Monday, April 29, 2013

Singing: Summer Summer Summer Time!

Summer is approaching and we'll finally be able to spend more time outdoors (for those of us who live in countries and regions of the US where winter just wont' quit)!
I'm looking forward to getting outside more and enjoying nature.  Being outside in nature is one of the best things you can do for your health.  Yes, these days we live in a polluted world.  The air we breathe is not as clean as it used to be...Green house gases are tearing up the earth's atmosphere making the sun "dangerous".....and in certain neighborhoods people don't pick up their dog's poop!
But there is something about the great outdoors, the smells and sounds of summer, the memories of riding bikes all day (literally all day!) and coming home when it gets dark, the smell of track practice, the bumping of car stereos.....the sight of people sitting on the stoop watching others go all warms my heart. 
As the summer season approaches make sure you find yourself outside more than you are inside....get some air, sun and a refreshing breeze (while there is still a refreshing breeze to be had -- I know some of ya'll live in the Dirty South and the heat and humidity can be unbearable there). We had a loooooong winter in the North East of the US.  Not sure what this summer has in store for us, but I'm ready! I am definitely a summer lover!
Make sure you take nature walks at nearby parks:


 Grab a patch of sand on a beach:

 Visit a local farm to see where fruits, vegetables and even livestock come from:

Take a quick nap under some trees (or not!):

Or get on some roller blade or skates and burn some calories!

However you decide to get out there...just enjoy! Take a look at God's creation.  Marvel at the intricacies of His work.  Be thankful you can still see the awesome colors and feel the earth between your toes!

Get active: play tennis, go bike riding, have picnics, go to outdoor concerts and plays, start a garden, throw a BBQ and serve smoothies from recipes on this blog (smiling!) the list is endless.

Also remember to get the air circulating in your house on pleasant days.  Turn off the AC and let nature roam around in your home.  If you find yourself at work all day, eat lunch outside or take a walking break (outside). 

The best part of the day to breathe in the "freshest air" is when the sun is starting it's assent.  Fresh, crisp air goes a long way in the morning!

Peace and blessings!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Give Back Phenomenon

Hi Folks -

Are you a giver? Do you give back to your family, community, or environment?

What do you have to share with others around you?  Some people feel like they don't have much to offer, but I assure you if you are still in the land of living you have something to give. Life teaches lessons and provides a skill set that others need to be exposed to in order to facilitate their growth.  That's why the earth is full of people and opportunities for interaction.  Ever heard the saying: "each one teach one"?

Today I assisted a group of young people prepare for the working world in a Work Ready workshop.  We held mock interviews, reviewed resumes and applications and provided resources for resume building and shared information on how to create professional online profiles.  It was amazing to see the skills, gifts and potential these young people carry around with them!

I've helped recruit interns for my job for the last 5 years.  I've led diversity channels, served as a buddy and mentor and participated on the advisory board for the Food Science program I graduated from at Tuskegee University (T.U.!).  At every internship I had, there was someone that had my back and stood by my side as a mentor, friend and helped me navigate through the corporate waters.  Based on my history I've made it a point to give back (what was given to me) in my workplace.
The alumni walkway at Tuskegee University - each stone was a gift

Giving back can come in the form of volunteering at any agency/organization for various reasons: food pantry, youth groups, animal shelters and park clean ups. 

Recycling is a form of giving back.  So is composting.  With composting you take organic waste from your kitchen (banana peels, onion skins, kale stalks, etc.) and put them back into the earth to break down and provide nutrients to the soil.  Giving back to the earth.  You can build a parallel between what composting does to the soil and how we can "compost" and add nutrients to each other's lives.

Organic waste to be composted - nutrients for the soil!!
Anytime you share your a part of your self  you are giving back to something or someone.  The "sharing of yourself" can come in the form of  time, money, knowledge, physical assistance (washing a car, mowing a lawn, helping an elderly person grocery shop, etc.) and a listening ear.

As we start a new week I encourage you to find a way to GIVE BACK.  Remember what was given to you.  Pass on the gift of giving.  Share the love.  If you are overwhelmed in your life and feel like you don't have time for anyone else, do something for others anyway.  I guarantee you will received hours and hours back on your time investment.  Or you can always donate a few dollars to a cause.  Doing good things for others releases the "woe is me" baggage from your psyche.  It's good for your mental heath status.  BELIEVE ME! I AM A WITNESS!

Booker T. Washington monument  - Booker T. lifting the veil of ignorance
Talk to me people! Let me know how you choose to give back!

Peace and blessings!!

The Health Journey: Dextoxification - The Body

Hi Folks -  

Last week I attended a detoxification workshop held by herbalists at Empressive Vitality.  Detoxification is a big thing now.  Everybody is talking about detox juice, detox plans, detox foods and detox do's and don'ts.  What is detoxification in the first place?  It's removing toxic substances from your being.  I do not limit detoxification to just the body.  The mind and spirit also deserve to have toxins removed.  However this post will focus on the body.  I'll get to the other stuff later.

