Michelle Foy

nopalesDr. Luz Calvo is a professor of Ethnic Studies, a gardener, cook, and political activist in Oakland, CA. Describing their newest project, Calvo and her co-author, Dr. Catriona R. Esquibel, write: “We have a passion for Mexican food. We have a passion for gardens, for healthy food, for food justice, and for people of color reclaiming our histories. All of this has led us to our current project, Decolonize Your Diet. This is a project to reclaim the heritage foods of greater Mexico and Central America as a way improving the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of US Latinos/as.”

In this new series on health, nutrition, and how it all fits into the project of revolutionary transformation, we’ll begin by hearing from Dr. Calvo on what (de)colonization has to do with what we eat, why the Standard American Diet (SAD) is the “standard,” and about the organizing that is happening around the intersections of self-determination, food security, and radical social change.

Michelle Foy: How did you come to this work of decolonizing our diet?

Luz Calvo: There are two tracks that led me to this work. In 2006 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had been a vegetarian for 15 years and thought I had been eating really healthy. I went through treatment for the cancer, including chemotherapy. The whole experience shook me to the core. In my rebuilding process, I started looking at lot more in depth at diet, investigating what I should be eating to rebuild my strength and how I could fight a recurrence of the cancer through dietary choices.