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sort of OT: Healthy lives bear fruit for African Hebrews

Posted by Stamina! 
sort of OT: Healthy lives bear fruit for African Hebrews
April 20, 2006 05:53PM
[news.bbc.co.uk]

Healthy lives bear fruit for African Hebrews
By Kwaku Sakyi-Addo
BBC, Israel

Sar Bakooriah is 68, and a sprinter. He runs 100 metres in under 12 seconds, while his big grey Afro-style hair sweeps against the Negev Desert wind.

Mr Bakooriah is one of 3,000 African Hebrew Israelites living at Dimona, at the foot of the Judean Hills in southern Israel, where miraculous health stories abound.

Men in their seventies lift weights in the gym and grandmothers, like Aturah Havenah, 60, run 8km every morning.

The African Hebrews who settled in Dimona 37 years ago, maintain a strict organic vegetarian diet that excludes dairy products and includes plenty of exercise.

Men sport Afros and women don't put chemicals in their hair.

"If you feed your children cow's milk, you shouldn't be surprised when they become obese just like the cow. The milk of a cow is meant for calves to weigh three tonnes when they grow up," says Prince Asiel Ben Israel, 65, himself lean and fit as a boy despite his age.

'Reconnect'

Mr Israel was one of 400 African-Americans who left the United States in 1967, rejecting what they saw as a life of decadence and death.

Under the leadership of Ben Ammi, then only 30, they stopped over in Liberia for two-and-a-half years.

There, they lived off the land in the interior forests, "to reconnect with nature," according to Edem Adzogenu, a Ghanaian doctor in his 30s and one of scores of Africans from the continent who have recently joined the community.

Nearly 300 members of the community returned to the United States during that transition.

Those who were left settled in Dimona with Israeli citizenship. The Israeli authorities accepted their claim for citizenship as they traced their ancestry to indigenous black people who fled from the Romans in Israel in 70 AD, and migrated to East, Central and West Africa.

The strict vegetarian diet of the African Hebrews has borne fruit.

Since they settled in Dimona, no more than five of their members have died; and among those born in Israel, not one has died of natural causes.

Community members do not put chemicals in their hair.
Infant, child and maternal mortality are zero, a fact confirmed by health authorities in Dimona.

"If the cow is eating greens, and the cow is healthy enough for us to eat its flesh, then why don't we go directly to what the cow is eating?" Ahmadiel Ben-Yehuda, curator of the community's historical museum asks rhetorically.

"There are too many funerals in Africa. There are never enough hospitals. We have to stop and ask why," says Ben Ammi.

"It's because we've turned our backs on the simpler but richer gifts from God - all those fruits and vegetables that grow effortlessly around us.

"Africans are eating polished white rice from America instead of locally grown brown rice because we've been fooled into thinking that anything white is good and everything brown is inferior, that's the problem," says Ben Ammi.

The community also has a strong Afro-centric bent, which outwardly manifests itself in their long colourful gowns, sixties-style Afros and chemical-free braids.

They maintain a communal structure where all children are everyone's responsibility and teenagers stop to say "Shalom" to passing grown-ups.

The African Hebrews have sent some of their members to Africa to work with communities in hopes of encouraging lifestyle changes.

In Benin, they have established an organic farm and an agriculture and nutrition school.

In Ghana there is a soya products factory, a vegetarian food outlet and a local-rice mill.

In South Africa, they have a nutrition project for people living with HIV.

But with massive imports of cheap processed foods to the continent, and US-style fast food joints spreading in urban Africa, it could be an uphill task to convince people that a fresh orange from their backyard is healthier than what's inside the colourfully-labelled can on the shelf.

pale ryder
Re: sort of OT: Healthy lives bear fruit for African Hebrews
April 20, 2006 06:37PM
I dig this article big time, and am trying to make my diet much more strict. I just have one comment...
"If the cow is eating greens, and the cow is healthy enough for us to eat its flesh, then why don't we go directly to what the cow is eating?" Well, for one, humans lack the internal digestive capabilities of a cow. We can not digest cellulose. Cows can digest cellulose, that is why they can get fat off grass. We can not digest cellulose because we lack the necessary genes to produce the digestive enzymes cellulase, lignase, etc. Only the microbial decomposers (bacteria, fungi) possess these genes. Grazers harbor certain bacteria in their guts (which are usually multi-chambered and include rumen sacs). If we could digest cellulose we would not have to eat so much to maintain our energy levels. Instead the energy we get from plants comes almost exclusively from reproductive growths where starch and simple sugars are stored. Roots are also frequently rich in starch. However, it is because of our inability to digest cellulose that we must farm and produce massive quantities of plants, and then only harvest a very minor portion for consumption. Cellulose is virtually everywhere we look. It surrounds every plant cell, and yet we can make no use of it as far as energy is concerned...
Re: sort of OT: Healthy lives bear fruit for African Hebrews
April 20, 2006 06:56PM
That's why people smoke things like that.....
Dr Lifty Lu
Re: sort of OT: Healthy lives bear fruit for African Hebrews
April 20, 2006 10:56PM
Humans are also the only meat-eating creature on Earth that has to cook the flesh of the animals we eat. If consuming flesh was part of our natural order, then shouldn't we be able to just walk up to the cow and take a bite, like all the other carnivores?
(though that would sure make going to a steakhouse more fun)
Re: sort of OT: Healthy lives bear fruit for African Hebrews
April 20, 2006 10:59PM
That's why I like raw fish, just catch em and take a bite!
Pale Ryder
Re: sort of OT: Healthy lives bear fruit for African Hebrews
April 20, 2006 11:34PM
This is interesting......
The world was designed with producers (plants) and consumers (animals). We were designed to eat plants, and the world is completely covered with such organisms, but nowadays people will starve without farmed crops. The nature of the curse upon Adam lies within the explanation of this dilemma. We use sugar as the fuel source that is used to make energy, and plants were designed to make this sugar in massive quantities. However, we can digest none of this energy, but instead it passes through us as dietary fiber. Given the description of the curse, it is theoretically possible all organisms were originally able to digest plant fiber, and we were cursed to be unable. All organisms would not have to work much at all to achieve their daily bread so to speak.
Re: sort of OT: Healthy lives bear fruit for African Hebrews
April 20, 2006 11:48PM
this is an inspiring article

I would only add to the discussion that the human teeth and gastro-intestinal system, when compared to wild animals, tends to indicate that we are designed as omnivores. Predators that live strictly off meat have simple and short gastro-intestinal systems, and things like carnassials which are specifically designed for tearing meat. Grazers have extremely complicated and long gastro=intestinal systems, with broad molars that articulate side to side to facilitate the fine grinding of massive amounts of herbs. Our system lacks these extremes and fits somewhere in between. Were actually kind of like rats, that way.

Dr Lifty Lu - I would argue that we dont have to cook our meat, but we chose to a long time ago and have since grown physically and mentally accustomed to it.

Pale Ryder
Re: sort of OT: Healthy lives bear fruit for African Hebrews
April 20, 2006 11:55PM
Don,
Good reasoning. Cooking meat or fish has become a way to prevent illness, and is the first step in digestion....We don't have to boil water before drinking either, but if you dont want to s*** your pants for 3 days straight, it would be wise....
garden of delights
Re: sort of OT: Healthy lives bear fruit for African Hebrews
April 21, 2006 01:02AM
I wonder if there are examples anywhere of what a typical weeks meal plan is for them?
p.s. Anyone into Gary Null here?
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