Health + Wellness

Yoga Makes Me Horny

Yes, you read that right. I’ve been practicing yoga for over 9 years and I have to say that after a 30-60 minute session, I’m ready to get it on and get it in. I’ve always wondered why and I finally decided to put Google to use and this article came up.

The Workout That Increases Your Sex Life

Yoga consists of many hip openers and stretches that open the entire body. For some who sit all day, aren’t getting any blood flowing in their pelvic region, which can stunt your libido.

For someone who is on a celibacy journey, having an increased libido is not easy, so I’m order to combat that, I’ve tried adding cardio to burn off that excess sexual energy. No such luck. Add to that, I’ve increased my veggie and fruit intake as well as adding protein smoothies.

Being vegan and practicing yoga puts your sex drive through the roof, but one of my goals this year was and is, no sexual activity of any kind. So I guess I’ll have to deal with it.

If you are a woman experiencing decreased libido, get in downward-facing dog so you can get in downward-facing dog. (See what I did there?)

Health + Wellness

Don’t Let the Smile Fool You

In the above pic, even though I’m smiling in all three, only one I’m actually happy in. That’s the one from 2018. The left two are from my freshman year in college. I was attending Stephen F. Austin State University. I was severely depressed. I was self medicating through alcohol and sex, tons and tons of sex with different men. I’m not ashamed of where I’ve been, because it has made me stronger and the person I am today.

During this time, I was trying to build a bond with my biological father who didn’t want to build a bond. I even went to this university to be closer to him. No such luck. Even though he lived 10 min away, I rarely saw him.

I only had one friend there and my roommates disliked me. I was alone. I begged my mom to let me transfer to the University of Houston over Christmas break, but she made me finish out the year. I don’t think she knew how desperate I was. Had she made me stay another year, I’d likely not be here writing this post.

I gained 60 lbs from indulging in food and alcohol. I didn’t workout and I stayed in my dorm room. I was experiencing life being on my own and not having any structure. It was devastating to say the least. You’d think I’d be glad to have gotten out of my parents house.

The following year I transferred to UH and things turned around. I had more structure, I was working out, lost the 60lbs I’d gained and I was with my friends from high school. I started therapy (and ended shortly after), I published my first book, was still having sex but not as much and not with nearly as many men.

Now, in 2019, I’m a completely different person. Have you ever suffered from depression? What caused it and how did you get through it, or are you still going through it?

Health + Wellness

Open and Fearless

I’ve never been the one to do the whole “words for the year” thing. It just wasn’t me. Still isn’t. I’m all about manifesting this year and I want to manifest openness and fearlessness. I’m going to be open about just about any and everything in order to not close off any opportunities, relationships, career advancements, anything. Nothing is off limits. But in order to be open, I have to be fearless.

Fearfulness causes you to be afraid and closed off to anything new and positive changes. In order to manifest, you have to feel and say what you want with no hesitation, stipulations, or conditions. For me, I have to let the fear of rejection, failure, and not being enough, die. No more living in the past and going off of past experiences. All of that last fear is going to interfere with future endeavors.

What are you manifesting this year, or do you have word(s) of the year that you want to work on?

Health + Wellness

Don’t Let the Holidays Ruin Your Health and Fitness Goals

Many people are on a health and fitness journey and I often hear too many times that people will hault their journey until after the holidays. They do this in order to pig out and forgo any progress they’ve made, basically setting themselves back a few steps.

Why do this? What’s the point? Say you’ve lost ten pounds so far. You’re really going to risk gaining that ten pounds back and some? Priorities are clearly out of sort. 

Being vegan, I don’t typically partake in the food that everyone else indulges in, though I do make my own vegan version of these same foods. The difference is calories, fat, sodium, cholesterol, and what’s called “the itis.”

I am off work the next week, but that doesn’t mean that I am not meal prepping. In fact, I meal prepped before this post went out (last night). I have calorie goals since I’m breastfeeding as well as health goals when it comes to food choices. I’ve been on a roll and I dare not mess that up.

So how can one stick to their health and fitness goals through the holidays? Continue to do what you’re doing. Don’t hault your journey for foods that aren’t going to do anything but put you to sleep and gurgle your stomach. Also, don’t be so strict on yourself. Enjoy those foods, but in moderation. Don’t pig out. 

In order to reach these goals, you have to continue striving towards them, pushing through any obstacles that seem daunting. 

How do you stay on track during the holidays?

Health + Wellness

Yeast Infection, Vaginal Odor, and Bacteria Vaginosis (BV) Natural Remedies

As a woman, our vaginas go through so much: periods, birthing a child, irritation, discharge, and then yeast infections, odors, and BV.

I’m not too keen on putting chemicals in or even near my vagina. I suffer from BV and it’s not just sexually transmitted. It can come from sweating profusely (according to my OBGYN).

So after some trial and error, I’ve concocted a list of remedies that are tried and true.

1. Sleep without underwear. Hell, sleep naked. Let your body, mainly your vagina, breathe. You’ve been wearing underwear and clothes all day, let everything air out at night.

2. Go commando. If you are one of those lucky ladies who doesn’t have discharge (I envy you and you are abnormal) don’t wear underwear at all.

3. Stop washing with soap. Like most modern ovens, your vagina is self cleaning. It cleanses once a month (your period). I’ve found that just washing with warm water does wonders.

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4. Tea tree suppositories. Now I’ve been using these for years, and I typically use them in between my periods. They are safe, chemical free, and proven to cure all three ailments.

5. Probiotics. I take probiotics daily, and I’ve found that not only does my gut feel better, so does my vagina.

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6. Boric acid suppositories. I’ve personally never used these, but I know many women who have and swear by them.

7. Coconut oil, tea tree oil and lavender oil rubbed internally and externally. If you didn’t know, coconut oil is an anti fungal, and tea tree oil is an antiseptic. So together, they are a powerhouse. Lavender oil is just to help with the overpowering aroma of the tea tree oil.

8. Eat lots of fruits and veggies. These foods are great for cleaning our systems.

9. Drink lots of water. Water naturally detoxes our bodies and it also keeps the vagina lubricated.

10. Cutout dairy. Dairy is a mucus causing substance. It creates yeast in the vagina, despite doctors saying to eat yogurt. If you want to eat yogurt, try Good Karma. It’s nondairy and contains probiotics.

What are some remedies that you have tried and worked?

Health + Wellness

Forgiveness

People y’all about forgiveness like it’s easy as pie. We’re always quick to say forgive and forget, but how can we forgive and forget something someone did to us that put us in a depression? Hurt people hurt people, but we don’t talk about the severness of the hurt.

I was journaling about the people in my life I need to forgive and the unforgivable things they did to me. Do I forgive all of them? No, but I’m working on it. But what does forgiveness actually do? It allows the other person to no longer have any control over you. You relinquish that hurt and pain and you are able to move on.

Harboring past experiences blocks you from future opportunities in more ways than one. Sometimes we lose trust because of someone breaking their trust with us, then we no longer can trust anyone and say no to everyone and everything. We live a life of suspicion of everyone and that’s no way to live.

I know some people forgive someone over and over again, allowing that person to still stay in their life, when the best option is to let them go. Just because you forgive someone, doesn’t mean you need to continue to associate yourself with them. I recently disassociated myself from someone who was using me, causing me pain, dragging me into their drama, lying to me and sending me into a depression.

Keeping these toxic people in your life makes your forgiving them null and void because you are allowing more chances of them doing the same thing that you keep forgiving them for. People throw forgiveness around like they do love and that’s detrimental to your mental health.

Forgiveness should not be taken lightly and should be thought out. When you forgive someone, it’s not for that person, it’s for you. You’re letting what they did go, but you’re not forgetting. When you forgive someone, it makes that person feel small because they don’t have you in the palm of their hand like they thought they did. They can no longer control and manipulate the narrative.

Think about who in your life you need to forgive, why you need to forgive them and what will come of it.

Health + Wellness

Therapy

Sage Yo’ Soul

This is not something that only has one meaning nor does it look the same for everyone. When most people think of therapy, they think of going to an office of someone who is a licensed professional and telling them about their feelings. That is only one form of therapy. Then you have physical therapy which is to recovery from an injury, but let’s stick to therapy that is meant to alleviate emotional barriers.

I’ve gone to therapy and found that it wasn’t for me. So I ended up taking things into my own hands. Below are some of my current forms of therapy:

Music

Dancing

Cooking

Blogging

Reading

Practicing yoga

Writing

Journaling

Spending time with my son

Meditating

Planning in my planners

Talk to others

Walking outside

Exercising

Creating

Gettinf my nails done

I know it seems like a lot, but these are things to help me get through whatever it is I’m going through. They help to clear my mind. Once my mind is clear, I take pen to paper in my journal and write everything out. I’ve come to a lot of realizations and breakthroughs doing a mix of all of these things.

If you haven’t joined the journaling challenge with Sage Yo’ Soul, I highly suggest it. It is day 3 and I’ve already spilled my guts in my journal. I didn’t expect this challenge to start off so strong and deep with it.

What does therapy look and feel like to you?

Health + Wellness

Breakthroughs

I have nothing against therapy, it’s just not something I can do right now, so I have my own form of therapy: yoga and journaling. In my last journal entry I was writing about the negativity I have been experiencing and that has been lurking in my mind as well as the almost unfortunate events it has caused and may cause. Negative thoughts that I created about scenarios that haven’t even happened and may never happen, have cause some negative events and levels of stress and anxiety. Malakhai and I were in almost 3 accidents this week. I realized that those were wake up calls.

At these moments I wasn’t thinking negative thoughts but I had been earlier those days. Is there a correlation? I’m not sure. But I’m realizing that this bubble of negativity stems from somewhere and I finally pinpointed the causes (I can’t disclose them because they involve people close to me and it’s super personal). Now that I’ve pinpointed those causes, I’m on a journey to figuring out how to stop those negative feelings and thoughts when they creep in.

I feel exhilarated right now because I’m finally cracking things open. Journaling is where I came to these conclusions. I’ll admit I do talk to myself and when I journal, it’s basically the same thing. I let my pen do the talking and as my thoughts flow onto the paper, I can see where an abundance of my issues lie. For some reason, seeing it on paper makes a world of difference.

