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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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!

Don’t Dim your Light

We hear this often yet we still do it or allow others to do it. It’s easy to live under the radar than to let your light shine. As A PK (preacher’s kid) we would sing this little light of mine. Than I remember them changing the words to this big light of mine. It’s important to know that your light is big no matter what you do in life. You matter. While you are out here shinning your light, don’t dim them either.

light painting at night

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was on social media like I am often. A woman who had lost weight from eating clean, working out, etc made a video because she was receiving backlash from showing her progress. I was like why in the world are you dimming your light? She literally showed each stage which meant if there was a “hater” all they had to do instead of complaining was get off their do nothing and make changes for their own health and get their own progress. We know social media isn’t for common sense.  I was taken back. There are folks that would get mad at a woman getting her life together and shedding pounds. Mind you it was after the birth of her second child. Every woman knows how hard it is to lose “baby weight.” That however didn’t stop women especially from tearing her down.

So that bring me to life off the gram or off social media. How often do you quietly work in silence but when it comes to showing that progress we hide? I often have done it by layering up if it’s from clothes to layering and hiding behind modesty. There is a time and a place for all of it. Living unapologetically is the way and anything less is dimming. You can be great and sometimes its okay to let folks a glimpse into your happiness. There is nothing anyone can do to stop real joy. So don’t cover it up just because the ones who haven’t realized the investment into their own happiness. Don’t dim it just because a few folks will get mad at your progress. Don’t dim it just because the ones “still talking” but ain’t doing will get jealous. Let me do it all. Shine your light.

Someone needs to see you walking with your bright light. It gives courage to those who need to make change. It gives courage to those too scared and afraid to take that first step. For the few that will look down at you, there are 10 that will be encouraged. Don’t dim your light! Shine!

2019 Let’s Get It

So we all have goals. I believe in doing daily, weekly, monthly and of course yearly goals. I told you I am the type that carries around 2 planners. One for my life and family life and the other just for the blog. It’s important for me to write down my intentions and see my goals in front of me so that I can accomplish anything. So when the New Year comes along to me regardless if you believe in resolutions, goal setting is very much important.

So with that in mind as always I will do my yearly Vision Board. I love sitting down with my husband and kids and helping each other come up with their goals, supporting their goals, and really setting the ground work for our kids to understand that having a vision in life is important even at an early age. We sit down and have the Storr Family Vision Board party. I make it into an event. We have fun, we talk about what we think we want to do, and it’s another opportunity for my husband and I as a couple to set goals for the family, and as individuals. I would highly encourage you to do the same. I also take and set my vision board in my room so I can openly view it. It’s important to have it in my eye sight so I can work through the goals often. I also take a picture of it and set it as backdrop on my cell. This way since I am on it enough, I can continue to affirm my goals daily. I believe that there is at least one thing I can do everyday towards my goals and that is my mindset.

visionboard

Personal Goals

I used to think that having personal goals should be at the bottom of the list. To me that is not the way to go. Before I can help anyone else in their goals I need to be actively fulfilling my own. So here are my personal goals:

  • Take another solo trip
  • Connect with a Spiritual Mentor
  • Take at least 2 weekends even if it’s an overnight trip to self renew
  • Complete 5 races
  • Arrange a birthday brunch with my friends
  • Take at least 2 girls trips
  • Do at least 4 facials at a salon
  • Keep my self-care balanced
  • Continue my weight management balance
  • Celebrate each month with something I love to do for myself
  • Stack my savings
  • Stack my emergency fund
  • Attend more events
  • Tweak my friendships to be better, eliminate the relationships that no longer serve

Blog Goals

Here are my blogging goals for this year

  • Get a new Camera for blogging
  • Collaborations with brands (new ones already secured; details coming)
  • Come from behind the blog to be more interactive on my social media platforms
  • Use my own pictures and editorials for my blogs
  • Continue my branding expansion
  • Attend one blog retreat in another state or city
  • Increase my social media numbers on all platforms
  • Keep the consistency in blogs per week
  • Collaborate with 2 new bloggers

Mommy Goals

This I needed to make slighty different from my family goals. As a mom I noticed that any triggers I may have had and didn’t know through counseling has come up in how I parent. Thankfully I am doing the work to make sure that my kids are well-rounded and balanced. Growing up we spent more time worrying about being settled in church that all other areas were neglected. It’s the truth that you can’t just be spiritually minded and no earthly good.

