Monday, April 24, 2017

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Vegetables That Are Really Fruits


From a "clueless" standpoint growing up I identified fruits as being sweet and vegetables as yuck. I've been bamboozled. Once I started opening my mind to healthy eating, I was happy to say yum to vegetables. For many, vegetables are part of main dishes while fruits are part of desserts and snacks. I use both in my smoothies for breakfast.

Facts: Vegetables are more nutritious than fruits. They both have nutritional values but veggies have more and are lower in calories.

I always thought it was fruits because they made my taste buds happier. As I was researching, I came across some interesting articles. Below are some of the fruits that I grew up thinking were vegetables.

Tomato- One of the most popular fruits that can be found in just about any dish. An excellent source of vitamins and minerals with a long, long, long list of health benefits. I recently had it with a vegan "BLT" sandwich and it didn't disappoint.

Cucumber- I've been adding them in more and more into my eating habits. I make my own pickles and made an amazing meatless dish with it. Cukes are mostly water and is great for hair and skin as well as having other health benefits.


Bell Pepper- The most common colors are red, yellow, and green. I was jumping for joy when I found some purple ones while at the farmer's market. Purple is also one of my favorite colors. They are a good source for potassium, your immune system, and more.

Avocado- One of my favorites of all the vegetables, I mean fruits listed. A superfood that is loaded with healthy fats. Makes an amazing snack or side dish. Eye health, heart health, high nutritional value, healthy skin, and ya don't stop. The list of benefits goes on and on.

What vegetables are you surprised to learn is a fruit? 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

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Green Light- Kimberly

Everyone should be allowed the grace to do it at their own pace says this eco-sista

How long have you been eco-friendly? About 18 years.

Why did you choose to be eco-friendly? I began as a vegetarian then evolved to a vegan. During my journey I became more and more informed about the devastating ramifications and planetary cost a lot of human behavior to animals, earth, and our fellow man were causing. I made a conscious choice not to participate in it to the best of my ability. 

What do you like about it? I like knowing that in my own way I am helping to raise the vibration and hopefully through example, inspire others to find what speaks to them in their efforts to live a more eco-friendly life. 

Did you face any challenges?If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)? Being a vegan in the world can sometimes be challenging. I also have celiac disease so I cannot eat gluten. Sometimes it's hard at work for example, because one can come across as difficult when really the choice to eat a certain way should be accepted. Often there will be 5 meat options at lunch and for non-meat eaters there will be a bowl of fruit and maybe a salad. Yet we are still expected to have the energy to work another 8 hours. It's frustrating because it is so easy to adapt things that everyone can enjoy.

For example, offering protein choices like quinoa, beans, etc (which meat eaters enjoy too!). Or instead of cooking vegetables in butter cook them in olive oil then more people have the option of partaking in the meal. Tiny, simple, thoughtful things like that make a huge difference. Meanwhile, I'm great at packing my own food for work and bringing extra for others to share.


Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? Take it slow. Don't put a ton of pressure on yourself. Don't guilt trip yourself. Regular, small changes will build up and before you know it you have made a significant difference in the way you are eating and living. Also, educate yourself as much as possible. There are a ton of resources on YouTube and the internet. Overall, it's a personal journey and everyone should be allowed the grace to do it at their own pace. 

Going green can be complex. This discourages a lot of people. There's really no "right" way it's basically trying to do something than nothing at all. I sometimes feel like a green hypocrite. Do you feel that way sometimes? Well, there are always moments that you can't get it all right. "Oh, I forgot to put that in the compost!" "Oops, I should have put that in the recycle bin". Right now my daughter is lobbying for us to change from plastic straws to glass straws. Plastic straws are very harmful to the planet and to animals.

But, admittedly I love the convenience of them. Still, it is a change we are making (going to glass straws) but it isn't my favorite thing in the world (no more carrying extra straws in my purse! Haha!). Nonetheless, I do my best to make the sacrifices I can in honor of the bigger picture. My motto: Life is a we situation, not a me situation.  

