Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Pangs of Being Broke

I'm young, I go to college, I don't have a high paying job, and I have many, MANY things to pay for to support my lifestyle, so why is it still so surprisingly painful to be flat broke??! For some reason, every time my card gets declined I stare at the ATM machine in crippling shock and awe, as if I've never been rejected by a machine before. Although it has happened more times than I'd like to admit (or maybe I'm just exaggerating), I'm still surprised to see that my bank account isn't as full as I thought haha. That always sets me up for failure because there's never too much to buy when you're a 21 year old semi-diva like me!

The real problem with my lack of funds is keeping up with my annoyingly abundant lifestyle. My diet mainly consists of fruits, veggies, and nuts, and I eat ginormous, ridiculously HUGE portions of them (except for the nuts of course haha). This means that I'm constantly buying and swallowing these delicious treats every 5 seconds! It sucks because they're not that expensive by themselves, but if you get to my level of intake, they cost a fortune and a half. Woe is me!! But I've somehow made it by in the past 2 weeks of ultimate account emptiness, and have been able to scrape up some change to buy hefty portions of my favorite foods. It's a miracle (also with the slight help of my daddy haha), but I will always keep my head high and remain strong through this difficult time. In the end, supporting my health and vitality is priceless, so I will pay as much as I can to get all the nutritious food that I please! Being on an extra small, tight budget with a complicated diet is no joke, but I always somehow make it happen. Thank God pay day is coming up soon because I'm going to go on a lengthy and heavy grocery shopping haul!! I'm sooo taking pictures and all that mess, so be sure to check them out on my Facebook and Instagram pages:)

Have you ever had to interrupt your awesome lifestyle because of monetary issues? If so, what was it? Probably not about food like my odd dilemma haha. Thanks for reading and I hope you feel my pain! Peace, Love, and Veggies

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Welcome to the Family Baby Jordan!!

Yesterday, my folks, baby sister, and I went to Falls Church, VA to visit my family, but the main focus was to see my new outrageously precious cousin, Jordan Jr., that just entered the world! Newborn babies make me want to scream out loud about their cuteness! I always look like an idiot around little cuties because I will NOT stop pinching their cheeks and they fight me off almost every time haha.

Look at this little angel! Ughh, I'm going insane from his adorableness!! 

Anyways, before I was interrupted by Jordan's adorableness, my family time was an absolute delight. I got to see cousins and aunts and uncles that I haven't seen in months! I love my family so it was obviously difficult to be away for long, but I was just grateful to see that they were all in good minds, bodies, and spirits. Oh, what fun they are! 

Since this was a family gathering, and there's no such thing as a gathering without food, there was plenty of food that I simply could not eat haha. It's totally cool because I haven't came out to the rest of my fam about my new lifestyle and eating habits, so I didn't expect anyone to accommodate me. To be smart, I made my own dinner before I left, which was extra tasty might I add! Once again I didn't take a picture due to excitement of eating, but I will explain it anyways=P I made corn chowder and used it as a salad dressing over a large bowl of greens, corn, onions, and celery. When I tell you that salad tasted like heaven, boy do I mean it! There's nothing better than eating a wonderful dinner out of random creativity and it actually being delicious. I even brought a big ol' bag of apples just in case I was hungry again, and after that huge salad, I definitely was not haha. Of course I don't need food to enjoy my family's company, but I plan on bringing a dish or few to future gatherings; out of giving them a unique experience with raw vegan food AND out of being an extreme foodie. I'm excited for that! 

I love these people man! I really did have a blast, even without cake haha. 