Not all the time do I go back and read my entries, but lately I have been, just to see if maybe I mentioned something before that can trigger something in me or cause me to have an epiphany. I’m always looking for messages or just something in my entires to give me some idea of when this negativity started, why and how I can possibly fix it.

I will continue to journal because it’s extremely therapeutic. What are some ways you deal with things or work out your issues if you don’t go to therapy?

Health + Wellness

Journaling Sessions

Since having Malakhai, it’s been quite hard to journal. I’m a lengthy journaler (I know that’s not a word) and it’s hard to not journal for 1-2 hours. Journaling is my form of therapy that works so well for me. It allows me to dump things out and ask myself questions and as o ask these questions, I tend to be able to answer them through other journaling sessions or ones that I’ve already had.

I had a journaling session one night that turned into 6 pages over an hour (thanks Malakhai for sleeping long enough for mommy to go to journal therapy) and when I was done, I felt relieve, like a weight had been lifted and whatever hold was on me, let go. If you don’t journal, I highly recommend it.

I feel like WOC don’t deal with their mental health as they should but it seems like more and more millennial WOC are seeking professional help. One of my fave podcasts is Therapy for Black Girls (which I think I’ve mentioned before). I tried therapy and it didn’t work but then again, the therapist could not relate to me and I could not relate to her nor was I comfortable.

I think now that Malakhai and I are ina routine, I can now guesstimate when a good time to journal will be. Typically I like to journal in the morning, but now I work around his naps. As long as I get an hour a day, I’m good.

Do you journal? How often and is it therapeutic?

Health + Wellness, recipes

#FOTD: Chickpea Lime and Coconut Soup

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Hands down the best soup I’ve ever tasted. My mom sent me a link on FB and I had all of the ingredients except for the sweet potatoes and coconut milk (I always choose the coconut milk with the fat). This is not my own recipe but I did alter it by leaving out the red chilies (didn’t want any heat). Click here for the recipe.

All Black Everything, Health + Wellness

Apesh*t & Black Panther

No shade, but black women are the most diverse group of women on this planet. It’s true.  We are the only group of women who come in a wide variety of shades and we have a wide variety of hair textures. But the one thing that bothers me is the misrepresentation of the different shades of black women and the unfortunate favoritism of certain shades. Not to mention the treatment of different shades.

I am not a Beyoncé fan (Beyhive do not come for me unless I send for you), but I have a great respect for her latest video, Apesh*t. It is an extremely inclusive video, with black women of shades across the entire spectrum. That made me feel amazing that she did that. In today’s time, women of my skin tone or darker are underrepresented in music videos and all other aspects of media (commercials, billboards, ads, etc.).

Beyoncé is all about the empowerment of black women, just look at her Formation music video. Her live performances always have only black women doing background and the instrumentals. There aren’t too many women with large platforms and popularity as her, advocating for black women in their entirety.

Black women from lightest to darkest have many adversities against them. Light skinned women are always asked if they’re mixed because they’re too light to just be black. They have to have something else in them. They are also seen as stuck up, yet the most sought after from dark skinned black men. Then you have the women of my color who also aren’t seen as just black. Speaking from personal experience, I am always asked where I am from. Many people think that I am from the islands because of my hair texture and my complexion. I’ve been told I’m too pretty to just be black, and believe it or not, that is an insult to my heritage. I am just black. Period.

I’ve also been told that I must be mixed. Well I’ve never seen a biracial black woman as dark as I am. I’m never seen as just a black woman in America. Also, because I speak proper English (thanks to those years spent living in England), I have been bullied and astrocized by black men but more so black women, speaking as if I’m better than them, that’s what they tell me. Not all black women are loud, uneducated, petty, mad, and belligerent.

Then you have those who are in the range in between light and dark who are often left in the abyss. Nobody really talks about them. Most other ethnicities don’t know but there is a rift amongst black women due to the varying shades. The lighter skinned sisters tend to feel like they’re better than the darker skinned and also look down on us. I’m not saying all, but most, and I think they feel like the have a sense of entitlement because society sees them as more favorable.

I am the type of person who looks deeper into everything I see, especially commercials. Rarely will you ever see a darker skinned woman. They are always of light complexion or biracial. Women of my skin tone aren’t seen as pretty.

I also want to take note of Black Panther. A YouTuber that I watch brought up a good point. She said a friend of hers felt slighted because the representation in Black Panther was limited to women of my color and darker. I hadn’t actually paid attention to that during the numerous times that I’ve seen it. After watching the video, I went back and watched it again and realized that she was right. The thing is, in much of Africa, where Wakanda is, there aren’t really any lighter skinned women. Africa is mainly of people my color and darker.

So, with Black Panther not having any lighter skinned women, it was a true representation, not to mention, all the women in the movie aside from Lupita, Sury, and T’Challa’s mother, were bald. This movie really was for our culture despite the representation, or underrepresentation.

A lot of this rift, again, goes back to slavery. Lighter skinned women were favored mainly because they were a product of a slave woman being raped by a slave master, or a white woman manipulating a black slave male into sleeping with her. These children ended up being house negroes. Granted there treatment was still bad but not considerably as bad as field negroes (I don’t use the other “n” word). We are all still experiencing PTSD (post traumatic slave disorder).

