Vegan… Almost

I am proud of myself. I have committed to a planted based diet and have been going strong since July 27th. So far so good. It is definitely a lifestyle of planning. Sometimes I really don’t like to do that but I have certainly gotten better. 

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What we eat is certainly a conscious choice. Obviously, this is still the beginning.  I am not completely free from dairy but I am much closer than I once was. I have posted about what dairy does to your body, which foods help which issues you may have but I wasn’t fully committed to transitioning to a healthier lifestyle. 

Today, I am excited. The goal is to eat better… period. Less processed food more plants and working towards no soy. That is a monster in and off itself. NuVegan Cafe is deliciously horrible. Damn them vegan wings. They are so good. But studies show that soy isn’t good for you and TVP is just as processed as everything else. 

Breakfast Scramble Cauliflower, Tomato, Avocado

There are flavors I miss, of course. I just deem my health more important than solely my taste buds. Please know there is absolutely no lack of flavor though! I have had some of the most delicious dishes and have created some pretty exciting and flavorful treats myself. Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast is bae right now… Vegan Sour Cream and Vegan Nacho Cheese. Next I need to figure out ketchup because it is my favorite condiment. Plus GMOs are real and they are in ketchup.ūüė¶

Vegan Nacho Cheese

I have always enjoyed switchin’ in the kitchen. I use to always sit in the kitchen while my grandfather cooked. I helped him do the grocery shopping and then we would make magical dishes for the family. I miss his s’ghetti and meatballs. I was the meatball former, anally trying to make them all the same size. 
I enjoy experiments in the kitchen… some have gone terribly wrong and others have been deliciously extraordinary. People think I can’t cook. But actually it is something I love to do.

It Tastes… Purple! 

Bidwell @ Union Market Cauliflower and Zucchini crust pizza with Tomatoes, Corn and Nasturtium

C’mon who wants to eat meat when you can eat flowers? The range of plants and vegetables in existence to eat are mind boggling. Then if you consider that our body understands the genetic make up of those vegetables and files them in the appropriate places in our bodies, I mean how amazing is that? I still find it fascinating. Our body recognizes and processes what we need to exist. 

Inside of a Red Cabbage – Beautiful, right?

There are more and more Vegan and Vegan friendly spots opening across the city. If you haven’t tried them you should. What would it hurt? You could stand some veggies… they do a body good. (Unlike those milk ads that have lied to us so many years.)

Check out these spots…

NuVegan Cafe

Khepra’s Raw Food and Juice Bar

Beefsteak (this place is next on my list)

Farewell (may contain wheat and gluten)

I am sure there are more and more popping up everyday. 

Send me your favorite spot…

Information is Moving to Fast

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I feel like everything just needs to slow down. Then there is a voice in my head taunting me saying “What, you can’t keep¬†up?” It is frustrating. But there are times when I just want to get off the ride, to just slow down and chill out. Information travels so quickly now. That is why all of these deaths and murders at the hands of cops or the hands of our fellow man are so many. The information is just being disseminated quicker. I just want to sit on the side for a spell and watch paint dry and flowers grow. *shrug*

MSG got me f***** up

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I learn that MSG kills brain cells. I knew it was bad for you… but that is all that was said, I never knew the exact reason why. Not that I didn’t do my best to stay away from it before that knowledge.¬†

One thing that I also know is that the majority of students that I’ve worked with in the past have eaten from the Chinese carry out almost everyday multiple times a day. I tell the story of being in a carryout once and hearing a little girl say… “Ok… See you tomorrow Mamasan.” The diets of our young people are not healthy. Something I have known for quite some time. I can remember kids going to 7-Eleven getting a bag of doritoes and pouring nacho cheese over them not to mention whatever sugary drink they get to go with it. Cheese on top of a powered cheese substance that undoubtedly contains MSG or Monosodium glutemate as it is spelled out on the ingredients.

We know that many of our inner city youth reside in food deserts, we understand that our young people barely eat vegetables because they don’t even understand what it does for the body. Some of them may only know of one. I swear the most popular vegetable in the black community is broccoli. And then that may be covered in cheese.
But consider this, if a young girl is pregnant, she eats carry out everyday and MSG is known to be in carry out food not to mention her craving for sugar and hot cheetoes or anything else with MSG. She ingests this processed food and she has the baby.
If we know that MSG kills brain cells then we must also realize that not only is she killing her own brain cells but what does that baby end up with if their mothers nourishment is poison?

