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, 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.

recipes

Healthy Diet #FOTD: Vegan Juevos Rancheros

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As a breastfeeding mother, I am adamant about breakfast. Actually, as a person period. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and it’s also when I’m the most creative. I start my day with a large protein smoothie. Then I have oatmeal by itself, with toast, or like in the photo, a breakfast platter.

I loved omelettes before I was vegan and I was happy to learn I can still have them, minus the cholesterol, abuse, and consumption of another animal. For the omelette, I used 1/4 c garbanzo bean flour, 1/3 c water, mushrooms, Field Roast tomato cayenne chao cheese, pink salt, nutritional yeast, and fresh basil. I mix all of those together in a bowl and then poured it into a skillet with hot grape seed oil (oil is important or it will stick). I then topped it with avocado, salsa, and vegan ranch (I use the Hampton Creek Just brand). For a full meal, I added power greens, Sweet Earth hickory and sage bacon, and oatmeal (great for breastfeeding so I have it every morning).

So, there you have it. What’s your breakfast go to?

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.

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

Product Reviews

Ruffles Green

Before I tell you about my experience here, let me just say that the best part of eating out as a vegan at a non vegan restaurant, is that your food comes out fast and is prepared fresh.

Now this restaurant is located in The Woodlands and if anyone knows the area, you know its bourgeoisie (that’s the correct way to spell the word, it’s not boujee or any other spelling), like for real for real. Walking up you see the outside area, and with the weather like it is in Texas, ain’t nobody sitting outside unless it’s night time, and even then, mosquitoes won’t let you be great and eat. 

Walking inside, they have a very sleek look. Lots of neural colors and white. It was pretty empty, guessing I beat the lunch hour rush, so there was no line. The lady who took my order was really nice and very patient.

I ordered as my appetizer the hummus with pita bread, which both are made in house, and as my meal I had the Veggie Nut Burger, 86 the cheese.

Both dishes were phenomenal. I would highly suggest them. The burger literally will melt in your mouth. The pita bread and hummus were the best I’ve had thus far.

What I also liked was it’s a self serve restaurant. You order and pay at the same time and then you get your own drink, silverware and napkins. You also can get your own to-go containers which is a plus because I feel waiters take entirely too long to bring the check and to-go containers. 

The only negative I have is that my appetizer and meal came at the same time. I would’ve preferred to get my appetizer before my meal. Not sure if that is something I should’ve requested, however, that’s the only negative I have. So, if you are ever in the Houston area, give them a try.

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.

My Life, Product Reviews

Vegan Tamales and Cupcakes @ Dan Electro’s

I don’t typically go into Houston that often because I hate the traffic and it’s a helluva commute but when I saw this event was in The Heights, and that’s fairly close to me, I was down. 


It’s located off 24th street and it’s a fairly small venue with a backyard patio. I actually only came for the tamales but Sara the Cupcake Girl was there and I bought a dozen and a half cupcakes. 


I was rather disappointed that the tamales were not already heated and the guy brought a crockpot to heat them in and he showed up later than expected. The line was long, I got ate up by mosquitos, badly and ended up with room temperature tamales.


The tamales were good, however, they would’ve been better hot. I felt like he was ill prepared. At the end of the event, those who placed orders, he no longer could fill them, not sure the reasoning but Sara and her family are making them and I’m sure they’ll be awesome as her cupcakes are. 


I got to meet the president of the Houston Black Vegan Social, Snoddy, and I have been added to the team. I also met another one of the members, Kirby.


The venue was great, it’s just the mosquitos were relentless and it could be because my blood is sweet from all the fruit I’ve been, but I will be using my all natural big spray by my girl Jazzzie by Nature. 


There is another event this coming weekend at the same place and Sara and her family are making cupcakes and enchiladas, all vegan of course. I can’t wait.

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. 

Product Reviews

Snooze A.M. Eatery

I am apart of a group called Awkward Black Ladies on Facebook and one of the ladies, Ashley, posted about going to brunch. I’ve never gone to brunch before because there aren’t any places I know of that serve a vegan brunch, or vegan breakfast period, in Houston. So I responded anyway because 1). I want to make more friends, and 2). I wanted to venture out and see if indeed I have just not been looking hard enough. Sure enough, we agreed on going to Snooze, which I have never been, but a vegan friend of mine swears by it.


