Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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"Clueless" Benefits Of Kombucha

So I've been trying a lot of kombucha brands lately and I'm loving the taste of most of them. I'm not going to lie, a few years ago I tried a few and thought they were nasty. But I've been slowly trying them again since more and more brands are popping up with tasty varieties. After going to the Tone It Up Tour, there was a buy one get one free coupon in my swag bag and I wasted no time using it. I just wish they could've threw in a couple more coupons in there for me. Just saying. 😊 

Anyways, I found a new drink that I'm so in love with. I rarely drink soda and kombucha is a great substitute for it. It's a drink that I much rather have instead of those crappy sugary drinks. What is Kombucha? Simply put, it originated in China and is a fermented health elixir made with black or green tea that is loaded with gut friendly ingredients. Kombucha contains bacteria but don't fret it's the friendly kind of bacteria known as probiotics. The kind of bacteria that keeps you from getting sick. 

Benefits Of Kombucha

-Strengthens Immune Systems
-Gives You Energy
-Helps With Weight Loss
-Relieves Joint Pain
-Helps The Digestive System
-Detoxs The Body
-Improves Mental Health and the list goes on and on

Should you get it pasteurized or un-pasteurized? I prefer to drink unpasteurized kombucha because most of the good bacteria is present. Pasteurization kills off most of the health benefits. When buying make sure you're reading the ingredients and that it's not loaded with tons of sugar. Too much sugar is a no-no for me. Check out this article I did to see the difference between Pasteurized VS Un-Pasteurized.

Clueless Tip: The ones with the least amount of sugar tends to taste better. So try reaching for the ones with low sugar content. I notice some brands have stevia and for the life of me don't understand why. That after taste makes it 👎😑. Keep it tart and tangy please.

I'm not loyal to any kombucha brands but what I've tried so far is pretty good. The price range is $2.50-$5.00 for most. If you're a soda drinker, I would suggest swapping to get the health benefits that soda doesn't give. Yes, I know you can get a liter of soda for $1 or less but your gut and overall health will thank you. With so many brands out there, I'd like to know...

What are your favorite brand of kombucha? Have you ever tried kombucha?

Friday, October 13, 2017

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Women Empower Expo- Ft. Lauderdale

I was recently a part of the Women Empower Expo 2017 team and helped make it a success. The mission of this expo is to empower, educate, and equip female entrepreneurs with the knowledge, tools, and community to create and grow successful businesses. This expo was founded by Alexa Carlin who shares her incredible story of how she started the Women Empowerment Expo. The event took place in Ft. Lauderdale and I just had to be a part of it.

After arriving I was greeted by Alexa and Nicole (Project Manager). They went over what to expect and assignments. Since I was one of the first to arrive, I was left with the task of advising the other volunteers what to expect as they came in. They were both busy with last minute details and I had no problems taking on a leadership role. Once I gave everyone the heads up, it was showtime. 

One of my assignments was to be in the breakout rooms making sure the speakers start on time and ended on time. It was imperative to have the sessions run smoothly so that the room is cleared for the next one. I was what you call The Timer. Most of the speakers started and ended on time but there's always that ONE. I'm like....

well wrap it up then!!!

I just so happened to be in the break out rooms that had some excellent panel discussions. The first one was Art Of Reinvention: How To Reinvent Yourself At Any Age. The other was Collaboration Over Competition: How To Cultivate Meaningful Relationships In Business. It was so inspiring to hear what the panelists had to say. I also got the chance to tour the market place and engage with some of the exhibitors. There was too many to name but Oak & Cane was one of my favs. Those drinks though!

After the expo there was a VIP after party at Stache Drinking Den. I got to wine down, chat, eat, and drink. I had a wonderful experience with the expo. My goal was to at least make one genuine connection. I'm happy to say mission accomplish. I meet someone who lives one county away from me and we're already planning to meet-up. This was truly worth my time and I wouldn't mind doing it again.  

