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 harder than it sounds, 'cause nowadays
Put that swine in everything
The white sugar so addictive, it's pure 'caine
They got pork in the toothpaste, soda in the Sunny D
Jello brand gelatin is laced with the lecatin
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 my brothers who are living to eat versus eating to live. 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, misdiagnosed, and undiagnosed conditions. Dealing 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 interested at heart. These Physicians are not willing to listen to you and your concerns but they are willing to take your hard-earned money and send you on your way with a baggage filled with pharmaceutical medications with a slew of side effects. Oh, you have a side effect for that well here is another pharmaceutical medication 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 misdiagnose condition because we don't know where to go to be heard. Many of us are secretly afraid of challenging these Physicians because we think they know best despite living and existing in your body for how many years. You know something is off within because you don't bounce back the way you use 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 realize that something was off because I gained 30 pounds despite eliminating fast food, 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 that need to be done. 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 normal test results, I am chronically stressed, and that I have chronic constipation. What the hell is chronic constipation, you ask? I don't know, but I was sent home on Miralax and a see you next year. I had to fire another worthless, lazy and uneducated Physician. *le sigh*
I was on a mission to heal thyself with food, a health regimen, and seeking a holistic/Naturopathic Physician that was willing to listen and get to the root of my issue. I searched high and low, didn't care how much it cost because I needed answers because my life was depending on it. A few years back, I have cut out fast food such as McDonalds, 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 and etc. My family is from the South and cook delicious goodness, but used 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 these foods. I was eating these foods from the womb until now. Whenever, I cook my soul food, I cook my foods totally different compared to my ancestors and family who just don't know any better. As of recent, 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, order 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, there is a study called African Heritage study that helps African-Americans with establishing 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 amazing and support groups online to see what works and what don't work. 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 so 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 have brought the Thyroid Cookbook for $3.99 online. Lots of yummy recipes and helpful information.

2. Stay away from processed foods 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 detrimental to your holistic health, internal health and are low frequency. These foods are filled with chemicals, GMOs, and nastiness. Fast foods such as McDonalds, KFC, Burger King and Wendy's never go bad, have addictive chemicals such as sugar and sodium and unknown substance. These foods are instant obesity factors and it just taste 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 contain them or we don't research what we should take. The majority of 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 other 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 give me a natural boost. Before I go to bed, I drink Chamomile tea with raw honey an hour before bed to help with sleeping. Chamomile tea is calming and a healing tea that naturally puts you to sleep. It is so yummy and smooth. True Green Tea and Chamomile tea from Yogi tea.

Many of us are suffering from "leaky gut syndrome". Leaky gut syndrome is when your gut is leaky, 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 in our foods. Herbs are a part of healing and what our ancestors used to help heal us from many ailments and illnesses way before medication. Herbs are the home remedies of medications. I use my herbs to season my food. I use basic 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 heal over 15 various 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 with meat. I love buffalo wings, especially from Buffalo Wild Wings but I can live without meat. After watching documentaries on meats coming from sick and infected animals with diseases, I would rather pass on meat right about 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 plant based diet. Also, we need to stay away from meat because our body is digesting dead energy. Damn! Dead energy is causing us to have low frequency. Besides digesting dead energy, our bodies take a beating digesting meat. It takes days for our bodies to digest this dead energy which is 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 chemicals that the cow possesses. My stomach bubbled all the time while trying to digest cow's milk. Many people have recently been diagnosed as lactose intolerance, but I truly believe that we can't digest the chemicals in dairy. I have been drinking coconut and almond milk. Coconut-almond milk is so delicious and I don't miss cow's milk at all. 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 the 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 to limit running due to joint and nerve pain. I have to walk and do gentle exercises such as yoga. I absolutely am in-tune with my FLYness when I am meditating and doing sun salutations. Find something that 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 workout 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! Many times we think we are hungry, but honestly, we are thirsty! Hence, why we overeat and become obese because we don't listen to the big, tiny voice called intuition within. We all have a limited to which we should stop eating. Many us of don't drink enough water and compensate by drinking 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 because I want to stay hydrated and need to stay hydrated because I don't need any issues or flare up with my joint or nerve pain.

Make sure you hydrate to help your hair growth, nail growth, and overall growth. Think of yourself as a flower who need sunlight, water and nurturing. You are a delicate flower that needs those important 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 healthy and holistic plant based diet, please check out 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 been holistically healing myself through the plant based diet, supplements, 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

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