Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year Blessings to you all

OMG WHYYYYY IS IT 2018!! Its incredible to even imagine! God is soooo good though. 2017 was a good year. It will be the year major changes happened for me in terms of my health, wealth and spiritual growth.

My husband and I celebrated five months as Vegans! The idea never crossed my mind ever in life until the documentary What the Health and I have not looked back. I am starting 2017 at only eight pounds away from my goal. My husband lost 33 pounds, his blood presdire dropped by about 40 points and is in overall better health concerning other health issues. Both of our doctors are pleased.

We will celebrate three years of marriage in July and that time has certainly flown by. Three is the number of completeness in the Bible and as we learn and grow as a couple I'm excited to see what 2018 will bring our way.

This month I am doing a #JanuaryHealthyVeganChallenge with the Pink and Green and Plant Base group I started in Facebook for Sorors. The idea is a 31 Day Challenge to go completely Whole Food Plant based in terms of our eating. Anyone can join in so join us! 


So #WhatVegansEat is my go to hashtag along with #CyliasVeganJourney on my Instagram CyliaFitAndFab account please feel free to follow me there for updates! 

Today I posted about my first attempt at cooking Black Eyed Peas and promised to share it here on my blog so here we go!









1) Purchase a pack of black eyed peas
2) Rinse peas and soak over night
3) I microwaved my peas for 15 minutes (I did 3, 5 minute sessions rinsing in between)
4) Add veggie broth to crockpot with garlic, onion, bay leaves, Trader Joes 21 Season Salute
5) Add black eyed peas to crockpot on high for 2-3 hours

🎆🎇✨🤗🤗🤗🎆🎇✨

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 
Make 2018 your best year ever! 




Thursday, September 28, 2017

"You Want It To Be One Way….But It's The Other Way"

It's been a busy month! Lots of events both near and far! It was a greattttt summer. I mean really great. I can't believe its already fall! 2017 is flying by; I swear when you are a kid summer feels like forever but as an adult its flies by. No summers off I suppose... But I am not complaining its been a great year and I am looking forward to a lot of things in 2018 so I will just be grateful for the season!
I guess I am in a nostalgic mood lately. Hence the title of the blog post... I re-watched The Wire series and it is one of the quotes I always remember from character Marlo...


This scene came to mind when I was sitting in the Weight Watchers meeting after a .2 gain. I just knewwww I lost weight after my trip to Jamaica. I usually do. So when the WW leader who checked me in asked me how my week was I told her not bad I was on vacation in Jamaica and so she said "Wooowww really well you only went up .2 so you'll have to tell us how you did that!" 

My jaws were tight! I gave a half smile and sat down. So for the non Wire fans... or those who may have forgotten... In the scene Marlo a ruthless drug dealer really drug lord... (he was running an entire multi million dollar operation not sitting on the corner) goes into a store and steals two 10 cent lollipops in full view of the security guard.  The security guard completely annoyed, obviously knowing who Marlo is, follows him out and confronts him; albeit respectfully. Spoiler alert: Respect doesn't save him though. During the exchange Marlo tells him over and over "You want it to be one way..." Finally exasperated the guard basically says what are you talking about and Marlo's response "You want it to be one way….But it's the other way." Marlo walks to his waiting car and orders the murder of the security guard. 

So what resonated with me was the fact that the security guard knew who Marlo was and what he was capable of doing to him. Those were facts. But the security guard confronted him anyway. Now some may consider that brave others foolish. No matter how you see it, the results were the same; the security guard ends up in the vacants (in the empty row homes in Baltimore with 21 other victims by the season's end). 

Now the parallel for me: I didn't track what I ate. I did not restrict myself (aside from my Vegan commitment). I didn't plan my meals. I didn't even cook my meals. YET I want it the OTHER way. I thanked the WW leader during the meeting because my jaws were tight but I can't be mad and in fact .2 says a lot positive about my ability to go away be forced to eat out every day for over a week and deal with unlimited buffets and alcohol and come back with such a minuscule increase. 

Granted I didn't drink a drop of water or eat a thing before weigh in  and I wore a feather light dress so I went in as  ready as possible but... see I want it to be  one way but it's the other way. For me weight loss means it's the other way... I don't lose by accident; its the other way... I have to plan, track, exercise, drink water and go to meetings. It's the other way. I have this internal battle more often than I should... but this quote will be a good reminder for me. I'll use that quote as an anchor. 

I think that's a good segue into my Vegan lifestyle update. Well I am over two months in now! Celebrated while in Jamaica and I must say it is wayyy easier than anyone could imagine. Easy to find things to eat not easy to control what one eats.  At least not easy for me because I like to eat lol there's an ongoing debate about being vegan vs plant based. There are lots of junk food vegans; not eating meat or dairy leaves a ton of other things besides fruits and veggies to eat and plenty of it not healthy and not healthy in large quantities. That's why Weight Watchers is important for my goals. I ma down over 10 pounds in the two months and I am committing to being physically active every day until the end of the year... 146 days straight. I'm over 50 days in and making it happen BUT I need to get back to my trainer to make bugger strides. I want to lose 12 pounds by the 31st! I can do it! That's 13 weeks so less than a pound a week! DONE!!!! 

