Thursday, October 27, 2011

Calendula

Calendula tea and flowers (also known as pot marigold)


The flowers are so pretty. Love this herb for its many benefits. Antiviral, antibacterial, can be used topically as well for slow healing wounds, varicose veins, internal ulcers as well as external skin ulcers, skin infections, treats burns. Great for depression and inflammation.

Steep a small handful of dried flowers for 10 minutes. The longer you steep it, the more bitter it gets.

If you're allergic to ragweed you'll want to be mindful, it's from the same family. I'm allergic to ragweed and chamomile (<also from the same family) but don't have an issue with this herb. Thankfully because a medium size bag of these flowers cost almost $20 lol. You can usually find it cheaper at your local health food store.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

DETOX YOUR LIFE COMMUNITY CHALLENGE

Day 1 of our DETOX YOUR LIFE COMMUNITY CHALLENGE kicks off with a yummy spin on a well known dish:

Raw Butternut Squash Soup 

And yes, butternut squash can be eaten raw! :)


Consuming pureed or liquefied foods allows our bodies to readily absorb the nutrients in our food and gives our digestive system a rest in order to facilitate healing in other areas where it might be needed. The majority of our immune system is located within our gut. This is why it is super important to feed your body what it needs, not just what it craves, giving it breaks through liquid feasting like we're embarking on now. It's a great way to cleanse your body both naturally and gently.

This recipe is easy to make, doesn't require a lot of ingredients, tastes great and of course is great for you.

This is the basic core recipe, which I always build on top of depending on what I'm in the mood for that day. Put your own spin on it and add whatever seasonings you desire, or substitute the oil for your favorite or none at all.

You'll need to keep the blender running for a while to make sure all the squash is broken down (but not too long if you have a high speed blender).

Many thanks to my sis Janine Jackson for the pic design inspiration!

Enjoy! :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Why Did I Go Vegan? Volume I

BlackVeganLove.com recently sat down with the CEO/Founder of Everlasting Life Vegan Restaurant & Lounge, Dr. Baruch (top center in image below) and got the scoop on why he became vegan. We were so inspired by the interview that we decided to ask other noteworthy members of our community about their own personal reasons for becoming vegan.


Hip hop artist/visionary Sa-Roc (top left), raw food expert Khepra Anu (top right), hip hop artist/activist Safari Black (bottom left), and author/health expert Nwenna Kai (bottom right).

Here’s what they each had to say...

Dr. Baruch

The motivation behind me becoming more conscious about my health, which happens to include veganism, started with my second grade teacher Ms. Williams, who I was quite enamored with. One day at lunch, Ms. Williams noticed that I was eating an unhealthy sandwich and encouraged me to consider talking to my parents about the dangers associated with eating certain animal flesh. Little did Ms. Williams know that all she had to do was look wrong at what I was eating and I would have stopped. In any event, I couldn’t wait to go home and tell my parents the new information that I had learned that was going to make us all healthier. This began my pursuit of being more health conscious along with working to elevate my self-worth.

When I was thirteen, I was exposed to an article that revealed how difficult it is for meat to be digested. In this article, two individuals were given a meal to determine how long different foods stay in the body. One of them ate a steak dinner, the other ate a vegetarian meal that they could track in their physical elimination. The one that ate the vegetarian meal had no negligible evidence of what he had consumed after 17 hours. Meanwhile, the person that ate the steak dinner still had evidence of the steak in his physical elimination 20 days later. The information taught me a lot about biology and digestion and how the body works. It was clear that one diet was better for you than the other and if that was the case, then that was the one for me. It became even more obvious to me that I needed to make a change as I began taking note of the declining health of my fellow students, friends and family. So I stopped eating meat at that point. I didn’t quite go "cold turkey" but I was pretty aggressive with it and the premise was if it wasn’t healthy, I wasn’t going to consume it. My journey started off as a vegetarian and evolved into being more “health conscious” after concluding that there were a lot of vegetarian folks that were not healthy and that wasn’t what I wanted for myself.

I grew up in Southeast Washington DC and my community at the time was being targeted for bad health and pharmaceutical drug dependency. The weapon of choice was food. I saw it as nutritional terrorism; the nutritional and food industrial complex had made shelf life, flavor, color and presentation more important than nutrition. The only thing in our body that enjoys the poor choices we make with regard to nutrition is the tongue. So that two inch by three inch muscle if you will, is now being pleased, at the expense of the health of the rest of the body. Once the food you eat hits your throat, the joy ride is over. Why do we do this to ourselves? We get that immediate emotional and taste refreshment but after that our body suffers. We should be eating to nourish and refuel the body and not eating to have fun. If I want to have fun I go to an amusement park...

You can read the rest of our interview with Dr. Baruch by clicking here: Dr. Baruch on Vegan Health & Wellness. A lot of jewels were shared so be sure to check it out!

Sa-Roc

I made a conscious decision to become vegetarian at 12 years old. It was a moral decision once I learned of the treatment that animals suffered at the hands of the cruel meat industry. One of my teachers gave me a booklet from the 70s called “What’s wrong with eating meat” that gave me some more insight into how meat negatively affects the body. I learned how the chemicals and dyes in meat act as carcinogens in the body. The book compared the digestive tracts of natural carnivores vs. humans, stating how meat putrefies in our bodies before we eliminate, causing a toxic environment. This made it very easy for me to make the transition. Going deeper spiritually, I became averse to the idea of putting death into my body, knowing that the animal’s emotions of fear and anger were embedded in the meat. I still ate cheese even though I was lactose intolerant. Go figure.

I went vegan about 9 years ago, after I met a friend who encouraged me to do so. It was rather easy because I had become fed up with the excessive mucus my body was producing. I felt so much lighter!!! I was less fatigued, produced less mucus, and had much more energy. The world without animal products was so DOPE. I discovered so many different ways to prepare delicious vegetables and grains, expanding my culinary repertoire. Overall I made a wonderful choice that I will pass on to my future children. A choice to be healthy and happy!

Khepra Anu

Well, let me begin by saying that I don't like the term "vegan". I prefer vegetarian. The term vegetarian was highjacked by people who still thought it was ok to consume chicken, fish, turkey and dairy. So someone thought it was necessary to introduce another term where the first was fine. I just thought I'd start with that.

