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Meatless Mondays: I Made My Own Raw Dressing!

For the next 5 days, I have decided to return to eating raw vegan. Let’s just say I went off the rails during vacation with my vegan cooked foods and kept it up for a few days afterwards.

I usually like to make huge salads for dinner while raw and seek a recipe from the internet or something store bought for the dressing but tonight, with inspiration from recipes I’ve seen online, I decided to go ahead and make my own.

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Ingredients I blended for my homemade dressing!

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of juice from olives (you can even throw in a couple if you choose).
  • 1 tablespoon of spicy brown mustard

Blend together and enjoy this creamy dressing with your veggies!

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Tap Tap and the Unknown

For the past few days, Hubby and I were in Florida to celebrate our anniversary and to visit family. Our schedule was jam-packed but we did make time to stay spend a morning at Ft. Lauderdale beach and go to South Beach. I fell in love with the water, as in kicked off my sandals, hiked up my dress and waded straight into the warm clear blue. After a long walk, we made it to be to Tap Tap, a famous (and delicious) Haitian restaurant in South Beach Miami. We indulged in Diri Kole, plantains and legim (vegetables). I forgot to ask if there was a meat-based broth they cooked anything in but it was wonderful. I especially loved the decor. There were murals everywhere, a lovely and vibrant tribute to the people, music, rituals and food of Haiti.

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South Beach
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At Tap Tap
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Hubby and I with my grandparents

I also found out that I have the opportunity to go to two events over the same weekend in different parts of the country the night we left. One event is a known. I know (and am excited about) the type of people attending and the speakers. My second choice is full of unknowns and whether or not I deem the experience a success, I have no doubt I will be pushed to grow as a creator and a writer.

I have been told and have told others if you have the choice between two choices like that, you go with the unknown.

I understand part of life is about stretching yourself in order to know who you are and what your limits are.

I hope what I choose allows me to find out more about who I am and what those limits are for me.

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Transformation

On June 3rd, I wrote FACE

It was about accepting how far I have come in my health journey with psoriasis. Even though I wasn’t thrilled about what happened to my face since being diagnosed, I had come to a point where I was happy with the progress I had already made.

And then I challenged myself to be a raw vegan for the month of July and with the exception of a few bites of hummus here and there, I succeeded.

Then something else happened. My skin started changing rapidly. The picture above is the transformation from June 3rd to August 3rd. The pink scales started to clear and my real skin appeared. My real brown started to emerge again. I walked out of the house several times without a stitch of makeup except for lip gloss. It has been years since I felt comfortable doing that.

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Out and about feeling like a real psoriasis warrior!

Even though I indulged in cooked food a few times over last weekend, I know how key this is to my healing and I know I’ve written it many times now, but I am not letting it go. When I first looked at those pictures side by side, I was bowled over by the change. There is an answer for me that doesn’t look or sound like injections or pills or steroids.

How blessed am I for having access to fresh fruits and vegetables? How blessed am I that I have access to information about how they heal and how my body wants to heal itself? I am grateful that I was open to it.

I was open to my healing.

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Meatless Mondays: NuVegan Cafe

This past Saturday was our 6th anniversary! One of the ways we celebrated was trying Nu Vegan Cafe. It did not disappoint. I hadn’t indulged in any cooked food since June 30th and this meal was well worth the wait.

I had “chicken drummies” with macaroni and cheese and broccoli and hubby had General Tso’s with rice, string beans and some of the most delicious cabbage I had ever tasted. I am so happy to report they knew how to season their food!

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Hubby’s meal. The cabbage was our favorite!
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Me standing in front of NuVegan Cafe.

We even tried some of the vegan cornbread which is not to be missed! I had to slow down as my body was not used to eating cooked foods again. So while we did go back to try their brunch on Sunday (french toast was everything!) we will have to slow down as I am back on mostly raw foods. Make no mistake, we will be back. I still have so much more left to try!

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Priceless

This past week has had its ups and downs but I had an experience that made me realize I don’t have to run to food every time something goes wrong.

And I very well could have. July 31st has come and gone. My raw food challenge is over and I have remained raw. On June 30th, I would have told you come August 1st, I will be first in line at the new vegan soul food stuffing my face with as much as Mac and cheese that could possibly fit.

