MadameNoire Selected Video
Queen Afua does not believe in “deceitful days”.
The famous herbalist, healer and author has eaten clean for so long that she has no desire for the traditional delicacies that most people cannot imagine parting with. She has a not-so-guilty treat, however.
“My thing now is to eat two or three rice cakes and put some olive oil on them,” she says on the phone and laughs. “If I ate it late at night I would be constipated! But it’s that good. “
The way Queen Afua looks at food is not a pleasure, but a tool for healing. This is what she learned as a teenager, dealing with a wide variety of health problems. When she completely changed the way she ate and treated food, her symptoms disappeared. More than 50 years later, she hasn’t looked back. And she knows everything. She knows that garlic helps fight infection, that cucumbers help the kidneys and swelling, and that starch clogs you both physically and mentally and even blocks creativity. She also knows that nothing beats the effects of a good green juice or a large salad on a regular basis.
“The more green you take in, the more courage you have,” she says.
Her extensive knowledge of food and wellness, which can be used in her six books from the past few years, and the warm manner in which she shares that information, has brought Queen Afua to the following. And not only on Instagram, where she has more than 254,000 followers in her “circle”, but also in her Queen Afua Wellness Institute and with her celebrity fans and customers. Erykah Badu, FKA Twigs and Mya all reach out to them for help in improving their holistic practices. The latter star is currently using their platform to promote a seven-day detox created by Queen that involves more than 200 women and men. Detox has everything from a grocery shopping list, meal plan, healing card, pain relief clay and detox kit, all provided in hopes of helping others adopt healthier, more productive lifestyles.
When the opportunity presented itself to choose their brains to learn their ways and how we can change our relationship with food in 2021, we jumped in.
“Use this time now, the New Year, to say,” I will live a healthier life, “she says.” I call 2021 the year of holistic transformation. “
Read on for advice to herbalists on how to make this transformation a reality in your own life.
MadameNoire: How did you get healed? How long did you eat clean, what inspired you to make this decision and how did you get there?
Queen Afua: I started around 1969. I was 16, 17 years old. I was a chronic asthmatic. Chronic PMS. Bedridden PMS. I had allergies. I had arthritis. I had headache. I had a list of things my body was crying out for healing. I was invited to a healing retreat, a three day retreat, and it was a completely different lifestyle from what I was living. I was on the all-American diet. I was not aware of holistic health and natural healing. But on this retreat there was no meat, there was no garbage, there was no dairy. Everything was organic and natural and I went straight into that lifestyle.
I followed what I had learned that weekend and the asthma went away. It took maybe two 21 day detox cycles and the problems I had were all left. It was plants. Living a plant-based lifestyle helped me heal myself. That was my beginning.
You ate a plant-based diet because it is beneficial for your body. What would you say is key for others to make the transition from eating to enjoyment and eating your feelings about food to life and the good life?
Because of the pandemic, people are really looking for an alternative. It’s like a great global wake up. Those who straddle the fence and think about it pull out herbs. They do detox. I’m seeing such a mass shift right now. It’s like a time of awakening that I’ve never had before. It’s really about an alternative lifestyle.
I wrote a book called The City of Wellness and in it I have vegan cuisine with soul food. Southern soul food, Caribbean soul food, African soul food, Spanish soul food. It follows the taste and texture of that food and the basic preparation for that particular culture, but an alternative. People want to get well, so give them an alternative. Instead of having dairy products that lead to congestion, allergies, hay fever, and headaches, there are healthier ways to get your calcium based on plant-based foods. There’s nut milk, and if that’s too much, there are vegetable juices that are high in calcium. Then there is candy. Sugar worsens bones leading to arthritis, stress and mood swings, if all you have is fruits, real fruits from the earth, none of these problems. Show alternatives that can have the same taste and texture. I show people how to lead a plant-based lifestyle, and when you do, you feel better and have no more womb pain as a woman. You won’t get any more headaches. You will not find yourself stressed and overeating and obese. There is a holistic way of doing this and still having the taste, flavor, and texture. People are very happy with an organic sweet potato tart [laughs]. It does not contain eggs or milk, but it may contain almond milk. Everyone is pretty happy knowing there is a healthy way to eat the same foods they grew up with.