Monday, October 9, 2017

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Butter Be Ready- Easy Vegan Pumpkin Waffles

Fall is here and I just can't relate because... Florida. My boots were like they not made for walking this season. Florida is so rude. Anyways, I was able to meet up with Quin a few weeks ago in Tampa. We hit the town doing foodie tings. Stay tuned for more foodie adventures. In the meantime check out the recipe for this vegan pumpkin waffles

Saturday, October 7, 2017

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Green Light- Tiffany

You have to think before you act says this eco-sista

How long have you been eco-friendly? I am very new to the practices of eco-friendliness. I am a student of nature willing to learn and practice ways to care for the environment. I have been on my journey the last year trying to find ways to reconnect with nature. Nature has offered me numerous remedies during my trying twenties. From its beauty to its medicinal affects. I love nature and owe it my life. 

Why did you choose to be eco-friendly? Upon witnessing how nutrition has such a profound impact on our wellness, I chose to live a more eco-friendly life. My aunt is battling ovarian cancer, which has served as my motivation to pursue a career in herbalism. I want to learn how to prevent cancer and alleviate the pain it causes by designing herbal products. Concurrently, I have family that suffers from obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, anxiety, and depression. I have found that incorporating a plant-based diet has benefited me physically, mentally, and emotionally. Living an eco-friendly life gives me purpose, even if it is solely taking care of the environment. 

What do you like about it? I love that being eco-friendly means you have to live consciously. You have to think before you act and make sure your actions uplift and protect the environment. I also love that it is a life long learning lifestyle. 

Did you face any challenges?If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)? Like I said, I am new to this way of life so the biggest challenge I face is staying consistent and not letting old habits resurface. It's a struggle, but I know that before I can raise a child I need to learn how to care for the planet. Seeing as this is the only place I know we can live. 

Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? Start slow and set attainable goals.

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? Yes, consistency is the hardest part. I feel as long as you are aware that you failed the future comes to us to make corrections and improve.

You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? I have been natural almost 7 years now. I have had locs for 4 years. I love my luscious locs.I keep them strong by combining my own shampoo and re-twisting them with aloe vera gel. I want to encourage every African-American woman to embrace your natural for both your health and confidence. It is so empowering and teaches patience.

Is there anything you like to add? I am thankful that you chose me to share my journey. I am such an introvert but I am ready to start sharing more of myself so thank you again for the opportunity. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

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My Tone It Up Tour Experience

I had the fitness experience of a lifetime in Tampa when K + K came to Florida for their Tone It Up Tour. If you're into fitness then you know who these two inspirational trainers are. This was a 15 city tour and I was stoked when 2 cities in Florida was going to be a stop. I chose the tour stop in Tampa. They have built an amazing and supportive community and I was sure to be a part of it.

Once I entered, I received a swag bag filled with the tone it up booty band, hat, sweat towel, kombucha coupons and more. Then it was on to the start of an amazing workout. It started out with special guest Core Power Yoga nama-slayin' all day.

Then it was a bad ass workout with celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels. Whew! Jillian don't play. All the other trainers were like don't worry if you can't do it all the way. Not Jillian. She was all Fuck That Shit. Lift those leg up higher. I fuckin love her. 😍

Last but not least was the ladies we've all been waiting for K + K (Katrina + Karena). These ladies have taken the fitness community by storm. It's the tour that just about everyone who's into fitness must attend. They were so fun and engaging with the audience. It did rain just a little but that didn't stop me or the other girls from getting our workout in. 

No workout is complete without summer water. Rose all day!

I truly enjoyed my time on the tour. I squatted, planked, and jumped my ass off. I was able to sample some gut friendly Health-Ade Kombucha, share my intention on the intention board, make a rose quartz bracelet, and connected with some dope ass tone it up girls. I will most definitely do this fitness tour again. It was so worth it.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

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Slow Travel: Are You Into It?