The process of detoxification consists of an agent of some sort (tea, food, juices, water, steam, etc.) being consumed that will help release bound toxins from their hiding places.  Once these toxins are set free, they need to be eliminated or removed from your body. Once the elimination process takes place you must take care to limit the interaction you have with the toxins and have a routine detox program to help your body operate at maximum capacity. 

Here are some statistics on toxins from Digestive Wellness (1):
  • Toxins are everywhere (food, air, and from our own metabolism)
  • There are 300,000 new chemicals created each year
  • On a standard American diet (SAD) 14 pounds of food additives are consumed yearly
  • More than 1 billion pesticides are used in the US yearly
  • The average person is exposed to 100 synthetic chemicals daily (shampoo, deodorant, cleaning products, gasoline, hair dye, lotions, soap, plastics, etc.)
The need for detoxification is greater than ever! Have mercy!!!

This workshop was all about detoxifying the major systems of the body:
1. blood
2. liver
3. skin
4. colon
5. kidney
6. lungs

The workshop helped me personally by: getting me better acquainted with my body,  introducing me to foods and herbs that will assist in my journey and pushing me toward some personal challenges that are sure to be life changing!  Okay,  let me first start with a disclaimer...I am no expert in detoxification practices or procedures.  I have just started this part of my journey.  The only detox program I've done in my 33.75 years of living is a colon cleanse which has made a big difference in my elimination experience.  For more information or products please click the link to Empressive Vitality to reach Herbalist Secora for a consultation.

Highlights from the workshop:

1.  The liver is the first line of defense for our bodies.  It creates hormones and aides in digestion.  If you have ever taken medication, consumed liquor, have night sweats, dry skin, used conventional toothpaste, bad circulation, headaches, and  pretty much any ailment you can think of.  You need to flush your liver! The liver is the powerhouse of our total system and takes a lot of abuse.  Show your liver some love and clean it out!

Tip: drinking lemon water first thing in the morning is like a welcoming hug and kiss for your liver!

A hug and kiss for your liver

2. The lymphatic system is connected to our immune system.  Detoxifying your lymphatic system clears debris from circulation.  It gets your blood pumping properly.  Exercise is key to energizing your lymphatic system!

3.  Our skin is the largest organ we have. It is the barrier between the outside world and our internal goodies.   It gets rid of impurities through perspiration.  What we put on our skin is SO important.  For some reason I never paid attention to the fact that lotions, perfumes,  and oils seep into my body through my skin.  I used put whatever would take the ash away on my skin and did not pay attention to all the synthetic ingredients.  I have been enlightened and will make a pledge to use only NATURAL substances on my skin.  Dry skin brushing helps exfoliate and can improve circulation and the appearance of the is claimed to get rid of cellulite ladies!! There are so many anti-cellulite products on the market...not sure if any of it really works!

Herbs for the skin are: red clover, burdock root, calendula, lavender and sarsaparilla

Shampoo, lotion and deodorant full of synthetic ingredients

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Food Journey: The Almost Raw Lunch

Hi Folks -

Yesterday I had an almost raw lunch.  I love sushi style vegetable rolls.  I'm not a raw meat fan, so  I've never ingested sushi with raw sea animals.....I just don't think animals should be consumed raw by humans.  I have visions of petri dishes full of various microbes with differing sizes and shapes! It gives me the hee bee gee bees!!!

I love vegetable rolls so I made a version yesterday at home.  You can use anything you like! In the past I've made this dish with sweet potatoes, avocado, red bell peppers and garlic.  For the most recent creation I used what was currently in the kitchen.

This is a good meal to pack a bunch of flavorful, highly nutritious food into one sitting.  It's a good alternative to eating a salad.  All the ingredients were raw except for the rice.  You don't have to use rice and there is a raw method to preparing rice called "blooming".  I have yet to try it though so no tips on that one!

Here is the recipe:

Lotus white rice (this I why it's a mostly raw lunch).  I've used jicama in the past for "rice"
red cabbage
fresh dill
sweet onions
bean sprouts
Braggs liquid amino (or you can use soy sauce)
Super tonic dressing (this orange stuff pictured below adds brightness to any meal!)

1. Cut up all desired ingredients
2. Layer ingredients on sheets of Nori (seaweed)
3. Roll ingredients and Nori into a cylinder
4. Cut and eat or just eat!

Time: 30-35 minutes - this depends on how many ingredients you cut up and how many rolls you end up making.  I made about 7 rolls yesterday and had to cut up more dill, scallions and red cabbage.  Just play it by sight.

Fixings: red cabbage, oinions, dill, scallions, mango, ginger and bean sprouts

The fixings on a seaweed sheet
Try it and let me know how it goes...again, be creative! Let your taste buds and hunger energy lead you to an awesome meal!

