Still Vegan: An Update

So I am a little over a month as 100% vegan. I am still here. I am still kicking. I went and took dairy out of my diet for more than a year learning how to substitute products and finding some amazing finds. So when I decided to go 100% vegan it wasn’t a full shocked. I told my husband as soon as I could find some alternatives that didn’t allow me to be hungry and I felt like I could dedicate myself to it I would and I did. I went cold turkey.  So how as the adjustment been? Let me tell you:

Push Back

In my immediate family I get zero push back. For 2 years I have always altered my food so it wasn’t anything noticeable until I took the meat out. My son was happy that meant he felt the need to eat my portion until I stopped that. They have been supportive. They love to tell their friends that I don’t eat meat like I am some type of alien. I had a playdate for my youngest and the child was vegan. They was able to see someone their age doing it and not feeling as if she has lost anything. She talked to them about cakes and cookies and how her dad alters it so she can still enjoy those things. I showed them vegan approved candy and how at the end of the day being vegan isn’t a life sentence. From outsiders I always get the stare like why?  My why is simple people don’t realize that I have had my gall bladder removed and was supposed to watch what I eat. I didn’t.  This was over 10 years ago and not once did I change my diet. I ate fatty foods and didn’t care. When I first lost weight all I did was watch the portions which helped I am sure but my liver wasn’t able to process the fat  in most of the foods I still ate. I was in constant pain but I looked great. I wanted my insides to match my outsides so after talking to my doctor I went vegan.  Since then my body functions like it has never done in all aspects. My belly feels amazing.

I still cook regular food for my family. I try to make it healthier but they are not vegan and have no desire to do so. My family still like what they like. I don’t try to stop them. I may portion control them but not eliminate too many options. I do slip in vegan snacks for my kids outside of the normal french fry. They have no clue but they enjoy it.

Choices

Non shameful plug here, but So Delicious is my go to.  I have a dance that I do when I see it in the store. Imagine Beyoncé popping every time I am in the refrigerator or freezer aisle. My kids just say oh lord mommy and her products. I have been happily using them for quite some time.  From their non dairy ice-cream and yogurt to their non dairy milks and non dairy cheese, I do not miss out on having these items and my stomach doesn’t have to do the most to break it down. I love them. I have to do a lot of work to get them. Sometimes I can go to my local Shoprite but often times Whole Foods will have a better selection.  Surprisingly Target can be a great place to go. I am sure Wal-Mart has them I just don’t go there much these days anymore. Also I take weekly trips to Produce Junction where I can get fresh produce.  I do my veggie and fruit hauls and from that as I learn new recipes Produce Junction always has what I need. I also make sure I grab my fresh weekly flower bouquets.

Snacks

I love snacks like the next person. I love humus, pretzels, fruit, non dairy yogurt, acai bowls, and granola and dried fruit. I love that I keep a lot of these options on demand.  This way when its time to snack I can. Portion control is still a major have to. You can still overeat with anything. Being vegans doesn’t take out portion control in the least bit.

Meal Prep

I still meal prep for my family on their items and I do the same for me. I prepare roasted veggies to always have them ready to add to my meal. This week I had some fun learning how to prepare eggplant. Made some amazing eggplant parmesan with non dairy cheese. It was so delicious. I also belong to some amazing vegan groups as they share their recipes I love doing them and having such colorful plates and choices. I never like quinoa but that is something that I love to eat with roasted veggies and some avocado as a great meal on its own.

Beyoncé and Veganism

When Beyoncé put out the call for people for folks to go vegan in hopes for folks to win lifetime concerts folks was lining up. I said to myself if I would go vegan for tickets I could go vegan for myself and be healthier. I am not doing more for someone else that i am not willing to do for my own health and sanity. Beyonce went vegan as many learned and even took sugar and alcohol to prepare for her Beychella event last year. Kudos to her. I am enjoying going vegan but I need a dip of sugar as well as my occasional alcohol.

Vegan and Socializing

I do a lot of restaurant reviews. I have yet to have an issue. Just like when I go out with my family or friends I always check out the menu before I go so I can be prepared. I make sure that I am educated on what they offer and try to know what I want before I go. When I visit my parents I cook my food and take it with me. It hasn’t been an issue. Preparation helps to succumb any potential issues. None of my friends has had an issue with me altering things. I may go out-of-town, I know what I need to do to ensure my dietary needs are met. I am going to a wedding next month, the bride has made sure there are options for me. I am good.