Traveling... it leaves you speechless then turn you into a storyteller ~Ibn Battuta

Ever since my recent trips to Budapest and Oslo, I've been drawn to the slow travel movement. What is slow travel? It's the connection to culture. Wherever you are in the world (time permitting), you're taking the time to explore and live like a local instead of rushing from one "touristy area" to the next. Have you ever burned yourself out from vacationing that when you get home you feel like you need another?

The slow travel movement is a spinoff to the slow food movement. A movement that was started in Italy to preserve local cuisine because of fast food restaurants moving into the areas. Italians are serious about their cuisine. Have you ever traveled with someone that stay eating foods that they can easily find back home instead of enjoying the local cuisine? Don't you just wanna punch them in the throat then poke 'em in the eye?

Like why travel to another part of the world just to eat the same stuff you're already familiar with? Anyways, the movement like any movement wasn't without criticism. Many felt like it was a movement reserved for those who are more affluent. So you mean to tell me those who aren't just want to eat fast food all day??? I'm nowhere near affluent and I gladly prefer to experience local cuisine all day than fast foods.

Slow travel is not about skipping the tourist attractions and/or activities. I sure didn't and I was still able to have a memorable experience. I enjoyed them my way instead of rushing and exhausting myself to the next must see. Sometimes when we're rushing we don't really get to enjoy and be in the moment.

I've had people give me the WTF look when I share I also like to explore outside of the touristy areas. *Sigh* Isn't traveling about getting out of your comfort zone to explore and create experiences? Yeah, I thought so too. Slow travel can't be done everywhere nor is it for everyone. If it's not your thing then it's not your thing.

Ariel & Ron at We The Wildflowers share what slow travel means to them. 

We don't travel to sight see. We travel to soul see. Most people who travel to a new place have felt that never-wanting-to-leave-feeling. Or, that I-didn't-get-to-see-everything feeling. It's easy to compare places you visit to the place you call home as well. That frames how you relate to a place. When we decided to travel full time we wanted to see if we could create home wherever we were. It was time to get out of our comfort zone and learn who we were when home wasn't something to run back to. We never stay in a place for shorter than a week. And even that rarely feels like enough time.

Slow travel gives us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in new subcultures. Wander around without a specific landmark in mind. Meet new friends and build our community. See the local perspective as opposed to just the tourist facade. Slow travel means the world is our home, everyone is our neighbor, and that has proven invaluable.

Whew! Thank goodness. I just knew I wasn't alone in this. 😊

Sunday, September 10, 2017

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Vegan Bruh- Ron

I feel more energetic when I wake up everyday say this vegan bruh

How long have you been a vegan? I've been a vegan for about a year. I started off vegetarian while volunteering on a farm last year and really began to feel more connected with everything around me. As I started working with animals more, learning more about how to eat well, and seeing one too many animal documentaries, going vegan was a natural progression for me.

Was transition easy? At first no, but as with anything as my curiosity about things started to grow and the more I learned it quickly became pretty easy. Dairy cheese was sort of my achilles heal. Discovering vegan cheese and the really tasty options that are out there made the transition even easier. I started to really feel the changes in how I felt both physically and mentally. It was really hard to ignore those changes. Then as I became more aware of the wide ranging effects of the transition of my diet, i.e. environmental and health, it turned out to be the easiest thing for me. It just made sense.

Any tips/advice for someone interested in being a vegan? I'd say do your research. My curiosity about being a vegan led me to some pretty profound information that has drastically effected how I think about eating. It's also good to know how going vegan may affect your particular body since not all are the same. There is all this wonderful information out there that has the potential to empower all of us to be much more conscious eaters. There hasn't been a better time to go vegan. I started with the book, The China Study. Then, followed up research I read in there to develop my own beliefs. Go to Netflis and pick a documentary that's a new perspective for you. Maybe, Cowspiracy that's packed with statistics. Or, Okja that delivers a loving message to make you think.

What's your favorite vegan recipe? I'd probably say Vegan Jambalaya. It's really easy, nutritional, flavorful, and filling. One pot meals are a go-to for when we're traveling in the camper!

