We all know veteran actress Tichina Arnold as the hilarious home girl on one of Hollywood’s greatest TV shows of all time, “Martin”, but what’s no laughing matter is Arnold and her sister Zenay’s fight to find a cure for lupus. Together, Tichina and Zenay created the We Win Foundation to help women, particularly minority women and men dealing with Lupus and other autoimmune diseases.
Recently, The Arnold Girlz, as they are affectionately known, held a health and wellness event at LA84 Foundation in Los Angeles, inviting community members, caretakers and advocates alike to partake in a panel discussion on how we can all be change agents in the fight against autoimmune diseases.
Arnold says that their theme is “helping change the world through health and wellness inside and out” and that their foundation stands on the principle of “making people’s lives longer.” “We want to make sure that people live now, people that have lupus and other autoimmune diseases,” Arnold said. “With the immune system, if you don’t have it you don’t live,” she continued.
Zenay, who’s been battling lupus for more than 14 years, said changing her diet and researching alternative treatments to Western medicine was critical to stopping the progression of the autoimmune disease.
And to understand the severity of lupus as it affects blood levels, Zenay Arnold says one can consider what’s called the “sed” or sedimentation rate. “A normal person is under 20, a person that suffers with some sort of auto immune issue, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, is 21 and above. I was at 210,” she declared.
Also in on the panel discussion were Zenay’s mother and caregiver Gaynelle Dawson, along with Aurana, a nutrition expert and inspiration coach. Dawson, who is the third co-founding member of the We Win Foundation, says that the art of being a caregiver to those dealing with any autoimmune disease lies not only in nutrition, but also in love and laughter. “You as a caregiver, you have to have good energy in you, before you can produce any good energy in anybody else,” Dawson declared.
In terms of nutrition, Aurana stated that it’s important we consume several mini meals throughout the day that contain a balance of protein, carb and good fats. “You’re saying to yourself constantly through mindful eating, I love myself enough to eat the right way and do the right thing,” she said.
The latter part of the panel discussion was then followed by a food and nutrition demonstration by Chef Babette Davis, the owner of vegan restaurant Stuff I Eat in Inglewood, CA. Serving up a delicious vegan enchilada with a leafy green side salad, Davis said that eliminating meat and animal products from our diet completely is the ultimate way to achieving long-term health and wellness. “255 animals a second are dying to eat a flesh that we should not be eating, and we’re sick and we’re overweight and we can’t move, and somebody needs to calm us down with a fan, I feel bad,” Davis uttered.
Davis, who at 67 has the body and energy of women less than half her age, says the key to switching to an alternative vegan diet is just to do it. And when we do consume more fruits and veggies, Davis says to be careful in our preparation of the food. “Every time you subject your food to temperatures over 115 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re killing the live enzymes in the food, which is what your body needs.”
Olympia Auset, the owner of SÜPRMARKT, a low cost organic grocery servicing low-income communities in LA, says families can start creating easy vegan meals in a crock-pot by adding their favorite herbs, seasonings, vegetables and greens.
Overall, Tichina Arnold says that we all must be mindful of stress and understand the triggers that cause stress in our life. In the fight against Lupus and other autoimmune diseases, Arnold says it is the primary goal of the We Win Foundation to not only bring awareness, but resources to people dealing with the disease now.
“There are a lot of people we want to teach how to live whether it be through nutrition, meditation, even access to information to learn how to live, so we want to be a conduit of that,” Arnold declare.
For more information on the We Win Foundation, events, grants and resources for those dealing with autoimmune diseases, visit www.wewinfoundation.org. For exclusive interviews and coverage, visit www.lasentinel.net.