By Any Greens Necessary By Tracye Lynn McQuirter, MPH
If the highlight of every family reunion you attended as a child were your grandmother’s down-home South Carolina cooking, it would take real courage to announce you were going vegan and could no longer eat her food.
At least if did for By Any Greens Necessary’s author Tracye Lynn McQuirter, MPH. Even thirty years later, she fondly remembers how her family “… lived for Grandma’s fried chicken, along with homemade biscuits, macaroni and cheese, pound cake, and apple pie.”
So when Tracye broke the news along with her mother and sister, Grandma gave her a look of pure indignation and declared, “Oh. Y’all done got sanctified.” Turning from her granddaughters to her daughter, she continued in disbelief, “And Mary, you done joined ‘em!”
Yet to this day, all three of the transgressors regard that difficult decision as one of the best of their lives. In By Any Greens Necessary, Tracye covers all the major reasons why black women and their families should abandon meat, eggs and dairy for a whole-food, plant-based diet.
In one particularly thought-provoking section, she challenges the USDA Dietary Guidelines’ recommendation and requirement that all children enrolled in the federally-funded School Lunch Program be given dairy milk.
This policy ignores the fact that for some kids, consuming cow’s milk and other dairy products causes gut-wrenching cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and other agonizing symptoms.
What populations are most at risk of developing these symptoms?
Asian-Americans: 90 to 95 percent
Native Americans: 95 percent
African-Americans: 65 to 75 percent
Latino/as: 50 to 60 percent
Among European-Americans, however, the condition affects only 10 percent.
When explaining the cause of this so-called “lactose intolerance,” Tracye goes straight to the heart of the matter:
“This process has been mislabeled as ‘lactose intolerance’ and is considered a deficiency. In fact, it is a natural developmental occurrence experienced by the majority of the world’s population. This is true for mammals, not just humans. It is abnormal to continue to produce lactase enzyme beyond infancy or weaning.”
In other words, the European-American’s ability to drink milk is what really stems from a “lactase abnormality!”
Backed by this well-established data, the Congressional Black Caucus has spoken out against the “consistent racial bias” in the USDA’s guidance for all Americans to consume dairy.
Tracye’s mother Mary is living proof of the incredible impact of a dairy-free, egg-free, meat-free, plant-based diet. Mary is the only one of 14 siblings to have remained disease free in her senior years. Not only that; she still walks five miles a day!
It took few years, but one day she called saying she would bake her granddaughter a completely vegan version of her famous apple pie! Not surprisingly, Tracye nearly dropped the phone.
But she still considers that day one of her sweetest memories.