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31 Days Raw

In July, I am embracing a raw vegan diet which is fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. I have tried it before but could never make it stick long-term. I am not interested in adopting it long-term but hoping this challenge will springboard me into incorporating more raw foods. Over the past year, I realized I depend on vegan processed food a bit too much. That has been harder to let go of than meat and dairy by far.

This past week, I lost 2.8 lbs. I still ate a mixture of raw, cooked and processed food. And it was all great–the vegetarian festival, the vegan potluck with friends and our regular meals at home.

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At the veg fest this past weekend

However, I know if I don’t cut back on processed foods I may never heal the conditions I sought to in the first place. I am excited to see what this month brings–one raw meal at a time.

Your turn:

Have you ever tried a raw vegan diet? If so, what did you think?

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Keep Going

 

On Saturday, I went to a women’s health fair where the focus was on physical and mental health. There was a plethora of great advice on how often to keep active (150 minutes a week), the importance of an accountability partner, fitness activities such as Zumba, walking or kickboxing and the health benefits of incorporating more plant-based and unprocessed food into your diet. I loved that it was from the perspectives of a nurse, Destinee King and a holisitic wellness coach, Yvette Leverette. What better way to bring traditional and alternative methods together?

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Pictured from left to right: Tyrell Clayton, Jamia Mills, Yvette Leverette and Destinee King

What was particularly impactful for me was Tyrell Clayton and Jamia Mills’ (Heart to Heart Mental Health Services– www.heart2heartva.com) presentation about the importance of taking care of your mental health. I especially loved how they stressed treatment measures by asking us if we had cancer, would we wait to get help? Would we put it off, hoping it would go away? Then why do we do dare do that with depression and anxiety disorders? These conditions have the potential to spiral into something else entirely that could threaten not only the quality of our life but our very life. They also outlined the 8 dimensions of wellness and spoke about how mental health is the origin of everything (positive and negative).  I was moved that I was hearing about treatment being a fully integrative approach from a clinical social worker, a young Black man open to talking about his experiences on his mental health journey. Jamia’s perspective and story was valuable, too as women are 40% more likely to develop depression.

After leaving the fair, I had many thoughts come up (some influenced by the event and others were a reflection of what’s going on with me) and I want to share them here:

Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.

Keep going to the events (sometimes you can’t make it but you know what I mean).

Keep educating yourself.

Keep supporting others’ events.

Keep buying others’ books and products.

Keep writing.

Keep exercising–even if it’s marching in place or dancing around the living room like a maniac.

Keep praying.

Keep trusting that you will find your place.

Keep confiding in trustworthy people.

Keep working at your relationship, marriage, friendships..even if you have to put your pride aside to ask something as simple as…”What happened?”

Keep reading.

Keep taking classes.

Keep getting help whenever you need it and keep giving whenever you can.

Keep your ears open even if you have to close your mouth.

Keep shouting..there’s a place for silence and there is a place for a VOICE.

Be open to whatever this world has for you….it will let you down, lift you up and teach you over and over again until you become the lesson.

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Love Fest

This past Sunday I went to Love Fest in Hampton. It was a 4-hour festival of dance, specifically Mixxed Fit and Zumba. There were scores of teams performing and teaching routines from the stage and plenty of vendors. It was benefiting The Lupus Foundation and The Natasha House which I personally loved.  I had a wonderful time with my friends and danced so hard I was sore for a couple of days.

I have always loved dance and prefer it over many other types of exercise. When I go to the Afro-Caribbean dance class, I generally go alone (and enjoy it) but it was refreshing to go with a group of women and be among a crowd of people with such an electric energy.

It was an important reminder during this wellness journey to get out of my comfort zone and do more fitness activities that challenge me. I could have easily assumed the event was primarily for teachers and decided it wasn’t for me.

But how do I know if something is for me if I don’t bother to try.

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Smiling at Love Fest

I had an amazing time and will try another Zumba or Mixxed Fit class soon. When I weighed in today (I lost .8lbs), I actually thought about everything I did this week and was proud that part of this loss came from sweating at live dance fest in a city I do not call my home.