Let's re-ask, why vegetarian? The seed was planted by listening to conscious rap music in the late 80s with KRS-One referring to vegetarian diet in a few of his songs. One of his songs entitled "Beef" changed everything for me overnight and he spoke of the Honorable Elijah Muhummad's book "Eat to Live" which I read and that lead me to reading every book I could find on the subject by authors such as Llaila Afika, Queen Afua, and Dick Gregory. In 1991, I attended a lecture given by Dick Gregory where he spoke about only eating FRUITS as it speaks of in Genesis 1:29 I believe. This was ground shaking for me. On one hand as crazy as it sounded it made all the sense in the world. I began to experiment with fruit-only eating almost immediately and I would do it for a few days at a time, until I really got hungry then I would go back to my usual diet. That was my introduction to going to an all raw or live food diet. Years later I learned the importance of vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables. I believe had I had the knowledge and understanding of vegetables, fatty fruits, nuts, and seeds I would have been practicing a live food diet much longer than I have.

For the record I have been practicing vegetarianism for 20 years and an all live food diet for more than 10 years. In my opinion this is really the one true way to be a vegetarian, well, I should say a HEALTHY vegetarian. Working in a vegetarian establishment, I see way too many unhealthy vegetarians and the reason undoubtedly is because of too much unfermented soy and cooked starch. These 2 food groups pose a real problem for the vegetarian movement and a trap for those looking to practice the vegetarian way. Starch is by far the most addictive food and probably the worst food anyone can eat period, even worse than meat and dairy. Grains should only be consume when sprouted and the same goes with beans. The sprouting transforms the complex high blood altering carbohydrates into simple, easy to digest sugars. Soy should only be consumed when fermented. The earliest cultivators of soy understood this and only consumed soy in the forms of miso, natto, tempeh, soy sauce, etc. not as tofu, bean curd, soy isolate, tvp as it done by mass vegetarians today.

As a live food vegetarian, green leafy vegetables became a staple food, not necessarily fruits. I tell people all the time, your greens replace your starch, and that change alone will make all the difference. Also, Mother Nature has created thousands of fruits, herbs, nuts, seeds, vegetables with thousands of varieties of each. We have been bamboozled with limited food choices that we eat over and over and expect good health with the limited over hybridized commercialized food. Going to ethnic markets, farmer's market, and not just health food stores is essential. We all need to introduce our palate and bodies to all different kinds of fresh food that we are ignorant of. This will make for an exciting expedition into becoming a well informed, balanced, and true fresh food vegetarian.

Safari Black

DIARY OF A BLACK VEGAN

We wake everyday with exposure to all things. Inside this exposure we have the opportunity to make proper and bad life choices. The foods we eat are a major part of our culture, upbringing and our attitudes. Even as we gauge the influence/the role that these details play, we all have an en-ate gauge of knowing what's best for our bodies.

In answering the question “what led you to choose veganism?" my response is, you do not choose veganism it chooses you, or at least I feel it chose me. My path was pure evolution, it started in the early 90’s with the removal of pork for politically conscious reasons, in the mid 90’s I removed red meat and in 1999 I stopped eating chicken, fish and turkey and dairy 1 month after that. My evolution was pure obedience to my higher self. It was a gradual path in which I still live with that attitude of self forgiveness realizing that even now I can still do a little bit better. I would say my continued dietary lifestyle is reaffirmed daily by simple logic. It just makes sense and never contradicts itself. This lifestyle is far from a fad, it's way deeper and spiritual on all levels. It allows your body to conduct the proper vibration and function to a fuller capacity. The financial benefits are incredible! If you are well you spend less time in the doctor office and hospitals. You are spending time outside the RX pharmacy exploitation and are living a healthier more productive life. I truly believe health is wealth. Dietary Imperialism does not have to claim your life and I exercise my right to live Healthy and sustainably Free.

Nwenna Kai

I don't like to label myself, however for the sake of labels, I am vegan. I prefer to just say I eat a plant-based diet. Eating this way wasn't really a choice for me as I started eating raw for health reasons. Once those health issues cleared up for me, it became more of an ethical choice and not wanting to take part in the killing of animals and then the more I developed my consciousness around health and eating, it became a choice of not wanting to add to the pollution of the environment and create unnecessary karma in my life in regards to participating within an unethical food industry that favors profits over human health.

So becoming vegan was never really a choice. It was a matter of life's circumstances directing me on a path of having perfect health and I am grateful unto God that I listened and obeyed. 

*To find out more about each of these individuals, please visit their websites:

Dr. Baruch

For speaking engagements/health consultations contact:
getwell@drbaruch.com
330-BAR-UCH1 (227-8241)


Sa-Roc


Khepra Anu

YouTube: 

Bandcamp: 

Blogspot: 
(Safari-Black Appears Courtesy of Moroccan Rug Media Group and Globalthreadz Recordings)


Nwenna Kai

Thursday, July 28, 2011

RBG FITNESS CHALLENGE


It's time for yet another Monthly Healing Challenge!!

RBG FIT CLUB and BlackVeganLove.com would like to invite you to take part in our 3 Day RBG FITNESS CHALLENGE beginning this Friday July 29th

You can participate in the challenge regardless of where you’re located, the only requirement is that you have the desire to become healthier and the commitment to see the challenge through to the end. Our aim is to get folks off of the couch and physically active, no matter what your current level of fitness is.

Each day of the challenge will focus on some of the basic principles of the RBG FIT CLUB and will consist of everyone taking part in a number of guided exercises.

Day 1: STRENGTH

Red - Like the blood that flows through our veins to every part of our body; when we exercise we oxygenate the blood which is the key to strength.

Exercises: calisthenics, pushups, pull-ups, crunches, lunges, planks, squats etc.

Day 2: FLEXIBILITY

Black - From the expansiveness of space to the original people; flexibility is about depth, fluidity of movement and range of motion.

Exercises: sun salutation - yoga, arm and leg stretches, back bends, reaching for your toes etc.

Day 3: ENDURANCE

Green - The continuation of life. Long lasting like the evergreen. Renewing ourselves daily, sustainability, rejuvenation through proper diet and nutrition and staying committed to our collective goals. On this day we will push ourselves for longer durations and reflect on how we can go about making these changes permanent.

Exercises: running, walking, swimming, jumping rope etc.

Who’s in??!!

*Please remember to keep safety first! Contact your health care professional prior to engaging in strenuous activity if you have a pre-existing medical condition. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Edible Herbs

You're winding down for the night getting ready to start your week off right, when all hell breaks loose. The news stations report that a major cataclysm has just occurred affecting the entire county. People are frantic, chaos ensues, martial law is imposed and all grocery stores close their doors...permanently.

What do you do?

No one likes to think about these type of scenarios but it's unfortunately all too possible in the world that we live in, so don't get caught unprepared! BVL has discussed this topic in the past, it's time to revisit it.

Besides stocking up on non-perishable/dried food items, water, toiletries etc. for emergency purposes, it is an essential practice for families to become acclimated to the natural food sources available in our own backyards (often literally). I spotted/shot each of these herbs growing freely in the wild. Each one is edible.