How is it humanly possible that a large majority of our children in predominately African American inner city schools have ADHD or some kind of disorder? How can we not associate the fact that there’s a food desert with the ailments of our children? Our kids cannot focus, they’re quick to anger, they can’t comprehend instructions, and they don’t associate things that are connected. (A noun is a person, place or thing… What is a person, place, or thing called? *crickets*)
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I am doing my best to impart my knowledge of photography on someone’s kids over the nex t 6 weeks or so. Every classroom I passed today, there was some teacher raising their voice to maintain order. There was some time of yelling most of the day that i was there. After a while I was yelling too. I had a colleague express to me that with the behaviors in the class “you feel like a failure.” The building is chaos and while I know these kids are amazing I also know that many of them are filled with just the right balance of meds to create the right balance in their system to calm them.

There was one incident where a young man was brought into the class and he began frantically asking for a teacher. He asked “Where is she…” someone explain where she was. Then he, at the same frantic level, asked where the other teacher was who happened to be behind him. Then he was off and running to grab a camera well after the lesson that he missed. I really thought something was wrong with him but apparently he was fine.

It is not their fault. They have so many chemicals reacting with the natural hormones and synapses in their bodies that they are just a ball of 1 second increments at any given time.

I think this video says it best… What is going into your system?

I Would Call Myself a Womanist before I would Ever call Myself a Feminist

The word feminism has been strewn about the media like a beach ball at an outdoor concert. I have never really taken the side of feminism because I suppose I am for what is fair and just regardless of labeling it. And while I believe that a woman has the right to do whatever her heart so desires, I personally am not interested in some things that are normally looked at as roles or responsibilities of males. (ie. I am cool on not taking out the trash or lifting heavy ‘ish. Nor am I interested in fighting any body’s war. They got that… for real. And war really? C’mon.) I recognize our physical attributes are different and I like it that way.¬†There are some who are adamant about “Not needing a man.” I am not that chick. ‘Yes sir can you pick that up and carry it up those stairs for me? Thanks I appreciate you!’

But I digress into a trick bag of possible backlash.

I would call myself a womanist before I ever called myself a feminist. In knowing the historical context of feminism and realizing that African descendants and women of color were not involved nor included or even considered as feminist. Of course the first wave of feminism there were some “things” happening. I mean “slave vs. woman, human vs not”; I can see how that can kinda throw a monkey wrench into things. You see what I am sayin?

There were feminist that were associated with¬†racist eugenics movements that targeted reproductive rights of African Americans. Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood would be a cleansing of the unpure. Killing of the unwanted or sterilizing the undesirables. There was someone else in history who what to do something similar… now what was his name?

Feminism has been placed on everyone from Rihanna to Amber Rose and Beyonce. All of whom are more focused on selling themselves and their respective brands vs necessarily changing the world and gaining equal pay for women. Everyone skews things to fit an agenda sadly.
But I suppose if you are journalist or pundit writing about Beyonce and calling her a feminist… well that is publicity for her regardless of whether SHE owns it or not. Because the mere mention of a song in association with that article will have people going to listen to it to see exactly what you are talking about. In fact, Beyonce should really give a cut to anyone who mentions her name. (Hey Bey… IJS)

But truly it is all semantics. Feminist, Womanist… My call would be to pay close attention to those associated with causes for whom you take up the mantle.

What Do Fetty Wap, My Mother, and I have in Common?

Besides the fact that we are all from New Jersey. The commonalities between my mama, Fetty Wap and myself are probably few. ¬†But we do share one thing for sure… a serious generational divide. Being a member of Generation X and of a particular age, I have always felt like a bridge between Depression Era babies, (my grandparents), ¬†Boomers and Millennials. Imagine a tether ball being hit from both sides and every angle ‚Äď to me, that is Gen X.

In discussions with various generations spanning¬†different circles and¬†in different areas of¬†the city there are a number of questions on the table that can only be answered across generations. I have always felt there has to be a solution to the turmoil our communities face. Whether it is the lack of successor-ship in government and organizational positions, the savvy yet non-political politics of the BLM movement or the seemingly apathetic approach to life we see in our youth, there is a solution… better still there are answers. I feel that this project is a stepping stone to closing the gaps within our community.