I hope that one day, collectively, we can put colorism aside. We are all black and descendants of Africans and African slaves.

All Black Everything, Health + Wellness

White Women Only

If you are not a POC, you won’t understand the significance of this post, but I will try to make it to where you have a gist of the point I’m trying to convey. In the Black community, mostly among Black women, there’s this stigma that anything against what we deem “the norm”, is white. Let me try to explain.

When I began living a plant based lifestyle, at that time, the face was white. Many people said that veganism was a white thing, or eating healthy was for white people. Most of these comments, actually all of these comments, came from other Black people.

See, our poor eating habits stem from slavery, and yes I can already hear people now: “why does everything have to be about slavery with y’all?” Well, a lot of what we deal with today stems from slavery: the racism, discrimination, exclusion, etc. Believe it or not, much of slavery still exists today. We are still underpaid, treated unfairly, and targeted by race soldiers, aka The Police.

Back to what I was saying: poor eating habits. Our ancestors did all of the cooking for the white folk and what was leftover, neck bones, fat backs, chitterlings, oxtails, and any other part of the animal the white folk deemed unworthy, was given to the slaves. That passed from one generation to the next, which is why we have the highest levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and everything else.

What most people, most Black people, don’t know is that veganisn stemmed from our ancestors before slavery, back in Africa. Our ancestors lived a mostly vegetarian lifestyle, consuming some fish. They are off the land. This is why you see so many of those in my generation, millennials, adopting a plant based lifestyle. In the age of technology, I feel like we were the last generation to learn how to research, the first to learn to research using technology. We do the most digging, reading and soul searching, which is why many of us have given up religion (that’s a post for another time). We’ve learned that Black history goes further back than slavery, which is what most white Americans don’t want us to know, which is why Black history month is limited to Black Americans post slavery.

Now to the point of this post: breastfeeding. In the Black community, breastfeeding is not a huge thing, it’s almost taboo. I’ve heard from other Black women that they were told breastfeeding is for white women and we are trying to be like them. Yes, I’m about to bring up slavery again. During those times, Black women weren’t allowed to nurse their babies.  They were made to nurse the master’s babies. Their children were left in the sun and only consumed sugar water. Fucked up? Yes, I know.

Thoughbi haven’t heard these comments personally, and no one in my family breastfed or stuck with it, it still isn’t something normalized. They do bring up formula and he needs to be in a bottle, mainly because that’s all they know. They don’t know or understand the benefits of breastfeeding.

1. Bonding

2. Building the baby’s immune system

3. Emotional stability

4. Fights off all kinds of diseases and illnesses

5. Lose baby weight

6. Can protect your baby from developing allergies

7. Can boost the baby’s intelligence

8. May prevent childhood obesity

9. Decreases risk of SIDS

10. Can reduce your stress levels and risk of PPD

11. Can reduce your risk of certain cancers

There are also many other benefits. It’s not a white women thing, it’s a mothering thing. As women, by nature, we are meant to breastfeed, and yes, I understand some women can’t breastfeed due to many factors. Though I never understood women who just chose not to breastfeed for whatever reason and I feel bad for those who were coerced into believing that Black women don’t breastfeed.

What brought in this post was the picture above. I saw it on IG and I reposted it. Every time I look at it, something in me just said to make a blog post about it to share information to expecting Black Mothers and to reassure Black Mothers who already breastfeed, letting them know that it’s okay.

What do you think about breastfeeding and have you ever been told it’s a “white woman” thing? Did you breastfeed? Why? Why not?

Health + Wellness, Vegan Mommy Things

Trap Yoga

Here we are again with Trap Yoga, only this time I’m pregnant!! It’s always fun going to her classes and I wasn’t going to let boo stop me. In fact, I went just to try to move him down. Needless to say, no such luck, but I still enjoyed myself. I can’t believe these pics are almost two years apart.

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I love the photos that were shot and shout out to @ShotbySham on IG for these.

Health + Wellness, My Life

Fast Food for Standardized Testing? Nah.

Yesterday my students took their standardized test for the subject I teach (writing). Every year on standardized testing day, some fast food restaurant gives free breakfast. Now I’m all for free, however, the restaurants giving the free breakfast are terrible. This year, it happened to be the worst fast food place of all: McDeath…I mean McDonald’s.

McDonald’s has to be the worst fast food place of all fast food places. Their food is fake, full of chemicals, MSG, and a host of other things that should not be ingested. Everyone knows that they should not go there. Not only that, because everyone was waiting in line for their free meal, kids ended up being late.

Another reason I hate that these places give free fast food on testing day is that the parents will take their kids and give them this terrible food, which causes them to be sluggish, unfocused and sick. They won’t perform as well on their test because of the chemicals affecting their brain and ability to concentrate.

I really wish parents would stop giving their kids fast food. I have a student who gets donuts every morning for breakfast and for lunch they have some kind of animal on steroids because I have never seen meat that big. Then the parent wonders why this child is always sleep. The shit you’re feeding them is slowing them down and shutting their system down. To me, giving your child fast food is child abuse. People never think about what they’re feeding their child is child abuse. Child abuse comes in different forms but that’s a topic for another post.