You can probably easily recognize the dandelion (above), and may have seen the burdock (middle) and chicory (bottom) in one of the BVL albums, but do you know how to harvest them?

Dandelion leaves/root are commonly consumed in salads and herbal remedies, as is burdock root (some use the leaves, but the root is most popular) and chicory leaves/root.


The leaves are the easy part, but to harvest the root of these herbs, a Hori Hori (Japanese digging tool) will help you to get deep enough into the ground to be able to eventually pull it out.


There are many wild herbal identification books at the bookstore/library for you to start the learning process. You'll have to learn where to harvest the herbs from (away from polluted areas) and learn how to ID the plants accurately because a mix up could cause you to eat something poisonous. The knowledge won't happen over night but it's important information that may one day save a life.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Alkaline Food Challenge

It's that time again! Our next Community Challenge will begin on Thursday June the 23rd. Will you join us?

This one was suggested by brother Taziyah Bandele so many thanks goes out to him for the idea of having an "Alkaline Food Challenge".


Now, you might be asking: what exactly is alkaline food? It probably won't help to use google in this instance because everyone and their mother's/brother's/sister's/cousin has a different answer lol. But by definition it is food which has an alkaline forming effect on the body. As opposed to foods that are acid forming.

Acidic foods are detrimental to our health so we always want to make sure that the foods we eat are as alkaline as possible. For this challenge we will be using Dr. Sebi's nutritional guide. He makes it very easy. Just click on the link below and start preparing yourself to ONLY eat the foods he recommends. Can't get much simpler than that!

In the upcoming week, we will delve into the mystery surrounding alkalinity and explain how eating alkaline foods can change your current state of health for the better.

Who's in??

http://www.drsebiproducts.com/id60.html

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Autism: One Parent's Journey


Just got my first paper back from herbal medicine school and I got an A!!!!!!

It was a very personal piece written about my son and some of the things that I encountered on the road to treating his autism. Wanted to share a bit of it with everyone, especially those who have a child, or know someone who has a child with special needs.

Here's an excerpt from it:

I initially felt that the word autism had many negative connotations attached to it. In short, it meant slow, not as proficient as, one who struggles with tasks that others find easy, but worst of all incurable. Negative connotations aside, however, it was a slight relief after he was diagnosed. I could offer the diagnosis to his teachers as explanation as to why a wide array of disruptive behaviors were occurring and be received with understanding as opposed to frustration. Future flair ups and subsequent teacher annoyance could also easily be addressed and dissolved with the simple reminder that he was “autistic”. When I began using the word to describe my son, the weight of the word, measured by the responses of others surprised me. The numerous teacher complaints were now replaced with nods of understanding and in time the complaints ceased altogether even though his “bad” behavior persisted.

The feeling of relief and ease I was beginning to feel as tensions between me and his teachers quelled was short lived, however, as I began to wonder if I was negatively enabling my son. What if the ways in which this disorder affected him were not as pervasive as his doctor and I had suspected? What if both me and his teachers had a limited understanding of the true nature of the disorder and were using it as a crutch exempting him from the expectation of performing in ways that he was capable, if he were only challenged and expected to? With the inclusion of so many varied behaviors, which of his behaviors were ones that could be classified as the manifestation of the condition, and which could be classified as normal childhood defiance? Was this elusive term “autism” limiting otherwise realistic expectations of him to perform in ways that were actually at par with his current capabilities? In finding answers to these questions it was necessary for me to look beyond the language and explore my son independently of the numerous preconceived notions surrounding the disorder.

From a health standpoint the doctors stated that this was something that he would have to live with for the rest of his life, from a wellness standpoint, those words alone initially shaped my belief and slightly diminished the hope I held for treatment options. What’s the point if nothing I do will make a difference? His first pediatrician told me that I “ought” to get him tested as she suspected he might have “something”. Those words put fear in my heart. Once he was diagnosed and I did seek out therapy options, his psychologist told me to not be too “unrealistic” when it came to my expectations. “He’ll likely be this way forever” he said, so you should start to adapt. Those words have stayed with me to this day previously deterring me from pressing forward when my son showed enthusiasm in a number of different fields.

It took one classically trained physician who specialized in natural remedies to set me straight and get me back on the road to positive expectation in regards to my son’s condition. His words; “He is going to get better, I’ve seen it happen.” After a year of natural interventions that’s exactly what happened. He got better and better still, symptoms subsided and a new personality emerged. Tasks that used to be difficult became easy and the pride I saw him exhibit spoke for itself. But instead of his progress making me a happy parent at that time, it made me a bit of an angry one. While I was overjoyed at his progress, I was angry at each and every person who told me prior to this point that it couldn’t be done. Who were they to stifle my enthusiasm and how many other parents had they done this to? Due to the fact that I will one day soon be a a doctor of natural medicine I am now happy that I experienced this firsthand. I truly believe that it will help me to be more sensitive to the individual needs of those that I advise and ensure that my words do not place limitations on the most important tool at the patient’s disposal: hope.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Community Whole & Complete Food Challenge - May 19th, 2011


In celebration and remembrance of one of our most brilliant and beloved leaders, Malcolm X, BlackVeganLove.com and The R.O.C. Initiative invite you to join us for our next 3 Day Monthly Community Challenge.

We're switching it up for this one. Whole foods only!!! Not the store lol, but unprocessed foods straight from the earth.

You can do this challenge as a raw foodie, or as a cooked one. The only stipulation is that everything you eat be comprised of only whole fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts etc. Whole foods are defined as foods that are unprocessed, unrefined, unpasteurized, all natural, with no additives, preservatives, sugar etc. So that means, no pre-made pasta/pasta sauce, store bought salad dressing, daiya cheese, agave nectar, crackers, candy, nama shoyu, nutritional yeast, tortilla chips/wraps, cooking oils (unless raw and cold pressed), pre-made juices (unless freshly squeezed), canned foods etc. Basically nothing made or prepared in a factory, but rather food that has ingredients that are mostly recognizable by sight alone.

This challenge will require you to stick to your grocer’s produce aisle and deviate from it only to pick up items like wild rice, quinoa, nuts and other whole grains/pseudo grains/seeds etc. If you must purchase pre-made items during this challenge they should be raw and list how they were prepared (i.e. dehydrated at 110 degrees for 10 hours).

I understand that this won’t be the easiest thing to do but the reason we're having it is to call attention to our over dependence on processed foods. Pre-made, pre-packaged foods are either devoid of nutrients or largely deprived of them. Microwavable dinners, chips, and other ready-made items have trickled into our health food stores and people who consider themselves healthy, or are on the road to improved health are not exempt. We have to learn to break free from all of that and live as naturally as possible if we want to experience optimal health.