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Already Learning

As part of a Facebook group I belong to (Weekly Parady), the next challenge for April is to not complain.

She issued this challenge yesterday.

I failed yesterday. Oh, and today.

The difference was the moment someone asked me not to, I noticed.

Not only in my speech but in my thoughts.

Pursuing writing and striving to make a difference with my wellness invites all sorts of doubts. Because there are no guarantees with either, my mind tends to wander toward a negative place when something doesn’t go my way or I run into a problem that I don’t understand.

I am looking forward to seeing how being more cognizant of the nature of my speech affects my thoughts and actions, if it leads to any major breakthroughs with my writing and my weight loss.

Hopefully, it’s not just for the remainder of this month. I want a lifetime of consciously deciding against complaining, no matter how many times I slip up and fall.

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Grow

I have pretty much been in work mode all day and next level tired the whole time. Hubby is still sick but he has his moments when he is walking around so I remain grateful–a bit frustrated but grateful nonetheless. Part of me wishes I went to writing class tonight instead of giving into the weariness and the work.

So where does that leave me besides committed to the work? It leaves me proud that my weariness comes from work and challenges me to push through finalizing my project and keeping to my schedule posting here.

It also reminds me that if I could go back to even 2 years ago and ask if I would rather be living that life, the answer is an emphatic “No.” Being too scared or lazy or a combination of both to take classes, seek coaching, blog, attend conferences and write even when my lids and heart are heavy is nothing I want to run back to. Don’t misunderstand me. I harbor no ill will against who I used to be.

I just wanted her to grow.

 

 

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What’s in Store for 2018.

After tonight, the next time I post here will be on January 1, 2018. So this is the perfect time to share my writing goals for 2018 (some of which are already in full swing).

Here we go:

-Submit work to publications at least once a week

-Complete my E-Book. I have an outline. It’s time to execute.

-Complete my novel. This was on my list last year. I know achieving this goal will be a result of my effort and consistency. No excuses.

-Go to more events as part of James River Writers, our local organization for writers. I went to a Writing Show, their annual conference, a book reading and a salon but I can make time for more.

-Connect with and be of service to other writers

-Strengthen my accountability resources (Be more active in my online groups and with my current writing partners)

-Embrace opportunities to speak about my journey (whether that be as part of a panel, as a speaker or as a podcast guest)

-Read more (2 books a month). Some months I read more, some less. I would like to be more consistent.

-Continue to go to book signings (especially for local authors!)

-Continue blogging 3 times a week.

-Do #bloglikecrazy challenge with See Jane Write again in November! (That challenge stretched me and gave me the idea to incorporate Meatless Monday posts).

-Seek more opportunities to guest post (at least once a month).

-Continue to take writing classes, even if it’s just a one-day workshop.

-Write down my goals daily in my journal!

-Remember to keep having fun! This level of commitment to writing is still technically in its infancy so there is no need to compare my walk with anyone else’s. I love that last year at this time I didn’t have a blog, had never taken a writing class, had only been published on one site, never thought to apply for a fellowship, and did not have a writing group. All of that has changed in the space of one year. I feel like my eyes have sprung open. I am already excited about what goals I will get to post in December 2018.

Happy New Year to all of my readers! I wish and pray for the absolute best for all of you!

Your turn: What are some of your goals for 2018?

 

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The Day After

After #bloglikecrazy (30 days of blogging in November) was over, I still felt like there was something else I had to do. I kept feeling like there was something missing. It’s probably because I had built a habit. I love knowing I wrote every day and when I stopped, there was a longing there. That left no room to doubt that no matter what the outcome, I will always write.

I cannot pretend I will always want to because laziness and frustration are real. But I can’t let laziness and frustration become more of a reality than persistence and consistency. The only thing I can control about this process is my effort. Even through the fatigue I feel right now, it keeps ringing in my head.

The part of me that wants to control everything is driven crazy by the fact I can’t control what happens after a submission, a pitch idea, a fellowship application or a challenge like #bloglikecrazy. But I have learned to treasure the freedom that comes with it, too. I put myself out there, fight my fight  and then let go.

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I DID IT!

