By Any Means Necessary: Volume 3, Issue 3

Page 34

oakland Interview with: Mama Ayanna Mashama

● What is the significance of fasting in the context of Black August? “Well I actually started fasting before I began practicing Black August. I began fasting for regeneration, rejuvenation, renewal of my cells—the health of my body starting from a cellular level. Fasting helps cleanse toxins. It has multiple benefits: mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical. It is designed to help you release toxins and negative energy; it actually is a rest from some of the unhealthy eating that we do. I began fasting with juice and water and light exercise. As far as the liberation movement, it really supported my intention to become a warrior by sharpening my skills, increasing my health, and enhancing my discipline.” ● What techniques do you tend to employ around fasting successfully? “One of the things I learned with the prolonged fast, like doing a juice fast [for] up to 21 days is, beginning with the 10-day master cleanse. Start with light eating of just fruits and vegetables, then just juices, then the master cleanse, and finally coming out with juices again. That’s the most disciplined I’ve ever been around fasting. For the most part I have considered fasting not as necessary if you are eating well and taking good care of your body nutritionally. I have approached it from a point of being disciplined and also a point of self-love. I know it’s not uncommon to hear the phrase ‘self-care is a revolutionary act.’ I really believe I might have coined that phrase. I was given a book by Julian Richardson, the patriarch of Marcus Books (Oakland), because he knew I was a vegetarian and it was Dick Gregory’s book, Cooking with Mother Nature. I used to actually distribute that book in prisons. That book really enlightened me in the context of the key leaders in our natural health movement. So, I approached fasting as a matter of health, disease prevention, and discipline. It’s a challenge; you know how we eat in this country is like an addiction. Similar to how we sit; sitting is also an addiction in our culture. As I began to understand how toxins come into our body I incorporated fasting into my lifestyle practice. I really felt as a Black woman, and still feel as though Black women are under attack through our bodies.” 34

By Any Means Necessary