L2aG Instagram (2)

Letters 2 a Generation (L2aG) is a project developed by moi (Kimberly C. Gaines) with the goal of igniting conversation through written language among multiple generations of African-Americans. The project will enlist participants through an open call and a curated selection process to create an inter-generational dialogue. Using the art of letter writing, each generation will craft a correspondence to a generation of their choice. Writers can pose additional questions or topics or attempt to respond to a selected letter.

Submitted letters will be posted on the L2aG website. Select letters will also be included in a 3-part series, where they will be read during a staged theatrical presentation followed by a moderated conversation with representatives of each generation.

The objective is to:

  • Engage in a cross generational dialogue, in pursuit of better understanding
  • Develop a mutual respect for differing perspectives and approaches
  • Develop an online space for continued conversation
  • Create a book documenting the process and keeping record of written accounts

Here is the link to more details!


 

 

 

I Have Been Blind

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"Vision WITH ACTION..."

… But it hasn’t been my fault. If I continue on with these blinders… then it will be my fault.

Sco‚ÄĘto‚ÄĘma
sk…ôňątŇćm…ô/
noun MEDICINE
noun: scotoma; plural noun: scotomata; plural noun:scotomas

a partial loss of vision or a blind spot in an otherwise normal visual field.

I put a scotoma on the vision for my life. I have been sitting in the dark. Have you ever done that? Think hard. Maybe you thought you should be doing massage but you settled in as an administrative assistant because you couldn’t see how to make it as a massage therapist. Maybe it was being a writer but you associated it with struggling artist and opted to get a job that just let you pay the bills.

We put blinders on and block our vision. I can remember being a tween dancing around my grandparent’s house wanting to be a mogul. I developed the idea from wanting to be a mash up of Oprah (before the billionaire status), Spike Lee and Debbie Allen (I think I just wanted Debbie’s fierceness because at the time she was just on FAME and that is all I knew.) Scotoma kicked in when I began learning about college, careers and salaries. That “get a good job” mentality kicked in and my desire to be a mogul was hard to grasp in the confusion of information.  I could not figure out how to go about it. I stopped thinking it was possible. Fear of not suceeding set in.

I recently started recrafting that vision for my life again. And the dots began connecting, again. Mogul… that status is more than comfortable. I am interested in being… rich. Living in God’s abundance is real. How can I be of help from a position of lack?

One of the problems within the Black community is wealth. There are a percentage of use who have achieved wealth. But still we are unable to broker power plays because we lack the access to financial resources. We certainly know that this wasn’t always the case. I have been reading my Great, great, great grandfather’s book, the Life and Early Recollections of Dr. James Still, and I realized there was a blueprint for my family all along. Dr. Still was a millionaire. He started out having loans and was in debt but he saw his purpose in life was to heal. He had a vision to open a clinic in which to heal the sick and through helping others and being a vessel through which God’s work could be done he was blessed with family and a successful practice of herbal medicine.

I love that saying about God qualifying the called. My great, great, great, grandfather didn’t study medicine but he healed with herbs and his knowledge of the body. He was qualified by God to do what he did and he saved lives because he followed his vision and the purpose on his life.

We all come into our own understanding in our own time, and if we can not see how to achieve something scotoma sets in. Getting clear on what you want and the belief that you can achieve it will clear up this condition. Your vision for your life is important. Without it you are not living. Make sure your vision for your life is intact.

I challenge you to write down your vision for your life and read it daily and chose to believe that it can be achieved.

My New Year Begins… NOW!

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My holidays were good…

How about yours?

This time of year is filled with so much, I just needed to veg out. I was pretty much a zombie going through the holiday motions trying to figure out how to pep myself up and be in good spirits. I just felt like another year was ending and what position am I in now? What things did I learn? Wait… did I learn anything this year? (or Last year as it were.) I was just working to maintain my sanity really. I think I masked it pretty well. The point is, things just aren’t the same and I can’t say I wish they were, but I really would like to know what they are shaping up to be.

Now by no means is this a sad or pity post. You should know that end of/beginning of the year posts are always reflective. This is no different.