The finished product!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Health Journey: Why are you still awake? I am utterly pooped!  I know I need more rest, but feel compelled to stuff as much as I can into the hours that I am awake...sometimes that means sacrificing sleep.  Good peaceful sleep is the only way for our bodies to truly recharge and heal.   With out it, you cannot operate at optimal levels.  Ever been driving and got tired to the point of falling asleep at the wheel?  Very scary!

Unfortunately, I am an expert at not getting any rest.  It started when I was pregnant.  I would wake up at 2 or 3 a.m. and would not fall back asleep until it was time to get ready for work.  I will admit, this week the homestead is a bit of a mess.  I just don't have enough energy get everything done!  Work is a beast and I am spent.  So why am I still up???????????????????

Getting good rest is a tip I gave in 11 Ways to Eliminate Stress Naturally.  I admit......this tip I rarely fulfill although I know the importance of it.

In the book Back to Eden the author lists ways to relax yourself before bed to ensure a better nights sleep and herbs that can assist.

  • Hops
  • Motherwort
  • Mullein
  • Peppermint

The book Digestive Wellness (A Bunch of Papers Put Together for the Journey) also cites a set of herbs to enhance sleep:

  • Chamomile
  • Valerian root

I will add lavender essential oil or a sleep sachet to the mix. 

We give Caleb Chamomile tea almost every night before bed occasionally jazzed up with peppermint.  During the months when sleep was really a luxury (do to the eczema woes) we tried giving him diluted Valerian root tea.

Both references site very similar tips on how to get a good night's sleep.
  1. One hour before bed, turn off all your gadgets (2)
  2. Go to bed at the same time each night (2)
  3. Don't push yourself to keep going after your steam levels have been depleted. Stop and rest! (1,2)
  4. Exercise during the day (1)
  5. Make sure your bed is just right (not too soft, not too hard) (1)
  6. Try to go to bed on an empty stomach ( I am guilty of late night snacking!!) (1)
  7. Purposefully relax your muscles, try deep breathing, listen to music or read a book (1, 2)

This child is knocked out! This is my goal!

So instead of pushing myself to the limit...eating snacks...getting aggravated at what has not been done yet...I AM GOING TO SLEEP TONIGHT!  I will miss my favorite show....but there is always and Hulu!!

I must start doing what I know to be right concerning getting more quality rest.  It's the only way for me be in my right mind, heal, and be effective during the day.  I almost fell asleep on my keyboard today at work!!! Yikes!

I want to hear back from you!  Do you have any "good night" tips?  Please add them to the list!!

Good Night!

Peace and blessings!

References for this post:
1 - Back to Eden - Jethro Kloss
2 - Digestive Wellness - Elizabeth Lipski

The Art Journey: A Soulful Poem

Poetry is an art form. A way of expressing your innermost thoughts.  Expression is key to living a healthy life.  You can't keep stuff bottled up.  Ever see a blown gasket?  Freedom is the key to a positive state of mind. Self expression = freedom.  Here is a soulful poem I wrote over 5 years ago. 

State of Mind

Sadness is a state of immobilizing emotion....a replay of hurts, complexities, uncomfortable situations....

When will it subside and give way to happiness? When will it be replaced by unequivocal joy? Joy/happiness and sadness...they are opposites. 

Opposites that give way to opposites displays of strength, understanding and comfort.  However opposite...the soul inside seems as if it shouldn't be swayed by either...

The core of a man...the core of a woman.  Man and woman who have been created by the breath of God...their souls should be anchored to an everlasting ever anchored peace......

Sadness, happiness, joy, peace.  State of Mind.


I want to hear back from you guys! What is your favorite mode of expression?

The King of Banana Land expressing himself as a lion


Where did those hives come from?? (Part 1)

The natural journey for life began when my son was diagnosed with multiple protein allergies at 6 months old.  As detailed in a recent post: The Alternative Child: Caleb's Healing Journey . That time was extremely difficult but also filled with relief because once the known allergens were identified and removed from the party Caleb’s vomiting reaction stopped immediately. His excessive vomiting led to not being able to keep nutrients in his system long enough to be absorbed.  His weight gain was extremely slow and I believe based on his later discovered vitamin deficiencies he had internal inflammation which led to a gastrointestinal condition called Leaky Gut Syndrome. I’ll share more on Leaky Gut Syndrome later.  Although the vomiting stopped, his eczema got worse.  At the time we didn’t know about the other allergens that he was still consuming. 

The first prick test revealed that Caleb was allergic to eggs, dairy, peanuts and soy.  Upon further blood analysis, when he was 15 months old, wheat, rye, oats, and barley were revealed as being harmful to his system. 