You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? Ha Ha! Thanks! I became what I call a "conscious natural" back in 2011. Before that, though I wasn't using chemicals or altering my hair. I was dependent on wigs and weaves and had not a real connection or relationship with my own hair. In 2011 I made the conscious decision to get to know my own hair. I fell in love with it deeper and deeper everyday. As for the flyness, it's a part of the learning experience- trail and error!

Is there anything you like to add? Yes, you can read more about me on my website. Info on my upcoming film Death Wish.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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"Clueless" In Sarasota


I finally made it to Sarasota. I can't believe I've been missing out on this beautiful city. I'm always bypassing it while on my to Tampa or Orlando. I keep telling myself I need to visit, I need to visit. Well... I finally did it. This place is on so many best of lists. Check out the "cluelessness"!

Things To See/Do: Oh boy! I didn't know where to start but I got to experience most of what I wanted to see and then some.

Mote Aquarium is home to hundreds of marine life. It is also a rescue and rehabilitation center. The mission is to rehabilitate marine mammals and sea turtles and return them back to the wild. So whenever you hear about sick and/or injured animals, this is where they go to get better.

Myakka State Park is for those who love to be in nature. It's one of the largest and most diverse natural parks in Florida. I made sure to stop by. I went on a nature trail and saw a fawn. The fawn ran pass me and it was the most beautiful and peaceful thing to see. There was also tons of alligators around. Umm... they were all right. I'm not trying to make friends with them. Anyways, if you enjoy being outdoors, this is the place for you.

Siesta Key Beach is ranked one of the top beaches in America. After sinking my feet in the sand I can see why. This beach is beautiful with it's powdery soft sand and long list of amenities that makes you never want to leave. If you're a beach bum this is a must.

Siesta Key Village is located on the northern part of the beach and is about a 15-20 minute walk. I'm a walker so I didn't mind it. I used that time to do some sightseeing. After spending a few hours at the beach, next stop was the village area. It's a touristy and walker friendly area with lots to do so wear comfortable shoes.

Where To Eat: There was no shortage of places to eat. There's just too many to name and I'll have a review of a couple places soon. But for now here's a few.

The Columbia Restaurant is the gem of spanish restaurants and one of Florida's oldest restaurants. Their main restaurant opened in 1905 in Tampa (Ybor City). They have 6 other locations and I've been to the one in Tampa before. There was one in St. Armands Circle, so I stopped by. This area is surrounded with restaurants, boutique, and specialty shops. It's also steps away from Lido Beach. 

These donuts was delish. (Siesta Key Village)

CONFESSION: I can't always afford to hop on a plane but I don't let that stop me from traveling. I live in Florida and I try to take every opportunity I can to explore the state. I've mostly traveled the southern and central part of the state. Some of what I get to explore doesn't cost much. It's basically just showing up and enjoying that day's adventure. Sarasota has quickly become one of my favorite day trips.

When it comes to traveling, I plan one huge trip (internationally) and smaller trips here and there locally or nationally. I'm still able to have a good time without breaking the bank. If you can't always afford to travel, take a road trip and explore where you live. Trust me, it's not a weird thing to do. If you have a blog, blog about it. You just might be helping someone who is looking to travel to the area.

Clueless Tips:

-Foodies you will love this area. It has a list of award winning restaurants. However, I would honestly stay away from Siesta Key Village. I'm not hating on this area at all but it's just not a foodie's paradise. It's mostly casual dining spots where the menu looks the same and service is not that great. The donut I ate, had more flavor than what I ate at one of the restaurants. Just keeping it real. I'm not looking for sponsorship. 

-There's a FREE trolley that will take you from the north to the south side of the island. It runs from 8am- midnight. Use it to avoid the traffic and parking.

-Stay hydrated! Drink lots and lots of water. You're in hell Florida. Dress comfortably by wearing loose fitting clothes, flip flops or cute sandals. In other words open toe shoes. Let them toes breathe. 

-Plan to arrive early if you're going to Siesta Key Beach in order to find parking. This is a very popular area and the parking lot fills up really quickly. If you come during snowbird season.... bless your heart. One time I arrived and I completely forgot it was spring break. Trying to find parking was a nightmare so I left. I planned better the next time by arriving early and I was able to find parking.  Let me tell y'all a story about how serious this parking situation is. 