You'll only need:
A large skillet or sauce pan
Olive Oil
Vegetable Stock
Field Roast Chipotle Links
Red Beans
Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Red Pepper Flakes, Bay Leaves, Mushrooms (optional but an easy nutritional veggie to add)

Black male vegans/vegetarians are rare but seems to be growing in popularity. Why do you think that is? From my experience, I think it can have a lot to do with how a lot of black men have been raised to eat. For me, my family is from the south so growing up there was always lots of heavy butter usage, lots of starches, fats, and more than enough getting protein from a plethora of animal sources. You know, to grow up "big and strong". This is usually a result from generations developing a particular way of eating and that just being passed down. As more and more information becomes available to us the more we are able to make better decisions for ourselves in the present time.

I think as black men and women start growing more conscious and we start to question all that we may hold as "traditional", naturally we will question how we've been taught to eat and what we put in our bodies. I love seeing that as the vegan movement grows, more and more of the black community being more mindful of these things.

Vegans are sometimes known for being extreme. What's the one thing you want people to know about vegans? I'd want people to know that veganism isn't extreme. Once people start being more aware of the ripple effects that going vegan has they'll see that it's hard not to be passionate about it. For instance, the positive effects on the environment, your body, and all the beautiful living things who only wish to live happy lives just like us. Most people are comfortable being complacent with the way things have been. Seeing others break the mold then seems extreme.

I'm ready for a society where there is no mold for someone to break and then be called extreme. We hear the words extreme or radical thrown around a lot referring to us or just veganism. How can it be extreme to care and feel more for other living beings? Ariel and I often talk about this negative terminology. The thought makes us sad when we think about it, but seeing the movement grow keeps us quite optimistic.

Has it had an impact in other areas of your life? It definitely has. Energy levels for me have been impacted pretty significantly. No longer do I feel groggy after meals. I feel more energetic when I wake up everyday. Consciously, I feel much better because of all of the positive impacts of eating vegan. I can go to sleep knowing not one "being" has died or suffered for me to satisfy my hunger. It's had a huge effect physically and on my psyche.

Is there anything you like to add? Talking to other people on the journey to living a more sustainable lifestyle, including veganism, and examining our own journeys, we know it requires a complete mental shift. The hardest part seems to be facing the facts and the guilt over all the years you have been living a particular way previously. Trust me, we can relate. We're hear to talk and mentor anyone who needs it. We don't have all the answers still but having a community of people that supports you can make a big difference. Feel free to reach out to us to chat. We The Wildflowers and on Instagram.

Friday, September 8, 2017

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Green Light- Ariel

A weight has been lifted from my shoulders says this eco-sista

How long have you been eco-friendly? Living an eco-friendly lifestyle is a continuous process. I am constantly learning what that even means. As I learn more about ingredients in products and the wide-ranging impact these products have on the planet, my definition and lifestyle readjusts. The process to sustainable living began 2.5 years ago with the phrase "shop small, shop local". At the time, I was working for a large fashion company and began to notice the waste and excess in the industry. I started seeking out fashion brands that cared about craftsmanship from a life cycle standpoint, from design to dump.

Why did you choose to be eco-friendly? It's hard to ignore facts once you've learned them. I couldn't continue on as if my actions had no impact on the planet, it was easy. Who wants to be a negative impact on society, really? The issue is that many of us don't know the wide ranging effects our actions have. It's rarely discussed.

We are taught the importance of being kind to our neighbors. Yet, "our neighbors" are seen as the people we interact with everyday. When in fact, in this global economy, our neighbors and our impact stretch far across the globe. That $8 shirt from your favorite fast-fashion retailer was made in a sweatshop in Bangladesh. My neighbor, as I see it now, is the woman with her 6 month old sleeping next to her on the floor as she sews those shirts with hundreds of other women in a poorly maintained building.  

