Tell Me Your Eating Habits

How Y’all Doing?

YOU NEED TO LOSE SOME WEIGHT.

My sincere condolences to those who loved Kelly Mason.

You need to lose some weight.

After a polite Texas greeting, Dr. Nowzaradan gets straight to the point.


Tell me about your eating habits.

Dr. Nowzaradan’s patients are seldom able to describe their eating habits with specificity. They are unable to accurately report what they eat, how much they eat, and when they eat. During their first meeting with Dr. Nowzaradan, they tend to talk about why they overeat. I keep waiting for someone on the program to mention food journals.

Nutrition consultants usually ask their clients to log meals. Keeping a food diary allows eating habits to be described in terms of what foods are eaten, when they are eaten, and how much of them are eaten. They can also help track the “why” of overeating.

Surprising Benefits of Keeping a Food Journal
https://www.getqardio.com/healthy-heart-blog/food-journal/


New Reasons for Keeping a Food Journal
https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-reasons-why-you-should-keep-a-food-journal-1463419285

Food journals are powerful tools in the attempt to change eating habits. Don’t reject the idea without trying.

There are so many ways of logging meals that I need to discuss the “how to” in a separate post. If someone can commit to logging meals for a specified period of time, there is a method for them.

The Diet Plans

Dr. Nowzaradan does not offer a singular diet plan. At the first office visit Dr. Nowzaradan provides his patients with customized dietary plans based on their current eating habits, weight, how much they need to lose, age, and gender.

Marty does an excellent job of explaining and illustrating how these diet plans can differ and why it is necessary to be skeptical about websites claiming to present Dr. Nowzaradan plan. https://www.celebrityhealthcritic.com/dr-nowzaradan-diet-plan/


The scale does not lie. People lie.

Some patients return for their second visit claiming that they followed Dr. Nowzaradan’s diet instructions yet did not lose weight. He adopts an empirical approach that relies on the scale. He calls these patients liars. He tells them how many calories per day they must be eating in order to achieve their current weight. Sometimes they are eating 6000-7000 calories per day.

This is the type of information that I must look up. I use the calorie calculator at calculator.net.

https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html

I empathize with Dr. Nowzaradan’s patients because they cannot weigh themselves. Weighing on a more frequent basis would help them stay on track. I think these patients, like other overweight people including me, would benefit from keeping a food journal. They would benefit from measuring their food intake. Then they would know how far their eating habits are from Dr. Nowzaradan’s prescription.

When I see one of the patients using food measuring tools, I applaud. When dealing with a surgeon you too must adopt an empirical empirical.

That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.” – Karl Pearson.


You are delusional!

Some of Dr. Nowzaradan’s patients suggest that their dietary intake has little to do with their weight. He refers to these patients as delusional. The television program has featured people who appeared to be out of touch with reality.

These patients are also the most likely to question Dr. Nowzaradan’s recommendations and conclusions. They say, “It’s just his opinion.” That always makes me laugh. Professionals get paid for their opinions.

Other patients seem to engage in common forms of distorted thinking. I am sharing a list of cognitive distortions from a website devoted to eating disorders.

I want to emphasize that you don’t have to weigh more than 600-lbs or have an eating disorder in order to engage in distorted thinking about food. Human beings use distorted thinking to get through the day. Help is available.

10 COGNITIVE (THINKING) DISTORTIONS THAT SUPPORT EATING DISORDER BEHAVIORS
https://more-love.org/2018/10/29/10-cognitive-thinking-distortions-that-support-eating-disorder-behaviors/

Those who are obese can be battling cognitive distortions without having an eating disorder. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17272943

You Want Us to Do the Work For You!

Making longterm changes in lifestyle is a complex and difficult process. The person who wants to be healthier is the person who must put in the effort. The surgeon, the therapist, the nutrition educator do not have a magic weight loss wand. These professionals make recommendations and offer their opinions. Then they wait for the person hiring their services to put in some work.

Every professional has protocols and processes. Sometimes the people they serve must step out on the belief that the professional really does have the required expertise. Patients leave Dr. Nowzaradan’s office the first time swearing that the weight loss goal he gave them is impossible. Those who take his instruction are pleasantly surprised with the results. Sometimes patients refuse to take the advise that Dr. Nowzaradan offers and they must be dismissed from the program.

