hanging out. I believe thatfood gets infused with whatever the “vibe” of the atmosphere 
is while it’s being prepared. When I make gumbo for groups of friends, I love to have people around drinking, chilling, and partying while the food is being made. It just adds a little 
something. 

 I make a meeeaaann vegan gumbo and I’ve gotten rave reviews from my vegan friends. I used apple sausage, five kinds of beans, different spices, made some collard greens with balsamic vinegar and garlic, and cooked it in a nonstick pan for 20 minutes.  I also make vegan jambalaya. Sweet Potato Soul (sweetpotatosoul.com) on Youtube features a lot of tasty vegan recipes.

What are your favorite grocery stores?

I usually go to Trader Joe’s or Jewel.  Jewel has everything, Mariano’s also has good sales and pretty good produce. If I want to be bourgie, I do Whole Foods because they have amazing organic produce.  Regular grocery stores, nothing fancy. In the wintertime I like to make a ginger, garlic, onion, lentil, turmeric soup, which costs me $25 for a week’s worth of food.  It’s pretty healthy, cheap, and makes you feel good…and it’ll keep you from getting constipated haha.

And I definitely can’t forget the farmers markets during the summer time here in Chicago. They have great prices for produce and buying from them is a great way to give more support to local farmers and less to corporations. #SHOPLOCAL

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You talked about your interests in food, ethics, and spirituality.  You’ve been involved in many spiritual projects. You have also founded a major spiritual project called Millennial Soul Food.  Could you tell me a little bit more about that?

With Millennial Soul Food, I wanted to create a space for 
people on the margins to learn about how to develop personallyand spiritually and just provide an example also of someone 
that is actively trying to do it. It’s based on my experience as a Black queer-identified person.

Millennial Soul Food is a web platform and personal brand that I created to facilitate healing. The goal is to help usher humanity into a higher vibratory state of consciousness. The concept is still evolving, but it’s a brand that I can work through and provide services and important information for people to become empowered. Millennial Soul Food is food for the mind, body, and soul.

The name is based on my experiences growing up in the south. I originally wanted to start creating recipes based on southern cuisine that were healthy. As I mentioned at the beginning of the interview, soul food is tied to so many warm memories of my experiences growing up in Mississippi. But more traditionally prepared soul food is packed with sugars and fats. The ways that it has been traditionally prepared are not sustainable for millennials in this day and age.

Bryant Terry, author of Vegan Soul Kitchen has done similar work and was a huge inspiration to me. He and others like Sweet Potato Soul have helped spread information about how to make soul food healthy. This kind of work helps Black millennials connect with our roots and enjoy the flavors of our culture. Overtime, I began concentrating more on spiritual coaching and building a brand that was more focused on the holistic self- so I expanded it to be food for the MIND, body, AND SOUL.

I also want to mention that Millennial Soul Food is not just for millennials and fully supports intergenerational community-building. We all have so much to learn from each other.

How does Millennial Soul Food tie into your healthy, ethical lifestyle?

I originally created Millennial Soul Food with the intent of spreading knowledge about ways to cook southern “soul food” cuisine in a way healthy way. I saw that there weren’t very many folks doing this kind of work. However, it’s evolved into a web platform and my personal brand of spiritual wellness coaching. Millennial Soul Food is a reflection of my own lifestyle and serves to create space for other folks’ personal and spiritual development. It keeps me motivated to stay healthy and keep researching ways to be more ethical in what I consume.

What are your services?

I do tarot consultations and Spiritual Wellness Coaching to help clients in a myriad of ways…whether that be related to personal empowerment, self confidence, losing weight, public speaking, finding a spiritual purpose. I don’t exclude myself to work with a particular religion either, I’ve worked with both religious and non-religious people.  I think it’s important that folks are able to connect with their spiritual selves outside of a religious institution. We all have the power of the Divine within us and my job is to help folks connect to that part of themselves.

I try to help people unplug to find their personal power.  Sometimes unplugging means an intuitive empath tarot reading or being a life-coach and empowering people to reach their life goals.  I love what I do!

Where do you hope Millennial Soul Food goes?  Where would you like to take it?

I eventually want to lead spiritual retreats in nature.  It would be cool to own a plot of land and host a space where people can visit for my services.  I want to provide a space where people feel like they’re healing and growing, pushing themselves to their greatest potential.  

I want to have a place where people can come and confront 
lifetimes of trauma, engage in various healing arts and eat 
healthy, for total mind, body, and soul renewal.  

This is only for folks who are ready and serious about the work that goes into radical spiritual development.  I’m not here to save the world, necessarily, but I’m here to deliver a specific message and facilitate healing for those who are ready.

How do you make a spiritual versus religious distinction?

Spirituality is more about one’s own UNIQUE connection to the Divine without specific “rules”; however, religion is about practicing spirituality according to certain rules and conditions…most likely dictated according a specific cultural history. To be honest, I have always found religion to be oppressive.