Bacon

Bacon has been the only thing I missed. I made some bacon the other day for the family and the smell alone made me want to backslide but I didn’t.  I am aware that there are some brands that sell non bacon bacon but I have yet to have it.  I may consider giving it a try. However even as strong as bacon is to my heart, I will not consider it.

Vegan and the Holidays

Unless I put in an order from Go Vegan, I plan to go to a restaurant for Easter that I have already scouted out its selections. I can go to other people’s houses and just make my own food to be honest. There are so many recipes for vegan soul food that are delicious. So the holidays do not pose a threat to my eating habits at all.

If there is something you want to do that you feel is going to improve your health and you speak to your doctor to be sure its safe, I say walk in it. Do it! I surround myself with what I need to eat successfully. I make sure that I do what I feel I need to eat what I need. I think my body is finally in a peaceful and healthy eating relationship with food. I am not on a vegan diet. I am living a vegan lifestyle.

Vegan Fests

I look forward to going to at least 3 vegan festivals this Summer. I didn’t even know they existed. I can’t wait to align with more in the community or vegans in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. If you know of any more send them my way!

 

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Increased Self Care

Who doesn’t love getting a mani/pedi? How about a salon trip? It feels amazing to pamper yourself or just continue your up keep. As much as these activities are awesome and can be forms of self-care, do not limit that to your only self-care. Increase self-care to those things that bring joy into your heart and life.  What about that hobby that brings the type of smile that can’t be wiped away?  What about making time with friends a priority? What about going back to school to accomplish a goal you left sitting? What about making time for rest and unplugging? We all need to dip deeper into self care now more than ever.

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When I hear older folks make complaints such as “what is this self-care business, we didn’t have that growing up,” it irks me. Those be the same women that have the most insecurities, the most hard battles in their spirit that have gone unchecked. When you know better you do better. Why aren’t you practicing it yourself or encouraging the younger generation to focus on their mental health just because no one encouraged you? You remember them lonely battles you fought? Remember that feeling of being overwhelmed? Why would you want another woman or man to go through that?  Even it made someone 5 seconds better, it’s worth it. Encourage and then practice it yourself. 2019 is about accountability and that is even in how we treat ourselves. We can’t expect anyone to treat us well when we treat ourselves badly. Think about it from head to toe. What are you doing to make you whole? If you are still eating, drinking, not working out, have a thousand bad habits that contribute to your body and mind’s demise, these things need to be worked out.

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Self care is about self-preservation.  It pulls you out of darkness and makes you alert. When you don’t practice self-care often times you are numb to things and people around you. It doesn’t stop bad things from coming but it can help you deal with it that much more. Think about the times you let yourself go mentally. You weren’t even ready for hits that life was about to throw. Self care is super important. I don’t care what you call it.  You can call it self-care, self-love, me time, whatever it is find it, be consistent, and then add some more. There is no such thing as too much self-care. That is impossible. Having joy in this world is what keeps people from feeling hopeless. That hopeless feeling leads people into paths that don’t bring about positive results. People need hope. Joy isn’t about walking around with a smile 24/7.  It means that you have things in your life that bring you real happiness no matter what. Self care is about preserving peace in a world full of chaos. Self care is about loving yourself even when the world wants to make you feel unlovable. Self care doesn’t care what your status is in life. Self care is important. Please invest in yourself. Practice some more self-care!

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Women History Month: Deja E.

This year we are talking about failure.  Why? We all experience it but rarely talk about it. Yet failure is the one catalyst that often brings success. It doesn’t mean that you HAVE to fail to succeed but in life if you think you won’t ever fail towards success you have a lot of life to reach it. I remember being in freshman year and failing a math test and how devastated. I was used to getting all A’s. I needed that fall from grace to help me not take college life for granted and get focused. I ended have to really work my butt off but I still graduated and that failure wasn’t on my record because I had to retake the class and get it right.  Now fast forward to stubbornness.  That in itself can be a lesson. Women have all had at least one or more failures in life. If you’re like me you have way more than you can ever count.  However if we are to carve a slice of life in this world and continue to make history in this world, failure is a by-product.

Failure to listen to your body will either make you sicker or take time off of your life. Deja learned how not taking head to the doctors and your body will put a pause in your life that you can avoid.

What is one failure you are comfortable sharing that taught you the most lessons?