Some people take longer than others to decide to do the work. To see hard work in action, watch Dr. Nowzaradan’s patients followed up beyond the first year. My 600-Lb. Life: Where Are They Now? https://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/my-600-lb-life/videos/where-are-they-now

I think that calling patients liars and saying that they are delusional is confrontational. I tend to believe that Dr. Now uses these confrontational tactics because the extreme morbid obesity of his patients is an imminent threat to their lives.

It definitely makes for dramatic television. It also provides a learning opportunity for those who are watching even if they are not as overweight as the participants on My 600-lb Life. Don’t waste a professional’s time. Take their advise or stop talking to them about the problem.


You need to see a psychotherapist!

Many of Dr. Nowzaradan’s patients report adverse childhood experiences, which are known to be associated with overeating and obesity (ACE – https://acestoohigh.com/2012/10/03/the-adverse-childhood-experiences-study-the-largest-most-important-public-health-study-you-never-heard-of-began-in-an-obesity-clinic/). These patients turned to food as a way of coping with trauma and stress and experienced the onset of obesity during childhood. They have not learned other coping strategies. Since their lives are always stressful, they are always eating. They clearly need to see a therapist.

Dr. Nowzaradan has started to introduce the need for therapy earlier in his relationship with patients. I applaud that decision. People who come to him benefit when he explains, early in the game, that they need both therapy and surgery. They need to know that he does surgery and not therapy.

Many people who want to lose weight, even if they are not as heavy as Dr. Nowzaradan’s patients, might also benefit from psychological intervention. This does not mean that they are “crazy.” It simply means that there are psychological skills that can help them achieve their health and wellness goals. They can be taught, for example, to counter disordered thinking. They can learn strategies for coping with stress that don’t cause weight gain.

Trying Noom

The idea that anyone can benefit from coaching, group support, increased clarity of thought, and improved coping skills lead me to Noom. I am currently engaged in the two week trial of the app. I recommend that others give it chance. If Noom seems expensive consider the general pricing structure of one on one health coaching.

One on One Coaching Pricing Structure

Most coaches offer two sessions per month, and the session time ranges from 45 – 60 minutes.

New coaches that are just starting out charge around $50 – $75 per session.

More experienced coaches charge $100 – $200 per session.

There are also coaches that charge by the package ($1,200 – $2,400) so there is quite a range.

The more concierge services you require, the greater the cost.

What Is the Noom Diet? A Nutritionist Explains https://www.health.com/weight-loss/noom-diet

What is the Noom Diet? A Nutritionist Explains How the App Can Help You Lose Weight https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a26023584/noom-diet-plan-review/

We Tried Noom: The Weight Loss App for Millinealss https://people.com/health/we-tried-it-noom/

Inspired by 600-lb Lives

As 2018 came to an end, I realized that I needed to become more physically active. So, I took an online class. Yes, I see the irony in that decision. I need to move, so I sat and read and took exams. Yet, when the course was over I had reviewed the recommendations for physical activity, set a few SMART goals, and purchased a very simple step counter (1).

During January of 2019, I counted steps and I counted calories. I also made the arrangements for the trial of a spinal cord stimulator (scs). A psychiatrist completed the psychological evaluation required before the trial. My pain management specialist agreed to conduct the trial and we set a date. Everything was going along smoothly. Then a set of new but familiar symptoms flipped my script.

On January 30, 2019 these symptoms sent me to Patient First, an urgent care facility. Laboratory tests indicated that I had a urinary tract infection. The need for antibiotics required that my spinal cord stimulator trial be postponed. The infection was a reminder of a kidney birth defect, another surgery, and a very dark period in my life. I felt deflated. When I returned home, I climbed into bed and went to sleep.

I awoke to a voice describing a life of full body pain and limited mobility. I immediately identified with the speaker and continued to listen. When I opened my eyes, I had a very up-close-and-personal view of a human being who was obese in the extreme. The auto-play function of Hulu had taken me to My 600-lb Lifehttps://g.co/kgs/YxKGV. When the scene shifted to Dr. Nowzaradan’s consulting room, I knew that this could be a meaningful viewing experience.


How Y’all Doing?’

Watching Dr. Nowzaradan and his patients reinforced my commitment to resist the barriers to physical activity. I needed this reinforcement because my brain and my mind hold two very dissonant cognitions about movement. My brain is constantly receiving the message that movement is both painful AND dangerous. This is not a message that I can ignore because it is true. I have the falls, the fractures, the concussions, and the surgical scars to prove that this is the reality in which I live. The pain signals that reach my brain are not delusions.