I grew up as a queer person in the church.  I never felt comfortable in the church because I didn’t always fit into what was considered “holy.” I felt very demonized by the church and chose to pursue my own unique form of spirituality, although my Black Southern Baptist Christian roots still influence me today, and I have learned not to completely reject them but accept them with love. A lot of the ways that Black Southern Christians worship, in terms of song and dance, have roots in West African culture. Learning about that helped me better contextualize my experience in the church and understand how colonialism worked to make spirituality oppressively patriarchal, heteronormative, and white. I have always had a strong internal connection to the divine, so it wasn’t really that difficult for me to explore my own unique spirituality and still go to church as a teenager. I read tons of literature and books that were from other religious and spiritual practices, but I had to still go to church and “perform” Christianity, so that’s what I did for most of my teenage years….I was always interested in alternative practices of spirituality, I experienced a lot of homophobia/ femmephobia from both adults and children while growing up in the church and that really soured my relationship with the institution, but not Spirit.

A lot of what my work does is that it helps folks define a spiritual philosophy unique to their experience of life. I am not here to dictate what people should believe. Everyone exists in their own experience of consciousness and so everyone’s experience of spiritual transcendence is difference. I have no right to rob someone of their own freedom to develop in a way that uniquely fits who they are.

As a child, I hated the fact that I was forced to go sit and listen to a preacher and blindly trust what he espoused as fact…that I was living a life of sin and that he was somehow holier. (Years later after I stopped attending my “home” church, it was revealed that the preacher had been sleeping with congregation members…and even got one pregnant.) As I learned about other forms of spirituality, I began to advocate that more folks have more agency in their spiritual journey. People need to EXPERIENCE spirituality in order to grow, not listen to someone else’s story and try to mimic their path….although there is nothing wrong with it serving as inspiration.

Religion has become so corrupt over thousands of years of manipulation to create the illusion that divinity rests only in a certain group of people, clergy folks, nuns, pastors. That form of spirituality is outdated and people are looking for a more personal connection to their own philosophy of spirituality.

How do you think that the ethical and healthy lifestyle you’re living is subverting patriarchal masculinity rooted in European colonialism?

By eating healthy I sustain myself as an abject “other” who is not meant to thrive in the social, political and economic 
systems that have been shaped by European colonialism and 
hypercapitalism. As Audre Lorde says, “Caring for myself is 
not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an 
act of political warfare.” As a Black queer male from the 
South, I understand that folks like me have very limited 
access to resources and knowledge about how to live an 
ethical, healthy, sustainable lifestyle. Growing up, I never 
learned about the fact that the primary reason heavy meat 
and dairy consumption is so popular in the United States is 
because this is based in a northern European diet. Other 
cultures from around the world throughout Asia, South America,Africa, etc. eat a diet that is more plant-based consuming a 
larger quantity of vegetables, fruits, and grains than meat. 

I’m really happy that there are people out there doing the work to spread the knowledge that eating a diet of mostly meat and dairy is one of the reasons that there has been such a rise in chronic illness. By choosing to eat ethically and healthy, I feel like I am decolonizing my diet to make it more adequate for my particular needs…and that involves connecting with the ways that my ancestors ate.

What advice would you give someone who is struggling to become a healthier and/or an ethical eater?  How can this lifestyle be affordable and accessible to them especially for marginalized people?

First, get on Google and look up different recipes that are cost effective. There is so much information out there. I would recommend that folks put on their “researcher hat” and see what’s out there. Check the nutritional content of the food that you consume. Try to mostly eat fruits and vegetables, stuff that hasn’t been processed and is still in its original form. Simply google “vegan recipes on a budget” and you should be able to find plenty of resources.

As far as folks changing their thinking around food to begin eating healthier. I encourage them to do critical reflection over how their emotionally attached to food. Many times, people continue eating in unhealthy ways because they have an emotional connection to food that’s based in self-destructive tendencies. For example, I have a very emotional connection to eating lemon pound cake because it reminds me of the food that my grandmother used to cook when I was younger. After beginning to understand more about your relationship to food, I encourage folks to then become aware of their triggers for eating unhealthy food…maybe it’s social pressure, maybe it’s after finding out some bad news, in the midst of anxiety, or all three! Building this kind of self-awareness is essential to developing the discipline needed for eating healthy and understanding that you’re doing your future self a favor!

Yes, food is so much more than a quantitative, utilitarian necessity!  How is it more than that?

Food not only affects one’s physiology, but it also affects one’s psychology. Food affects your mood, and therefore, has a direct correlation to your ability to do your life’s work. I admit that I don’t always eat in the healthiest way, we’re all allowed some cheat days here and there, but I feel so much better and have a lot more energy when I’m eating “clean” foods that treat my digestive system the right way haha. My brain doesn’t feel so foggy and it’s easier for me to focus on what I really care about doing.

Being healthy is not some white, bourgeois thing.  We all 
have a responsibility, there’s no excuse. People have got to 
take responsibility.

– This interview was also edited by Keon Dillon

– If you are interested in finding out more about Millennial Soul Food, please check out…

Instagram: @millennialsoulfood

Facebook: facebook.com/millennialsoulfood

Email: millennialsoulfood@gmail.com

Website: millennialsoulfood.com

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– Stay tuned for more collaborations between Chiveg and Millennial Soul Food!

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