What do you like about it? A weight has been lifted from my shoulders. We walk around in denial and we know it. A thought may have crossed our minds once. Like, "why isn't all food in the grocery store organic"? Yet, we dismiss it because maybe we got distracted or are in a rush. Nonetheless, we are aware of some discrepancy in our shopping pattern.

We "reassure" ourselves when we see others participating in these discrepancies. Or, we choose to trust others, like the government or corporations, to make important decisions for us. The choice to be eco-friendly, vegan, sustainable, or any major life change begins by accepting you have a choice. Knowing I'm not held to society's standards has freed me from many of the worries we tend to have to maintain those unhealthy standards. Also, it's a trickle effect. Being more eco-friendly in fashion has led to being more conscious in other aspects of life.

Did you face any challenges?If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)? The only obstacle has been finding eco-friendly resources as I travel. And uncovering the patience to find them. Some cities and countries are more advanced in their offerings. I know that I cannot expect to find the same amount of locally owned, eco-minded shops and restaurants everywhere. Yet, I grew up in an age of convenience.

I'm used to having just about everything at my fingertips. This is where patience and constant learning comes in. Researching places to eat, to shop, or just to visit takes time. It's no longer about what's the fastest, the cheapest, or the trendiest. If I can't find everything in one grocery store, I take it as an opportunity to explore more. As much as I think I have to have something immediately then I want it, I'm usually just fine waiting to find it from a sustainable resource.

Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? Never be afraid to ask more questions. Start with an aspect of your life that you feel passionate about. Is it fashion? Dig into where your favorite clothing brands are made, which materials are used, and how it impacts the environment. Do you love cooking? You'll love it even more when you personally know where your ingredients come from. Then, ask more questions. You will confront answers that make you feel shame, guilt, and even disgust at how you lived your life previously. And that's okay. You can make the change to live a life that makes you proud and happy. One that's conscious not complacent. 

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? It's a complex growing process. I accepted that from the beginning and jumped in head first knowing that I didn't have the answers. That meant I would have to learn along the way. I would make mistakes. A part of my journey to being more conscious is a recognition of our human-ness.

None of us have all of the answers. And I was tired of pretending like I did. I wouldn't say I've felt like a hypocrite but I do find myself being quite critical of the process. Feeling as if I should know more than I do. Or, as if I'm transitioning to a fully green lifestyle too slowly. In those moments I remind myself of what I have learned and how far I have come in my knowledge base.

You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? Why thank you! I stopped getting relaxers 3 years ago but continued getting blow outs for another year and a half. I stopped the blow outs in 2016 when I started traveling full time. As I learned more about what naturally curly hair needs I was even more inspired to "go green". Chemical relaxers and chemical in hair products can be just as damaging as heat on curly hair, let alone our bodies and the environment.

This "fly" phase is new! (Haha). The transitioning phase from straightened blow outs to completely curly was completely different but it did teach me a lot about my hair types and curl patterns. I live by my wash-and-go. My lifestyle is pretty unstable in terms of having a cabinet full of hair products. It's impossible as I travel. My hair products have to fit in my gym and travel bags. My fave products right now are Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Conditioner for my weekly co-wash, Curls Blueberry Bliss leave-in conditioner, and Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls or Devacurl Ultra-light Defining Gel right after co-washing while my hair is still wet. Then, pretty much nothing. I let it air dry as I walk my dog or explore a new city. I do use Devacurl No-poo once a month to get rid of build up too.

Is there anything you like to add? After talking to other people on the journey to living are sustainable lifestyles, including veganism and examining my own journey, I know it requires a complete mental shift. The hardest part seems to be facing the facts and the guilt over the way you have been living. The realization that it may not have been as healthy as you thought it was can be hard to face. Trust me, I can relate. I'm here to talk and mentor anyone who needs it. I don't have all the answers but having a community of people that support you can make a big difference. Let's be eco-best friends! We can chat at We The Wildflowers or on Instagram

Monday, August 28, 2017