The compression of nerve roots in my lumbar spine produces pain, weakness, and numbness in my lower back, buttocks, thighs, legs and feet. Since my last surgery, my right leg no longer collapses unexpectedly. However, it has not fully recovered and my brain, wisely, does not trust it. I cannot walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. Every step, every foot placement requires the active participation of a brain that has been traumatized on multiple occasions. Unfortunately, the brain, my brain, now insists that the proper course of action is to find a comfortable position and stay in it. My brain is a strong advocate for a sedentary lifestyle.

I am not naïve enough to consider being sedentary as a long term solution. I have 62 years of personal experience in coping with chronic pain. I know that my brain can exaggerate and sometimes lie to me. I have a master’s degree in health and nutrition education. I am a lifelong learner and continuing education is something about which I am passionate. I also have a mind that tends toward the rational. That mind, my mind, knows that physical activity is essential to life. At this point, my logical mind believed that if I did not move more, I would become sicker and die sooner than expected. I needed a specific type of push to break free of the uncomfortable dissonance produced by the contradictory cognitions held by my brain and my mind.

Dr. Nowzaradan and his patients provided the inspiration that I needed. Dr. Nowzaradan encourages movement using a rational approach that resonates with me. When his patients explain that movement causes pain, Dr. Nowzaradan’s response is “So what?” I have been adopting that approach to negotiate an amicable agreement between my brain and my mind.

When I first bought my step counter I was taking between 200 and 1200 steps per day. Two weeks of binge watching My 600-lb Life and my average was up to 3000 steps per day. Occasionally, I reach 6000-7000 steps in a day. This is acceptable progress for a 72 year old woman coping with multiple autoimmune diseases, lumbar radiculopathy, and a problematic kidney.

The bargaining starts every time that I stand up. My brain is uncertain that my legs will support me. It anticipates a fall with every step. My mind fights the prediction of catastrophe. I can only reach about 2000 steps before the peace talks between my brain and my mind break down. At that point I must sit and recover before moving again or the brain will make its prophecy self fulfilling. If you don’t understand how that works, I can’t help you.

Taking steps then resting several times throughout the day, requires a commitment to time and planning. It also requires that I give up some of those activities that promote a sedentary lifestyle. I just don’t have time for them.

I have an appointment for a CT Scan and a consultation with my kidney surgeon in late March. In the weeks leading up to that appointment, I need to move. As a 72 year old adult with chronic illnesses, I need to be as physically active as my abilities and conditions allow. I have definitely been inspired by Dr. Nowzaradan and his patients.

How many steps per day are enough? https://www.verywellfit.com/how-many-pedometer-steps-per-day-are-enough-3432827

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES


Sit Less, Get Active
https://www.coursera.org/learn/get-active


Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/be-active/physical-activity-guidelines-for-americans/index.html

SMART Goals
https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm

Fitbud Step Counter
https://sites.google.com/site/smartdigitalsportpedometer/3dfitbud-simple-step-counter-walking-3d-pedometer-with-lanyard-a420s-black

1200 Calories: Variety Simplified

While Managing Weight and Improving Health

Over the past 6 months I have become increasingly sedentary. I was also gaining weight. Stopping this weight gain became my first priority. The simplest approach to stopping weight gain is reducing caloric intake. I knew that if I cut daily caloric intake to no more than 1200 calories I would lose weight. This is true for most women. I tried preparing three meals per day that were each under 400 calories. I soon discovered, however, that I don’t have enough stamina for that much washing up.

In order to reduce both caloric and kitchen cleaning loads, I needed to cook fewer meals. I examined the potential of frozen meals labeled as “healthy” choices to meet my needs. I found some that met the calorie count requirement and which were relatively tasty. Some even had a relatively decent micronutrient profile, EXCEPT for an excessive amount of sodium. I keep one or two of these in my freezer for unexpected situations, but they are not suitable for daily consumption.

Because I am trying to manage my weight, improve my health, and simplify my lifestyle, I switched to the two meal per day version of intermittent fasting (IF). I generally have lunch at noon and supper at six, then fast for the next 18 hours. In order to limit clean up, I find it helpful to cook both meals at the same time. Some days I find one meal sufficient.

Intermittent Fasting 101 — The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/intermittent-fasting-guide

I deeply appreciate the opportunity to eat a variety of foods. When I eat just a few foods day after day, I soon find myself overeating. I think of it as “palate fatigue.” In addition to keeping the palate alert, eating a wide variety of foods is good for nutrition. I relish “eating the rainbow.”