Who’s in!!?!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Look Inside My Pantry...

One of the first things that people ask me when they find out about my raw food lifestyle is: What do you eat!? Well here's a snapshot of just some of what's going on in my pantry. I would have taken a pic of my fridge but suffice it to say that it's filled to the brim with kale and other leafy greens, coconuts and veggies galore.

Ok so let's see...We got nori and dulse (front, far left), moringa (green top, contact sis Nadra Rae on FB to purchase), medjool and deglet dates (front, far right), raw coconut butter, raw coconut oil, raw tahini (middle), goji berries, REALLY raw unpasteurized almonds, raw walnuts, raw shredded coconut, black quinoa, my trusted BPA free gallon water jug (blue one, far left) and my new favorite non-leaching, non-BPA, non-cadmium, non-toxic, non-EVERYTHING stainless steel thermos by thinksport.


I'm a proponent of hot teas. Not all raw foodists are but as a healer, it's what I do and their medicinal properties/benefits (often extracted by the steeping process) is something I'm all for. Anyhoo, the other day I poured some hot tea in my thinksport thermos at around 7AM. It has a built in removable strainer so I poured the water in, loose tea and all. Drove to class, tried to sip some about an hour later and burned my tongue. Took a Tai Chi class for almost 2 hours and then came back and burned my tongue again lol. This thing stays hot! I also use it for raw nut milks/smoothies. It keeps them at a consistent temperature throughout the day, whether cold or room temperature. Love it!!


I'm currently learning how to cultivate and dry wild herbs, but until I get there I think I might be Oregon's Wild Harvest's best customer lol. Love their herbs!! Organic and surprisingly fresh and potent. The only ones not labeled are the sarsaparilla and hops to the far right, dried elder berries hidden under the turmeric and marshmallow root and raw chlorella towards the back (behind the elder flower). I don't advise that everyone go out and buy every herb pictured here without thorough research, but if you know of various herbs and their effects, they can become a trusted ally in every household. I can't tell you the last time my family has taken medicine.  

Now this one right here deserves a pic all to itself lol. Himalayan Pink Salt!!! Kicks up the flavor of any dish, yet is very mild tasting and so good for you. 


Hope this helps to get the wheels turning fam!! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dandelion Greens

One woman's unsightly garden is another woman's treasure! For the longest time I was afraid to harvest my own dandelion greens. It made no sense, I would bypass tons of them on the way to the organic grocer where I would buy them almost every week. Well once I got over that, I realized that I had hit a gold mine.

I could save a lot each year, plus in knowing the source, I know they are 100% organic, contaminant free (my backyard isn't flush to any main roads or curious dogs for that matter lol), and there's nothing like picking your own greens then eating them very shortly after. Super energizing!!


Here's a cluster I picked today. This would have been close to 10 dollars at the grocery. The younger you pick them (pre-flowers), the softer and less bitter they are. But bitter isn't necessarily a bad thing, bitter herbs are great for digestion. Dandelion leaves (and roots) have almost too many benefits to name but some of the most celebrated are their ability to cleanse, detoxify and alkalinize the blood, their diuretic properties and their ability to curb anemia. I eat them raw in salads or by themselves, as is. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Raw Tiramisu


Here's a sample of how you can get fancy with Raw Food Cuisine. No need to get bored with your options, there's always something new to create!!

Picked this up from the health food store today. 100% Raw (unCooked) Vegan. 

Ingredients: Cashews, almonds, coconut, agave, coconut oil, raw cacao, coconut meat, cold pressed espresso, vanilla and sea salt.

Had one bite and lil man took it off my hands lol. I swore he ate it in 3 bites lol. Was delish!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Community Raw Food Challenge


We'll be providing you with all you need to know about Raw and Live Vegan Foods during this 3 Day Challenge. Learn the benefits of a Raw Food Diet and experience the healing for yourself with the support of our community!!

It doesn't matter where you live, our aim is to involve as many people as possible both online and beyond. 

Visit us on facebook: www.facebook.com/BlackVeganLove and stay tuned for more information!! 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Juice Feast Finale

A big congrats to everyone who participated in our First Community Juice Feast!!! It was a huge success!! Today is the 3rd and final day. Hope you feel motivated to take your health to new heights going forth. We'll be conducting our Feasts monthly so no worries if you missed this one.

I decided to go out with a bang. This one is blended Raw Chlorella. Can't even lie, it wasn't pretty lol. *gags*


Check out this post for more about the benefits of Chlorella:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Apple Marshmallow Juice


Not the marshmallow treat you might be thinking of, but the actual Marshmallow Root (Althaea officinalis). It's by far one of my favorite tasting herbs. Great for immune system support, digestive and bowel issues, treating respiratory conditions, inflammation, skin ailments and can be used topically as a wound healing agent.

One of Marshmallow Root's many benefits is that it contains mucilage, a spongy substance that turns into a gel and swells when it comes in contact with water. Mucilage helps to soothe the mucous membranes/intestinal tract, and similar to sea moss (also high in mucilage), has heavy metal detoxification capabilities.

This juice contained 3 apples and 2 tablespoons of marshmallow root soaked for a 4 hours, blended, then strained. I then added the extracted water to the apple juice. Best juice since the Feast began!

*Note: Marshmallow Root should not be taken along with medications because it can interfere with their absorption. Take meds prior to consuming it and/or allow a few hours to pass after consumption.

Remember, herbs are medicine. The university of Google can only take you but so far. So take it beyond the internet whenever possible and seek the advice of a TRUSTED authority on the topic when diving into a new herbal regiment. 

Juice Feast Friday

Got 3 hours of sleep last night and felt a bit sluggish this morning until...

I downed this bad boy lol.


Cilantro, Kale, Spinach and 1 Lime. *Warning: Not for the faint of heart lol. Actually I take that back, those with faint hearts NEED to drink things like this. Super alkalizing and oh so energizing.

Cilantro is an ingredient that I have used over the years in treating my son who was diagnosed with autism (his mercury readings were in the top 95th percentile, as are many children diagnosed with the condition). Years ago, Dr. Yoshiaki Omura made the discovery that once consumed, cilantro acts as a mercury chelator (something that binds to heavy metals and pulls them out of the body). Especially important because mercury is hard to excrete/get rid of. It normally stays stuck within you without something to assist in its removal.

Mercury is a neurotoxin and left within the body upon exposure does serious damage. The practice of drinking the juice extracted from cilantro (or simply eating it) is a must if you've ever been vaccinated, have amalgam fillings (the metal ones), have ever eaten seafood, drink tap water, breathe air...ok lol, so basically everyone should give it a try.

