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The Next 30 Days

I recently decided that I will spend from September 3rd-October 3rd eating raw foods and journaling everyday. On the 4th of October, I leave for the Digital Storytelling Workshop in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. By that time, I want to feel mentally, spiritually and physically prepared as possible for the experience ahead of me.

Today, I was listening to a man who has been water fasting for over 40 days now speak about how he feels that we take on the characteristics of the things we eat. His statement was reminiscent of the age old saying “You are what you eat.” What struck me was the calmness in his tone as he recounted how he was reacting (or not reacting) to others in typically stressful situations. He feels like water–going with the flow without rising to anger or panic.

Even though I was raw throughout the month of July, I didn’t document how I was feeling each day. I want the next 30 days to stand out in my memory and the best way for me has always been to write it down.

I also want it as a record for all I have to be grateful for…the physical and the mental results.

 

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Meatless Mondays: Mushroom Pulled “Pork”

Hubby and I spent the weekend in Baltimore. We had the pleasure of attending Vegan SoulFest 2018 and visiting with friends. Yesterday, they took us to a lively farmer’s market in the city where we purchased (among many other things), oyster mushrooms. I have had them in restaurants but never cooked them myself.

We ended up using a recipe from liveeatlearn com and I can’t wait to try it again.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 4 king oyster mushrooms*
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 30 mL, divided
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup BBQ sauce
  1. Shred mushrooms.Preheat oven to 400 degrees (204 C). Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Using two forks, shred the stems and caps roughly into pieces. Set on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

  2. Bake: Drizzle with 1 Tbsp of the oil, paprika, salt, cayenne, and garlic. Toss around to evenly coat the mushrooms, then bake for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are a bit crispy and brown on the edges.

  3. Sauté: Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a large saute pan over medium high. Transfer cooked mushrooms to pan and add BBQ sauce. Stir and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until mixture is thick and fragrant. Serve warm on sandwiches, nachos, salads, tacos…or whenever you eat pulled pork!

    We chose to serve it on a wheat bun with my husband’s version of deviled potaties. Definitely looking forward to eating this dish again.

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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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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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Storytelling in Tuscaloosa

The other day I was accepted to participate in The Storyteller Project: Digital Storytelling for Women of Color at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa created by Dr. Rachel Raimist and Dr. Robin Boylorn. I paced the room after reading the email. I could barely contain my excitement!

I applied for the project after seeing a post on the See Jane Write Facebook group so special thanks to her for sharing it with us! Even though I don’t know exactly what’s in store yet, I do know I will be surrounded by 9 other women who also have a story to tell. Stories that may look radically different than mine. It’s the thing I look most forward to. Collaborating and learning and growing and developing with complete strangers united in one mission.

One question I’ve been asking myself since my acceptance: Who will I be on the other side of this experience? I have reasons to be both exhililarated and fearful of the answer and I think that’s more than enough reason to go and find out.

Every time I have taken a chance related to my writing or speaking, I have not had an ounce of regret. It has always brought me to a new level of self-awareness whether the outcome was what I pictured or not.

So next month I will spend a few days in Alabama, uncovering more of who I am and how I want to share her with the world.