Instead, in the past week I attended the National Day of Dance and participated in the Afro-Caribbean class, walked and jogged a couple of times, enjoyed a combination of raw meals and smoothies. It wasn’t about the number (2.8lb loss this week). It was about how good I feel and want to continue to feel.

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Having a good time at Afro-Caribbean dance class

It is about how awful I felt dealing with a personal issue and my first reaction was to put the focus anywhere but how I can binge away my feelings, my panic and my anxiety.

That kind of growth is priceless for someone like me.

If I have the healing that eating all of those raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds brought to thank for it, then I thank what God gave us again and again.

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I Don’t Do it On My Own

Many of you know that most mornings my husband makes me smoothies. I was having a conversation today about making healthier choices. I know I am fully capable of doing just that on my own but the fact is I don’t have to and sometimes I need a reminder to be extra thankful I have a team in my corner. Hubby makes fresh smoothies and juices, my Mom cheerleading me over the phone and eating raw with me in solidarity (now 13 hrs away) and my other family and friends encouraging me when they see how healthy I am becoming since dedicating myself to a vegan diet. None of this progress comes easy but I suppose that is what makes it all the sweeter. I just needed to remind myself this Meatless Monday how grateful I am to have found this lifestyle and to have this level of support confirmed for me over and over again.

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Cleansed

This week’s word is “cleansed.” Even though I am very busy during the week, I made the decision to move myself a bit more and incorporate more fruits and veggies via smoothies and juices. I ended up with a 8.4lb loss but that wasn’t the best thing about this week. It was how clean I felt. I was more clear, energetic and focused. I started to think about setting fitness goals like a race and it seemed more real than ever. I don’t want to get too excited. I am guilty of signing up for a couple things I wasn’t prepared to complete in the past so the next time I do it, I want to feel confident.

Knowing rather than guessing is best so I will keep putting in the work and accepting the results peacefully.

It’s the only way to I know to truly love and honor myself during this process.

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Hip-Hop as News, Mirror and Narrative Art: An Evening with Angie Thomas

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting #1 New York Times best-selling author Angie Thomas. In addition to her book signing, she gave an in-depth look into how and why she wrote her first novel “The Hate U Give.”

She shone a light on why hip-hop had such a profound impact on her growing up. It appealed to the rebel in her and idolized what she heard and saw on TV. She spoke about it giving a voice to the voiceless and even rapped a few bars from classics such as “The Message” and recited poetry from the late great Tupac Shakur.

What I loved most besides actually getting to meet her was her passion: lifting hip-hop up without completely letting it off the hook, giving us a personal roadmap to writing and publishing her book, and most touching for me was watching how she lit up answering the teens’ questions during the Q &A. I could feel how much she wanted them to hear her and how much she believes in them.

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You can’t fake that kind of passion–not that well. I related to her when she spoke about being a Black girl in predominantly White spaces and the anger that is felt when microaggressions are hurled your way. I was all too familiar with her story of not standing up for herself when she should have. One of the best pieces of advice she gave was not everyone deserves your energy. You try to show them the way. If they learn the lesson, great. If not, move on.

It was a reminder I needed. I shed a couple of tears during her presentation. I could feel her bravery and how much she actually cares about the equality of ALL people. There was so much solidarity in the room as she spoke about justice.

Listening to her made me feel like my Black life matters. She was a voice I could hear. And one I hope to be reading and listening to for a  long time to come.

 

 

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Meatless Mondays: A Retrospective

I wrote a post months ago about having to say no in order to say yes to myself. Well, I am doing it again. I have been working extra hard lately and tonight, I will nourish myself and rest. I also thought about something special to share. I have made many vegan dishes–mostly cooked but several raw vegan. I had many favorites like African peanut stew, Raw No Bake Brownies, Vegan Shepherd’s Pie, Sweet Potato Enchilada Bake, Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo and Raw Taco with Cashew Sour Cream.

I look back and think how proud I am that I pushed myself to find and cook these recipes. I didn’t just rely on salads (but I have made plenty of those!). I can’t believe it took this long to become more creative with my cooking but mostly I am grateful that I used this as a way to take better control of my health.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings as I start to prepare more raw meals and watch food play a much bigger role in my healing.