How do you feel about children eating fast food? If you feed your child fast food, why? Would love to get a healthy discussion going.

Health + Wellness

Motivational Monday: Eating Breakfast at Home

In every job I’ve worked, people always eat breakfast at their desk, in the lounge or break room. I am one of those people. I was one of those people. Every morning, I would pack my lunch bag and walk out the door. Once I got to the school, I would sit at my desk and eat my breakfast as I tried to prepare for the day. Multitasking. However, eating breakfast did nothing but slow me down.

Now this will be a bit of TMI, but I normally have 3 bowel movements in the morning. The first one is once I get up, the second is once I start moving around and getting things ready for work, and the third time is after I eat breakfast. Since school started, I have not been on that schedule, but beginning this semester, now that I eat at home, I’m back on schedule. Getting ready in the morning and walking out the door with no bowel movement, meant I ended up having all 3 (and sometimes 4) at the school and that put a major dent into my preparation time as well.

When we eat, we tend to rush and not take our time chewing, which aids in the digestion process. Believe it or not, eating breakfast at home gives you time to slow down, fully wake up, enjoy your food and be in a better mood for the day.

America is the fattest country in the world and with breakfast being the most important meal of the day, then add in all these fast food restaurants claiming that their breakfast will “make your morning great”, I can see why so many people aren’t morning people. They are sluggish, don’t want to work and are feeling sick from their breakfast. What you have first thing in the morning can determine how the rest of your day goes.

Break + fast =breakfast: you’re breaking your fast. Consuming animal products, aka “death”, first thing in the morning, is going to make you feel like death the rest of the day, the you wonder why you are constipated. When first waking up, you should consume something that will be easily digestible: smoothie, fruit, oatmeal, quinoa porridge, protein shake, smoothie bowl, acai bowl, etc. All of these foods don’t take much for you body to digest, in fact, I normally end up having a bowel movement before I finish any of these foods. Sometimes I’ll have two.

Having a heavy breakfast causes your body to work too hard to early in the day. You don’t want to put you body in overdrive first thing in the morning, using up all of your energy. This goes back to eating breakfast at home. When you are on the go, eating walking out the door, eating on the way to work, eating while working, you aren’t focused on chewing your food to a pulp before swallowing, which slows down your digestion process.

Some tips to eat breakfast at home:

  • prepare the night before
    • overnight oats
    • chia pudding
    • smoothie ingredients
    • cook quinoa
  • Wake up earlier
    • finish preparing breakfast
    • eat breakfast
    • have some coffee or tea
    • read a blog post
    • enjoy your morning

These tips will help you to be able to eat your breakfast at home and have a better start to your day.

Health + Wellness

Motivational Monday: Preparing

It was the morning we went back to school after the winter break, and I was journaling before I got my day started. As I was journaling, I figured that it was too good not to share, so of course I had to make it into a blog post. I was writing about how getting ready for this week has made it possible for me to not rush in the morning. Here are a few bullet points that I will expound upon in a series of upcoming blog posts for my motivational Mondays:

  • Eating breakfast at home instead of at work
  • Go to bed earlier
  • Having my essential oil diffuser in my room with lavender at night and a citrus scent in the morning
  • Seriously meal prepping on Sundays since we have tutorials after school
  • Journaling in the morning (also meditation)
  • Setting intentions for the day
  • Getting up if I’m already awake before my alarm

Doing all of those things prepared me for an awesome week. Keep watch for upcoming posts on each of these points as I explain how it has helped contribute to awesomeness this past week.

All Black Everything, Health + Wellness, Vegan Mommy Things

Eating Healthy is for POC Too

Podcast: Black Girl in Om

Grocery Haul:

Avocados

Blackberries

Blueberries

Strawberries

Potatoes

Tomatoes

Pumpkin seeds

Pecans

Raisins

Kale

Nutritional Yeast

Bolthouse Farms Non-Dairy Milk

Health + Wellness, Minimalism, My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Veganism, Minimalism, and Spirituality

I was listening to a podcast the other day (Minimalist Moms) and they were talking about minimalism and spirituality. I consider myself a spiritual person and that more so came to light after my transition to being vegan. When you realize that all these animal products, processed foods and fake foods are not needed to survive, it makes you wonder what else you can live without.

I think after the first year, I began to realize that I had way too many things. I lived with my mom at the time and we lived in this big two story house that had 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, an office, huge living and dining room, 3 car garage, the works. I was grateful, but I began to feel like I was drowning. That is when I decided to start giving things away. The Purple Heart would come to our house and pick up any donations we had, and every time they came, there was plenty to give away. Even my mom was giving stuff away.

Once I got ready to move into my first apartment, I had bags and bags full of stuff that I was not taking with me. Once I moved and set up my new apartment, I realized that I had so much empty space. I lived in a nearly empty apartment for 14 months. It was depressing. I rarely invited people over because I was embarrassed. I had this huge apartment and nothing to fill it with, nor was I going to fill it.