I arrived first and immediately was not happy with parking, however, because I’m familiar with that area, I wasn’t surprised. I parked on the street not too far away so it wasn’t that bad. I walk to the restaurant and I see a ton of people standing at the door. They were all waiting to be seated. The wait was an hour so that wasn’t too bad. Anything longer, we would have decided to go somewhere else.

Once Ashley arrived, we talked and chatted. She’s new to Texas and has only been here about three months. With all the people standing at the door and it opening and closing, it was very hot. We finally got seated and it wasn’t a complete hour that we waited. We opted to sit outside since that was first available and we were very hungry.


I forgot to take more pictures, but when I go back, and yes, I will go back, I will update this post. I ordered an iced spicy chai tea latte with almond milk to drink. Looking at the menu I was pleasantly surprised to see vegan options that weren’t salads. I can’t tell you how many places I go and their idea of satisfying a vegan is to put a salad on the menu, which is quite insulting if you think about it.

I ordered the quinoa porridge (quinoa, oats, berries, cinnamon, and maple syrup, cooked in almond milk), soyrizo and hash browns. Each dish was superb and I will definitely be recreating the quinoa porridge and making a video, so stay tuned for that.

Over all, I loved the restaurant. Food was great and so was the service. There wasn’t a long wait time for our food to come and it came piping hot. If you live in Houston or are ever visiting, please make it a mission to hit up Snooze.

Product Reviews

Tout Suite HTX

I stumbled upon this place on Instagram from someone I followed. They were listed as a suggestion. I saw all the pictures on their page and knew I had to check them out. Once I got here, I could tell it was it by the white and black building and their symbol on the doors. It’s a very cozy place and also a great place to work, which is where I am writing this post. It’s somewhat noisy but as I began to write, the noise cancelled out. The lights are dim, the furniture is all wood. It reminds me of a type of lounge, that also happens to serve food. 


When you walk in, you are just above street level. They have a lower level that is at street level. They have to areas to order food so the line doesn’t get long and they have an area to order just a drink, which I find very convenient if you just want a coffee or latte. The staff is very friendly and upbeat. The woman who took my order was very accommodating. I order their toast options and I did the combination, but had them switch out the salmon toast for another mushroom. She made sure to put my order in all caps that I was vegan so they would not use butter or add cheese to it. I was very impressed with how nice she was in making sure that my order was completely vegan, even going back and talking to the chef and asking the manager if it was okay to substitute the salmon. 


The one thing that I didn’t like was the restroom is co-ed. Yes you read that right. There are I believe 6 or 8 stalls, half on each side and they are divided by the sinks. I was confused going in because a man was coming out and I thought I had not listened correctly when told where the restrooms were, behind the sliding barn door. That was my only negative about the place.


They also have what is called The Annex, which is a coworking space where people can come to work, collaborate, hold meetings or if you need an office space outside of the house, you can get a private room. I’m actually considering getting one because I do work from home, but sometimes I get lazy and comfortable and don’t really get anything done. They also have a kitchenette where you can store or heat up your food. So it’s like an office except you are working for yourself. I had actually been looking for a coworking space, and here one fell into my lap. 


Overall I had a great experience and I will definitely be coming back.

Product Reviews, Travel

Unity Vegan Kitchen Review


If I could give more than 5 stars dammit I would. This food truck was my initial first stop on this tour but because of my schedule and their hours, I ended up having to save the best for last. 
First let me say, the woman who took my order, I believe it was Leslie (sorry if I’m wrong), she was so nice and friendly and made my day when she said they had chikn n waffles. I had seen these all over IG and made it my mission to get them whenever I was in Austin. 

When I say they were everything, they were absolutely everything. The gravy was tasty as hell and I loved it on the waffle, despite me never thinking to put gravy on my waffles.

The waffle was cooked to perfection and the faux chicken had an abundance of flavor and tasted like chicken if I do say so myself. Talk about southern vegan comfort food. I have half a mind to go back before I leave and get it again.

Please, if you are ever in Austin, make this a priority.

Product Reviews, Travel

24 Diner Review 

My first time coming here was in 2010 when my brother graduated with his undergrad degree. This is one of his favorite restaurants and it’s open 24 hours, like in the name.