Start by taking it 3 back-to-back days out of the week, then take the rest of the week off. Repeat around 2-3 times/month. Dosage suggestion: 1/2 - 1 cup daily and increase as desired.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Juice Feast Thursday


3 Oranges, 3 Handfuls of Spinach. That's it! Could barely taste the spinach. Was a great way to kick off the first day of our Community Juice Feast!  


2 Oranges, 2 Apples, 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Turmeric, 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Ginger, 1 Tablespoon of Rose Hips water (soak dehydrated Rose Hips, blend, then extract water).

Day 1 is almost done, only 2 more to go! Hope everyone is hanging in there! :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Community Juice Feast

JOIN US FOR OUR FIRST COMMUNITY JUICE FEAST!!


This is BlackVeganLove.com and The R.O.C. Initiative's first Community Juice Feast which from here on out, will occur on a monthly basis. As a show of solidarity, some feasts will be themed and coordinated around issues taking place globally that are pertinent to the black community.

What You Will Need:
  • A 3 day supply of your favorite fruits and veggies 
  • A juicer, blender and strainer (optional) 
  • Frozen fruits and/or nuts if you're new to juice feasting and would like to incorporate smoothies/nut
    milks. 

We're looking to include as many people as possible, whether veteran or novice. Please join us and spread the word!!

www.facebook.com/BlackVeganLove

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Auricular Acupuncture

Had my very first Auricular Acupuncture treatment today. Where each acupuncture needle is placed in a specific part of your ear which corresponds to an area in your body.

From top to bottom those areas are: 1. The Sympathetic Nervous System 2. Heart 3. Kidneys 4. Liver 5. Lungs

It was supposed to promote a feeling of heightened relaxation. It stung for the first 3 minutes then the pain subsided and 10 minutes later I started falling asleep lol.

Overall, I can't say that I feel any different but it was interesting that I couldn't stay awake. Might have to give it another chance in the future.

Check out the alien pic lol.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Trinidadian Hot Pepper Sauce

This is the homemade pepper sauce I mentioned in the previous post.


Blended habanero peppers, shadow benny, onions, lime, apple cider vinegar, mustard, olive oil, sea salt and garlic (optional). I choose to leave the garlic out (per Dr. Sebi) and it still always tastes amazing. Super hot, super flavorful!

This is a staple in Caribbean cuisine. For those that don't know, a little of this stuff goes a loooong way. A bottle like this can last for a while cause all you need is about a 1/4 teaspoon or so per dish (to your taste).

Note that you're not supposed to use metal spoons when scooping out servings. I can think of a few reasons why (spoilage, oxidation, corrosion etc.) but mainly it's something the elders always told us growing up. Best to use a wooden one if possible. 

Enjoy :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spicy Mango Stuffed Peppers

We were all talking about mangoes on Facebook today so it got me craving for my favorite fruit.

Mangoes can be in desserts, or in savory dishes. In Trinidad we make spicy mango items all the time.

A little lime, cayenne, cilantro, homemade Caribbean pepper sauce (habanero peppers, shadow benny, onions, lime, apple cider vinegar etc.), rub the mangoes down with a little sea salt to finish and you're done! Yum!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Avocado Smoothie

Anyone who knows me, knows that my smoothies are not complete if they don't have an avocado in them. I started throwing them in there as an experiment to see if my son would be able to taste them (he didn't have a clue *evil laughter*) and I haven't stopped since. Makes them so creamy!

This drink here is my favorite, but the avocado flavor isn't at all masked. It's actually only made from avocados, dates and water. Now I must admit, it's an acquired taste, but my taste buds have acquired a strong liking to it lol. Not sure about you and yours though. In my fam, my son gives it a big thumbs down. But it's like heaven to me. Maybe less like a normal smoothie texture and more like a creamy watered down pudding consistency. <Ok that sounds unappetizing, but you might want to try it before you knock it ;)

You can add almond milk if you'd like and even coconut.

I've been told that it's a popular drink in Morocco, but they generally use milk and honey in that one so womp womp!


Avocados are a great thing to add to your diet regardless of how you decide to consume them. They're high in the good fats our bodies need, have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, lower cholesterol, are great for heart health, are very nutritious and yummy in salads (or in avocado smoothies lol) ;) 

The Benefits of Juicing


Many people ask me what they can expect when they start juicing (after the initial detox period diminishes).

Taziyah Bandele, one half of the hiphop group PanAfrikanZ, based in Rotterdam, Netherlands juices fresh fruits and veggies daily. I've known him and his brother AminHassan IsIyahmin since back when myspace was alive and well lol. I built with him recently on the effects he has experienced since he embarked on the journey of juice fasts (feasts) and he had this to say:

Check out the jewels...

1. Feel more fit, sharp and spiritually sensitive.

2. Less cravings for sweets, even vegan sweets.

3. Smoother skin and my hair grows really fast.

4. Sometimes I experience headaches through being too busy and sometimes I develop a cold, but through putting the right juice together, I've noticed that the healing starts to work immediately and the effects can be noticed right away.

5. Through making fresh juices, I stopped buying any juice from the store. Even the health food store which is pretty expensive over here.

6. Juicing keeps me in a balance with food consumption. I don't have the feeling to eat every time, you could say this results in some weight loss. I love to feed myself when only necessary and really feel like eating. Not eat just to fill.

7. Through juicing I am consuming more raw foods which in turn become liquid.

8. Through juicing I am getting my Recommended Daily Allowance of vegetables and fruits.

9. My alkaline level is raised up through green juicing.

10. Overall, juicing for health provides vital nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals for our bodies to repair themselves, strengthen the immune system and for cell regeneration and growth. The results can be different for each of us, really depending on how one's treating themselves daily. A holistic approach I prefer, because there you work on all levels, body, mind, spirit. But starting with juicing and especially juice fasting to make a change in one's life, is a good beginning. It opens the way for more self-temple-healing. - Taziyah

There you have it!

*Three of Taziyah's latest creations. Check out the lovely website in the background of the second one lol.




Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Black Vegan Love

Welcome to the new BlackVeganLove.com website!

With the mission of lovingly serving our communities so in dire need of a revolution in health, and physical/mental well being...


Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, transitioning, or just looking to add more healthy elements to your diet, there's something for everyone.

Being sick all the time is so unnecessary. Time to work together to eliminate some of  the things that challenge the state of our health globally!!

*Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BlackVeganLove

♥ Black Vegan Love ♥

- Aiya 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Go Fruitarian?

By now most of us have heard the claim of why we humans are natural born vegans based on the structure of our teeth, intestinal tract, and many other physiological traits that we share with herbivores. But a friend put me onto this video which takes it even further, showing why we are all physically meant to be fruitarians.

