Chadwick Boseman‘s passing on Friday, Aug. 28 rocked the world. His fans and colleagues not only mourned his untimely death at age 43 but were also shocked by the news of his silent battle with colorectal cancer.
Boseman was diagnosed with the disease in stage three in 2016 but remained tight-lipped about his health as he brought massive characters to the silver screen, including Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, and most notably, Marvel’s Black Panther. And while Boseman’s transition has been an unfortunate addition to the list of lives lost this year, it has also highlighted the need for more Black people to get regular screenings for the disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, Black men and women get colon cancer at higher rates—24 and 19 percent, respectively—compared to other races. Additionally, INOVA says that Black people have the highest incidence of colorectal cancer and have the shortest survival rate of most cancers.
In honor of Boseman’s life and legacy, Black people can educate themselves and practice holistic ways to prevent such diseases and other illnesses that plague the Black community, especially with food. In Ryan Coogler’s written tribute to Boseman, he mentions that the actor’s last acts of kindness were sending meals to the Coogler family during the quarantine.
“It hurts more to know that we can’t have another conversation, or facetime, or text message exchange,” Coogler wrote. “He would send vegetarian recipes and eating regimens for my family and me to follow during the pandemic. He would check in on me and my loved ones, even as he dealt with the scourge of cancer.”
Here is a list of holistic health practitioners, herbalists, and advocates who promote preventative wellness on Instagram. Dive in to find natural recipes, medicines, and more to stay healthy.
Dr. Bobby J. Price
Known as Doctor Holistic, Price is a plant-based nutritionist, exercise physiologist, and Doctor of Pharmacy. In his most recent post, he discusses ways to prevent colon cancer with vegan foods and detoxification. “Especially in the African American community, we have a fiber-less diet,” he said, “and fiber is critical to our health.
Dr. Carmen James
Lifestyle changes require some guidance, especially when it comes to health. Dr. Carmen James—a holistic doctor and health coach—provides guide books, coaching sessions, and a 21-day detox to help clients develop a plan to live a healthier life. James also specializes in medical cannabis to help relieve period pain and PCOS symptoms.
Healer Aala Marra cured her autoimmune disease through research of gut health and the use of herbs and ancient African nutrition. After three months, Marra’s symptoms completely cleared up, she told xoNecole in an interview, which prompted her to launch Aala Care, a program that helps people heal their bodies naturally. “I knew that there were people who could identify with it or it could at least reach people that needed to hear it, and it’s just my truth,” she said. “I wanted to celebrate it and definitely advocate for wellness and health and destigmatize it.”
Dr. Ruby Lathon
Dr. Ruby Lathon is a Washington, D.C.-based certified holistic nutritionist and thyroid cancer survivor. As an advocate for self-healing through whole food and plant-based nutrition, her page provides a wealth of tips and advice on vitamins, vegan meals, and other natural ways to combat and prevent illnesses.
Coach Gessie Thompson
Black women are prone to fibroids, but nutritionist and health coach Gessie Thompson is living proof that the proper detox and nutrition can help prevent and cure the noncancerous growths. Through her Detox Living program, Thompson provides a consultation, food lists, and other resources to eliminate existing fibroids and combat regrowth.
Wellness For Creatives founder Byron Linnell approaches holistic wellness through mental health and fitness. The certified wellness coach hosts events that highlight how creativity, meditation practices, and physical exercise contribute to great health.
At times, healing requires medicine, and for Marisa Hall, the best medicine comes from the earth. As a Certified Community Herbalist, Hall makes herbal medicine for Black people, influenced by her ancestors who gardened and grew their own food. In an interview, she emphasizes plant-based medicine compared to western healing practices. “The western medical system is all about treating symptoms. Numbing pain instead of trying to figure out what is causing pain and offering slow, tender care to that place while also finding ways to offer relief. And I think that folk medicine and western medicine can exist and work in tandem, for sure, but holisticism is so central to how I think about care and addressing disease.”
Wendy and Jess
It’s not just what you eat that can help promote good health, it’s also how you eat. Dieticians and diabetes educators Wendy Lopez and Jessica Jones believe that intuitive and mindful eating, which encourages eaters to listen to their body’s needs. Most importantly, these best friends want to make food more accessible. “We think it’s really important to not make wellness a one dimensional, one size fits all conversation,” they said in an interview. “Our motto is that we all have the power to define what wellness looks like for us, and for most people, it’s going to be a lot different than what we see on Instagram.”