After allergy treatments in the form of Nambudripads’s Allergy Elimination Techniques (NAET) (, good clean food, oxygenating bath treatments, total elimination of all identified allergens, and continued skin nourishing treatments the eczema started to slow down and Caleb began to put on weight and got stronger.  It’s hard to say which element on the list I just provided was the main driver for his healing.  I personally think it was everything! And at this point I don’t even care which treatment was leading the pack.  I will also add that God is a healer and he had been guiding this situation from the beginning.  Even when I felt that he could not hear my despairing cry.

Our case is a bit extreme in terms of the amount of things Caleb cannot eat, but the Food Allergy Research and Education organization (FARE) reports that 15 million people in the US suffer from food allergies.  Out of that community 1 out of 13 children (under the age of 18) are suffering.  That is an astounding figure.  The CDC can’t figure out why so many are suffering from food allergies.  I have an idea: it’s the quality of the food, the type of food… (Is it really food??) pollution, electromagnetic vibes, chronic pesticide use, and hormones we eat in our food (namely dairy and meat).  The CDC also reports more than 300,000 emergency room visits for the same demographic (children under the age of 18).  High occurrences of food allergies are mainly reported in industrialized countries.  So…either people who are “not civilized” don’t know that they have food allergies or back to my earlier rant: our overall environment is not healthy for people more susceptible to this type of dis-ease. 

Ninety percent (90%) of all allergic reactions are caused by the big eight: soy, milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and wheat.  You can have an allergic reaction to other foods too such as corn, meat, gelatin, seeds, spices and more.  The good thing is that just like with natural black hair, information on food allergies is very accessible these days. 

There are still some people who don’t believe in food allergies, or think they are as severe as they can be.  I can speak from personal experience on this topic.  Here is a quote from a family member who will remain nameless:  “He can’t come here to visit…he won’t be able to eat anything!” When we visited my parents for Thanksgiving last year, I politely hid all peanuts, peanut butter and other nuts from my dad.  I didn’t want any traumatic allergy episodes while on vacation. 

Allergic reactions vary according to the allergen and person’s sensitivity quotient.  Some reactions or symptoms are considered mild: hives, eczema, red skin, itchy mouth or ears, stomach pain and constant nasal congestion.  Some are considered to be severe: swollen lips, tongue and throat, trouble swallowing, drop in blood pressure, chest pain.  To me mild and severe are all in the same category:  SEVERE! UNWANTED! UNPLEASANT!
With Caleb we have experienced: hives, swelling of eyes and ears, eczema and red skin.  I have had to control my emotions when I see Caleb break out in hives or become swollen.  Its heart wrenching.

There is more to come in parts two and three of this allergy series.  Stay tuned!
Know anyone with a food allergy????
Statistics for this post are from the  Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) organization –

Peace and blessings!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Health Journey - Theraputic Behavior

Whew! I need some type of therapy! This week has started with a bang.  I need something to help me stay focused.  I'm thinking that a real good massage would do the trick, help me relax and put my nerves at ease. Time to break out the lavender oil (11 Natural Ways to Eliminate Stress).  What is therapy really good for though?

When something is considered therapeutic it carries a benefit for the person partaking in the act.  It's helpful for your body and/or mind in some way shape or form.  Hydrotherapy is used when you have sprained muscles or a cold or to relax relate and release (Calgon! Take me away!).  Counseling is a form of therapy for a troubled mind.  A good belly aching laugh is therapy for a frustrated spirit or a heavy heart.  And one of my favorites (have mercy!) is retail therapy....there is aroma therapy and massage therapy and a host of others.

Mud run therapy!
Therapy can relieve pressure, stress, pain (of all kinds) and helps the mind and body come into a balanced peaceful state.  Therapy provides relief for whatever may be ailing you. Just as a particular therapy can help our personal beings...We can act as a type of therapy for others by exhibiting certain behaviors.  How can I provide relief to my neighbor? My husband? My children?  What behaviors do I need to display so that I am beacon of  light to a  heavy heart? Or a ray of sunshine for a cloudy situation?

Here is a suggestion: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building others up ACCORDING TO THEIR NEEDS (not yours!!).  Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, slander and every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to each other.  Forgiving each other as Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:29-31

Today think of other ways to exhibit therapeutic behavior to ALL those you cross paths with.  Not some or the just the people you like or the people that like you.  Challenge your self to overcome those barriers and make someone else's day free of pressure, stress and pain.  Choose to relieve someone of his or her ailments. 

This challenge can only result in success (for you and the person you are led to bless).

How can you help make someone's day brighter, more safe, and full of love?

Peace, love and blessings!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Creamy Green Smoothie

Hi Folks -
I’ve decided to join the “Drink Your Greens” challenge spearheaded by Soul Food Therapy.  As I’ve stated in previous posts I’ve been drinking juices and smoothies for  breakfast for the past 3.5 weeks.  I love it….It’s refreshing, provides me with clean energy to start my day and I’m putting a lot of good stuff in my system.  Now I’m starting this challenge on Day 14, but it’s better late than never.  I will admit not all of my smoothies have been green ones during the past few weeks….I’ve had purple, orange, and sometimes some not so pretty colors…
Today I made a green smoothie I’m calling Creamy Green!