When my lease was almost up, I went on the hunt for a much smaller apartment. I was elated when I finally found the perfect one. The living room was much smaller and it had a separate dining area; the closet was half the size of the old one; the bathroom was also smaller with a smaller linen closet and smaller garden tub; and the bedroom was about the same size.

Once I had moved all of my things in, I realized I did not have enough space for everything, and again, I had to give and throw things away. Every cabinet and closet is full to the brim with necessities (which is not a lot given how small everything is). Even though I have a baby on the way, there is enough stuff for their things to go. I’m just going to have to let the grandparents and family know to keep things to a minimum.

Being vegan opens your mind to societal norms, values, and morals, and makes you see how everything we’ve ever been taught was a lie. We are told to work more so that we can buy more things. We are manipulated into wanting a bigger house to fill it with expensive things and nicer, fancier, expensive cars. We are told we need all these things to make us happy and to live the “American Dream.”

I often times think about people who are homeless or those who don’t have many or any valuables, and how many of them are happy. There are homeless people who are actually happy; one of them is a friend of mine. I watched his journey moving from Houston to New York. He lives in a homeless shelter and all of his things fit in a backpack. He is the happiest person I know and it amazes me at his spirit and joy. We have talked on several occasions, and I follow his blog, YouTube and social media.

I do plan to live in a tiny house one day soon, but we will see how things go.

Spirituality

My spirituality changed when I became vegan because like I said before, when you realize that you have been told lies all your life about food, what other lies have we been told?

I began to do my research on the history of Christianity and Jesus Christ and what I found out was disturbing. During the times of slavery, Black people were only allowed to read the bible, and only a select few at that, mainly Black men who were appointed pastor by the slave master to keep the slaves in check. The slave masters would drill these lies about Jesus Christ (a white man with blue eyes and brown straight hair, sometimes it was blond, with white skin), and how if we don’t worship him, we were going to this place called hell (funny thing is we already live in hell).

Christianity was forced upon slaves in order to keep them dependent upon the white man and the slave masters, to make them feel that they are all they have. That translates into today. Many Black people work for the white man and are dependent upon him for a paycheck. I did more research and came to the conclusion that church really wasn’t for me. When I lived with my mom, I went to church because that wasn’t an option. I first started going to her church where the pastor is a white man (oh, the irony). I quickly realized that that wasn’t the church for me. I went to two other Black churches and I felt like a slave, being brainwashed into believing the lies coming out of the pastors’ mouths.

Do these pastors not know the history behind the negro church and why only Black men are pastors? Does that not strike them as odd? When I moved out, I immediately stopped going to church and created my own altar for me to worship my ancestors, meditate and journal. It felt right, right from the beginning. I turn on my oil diffuser, meditate for about 10 minutes and then journal. It gives me a sense of peace. I do this normally every Sunday morning, and other times when I feel I need to (mainly when I’m stressed).

I’ve found that more millennials have taken this route of spirituality, letting go of Christianity and the Black church. Our parents and grandparents don’t understand, and even find it demonic or heathenist or witchcraft, but little do they know that when they pray, that is a form of witchcraft. Praying is the same thing as reciting a spell. You pray for things you want, the healing of others, love, righteousness, happiness, etc. That’s casting a spell.

Back to the minimalist side, I keep my altar fairly simple. If you would like a tour, click here. I have updated it and added a couple of new pieces. I will do another post later on with the specifics of everything and why I have everything on it.

Veganism, minimalisim and spirituality go hand in hand.

Health + Wellness

Services

 

 

Book a Talk

You will be able to chat via Skype, FaceTime or Facebook Messenger about living a healthier lifestyle or book editing services.

$150.00

 

 

 

Ghostwriting

This is exclusively for novels. Please also contact me via email to discuss details, moniquasexton@me.com.

$1,500.00

 

 

 

 

Proofreading/Editing

This includes essays, resumes, cover letters, business proposals, flyers, newsletters, emails, etc. For novels, websites and other lengthy projects, please email me for further details (moniquasexton@me.com).

$175.00

 

 

 

Ebook Formatting

This service is for editing and formatting a ready-to-go ebook for upload to Kindle.

$1,200.00

Health + Wellness

Vegan Meal Services

Staple Foods List

I know as well as anyone that starting a vegan or plant based lifestyle can leave most confused and with an empty fridge and pantry. Changing to this lifestyle without any research of foods you can eat and how to eat, may seem daunting, however, this list will get you started. With that being said, I have done the hard work for you and created this list to help new and curious vegans. It is an extensive list of foods you should have in your kitchen at all times. 

$10.00

 

Customized Meal Plns (Vegan Only)

Aside from the meal plans that I already have listed, I can make customized meal plans to fit your specific needs. This will include a shopping list, recipes, and a meal plan chart with daily meals and snacks. Please specify for how many days you want the meal plan to be.

$150.00

Health + Wellness, My Life, Product Reviews

Nourish Juice Bar


Located off W Gray, this juice bar is so amazing and I love the atmosphere. I had been there once before. I ordered the Pink Starbust juice and a Buddha bowl. Both were absolutely amazing. The juice really tasted like candy and the kick from the ginger was perfect. 