I've always dismissed a fruitarian diet, feeling that it missed out on all the goodies that our bodies need as vegans, but this video throws that all into question. I don't see myself ever being 100% fruitarian, but at the very least I appreciate the scientific approach to the argument:

Monday, February 28, 2011

All About Herbs...

I like to buy herbs all the time and test them on myself before I advise others on their benefits/interactions. A good friend of mine who doesn't see herbs in the same light, always asks me what I'm trying to cure in myself lol. Well nothing terminal that's for sure, but I think the best way to know about an herb is to learn about them through a trusted source (preferably an elder herbalist) and like I mentioned, actually take them.


The above herbs do way too many things to name but some of their most noteworthy benefits are as follows:

(going counter clockwise)

Astragalus Root: An energy builder touted for its effects in decreasing fatigue. Great for the immune system, soothes mucous membranes, good for colds and respiratory issues.

Turmeric: A friend of mine told me yesterday that there is a region in the world that has a zero incidence rate of cancer and many believe that the main reason is the women cook with turmeric daily. It's also anti-inflammatory and has in recent years shown great promise in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. My grandmother died of complications related to Alzheimer's, so this one is bitter sweet. I wish I knew back then what I know now.

Rose Hips: I've mentioned this many times before because it's so high in naturally occurring Vitamin C. Can't wait for my rose bush to start to flower so I can harvest my own later this year. (Rose hips are the fruit found inside of roses btw).

Gotu Kola: I had a leg injury last year which decreased the circulation in one of my legs and caused some very unsightly veins to pop up from nowhere overnight. This herb made them disappear in a very short period of time. Besides increasing circulation (especially in legs) and helping to rebuild veins and capillaries, it is often used for slow healing wounds and stretch marks.

*Note: Astragalus and Gotu Kola are more potent. Know what you're taking and it's effects before embarking on an herbal regiment. 

Chlorella


Chlorella is an algae that has origins dating back to billions of years ago. It has the highest chlorophyll content of any plant and is effective in treating digestive issues, constipation, diabetes, asthma, and is known to help increase the good bacteria in your body.

Not to mention anti-cancer properties, immune system support, high blood pressure stabilization, and heavy metal detoxification....(and the list goes on)...

It's just one of those must have super foods. I bought this bag of raw, enzyme active chlorella tablets for around $25 dollars at my organic grocer and have my whole family taking a daily dose. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Natural Hair Care

It has never been easier to do my hair. I wake up in the morning, wet it, slap on some raw shea butter and I'm out the door.


As black women we're taught to avoid wetting our hair. Mostly because it ruins the appearance of perms, but according to my sister Janine (who has published an E-book on the topic), your hair gets hydrated from water not from oils. The oils may help seal in the water, but it's the water itself that does most of the work.

It might sound strange to some. I know in reading her book it was the first I'd ever heard of it, but it works. I do it everyday and my hair has been growing like a weed and it's only been a year that I chopped it all off. Now when blown out it's to my shoulders. It's also very strong and shiny.

Another friend attributes my rapid hair growth to the herb moringa which I have been taking for several months now. But no matter what combination of things has contributed to it, a healthy lifestyle will definitely help in all aspects of your appearance. Hair being just one of the many areas that will visibly improve. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Headache Relief

(Feverfew)

I used to get a lot of headaches as a child. My mom says it's because I used to read non-stop but I'm not so sure. Eye strain is in fact one reason, but there are many more such as sinus issues, food allergies and of course stress and diet.

Feverfew is a popular herbal remedy. Go get some if you're prone to bad ones. And according to one of my girls in pain this morning, this remedy works wonders too:


*Note: Stay clear of Feverfew if you have seasonal allergies, because just like chamomile (something that many are unknowingly allergic to) it can cause reactions similar to that of ragweed/pollen etc.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Raw Collard Wraps

A very very (very) old wise man once told me that collard greens were a staple among slaves and prior to slavery were only used as second rate cattle feed. They're also considered by Dr. Sebi to be hybrids. I was so bummed out by this cause I love raw collard greens! So now I stay away from them most days but allow myself to have them on the rare occasion...

Such as today baybee!! lol

Shameful history though, all jokes aside.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

RBG FIT CLUB

Photo by TT Coles

Have you heard about the RBG FIT CLUB? It's a movement founded by Khnum "Stic" Ibomu of Dead Prez with the mission of improving the lives of folks within our communities in the areas of health, wellness and fitness. It's so important to lead a balanced life in these times. Can't eat well but not exercise, or exercise and not have a healthy mind. All of these elements are needed for us to reach our collective goals. 

Check out an excerpt from a recent interview with Stic by Ayara 'That Poet'/Acrossthefader.com:

ATP: Can you tell me about RBG Fit Club?

Stic.man: RBG Fit Club is a community campaign that I started to promote health and fitness amongst our fans and amongst our community. Black and browns, red and yellow community. Poor communities that could use some motivation. All of us could use some motivation to be healthier. It’s a new campaign that gonna really be growin’ internationally throughout this year and the years to come. I’m launching my solo album ‘The Workout’ to also help push the RBG Fit Club. We have 5 basic things that we’re tryna teach and share as we build a community of health professionals, healers, trainers, martial artists, vegetarians – people like that. Our main 5 principles of the RBG Fit Club are; Knowledge, Nutrition, Exercise, Rest and Consistency. In our workshops that we do where we go to colleges and we do things in community organizations, that’s what we’re teaching. We’re teaching that in order to have health and fitness goals you have to have the correct knowledge and apply it to your goals. You have to have balance in Nutrition and that isn’t necessarily in that food pyramid that you were taught in school. 

ATP: You are a Vegan, right?

Stic.man: Yes I am. But we don’t teach that you have to be a vegan to be healthy. We teach the principles of nutrition as it relates to where you can get certain nutrients from. That is mostly green vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, berries and things like that, but there’s room for being open minded and everybody’s body doesn't work the same. We’re not tryna be a dogmatic organization. We’re tryna be an umbrella, or hub to expose people to health and fitness and let people make the best decisions for their body. The core of the RBG Fit Club is the regular exercise. You can do anything from boxing, yoga, weight training, running, dancing, martial arts, swimming – so many different ways that you can get that in. We try to expose that and encourage people to be active. Rest, that’s number four- very important and often overlooked. Rest is about getting the right amount of sleep. Rest is about learning how to meditate, learning how to conquer stress by relaxing activities and that’s a part of your overall health. The final principle is the most important- Consistency. We teach and we advocate and we live that you don’t have to be perfect in 1-4 but if you’re consistent, don’t fall off and say ‘I tried that. It didn't’ work and so I stopped.’ Say ‘Now I’m gonna start again’. We teach ways to keep you motivated. We have personal trainers, holistic counselors and holistic doctors in our network. One of the main ways of motivation is teaching how to set goals and using things like music and other elements to give people a sense of ‘I can do it. I’m gonna stay focused.’ Hopefully my album will be a great introduction into this phenomenon. I’m looking forward and excited to building a new community campaign. I’ll maybe save some lives. Maybe motivate some more people.

