Kwanzaa greeting: Habari Gani?
Today’s response: UMOJA, Unity.
I enjoy the opportunity to celebrate Kwanzaa, a harvest festival created in 1966 by Dr. Maulauna Ron Karenga to acknowledge African culture in the Americas, not as an angry alternative to Christmas, but as an opportunity to reflect before the incoming New Year. The frenzy of Christmas commerce has made celebrating that holiday a very noisy, frenetic tug of emotions about being there and getting there and wishing to be or get or re-get. If you’re ready to sweep up the wrapping paper and bring out the kinara, use these seven days of Kwanzaa as days for self-reflection and community.
Celebrate Kwanzaa 2021 December 26 – January 1
There are seven principles of Kwanzaa called Nguzo Saba and each day is dedicated to one of these principles:
Umoja (unity) to maintain unity in the family and community
Kujichagulia (self-determination) to be responsible for the community and to speak for oneself.
Ujima (collective work and responsibility) to build and maintain a community.
Ujamaa (cooperative economics) to help build and maintain our own businesses.
Nia (purpose) to build and develop goals to benefit the people of the community.
Kuumba (creativity) to make the community more beautiful and beneficial for the future generation.
Imani (faith) to believe in our people, parents, teachers, and leaders.
more: What is Kwanzaa
And in celebrating Kwanzaa, there is little need to stuff yourself with sugar. Consider this the time to explore lower sugar, lower carb, higher fiber, higher protein options for your diet.
The First Principle of Kwanza is Umoja, Unity. The past several years of Pandemic and Political trauma have tested the idea of Unity in our nation. But I’ve made community with a wider array of people in my very diverse city, Jersey City, New Jersey. I’m concerned about health and fitness, “sugar” diabetes and communities of color. And I’ve reflected that the people of the African Diaspora are particularly, uniquely, and peculiarly connected to sugar and the trade in sugar and slaves and rum and the wealth it created.
The Triangle trade in American History is a pattern of colonial commerce in which
people were purchased on the African Gold Coast with New England rum, then
the enslaved were traded in the West Indies for SUGAR or molasses, which was brought back to New England to be manufactured into rum. Atlantic Triangular Trade: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangular_trade#Atlantic_triangular_slave_trade
The over-consumption of sugar has been implicated in the occurrence of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and tooth decay. And diabetes is associated with an increased risk for a number of serious, sometimes life-threatening complications, and CERTAIN POPULATIONS ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED. Because good diabetes diagnosis and management can be expensive for uninsured or under-insured people, many are unaware they have diabetes until they develop one of its complications. African-Americans are significantly more likely to suffer from diabetes-related blindness, kidney disease, and amputations.
— from American Diabetes Association website. Living With Diabetes
Celebrate Kwanzaa 2022.
Light a candle and reflect on UNITY
Let’s think about the historical impact of sugar . . . or NOT. Let’s celebrate our triumph over that moment and resolve to push back against King Sugar. Make this cranberry cake/pie that I adapted for my diabetes-friendly diet. It satisfies my sweet craving and gives me the wonderful benefits of cranberries cranberry 411
and the usefulness and flavor of walnuts and some whole grain.
Baked this way, cranberries give up a beautiful, juicy flavor
and the color is an eye’s delight.
1 cup of whole wheat flour & 1 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 cup of Truvia baking blend – a combination of the stevia leaf and a small percentage of granulated sugar.
A dash of salt
2 cups of fresh cranberries (frozen is great, but not canned/jellied)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts – a healthy fat
1/2 cup of canola oil or oil of your choice
2 tablespoons of orange zest and 2 tablespoons of orange juice.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch pie pan with a cooking spray of your choice. Combine flour, sweetener, and salt, add cranberries and walnuts and stir to coat. Stir in the oil, eggs, and orange juice and zest. (zest orange by grating the peel) Mix and spread into pie pan. The mixture will be thick-ish. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
for information about Breena Clarke’s books, go to www.BreenaClarke.com.