Meet the Afro-Latina developing a food delivery service for low-income communities with dietary restrictions in Philly
Diaz initially got the idea to start her own business when she discovered the lack of healthy food alternatives for low-income families. Photo: Benzii Diaz.

By Tiffany Rivera, Al Dia News

Benzii Diaz, the founder of Bodied Mealz on Wheelz, grew up in North Carolina eating certain comfort foods, such as fried chicken and smothered pork chops.

She enjoyed the classic Southern dishes, but often felt sick and her health took a spiral.

Diaz finally changed her food habits when she started getting severe headaches, nausea, and unbearable stomach aches.

Despite doctors brushing it off as heartburn or acid reflux, her husband began to have the same symptoms.

“Some of my dietician friends asked if I ever thought about going vegan or cutting out milk and cheese,” Diaz said in a recent interview with AL DÍA News.

With that in mind, Diaz tried gluten- and dairy-free products. In place of regular milk, she would be drinking almond milk.

The results were almost immediate.

“The next day I didn’t feel nauseous or sick,” she said. “It was weird, but I kept telling myself to keep on doing this.”

In the process, she developed an idea to provide healthier food resources for lower-income families, and created Bodied Mealz on Wheelz. The business started as Diaz saw a significant demand increase for gluten-free products amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Suddenly almond milk, oat milk, and other specialty products were off the shelves at a rapid pace.

“My husband and I didn’t have the necessary products that we used for our diet,” said Diaz. “Food shortages were happening at our local grocery stores, and that was a problem.”

Instead of heading to her usual grocery store of ShopRite, Diaz went to Whole Foods, but was stunned when she saw the prices for non-dairy, keto-friendly products.

She soon found ALDI and its own affordable line of products.

At this juncture, Diaz knew she wanted to create a small business that would offer healthier food alternatives to low-income families who required a special diet.

Diaz, who is a personal trainer, began taking her clients to the grocery store and showing them the significant benefits of eating a healthier diet.

“I started asking different questions, like how many meals do you cook a day? What does your family typically eat? And I showed them better substitutes,” she said.

For instance, Diaz suggests swapping almond flour or coconut flour in place of all-purpose flour to fry chicken.

“There is also peanut oil, avocado oil to cook with,” she said.

So far, she is resorting to fundraising to support Bodied Mealz on Wheelz.

Soon, Diaz plans on purchasing a van that will transport groceries. The van will also double as a transport vehicle for female-identifying clients who don’t have access to transportation.

Click here to read the full article on Al Dia News.

Kendall Martinez-Wright, the Afro-Latina fighting to be the first Black transgender woman in Missouri’s House
Kendall Martinez-Wright posing in front of an office building wearing a navy blue blazer and a red skit while posing with arms crossed and a smile

By Brittany Valentine, Aldia News

After lobbying and making her voice heard behind the scenes of Missouri politics over the last few years, Kendall Martinez-Wright is making a bid for the state’s fifth House district seat in 2022.

Just two days after Missouri’s House of Representatives passed a bill banning transgender athletes from participating in sports, Martinez-Wright announced her bid to be the first Black transgender woman in the chamber.

On Wednesday, April 14, she participated as a speaker at PROMO Missouri’s “Let Kids Play” virtual lobby day.

“We as a community need to ensure that trans folks deserve to freely participate with their classmates. I take a bold stance in supporting our trans and GNC (gender non-conforming) siblings,” Martinez-Wright wrote on Twitter.

Martinez-Wright, who grew up in Palmyra, Missouri, told The Missouri Times that she’s observed that rural communities like hers can often be overshadowed.

“With me being a very blunt minority — African-American as well as Puerto Rican and trans — I want to show individuals that no matter how you identify or where you are, your voice should always be heard, and I feel like at the end of the day there are voices that aren’t,” she said.

Martinez-Wright, who has worked for Empower Missouri and the Mid-Missouri Young Democrats, said that in the state House, she would prioritize education, infrastructure, agriculture and accessibility for her community.

When the pandemic hit and communities and schools transitioned from in-person to remote learning, Martinez-Wright noticed a “real cry for help and to be heard.”

“We need to address underperforming schools, ensure businesses and agriculture are operating and sustainable, and provide reliable internet infrastructure so students and families can be successful not only now during the pandemic but in the future,” she said.

The Afro-Latina candidate hopes that her campaign will serve to encourage others to involve themselves in the democratic process, either through grassroots work or from the state House.

Click here to read the full article on Aldia News.

Cardi B says she will launch haircare line to teach people about ‘Afro-Latina’ hair
Cardi B performing onstage during the Grammy Awards ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center

Cardi B has said she will launch her own range of haircare products, in an attempt to teach people about “Afro-Latina” hair.

The rapper said she was inspired to work on the products after receiving offensive comments about a video she posted about her natural hair.

“This year I will be coming out with a haircare line,” Cardi B wrote on Instagram. “I think [it is] time for people to educate themselves on nationality, race and ethnicity.”

She added: “People [are] thinking every Hispanic is Mexican or something and must have the same hair texture, colour and features.

“Being Hispanic/Latina don’t make your hair long, don’t make your skin light [and] don’t make your face features slim especially [if you come from] Latin countries from the Caribbean islands … DNA has something to do with your hair not your nationality.”

In another tweet, Cardi B wrote: “Hair texture [doesn’t] make you a race, however I am Afro-Latina.”

Cardi B said the haircare line was something she had been working on for herself and for her daughter’s hair. It is not known if the line will contain a hair mask product, a recipe for which she shared online last year. The mask included avocado, argan oil, mayonnaise, black castor oil, olive oil, two eggs, honey and banana.

In 2020, Latino consumers under 35 spent $663m on beauty products, with hair care, hair colour and nails dominating, according to Nielsen.

Juvan José Amaya, a partner at Juve consulting, said the Latin beauty market was in transition.

“We are slowly shifting the idea that Latinas have nice hazel or green eyes, or look ‘exotic’,” he told WWD. “As a generation we hate the word exotic, that’s a big ‘no’… [beauty is] starting to become a little more … inclusive and accepting of natural features, such as curly hair.”

Click here to read the full article on the Guardian.

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