Jalen Rose talks dieting and the colon with wellness guru Queen Afua

Nowadays everyone and their mother, brother and cousin are wellness experts or influencers. In 2022, preaching these principles and living a holistic lifestyle is as fashionable on social media as wearing chunky bling, Air Force Ones, and baggy jeans was in the early 2000s. It’s clout.

But my Renaissance Man guest, author Queen Afua, aka Helen Robinsonwho is a guru for the likes of will smith and jada pinkett smith, and lauren london FKA branchesShe has been following this path for years, when wellness was more of a marginal phenomenon. In fact, she had her “awakening” in 1969 and has been teaching about the power of self-healing through food, exercise and spirituality ever since.

“Plus, I lived a toxic fast-food lifestyle,” she told me of her pre-healing days, adding that she had terrible PMS, asthma, and headaches. She took part in a three-day retreat with herbalists, yoga teachers, and nutritionists preparing whole foods. But in the beginning it wasn’t smooth.

“As soon as I got off the bus, the asthma started because I was allergic to grasses and trees and hay fever,” she said. “I didn’t bring my medication with me. The allergies, everything is scratchy. The itching, the wheezing.”

There she drank tea and ate grapefruit, lemons and oranges.

“That night I sat by the fireplace and because I couldn’t lie down being chronic asthmatic… So I sat up… the heat got into my lungs,” she said, adding that it had a sweat lodge effect and over the next few hours her congestion began to clear. “I came out of the bathroom and was able to breathe on my own, no needle, no medication, no pump. I was shocked and that was my awakening on my way.”

Then she discovered Dick Gregory’s “Cooking With Mother Nature” and he became her mentor. Since then it has become a force in its own right: a New York Times bestselling author and owner of her eponymous wellness center in Brooklyn.

Queen and I discussed earthy topics like colon, nutrition and clearing congestion, which she does with warm water and lime twice a day. She suggested adding ginger to help with blood flow. She says to limit animal products, eat fish at night, and eat avocado to lubricate joints.

Before becoming a healer, Queen was a singer, dancer and author. She said her creative drive helps her connect with celebrities and other artists. And the mother of three still dances, bikes, runs and does headstands. But she noted that she was not a revolutionary.

“Holistic health is actually Africa’s natural lifestyle… So Reiki is Africa’s natural lifestyle, color therapy, aromatherapy,” she said. “This is all African natural lifestyle since the dawn of time: hydrotherapy. water treatments. spas? Yoga, meditation… African natural lifestyle is not New Age. It didn’t just show up. It has been there since the beginning of time.”

But it feels like it’s only recently entered our consciousness. When I was in the NBA, we had ice packs around our knees. Now athletes sleep in hyperbaric chambers and stick to special diets. I left the league in 2007 and on one of my final seasons we had an acupuncturist explain it to the locker room. We all laughed, joked, and said, “Yeah, put some pins in my face.”

I wish I had taken a holistic approach long ago, but people used to chase wellness when they got old enough to worry about longevity. Nowadays it is available to everyone like that. It’s widespread. And Afua is still as relevant as ever. She inspired me to live healthier and adopt some of her practices. But above all their philosophy and attitude to life.

“Because of the lifestyle, I do the same things that I did in my 20s,” she said. “You should never grow old. You should get smarter.”

And now I want to be Queen Afu when I grow up.

Detroit native Jalen Rose is a member of the University of Michigan’s iconoclastic Fab Five that shook up the college hoop world in the early ’90s. He played 13 seasons in the NBA before blossoming into a media personality. Rose is currently an analyst for NBA Countdown and Get Up and co-hosts Jalen & Jacoby. He was executive producer of The Fab Five for ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, author of the bestselling book Got To Give the People What They Want, a fashion tastemaker, and co-founder of Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a charter public school in his Hometown. Jalen Rose talks dieting and the colon with wellness guru Queen Afua


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