She's Changing the Way Black Women View Food
Today's Healthy Hueman is Sierra Brown. She is a food coach with a mission to empower black women to make simple, healthy choices daily. She wants to empower women of color all over the world to choose themselves. To find balance and support in finding out what wellness on an individual level.
Melanin Well is a community for woman of color who struggles to create a sustainable healthy lifestyle and make their health and wellness a permanent piece of their life. She helps by providing health & wellness resources to address a plethora of problems/barriers we face daily and a supportive community of melanin well women.
When did you first fall in love with wellness?
10 years ago, I was a college athlete. A senior. I thought I was perfectly healthy but one day I woke up with a blood clot in my kidney and lost the last 10 games of my career. I spent the next few months after the news gaining 50 lbs, battling depression, and losing the fight to emotional eating. It wasn’t until that moment that I cared a bit about what I ate or my health. Never even crossed my mind. But after that… health and wellness was more than a thought. It was an obsession.
What does a day of eating look like for you?
I have eaten the same thing every day for 3 years for breakfast, HA. A few slices of uncured bacon, 2 whole eggs, a few egg whites, a piece of whole wheat toast, fruit, beets, and sauerkraut. It sounds gross and like an excessive amount of food but it serves its purpose for me. It’s my pre-workout meal so it’s pretty carb-dense and definitely fuels my lifting sessions. And I know the kraut sounds weird but that’s all about my gut health. Fermented foods are great for our guts.
Otherwise, I eat the same way I teach my clients to eat; the MW plate. It’s similar to the “perfect plate” approach. I comprise my meals of a protein, a smart carb, a healthy fat, and a veggie.
There is no food or group of foods that I exclude per se. But I definitely comprise 80-90% of my diet of unprocessed, whole foods and avoid dairy (personally) because my tummy and skin don’t love it.
What is your take on today’s popular diets (keto, vegan, paleo, etc) and the problems that may arise with eliminating foods and lack of variety in one's diet?
I was part of the crazy paleo gang a few years back. During my paleo time, my life circumstances supported that lifestyle however my relationship with food was less than healthy. I don’t attribute that 100% to paleo but you’ll find that many who choose restrictive diet options like keto and paleo also have troubling relationships with food. It’s the restrictive nature of the diet, not so much the diet itself.
There is a place for every diet. Any and all diets “work” by definition as long as you are in a caloric deficit; however many (and most) fads are not manageable for the everyday person. And when things get too restrictive it leads to yo-yo dieting and an overall unhealthy relationship with food.
Eating should never be stressful. It should be a nourishing, supportive experience. And if eating is stressful for you often, it’s time to switch up your approach.
What is the biggest dieting myth you’ve come across?
Goodness! This week someone commented on a post of mine that “carbs are cancer-causing” and I about lost it.
Keto is a multi-million dollar industry. And unfortunately, these coins are dirty. Companies are exploiting our insecurities. And at moments, it feels like a literal and deliberate attack on women. We are the primary consumers.
The worst part? Keto and low carb approaches remove an entire group of food that is incredibly supportive of our hormonal health.
Carbs provide us with excellent sources of B vitamins… vitamin c… potassium… calcium… fiber. So the low carb life may help you shed a few pounds quick but you also are missing out on some of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world.
What advice do you have for black women who are considering trying a new diet to lose weight?
Goodness yes! Do what works for you and supports your goals but also your lifestyle. Don’t feel pressured to go with what is trendy.
Keto is popular right now but so is veganism; especially in the black community. You have to do what works for you. Don’t apologize. Block and unfollow people who criticize your decision or make you feel uncomfortable.
Like keto, veganism is rather restrictive. If that is your goal, I recommend that you start building foundational habits; like eating mostly whole foods… practicing mindful eating… heck cooking whole foods. Many go from eating all the processed food… eating out every day… and just try to hop right into one of the most difficult and restrictive diets to comply with. There is nothing wrong with working up to veganism. And again, don’t apologize for whatever approach you decide to take. Black Twitter can be vicious, HA.
Also, measure other goals outside of weight loss. The scale can be very misleading. Don’t ignore how your clothes fit… how you feel… your digestion… your mood… your sleep… your performance in the gym. Being mindful of positive change of all kinds and celebrating small victories is essential to creating a lifestyle and not just going through another diet phase.
What are you currently doing to help tackle this issue is the community?
I created Melanin Well to empower women of color, and those that love us, to make simple, healthy choices daily. To live a healthy lifestyle with ease, confidence, and conviction.
I do this by providing you all with all the health resources through my blog, email list, and social media platforms daily. I also do this through personal health and wellness coaching.
But it became clear quickly that a platform was needed to give you all the things you need to create a manageable lifestyle all in one place; the education, the habits you need to implement that new knowledge, the community you need to feel supported to make the changes, and the coaching and accountability to make it all a permanent part of your life.
That platform is Melanin Well Academy; my transformational group coaching program.
What can people expect to gain from your program?
- A manageable lifestyle that doesn’t involve stress and restriction. Fat loss without getting rid of all of your favorite foods or sacrificing your health and wellness.
- A stronger, more fit, more mobile body without spending hours in the gym (or even any time in the gym at all). Less pain.
- Confidence in your ability to train your body, eat foods that support your body, and the habits you need to make all of these changes permanent.
- And more than anything… the confidence to prioritize your needs and choose yourself daily. I want all my queens to be the authority of your lives; in control and confident.
This happens through a convenient online nutrition platform (providing you with daily habit-building lessons and exercises), an online exercise platform (providing you with a program customized to you and your movement needs and goals), flexible exercise options (gym-based or home-based), and nutrition coaching. And it’s all designed efficiently for the busy queen!
Do you have any non-diet related habits that can assist someone who is trying to eat well?
Routines routines routines! Create solid morning and night routines; especially morning routines.
Most of us start our days off in chaos. Hit snooze… jump out of bed… wash our faces and brush our teeth as fast as we can… scarf something down as we run out of the door… and all the while scrolling through instagram and reading our emails. Ironically enough, most of us also struggle with stress. Think those two things are correlated? They absolutely are.
It’s not the bagel you eat a few times a month keeping you from your health and wellness goals; it’s probably stress.
And creating solid routines are a great way to manage stress. They should encompass some form of mindfulness and intention work. That could be anything from meditation to journaling to simple quiet time.
I get that we are busy millennial women but slowing down and starting the day with nourished minds will make us efficient millennial women. That efficiency combined with your new clear mind will make daily health-related decisions so much easier.
Can eating well be classified as a form of self-care? If so, what would that practice look like in action?
I believe eating well is the highest form of self-care. What we eat impacts our thoughts and thinking... our skin... our emotions... literally everything. It is the fuel that keeps us running. It gives us the foundation to perform all the other things we need to be well.
- That could look like choosing the foods that support our bodies and help us feel well; even if that’s carbs.
- That could look like drinking 100 oz of water per day to support our skin health. Our skin is an organ, ya know. Face masks can’t heal our insides.
- It looks like choosing healthy foods for other reasons other than your physique… your body.
- It looks like understanding and accepting a diet primarily composed of whole foods is essential to living the full life you want to live and not just fitting into a dress.
And it’s essential that we understand that all of the above things can happen without stress and restriction.
See more and sign up for Melanin Academy here!