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…

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?

Secure Your Mask… First

“In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag does not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.” ¬†~ Most Airlines In-flight Instruction

Can you see me through a field of boteh? I mean really see my truth. Can the waving of palme really hide me; or do you just not choose to recognize? Prelude to Y.U.M.D.

Can you see me through a field of boteh? I mean really see my truth. Can the waving of palme really hide me; or do you just not choose to recognize? Prelude to Y.U.M.D. Part of the PluME/Paisley Coloring Project with Ella van Wyk – Urbane, IL

I have not been heeding this instruction. We have all heard it before; that is if you have ever been on a flight. The truth is if you have been on enough flights you know the script but tend to ignore it. You become immune to it. Metaphorically, this is an instruction that should be adhered to everyday.

Most people know I wear many hats. Sometimes so many that the question in social settings that makes me sigh deeply is… “So, what do you do?”. It is a big part of living in DC, especially now. The city has slowly become a cross section of politicos and artists; always working to find the balance between the two. “So, what do you do?” becomes that¬†question necessary to figure out who is in the room. Mind you both politicos and artists are political, that is if the artist is truly into making art from the soul. But that could digress into another conversation.

The folks in between shuttle back and forth between the two categories creating an interesting bridge between the two. Then there are the folks who get caught in a position of liaison or straddler.

This is the space I currently occupy. 

One foot in the arts. One foot in politics. Mind¬†on social justice. Now how exactly is that working? At the moment, I can’t call it. One this is for sure it is taxing and does not really serve my inner sanctum.

Rewind… Maybe 3 years ago, I asked my mother, “Why?” “Why didn’t you push me into a career in law or medicine?” Her answer simply and unequivocally… “Because you are an artist.”

Wow.

There are some who spend their lives looking for people who really know them… who really get who they are as a human being. My mother in that moment showed me that the only person who needed to get to know me was me. Because she clearly got it.

This is where the oxygen mask comes in handy. When you have those around you who see you in a certain light or your ability to aid in a particular agenda or further a particular cause, it is important and necessary that you have a firm footing and your lungs are fully operational and inflatable. Otherwise you get tripped up and can easily have the wind knocked out of you.

The agenda of others always seeps into the crevices of those who can fulfill it. A fact that I am not mad at.¬†This is how things progress. However, sometimes it can be obtrusive and forceful, especially to those who are keen on “getting IT” done. You know, those types willing to help, picking up the ball to make sure the goal is scored. It seems like those people are becoming fewer in number, as they are over come by obtrusive agendas and worn out souls. So before my soul is worn out…

What then…?

I create more. I spend more time with me. I create more. I reveal more thoughts through the medium that feels right. Art is… Most importantly, I relinquish other people’s issues and agendas back to them, because there is no more capacity, no more storage for them here. Some time ago I learned that everything happens for a reason. It is no coincidence that “x” and “y” took place, it was all in the plan.

So, cheers to the plan.

I type these words self – centered-ly, though the compassionate side of me hopes it is helpful to someone. The passionate side of me looks towards saving myself because the air in the cabin is decompressing.

Letting Mercury Win…

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So I would like to think that I LET Mercury win yesterday. The truth is I think the planet had the upper hand. Have you ever just tried to keep pluggin through and everything and everyone was knocking you down at every turn? This day was one of those. KNOWING that Mercury is in Retrograde is a challenge because you really can’t tell if you, the other asshole, or that other asshole is being an asshole or if it was all just a big misunderstanding. It is so annoying.

But alas this time is about reflection, correct? It is a time to pause and consider “whassup”… what can you do better, what are you actually doing. So before I turn into Evillene out dis piece that is what I am going to do. Reflect.

I pushed the do not disturb button on the phone… in fact it is still on. I just couldn’t deal so… I took a nap. It wasn‚Äôt a bad day, just a day of I don’t  want to. Dealing with your feelings and Mercury being retrograde is no easy feat. Somedays are a real challenge, which is why I let Mercury win yesterday.

That doesn’t mean the day was a bust.

Today, I received a package that will be revealed in another blog post, I discovered a new show on HULU, caught up on all my Black‚ÄĘish and developed an idea to tell my family history on a larger scale. So again not a bust. Just using this time to regroup and refresh… before I send some flying monkeys to ring Dorothy’s little neck and her little dog too.

Don’t Bring Me No Bad News…

Seeing is Believing

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I wear glasses, as do many. I think it has to do with not eating the necessary dosage of carrots as a kid. Like many of those that wear glasses I feel that if I have to wear them they might as well look good. After all glasses wearers are fun and fashionable too. However, I learned early on that wearing glasses could sometimes eat up that extra spending money you worked so hard to save. So over the years I have been on a search to find glasses that fit my budget, because personally I would love to have a pair of glasses that match every outfit I own. That is just the fashionista in me and of course I am my mother’s child.
There are many places for funky, fresh, exciting and visually dramatic eye baubles. I am actually looking to update my look. I receive a lot of compliments on my glasses. I appreciate them all! I realize that folks have to look at me if I am in their atmosphere so I figure I should be pleasing to the eye. I hope that doesn’t come off weird… if you get it you got though. Now I can’t tell all the secrets, to be unique is to have an arsenal of tricks up your sleeve. Alas. I consider myself a great helper if I do say so myself. So with that said check out this link and find yourself some funky fresh eye candy.