Well, I hope you enjoyed my post, or at least baby Jordan's cute little face! I'm going to go on and face the day now with some grocery shopping and romantic adventures with my partner in crime, Vante:) Have a happy Sunday because I know I will! Peace, Love, and Veggies

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sunday Crappy Sunday

Hello Wonderful! Once again, my yesterday was fun! I chilled around the house, followed by some organic grocery shopping at my local co-op and belly dancing. What a great combo! But the highlight of my sunny Sunday was definitely the boo lovin' :D After dinner at my former favorite vegan restaurant, my beautiful beau stopped by for a little bit of hang time (nothing frisky!). I made him a tasty Thai-inspired salad and prepared us an all-natural peach cobbler with banana ice cream, and we watched True Blood like we do every summer. It was too fun for words and I got to show off my non-cooking skills haha.

As mentioned before, I ate out yesterday at another vegan restaurant. It's a soul food themed place called "Everlasting Life" in D.C., just about 25 minutes from my house. I normally don't eat out this much, but my family has been in social eating mood lately, and it's almost impossible to turn down free food. And due to my strict eating habits and diet, it makes it hard for me to comfortably eat out! The scariest thing in the world to me is to consume something and not know what is in it. Would you want to eat a salad and later find out that the dressing had dinosaur eggs in it?? No, I bet you would not haha. Unfortunately, this experience (out of the many that I've had at EL) was not a good one; especially since I have gotten much more strict and paranoid from the last time I've dined there. I ordered 4 raw sides knowing that they all probably had too much oil, salt, and fat in them for me to easily digest, but I just wanted to let go and have fun. Fun it was not. After the meal, I sensed some discomfort in my tummy, a little bit of mind blankness, and energy depletion, which is extremely uncommon because all my food gives me the best bursts of energy! I tried to ignore the bothersome symptoms and ordered some (dare I say it?) COOKED ginger spiced tofu! I'm not fanatical about raw food, although I'm in love with it, so I didn't think it was going to be a big deal. Oh, what a big deal and mistake that was. The first bite was pretty fine, but as I got to the third or fourth piece, I thought I was going to puke! Of course I stopped and finally listened to the signals my healthy body was trying to tell me. I can't believe I would keep eating that stuff, but it tasted so good and was raw that I thought I wouldn't be doing too much damage since I eat very healthy about 99.999% of the time. I've learned my lesson from all the culinary experiences that I've had in the past week: only eat out if I have to! I either need to ask more questions about the ingredients in the food or not go out at all. I don't mind my body being sensitive to crap, so I'm not going to hinder it any further for the sake of being social. The best part is that I don't eat junk regularly so I can just pick myself up from this experience and move on! But, the sad part is that Everlasting Life used to be my favorite restaurant in my earliest vegan days and I obviously can't over indulge there like I used to. I guess if you love something, you gotta let it go haha. I'm still a little bitter because the food sickness lasted up until I went to sleep last night, but thanks to my boyfriend's sweet company and my prayers, I was able to feel energized when I woke up this morning! Although my Sunday wasn't as relaxing as I thought, I was still able to be around loved ones and appreciate the weird experience that was thrown into my life.

Do you have any food sensitivities? If so, what are they? Now I know that it's pre-made food in general, poor me haha. Well, thanks for reading and I hope you got something from my post! Peace, Love, and Veggies

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hormone-Free = A Happy Me!! No More Birth Control for this Girl

Hello Beautiful! So, yesterday was fun! I spent the day with the immediate fam (mom, dad, and little sis) and we did some culinary exploring around town. We were originally going to dine at this awesome vegan restaurant called "Great Sage" in Clarksville, but we decided to stay local and ate at the veggie-friendly "Mark's Kitchen" in Takoma Park. This was our first experience there and we very much enjoyed ourselves! I was so hungry by the time I got there, I would have probably eaten anything, including the chair I was sitting on haha. Out of being adventurous, I ordered the seaweed salad and another salad that had loads of seaweed and was surprised to find that I'm fond of seaweed! I always pictured it as this slimy, bitter, puke-green rope of nastiness, but I'm glad to find it was not. I wish I took a picture to share the yumminess but I was way too hungry to even consider it! Although the salads were delicious, the portions were baby sized! They sadly couldn't satisfy my need for super huge portions and I had to go elsewhere:( Later on that night, we went to Columbia Mall and I found a little kiosk called "Salad Creations." Their fresh veggie selection caught my eye, but reading the ingredients in their salad dressings made me queasy, so I got an abundance of tasty greens and veggies with a smidgen of balsamic vinegar and went crazy! At that point, my belly was finally full and satisfied:D Once again, I was too inconsiderate to take a snapshot of the pretty salad, but just know that it was a sight to see and that anyone would have found it delightful. The day ended with some friendly family conversation on the car ride back and then a niceee loonngggg slumber!