You can read the rest of the interview by clicking here.

Also check out the following links for more info on the RBG Fit Club, upcoming projects and more:

Raw Chocolate Milk

All this talk about raw chocolate today with friends has fueled my old addiction...

I don't do raw chocolate all that often but it's a nice treat every once and a while. 


Made from organic stone ground raw chocolate (1.5 ounces), 1 banana, 1.5 cups of raw almonds, 3 dates (or more to taste) and water (to desired consistency). Blend till smooth and strain if necessary.

Yummy! 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cold Buster Herbal Tea

This will knock the snot right out of your cold (literally lol).

Rose Hips - Naturally high in Vitamin C (red herb pictured on top)

Elderberry - For stellar immune support (left)

Mullein - AKA the respiratory mucus buster (right)


Buy in loose tea form, steep it and watch the symptoms subside...

*Note: the longer you steep it the greater the effects will be

Far Away From Here...

Through all my complaints I need to remain thankful for what I have. Being thankful for where you are doesn't mean that you don't want more out of life as it naturally unfolds, it just means appreciating what you have while you have it.

If I could tell you the things I've seen this week alone. People living so bad, it didn't even look like America (or maybe it does smh). Not ghetto, straight up poverty. Folks opening the door to their homes...and the stink. Children being cursed out terribly by parents visibly strung out on drugs. Saw one man walk outside, hold his head and just scream.

If you say it's nothing new I'd be even more saddened. These kind of conditions should always provoke feelings of outrage.

I could say stay up my people, but those would just be words, so take a load off if you need to and listen...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Corn Derivatives

Corn is one of the most widely genetically modified crops. Even purported natural and organic varieties have been intentionally hybridized and due to crop contamination, are likely GMOs.

Corn allergies are becoming more and more common but still are difficult to spot because it's not as widely tested for as peanuts, shellfish, eggs etc. Which actually doesn't make much sense because corn is in so much of what we eat (due to government subsidies that help fund its production). For these reasons and more it's best to stay away from it in my opinion.

Here's a helpful snapshot from Food Inc. that lists many frequently used corn derivatives. It's everywhere!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Listen to Your Body


The human body is magnificently designed. So much so that science has barely scratched the surface of all of its complex functions. Thankfully though, it comes equipped with a sophisticated feedback mechanism which acts just as an interpreter would, providing processable information on how we're maintaining it in ways that we can understand i.e. bodily feelings and sensations, ranging from aches, pains and listlessness, to energy bursts or feelings of well being.

Over the years I have become very good at diagnosing the dis-eases people have acquired after spending only a minute or two in their presence.

Hoarseness in the voice and hunched shoulders often indicating respiratory conditions. Paleness in the extremities and skin signifying anemia. Yellowing of the eyes or skin also pointing to anemia, or liver problems. Bulging eyes equating thyroid complications. Flushed skin (especially in people of African descent) pointing to high blood pressure. These are all simplified examples because I never go off of only one sign (as one sign can point to many different conditions), but upon verifying with the person in question, I've never been wrong. However, it's not rocket science. The signs are all there to be read. Sometimes we've just become so accustomed to ignoring them that we no longer pay attention. Until the condition has needlessly progressed to a critical point that is.

It's important for us to become our own health advocates. Unpleasant bodily sensations (as well as physically noticeable ones) are not meant to be ignored. It's our body screaming at us with the intention of restoring balance because our natural state is one of health and wellness. By no means would I advise anyone to run into the arms of a corporate funded physician for treatment of such ailments, but instead would recommend some extensive research and the consultation of someone who knows what they're doing from a holistic/herbal standpoint.

Sometimes our bodies need resetting. It's nothing to be embarrassed about or feared. So don't ignore the signs, act on them without worry...Knowing that "our body can in fact heal itself naturally from a variety of persistent conditions, once perceived to be permanent." -Aiya

:)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What's Your PH?

"Disease can only exist in an environment that is acid...Only consistent use of natural botanical remedies will effectively cleanse and detoxify a diseased body, reversing it to its intended alkaline state." -Dr. Sebi

Woohoo! My saliva is alkaline lol. Here's a snapshot of the PH saliva test I just took.


(The color change to the right marks where you fall on the PH scale).

As the picture shows, the ideal area you want to fall under is anywhere from 6.5 to 7.5. Anything less than that is too acidic.

Testing your urine is said to be more effective. I just did mine and it was also alkaline. Wouldn't it be funny if it came back acidic? lol. With all the mess I talk about eating healthy and going alkaline lmao.

These PH tests are a great way to determine how alkaline you really are. Can't preach about living well and have acid flowing within and from your body. As Dr. Sebi said, disease can only exist where there is an acidic environment. Eat more alkaline forming foods and kiss your diseases away.

You can pick up these PH strips at your local health food store for around $17.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Get Your Glow On - Part 2


The trainer at my new job has this great skin. I noticed it as soon as he walked into the room. I've never seen anyone with skin like that, the brother literally glowed. I wanted to ask him what his eating habits were so bad but it's not exactly PC so I decided not to. Thankfully on our break our conversation diverted to my eating habits. It's so funny how people who are health conscious can almost telepathically spot one another, never fails. Turns out that for about a month he's been drinking kangen water from the same source that my mother gets hers from (this guy who gives away gallons of it at a nearby Amish market).

The first time I drank it, I immediately felt the difference. Besides the extremely clean and crisp taste, I felt truly hydrated in a way I never had before. That night I slept so soundly and woke up feeling super light and energized. I fell in love with the stuff from then on.

When I asked the trainer what differences he had noted since he started drinking it, he also mentioned the sounder sleep benefit and a whole lot of others. He was sold and so am I. I mean it has to be something if I could spot his skin from across the room lol. After all, our skin does tend to give great insight into the overall state of our health.

Kangen water, for those who don't know is alkaline water. Water with a significantly higher PH level than traditional bottled sources, and definitely higher than tap water. They do sell alkaline water at health food stores but I haven't had any that compare to this one and I've tried about 5 or 6  different brands.

When our body is in a state of alkalinity we don't get sick because the corrosive/damaging roll that acid plays on our insides is greatly diminished.

The filter itself goes for about $3800 so I'll have to wait a little while to get it (I'm about to get a Blendtec woohoo lol). But it's such a worthwhile investment. Might seem like a lot, but really what's worth more than your health?