After I got off the trolley, I start making my way over to where my car was parked. I had several people ask me if I was leaving. I told them yes but I'm on the other side of the parking lot. So I go about my business and next thing you know the girl that asked me earlier if I was leaving was standing right next to me. I turned around like...

I almost knocked this girl out.

She chased my assed down to walk me to where my car was parked and wanted me to wait until the driver came around so they can take my spot. She went on about how they were driving around for 2 hours. Ummm.... you what now??? I would have just left. Chile.. I got in my car and drove off. 

I was tired and ret to go. I'm not waiting on your driver. I'm pretty sure she wouldn't do the same if it was me. There was already a line of cars waiting to park. Her and her friends hi-jacked that empty parking space waiting for the driver to come around. I didn't stick around to find out if they were successful or not. I've seen quite a few people do this and it was nothing but drama. 

Anyways, go get your passport and join me and my guests for #CluelessTravels chat on May 3 at 7:30PM EST. A chat about all things travel related.





Monday, April 17, 2017

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Meatless Dish- Green Beans With Coconut "Bacon"


I'm a big girl now (LOL). I ate this by itself. It was like eating a snack. A huge pat on the back for me. I don't always buy green beans to cook with so this is huge. Yay me!!!

INGREDIENTS: 
-Olive Oil
-Garlic 
-Onions
-Rosemary
-Seasonings
-Cococut Bacon (done the same way as the eggplant bacon I made)

Wash and cut the ends of green beans; on medium heat add olive oil, onions, rosemary and garlic; next add the green beans and seasoning along the way; let cook until ready; top with coconut bacon and enjoy. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

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Organic Mango Butter VS Natural Mango Butter


As promised from my haul post, I'm back to compare these brands. You can check out my review of the first Mango butter I did a while back. The way I made the ON Beauty brand is very similar to the my first review from the link provided. So, I won't go into the steps taken. You can just check out that post for more info. 

This will be about which one I prefer. Sky Organics is 100% pure organic unrefined Mango butter and ON Beauty is all natural. I like them both but after testing and comparing, I prefer the ON Beauty brand better. 

The only reason I prefer ON Beauty is because it's easier to work with. It gave me a cream cheese texture and melts on contact. While Sky Organics was more feta cheese and a little hard to melt. That's it! 

Both of them kept me moisturized and give about the same results for my hair. Sky Organics is about $3 more than ON Beauty. Again, I like them both but prefer one over the other more. 

DISCLAIMER: In the spirit of full disclosure this is an affiliated link. It means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase. I will only recommend products that I use and enjoy myself. Opinions are my own. Thank you for your support.



Monday, April 10, 2017

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My Plant Based Experience

If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian. ~Paul McCartney

FYI: I've said it before and I'll say it again... I'm not a vegan or vegetarian but I've reduced my consumption. I like to share what I've learned/experienced but I'm not forcing anyone to do what I do. Take what you can and leave the rest. It's sad that I have to put up a disclosure but I'm well aware of how toxic some people can be when it comes to this lifestyle. If you don't care... X out and I'll see in the next one. 

I challenged myself to eat plant based as much as possible for a month. Why? Because the foods I love to eat doesn't always love me back. I was making and trying lots of plant based foods. Especially ones I've always wanted to try but stayed away from.

These types of challenges are not new to me. I did a 30 Day No Meat Challenge a few years back. Check out Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4. I also recently started my (slow) transition to dairy free.

Farmer's Market kind of day

Going into this eco-friendly lifestyle, I knew the foods that I love to eat would be the hardest part of my journey. Well... I grew up in a Haitian household and meat is eaten with everything. Even the side dishes had some kind of meat in it. I remember one time we had a live chicken and yeah... it turned out to be dinner later on. At a young age I had a feeling that it wasn't right but ain't no way I'm telling my mom that. Pretty sure I'd get major side eyes.

