Over the last couple of weeks, I have been daydreaming about waterfalls. Standing under one. Standing by one and staring, completely transfixed. I was watching a show about a painter who was on a retreat. She took a long bike ride, hitch hiked and eventually ended up at Menemsha Beach on Martha’s Vineyard admiring the beauty of the sunset, the tangerine and coral swallowed by the blanket of night. I almost cried as the scene faded.
I shared my waterfall fantasies with a co-worker today. Yes, I am aware that summer is upon us and that’s probably why the urge is as strong as it is now. But she suggested something I hadn’t thought of before.
Maybe I am craving a cleansing.
I know how it sounds but when she said it, something connected. The last year has been full of ups and downs and a health mystery not quite solved. Our last piece of news was as good as it could get. I know as soon as I get the chance, take the chance to genuinely breathe, hopefully underneath a life giving force such as water, there will be a cleansing.
Maybe I am elevating a vacation, some fun in the sun, splashes in the water to mythic proportions but it’s fine by me.
I don’t think I want to write about anything health related these days. My posts seem to read on repeat when it comes to health. I am not the kind of blogger that wants to share everything so I find myself constantly editing my thoughts when I write here.
When I know I am taking consistent action on my health, I will post about it here again. Until then, I will post on Thursdays and the focus will be on writing. I will start sharing pieces I have written, too. I already miss using prompts to write fiction and non-fiction work in class. Why not continue it here?
Making this change is the most self-aware choice I have made in awhile (aside from therapy). I know when I am doing my best, when I am just talking about wanting to do my best and when I have nothing left to say at all concerning it.
This is my season to put up or shut up.
So I am putting the pen down and picking it back up again when there is something real to share.
I have days where I have nothing new to say, either about my writing or my health. I struggle with not wanting to turn the health portion of this blog into a weight loss blog. I don’t know think there’s anything wrong with them. Actually, I love reading about other people’s weight loss journeys or watching the occasional weight loss transformation YouTube video. I wanted this to be a space where I could focus on overall health and writing updates but it was brought to my attention that perhaps I am not sharing anything new with my readers in regards to my weight loss.
You all know that I am plant-based, read about (or even tried) the recipes I’ve shared and that I’ve had successful and unsuccessful bouts with raw veganism. But I have purposely shied away from numbers here.
I know part of it is because I don’t want to be perceived as yet another fat woman documenting her weight loss journey. There is an active perception a fat woman’s idea of ultimate success is a rail thin body and I do not want to perpetuate that notion. That is not all of who I am or any of these women in this fight seeking support and/or accountability from their readers. Please believe I know at the end of the day, my perception is the only one that truly matters.
I am at a crossroads right now where PCOS, anxiety, psoriasis and fibroids are demanding more action from me than ever before. I have said before I won’t feel settled or at peace until I know I’ve done everything I can as consistently as I can and used every tool at my disposal to address these issues.
Maybe part of that is laying it all bare here. I will figure it out.
I’ll take it one step at a time. Taking it one thing at a time.
I would love to know what your take is on this post. Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Last week, I finally took a step I have been meaning to take for months. Well, maybe for years. I signed up for belly dance class. It’s been years since I was in class. Afro-Caribbean dance class is still something I intend to come back to now and again but I have been yearning to go back to be apart of something that speaks to my femininity.
For the last couple of years, I have watched my sister bloom and thrive with pole fitness. It always reminds me of the confidence I built when I was dancing to belly dance videos or with other women in class. It reminds me of how much I love sisterhood.
That kind of sisterhood is something I think will only enhance the quality of this quest for health. I am definitely ready to see if what I think may be true.
I think it’s fitting that today is the start of a new year because I devote Tuesdays to all aspects of health. Although I decided to ramp up my efforts at the end of November, like most people the holidays got to me and it is definitely time to recommit. I didn’t stop moving but the raw foods did take a backseat for a couple of weeks.
I began looking for a reset. A lot of people fast, diet and make all sorts of resolutions and promises on New Year’s Day. All I want to do is commit to more raw food. I can’t forget (nor do I want to forget) the way I felt throughout July when I was raw vegan for 30 days. It wasn’t just the increased energy. Anxiety and fatigue seemed like states of being that could never be attributed to me.
So my reset is to cling to what I know: walking, being a high raw vegan embracing juices and smoothies, yoga, dance classes, massages, prayer, therapy and letting go of fears and mindsets that no longer serve me.
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.
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.
Today is the fifth day of my July Raw Food Challenge. I have eaten a raw food diet before for a short period of time. The biggest difference I see this time around are the detox symptoms. I did lose weight this week (4.6 lbs) but parts of my body are covered in red rashes. Apparently, it’s a common symptom that I never experienced before. I had fatigue and headaches in the past but watching myself breakout like this has been jarring. I think because of my psoriasis the thought of my body being covered in something I can’t control unnerves me.
It doesn’t mean I will stop. I am telling myself that it will go away in a matter of days. I just have to wait it out. I am holding onto the benefits and staying excited about my results at the end of the month.
Have you ever experienced any detox symptoms? If so, how did you cope with it?
Today is Day 2 of my raw vegan challenge for the month of January. It was surprisingly easy. I enjoyed mangoes, Go Raw bars, raw slaw and a satisfying green smoothie Hubby brought me home on a break.
For dinner tonight, I decided to make a creamy raw tomato soup and avocado pesto butternut squash noodles. I have made pesto before (vegan but never raw) so I won’t post the recipe but the soup is new.
I am glad I started off this challenge with something besides a salad. Raw food can be so much more interesting.
Here’s the recipe:
Six small tomatoes
1 Red Bell Pepper
Sea salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
Garlic or Herbs ( I used garlic powder)
Chop tomatoes, peel avocado and blend all ingredients together. I garnished the soup with sliced cherry tomatoes.
We both loved the soup! I can’t wait to try another raw soup this month. Thanks to lovingitvegan.com for the recipe!
Today, my article sharing 3 tips to going vegan was published on 30seconds.com.
It was fitting because today is my one-year vegan anniversary. Hubby and I started for health reasons and eventually grew to care more about the environmental reasons, too.
During the course of a year, I have learned many things. I learned about my dependence on processed food, that cheese was the hardest food to kick, the importance of reading labels and that there is a plethora of delicious and diverse plant-based options in the world.
I also learned eating this way has been healing. I no longer deal with acid reflux or heavy periods. I also sleep better than I used to.
I have found a community that supports this lifestyle, too. I go to vegan potlucks, pop-ups and community festivals and lectures. Food justice in underserved areas is a real issue I care more about than ever thanks to the David Carter lecture I attended in Baltimore.
I feel more aware, healthier and it helps that I walk this road with a partner who reaps the benefits, too.
I am looking forward to what comes in year two. Year one opened my eyes to a world I don’t ever want to be closed off from again.
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?
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 exercising–even if it’s marching in place or dancing around the living room like a maniac.
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 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.