What would you say to people who say healthy eating is too expensive?
It is more expensive to be sick. The medication and the back and forth hospitalization and the bills with it can prevent you. In fact, it’s not more expensive. When you say, “I need my protein,” black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, lima beans, and black-eyed peas are no more expensive than chicken. It’s actually cheaper. A sweet potato as opposed to french fries, that’s not more expensive. French fries are more expensive than getting a baked potato and adding some cinnamon or nutmeg to it. Having a bowl of fruit is no more expensive for your breakfast of berries that cleanse your bloodstream and cleanse your womb compared to cereal and pancakes and all that. It’s actually cheaper. They just don’t know how to shop. I have a shopping list that shows people how to shop, how to prepare, and how to lead a lifestyle where you don’t have to get sick. Getting sick is expensive!
What advice would you give to people trying to eat better in the New Year? The New Year is a time when people get inspired to reset themselves. What are small, initial changes people can make that are substantial enough to make a difference?
You can do a three day detox or a seven day detox. A shorter detox. And include a couple of things. Every morning, squeeze two limes into a glass of warm water. In the mornings and the evenings. Something so simple, you do that for seven days and that will get rid of snoring, congestion, congestion of the sinuses. This will prevent coughs from your dairy, white starch products, and late night meals. Drink this and the mucus will rise.
Another thing that you could take is a green juice every day. When you have your lunch break, have a vegetable juice. I also like to work specifically. So say if your hair is falling out and you are stressed out, put two sticks of celery in the juicer. Suppose you have back pain. Put a whole cucumber in the juice. Say you have arthritis and pain. Add half a beet to your juice and watch your bones return and restore themselves. Everything you eat and drink will really heal you. So start by making healthier choices – and don’t eat late at night. You want to shed a few pounds in the New Year, stop eating at six and liquefy. If you have your meals during the day, hopefully you have included more vegetable meals. And when it comes six, seven, just have a cup of tea, herbal tea, or vegetable juice to repair your cells, tissues, and nerves. Or do you have a fresh fruit juice, maybe some apple or pear juice. Have some lime water too. You do this for the next seven days, you will wake up with a clearer mind, you will have more energy, and you will have more stamina.
Do you ever indulge yourself with things you used to eat? Maybe something that a loved one cooks? Do you ever opt for these goodies and if not what is the key to discipline to ignore those desires?
If you want to have a long life, you can’t play with the back and forth. I see healing as every single day. I am healing again today. Before I got that call, I took my spa bath, did some inversion exercises, did yoga, and drank my green juice. I see it the way I live. This is how I live and breathe as a lifestyle. So as you fall off, you fall back on healthier foods. If I want something sweet, I can slice some apples and pears and put some berries on top. Or take the apples and pears and heat them up. That’s how I would do it. What people do is get healed enough to get rid of a problem and then go back to old habits. Then the problems will arise again. So it’s a door. One portal. Go through. If you fall or fall it’s fine. Do not put yourself down. Get in the next meal.
How do we empower ourselves through the way we eat and groom bodies?
It’s an old quote: we are what we eat. I also know that we are what we think. We are what we say. We are what we feel. We are what we see, but we are also what we eat. So, all that you put into your system, I want you to make a conscious decision to put in your body temple what you love and what will support and care for you and keep you elevated. As they say there is “junk food”. There’s a reason they call it junk food because that’s how you feel. So what you eat can either bring you down and lower your vitality and energy, or it can bring you up. Better than frying food, maybe steaming. Instead of eating a lot of starch, consider adding more vegetables to remove the starch. Make healthy choices every day and throughout the day.
You can learn from and follow Queen Afua on Instagram.