Anyways, as I got older I became more conscious of what I was eating. I shared a little bit of that in one of my recent posts. I started participating in Meatless Mondays almost religiously. Sometimes, I'd go beyond Mondays. In addition to reducing my meat consumption it has also helped my budget. Buying meat is the most expensive food item so I don't mind not having it on my list sometimes.

I've checked out books from the library, watched documentaries, read countless articles, gone to vegan festivals (you can check them out here and here) and visit the farmer's market every chance I get. Whew!!! I still have a long way to go but I'm happy with how far I've gotten on this healthy eating journey.

My bag was overflowETH with fruits and veggies 

Am I the only one that gets so excited when I see how much I saved and can't wait to do it again? I can't be the only one. I heart that feeling. For most of this challenge I prepared meals at home. I think I ate out like once or twice during this challenge. It was at this black owned restaurant that I did a review on earlier this year. On days that I ate at home, well... take a look at what breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks looked like during my experience. 

Breakfast: I normally have smoothies in the morning and on weekends I'll do the hot breakfast thingy. But I most definitely switched things up a bit.

Oatmeal Banana Cookies


Found this super easy recipe in one of the books that I checked out from the library. 

INGREDIENTS: 
-Bananas
-Oatmeal
-Raisins
-Cinnamon

In a bowl mash bananas and oatmeal together with a fork; add a few dash of cinnamon; line a baking dish with parchment paper; shape oatmeal mixture into cookie shape; and put in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. 

Chocolate Chip Walnut Bars (also great as a snack)

With agave nectar.... Mmmmm

Local natural food store haul

Lunch/Dinner: This is where I was trying a lot of different brands that make plant based meat substitutes. Some I've tried here and there in the beginning of my journey, but a lot I haven't tried.

Chickpea Sandwich


Smoked Carrot Dog with Veggie Chips

Meatloaf (Gardein) with Kale Avocado Salad and Baked Potato

Snacks: Who says snacks always have to be chips and cookies??? I love how easy it was to make these snacks. Like... super duper easy. 


Kale Chips and I've become obsessed with seaweed lately

Strawberry Pops

Miscellaneous: Just random stuff. 

Made my own dressing using grapefruit juice. 

Vegetable Stew with Rice. Reminded me of this Haitian dish.

Sprinkled this on carrot dog and baked potato. 

Bean and Potato Soup using a few ingredients


There was a lot of gems in this book. Above is a screenshot that tells the difference between omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and more. It reminded me of a post I did a few years back on the different types of eating people practice. 

Whole Paycheck Foods haul

After my experience I can proudly say that I've found my favorite plant based milk. But I later learned that a lot of them have not so friendly ingredients. Ingredients like carrageen and gellan gum. Both are used as thickeners and don't have much nutritional value. Which can cause some health issues if you have a sensitive gut. 

A lot of the organic/natural food companies are adding in these ingredients then using their "amazing" marketing skills to promote their products as healthy. I think I'm going to stop researching. But seriously, I'm not going to stress about everything I eat. Looking back, I've come a very long way and happy with my decisions. I still plan on trying out different brands/varieties as well as making my own (one day not anytime soon). So for now, I'll continue with what I'm doing.  


Now my whole experience was mostly positive but I gotta keep it real. Vegan food doesn't always equal healthy foods. Processed vegan foods do exist. I know we love our junk food. I know I do, but I eat them in moderation. Some of them tasted really really good, others... I'll never ever touch again. YUCK!

Through research, I learned that GMO-Free doesn't mean it's organic and organic does mean GMO-Free. I wasn't too much surprised by that. We still have to read those labels. Especially, if you have food allergies or other health issues. I'm so glad I don't have any major food allergies because I know I'll be breaking all kinds of rules.

Wanna now when my taste buds were the most happiest? When I ate real whole plant based foods in its natural state. Ok, maybe a lil seasoning and cooking here and there but you get my drift. It was the real deal. It felt... HEALTHY. Here's a live look at what my taste buds looked like....