  • Balance the time I spend with my kids
  • Take them on more mommy and me time
  • Continue to work hard at my self-care as it reflects to my mothering
  • Develop each child with what they need over what I think they should have ie. love them with their love language
  • More patience-always need more of that
  • Be mindful of my words and how I relate to them
  • Give them the best parts of me
  • Cultivate each child’s dreams as a unit and separately

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Family Goals

  • Take more trips to the lake
  • Take at least one beach trip
  • Set up 2 family vacations
  • Continue to celebrate life freely
  • Continue to celebrate the little things
  • Continue our prayer sessions daily
  • Celebrate each other’s accomplishments
  • Continue keeping peach in our home
  • Eliminating wasteful spending as a unit

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Bae Goals

  • One getaway
  • Celebrate each other’s accomplishments
  • Find ways to love each other according to our love language
  • Monthly date nights
  • More check-ins and being intentional in listening to one another
  • Communicate effectively
  • Keep the focus on what’s important
  • Be a better partner not just a wife. My husband and I moved towards partnership and I found it’s been better for us. As a wife or husband you tend to work towards duties. Partnership moves past duties and making sure we give each partner what they need to be successful

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So as you can see because I am always writing my goals, it wasn’t hard for me to fine tune what I know I’m setting out to do. It’s important to me to be sure that I am always finding ways to be a better version of myself. As life happens, this list, will change. In order to live a life of purpose, I don’t have to stick to this list and bring in the guilt of changing my goals. I can use this as a guide and have fun doing them. I hope you change your perception of what goal setting is about. It’s all about fine tuning yourself and having something to work towards.

 

May your 2019 be all that you put the work into becoming!!

Operating In Offense

So today I was reminded of what it looks like to operate in offense. Operating in offense is when you are so offended by someone or something that you can’t hear what others are saying to you. You are snippy, rude, loud and angry. Not one thing is heard from that moment. You aren’t willing to see someone else because you have taken the focus off of the issue and made it about self.  This is a self-righteous stance. There is nothing that will be gained walking in offense.  The world is really walking in offense. A lot of it is real and some of it comes from a deep seeded place that needs to be healed.

Now I wasn’t the person operating in offense today but I was able to see the old me through the eyes of the other person’s offense. Like many who have attempted to speak to me in moments of rage, anger, etc. in the past,  I saw what its like talking to a wounded person. You can’t heal that situation or person until you deal with their pain. Period. I don’t care how many cute quotes, speeches, etc. you give, they aren’t going to listen. I think about some of my past hurt prior to counseling and I seen how extremely closed off I was. Not willing to hear a person because all I kept focusing on  was myself.  Today I was hit with that same reality. I was humbled and blessed to see that for one I had real growth. The old me would have dipped into offense and gave folks a run for their money. My mouth is for sure a sword. I know this about me and with that mindset I do all I can to check myself first before handing out a 2 piece!  I listened to them and saw them for their pain and gifted them grace.  Isn’t it funny how you will confront yourself in another form down the line?

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Photo by Demeter Attila on Pexels.com

I gave the person the grace that wasn’t extended to me. This is probably the part that I struggle with the most. Not giving of grace, because my life is a grace walk, but knowing that lack of maturity didn’t allow or wont allow people to see my past issues as simply me walking in offense. My ability to see myself works wonders for me NOW.  My biggest challenge is feeling like I have to apologize a thousand times and do emotional backflips for folks to see growth. I have now come or am coming to peace with the notion that after you take a step back some folks won’t see you for your growth because they never wanted to see you grow in the first place. They saw the offense and used it to get off their chest what they had in them the whole time.  As I watched the situation unfold this morning and while I stayed calm I just said let me gift this grace. Let me not get offended at their offense. Let me let time, maturity, and step back. It will be fixed eventually. We all have to check ourselves and walk without sometimes getting the apology that we think we need or want. I couldn’t get through to the person this morning.  I probably wont for some time. I can’t do anything past their offense. That is a hard pill to swallow but such is life.  Eventually I pray they have their moment like I had to have mine. Hurt people or offended people can’t operate with your best interest in mind until they deal with their issues.  It doesn’t matter how old or young, how smart, etc. We all have a responsibility to do our daily work and check ourselves.

My message for anyone  who is  walking in offense, you will not grow and heal until you deal with you. I could give you a virtual high-five over your offense. You could be like YASSSS SIS I was right to be offended. I did that to and justified my responses, but the truth is that the offense was there to help you grow. It wasn’t so you could prove anything. It was there to make you whole. Once you tap into that you really will have deep seeded change.

 

I know this sounds super deep on Wednesday when you were just grateful for simply surviving your week but it is a necessary nugget. Sometime you are fighting a person and its like punching air. You are attempting to get through to someone who isn’t ready to receive because they cant get past their offense or even their general disdain of you to keep it real. This is across ALL relationships. Even romantic ones. If you and your boo is always up in arms its because instead of hearing you are defending your offense. You are coming to the table of communication with your guard up so high nothing is reaching past this imaginary wall of offense. That’s what happened today. (FYI I am not talking about my husband) That wall was so high it would have taken Olympic size strides to overpower it.

Today was interesting to say the least especially since it’s not even noon but remember when you head is on right, your at peace in your life, its not just so you can be in a peace bubble.  You will see you and either be grateful for change or have to say ouch and be the change. To the person I encountered today that was and is walking in offense, I pray that you have your moment of inner clarity. I wish you the best as my peace remains!