It’s here! It’s here! It’s here! Day 30 of #bloglikecrazy is here! November flew by. I can admit there were a couple of times during the challenge that I thought about quitting. However, I knew I wouldn’t get the lessons I was bound to learn if I didn’t complete it. And therefore, wouldn’t be able to share it with all of you.

So here it goes:

1. I’ve learned my 21-Day Water-Workout-Write Challenge was not a fluke.

2. If challenged (by myself or in this case, by See Jane Write founder Javacia Harris Bowser), I will rise to the occasion.

3. I love trying new recipes regularly. I have never been a woman who loves to whip out the cookbook and dive in. I was more of a go with what you know type of cook and try a new recipe once in a blue moon. Meatless Monday posts stretched me and now I want to incorporate recipes more regularly. What I eat is a significant part of my wellness journey and deserves a place here.

4. I am capable of surprising myself. This is something I suspected while taking Life in 10 Minutes with Valley Haggard and Pens Up, Fears Down with Sadeqa Johnson. Even when I thought the well dried up, the words would find a way to appear. However, this challenge asked me to do it every day and more days than not, I opened my computer and stared at a blinking cursor and typed nonsense until I found my way or my way found me.

5. Inspiration is everywhere. It is in the photos you take, nature, the TV or movies you watch, past travels, a conversation at work, books or even as I discovered this month, in a hospital room. Life is going on around you, inside you, and has a past, present and God willing, a future. It is always ready to be found.

If you’ve ever wondered if a challenge like this would be beneficial to you, wonder no more! Give it a try! I am already excited for #bloglikecrazy 2018!

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Telling a Better Story

I  was listening to a podcast earlier today and they were discussing why people don’t try to change or at least don’t stay consistent in their efforts to change. The interviewee pointed out how easy it is to stay the same and do nothing. The interviewer agreed, acknowledging the comfort of being static. Forgive me for not remembering names, I listened to many today while working so I don’t want to attribute the interview to the wrong people.

It got me thinking that of course it’s easy (and convenient) to continue down a path you’ve always gone or to tell yourself the exact same story about your life. “I always do this…I never remember that or I never follow-through on….

It reminded me of a a quote I first heard from Jim Kwik: “Your mind is always eavesdropping on your self-talk.”  What if I’ve been telling myself a story about myself, convinced that I already know the ending? And is my mind being programmed by my negative self-talk?

When I engage in negative self-talk, I believe I am giving myself permission to give up. I’ve done it with some of my writing and wellness goals in the past. It makes the bad medicine go down, nice and smooth.

Except that it’s not so smooth, is it? While you’re swallowing, the taste gets a little sour–even rancid, doesn’t it?

When our self-awareness grows, the harder it is to feel the comfort, to convince ourselves we are at ease when we quit. Now that I am writing on a regular basis, I am not choking down anything.

I am too busy telling myself a better story.

 

 

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Meatless Mondays: Vegan Tuna

Today, I decided to try vegan tuna. I saw a few videos online that made my mouth water and last week, I tried a version at Whole Foods that convinced me it was time to try it at home. A few of the recipes I saw included some kind of vegan mayonnaise which I like but I wanted to challenge myself to make the “mayo.”

The recipe I found was on www.brandnewvegan.com. I know hubby and I eat too much oil and this recipe was oil-free which made it an easy yes. As I was mashing the chickpeas with the potato smasher and fork, I loved watching the transformation of the consistency into something that definitely reminded me of tuna.  After I blended the cashew mixture, it really was a smooth, creamy dressing! I was probably a little too excited. It was definitely a recipe I would try again and I am looking forward to trying more recipes from this site.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup water
  • 15ox can low sodium garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 2 tbls dill pickle relish
  • 3 tbls lemon juice
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbls yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Add the cashews and water to your blender to let them soak
  2. Mash garbanzo beans in a large bowl using a potato masher, or fork
  3. Add diced veggies and stir
  4. All the remaining liquid ingredients to the blender with the cashews and water and pulse until smooth.
  5. Stir dressing into ‘tuna’ .
My husband and I both enjoyed our vegan tuna salad sandwiches and I am already looking forward to trying a new vegan recipe next Monday!