Recently I decided to try a meal preparation kit. I went with Home Chef because of a great offer through Groupon. I received the ingredients required to prepare three meals for two people, which translates to six meals for me, at a cost of $24. I enjoyed the three recipes tremendously.

Since I used the Home Chef offer, other companies have been pursuing my business aggressively. I have substantially discounted meals lined up for the next five weeks (Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Green Chef). I am pleased that I get to cook a variety of new dishes, at a discount, without a trip to the supermarket. When I am only eating one meal per day not relying on my standard recipes increases the pleasure of the meal.

My neurologist/pain management physician suggested that I combine Keto with IF. I have not experienced ketosis since I tried the Atkins diet after the birth of my second child some decades ago. I plan to conduct a trial using meal preparation kits that support ketosis.

Keto Diet: Does it Really Work
https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/keto-diet

Intermittent Fasting and Keto: How Are They Related? https://perfectketo.com/ketosis-vs-intermittent-fasting/

Top 5 Keto Meal Delivery Services
https://top5mealdeliveryservices.com/keto-meal-delivery

For the past two weeks, I have been battling a painful infection. While waiting for my temperature to go down, I binge watched the first six seasons of My 600 lb. Life.


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_600-lb_Life


The participants in this reality series inspired me as a person, a sociologist, and a health and nutrition educator. I plan to share some of things that I learned or relearned while watching this program. These things can have import for anyone struggling to maintain a health weight.

Moving into 2019 –

As I eagerly await the as yet unannounced Netflix premiere of season 5 of Luther, I have watched the official trailer, read reviews of the opening episode on British television, and read interviews with the star, Idris Elba, and the writer, Neil Cross.

Watch “LUTHER Series 5 | OFFICIAL TRAILER – BBC” on YouTube
https://youtu.be/zltvWcctE6g

I am fascinated by the character. Luther is a big man who brings his big walk, and gale force passions into the world of psychopaths and serial killers. Cross gives a nod to Columbo and explains that Luther is not a “Who done it” but rather a “How to Catch Them.” This characteristic is also shared with Law and Order: Criminal Intent. I definitely compare DCI John Luther’s intelligence with that of Lt. Columbo and Detective Robert Goren.

Cross compares Luther’s tendency to “cross the line” and frenetic need to be in more than one place at a time to the Vic Mackey character from The Shield. Luther is definitely not the quiet sensitive serial killer detecting empath, Will Graham, portrayed by William Petersen in the 1986 film Manhunter. (My favorite adaptation of The Red Dragon by Thomas Harris which continues to be my favorite novel in this genre.)

Watch “Manhunter (1986) [Collector’s Edition] – Official Trailer (HD)”
https://youtu.be/5zl6IxPJSVc

Like millions of other readers and viewers around the world, I enjoy peeking into the darkness as I read novels by Harris and Cross and watch movies and television programs based on their work. This is why Amazon Prime video suggested that I might want to watch Taboo. I could not look away from the darkness and unashamedly binge watched the entire season.

Watch “Taboo Official Trailer (HD) Tom Hardy (Season 1) FX TV Drama” on YouTube
https://youtu.be/6ZYAQSlIhM4

If you are concerned that this focus on the dark will scar my psyche, well you should have been around when I was nine years old. That was the year I read Edgar Allen Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The next year it was Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Shelley’s Frankenstein. Were these works not on your high school and college reading lists?

Aspects of Taboo that annoyed critics tended to amuse me. For example, James Keziah Delany was delusional. Many of the fictional characters that I have enjoyed over the past 68 years have been delusional. By today’s standards a number of important historical figures were delusional. Important historical events resulted from mass hysteria or delusions. Who decides when another person’s supranatural belief system is delusional.

And could James, a severely traumatized man, sometimes be experiencing flashbacks instead of delusions? According to his servant his mother did try to drown him when he was an infant. According to the storyline, he did play an important role in sending a hole full of enslaved Africans to a frightening death. I could go on and on.

However, the most important thing about Taboo for me is that it forced me to look more closely at some historical questions. I now have a better understanding of who ruled England during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. I definitely know more about the East India Company, the conflict with Spain over the Northwest passage to China, and the treaty establishing the border separating Canada from the US.