Procrastinating on my temporal lobectomy. In 2006, I began having uncontrollable seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. After seeing numerous specialists, it was recommended that I have my temporal lobe removed. I was scared and prayed for other solutions. As my quality of life deteriorated, I began to realize that pushing the surgery off was worse than undergoing surgery. In 2014, I did it! And my seizures ended.

I can’t imagine fully what it was like going through seizures. I also can’t imagine being told to have such an intensive surgery either. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is the very thing that you need. If it hadn’t been for that surgery who knows what your quality of life would have been.  Yes procrastination is a failure because in that you fail to make a move it usually has a domino effect.

From that or any failure, what other lesson have you learned?

YOLO… you only live once
Dont risk losing time out of stubbornness

YOLO or you only live once means just like it sounds. Living requires stepping out of your comfort zone to carve the life you really want to live.  It doesn’t mean you can yell YOLO and life is perfect. Far from it.  However if you learn to apply that mentality you stop worrying about taking a chance on things especially yourself.

What are is the 3 things you would want to tell other younger woman in regards to lessons learned?

Trust your intuition… it doesn’t lie
Dont compare- this is your life, live it how u want to, not based on someone else’s
Take care of yourself- life can change in a blink of an eye, make sure you are on your A-Game

If you could sit down with any woman past or present who would it be and why?

Maya Angelou
Her wisdom and eloquence would have me mesmerized! She went through so many ups and downs in her lifetime, I would love to hear her story up close and personal. What an inspiration!

I would have to agree, Maya Angelou defied what life threw her way, made mistakes and then taught us all how to rise above anything. Deja you are a Maya Angelou in your own right!

IF you have any projects  that are coming up in the future what are they?

Everyday is a project
My 2019 ‘project’ is to lay a new brick everyday. Take that extra step, step outside comfort zones, and reach higher
That in itself is a project

She is being truly modest. Deja is a beast everyday eating better and working out being her best version.  She is definitely an inspiration.  When you get that second chance at life and I know all about that, take it. Live each day like you want that day to reflect your true essence.

What is the one thing as a woman that has helped or helps you make your mark in this world?

Strength!!! So often, women are perceived as weak or incompetent. Being able to prove the naysayers wrong is empowering

Thank you Deja. You are an inspiration. Don’t take your health for granted. Get your check ups.  Its important. Health is wealth.  Without being healthy you can’t do much else. Who would want to live like that? Certainly not me and you don’t want to either. I know sometimes we think that because we are afraid of what we will find that its better to not know. What you don’t know will kill you.  What you know and fail to take care of will kill you too. Take care of you. Women fail everyday but one thing is we don’t have the time to stay there. Get up, brush yourself up, and succeed.

Weekly Recap: Friday February 8, 2019

Blog Life

So this past week has been a great one. I was able to attend the preview for Theatre Week here in Philadelphia. Remember theatre week started yesterday, February 7 and will end February 17th! So take some time if you’re in the area to attend one of the shows. Tickets are free, to $30 so definitely affordable.  Also Valentine’s Day is the next week so we are going to be throwing back a few blogs within the week and not just on Thursday. So with that said make sure you are following me on Facebook so you don’t miss anything as well as we are having a blog fresh a day. Thank you to everyone who has been following the blog! We are definitely growing.  Tonight I will be attending the American Premiere of Box Clever by Monsay Whitney. I will be at this year’s Be Free II that is being held at Saxby’s on Sunday night.  There is time to register.  There will be speakers telling their stories and providing inspiration. There will also be cold and hot drinks and small snacks provided by Saxby’s! Register, Be Free II

One final announcement, all participants of the Women’s history blogs for next month your interview is due today!  Thank you so much and ladies let’s shine but especially during our month!

Fit Life

I have been sick this week but still managed to hit 10k and usually more steps in a day as well as do my 3 days of working out this week. I think that in my mind I know April is around the corner. So that is what is helping me to eat a lot better and getting my rest. I haven’t even been able due to being sick to enjoy a few adult drinks. So whatever is motivating you to show up for yourself-keep it up!  Also this week I won a giveway given by Phillyfoodgal included was snacks by Rind Snacks which is a company that specilizes in dried fruit snacks. The snacks are amazing. Follow my Instagram to see me reveal them.

Kid Life

My kids have been doing super well. I have been doing their love notes a day on their door. They have been loving the notes. I love finding ways to show them love everyday and during love month I usually do more outward manifestations. My kids are real jewels. When I was sick, they worked together to make sure I could sleep.  I am glad they are the age that they can assist.  Also shout out to my oldest for being selected for the Girl Scouts regional choir! My youngest will be 5 next week and my son is killing it in his soccer games! I am really blessed!

Personal Life

This week has been about timing. It has been about taking it easy and resting my body in-between eating right and working out. I am grateful for getting sick because it allowed me to slow down a bit. This week has been challenging me to show up to blog events and I had to take a time out. I will be back in gear today for a play which I will blog for Saturday. However early in the week I had to decline a few invitations which hurt but it was necessary. Working, working out, mom and wife duties is a lot. Blogging is a joy but I can’t go to them all. I am grateful for every opportunity. I also look forward to increasing a few more therapy sessions. As my birthday comes in May I always make sure that I am okay by attending more therapy. It’s always important for me as my schedule becomes more jammed to take care of my inside self. I want to encourage others to do the same!

One Month Down

I think ever since I was a kid I struggled with the idea of being a perfectionist. It plagued me my whole life. I figured since I was good at being a student this was what I had to do. That is a blessing and a curse. Often times people with that type of personality trait often find themselves being people pleasers. That is not the way to live. So since becoming a parent and really alduting in this world, I am not as concerned with being perfect as I am with balance. With that being said let’s recap the month and try to make sure we keep things in perspective.

Vision Board

I usually try to complete it the first week of January. I actually completed it on Sunday January 27! Yep like a few days ago. So instead of giving myself a hard time about not completing it at the beginning I celebrate it framing the rest of my 11 months. I have said before there is at least one thing in each category that you can do every day to push you to success.  So that means the grind don’t stop.  Keep pushing and take some breaks in between too. Balance will take you place that over killing your mind and body can any day.

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Blog Goals

I completed 25 new blogs this month and this one makes it 26.  That is amazing. So if you missed any of them you know what to do.  Log on and catch up at ToiTime

I went to 2 blog events and conducted one interview this month. That’s on top of working, being a wife and a mother, attempting to drink my water, eat right, work out and schedule me time while being an Uber parent on the weekends. It can be done. So we will be hitting the ground running for February. Since February is love month as well as Black History month we got a lot of awesome blogs. My goal is to have a new blog a day for the month of February especially since it’s a short month at that! So stay tuned! Also if you are following me on Facebook  you know I have started my weekly challenge of making one video post a week. Being on video is hard for me but I am working through it. Expanding my reach and pushing me past my comfort zone at the same time!  Also I post Throw back blogs and blogs for special days too so follow me so that you aren’t missing them!

Workout and Life Goals

So the one thing I haven’t done was added more of my weekend runs. Its been a little hard due to my kids schedules. They are super busy and I love being on the go with them but I plan to increase my runs to prepare for my Spring races. My first race is in April so I really got to use these next months as time to push. I have worked out 3 times a week at home and sometimes more days when I can. So that is saving me. Now with my schedule being so tight, I make working out mandatory on whatever days I set them. Why? I can’t afford to get back to my prework out weight. By Spring and Summer I will be shutting thangs down! Trust me. Plus if you don’t move it, you lose it. I don’t want to have to start all over.

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So let’s say you aren’t having as a productive month.  Do not fret, reset. Reset your goals. Reset your vision for your life. Do not let another month go past and wait to get it together. January is over as of today but February is a shorter month with even bigger promises. How you start it will be up to you. Do not let this new month come and go in vain. Take charge of the vision that you set out for yourself. Reset!

Monday Motivation: National Weigh In Day

Good Monday morning to you. How are you working through your first week of the New Year? I am hoping your motivation is still going strong. I hope to use this platform to encourage you to live your best life. With that in mind, let’s talk about National Weigh In day and how that can be a great motivation for this fine Monday.

For one Weigh In day is about checking in on your weight. Although you can be any size that you want to be, we all know that a healthy lifestyle filled with balance is important. Skinny doesn’t always equate to health. Skinny folks can be super unhealthy. How you manage your weight will have an adverse affect on the quality of life that you lead. I know some folks that their weight prevents them from enjoying life. They can barely walk without catching their breath, can’t go to amusement parks, have a slew of health related illnesses that could be better managed or even eliminated. With that in mind, there has to be a way to be able to step it up.

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I have shared many times before about after the birth of my youngest who by the way will be 5 in a month, I struggled up and down with my weight. There is no such thing as baby weight once the baby is no longer a baby. We love to say that because its true having kids takes your body through it. It takes more than 9 months to restore your body back to pre-pregnancy weight. Beyond weight being an issue for me I found my body not responding to things the way I needed to. I was miserable. I wanted to wear my clothes better and everything was “when I lose weight, I would.” However many years later I still had this baby weight that was being compacted by depressive moods and unhealthy eating habits. I went to work and at  a health fair and almost busted out crying after realizing I was over 200 pounds. Regardless of BMI, I knew I wasn’t healthy. So after that devastating blow, I got into action. I changed my eating habits and on my own lost 20 pounds.  I decided I needed more support so I joined Weight Watchers and lost more weight until overall I had lost almost 60 pounds.

It felt great to see my feet. It felt great to be able to see my body change over time. It wasn’t a quick fix. It dropped it  over time and that is how I have been able to maintain it. I still do weekly weigh ins on myself. I still watch how I eat and the reasons behind it. I have had a few stressors happen in life and anyone who eats for emotional reasons know that you have to be vigilant about your emotional and mental health in order to forego eating for the wrong reasons which is usually the number one reason behind gain weight. Food doesn’t solve your problems. Food isn’t going to help you if eaten wrong.  It will make things in your body go left real quick. The freedom that I feel now that I have a healthy relationship would food is amazing.

How can this motivate your Monday?  Attack your weight head on. As devastating as it to see that number, get on the scale and find out where you are. Once you know the number, what is your plan? Do you need help? Can you change how you eat? The answer is yes you can. Meet with your doctors and get a physical. I did that right off the bat. Knowing my numbers and what I needed to do was great. My doctor supported me through my whole process. I was able to be honest and open with her and myself. That honesty helped me to get my life in check.

Beyond the Scale

What I learned in Weight Watchers is off scale victories. Sometimes that came in with how my clothes felt on me even if I got on the scale and didn’t see a big decline in my weekly numbers. I learned that my new bad wasn’t as bad as my worst. So when I found certain weeks eating more than one treat I didn’t beat myself up. Also getting my emotional and mental health in order actually helped me a lot further than counting points for chicken and any other food I ate. Eliminating things in my life that triggered me was key. Eliminating bad snacks from my sight and packing my food for my full day to prevent me from letting the fast food demon take over, was key.

Also what weight is on your heart? I attended counseling, a lot of it, over the past 2 years. I needed help to see people in a different light. I needed time to really get over some pain and hurt that I wasn’t doing a good job getting past. Anytime you find yourself snapping out, speaking out of a disrespectful tone, etc. its time to face the music. I did that and together I would say over the weight of a scale, I was able to conquer me.

What do you want to under control? What areas are you overweight in? Work? Relationships? Stress? Work on those areas. Work on yourself. Work on what you need to be successful!

Happy Monday! It hurts to be honest with yourself about the things that are weighing you down in all aspects of life, but its necessary to deal with and put a real life mirror up to the areas that you hide behind. Work though them and know it’s not an overnight process.  It’s going to take some time but you got to take your life back! You got this!

PS. I know going to the gym is scary but so is that number climbing up each week. If the gym gives you anxiety do work outs at home. There are cds or even YouTube that can assist you but you have to be vigilant to get them done. When you get home, don’t sit down. Get right into your gym clothes and do it before the “I’m too tired” to work out excuse takes over.  Dedicate and stick to a schedule and do not take NO for an answer!

Sunday Message: Speak into existence with action

I know we still in the New Year glow. We all have our plans and list going. However what we don’t get is that just simply writing things down helps you focus, it doesn’t do the work. You have to put work into your speech.

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It’s not just naming and claiming it anymore. You have to have action behind words. You can’t go to the car dealership put your hand on the car and walk out. You might want to also clean up your credit, have a job in place to support the payments, and be able to pay for the maintenance. This is how you can write down getting a new car as 2019 goal and act towards it. How about saving money up for a down payment? You can sell items you aren’t using it. You can use skills to bring in more income to get it as well. Action.

So now it’s not what are your resolutions? It’s what are you willing to work towards? What are you willing to get in alignment with to bring the very things in your life. Can you just obtain by asking? Yes. I have sent an email to ask to inquire about things and got the best news of my life.  This happened because I asked. Sometimes asking for help is action. It never had to be about you being able to have all of the answers, resources, and know how. You just have to be willing to do something to make your dreams happen!

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Will action plans into your life in this season.  Whatever you work towards if you don’t give up even at a closed-door or a no will work itself in its season of your life. Remember that no can be a protection for you! NO can shift you into where you need to be!  Just don’t sit there simply day dreaming instead of actively working towards!