S.F. teacher makes nutritional, spiritual transformation 

To meet Saeeda Hafiz, a poised, funny, self-assured teacher for San Francisco schools, one might never guess at her tumultuous back story, which she describes in a new book, "The Healing: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Yoga."

Hafiz herself realizes how her life's journey has taken unexpected turns.

"I hadn't really planned on writing a book. I just wanted to practice and teach the healthy habits of yoga, nutrition and a changing lifestyle. The book seemed to want to be written. And then I understood writing it became another part of the healing process," says the author, who teaches basic holistic nutrition and yoga to children and adults for the San Francisco Unified School District and elsewhere.

Hafiz's story begins in Pittsburgh, Penn. At 23 and a corporate marketing database manager, she calls herself "That Black Girl." Like the woman on the 1970s TV show, she embarks on a career instead of getting married and starting a family. Having escaped a childhood rife with poverty, domestic violence and drug abuse and addiction, she was proud to be moving toward a middle-class existence.

But that dream got sidetracked, and her goals slowly changed. She moved to Atlanta, and, later, San Francisco, and her interest in food, nutrition and yoga began to coalesce. She enrolled in a cooking class that turned out not to be what she expected, and set out on a spiritual path of self-discovery and transformation, which included living at Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashram.

Each rise and dip on a rollercoaster forced her to confront the past she thought she had put behind her. She says, "I thought long and hard about the state of my nuclear family and how it felt more like a nuclear explosion, all of our lives scattered in toxic radioactive particles emitting poisonous ions."

In her self-published book, she invites readers to walk in her shoes as she goes through a dynamic process of healing herself. Mentors, teachers, family, friends and romantic interests sympathetically support, or unconsciously undermine, her efforts.

While her journey may resonate to people of all cultures, Hafiz also points specifically to a diet common to African-Americans, who have a history of high cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension, mostly due to eating unhealthy foods that derive from the American slave table.

She adds, "But if we eat more foods from our rich African heritage, yams and grains like millet, it can help us connect to our racial history, our biology thus creating better physical health and ultimately our spiritual health and heritage."

BOOK NOTES

The Healing: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Yoga

By: Saeeda Hafiz

Pages: 397

Price: $16.95

Info: www.saeedahafiz.com

About The Author

Jim Van Buskirk

Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of...

More by Jim Van Buskirk

Tuesday, Sep 19, 2017

Videos

Most Popular Stories

© 2017 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation