Friday, September 10, 2010

Have You Ever Seen a Healthy Vegan? #5

A. Breeze Harper

Breeze Harper was born and raised in Connecticut, in the rural town of Lebanon with her twin, Tal. She wasn't always health conscious when it comes to what she puts in and on her body. She attended Dartmouth College in the early nineties and remembers eating Hershey bars and drinking Dr. Pepper soda for breakfast. She used these foods to comfort herself in a highly classist and racist environment. Simultaneously, she was plagued with insomnia and painful menstrual cycles that she would later learn was directly connected to the junk food that she put into her body. When she was in her mid twenties, she was diagnosed with a fibroid tumor. Her mother had been only a few years older when she was diagnosed with fibroids and had a hysterectomy.

Realizing that she didn't want to go the route of surgery or prescription drugs, Breeze consulted with her father, who is very well read in herbal healing. He asked her, "Well, what did our people do before African slavery in the USA? What foods and herbs were we using to heal our bodies?" So, the adventure into the healing world of African Diasporic people began. Breeze's friend Diane introduced her to the work of Queen Afua's book Sacred Woman, which teaches women how to eat a plant-based living foods diet to decolonize their bodies and to cure their womb health ailments. Breeze stuck to the diet and was able to shrink her fibroids over 75%. She was so impressed by Afua that she asked herself, "What else have I been told by the medical world is 'incurable' when it can in fact been cured through a whole foods vegan diet?" Ever since then, she's been researching how black female vegans in the USA are developing their own epistemologies around plant-based diets.

Breeze is currently a PhD candidate in Critical Food Geographies at University of California, Davis. She explores how and why mainstream vegan rhetoric takes a 'race-neutral' (defaults to "everyone has a white middle class relationship with food" mentality) approach to vegan and animal rights activism and how the collectivity of black women practicing plant-based diets take a 'race-conscious' approach. Lantern Books published Harper's book project Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society in March of 2010. It is the first book that addressed how race and gender construct one's consciousness around, and practice of, veganism.

Research Website: and
Research Group: Critical Race and Food Studies Intersect :
Research Group: Critical Race and Veg*n Studies Intersect


ChocolateOrchid said...

Awesome & interesting personal story on A.Breeze Harper. Thanks for posting this. I definitely will be sharing this and looking up these writings.

Anonymous said...

An excellent article, Althea.


medical equipment said...

i have to admit that most vegans I've met are usually rather thin and pale and i assume that is because of their diet but only until recently i have met plenty of vegans who loom perfectly healthy. nice blog


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