After Dr. Luz Calvo was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, she and Dr. Catrióna Esquibel, her partner, searched for an explanation.
Drawing on their experience as ethnic studies professors—and as Chicanas—they started examining the effects colonization has on a culture’s diet. Their findings? The all-American combination of carbs, sugar, and processed foods was making Latino immigrants sick, and repeating a harmful pattern they could trace throughout history.
Latin American food culture has been eroded by colonizing forces: Spanish missionaries forcing Mexicans to start eating bread and cheese instead of corn and beans, to white reformers in the 1920s who told immigrant Mexican mothers that feeding their children tortillas would lead to a life of crime, to Coca-Cola’s current obsession with marketing toward Latino youth. All has been to the detriment of both Latino health and culture.
I talked to Calvo and Esquibel talked about their new book, Decolonize Your Diet, the Latino Paradox, and what we can learn from Mesoamerica when it comes to agriculture. To read more by Shelby Pope, click HERE!