1 ripe avocado
2 cups of spinach (fresh)
1 cup of cilantro
1 red plum (skin intact)
1 banana
1 inch of ginger

The base was a pumpkin, hemp and coconut butter milk (I used this milk for Caleb’s chia porridge this morning)
I made the milk first then threw everything else into the blender
Red plums, avocado and cilantro
Creamy Green smoothie
Again, free style this recipe any way you like.  If I were to tweak this I would add more cilantro and another banana or some dates to give it a little more kick.   When using avocado you have to compensate by adding a little more flavor because it can be very bland.
The avocado gives the smoothie a VERY creamy texture and a heap of goodness!

Avocados are a great source of good fats (omega 3 and 6), vitamins B(s), C and K and minerals (potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium are the leaders).  Also, avocado oil is great for your skin.

Tell me about your smoothie making experiences!

Peace and Blessings!!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Caleb's Corner: King of Banana Land

Caleb LOVES bananas! Most babies and young children do.  But his affection for them is extremely passionate.   If he could eat them all day...HE SERIOUSLY WOULD.  I have to limit him to 2 or 3 a day if he's extremely persistent in having more than one.  At times we have to spell it or use the code name "the yellow thing" because when he hears the word he can go a little crazy.  To get in his good graces his cousin presents it as a friendship offering and it's always welcomed with a bright smile.  He woke up last night requesting it fervently. Seriously??  I have never seen anyone in a banana love affair until Caleb came along.   I used to think that bananas were only good for: potassium, carbohydrates and fiber.  More recently I've become enlightened on the amazing benefits bananas provide.  I'm still not going to let Caleb eat 6 a day! But maybe it's okay if his body needs it...and it's not banana's the real deal! Maybe I should rethink the 2-3/day rule?? Tell me what you think after you finish this post.

King of Banana Land

Here is what I've learned about bananas:

1. Three medium sized bananas can provide the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adult males of vitamin B6.

2. Bananas contain significant amounts of vitamins C, B1, B2, E and folate (also a B vitamin).

3. Besides potassium bananas are rich in magnesium and iron.

4. Insoluble and soluble fiber are found in this fruit that will keep you regular and help to  lower cholesterol.

5.  Small amounts of serotonin are present which nurtures the nervous system by inhibiting spinal cord  pain and sedates nerves.

6. Bananas are an ideal fruit for people suffering from coronary disease and circulatory disorders. Diets high in potassium and low in sodium have been discovered to prevent hypertension and strokes.

7. Relief from diarrhea can be found in this fruit and can help soothe the digestive system for people with Celiac's disease.

8. Bananas alkalize the blood which can help neutralize and eliminate excess uric acid that cause arthritis and gout.

The best way to eat it is directly from its hygienic package (the skin).  Fried bananas are pretty good too! But with most fruit the more heat is applied, the less goodies remain.

Even after my research I still will not let Caleb eat JUST a banana for breakfast.  He must add protein,  more minerals and goodness by adding chia porridge to the party.  I posted about the benefits of chia last month (Chia is Red Hot).  Caleb has been eating chia since he was 6 months old. He graduated from the blended up smooth version to what you see below: 

Chia porridge and bananas

Today's porridge was made using nut, dairy and soy free milk. I blended up hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried apricots and coconut butter then added it to the dried chia  seeds and let the seeds bloom for about 15 minutes.  After blooming I added pro biotic and bananas.  A breakfast for champions! My sweet champion!

Some people don't like bananas and prefer banana flavored candy.  I can't stand any thing flavored banana except for the fruit itself! Now that I know how beneficial bananas are I feel better about Caleb's rate of consumption.  LOL!  But requesting it at 2am? A bit much!
Okay so...should Caleb get more than 2-3 bananas per day???

Peace and blessings!!

Reference for this post: The Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power - Dr. Pamplona-Roger

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Hair Journey: Tress Update #2

Hi Folks!

It's time for another tress update.  I'm also happy to report my mother cut off her locks today and is rocking a 3.5 inch fro! Go Mommy!!! :) Looking good sista!!

She was asking about products to use and I found an awesome website today called Natural Hair Community.  There is a section that provides great natural recipes for various hair conditions and ailments.  You can eat 90% of what is listed! I will be using this site as a reference for sure! back to my update.

Here it is...the picked out official fro.  I'm not sure how I feel about the top being so much longer than the sides...Not sure if I should get it shaped up so that it's evenly distributed or just continue to let it grow.  I'm also thinking about braids with weave or twists (just my hair).  I have an appointment with my barber/stylist tomorrow to enlist some help.