Anywayyyyyy I promised to do a blog post about my Vegan Shopping List! I'm no expert but I have definitely researched a lot  and tasted a lot lol so I can stand behind my reviews! So here  we go!

I ball on a budget so most of my shopping has been done at Wegman's, Trader Joe's and my new bae Aldi's! All three have great prices. I will be honest I spend a lot of money and I can sometimes be wasteful so better to spend less and still get good quality! 

My fave is Trader Joe's so we will start with them. I found a great list via a group on Facebook of Vegan items from Trader Joe's it was so helpful! https://www.peta2.com/vegan-life/vegan-trader-joes-options/

First must haves: SPICES! I already have garlic, curry, black pepper, sea salt but these are some other great ones to have on hand! Less than $2 a bottle!


Other staples: Rice I try to mix up my types and cauliflower rice is a great option! Less calories but still great! These were about $1.99


Frozen fruit and veggies are helpful and save $$$ I kept buying strawberries but they kept spoiling so I bought some frozen one. The tri-peppers are great for soups and chili! The coconut "yogurt" was realllyyyyy great but 9 WW Smart points! Yikes! Sttill have the portabella fries and Somasa to try


 The flaxseed I have added to oatmeal, dairy free yogurt and apple sauce. The Ancient Grains are great its basically an oatmeal. The toasted coconut granola is good although my husband devoured it so I can't recall it exactly lol I guess I'll buy two next time.


More staples: Lara bars, red onions, a hugeee eggplant, beets, Almond butter, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, cherry tomatoes, bread thins which were great but not fully cut so be veryyyy careful slicing, blue corn tortilla, ginger, Goddess dressing which is de-lish and only needs a splash and lastly canned Jackfruit! All of this was less than $30


Some new items I really liked: Dr. Prager's veggie burgers were sooo good. My husband didn't love them but I do. I really do not crave meat so the fact that it does not look like a beef burger is appealing to me. The Meatless Meatballs are great! The cook up very easily. The Falafels are good. High in points though but I had a salad with one and figured I could re-create it at home for half the price! The veggie spring rolls are soooo good. The beef-less ground was good although I added the Trader Joe's soy chirizo for additional flavor and it turned out nicely. The roasted plantain chips a fave and are perfect with guacamole or hummus. The tempeh I still have not tried yet! So stayed tuned.  More frozen fruit for smoothies and oatmeal!


Lastly from Trader Joe's broccoli, almond milk, steel cut oats, maple syrup, vegan spread, peaches and red potatoes. 




NEXT UP ALDI'S 

Their prices can't be beat even better than Farmer's markets and produce markets for the most part!




















Ok  Whewwww that  was a lot and for some reason now I have fall allergies and the meds are kicking in so I will do part 2 with Wegman's and recipes next week!





Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Lighter, Better, Faster, Stronger. 1 Month Vegan


Yesterday I hit the one month mark as a Vegan.

The Good: Way better sleep, I feel lighter, I am down 5.6 pounds, loving the new meals and extra energy in the gym. I feel a lot better mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. 

The Bad: Lots of cooking and washing dishes🤣😂 

The Ugly: My skin is still breaking out

Overall though its been great. If I had it to do again I would have done a gradual change vs going cold turkey but yes one whole month since I accidentally turned Vegan lol When your sister the Doctor (of more than one species) says you should look at this documentary "What The Health" you do and mannnn I ain't looked back since! Funny I re-watched #WhatTheHealth with my husband who is going meatless for August with me and the animal cruelty was like a flash in the pan but I remembered it sooooooo much you couldn't tell me it wasn't the main focus 😂🤣 so it was good to re-watch it and really catch the rest of the information. The health implications and the environmental impact is really startling. The other hard pill to swallow is how long this information has been around annddd how the money trail explains it all. As Maya Angelou says "Once you know better you do better..." so that's where I am.

The positives: The people that are supportive are super supportive. My friend Dawn has shared her veggies from Gather Baltimore and I have made some great food! And I share! Real community living now! My personal trainer and his fiancee had a pre-wedding cookout so those of us going to their destination wedding could meet before hand and she made a point to buy Vegan burgers for my husband and me! How sweet is that? They also cut up a ton of veggies and grilled it up for us! I mean that is SUPPORT! Love it! The burgers were really good too and she gave us the box to take home. Totally going to BJs to buy more! Restaurants are also very accommodating. Shout out to The W who modified a pizza for me last week! 