I have a better idea of what life was like in the British Isles during this time period. I sidestepped into some fictionalized accounts of the settling of Australia as a penal colony. I watched both the controversial Banished and The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant.


https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/mar/05/banished-jimmy-mcgovern-filipa-jodelka

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/incredible_journey_of_mary_bryant

AFTER MARY BRYANT it was time to switch back to a more romantic view of Cornwall. I accomplished this by using my Masterpiece Theater subscription to finish season 4 of Poldark. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU NEVER HEARD OF POLDARK? WE LIVE IN ALTERNATE REALITIES.

Watch “Poldark: Trailer – BBC One” on YouTube
https://youtu.be/7A0U6kQNCN0

Hey, I snuck in a viewing of Avengers: The Infinity War https://youtu.be/6ZfuNTqbHE8

After getting my Scifi fix, I jumped back in time to watch season two of Jamestown. It hit a little closer to home. For more than 30 years, I attempted to explain to students that the integrationist versus the separatist orientations among African Americans did not start with Dubois and Garvey. I loved seeing them played out on screen between Maria and Pedro.

Watch “Jamestown Series Two – Coming Soon” on YouTube
https://youtu.be/588sI3BXQ4k

Maria’s tortuous punishment brought me back to where I was once again able to read more of the Underground Railroad.

I USE BOOKS, TELEVISION, AND MOVIES TO DISTRACT ME FROM PAIN. I DON’T HAVE THE ENERGY TO FORMAT AND SPELLCHECK.

Watching and Reading as 2018 Ends


As the 2018 book winners come in from everywhere (I feel as though I am drowning in recommendations), I am starting last year’s Pulitzer winning fiction Underground Railroad.

https://g.co/kgs/BMDW71

After months of reading about Andrew Jackson and the War of 1812 from the US perspective, I am enjoying the view of the War of 1812 from the English side presented in the FX program Taboo. I am binge watching it on HULU. This is not Masterpiece Theater.

https://g.co/kgs/BMDW71

I have been enjoying the fictional presentation of the Hudson Bay Company in the Canadian made television series Frontier. Until I started watching the FX based Taboo, I had no image of the East India Company in Canada. Now I am comparing the fictional accounts presented in the television series to what historians present as more factual.

https://g.co/kgs/7jDjEb

I am especially interested in the role of the two English companies in the genocide of the indigenous people of North America and the enslavement of Africans. The television programs are very unlike those of my youth, in which Native Americans were presented as savages deserving of death and Africans as savages deserving of enslavement.

Both television programs are gut wrenchingly violent. With the English being presented as the most violent. Both shows portray the importance of class and nationality in England. The poor were very poor and the Irish were generally poor and oppressed. I have recently watched several movies with these same themes.

Ever since I was a child fascinated by the historical fiction of Canadian author Thomas B. Costain, I have not been able to resist comparing how novelists and historians present the same time period or historical incidents.

So, in addition to comparing the two television shows to historical works, I am off and running on the Underground Railroad.

I started attending school in 1950, when I was four years old. I stopped teaching school, probably for good, in 2016. That amounts to 66 years of reading books because they were required by classes in which I was a student or classes in which I was the teacher. My own choices had to be snuck in on the side.


I am 72 years old. My eyesight is failing and I can’t read as rapidly as in the past. I am also coping with constant back pain and autoimmune flares. I am very comfortable coping with these by reading and watching what I select for myself. I tend to ignore recommendations that are not on topics of current interest as politely as possible.

Of course, I am interested in recommendations for fictional (video or written) and historical (video or written) works on English history during the colonization of North America and the enslavement of Africans, as well as those that deal with the so called Underground Railroad.

Setting Some Migration Boundaries

 

I am continuing to study how my ancestors arrived in my Clarke County, Alabama homeplace. Because of changes in boundaries as well as other sociopolitical and economic factors, how they arrived cannot be separated from when they arrived and the use of appropriate terminology is logical. 

A number of my ancestors came through Georgia. Founded in 1733 Georgia was the last and largest of the original 13 colonies. When Georgia became a state in 1788, its western boundaries extended to the Mississippi River and the Louisiana Territory. 

Georgia 1795

The Mississippi Territory

In 1798 Congress changed the boundaries of Georgia by organizing the Mississippi Territory and opening the area for settlement.