The Buddha bowl was a curry style bowl with kale, quinoa, carrots, chickpeas and so much more earthy goodness. The curry dressing added so much flavor. I definitely want to try to recreate something like this.

Health + Wellness

Top Staple Foods For Vegan Newbies

When I became vegan, I did not know what I was doing and I wish I had this list for when I went vegan. So I am making this to help my fellow vegan newbies. These are foods that I have in my house at all times. 
Grains:

Rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, oats

Proteins:

Beans (preferably dry, canned goods aren’t good for you), lentils

Seeds:

Chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas), sunflower seeds, hemp seeds

Nuts:

Walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, cashews, pine nuts, hazel nuts, macadamia nuts 

Spices:

Oregano, basil, thyme, sage, cinnamon, allspice, pink Himalayan sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika

Sweeteners:

Pure maple syrup, raw agave nectar, turbinado sugar, dates

Miscellaneous:

Nutritional yeast, vegetable broth, braggs liquid amino acids, 

These are things that I keep in my pantry and on my spice rack and they go great with any recipe. This list will be updated often as I come into more things that I always keep in my pantry. Having these things on hand will make sure that you always have something to eat and make. 

All Black Everything, Health + Wellness

Black Mental Health

I was talking to a friend a couple days ago about something that he was going through and we got on the subject of Black people seeking professional help. What also brought this to my mind is the recent incidents with Kanye West. Now I am not saying that he does or doesn’t have mental issues, because I am not in his inner circle or close to him, but it made me wonder why is it that when Black people profess that they are going through something or that they need help, it is seen as being taboo or they are shunned for it?

Now I have written a post about this topic before, but I wanted to bring it back up. I feel it’s a serious, relevant topic especially given the increased police brutality our community has faced over the past few years. We are still dealing with the aftermath of slavery, which our  great-great grandparents, and so forth, have endured and have passed down these mental illnesses through generations.

Going to a psychiatrist is seen as a white thing and that only white people can have mental illnesses. My thing is with white privilege and white supremacy, there is nothing for them to have issues about. For hundreds of years they have oppressed, raped, mutilated, murdered, etc., a great many people of color. If anything, there should be more people of color seeking professional help. 

In our community, we always get the “I’ll pray for you” or “Stay strong” or “You are man/woman and you have to be strong for you family.” Excuse my language, but that’s bullshit. Praying for me and telling me to stay strong is not going to help me get through what I’m going through. Sometimes we need someone to just listen or be able to just cry to. Often times not being able to have those options, causes us to bottle things up and we lash out in very dangerous ways.

I’ve been to therapy and it was a very traumatic experience for me and I hadn’t gone back. This was about 7 years ago, which is how long I’ve been single. I’ve been thinking of going back and this time to a Black therapist. I went through a lot with my last relationship and I still haven’t recovered from it. When people go through terrible breakups, they carry that baggage and all that hurt with them throughout their relationships that follow.

There are many other things that affect our mental health such as rape, murder, racism, being passed over for a job, unequal pay and our diet. I think that our diet is one of the main factors when it comes to mental health in the Black community, we have been brainwashed and mentally conditioned to believe that the way that we eat is okay because our families have eaten that way for generations. Well truth be told, our grandparents, and those before them, did not have other options or the resources to educate themselves on why this food was killing them or making them ill. That goes back again to slavery. We have not healed from any of that.

As a community we have to seek the help that we need and stop thinking that it’s not okay to be going through something that you can’t handle on your own.

Guest Bloggers, Health + Wellness

A Guide to Living Off Your Own Garden by Joe Thomas

There is a huge growing trend in people wanting to become more self-sufficient, where living off your own garden can provide enormous health and environmental benefits. Give it a try for a cleaner, healthier, more environmentally friendly and cheaper way of living. The following is a beginner’s guide, informing on the benefits, how to get started, and a few tips and tricks to make growing your own food easy!

1

Health and Environmental Benefits

  1. Growing Your Own Food Without Pesticides.

Pesticides are toxic substances used to kill living things. In the garden the most common ones you will come across are herbicides, which kill weeds, and insecticides which eradicate insects.

Over 40 years of research has linked pesticides to a wide range of health problems in adults and children, from temporary issues like nausea and headaches, to long term problems such as ADHD, reproductive difficulties and many forms of cancer. Children are particularly at risk as they are more sensitive to chemicals, plus they often play in areas which have been exposed to pesticides. By using organic methods of gardening and natural forms of pest control, you can negate these issues. This is why it’s important to wash your fruits and veggies you get from the shops!

  1. Exercise Benefits Through Gardening

Gardening entails a wide range of movement and this helps to build muscle and strengthen joints. It is also good for flexibility as you are often extending legs and arms to get to hard to reach areas. As with any form of exercise, to see any real benefits, you need to garden for at least 30 minutes at a time. This will burn calories and in the process help to lower your cholesterol levels; reduce blood pressure; decrease your risk of diabetes; and slow osteoporosis, which is particularly important for women.

Physical exercise also has a positive effect on the mind. It helps to alleviate depression and decrease stress levels. You are also working outside in the fresh air and this too has been shown to strengthen mental health.