One very interesting occurrence in this new year is the fact that it is THEE FIRST TIME EVER that I have written the year right from the start. Get this, every year prior to this one I have written the previous year. You know how you have to get use to it being a new year and all before you write the correct year? That did not happen to me for the first time in my life. I took that as a big deal. I actually think that it is major! (I am going with that.) I take it as being a blessing and foreshadowing of good things to come this year.

Life day by day is a blessing. I am the most observant person I know and I certainly didn’t think that I could be anymore so but God…

I am watching and learning and in the process feeling my way through.

Expect more. I do.

sondai.

Someone Should…

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Those words have come out of my mouth many times over. Someone should create a shop that does this… Someone should start a website that does that… I have so many ideas I figure I can’t do them all. You ever feel like that? That you need a partner to execute plans or to lend ideas to someone for them to do. Sometimes you may not be the best conduit for the actual creation but the idea is pure brilliance. Fyah… if you will.

But then there is this line of what you need to do and what you want to do and you have to figure out, really what gets cut. Because it is not about what is the priority. You know priorities are needs… those things that have to get done against all odds. Essentially, what that means is you have to “adult”. Pay bills, buy groceries, take the kids to school and pay for piano lessons for little Malik. Your idea to start that expresso bar is on that shelf in the closet that you never even open.

One thing that I feel like the Millennials have cornered the market on is going for delf or the come-hell-or-high-water syndrome. They have an idea, execute it, sell it to the highest bidder. Then it is on to the next. Not all but more that a few. Responsibilities be damned… procreation… meh.

I have been phased out. Phased out of the background where it is comfortable. I tried to retreat back into the comfort of the shadows. Actually, I am still trying to be background to no avail. But once a calling is recognized, retreating is no longer a box available. I have always enjoyed teaming up, collaboration to create. But the older I get with the ideas I have had has made me relinquish the enjoyment. From the early days at Howard, I was being trained on loathing group projects. While there have certainly been a few that have been a breeze, some have been moments of torture. I have definitely had some great collabos (DeanwoodxDesign, The Front Porch Sound Series…) so I can not say that I haven’t been blessed in that area.

In my book of projects dust is collecting and things aren’t getting done. So… change is eminent.

That is all… for now.

On Second Thought…

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I.

I have the tendency to do that a lot… Think! Sometimes I overthink and then there are times when I should have put more thought into things for sure. Those are the times where I “give things away”. It ranges from money to time… in many cases, far too much time. I am loyal. I have the character of a team player. I believe in doing things that benefit the whole and if that means I give extra… that is what happens. I give.

There are moments when God put you in position to actually receive. It is in those times where I get the most emotional. You never really expect to receive something, anything when you do something that you love or you do something that you feel you need to do. I think those times catch me the most off guard.

In the past I’ve given away my talent. It is archived online, evident in fliers, photographs and on the walls of the people who took it. I am not mad at it though. I did some pretty great work. I also did some not so great work. But I learned so much. Doing graphic design I learned new techniques, new resources, new processes.¬†But the lessons that I learned while honing my talent we’re the ones that were most priceless.¬†I think the most important thing I learned was discernment. People will take advantage of you if you let them. I have learned to recognize those tendencies to “take” and manipulate.

I always think about Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote¬†‚ÄúNo one can make you feel inferior without your consent.‚ÄĚ This was definitely a lesson for me. I never want to be the victim.¬†I always check my role in situations. “How did I contribute to this?”¬†In the same token I never want to inflict harm, be malicious, or inconsiderate to another human being.

I chose to remove myself from situations that we’re not serving my greater purpose. Or rather were only for the moment. Everything has a stepping stone, sometimes when you’re in it you don’t realize that it is not a permanent situation. That is “ignorance is bliss” at work.


II.

I started another decade. I’m at the beginning and really feel excited and happy about the direction I am going. I constantly hear ‘speak what you want into existence’. I really feel stronger about it now. See… before I was a worrier. Actually there’s still some worry in me, but I really feel that my faith is stronger than my worries. See, all that time was practice. Flying by the seat of my pants and worrying about other people more than myself was a lesson that I had to learn. Now I see telltale signs, the writing on the wall, the warning signs and I high tail it the other direction. I really want positive energy around my life. The belief that things are possible regardless of the challenges that lie ahead. And certainly there will be challenges. Without struggle there is no progress. But what I want most is the belief that it is do-able.