A few settlers already lived in Mississippi when it became a territory. They were concentrated in two principal areas — the Natchez District and the lower Tombigbee settlements above and west of Mobile. Approximately 4,500 people, including slaves, lived at Natchez, considerably more than the combined free and slave population of 1,250 that inhabited the Tombigbee settlements in 1800. http://www.mshistorynow.mdah.ms.gov/articles/169/the-great-migration-to-the-mississippi-territory-1798-1819

My homeplace is located in what was “the lower Tombigbee.”  

Mississippi Territory

 Migration 1798 to 1819

 The summary of migration into the area between 1798 and 1819, written by Charles Lowery is suitable for my purposes. 

The Great Migration to the Mississippi Territory, 1798-1819 

http://www.mshistorynow.mdah.ms.gov/articles/169/the-great-migration-to-the-mississippi-territory-1798-1819

Lowery indicates that we should consider the time before the creation of the Mississippi Territory as one period of migration (1). He then divides the time between the organization of the territory and Mississippi and Alabama becoming states into two phases, one on each side of the War of 1812.

Mississippi was admitted to the Union as a state on December 10, 1817. Mississippi Becomes State 1819

Alabama was admitted to the Union as a state on December 14, 1819.

Alabama Becomes a State 1819

Lowery sees the end of this “Great Migration” when the impressive economic expansion following the War of 1812 was ended by the Panic of 1819.

The importance of cotton meant that the population of Alabama continued to grow over the next several decades. It should also be clear that after 1820 the term Alabama refers to the state. After 1820 It is no longer the Alabama Territory. After 1820 it is no longer that part of the Mississippi Territory that became the state of Alabama. After 1820, it is no longer part of some English Colonial dream or early American territorial ambition called Georgia. After 1820 it is the state of Alabama. 

Population of Alabama (figures for 1800 and 1810 are taken from that portion of the Mississippi Territory that became Alabama )


NOTES

(1) My cousins who are the descendants of the indigenous population and/or Spanish explorers will not be satisfied with pre 1798 as a single historical period.

Reading, Reflecting, Writing

Spring 2018 Alabama History Reading List | Ann Creighton-Zollar, PhD, MHNE
https://anncreightonzollar.com/2018/05/30/spring-2018-alabama-history-reading-list/

The Old Federal Road in Alabama Has Been Surveyed | Ann Creighton-Zollar, PhD, MHNE
https://anncreightonzollar.com/2018/03/22/the-old-federal-road-in-alabama-has-been-surveyed/

In 1814 We Took a Little Trip . . . Down the Alabama | Ann Creighton-Zollar, PhD, MHNE
https://anncreightonzollar.com/2018/04/19/in-1814-we-took-a-little-trip-down-the-alabama/

The Settling of Indian Ridge: Thinking | Ann Creighton-Zollar, PhD, MHNE
https://anncreightonzollar.com/2017/05/09/the-settling-of-indian-ridge-thinking/

INTO THE NORTH CAROLINA COASTAL PLAIN

OUT OF ISLE OF WIGHT

My ancestors who were early landowners in Isle of Wight County, Virginia account for a very large proportion of my 23K matches on Ancestry. Using the trees of these matches, I was able to identify books that mention and journal articles about these European ancestors.


https://anncreightonzollar.com/2018/10/23/carry-me-back-to-the-coastal-plain/

I have poured over dusty fragile tomes and read journal articles so old that JSTOR offers them free. Unfortunately, these works from the 1930s and 1940s offer a “whitewashed” view of Colonial American history. If you did not already know that Africans were present, you would not learn that they were from reading these works. These works include “abstracts” of wills rather than complete listing of estates. I think that additional study requires a visit to the County Clerk’s office, which I am unable to make.

The County Clerk’s office has found records related to the enslaved unbound in boxes. These records have supposedly been digitized. However, I have not yet found records online that provide information on the enslaved prior to the late 1700s. The ancestors that I am able to follow moved from Isle of Wight County Virginia to North Carolina. They did not move far from the ocean. Therefore, I am switching my focus from the Tidewater and coastal plain of Colonial Virginia to the coastal plain of Colonial North Carolina (1).

THE NORTH CAROLINA COASTAL PLAIN

“When King Charles II conveyed the Carolina grant by a charter to the eight Lords Proprietors in 1663, the Albemarle region had been settled for at least five years by planters, who had on their own initiative traversed the Dismal Swamp and created a backwoods frontier settlement patterned on tidewater Virginia” (Butler, 1998)


THE NORTH CAROLINA COASTAL PLAIN
https://goo.gl/images/4dRCGf


The European ancestors that I am following did not move from Isle of Wight County Virginia into the Albemarle region of the North Carolina Coastal plain before 1700. I am following a set of my fourth great grandparents who were born in Bertie, North Carolina around 1730 (2). They left North Carolina around 1790 (3). This means that my initial focus has both geographical and chronological limits: the North Carolina Coastal Plain between 1700 and 1790 (4).


