Damn Near Vegan…….

Yes.

My former chittlins and pig feet eatin ass is vegetarian. Damn near vegan but still struggling with cheese.

I’m on the cusp of my three month mark of missing bacon.

Growing up in Townsville, NC, I was raised on chicken, fish, rabbit, squirrel, opossum, pig feet and stankin ass (all pun intended) chittlins. All of it. You name it, we ate it. Super Southern. Smothered in gravy. Doused in Texas Pete Hot Sauce. Paired with cabbage cooked with ham and string beans. Saying no to food wasn’t an option. It was a high level of disrespect especially since I wasn’t contributing to the groceries NOR was I “big enough” to tell anybody what I wasn’t going to eat.

Despite the diet that was accustomed to as a kid well into adolescence, I’ve always maintained a very petite frame. The “biggest” I’ve ever been was a size 13 and the smallest I’ve ever been has been a 00 in high school.

I’m currently struggling to hang tight to my size 6 Levis without them trying to fall off the bone (get it? Fall off the bone? Nevermind).

My diet had been pretty much the same my entire life except for the three months that I went pescatarian. That was fun yet short lived. At the time it worked because I was kickboxing and it helped me get my abs faster. When I stopped kickboxing, I went right back to Cajun chicken trays and fried pork chops.

But then it all changed.

I moved to Texas.

Not just Texas.

HOT ASS TEXAS.

DRY HEAT ASS TEXAS.

Things were cool during the beginning of spring when I arrived and then it started getting hot. Not only did it get hot. It got hot right when COVID caused me to lose my full time job.

I decided to become an Instacart shopper, in said heat. If you’re not familiar with Instacart, it’s a grocery delivery service that allows someone to shop for your groceries for you and have them delivered to your door.

This coupled with my diet and Texas heat proved disastrous. I’d notice that I always felt sluggish no matter how much water I drank. No matter how many naps I took. NO matter how much sleep I’d gotten the night before. My body still wasn’t adjusting properly. And I ain’t like that. I just couldn’t maintain the energy levels that I needed to Instacart.

Naturally for me, when I feel like my body is off balance, the first thing that I evaluate is my diet. In my mind, everything physical stems from there. I considered going back pescatarian or limiting myself to chicken and fish. But then when so many of the employees at Tyson Foods started testing positive for COVID, I knew that meat NOR seafood was going to be an option.

The true icing on the cake was shopping for Instacart. I saw countless customers buying pounds of meat- raw, cooked, processed, soda, candy, junk food………just all kinds of shit. It started making me sick to my stomach because it was so much of it EVERY FUCKING DAY. Many repeat customers. I could count on one hand how many meatless deliveries I had or even deliveries that included fresh fruit and veggies at one point.

Talk about a weird way to fully and abruptly change up a diet right?

May 2, 2020 was the last time that I had meat. I went all out because I knew how serious I was…..THIS TIME. I ordered curried goat, steamed cabbage, red beans and rice from a nice Jamaican spot.

Since then, I can definitely smell meat from outer space. I accidentally had mashed cauliflower that had bacon in it (on accident) and some string beans that I had been prepared with ham. It ripped me an entire new asshole.

My body has never felt better. I have more energy. No more sluggish days despite the 100+ degree weather. No more catnaps. I sleep better at night. My concentration is A1 and my anxiety and depression are super manageable. Going out hasn’t limited my ability to go out to eat either as more vegan/vegetarian options are becoming available on menus.

It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add fuel to the fire. Not only did I cut out the meats, but I started doing research with the support of a few Facebook friends pointing me in the right direction (thanks Demetria).

The more I learn, the more I’m appalled, disgusted, angry and sad. The information has been overwhelming at times and at other times it’s been very encouraging. At this point, I’m trying to convince as many people as possible (especially black folks) to GET OFF DA MEATS! I’ve never met so many black vegans and vegetarians before in my entire life! It keeps me energized to continue educating people of the benefits of embracing a plant-based diet, so much that I’m actually going into plant-based education and advocacy work!

For many, it should take COVID or a doctor’s death sentence for change (although there’s a  90% chance that it will). There’s so much shit happening with our foods that we aren’t even aware of. The transition into a plant-based lifestyle inspired me to analyze how our food affects our wellness- mentally and physically especially in low socioeconomic black communities. I have ideas for launching plant-based education initiatives and even maybe launching a non-profit. Who knows? One thing I know for sure is that many unhealthy eating habits and patters have been passed down from generation to generation and my goal is to stop them as much as I can. Toxic perspectives about clean eating have also been passed down from generation to generation, and I plan to help stop that too. Plant-based diets aren’t just a “white people thing.” Hell, it’s not even a healthy people thing. It’s a simply a more conscious decision. Oh and don’t get me started on how embracing a plant-based diet is a direct approach to fighting systemic racism! That’s a different convo for a different post!