I had such an amazing experience this past week. I started this blog about a week ago but it wasn’t finished and I now understand why. I went on a business trip to Ohio, where I was in the company of eight amazing people. It was one of those trips where everything felt like it was meant to be. In those moments sometimes I get lost, not wanting it to end. But this time I realized how much of a beginning this was. Just a mustard seed is not an exaggeration. Once you plant that seed watch the development, watch the movement, watch the change. There will be a shift. It is evident in so many instances in my life as I dictate this blog. (Yes I’m fancy.)

Let me back track though. In August, I started a new daily regimen. I began to listen and read more on personal development. In doing so I see differently. But get this. I have always loved biographies, autobiographies, self help books and so forth. So I am certainly not new to personal development. The difference is a different level of want.

The greatest capability that we have is the decision making process. We can change the path we’re on with a matter of implementing new¬†thoughts and beliefs. And when you do that the excitement that wells up in you makes change happen. But it is the type of thing you really have to see for yourself.

Thinking back to last¬†week one thing that I said was ‘you can’t wish dopeness on anyone else they have to want it for themselves’. I can want you to be great but unless you can see that you can be great it’s not going to happen. Having a second thought… a change of perspective and new epiphany, revelation will develop a new mindset and attitude.

Being around like minded individuals is beyond important. I was fortunate to be in great company.

The Sondai Souq

My Responsibilities Created Insecurities

In 2003, I was hell bent on owning a home. I was 27 and just tired of moving so much. I had made up my mind I was on a search of what I needed to do to become a homeowner. I still don’t think that I made the most informed decision. Everyday something would come up that was a challenge. April 14, 2003 I got the keys. By January 2005 I was laid off with no savings and to be quite honest I feel like I have been adrift at sea ever since.

I fell into that work to pay bills cycle that the 99% have as a physical mantra. You know that thing that wakes you up to go to work at a job that frustrates you to have a little bit of luxury that you are too tired to enjoy.

Looking back all I wanted was stability. I mean I was making it. I had my first one bedroom apartment nestled off of Rhode Island Ave on First Street. It was spacious and cute. The building probably was not fully up to code because there was a wicked slope that existed at the entrance. Then there began the problems. Leaks, rats from the construction nextdoor and an unresponsive landlord.¬† I gave up. I wanted something that I didn’t have to rely on the next man/woman for.

But at this very moment I realize reliance is a part of living. While there are many things in my 3 bedroom house that can be done on my own this is a lot to bear for a single woman. Dishes, dusting, laundry, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, closet… I live in every room. EVERY ROOM. How? There is just one of me.

I have had everything from a dispute with the water company that turned my water off for something that was their fault to issues with landscapers who just should not even be in business. (Just cause you have a lawnmower don’t mean you should be in the grass cutting business.) My first day in my new house my savings was depleted because of a capped pipe by the previous owners. It caused a back up. The plumber had to call one of his smallest men to climb into my crawlspace to uncap it. Then drill a whole in my laundry room wall to create another access for snaking the pipe if ever necessary.¬† Savings gone.

My responsibility to my house created insecurities because I was constantly second guessing my wants and sacrificing them for what my house needed. The mortgage needed to be paid. Nope, can’t visit Bahia with you guys. Pipe burst during winter. Have fun in London tell everyone I said Hi and hug them for me. I was/am tethered to my house. Please don’t misconstrue… I love my house. But having read Rich Dad, Poor Dad I realize the race that I have been in could have looked a lot different. I read it some time ago but never really quite understood how to get out of it.

The word stability pops back in my head. To be honest the house didn’t give it to me like I thought it would. Granted I no longer move every year. But I counter that with dripping faucets, feral cats, and neighbor issues.

Here are my thoughts…
If you purchase make sure there is some type of positive income to get from your purchase. A unit, retail space at the bottom… something. That was my initial goal… but as the search continue… it was daunting. Hindsight…

Condo over house. I would have done the condo if I knew what the problems were in an a traditional house.

Always buy detatched. I grew up in a row home. The thing about it was we knew our neighbors. Living in a semi detached house or a row home… you share what your neighbor has which could be everything from roaches to opossum and raccoons. Yes I have had a menagerie of animals in my home.

Lastly, space is overrated for the single. It just means more nooks and crankies to clean.

Property if done right is steady income. If not it can be a major liability.