The menu at Mark's! They have a wide selection of veggie eats, which is obvious through looking at how many pages their menu has  haha. 

My mom and sis in front of the restaurant! They look just alike sometimes that it's scary! 

Just me and my sis:) Although I was basically hungry after eating, I still had the somewhat energy to crack a smile haha. 

Now on to the focus of the post: I am NO longer taking birth control pills!! Today marks the first day of eliminating the unneeded hormones from my life after nearly 3 years. Words can't explain how happy I am! Throughout those years, I kind of felt like I was in a fog. As if I wasn't as focused or didn't have much will power to do what was good for me (except for this year with my new lifestyle!). Oh, and of course there were the mood swings, the many, many mood swings. There were too many times where my fam had to run and take cover from the wrath of Jamila! But that is all going to end now, because I refuse to pump my temple with damaging hormones. Though birth control is incredibly effective, the side effects are just not worth it. I have decided to use alternative contraceptives and I can't see myself going back. Plus, there is nothing about birth control that is conducive to my new lifestyle! I want to be completely and totally at peace with myself, without the influence of hormones or unnatural foods. I can see life being much more joyous and beautiful now that my body can finally function naturally and that I can get my sanity back. 

Have you ever been on the pill? If so, what was your experience? Hopefully better than mine haha. Well, I must end my night by washing up for bed and having a calm session of meditation. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed my post! Peace, Love, and Veggies

This is true happiness without birth control! Yaayyy to a hormone-free future! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Got Me Workin' 9 to 5! Life at H&M

Hello Lovely! I just came home from a loooonnnngggg day of work, a 9-5 shift to be exact, and am finally kicking back to relax. I made a jumbo salad for dinner and devoured it like a savage, so not only am I relaxed, I'm extremely satisfied! In this dream-like state, I felt the need to share my almost endless day with you. Well, I work at H&M at a nearby mall and it's literally the best job a struggling college student could ever have (especially one that's into fashion, like myself)! The job itself doesn't make you want to jump off a cliff, the customers aren't terrible in the least bit, and it doesn't hurt to do a little window shopping while you're on the clock haha. Of course retail is supposed to be grueling, but for some reason my store location does the opposite of stress me out. Today was definitely one of those days, where it just breezed on by although the hours were long enough to travel to Thailand and back! The hardest part of the day was being flat broke on my lunch break -__- I normally bring an abundance of delicious fruits with me on my shifts, but today I had nada. The sad part was going to Target to buy some grapes and strawberries and not being able to afford them! The total came to $4.98 and my card still wouldn't go through, ughhh. Through some aggressive purse digging and desperate determination, I found about $3 in change! Woo hoo! I bought the grapes with an awkward/embarrassed smile on my face and made sure I guzzled them before I could even taste the juiciness.

 The break room at H&M! You can even see a Starbucks cup one of the fashionistas left behind haha. 

My prized pound and a half of grapes! Well they're only a pound at this point since I got to them too quickly:P I sooo earned these babies! 

Can you see how happy I am? I've never been so excited to take a picture next to extra tasty grapes in my life! Thank the Lord for pennies and dimes, because I was on Cloud 9 gobbling on nature's candy. 

