When I first joined the ranks back in 1990, my brother and I worked to get our family to stop eating pork— initially by berating them and constantly talking about the worms in pigs, among other things. We found this was not the best way to encourage anyone to change their eating habits. The “best teacher is a good example.”
Eventually, my parents and my four siblings stopped eating pork. Now, fast-forward 20 years, we were able to see my father do his “happy walk” thanks to “eating to live.” (If you go to my Facebook page, you can see the video of him doing his “happy walk” on his 82nd birth anniversary.)
Backstory: My father, who just turned 82, was in a lot of pain over a year ago. He was having complications with his diabetes and found walking difficult because he had an infection on his toe and circulation in his left leg was poor. Although my father said he “admired our family’s discipline with food,” his daily runs to a fastfood place or a local restaurant was something he liked to do.
Granted, he didn’t eat pork, but he wasn’t always “eating to live.” Eventually, he developed a clot in his leg and the pain became unbearable. He had to have surgery to reduce the risk of having to lose his foot later.
The doctor told us the procedure, which was less risky than a bypass, only had a 50 percent success rate. He had the surgery in March 2020, right before the state was shut down for the pandemic. Since he couldn’t get up and about, gone were the fast-food runs, red meat, fried food, and other artery clogging food. He was invited, again, to eat what we had on the menu (smile).
I would fix him a breakfast—usually scrambled eggs and toast—after he had a banana. He didn’t feel like eating much for lunch. He then had a dinner that consisted of navy bean or black bean soup, a salad with a boiled egg, vegetables or a vegetarian dish like quiche or eggplant. (We also took starchy food like white bread and pasta out of his diet).
A month later, he was walking better and feeling good. Four months later, he didn’t need to take insulin anymore! The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, “Surely sugar diabetes can be controlled and driven out with your abstinence from eating sugar and starchy foods.” (“How to Eat to Live,” Book I, p. 23). He is now able to control his blood sugar with food. He would tell his friends that he was “almost a vegetarian” and “I feel really good!” The doctor was impressed with how well his foot healed. This bears witness to how “eating to live” can improve your health.
There are two major factors that I believe affected his health. He was eating a healthier diet, including navy beans, and he was walking daily for about 15-20 minutes. Both help to regulate your blood sugar. These two simple factors help prevent disease and improve health.
Lastly, he was in a positive and loving environment. He improved his diet AND he exercised (He gets Vitamin D from the sun, and we give him Vitamin C in water). What helped him get in the mindset of eating healthier? Along with reading “How to Eat to Live,” we watched the movie “What the Health?”on Netflix.
Thankfully, my father hasn’t been sick all year. All Praise is Due to Allah (God)! He still enjoys cutting the grass and building. I am so thankful we were able to have a positive impact in his life. It is never too late to make changes in your lifestyle. As the Messenger said, “Live right, think right, eat right, and do right. You will not have to die to go to heaven to be like angels; you will be like them while you live” (“How to Eat to Live,” Book I, p. 44).
May Allah bless us all with peace, love, health, wealth, and happiness.
(Audrey Muhammad is an educator, aerobics instructor, and author of “Get Fit to Live: Be Your Best You!” She leads a 30-minute exercise class every Sunday at 9 a.m. (EST). For more information, contact [email protected]