The fro...check out the hair coming over my ears! That's growth baby!

Side view of the fro

This morning I used the curly cream I referenced in an earlier post (The Hair Journey: Tress Update) from Taliah Waajid (pictured below) , but it didn't take to my hair very well.  I kinda felt like Django Unchained today.  I had a partial curl pattern.  I should have just picked it out and rocked the fro at work today.

I'm pleased with the growth and girth (it's quite thick).  I'm also noticing how un-curly my hair really is.  It's kind of frizzy with a lot of straight pieces here and there.  I'm not sure what texture rating I have and I'd rather not put a  label on my hair.  I am free! Maybe I'm still traumatized by our hair history. 

Oh...I also tried the golden blond henna.  There was absolutely no change in my hair color.  It was disappointing but at least I tried it.

My friend cancelled on me (shame on her!!) so we have not had our product sharing session.  But I'm happy to report that another friend has decided to say no to the creamy crack (relaxer) and has started her natural hair journey. 

I want to hear back from you guys.  Any suggestions on what I could do with my hair???

Peace and blessings!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Food Journey - Cravings!!!

I just got over a cold and I'm sill getting the occasional sinus headache.  Today I had to run some errands and I found myself in a strip mall that had a Dunkin Donuts and a bread shop that sells FUNYUNS (yes...the onion flavored corn rings!!)  I had an immediate desire for cake donuts (plain or with powdered sugar) and FUNYUNS!!

Now let me back up a little bit.  A few years ago...I had an extremely bad sinus infection.  I could not see straight for the pain! I had a serious craving for McDonald's.  My boyfriend at the time (now my husband) refused to bring me what I craved.  Eventually he caved and brought me a meal from McDonald's.  IT WAS THE WORST MEAL I'VE EVER HAD! It did not make me feel better.  The fries were old and stale, the sandwich was like was GROSS!

Honestly speaking:  if I was not getting over a cold I probably would have caved and got the biggest bag of Funyuns and ate a set of 24 munchkin donuts in one sitting (I didn't want to jeopardize my healing).  Remember -  this is coming from the woman who ate an entire pizza on her own a few weeks ago (The Food Journey - Eating Out)! Hey! Maybe that's why I got sick! LOL! The funny thing with the pizza is after I ordered it I didn't want it....but after it arrived it was like Thanksgiving!

I eat pretty well on a regular basis (and it's getting better)...but when I have a craving for something I can go off the deep end (clearly!). 

Part of tonight's dinner - Asian salad (red and green cabbage carrots, sprouts, orange bell pepper, green onions, dill, amazing ginger dressing)

But what's wrong with eating things you have a hankering for?  Everything is good in moderation right? I agree moderation is key but I also think that some stuff we should just not consume.  Why would I eat fries that taste like cardboard after they've cooled down?  That means they probably ARE cardboard.  Why would I want cardboard in my precious system?  As for the Funyuns...I'm certain they are made with corn that was genetically modified (GMO) which I don't want in my precious system either!

I would have tastier fries if I made them myself.  Which is what I'm going to do about the donuts...make them myself.  I'm certain the ingredients will be better and better for me. As I left the strip mall I had a vision of me creating my own gluten, dairy, egg, nut free donut.  Hmm Hmm! I can't wait to construct this recipe!

But don't our cravings mean our bodies need what we are craving for? If I'm craving something salty...then my body must need salt right? Or is it that I think I need salt, but I'm really lacking a specific mineral that performs like salt in my body? So instead of eating Funyuns I could drink a cup of high mineral tea.  Then I haven't eaten the senseless calories and GMO food, and the need has been quenched. It's something to ponder.  If I want something sweet instead of reaching for my favorite snicker bar, I could eat an apple or mango or grapes.  I get more nutrition from those alternatives and have satisfied the craving for something sweet.  These types of substitutions go along way but sometimes you just want the empty, GMO, salt or sweet laden food.  I know I do, but I can honestly say I'm improving and I think it's because I'm eating better food and nourishing my body along the way.  The result is that my cravings have decreased.  

Can our eating habits turn into cravings??  Like coffee...or chips. If both are a  regular part of our daily process why would'nt our bodies ask for it?  Maybe our bodies acquire dependencies on certain food substances.  Even the bad ones like refined sugar and artificial flavors and colors.  Like drugs.

I finally left the strip mall, went home and ate some homemade lentil and rice soup and an English muffin with Earth's Balance spread, honey and cinnamon.  It hit the spot.  I had a some salt in the soup...and some sweet on the English muffin and I was in good shape.

My goal is to continue to eat and drink things that give my body what it needs and to politely decline offers for donuts and Funyuns (and whole pizzas for that matter!). 