If you’re interested on learning more about weaning yourself off of DA MEATS, feel free to reach out. If you’ve transitioned and did a bit of backsliding, START OVER AS MANY TIMES AS YOU NEED TO BUT NEVER GIVE UP. Then, tell me how you feel.

Who Brought the Potato Salad?

This blog has two parts.

Part 1: Avoid looking stupid in front of family and friends

Part 2: Avoid getting fired at the office potluck

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Everyone is eager to showcase their cooking talents right? So you’ve found your way to the sign up sheet for the work potluck. Or you’ve agreed to bring something to the family gathering. This is the ultimate opportunity to prove yourself. Do you stick to what you know (and bring cutlery or drinks) or do you use this time to try a new recipe? Or this year you may be bold enough to go completely left field by trying your hand at one of grandmas recipes. What better recipe to risk it all for than the potato salad….

which brings me to part 1: avoid looking stupid in front of family and friends.

Here in the south, there are a few things that are off limits. Young folks ain’t old enough to make it. Old folks don’t measure a damn thing kinda dishes.

They are:

Macaroni and cheese

Potato Salad

Corn puddin

Banana puddin

Sweet potato pie

Chittlins

Anything cooked with a slice of bacon or ham in it

Anything traditionally cooked in a cast iron skillet

Don’t show up with boxed mac and cheese.

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Or Walmart potato salad. Or canned Glory greens. Oh and just don’t come if you’re bringing a Patty pie (although I think they are good).

Family time also ain’t the time for Pinterest recipes. Stick to what you know.

On the other hand, Pinterest recipes are appropriate for potlucks at work. It never fails. You botched the recipe but bring it anyway. Some coworker lovessssssss it and can’t stop talking about it and encouraging everyone to try it. Meanwhile what they bought is in the break room trash….all season-less and undercooked.

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How to Avoid getting fired at the office potluck

Get taste portions of everything. Better safe than sorry

Spit out the food into a napkin when need be

Don’t comment on the pecans and raisons on the potato salad……..we know they don’t go on there

Eat at your own risk……folks don’t wash their hands

Eat at your own risk……folks cook in dirty kitches

Eat at your own risk……folks allow their animals on the counters

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Sorry to remind you of what you already knew.

Let Me Get Some Skrimps Please

It only takes twenty one days to start or stop a habit. It only takes twenty one seconds to order a three wing dinner at Bojangles, a Cajun chicken tray, double onion rings and lemonade with light ice at Cookout. I, with confidence and sound mind and body, decided to say my final goodbyes to meat on July 8, 2018. It takes ninety days to start or stop a lifestyle and I have thirty seven days left.

This is by far the longest that I’ve stuck with a diet of any sort. There was that one time that I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Netflix. I went and purchased a $200 juicer only to last for a half day at work Skinny, Hungry and Nearly Passing Out.

Since that experience, I still get lightheaded when I think about juicing all of my meals. If you’ve tried it and it worked for you, kudos.

I’ve been researching other diets and lifestyle changes since then. There is wayyyyyy too much material online to sift through. There are 10,000 people doing the keto diet, 100,000 people going vegetarian and 1,000,000 vegans swarming the farmers market. I didn’t feel that I was disciplined enough to give any of those a try.

I only knew a handful of pescatarians and my younger cousin Ashley was one of them.

We were both raised on the same foods, fried everything, “chittlins” and pig feet. Now, here she was willingly walking away from everything that she knew. Not to mention that she’s also a full time college student. If she could make the change, I literally had no excuse.

Oh wait, what the hell is a pescatarian? In a nutshell, a pescatarian is a vegetarian that eats seafood. I know I know there is a name for everything. I prepared myself by eating all of the meats from my fridge and freezer. I removed every ounce (all pun intended) of temptation. I found a handy dandy pescatarian grocery list on Pinterest and hit the grocery store.  For once, I’m not being extreme with this diet. I was never a vegetarian and I’m still in the learning process on exactly what is off limits. I know there is more seafood in the world than fried flounder, grilled shrimp, crab cakes and smoked salmon, but that is all I currently consume. If you have any suggestions, please submit them. I beg you!

Everyone wants to know……how do you feel?

I feel alive! I’ve actually never felt better. I forgot to take before and after snapshots. I feel lighter. I have zero bloat and I’m noticing more definition in areas that I have been focusing on in the gym.

I have more strength for kickboxing. I don’t tire as easily and I’ve noticed that my overall mood has improved as well. Personally I don’t think that I’d have such drastic results without the combination of the pescatarian diet WITHOUT kickboxing. Physical fitness and nutrition have and will always continue to go hand in hand. I don’t try to convince anyone to ditch the meat and hop onboard nor do I criticize you meat eaters. I can only speak for (and feed) myself. You continue to enjoy your steak and I’ll continue to enjoy my salmon (the L is silent by the way).