Keiera Bradley is someone I respect so much, she is the purest definition of tenacity, and inspires people daily to lead a healthier lifestyle. I met Keiera during the winter quarter of my second year of college in our African-American History class. We quickly became friends and bonded over the fact that our birthdays are a day apart, and that we both identify deeply to our Capricorn nature. She not only has supported the Kuvit Beauty brand on several occasions in a multitude of different ways, but she is also building a brand of her own centered around the health and well being of people of color. This blog post is about her choice to live a plant-based lifestyle and break generational curses. It is no secret that healthy lifestyles and the African-American community have been at odds since the genesis of our relationship with this land, and that is by design. Keiera is making a point to call out our learned unhealthy eating habits and challenge all of us to lead healthier lifestyles. By starting a youtube channel (all of her social media links are provided below), she gives people easy access to plant-based recipes while also giving people the ability to follow her journey through this lifestyle change. She also offers meal planning and meal prepping programs for people in the Los Angeles area who are curious about trying to lead a healthier life. What we consume has a direct affect on so many different aspects of our life and it is important to take health seriously, let's all break generational curses together!
The Kei to Health
By: Keiera Bradley
Poverty is at the root of every disease currently plaguing the minds and bodies of people who look like me. I always knew that I could feel different, eat better, and live longer if I had more money. I knew that there was more to the issues haunting my community than drugs like crack cocaine or alcohol, something far more common, like food. Food is the most consumed drug amongst us all! I just didn’t have the critical tools to formulate understanding around why my community wasn’t upset, alarmed or pushing for more in our neighborhoods when it came to the food that was so readily available in our communities. I was raised in South Central Los Angeles by a single Black mother with three children. I remember not being able to eat candy, drink soda or juice at home which already set me apart from the majority of my family members and peers. My mom was not ignorant of the negatives that came with letting us indulge in artificial sugars, but as a single mother of three, she was limited in what she could provide for us.
As a child, I suffered badly from eczema all over my arms, neck, lower stomach, and sometimes legs. On one doctor's appointment, the physician let my mother know that I would have to stop drinking whole milk and drink lactose-free options. This is the exact moment I realized the connection between how what you consume affects how you look and feel physically.
“ I don’t have the money to buy that vegetarian stuff Keiera”. That’s the first thing my mom said to me when I came home in the 10th grade and told her I wasn’t going to eat meat anymore. “I’m just eating seafood for right now. It’s called being a pescatarian”, I was super eager to tell anyone who would listen. I had watched a documentary called Food Inc. and that was all I needed. At first, it was simply a challenge to stop eating meat for one month but because I was met with so much doubt and negative feedback from those in my life, I felt even more determined to stick it out much longer. One month turned into one year and that year turned into eight years. For what it’s worth that isolating experience allowed me to be more critical of my surroundings. In undergrad, I was able to see first hand the health privileges granted to people who did not look like me, were not raised where I was, and had access to more knowledge on health and diet. I began to challenge myself to choose between being healthy or healthier every single day of my life. I started to use my Cal Fresh benefits to eat a more plant-based diet and ultimately made the decision to cut out all animal products altogether. I can’t begin to describe the emotional and mental reprogramming that it took in order to get where I am, but I am fueled by a need to practice conscious self-initiated care of myself both mentally and physically.
It took an old roommate and some friends on Snapchat to convince me to make a Youtube cooking channel. Past my Youtube venture, in 2018 I started plant-based meal prepping services for people in the Los Angeles area. I sell recipes via my Instagram and aim to promote a plant-based lifestyle for the mental and spiritual advancement of my people. Cooking for me is completely therapeutic, I am an artist and every meal reflects my expression. Since I went vegan in April 2017, I have progressed in ways you couldn't imagine, and I encourage you to try to experience these amazing health benefits first hand. If veganism continues to have this image of being dominated by white women, being too expensive to maintain, and lack flavor creativity, than kids in South Central LA, kids that look like me or reflect my experiences will never tune in. I believe it is my path to change that image of veganism and preach its accessibility. I have such high hopes for my business, The Kei To Health. The ultimate goal is to teach individuals how to work within their reality to manifest their most high esteem. We eat to survive but we do not eat to live. It’s time Black people, people of color, and low-income people begin to have the opportunities to normalize living without prescription medicine, extreme medical bills or seeing their loved ones past away from chronic illness before the age of 80. The true wealth is in your health!
This is an image of one of Keiera's many plant-based recipes, available for purchase through her meal prepping program, pictured is her Jerk Mushroom Quinoa and Kale Greens.
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