It wasn’t crowded the first time we came and it wasn’t crowded this time. Another major thing I like was it wasn’t cold. Most restaurants I go to have me sleepy before I even order my food. 


The first time I went I had the Betsy Veggie. It’s a handcrafted burger made with beets, lentils, flaxseeds and other delicious goodness. I swear I tried to recreate it but no such luck. 


Since then I had been feigning for that burger so when we went last night, I was too hype. It tastes just as good as I remember. My waitress was pretty amazing. The waiter the first time I came was very knowledgeable about the burger so I was comfortable ordering it this time. 

Product Reviews, Travel

Capital City Bakery Review

This was my first stop when coming into Austin. I have been a loyal follower for quite sometime now on Instagram. This is a cute little bakery located on Ceasar Chavez. I got two cupcakes, the butterscotch chocolate and the pumpkin carrot cake. The lady who took my order was super friendly and helpful. I will definitely go back.

Product Reviews

Review: Sambuca 

This was a really nice restaurant with a warming, intimate atmosphere. They have live music, friendly staff and a beautiful outside seating area. 


The main thing I didn’t like was their lack of vegan options. I could only eat the sides because most everything is premade, though I don’t want to eat anything premade that’s been sitting out all day, then just warmed up when ordered. 


Even the sides I had to veganize by asking them to not cook the veggies in butter (I don’t know why people think veggies have to be cooked in butter), the brussel sprouts came with bacon though I’m not sure why but I asked for them sans bacon, and the maple bourbon sweet potatoes, I asked to be cooked without butter. 

I have to say, those sweet potatoes were orgasmic. I will definitely have to try to recreate them because I can’t even describe how amazing they tasted. 

Overall, it’s a great restaurant but vegans like upscale too. Would get more service with more vegan options.

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!

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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.

Product Reviews, Uncategorized

5* for Sunshine’s Health Food Store & Vegetarian Deli

3102 Old Spanish Trl., Houston, Tx 77054

I have been seeing this restaurant posted on social media by different people for the past few years and still had not gone until June 17. I think it was because before they moved to this location, it was somewhere weird and far. The location they are at now used to be Beaucoup, a Cajun seafood restaurant and I went there a lot with my ex, before I was vegan and holistic (basically before I knew better).

What I like about this restaurant other than the fact that it is Black owned, is that it’s a health food store and you can buy supplements and all kinds of other things. When I walked in, it just felt right, just natural and the atmosphere was clean. The staff was super friendly and accommodating.

I ordered the nachos, which were bomb might I add. Even though the cashew cheese was sweet, the flavors blended together so I didn’t mind. I also had this Lemon Essence juice which was also really good (I like anything with ginger in it). I will definitely be going back. I am a huge fan of black owned health food stores and eateries. It gives me hope when I see my people trying to help each other out.

It is located in what we call 3rd Ward, which resides a lot of Black people, so having a healthy place to eat, is a huge step. I do hope to see in the future more stores and eateries in Black neighborhoods, hopefully owning one myself.

I highly recommend checking them out if you are in the Houston area or even just visiting.

Afro Hippie Vegan

Health + Wellness

Simply Vegan: A Guide for Newbies & the Curious

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My book finally came out last Friday and I am excited! I have gotten great feedback and it has been doing well. If you haven’t gotten yours, please do so. It is in the side bar to the right. This book has so much information like recipes, a meal plan, shopping list, staple items, books to read, documentaries to watch, how I went vegan and so much more, in only 90 pages!

This book did not start off as a guide. It started as a recipe book because so many people asked me about recipes. I wanted to do a recipe book but that is information I don’t mind giving away for free. I make videos on YouTube of recipes and I post them on here. I changed my mind about this book because I have done so much research and have a lot of valid, useful information that I wanted to share with people. So I took all that information and past blog posts and put them in one place.

I am working on the contents of the next book that will be coming out in the last quarter of the year. It will be a book specifically for Black people and how they can get their lives together. It will have statistics, what “soul food” really is and so much more. I am in the process of creating an outline right now. This book will have so much information. I really want to help my people.

The book above is for those who have questions about being vegan and how they can stay vegan. It’s the beginning process. The next book will show why Black people should go vegan and why the system is set up against them, and it will all start with slavery.

So if you haven’t gotten this book, do so now before the next one comes out.

Afro Hippie Vegan