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Help…

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This is not a word that you will often hear me say. But the last year has proven otherwise. I do not like it but I am learning. I grew up an only child. I played on my own accord and mostly by myself. I was grateful for playmates but I knew how to keep myself occupied. Being an only child fostered a deep seated independence. I was good at imagining and managed to entertain myself very well. When I was in high school, actually my senior year, some friends and I drove down to Atlantic City. It was a turn around trip but while we were there we stopped by a psychic shop or house… whatever it would be called. I didn’t have enough for a full reading but I had enough for a hand writing analysis (yeah I know). It “revealed” my persistence. She more than likely ascertained that from me trying to figure how I could give her my money. I will try until I succeed; a trait that supports independence. I can do it. If I don’t get it the first time I will keep going. It could just mean that I am hard-headed.

But I have found myself in a position that while I know I can do it, I need some help to push through to that next round. Forming my mouth to ask for¬†“help” in this instance has been one of the most difficult moments of this life journey. I am sincerely grateful to those who¬†have been supportive during this time. I am numb from the overwhelming support. I feel loved, weird, indebted…¬†but over those, I feel grateful. I love the people in my life.

Thank you God for sending such great folks my way. You certainly know how to Bless a girl!

Health Trilogy part 2

Note: I am in no way a physician and do not prescribe to be. Please consult your primary care physician if you are considering lifestyle changes uses herbal or alternative medicines.echanacea

I love “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. I wasn’t able to see it on Broadway but the film was great. One part that sticks with me the most is the father’s obsession with Windex. “Put some Windex on it.” The solution to all ailments from acne to cuts and burns. I am not sure of the validity of his ideas surrounding this chemical but, I believe the best remedies are home grown. Our society is so quick to drug ourselves with over the counter medicines and injections that we never stop to think about cause and effect.

Over the years I have been fortunate to learn about homemade remedies and concoctions. My Great, Great, Great Grandfather was Dr. James Still, known as the Great Doctor of the Pine Barrens in NJ. In his book Early Recollections he talks about purchasing a scanty building in Vineland, NJ that he ultimately turned into a clinic and treated his neighbors with herbs. He was not a trained doctor but he used the knowledge he did have to heal.

Dr._James_StillOur biggest issue is our lack of connectedness to the earth. I admit I am no nature girl because I do not see eye to eye with insects. Bugs that fly, walk, crawl… FREAK ME OUT! I do know that there is importance in every living thing. We as humans need to ingest more life into our bodies. Vegetables and herbs are the best way to be healthy. So how do you know what does what? Many times your intuitive self tells us what is up.

We have the closest relationship to our bodies. I had a doctor try to grill me about what I felt was ailing me. He asked snidely, “Are you a doctor? Do you have a diagnosis?” Don’t worry I didn’t jump out the chair and pummel him, but he never saw me again.

My immediate thought is… ‘Have I had water today?”

Water is an important part of LIFE period. When I come across people that do not drink water it also FREAKS ME OUT! Dry skin… drink water. Ashy lips… drink water. Headache… drink water. True these maybe more complex symptoms for a larger problem but dehydration is real. Your body needs water because it is mostly comprised of water. REPLENISH!

I want a doctor who want to help me help myself not who feels they are in control of my body. If you put the right things in we get better results, doctors know these and we know this too.

Here are a few more ideas and resources to move you into healing what ails you.

Prescription for Nutritional Healing: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements

This book is the greatest resource to understanding just about everything in health. I believe I have three editions and I may need to get up on the next one.

Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss

This was written in 1939 I believe. It was part of the reason that I began using Apple Cider Vinegar with mother. (Mother is the good stuff that floats around in the bottle.)

Anything Related to Coconut can Heal You

Well that may be an exaggeration but if you check out Everyday Roots you may discover otherwise.

Herbal Teas are better than Lipton

If you are going to drink tea go for something that is nourishing to the body. Check out this list of herbs. There are some medicinal teas that are not so tasty but others that are. As always research the herbs to are interested in, especially the side effects.

So start with these and in part 3 we will talk about food stuffs that nourish the body.

 

A Health Trilogy – Part 1

My favorite season is Autumn. I enjoy the way the leaves turn colors the layering of clothes… it all brings me joy. Autumn also brings confusion in the Washington Metro area (bka DMV… I hate that term). You never quite know how to prepare for the weather here. Which tends to bring in some malaise, which later develops into a cold, which is later spread because folks just don’t know how to keep it to themselves.

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One thing I have always pride myself on is that colds usually miss me. “Ain’t nobody got time for that”. If I am attacked I run swiftly to the kitchen and whip up something funky. Literally, it is funky. It normally smells like I have been cooking all of the garlic cloves in the kitchen cabinet. I am a big fan of natural cures. I love researching home remedies. I do not even know if I have ever had a flu shot. I use food and herbs to cure what ails me.

My recommendation is to…

  1. First build your immune system so that germs have no place to settle and get comfortable.
  2. Second… avoid nastiness.

During this time of year it is hard. Especially, if you live in the world. Etiquette is a thing of the past. Plenty of folks sneeze or cough without covering their mouth; it is horrible. The best defense is a strong immune system. I am so excited because I just ordered Nature’s Sunshine Elderberry D3fense. It contains vitamin D3, elderberry fruit extract, echinacea aerial parts, willow bark extract, royal jelly and olive leaf extract. They all work together to add that needed boost to the immune system.

If you work in an office surely you dread the first co-worker who comes up missing. It is a high probability when you were in their office they were sick and highly contagious. Instead of being thoughtful and considerate they spread their germs everywhere and thus one by one co-workers go down. No one wants to take a sick day. It is like they hoard them.

Let me tell you… if I am sick you won’t get it from me. I keep it to myself. I certainly do not let it linger. My body responds pretty well to this flu cocktail. You know, the funky concoction I mentioned. If I feel a tickle in my throat I head to the Mexican produce spot off of H Street. Those little ladies have everything I need to stave off a pesky invasion of germs.

IMG_5400In part two of this series I will talk about the best places to find these remedies and what works best for you.