Cravings are a part of life but I want to make sure my cravings are not a sign of a particular deficiency.  If they are, I want to get make sure I address the issues and fix the problems.  Remember (I'm talking to myself too) there is always a better alternative to junk food.  Even if we crave it....we can train our bodies to crave the good stuff.  Food that will help us live a better life.  We are what we eat!

The good stuff!

What are you thoughts??

Peace and blessings!

The Food Journey: Falafel is Vegan?

Falafel is one of my favorite Mediterranean dishes.  I love falafel on it's own or with all the fixings. I started making my own falafel late last year.  In the past I've used the boxed version and had it in restaurants many times.  No restaurant makes it the same way.

Falafel has become one of my favorite things to cook.  All of the versions I've made have been different  (some not so good as others).  After following a recipe the first time I abandoned all boundaries and improvised to make it allergen free ( no wheat).  It's such a good meal you will not miss the meat! Yes...falafel is all vegan! A very simplistic, flavorful and healthy vegan dish at that!

The main ingredient in falafel is chickpea (aka garbanzo bean or chana).  This bean is a source of  complete proteins (19.3%)  which by definition includes essential and non-essential amino acids with the exception of methionine.  Chickpeas paired with a whole grain will give you protein bliss.  Here are some other benefits:
  • low in fat
  • abundant in the B-complex vitamins (except for B12)
  • high in minerals (iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium and zinc)
  • high in fiber
  • nutritional  proportions are balance and can be used as the main dish in vegetarian meals
  • recommended for stress and depression due to the B-complex vitamins present


What a bean!! All that in a bean?? We don't give enough credit to beans in our society.  They are seen as poor man's food and boring.  In our house beans are the bomb diggy!  They are cheap and very good for you.  Who said a poor man's food was bad in the first place???  I'm all about good food for a reasonable price and beans fit the bill.  But please soak before helps eliminate the flatulence beans get a lot of  publicity for. on to the falafel recipe:

chick peas -  soaked overnight or longer (10- 12 hours).  This is a pretty hefty bean and needs a lot of time for the water do it's job.
onions - fresh
garlic - fresh
olive oil
coconut flour (to build consistency, any other flour can be used like rice, wheat or oat...but I like to keep it gluten free)
coconut oil for cooking (again any other oil can be used)
coriander - to taste
cumin - to taste
salt - to  taste
herbs (I've used the following: dill, cilantro, parsley but there's a ton out there)

You can blend everything in stages or all together.  I typically blend the chickpeas, onions, garlic and olive oil together first.  Then I blend in the herbs.  The spices are added to the mixture in a bowl and the flour is added as needed to get a thick pasty consistency for ease of cooking and eating.  The less water used the better.  Add as much oil to get the mixture churning as possible.  Now I've had some blunders where I've had to throw the mix away....there was just no way to salvage what was in that bowl!! I tried...and ended up making it worse!!

I usually pan fry the falafel mixture in coconut oil and eat it with pita bread and salad (tomatoes, onions, herbs, greens and lemon juice).  I'm still working on a white sauce recipe free of sesame seeds. Any suggestions?? You can add any fixings your heart desires.  Caleb loves falafel and it's a good way for me to get him to eat some greens (my falafel is usually very herby).  The cook time is less than 4 minutes on each side.

Cooked falafel

 Love, love, love it!

Try it out and let me know how it goes!!

Peace and blessings!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

We got a new look!

I decided to change the page design to reflect the summer growing season!  Nice and bright to promote life and the wonderful summer to come.

I've started my indoor herb garden along with my compost heap in the back yard!

Basil, thyme and dill are growing indoors.  They are not looking good right now. I started them from shoots and there is always an adjustment phase when you re-pot plants.   My hopes are up that the plants will adjust and get to growing!!

What are you planning to grow this summer season?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Good Diet = Good Hair.....6 Foods to eat for Good Hair

I have always been blessed with hair that has grown quickly and did not break easily.  I thought my hair was healthy and strong.  What I didn't realize was how much what I ate (or did not eat) affected my hair and scalp.  I thought since it was thick and long, and grew fast that it was healthy.  I've made references to the dry scalp issues I've had for years in earlier posts (Tress Update and The Hair Journey).  I was using the wrong products and my diet was definitely NOT optimal for truly healthy tresses. Now that I am starting from scratch, I am very curious to see how my "new" hair will perform under a reformed regime. 
Again: my definition of good hair is not texture, length,'s HEALTH (Your Hair is So Nappy).  I believe diet plays a bigger role the health of our hair than the products we use. 
Our entire body is fused into itself.  Our body works as a symphony not a soloist.  If we are not eating optimally, then some part of the symphony will may be the horn section...or the string instruments or the percussion section.  Some areas make deficiencies more apparent such as kidney failure or a heart attack as opposed to weak hair and nails or tired eyes.  But all are signs that help is needed in a particular area of our system. 
So just as diet will affect the chances of getting type 2 diabetes, it will affect the strength, porosity, retention and growth of our hair.  Here are some foods I found that will help my hair journey:
6 Foods to eat for Good Hair:

1.  Beans - they are rich in B vitamins and protein which are essential for strong hair.  Lack of B-vitamins can cause premature hair loss  and dry scalp which is what I was experiencing around my temple area. The vitamin B complex is important for protein metabolism, cell growth and repair.  Other foods containing the vitamin B complex are: whole grains, poultry, organ meats and eggs. The B complex includes:
    • Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
    • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
    • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
    • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
    • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
    • Vitamin B7 (biotin)
    • Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
    • Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)
Beans - black eyed peas
2.  Molasses - this sweetener is rich is minerals and trace elements. Hair needs: zinc, iron, calcium, silicone (to name a few) all  of which are found in molasses. Iron deficiency leads to dull, brittle hair (1,2).

3. Coconut - this fruit gives a balanced proportion of minerals needed for hair.  The oil is one of the best  moisture sealants for natural black hair.  It works in two ways:  it can decrease penetration of water from the environment and can bind to the protein in our hair reinforcing the hair fiber which makes it stronger (1, 2).
Coconut fruit and oil
4.  Cucumber - provides sulfur and trace elements (1).  Di -sulfide bonds join sulfur atoms together creating amino acid linkages.  The more di-sulfide bonds you have the curlier or kinkier your hair will be. These bonds can only be broken by chemical means such as relaxers (2).  This is why relaxers are irreversible and you have to grow your perm out in order to have your natural texture back. 

5.  Spinach - provides vitamin A which aides in hair growth. Vitamin A can keep the dandruff forming process under control.  Too little of this vitamin can lead to dry hair and scalp.  Dry hair leads to breakage.  Conversely too much vitamin A can lead to thin, coarse brittle hair.  Other foods containing high vitamin A content are carrots, chard, apricots, mangoes, and watermelon (1,2).  

6.  Citrus fruit - provides vitamin C which is a collagen builder and helps to absorb iron.   A lack of vitamin C can cause bleeding under the skin and weak, brittle and dry hair and scalp. Vitamin C can also be found in broccoli, tomatoes and cauliflower (2).

In order to have truly healthy hair I'm going to have to beef up my diet in the areas of vitamins and minerals, protein and water.   Water is not a food but it is essential to every part of our body. The goal is to stay away from supplements and get what I need directly from the food source. 

Good ole broccoli
 Are there any other foods that can be added to this list? Share your thoughts!
Peace and blessings!

References for this post:
1 -  Encyclopedia of Food and Their Healing Power - Dr. Pamplona-Roger
2 - The Science of Black Hair - Audrey Davis - Sivasothy

The Health Journey: This cold is still kicking!

Hi Folks...I went into hiding for the last few days to try and heal from this cold.  It has now begun to target my sinuses! If anyone has experienced sinus headaches or pain then you know it is very unpleasant!!!!!

Last night I did some steam breathing treatments with peppermint oil.  I also put a hot rag on my face where the pain was.  I used a decongestant rub and tried to get as much sleep as possible.  The steam helped a lot and allowed me to finally rest.  But the pain is back again this morning, so a similar regime will be followed today.

I haven't had much of an appetite, but home cooked soup goes along way when you're sick. 

I made a smoothie yesterday called the Cold Kicker.  It was packed with vitamins and minerals.

1 pear (skin intact)
2 mangoes (peeled)
2 oranges (peeled)
1/2 lemon (peeled)
1/2 cup goji berries
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raisins
Alkaline water to desired consistency

Please free style any recipe I post to your desired taste profile!

Caleb liked this one too! 

Cold Kicker smoothie

Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which can help boost your immune system. The seeds are also high in protein (9g/serving), iron (15%), fiber (12%), vitamin E and linoleic acid.  According to the Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Powers, pumpkin seeds are good for de-worming our intestines through the action of paralysis (of the worms...not us!)  so they can be removed from the intestinal wall and expelled from the body using a laxative.  If you or your loved ones have worms...please eat pumpkin seeds!! :)  These seeds have a mild nutty flavor and are good for granola, seed milk, added to oatmeal or meat balls (Raw Burrito).   We ran out of hemp seeds yesterday so I made pumpkin seed milk sweetened with raisins for Caleb's chia porridge (Chia is Red Hot). 

Organic raw pumpkin seeds

Goji berries are considered a super fruit and have wonderful  antioxidant properties. They contain immune fortifying properties and are extremely high in beta carotene , vitamin C (30%) , calcium (9%) and iron (15%).  A few years ago in the commercial beverage world Goji berry was all the rage and it's super fruit credentials were widely publicized.  The dried berries look like red raisins and the flavor is like a beefed up raspberry. Very tasty!

Organic Goji berries (dried)

Signing off for more rest!

Peace and blessings!