Sunday, September 6, 2015

For My Sistahs: Eat To Live, Not Live to Eat: Tips on Living A Healthy and Holistic Lifestyle

"Go hungry; you gotta watch what the media feed you
And don't be a poisoned animal, eaten either
It's more complicated than it sounds 'cause nowadays
Put that swine in everything
White sugar is so addictive; it's pure 'caine
They got pork in the toothpaste, soda in the Sunny D
Jello brand gelatin is laced with the lectin
In Africa, they starvin', over here the food hurt you
Cows goin' mad, and the chickens crunk with bird flu."
-Eat to Live by Talib Kweli

This blog is dedicated to my sisters and brothers, living to eat versus eating to live. So many of us are overstressed, overwhelmed, and over it all. As sistahs, we are dealing with stress, caring for others, racism, sexism, cultural appropriation from other cultures, suffering in silence, and misdiagnosed and undiagnosed conditions. Coping with these conditions and stresses causes us to live to eat unhealthy, processed foods that cause chronic illnesses that can be reserved. 
We are not having our list of concerns heard from Physicians who don't have our best interests at heart. These Physicians are not willing to listen to you and your problems, but they are eager to take your hard-earned money and send you on your way with baggage filled with pharmaceutical medications with a slew of side effects. Oh, you have a side effect for that. Well, here is another pharmaceutical drug for that side effect. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired of being unheard. We just accept any answers from our undiagnosed and misdiagnosed condition because we don't know where to go to be heard. Many of us secretly fear challenging these Physicians because we think they know best despite living and existing in your body for many years. You know something is off within because you don't bounce back like you used to. That inner voice which is your intuition and the God within, is telling you that something is off and you cannot continue to live life to the fullest until you find the answer. 

This was my story. As mentioned in other blog posts, I have always been active, athletically built, and slim until about four to five years ago. I realized something was off because I gained 30 pounds despite eliminating fast food and soda, actively attending the gym, adding yoga to my routine, and hiring a personal trainer. I kept jotting down my symptoms, begging and pleading with my team of Physicians for blood tests, screenings, and whatever else I needed. I went from Physician to Physician with no real answers solved. I also complained, cried, and asked questions with unresolved answers. I have heard that I had average test results, am chronically stressed, and have chronic constipation. What the hell is chronic constipation, you ask? I don't know, but I was sent home on Miralax, and I a see you next year. I had to fire another worthless, lazy, and uneducated Physician. *le sigh*
I was on a mission to heal myself with food and a health regimen, seeking a holistic/naturopathic physician willing to listen and get to the root of my issue. I searched high and low, didn't care how much it cost. I needed answers because my life depended on them. A few years back, I cut out fast food such as Mcdonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, and whatever else that is considered fast food. I became sick, sluggish, and disgusted with the processed meals. I went to my first holistic Physician in Foxboro, MA (Go Patriots), and the Physician there was helpful, educated, and holistic. He looked at me and stated that African-Americans don't do well with processed foods. Our bodies don't disgust it well, and we have gotten away from eating from the ground. I couldn't agree with him more because I grew up eating from the ground, such as collard greens, cabbage, beans, peas, etc. My family is from the South and cooks delicious goodness but uses fats, shorteners, and other unhealthy and yummy deliciousness. I grew up on soul food and didn't realize that we were eating Superfoods until the rest of the world caught on to these foods. I have been eating these foods from the womb until now. Whenever I cook my soul food, I cook foods different from my ancestors and family, who just don't know any better. Recently, my family in Alabama cooked soul food very differently due to hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. 

I have finally found my Naturopathic Physician, who listened to me intensely, ordered blood tests, and diagnosed me with Hypothyroidism and Sjogren's Disease. It was a bittersweet moment, but I am on the road to holistic healing despite being on medication and supplements.

In Birmingham, AL, an African Heritage study helps African-Americans establish a healthy and holistic lifestyle. 

Here are some ways you can become a holistic and healthy FLY girl:

1. Research, research, and research! I love going on social media like everyone else, but I love doing independent research for myself and others. I have researched hypothyroidism and Sjogren's disease. I have joined unique support groups online to see what works and doesn't. Being in these groups helps me because I am surrounded by people who have also been diagnosed with this temporary but ugly disease.

Also, watching documentaries have helped me to change my lifestyle. There are many helpful docs on healthy foods on Netflix, such as Forks Over Knives. Here's a recipe for the plant-based diet. So yummy and refreshing without any meat. Yum. I also brought the Thyroid Cookbook for $3.99 online. Lots of yummy recipes and helpful information.

2. Stay away from processed and fast food: I understand that we live in a fast-paced world, but stay away from packaged, microwaveable, and fast food. These foods are low-frequency and detrimental to your holistic and internal health. These foods are filled with chemicals, GMOs, and nastiness. Fast foods such as Mcdonald's, KFC, Burger King, and Wendy's never go wrong and have addictive chemicals such as sugar, sodium, and an unknown substance. These foods are instant obesity factors, and it just tastes disgusting. Eat real food, not fake food. Also, fast foods market to low-income, people of color, and children. Don't do it.

