Long before everyone was all “green juice” this, and “namaste” that, Queen Afua devoted her life to wellness and teaching folks to harness the power of natural foods for holistic self-care. If parading around the Whole Foods’ hot bar at lunch time is your vibe, guess what? Queen Afua was one of the pioneers of the whole green foods movement. So, go ahead and eat those roasted brussels sprouts and wax poetic about your sophisticated Ninja Foodi Power Blender, but if you’re going to, you need to put all the respect on Queen Afua’s name.
It makes sense that as everyone attempts to reclaim the wellness recipe — two years after The ’Rona chased us into well-stocked quarantines and couture masks — that Queen Afua, holistic health practitioner and CEO of the Queen Afua Wellness Center, was this week’s guest on the latest episode of R29 Unbothered’s Go Off, Sis podcast.
The hosts were ready for The New York Times bestselling author’s gems about how “food as medicine,” “the kitchen is the laboratory,” and how “the bedroom is the regeneration chamber.”
While Queen Afua messages about wellness speak to the co-hosts, they’re not feeling everyone in the industry. Chelsea Sanders, co-host and VP of R29 Unbothered and Somos, said Black women and people of color take issue with the wellness space because it doesn’t feel like it’s made for them. “We’re not going to relearn wellness from someone who doesn’t speak from our perspective, who doesn’t look like us, who doesn’t connect to our specific issues and concerns,” she says.
Stephanie Long, co-host and Deputy Director, Enterprise, agreed and chimed in with her questions. “Are they really going to be able to cater to my needs? Are they really going to understand what I need?” says Long, who’s also a Certified Chopra Health Instructor & Training Wellness Coach.
As a vet in the game and a beloved wellness coach to celebrities and civilians alike, Queen Afua has keen insight into healing Black and brown bodies with celery, beets, blueberries, and more. But this wasn’t always the case. Queen Afua used to be extremely sick. “I had asthma, allergies, PMS, arthritis, headaches…the gamut of various diseases that attack different parts of my body’s system. Living an all-American, toxic, fast-food lifestyle contributed to all that,” she recalls.
An invitation to a three-day healing retreat changed Queen Afua’s life — literally.
This trip was the first time Queen Afua didn’t have her meds. The moment she stepped off the bus, her asthma and hay fever kicked in, real bad. But she didn’t want anyone to know. Her inner voice instructed her to eat grapefruits, lemons, and oranges. And she did. This was a huge step on her journey back to optimal health. Queen Afua had finally made the connection between her condition and the “fuel” she fed her body.
To hear about how Queen Afua teaches people to detox their lives (not just their bodies) and seek and embrace joy, listen to the full episode, below.