Well other than my money (or no-money) dilemma, I had a smooth day. I even went to my local Farmer's Market afterwards to grab a few thangs! I can't lie, my daddy gave me $20 for a mini spree haha. But you can't blame a college student! Being broke is literally the norm in our sad, sad lives. Either way, I refuse to consume cheap, processed foods because they're simply convenient. I will always continue to buy my beloved fruits and veggies until my bank account drops into the negatives:) 

Have you ever worked in retail? If so, is/was your experience less neutral than mine? I hear so many horror stories that I'm sure it is! Sadly, it's about that time to finally call it a day. I must go on to do some yoga, meditate, and rest my weary, nearsighted eyes. Thanks for reading and I hope you found something relate-able in my post! Peace, Love, and Veggies

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

This Is My Story, This Is My Song...

Hello Reader! I thought that for my first post, it would be highly necessary to share my story of how I went from a ravenous, veggie-hating carnivore to a lively and happy raw vegan! Ever since I was a toddler (or as far back as I can remember, which is skim since my memory sucks haha), I found fruits and vegetables to be appalling and was a huge fan of the Standard American Diet (S.A.D): cookies, chips, fried chicken, fried fish, fried dough, anything that can be fried, I would eat it! Isn't that crazy? I would literally gag anytime my parents would attempt at force feeding me broccoli or even grapes! The funniest thing is that I practically live off of broccoli and grapes these days haha. This horrible hatred of all things healthy continued into my tweens, where I gained a significant amount of weight by the time I entered middle school. If I can remember correctly, which I probably can not, I got up to the heaviest weight of my life in the 6th grade: a whopping 183 pounds. At the time, I thought nothing of it. "I'm just big boned," I would always say to myself, or my favorite, "I don't know why I can't stop gaining weight!" Obesity is a common occurrence on my mother's side of the family, so all my friends and family assumed it was genetics that made me inflate like a balloon blown by Kenny G. At barely 13 years old, 183 pounds does NOT even sound possible or, better yet, normal! So as the years went on with the same ignorance and neglect, I get to the 8th grade at the same weight, probably heavier. The only difference about this school year was that my mother got diagnosed with diabetes due to her obsession with the S.A.D, which is exactly what it is: sad. That diagnosis shook my world completely because I knew that I could be next, especially since I ate everything she ate and more. Fortunately, my mom, dad, younger sister, and I signed up for a weight loss program called "Operation Zero" at my local hospital that awesomely taught me how to successfully lose weight. With that helpful information, I went on to lose a little over 60 pounds by my 9th grade year! I was so happy to not be such a chub-ball through high school and somehow maintained to keep off the excess weight, although I still continued with the S.A.D way of eating and didn't feel the need to stop. Of course I had my health kicks like every other insecure high school girl, but I never truly ate healthy; I always stuck to the heavy meats, dairy, and fried foods. It really blows to admit that I didn't change my damaging ways until February of this year when I decide to go on a health kick together. I don't know what clicked in my head this time around, or just the fact that I had great support from my friends, but I did a severe 180! I did extensive research of chemicals in food, the detriments of processed food, what real food was, how I could change my diet, etc., as well as adding more physical activity into the mix. I have always been a yogi (since the 10th grade to be exact), but never made it a lifestyle until just about 6 months ago. All the soaked-in information, constant diet improvements, exercising, and yogic principles literally transformed me into the compassionate, slim, peaceful, happy, healthy, and extremely aware raw vegan that I am today. It's very hard to fathom how much abuse I have caused my body, but I make up for it now with only whole foods, running, yoga, and spiritual practices. I can't believe how drastically my life has changed in the past 6 months, and all I want to do is spread the word about how health and wellness is key! This will forever be my mission because I know now that I am fully living, and everybody following the S.A.D deserves to do the same.

 I know my first post was long but health journeys are not meant to be short! I wish I had pictures to back up my story, but I'm going to dig around to see if I can find any for future posts. Anyways, I am proud of how far I've come and will always encourage others (who want to be helped, of course) to do the same. I'm still learning and will always continue to grow, but that's the beauty of the life journey.Thanks for reading my borderline essay, and I hope it sparked some interest in you:) Peace, Love, and Veggies