(All alkaline water is not created equally, so be sure to look for the Kangen name).

The Food Addiction


We all have our bad habits. Those things that we do despite knowing that they're not exactly the best things to do. Yep, we do them regardless, perhaps thinking that we're granted some sort of amnesty for cumulative good behavior in other areas, or perhaps because we don't care about the ramifications. Either way, we all have them in some way, shape, or form. Be it alcohol, gambling, sex, recreational drug use, or food. This being a food, health and wellness blog you should already know where I'm going with this ;)

I have a theory when it comes to food addictions. Let's face it, most people aren't addicted to salads, it's the fries, pizza, soda and nachos that call our name overall, moreso than the fruits and greens. But why is that? There are many published studies charting the reasons why we are addicted to the foods that we are. Refined sugar creating subtle to severe dependencies, causing similar cravings to carbohydrates (which in turn eventually break down to become sugar as well), even pathogenic yeast tricking our body into feeling the need to consume exactly what it needs to survive, these scientific findings are fascinating stuff. But let's break down the food addiction into simpler terms.

A whole lot of people are addicted to junk food. I love the term emotional eating because it describes the behavior of so many. We're upset, we eat, we're stressed, we eat, we're bored, we eat. But like I said, it's usually the salty, sugary, starchy items that top the food craving list. 

My theory is that these foods provide the greatest sensory diversion. Strong, bold and heavy flavors, of which no salad can match (not initially at least lol). Unnatural of course, but mentally grabbing nonetheless. We become consumed in these moments of eating with the food and food alone. If we're hurting, we momentarily feel soothed. If something is bothering us, we temporarily find reprieve. That food is so good to us in the beginning, hence the term "comfort food".

I'm not even going to go into why this practice is detrimental. I think we all know that this is a temporary fix and only clouds the true issue that we're trying to suppress. But it does help to discuss the causes of our various food fixations and to go within and find your own personal reasons. 

Without investigation of the "why's", we will never arrive at the "how's" (i.e. how to change our current habits into something better). 

So everyone's off the hook today lol. No big spiel, just some more food for thought ;) 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Raw Walnut Milk


Walnuts are so good for you. Alkaline forming, rich in fatty acids, great for the heart, blood circulation, proper bone health, anti-cancer...The ground hulls of black walnuts are also a great naturopathic remedy for microbial and parasitic infections. Walnuts are a must have in your pantry.

Just finished two full glasses. I don't like walnuts alone (bleh!) but this came out even better than my homemade almond milk. I put the vanilla bean stalk on the side trying to be all fancy lol but I actually didn't add any vanilla beans to it. But just in the time I took to snap this, the vanilla flavor had seeped in quite a bit.

I took two handfuls of raw walnuts (soaked overnight as always, deactivating enzyme inhibitors), a handful of deglet dates (those are the thinner, drier ones), 1 hass avocado, 1 banana and water to fill 3/4 of my blender (up to about the 50 ounce mark).

Yum yum yuuuum! My creamiest concoction yet. LOL. Ok that sounded gross but you know what I mean ;)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Stress Response


Stress is as much a physical response as it is an emotional one. When we're "stressed out" the blood leaves our extremities and flows to our heart and lungs where it perceives the body will need it most (in preparation for action). This dates back to the primordial fight or flight response.

When stress occurs, the body also releases the cortisol hormone which can negatively affect your health. Heightened cortisol levels can lead to glucose imbalances, improper brain functioning, hypertension, thyroidism and weight gain (to name a few). Eventually taking its toll on the heart, respiratory, immune, nervous system and much more.

So you see, it really does pay to breathe your way through traffic, or that rude counter clerk in the check out line. It's not only about being zen for zen sake, it's about arriving at a state of greater peace, so we can live free from the physical toll that stress inevitably inflicts on every aspect of our body. 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Vegan on the Go

(Literally combing the streets of Paris for a vegan spot. Don't go to Paris in August btw, the whole city is shut down lol)

One of the hardest things about being a vegan is letting go of the convenience you once had in eating on the go. Depending on where you live, the nearest veggie spot might be miles away and when you do find a non-veggie spot that serves up vegan options (the type of restaurant that I only patronize when desperate), the choices might not be that appetizing. So what's a vegan to do?

Plan ahead. It sucks I know but it's so important. I keep relearning this lesson the hard way every time I'm away from home. Take today for instance. All I brought with me on an extended day trip was 2 raw bars, a banana and a bottle of water and had no time to grab anything else all day. I'm not sure about other folks but I tend to eat a lot of little meals throughout the day, so this didn't cut it. By the time I arrived home my stomach was cursing my name lol. I almost cracked on the way home and bought some vegan nachos because it's at these times that we are the most tempted. But to avoid this predicament and prevent yourself from slipping up on not so healthy choices try some of these tips...

Buy yourself a non-leaching stainless steel beverage container/bottle. Great for smoothies, nut milks, freshly squeezed juices or whatever. Many times we misinterpret our body's signals, believing that we're hungry when it's actually thirst that we're suffering from. You can also buy a non-leaching thermos if you're not doing raw. Throw in some boiling water to fill prior to leaving (to keep it warm for hours), then throw out the water and add your hot soup, pasta or dish of choice.

Bring along a wide variety of fruits. That bunch of blueberries might not look so appetizing in the fridge after you've just had a meal, but try several hours later when the hunger pangs set in. It's like the flavors become alive lol. The rationale behind bringing along more than one kind of fruit is to satisfy your palate no matter what the craving.

Bring along a dissembled salad. Make your own dressing and stow in one container, leave the greens in another and fresh toppings like sesame seeds or crushed nuts for example in yet another. If possible leave any veggies you plan to add intact until the last minute, cutting hass avocados and cucumbers right before eating (a great way to maintain maximum enzyme availability).

Raw bars are very convenient but today I got tired of them really quick so when all else fails, know your local veg spots. You might be surprised to find that there are more health food stores/restaurants nearby than you imagined.

I always share this link cause it has literally saved me countless times when travelling to Canada and Europe (not to mention within the US).

http://www.happycow.net/

Be realistic. When you adopt this lifestyle know that you're unfortunately a minority and so every dietary whim may not be available to you right at the second you need/want it to be. The good news is that times are changing and more and more vegan spots are opening up everyday. In the meantime, let it serve as inspiration to step up your own culinary game, rather than as empty frustration.

And finally, go easy about it. No one's perfects. If I had of slipped up and ordered the veggie nachos today, you can best believe I would have started fresh without a guilty conscious tomorrow. Life is a string of choices and the choice to go vegan is an admirable one regardless of if you haven't worked out all the kinks and cravings ;)