The other positive there are a lot of vegans and vegetarians out there... many I know but didn't know or realize they were vegan.Even my maternal Grandmother 😲  How  How cool is that? I have a lot of cousins that are either vegan or vegetarian as well so the concept is not foreign to me or my family so I think that's a plus. Even my husband was vegetarian at one point...chileeee and he even had dreads so you know he legit gets the honorary Jamaican status lol 

The online community is AMAZING. Its like a whole new world. I swear it's like The Matrix. The Black Vegan community is very strong and impressive not for their "accomplishments" but just how they are using their time on earth mostly outside of Veganism. Its dope. Its all about alignment. I was saying to my sister its like when I would not buy Stag beer in Trinidad because their slogan is "Stag... A man's beer!" I was SOOOOO offended! Like WHAT? I vote with my dollars and if its one thing I pride myself on its being consistent. I am very black or white when it comes to what I feel is right or wrong and so this has been a pretty easy change for me mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. There is an endless supply of resources out there and its been so informative.  

If it was "just" for health I think it would be more of a struggle for me. This is not a diet for me. Health is a nice side benefit but honestly despite being overweight my cholesterol is under 100, my blood pressure is like 110/70 and all my other numbers are well within healthy ranges. My sugar number (Black I know lol) was higher than my doctor liked last year and my goal was to lose 20 pounds and she felt that would reduce that number, so I am looking forward to my annual physical in October. 

I feel a lot more energy at the gym even though during the day I am napping more consistently lol I tend to be high energy except for inside the gym. I tend to drag myself around when I workout, now that may be mental but I have noticed I have way more energy to workout lately.I set a commitment to workout at least 35 minutes a day for the rest of the year when we were at day 146 from the new year.  Yesterday was Day 15 of 146! I've gone over 100 days before so I know I can keep it up. I have been busy and still on track from New York for my 25th to DC to back home. I am making the time. I notice that I can go 90 minutes even when I plan to workout for just 35 minutes when I get there so that's great. 

Knowledge is power. There is a lot of information out there and that's another positive I like learning and I'm still researching. While some think What the Health was too over the top... think about it even if what they said was half of the truth that is scary as hell!!!


The negatives: The people who have posted such anti/messy/ negative things I find totally bizarre. I've engaged some and its a good opportunity to dialogue. I think its a bit weird to care what another person eats or doesn't eat on both sides but no one likes feeling judged and if you are compassionate and passionate I get it. I'm not in the conversion business even when it comes to my faith. I'm Team Jesus but I know that's not for everyone but there are certain things that are Christ-like and I am striving to exhibit that if that brings someone to Christ cool I think I have done my part. Ultimately, if my sharing helps someone understand a bit more and cut back on eating so much meat and dairy for compassionate reasons and try a more Plant based diet that's great... if not, no judgement. We all have one life to live and we do the best we can.


A lot of people have emailed me about resources so I am going to list some of those things and in a different post I will do some sample menus. Below are a few documentaries, doctors and organizations where you can look things up and get more information. Click names below to go to the websites!

Netflix has:

What the Health 

Forks Over Knives 

Earthlings

Vegucated

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2


Doctors:

14 Vegan Doctors  (Article)

Dr. Michael Greger M.D. - Awesome FREE resources

Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C 

Kim A. WilliamsSr., MD First vegan Doctor to President of the American College of Cardiology

Bloggers:

Brown Vegan  I purchased her Zero to Vegan training course! very informative!

Sweet Potato Soul great recipes

#BlackVegansRock  a list of 100 Black Vegans 

32 Vegans Celebrities 
 

Well that's all for now! So I will check back soon with menus and restaurant reviews! Thanks yall!!


Thursday, July 27, 2017

My Thoughts After One Week Vegan

Another long blogging break and I really don't have a reason why. I am less busy and have scaled back on a lot of responsibilities to just slow down a bit. I am enjoying going to work (remember my 1.5 hour commute in the morning and 2 hour commute home on a good day) and being able to come home and just relax. I think it has improved my overall mental and emotional health and allowed me to make myself a priority again. I can't and won't do what I did to myself the last year or so. As someone said to me Shonda Rhimes had her year of yes, you need a year of NO! I agree, I have been more thoughtful in how and with whom I spend my time with and will keep that in mind going forward! Its all about self care.



Oh yeah! Chileeeeeeee!!! Imma Vegan!  LOL

Well with that extra time comes extra reading, sleeping and tv watching and I stumbled across this documentary on Netflix called What the Health . It is a lot of information and I would say if you know you don't want to change do not see it. It was very eye opening and someone recommended  I also watch Forks Over Knives both explain the benefits of a plant based diet to people, the animals and our planet. I am heart broken over the treatment of the animals. As a lifelong pet owner I was left asking myself what is the difference between that cow or goat we kill and eat and my cat?