Online I know I can find a community of like minded individuals when it comes to this lifestyle. Offline... I get interrogated. People will ask me questions and I'll give a genuine answer and they will still have excuses. They looking at me like....


and I'm looking at them like...

Then my voice starts to get louder, then theirs too. I start throwing things and them too. Then it turns into one big F*CK You Fest. Ok, ok, I'm kidding about that. But it seriously feels like that's where it's headed.

Check out #CluelessEating. It was a chat I moderated via Twitter with black vegans sharing their experience living a plant based lifestyle. The journey STILL continues...

Friday, April 7, 2017

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#CluelessEating Chat Recap


The #CluelessEating chat took place April 5. This was all about the plant based lifestyle. I knew I couldn't do this chat by myself, below are those that joined in and shared their expertise on all things related to the plant based lifestyle.

@DooseNYC- Nathalie, a Carribean vegan sharing plant based meals with an island twist

@CurtiswitAK- Kurtis, sharing his knowledge on what it means being a black vegan

@InsatiableVegan- Breck, providing plant based meals with soul

@UrbanBlackVegan- Joshua, a health and fitness advocate sharing his knowledge and experience

@VeganHeartBeat- Rodney, providing vegan inspiration for those wanting to know more about the lifestyle 

My goal with the series of chat is to inspire those looking to make positive lifestyle choices. Whether it's with finance, fitness, healthy eating, minimalism, and more. I'm still learning as I go along and these are what helped me achieve some success. Stay "Clueless" with me via Twitter for more info on the next one. Chat later! Check out the other recaps.



Monday, April 3, 2017

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Meatless Dish- Beet Noodles


Confession: I was not a fan of beets and I stayed away from it for a long time. If you look through the recipes I've made throughout the years, I'm pretty sure you won't find beets listed as an ingredient. So what had happened was.... I was at a local natural food store when I saw the noodles staring at me. Looking all purdy with its spiral self. Being the TRYsexaul that I am, I bought it to try again and I'm glad I did. It was delicious!

INGREDIENTS:
-Beet Noodles
-Homemade Basil Pesto
-Onions
-Rosemary
-Seasonings
-Garlic (crushed)
-Olive Oil

On medium heat add olive oil, onions, and garlic let cook; add in pesto, rosemary, and noodles; seasoning along the way. This took less than 30 minutes to cook/prepare. I enjoyed this so much that I'm going to be buying it again.

Do you have a food item that weren't a fan of and now you like it?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

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"Clueless" How To- 4 Ways To Reduce Stress


STRESS- a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances

It's 2017 and I refuse to let it look like 2016. That year was filled with nothing but stress. It didn't matter if it was online or offline. Just unnecessary ish. Now I know it's impossible to avoid certain things or situations, but I do have some control and I'm going to utilize the best way I can.

Below are 4 ways I plan on dealing with stress and want to share with those who are interested in doing the same.

1. Self-Care: Pencil yourself in to enjoy the things you enjoy the most. Also it's a great time to try something new without always splurging. My favorite form of self-care is going to the park and enjoying nature. On my bucket list is taking a hike somewhere and enjoying all that nature has to offer.

2. Get Some Zzz's: Are you getting enough sleep? If you answered no then there's the answer to why you're so stressed. Listen to your body. When it's time to rest... it's time to rest.

3. Exercise: Regular exercise helps improve your mood. One of my favorite ways to get my workout on is running races. I've run 5k's, 10k's, and fun races. Next I hope to be running my first full/half marathon. Move your body!

4. Stay Organized: Good organization will calm you. A planner, journal, or calendar is a great way to help you stay organized and in return takes the stress away.

Bonus...
Shut it down! Unplug! Turn off your notifications! I have a love/hate relationship with social media. On one hand... it's a great way to keep in touch with what's going on in the world, find amazing people to follow/collaborate with, and learn a thing or two. 

On the other hand... You got all day? I swear I want to punch some people in the throat. And I'm not a violent person. Some people are just trash online. So you see being online can be a major stress trigger. I know we don't want to "miss out" but it's ok to take a break. Also, be very mindful of what you read and who you follow. 
How do you deal with stress?