3. Take your vitamins, supplements, and herbs: Many of us don't take supplements and vitamins because we don't eat food that contains them or we don't research what we should take. Most African Americans and Hispanics are Vitamin D deficient within the United States due to the four seasons. Living in the Northeast with brutal winters and limited sunshine, we are the most deficient people with Vitamin D. I am all about healing in a holistic way, and I take about five supplements a day. I take Kelp because my iodine level is low. Iodine helps regulate the thyroid hormone. I also take 4,000 I/U Vitamin D to increase my energy. I also take fish oil to help decrease inflammation in my joints and nerves. I also take apple cider vinegar while others drink it. I take two tablets to help with digestion. Lastly, I take L-glutamine and a probiotic to heal my gut from all the toxicity and eliminate all the nastiness from the environment, stress, and bad foods.

I have replaced my coffee with tea. I drink green tea in the morning to help burn fat and boost me naturally. Then, before I go to bed, I drink Chamomile tea with raw honey an hour before bed to help me sleep. Chamomile tea is a calming and healing tea that naturally puts you to sleep. It is so yummy and smooth. Authentic Green Tea and Chamomile tea from Yogi tea.

Many of us are suffering from "leaky gut syndrome." A leaky gut syndrome is when your gut is leaky, and things like toxins, microbes, undigested food particles, and more can escape from your intestines and travel throughout your body via your bloodstream. Your immune system marks these "foreign invaders" as pathogens and attacks them. Yikes! You must fix your leaky gut before you dive into a holistic eating lifestyle.

Herbs are magical! Somewhere down the line, we forgot to incorporate herbs into our foods. Herbs are a part of healing and what our ancestors used to help heal us from many ailments and illnesses before medication. Herbs are the home remedies for drugs. I use my herbs to season my food. I use essential but healing herbs such as ginger, garlic, rosemary, turmeric, and black pepper. These herbs are all anti-inflammatory and help heal you holistically. Turmeric is the because that magic spice helps cure over 15 diseases. You can find these herbs at your local supermarket and health food stores.

4. Take a break from meat and dairy: I have always had a love/hate for beef. I love buffalo wings, especially from Buffalo Wild Wings, but I can live without meat. After watching documentaries on meats from sick and infected animals with diseases, I would instead pass on heart now. Before I started my plant-based diet, I ate grass-fed, organic, and antibiotics-free meat. Did I taste a difference? Yes, but I still felt sluggish when I ate the meat. You can get protein from a plant-based diet. Also, we need to avoid meat because our body is digesting dead energy. Damn! Quiet power is causing us to have a low frequency. Besides outlining slow points, our bodies take a beating digesting meat. It takes days for our bodies to digest this quiet energy rotting inside. Real talk! TMI, but when you eat meat, your gas and poop smell awful compared to eating a plant-based diet.

Dairy is not the same at all. Even as a child, I couldn't digest cow's milk due to the cow's chemicals. My stomach bubbled all the time while trying to digest cow's milk. Many people have recently been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, but I genuinely believe that we can't digest the chemicals in dairy. I have been drinking coconut and almond milk. Coconut-almond milk is delicious, and I don't miss cow's milk. I suggest switching to this milk. I am definitely going to try hemp milk and cashew milk, which I heard nothing but amazing things about two.

5. Get Moving, Sis! I have been active in dance and sports since the age of 4. I don't know how to exist without sports, dancing, or moving. Since being diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases, I have had to limit running due to joint and nerve pain. Instead, I have to walk and do gentle exercises such as yoga. I absolutely am in tune with my FLYness when I meditate and do sun salutations. Find something you enjoy doing, such as Zumba, weight lifting, yoga, pole fitness, dancing, walking, and other workouts. When you move, you feel good. Exercising releases all the stress and increases your endorphins, your happy hormone.

Don't worry about your hair because you can always get that redone. Many Black women don't work out because they don't want to make that mess up. F that your health is way more important than you do. You can look fly on the outside and could be dying on the inside. No, ma'am, we need you, sis! Let's get moving!

6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! We often think we are hungry, but we are thirsty! Hence, we overeat and become obese because we don't listen to the big, tiny voice called intuition. We all have a limit to which we should stop eating. Many don't drink enough water and compensate by consuming caffeine, such as soda, sugar drinks, and coffee. You need to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water. I aim to drink a gallon a day. I want to stay hydrated and need to stay hydrated because I don't need any issues or flares up with my joint or nerve pain.

Make sure you hydrate to help your hair, nail, and overall growth. Think of yourself as a flower who needs sunlight, water, and nurturing. Likewise, you are a delicate flower that needs those essential nutrients to grow.

"We eat to celebrate
We eat when we are in love
We eat when we are up
We eat when we are emotional
We eat to fill a void within that we haven't healed
We eat because it feels good
We eat out of boredom
We eat because we think we are hungry
We eat to live in this country.
I promise myself to eat to live."

-Eat To Love, Not Live To Eat by Andrea C. Imafidon

Are you eating to live or living to eat? If you are interested in a healthy and holistic plant-based diet, please check out the Forks Over Knives documentary on Netflix and The Thyroid Diet Plan. You can also contact me for a specific supplement and diet plan to help heal your autoimmune disease. Thus far, I have holistically healed myself through a plant-based diet, accessories, and working out.

Love and Light,
Brown Girl From Boston

Red Lentil Chili from the Forks Over Knives recipe

Plant Based Taco Salad with Turmeric "Spanish" rice, black beans, homemade pico de Gallo, and vegan and gluten-free tortilla.

No comments: