Today in Hood Health 101 we will discuss why most foods are bleached…

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One of the common themes of the Hood Health Handbook is how much the diets of the global majority (people of color) were impacted by their contact with Europeans. The contact was often destructive through slavery or colonization. The foods that people eat are their direct connection to their land.

By destroying indigenous foods and diets, White settlers sought to divorce the people from their lands. So, it wasn’t just about occupation by White colonizers. It was about severing the global majority’s mental and emotional bond with their reality. One of the most obvious legacies of this devastation is the presence of white foods.


When you look in nature in terms of fruits, vegetables and legumes, there are not that many white foods. There are onions/garlic, some beans, some pulps of some fruit (which are not white on the outside), and some strains of potatoes. If you go into the grocery store though you will see an abundance of foods that have the “white” adjective. The thing is that many of us have grown up with this and have just accepted the “white” labels without blinking an eye. You can go in the store and see white sugar, bread, flour and rice as the most prevalent versions of those items sold. The shift of the Black and Brown populace from a country life to a city life has also removed many from even knowing how the process of farming or food production takes place. Your average city dweller hasn’t seen sugar cane or a rice field.

All those foods mentioned (sugar, flour, rice, etc) in their natural forms aren’t white (well there are some forms of white rice yet the rice white that most people buy ain’t that kind of rice). They are usually some shade of brown or black. That shade is showing the presence of minerals and vitamins embedded in the plant. For instance while you will hear that sugar has zero nutrients that isn’t actually true. “Refined”/White sugar has zero nutrients. Sugar from the sugar cane has some nutrients up in it. Wheat flour is full of vitamins and minerals (thus true wheat bread has those). Whole grain rice is dark and has vitamins and minerals up in it. Well if all of the food in its natural form is nutritious why are we getting versions of food with whiteout? Like I mentioned in the beginning, it stems from the destruction of original diets by colonization and slavery.

When White people came in contact with these foods, they were obsessed with “cleaning” food. The eventual processes that they developed to whiten these foods ended up bleaching out the nutrients. The visual presence of white food was connected with food being fully “clean.” This process paralleled the whole notion of “white being right” in the ideology of white supremacy and manifest destiny. These “refined” foods were soon to dominate the market. Yet something was eventually noticed. They were stripped of so many nutrients that vitamins and minerals had to be added back into them again. This is why you will see the word “enriched” on these types of foods. So make sure you are following along. They bleach the foods to death destroying the natural nutrients and then have to add artificial ones (which don’t mesh in the body as well) back into it. Yeah, you read that right.

So you know the answer…white ain’t always right. Eat more foods that have that “tan” going on. You have to be careful though because there isn’t a large industry (compared to bleached foods) for them. This leads to “brown” sugar or “wheat” bread which is actually just white foods that have been “colored” brown. I know its confusing and your food shouldn’t be that confusing. Learn to read those labels. If it has enriched on it pass on it. Cut down on those white foods. Trust me, your body will thank you in the long run. Stop paying these strippers.

C’BS ALife Allah is the co-editor of the Hood Health Handbook and co-creator of the HoodHealth concept. Check him out at and follow him on twitter @alifeallah IG @Alifeallah