  1. Benefits of Eating Fruits and Vegetables

We are all aware we should eat more fruits and vegetables. In the UK we have the ‘5 a Day’ campaign and in the USA dietary guidelines recommend that half your plate should comprise of fresh produce.

Fruits and vegetables are good for us for several reasons. First, they contain dietary fibre and this lowers the incidence of obesity and cardiovascular disease. Second, they contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents which combine to keep us healthy and ward off disease.

  1. The Environment

The biggest benefit for the environment, when you live off your garden, is the short distance the food has to travel from where it is grown to your plate. We are all being advised to reduce the ‘food miles’ of the produce we consume and the best ways to do this are to buy locally and eat seasonally. When you rely on the fruits and vegetables you have produced yourself you can only eat in season and it is always local. Furthermore, you will decrease your plastic wastage. Buying from the shop also entails bringing home with you a large quantity of plastic the food is packaged in.

A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetables

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Deciding Where to Grow

Vegetables grow best where it is sunny, so choose carefully when you are deciding where to plant. You can always add shade for more delicate crops such as salad and fruit bushes.

The majority of soil found in gardens will suit vegetable growing. However, if your soil is shallow, full of stones or clay rich, which will be cold and wet in winter, build raised beds or plant in large pots.

Dealing with Pests

One advantage of growing your own produce is the avoidance of pesticides and therefore you will want to deal with slugs and snails naturally.

Keep the plot clear of weeds and leaves and put a paved or soil path between beds, so you or the birds can spot pests easily. If you are having particular problems you could always lay down organic slug pellets.

Preparing the Soil

Before you start planting you should turn the soil over and remove weeds, roots and stones. This helps to prevent weeds returning and improves drainage. Some gardens will suffer the blight of perennial weeds and in this case cover the soil with newspaper and add a layer of compost about 5cm in depth.

Getting the Best From Planting

Follow the instructions on the seed packets as closely as possible, especially when you are new to vegetable gardening. Compost can be hugely beneficial to your garden so collect your lawn clippings, organic kitchen waste and anything you prune from the garden.

While you may read to let your ground lie fallow for a period, such as with crop rotation in farming, this isn’t possible in a small space. However, what you can do is grow different crops in a bed in subsequent years.

Easy Fruits and Vegetables to Grow

As a beginner you will want to choose crops which are easy and provide a wide range of nutrients.

Vegetables: Many people start out with courgettes and runner beans as these are particularly easy to grow. Broccoli, kale and spinach are excellent choices nutritionally and varieties of beans can be filling and protein-rich.

Root vegetables: Potatoes can be used in a wide variety of ways in cooking and are easy to store. Beetroot, carrots and onions are also good choices.

Salad: Salad vegetables and herbs are expensive and in the summer most families will consume large amounts of them. Tomatoes, peppers, radishes, cucumbers and spring onions are fast growing and plentiful. Herbs will add flavour to any dish and in the winter months can be grown indoors.

Fruit: Don’t forget about fruit as yields are high and will last through the season. They are easy to freeze and to turn into jams. Apples, pears, cherries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are wise choices for beginners.

Extras: It is best to keep in mind what you like to cook with when you are planting.  Garlic and mushrooms provide health benefits and spirulina, although less well known, is a great nutritional addition if you have relatively little space.

A Vegetable Calendar Will Help You Plan

One of the biggest helps to you as you plan your growing cycle will be a vegetable calendar. This tells you exactly the steps you need to take to live off your own garden. Highlighting when you need to plant each vegetable and care instructions until it is time to harvest. For example, if you want to grow radishes it tells you to plant them in the first week of April under cloches and that they will be ready to eat by the end of May. Gooseberries need pruning in the first quarter of the year, mulching in early April, watering in June and are ready for picking in July.

Once you have a plan and start working in your garden, you will soon enjoy the many benefits of living from your own land.

All Black Everything, Health + Wellness

Black Girls Mental Health


I came across this IG page, @blackgirlsmh, and I was blown away that there is a page like that. In the Black community, there is a huge thing about seeking professional help. Growing up we are told that as Black women, we don’t have issues and we are to get over it. Black men from a young age are told by their fathers that hugging past a certain age, men just don’t do. They don’t say I love you to each other and they are not to show emotions.

Black people have suffered for a long time in this country and people wonder why we have problems. Mental health issues in the Black community has been passed down since slavery. I know White people hate when we bring up slavery but we have suffered a lot in this country. When a White person goes in a shoots up a place, they can plead insanity but if it is a Black person, they are in they’re right mind. All that shows is that White people are seen as crazy, not us.

Black people do have mental health problems and because we don’t get help, we lash out in other ways whether it be violence, anger, drugs, alcohol, sex, just like anyone else, though when we do it, it is seen as more extreme. I am here to tell you that it is okay to admit that you need help. It is also okay to seek professional health.

Black women, you are not alone. We all suffer from some sort of mental issue whether it spawned from the past or happened recently. I personally have seen a therapist and though I did not like my therapist because immediately she prescribed antidepressants and I am against medication, that is not to say that it won’t work for you.

If you know you need and are afraid, check out BlackGirlsMH. Another great site to check out is My Black Matters.

Afro Hippie Vegan