They are all animals and none of God's creatures deserve to be treated that way. There really is no humane way to kill a living thing.

On top of the killings the actual conditions also got me. I won't quote some of the information because ultimately I am not trying to gross anyone out or convince anyone to do anything I am just sharing my journey, but I have been literally nauseous for the last week just looking a meat... frozen, raw, cooked any meat has made me physically ill. I can't shake it.

My initial plan was to "lean into it" and try to have seafood but again the smell made me so sick I had to throw a dish I made earlier out and had to jump into the Vegan Lifestyle feet first.

I was also troubled at the money trail as I am calling it. If you follow the money it paints a pretty grim picture and why most of the public has no idea what is really going on. Ignorance is bliss. I had a choice off taking the red or blue pill and I went all the way into the Matrix so I cannot see myself turning back. Especially after watching Earthlings. People are soooo wicked.

I did some research and came across a pretty huge black vegan community online! I have several vegans and vegetarians in  my family; its pretty common in Jamaica actually so it is not a foreign concept to me, even Bob Marley was strictly about his ital food ( Ital cuisine is usually vegetarian or vegan. Developed by Rastafarians, Ital food is a natural way of cooking that tries to avoid processed food, additives, oil, salt and sugar); but never looked into it seriously for myself because honestly I was someone who lived to eat not someone who would eat to live. Hence my battle with obesity. I have been listening to a lot of Law of Attraction weight loss You Tube videos by Abraham Hicks and this actually seems like the next natural step. I will do a different post on that but as Esther said --kinda like after the "There is no spoon" scene from the Matrix when Morpheus told Neo when to time comes you won't have to dodge the bullets... I'm am evolving and coming into alignment. HOW EXCITING! The Universe makes no mistakes. God's timing is perfect and I am here for all of this good stuff!!

A/w my favorite find was the Brown Vegan! She's awesome and I really loved what she posted on Instagram and saw she had an online Vegan 101 training program called Zero to Vegan. It was on sale for only $7 and so I purchased it and started going through the program immediately. Part of the package includes a private Facebook group as well and I jumped right in.  Ideally they say you can slowly convert but I didn't have that option with the nausea so here we are at Week 1 already! I really like the course it is very informative and she has some great recipes.



My initial thoughts...

1) Its a lot easier than I thought between apps, IG, Facebook and the Vegan community IRL and online there is a lot of support and sharing. Baltimore has a very active Black Vegan community! As well as several well known vegan restaurants like Land of Kush which I've tried before since it is near my law school. There's a new one called The GruB Factory and closer to home we have The Flying Avocado. I like cooking so does my husband so I think options (at home or eating out) will not be a big issue.

2)  My skin is jacked up. Lots of break outs but this is basically a "Daniel Fast"  (shout out to the church folk) and my old church used to do one every year so I am not shocked. You tend to get breakouts. I think between having done Daniel Fasts, Paleo and Whole 30 I know how to live this lifestyle so that is a plus.

3) Energy seems the same but sleep definitely feels better.

4) I don't feel full but I don't feel hungry. I was telling my husband last night I feel like the food isn't hitting the bottom of my stomach like with meat. But I do not miss feeling weighed down either.

5) The reactions!!! LOL People are angry/rude/ condescending about those of us giving up meat. I mean that is truly laughable. I will never get people who do that. I was saying to my husband the other day I am the kind of friend if my friend wants to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge I will be sure to buy the best bungee cords, check the wind speed and be there to take the cool pics. Why do people relish in being so negative?

It kind of reminds me of something someone told me once about my overzealous ways in groups. I always say do you, I'll do me... I am not judging but when I say I am going to do something I give it 110% but she pointed out when you do so much it highlights for others what they are not doing and that is uncomfortable for some people. Fair enough. I stated earlier and to others I am not here to convert anyone. We are all doing the best we can, with where we are and with what we know. So there should be no judgement on other side in my opinion.

In the immortal words of Jay Z "What you eat don't make me..."



Ok so some pics of the week. Please see my CyliaFitAndFab Instagram page for recipes! Everything came from Trader Joe's or Target. A quick google search for Vegan options at any store and you can find a great list. So helpful. So here are a few items




















I am trying to do a mix of plant based and non GMO items to make a well rounded diet. Here are some helpful videos I just ordered Russell Simmons book The Happy Vegan and I am so impressed with his interviews here is one ~~> Today Show: Russell Simmons Perks of being a Vegan

Oprah did a special program with her staff Oprah's Staff Goes Vegan

Its all very eye opening and I am enjoying it! My workouts are on track and I will still be going to Weight Watchers for accountability because health and weight loss are still goals aside from everything. I weigh in Saturday but I can see based on tracking these points can still add up between the beans, starchy veggies, and high calories but good fat items like hummus, nuts and avocados add up!


Ok I'm out! I will be back to update this weekend!