AFRICANS IN NORTH CAROLINA 1700-1790


It appears that there were relatively few Africans, enslaved or otherwise, in North Carolina during the 1600s. It has been estimated that in 1700 there were fewer than 500 African Americans in North Carolina. By the time of the 1790 census that number had grown to more than one hundred thousand slaves (Butler,1988).

I don’t know if I had ancestors among the estimated 500 in 1700. I believe that some of my unidentified African fourth great grandparents were in North Carolina by 1790. I believe this based on the fact that several of my African American third great grandparents were born in North Carolina.

NORTH CAROLINA BORN AFRICAN AMERICAN THIRD GREAT GRANDPARENTS IN THE ALABAMA BLACKBELT

I have identified an African American third great grandfather, Henderson Rivers, who was born in North Carolina about 1814. His wife Jane, one of my third great grandmothers, claimed in the 1880 census that she was born in North Carolina and so were her parents. On another line my African American third great grandmother, Clarissa Rodgers, was born in North Carolina about 1815.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Ancestry estimates connect me with the African American population of the North Carolina coastal plain (which includes parts of Virginia and South Carolina (5). I tend to believe, as in tentatively hypothesize, that it was on the North Carolina coastal plain that my European and African ancestors first encountered each other.

I have wondered if any of them traveled together into Clarke County, Alabama where most of my second great parents, my grandparents, my parents, and I were was born. Did my slaveholding ancestors and my enslaved ancestors travel together or separately.

The first chronological conundrum is clear. My European American fourth great grandparents left North Carolina around 1790 and my African American third great grandparents were not born until 1814-1815. If the enslaved traveled as part of a household migration, then it was with people who left after 1815.


I am fascinated by the fact that these three African American third great grandparents were born in North Carolina around the same time. I am learning some interesting things about the enslavement of Africans in North Carolina. The first thing I learned is that North Carolina had no natural harbors like Virginia and South Carolina did. So the enslaved were either brought up from South Carolina or down from Virginia or they were North Carolina born. I have a great deal more to learn.

REFERENCES
Butler, L. S., & Watson, A. D. (1988). The North Carolina experience: An interpretive and documentary history. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.


Kay, M. L. M., & Cary, L. L. (1995). Slavery in North Carolina, 1748-1775. University of North Carolina Press.


Powell, W. S. (1990). North Carolina through four centuries. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.


Crow, J. J., & North Carolina. (2001). The Black experience in revolutionary North Carolina. Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, N.C. Dept. of Cultural Resources.

NOTES
(1) “The North Carolina Coastal Plain is bordered on the ocean side by its drowned partner, the submarine Continental Margin, and on the inland side by the fall line that separates the Coastal Plain from the Piedmont and Appalachian provinces.” Riggs, S.R. and Ames, D.V. NORTH CAROLINA’S “LAND OF WATER” COASTAL SYSTEM in Tise, L. E., & Crow, J. J. (2017). New voyages to Carolina: Reinterpreting North Carolina history. The University of North Carolina Press.


(2) You can locate Bertie on the map by looking in the northeast. It is just west of the Tidewater.


(3) They were not alone in leaving North Carolina. “North Carolina was the third most populous state in the Union in 1790, but by 1860 it had dropped to twelfth in population. Hundreds of thousands of White North Carolinians fled the state during those years, seeking cheap, fertile land in Tennessee, western Georgia, Indiana, Alabama, Missouri, Mississippi, and other trans-Allegheny states and territories. Thirty percent of North Carolina’s native-born population, amounting to more than four hundred thousand persons, was living outside of the state in 1860. NORTH CAROLINA MUSEUM OF HISTORY  

https://www.ncmuseumofhistory.org/workshop/nc-geography/session-1

(4) The North Carolina Museum of History offers an online geography workshop that I found very helpful. https://www.ncmuseumofhistory.org/workshop/nc-geography/introduction

(5) There is no overlap between the North Carolina coastal plain and Georgia. So the long lived border disputes between the two are not an issue in this discussion. They are interesting – https://www.ncpedia.org/boundaries-state.