When you're in the midst of a transition, whether it's career, relationship, finances or all of the above, sometimes it's helpful to hear a word from an expert or someone who has already been where you're trying to go. Although the term 'self-help' can sometimes come across as corny or preachy, the following black authors have woven humorous, poignant and super-relatable stories to help you get your life. Here are 11 self-help books to help you through any situation.
1. Naked: Black Women Bare All About Their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips, and Other Parts edited by Ayana Byrd and Akiba Solomon
Who hasn't struggled with body image at some point? This collection of essays tells the stories of black women who are learning to love every inch of their round, tall, brown, bright and perfectly imperfect bodies.
2. The Happy Vegan: A Guide to Living a Long, Healthy, and Successful Life by Russell Simmons
Thinking of going vegan? The original hip-hop mogul drops knowledge in this inspiring guide on the benefits of conscious eating and veganism.
3. The Misadventures of Awkward Black girl by Issa Rae
For all you introverts out there, let Issa Rae help you find the humor in your awkwardness. This collection of essays will inspire you to embrace the idea of navigating the world as an introverted black woman.
4. Standing In the Shadows by John Head
Depression is not a game. This book deals with the depths of black men’s buried mental and emotional pain with a cultural analysis of how the illness is perceived in the black community—and why nobody wants to talk about it.
5. The One Week Budget by Tiffany 'The Budgetnista' Aliche
This lesson in financial literacy from Budgetnista will help you get your money right.
6. Greatness is Upon You by Eric Thomas
If you need a fiery personal hype-man to energize you toward your goals, Eric Thomas is the guru for you.
7. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
Even gladiators need help stepping out of their comfort zones from time to time. If you're an overachiever struggling to find balance, let Shonda show you how it's done.
8. Black Pearls: Daily Meditations, Affirmations, and Inspirations for African-Americans by Eric V. Copage
Nothing like a good ole' inspirational quote for a quick burst of motivation. Begin each day with entries ranging from African proverbs to wisdom from Oprah.
9. The Broke Diaries by Angela Nissel
If you are a cash poor undergrad, this hilarious day-to-day chronicle of one college students adventures in broke-assness is sure to make you feel better about your life.
10. Too Heavy a Load: Black Women in Defense of Themselves, 1894-1994 by Deborah Gray White
Struggling to navigate the realities of racism and sexism? You aren't the first. This book documents a century of black women, from Ida B. Wells to Anita Hill, who have championed their own defense admidst gender and race politics.
11. The Conversation: How Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships by Hill Harper
Ready for a meaningful relationship? Let Hill Harper coach you through some of the challenges facing black love within the context of the African-American experience.
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A few days ago, rock star Lenny Kravitz posted about his raw vegan diet on Instagram. His post sent many fans wanting to know more.
The word “diet” is nothing new to Americans. This country spends around $60 billion on the weight loss industry every year. Yet, we still have one of the highest obesity rates in the world. Now people are ditching the basic diet rules and moving toward holistic options to improve their health. Raw veganism is becoming an insanely popular option.
As many people, such as Lenny Kravitz, gravitate toward this trend, a new question arises. Is raw veganism really better than the Dietary Guidelines for Americans?
I asked two nutritionists, Howard University professor Chimene Castor and raw foodist Trina Moore, for their insight on each diet. But first, here’s some background information on the two ways of eating.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans was first created in 1980 by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture. It's revised every five years. It was made to give health advice to Americans ages 2 and older. Its most recent revision was in 2015. The guidelines include three eating pattern styles; U.S. style, Mediterranean and vegetarian. Certain rules include making your plate half fruits and vegetables, choosing whole grains more often, and moving to low-fat or fat-free dairy options.
Raw veganism is a diet where foods are unprocessed and cooked at no more than 115 degrees Fahrenheit. The idea is to keep the foods closest to their natural state in order to obtain the greatest amount of nutrition and enzymes they have to offer.
Raw veganism isn’t a new concept. The practice started as far back as the 18th century when monks and nuns ate raw foods as a way to gain physical and spiritual wellness. Around the 20th century, figures such as Paul Braggs, Norman Walker, and Jack Lalane introduced it to the Western culture.
To nutritionist and Howard University professor Chimene Castor, a healthy diet is balanced, calorie-controlled, full of variety, and meets the adequate needs of the individual. She believes that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans reflects her definition. However, it only applies to people who have healthy food access and money to abide by its rules.
Castor realized the disparity of healthy food access when she drove to two different neighborhoods in Washington D.C. When she went to North 16th street, she saw different international restaurants and a whole foods market. However, her trip from North Capitol street to Fort Washington street was quite different.
“I counted 15 fast food restaurants. There were two schools in that 10-mile radius. So guess who’s eating that food?” In her opinion, the Dietary Guideline for Americans serves its purpose as a guide, but fails to give resources for healthy living.
"It’s also access and cost. You have a group of people that I give an F, but like students, you don’t have any books, you don’t have any paper but all you have money for is tuition”
For nutritionist and raw vegan Trina Moore, a healthy diet consists of plenty of fresh water, greens, fruits and other vegetables. In fact, she would flip the guideline upside down and make greens the main part of our diet by seventy percent. As a raw vegan for 40 years, this is the first time she's seen a lot of people gravitating toward her lifestyle.
“There’s a movement, a mass consciousness toward wellness and health. More people are open to becoming vegetarian, vegan and beyond.”
Other than the health benefits, she loves the simplicity and efficiency of eating raw foods. However, she notices that people are making it a complicated lifestyle by trying to assimilate raw foods into popular foods such as a burger. According to her, it makes people eat less of the color spectrum.
Moore also notices that eating raw can be expensive, but blames it on the commercialization of the food industry.
“It has gotten more costly to eat raw, but people are buying things they can easily make themselves, such as nut milks. We have to take measures into our own hands, such as gardening and sprouting.”
Castor agrees with Moore that it is an expensive diet, but she also introduced another con — contamination. She believes that raw veganism can be a great way to temporarily detox the body. But if done long term, it may have a physiological impact if foods aren't cleaned properly.
"Several years ago, spinach was recalled, carrots were recalled due to E.coli and cross-contamination. In order to consider to look at something raw, I think ‘where is it processed?’and ‘Are pesticides being used?’”
Despite the cons, Moore would still recommend raw veganism to people.
“Yes. I thank God that I have the knowledge to know what is right for my body and how to take care of it. I have never had any illnesses or conditions and I believe it’s due to this lifestyle.”
And as for Castor, there is no clear winner.
“It’s a give and take for both diets. Neither is a perfect solution for health. It’s all about balance.”
Have you tried a raw vegan lifestyle? Let us know in the comments below!
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Interested in going vegan or just want to learn more about it? Check out the favorite vegan foods of Sweet Potato Soul's Jenne Carmichael and Isabelle Steichen. The video outlines some of their vegan favorites, such as a buddha bowl, soom tahini, sol cacao, matcha tea and more!
What are your favorite vegan foods? Comment below with what you like the best!
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Vegan and Paleo diets are all the rage these days, but have we forgotten about their less life-impacting cousin, vegetarianism? Being a vegetarian is very simple if you take the right steps. Because it's "just cutting meat out of your diet," it's easy to fall into the trap of being an unhealthy vegetarian, which in fact makes this diet a little bit more complicated. So, if you're considering coming to where the grass is greener, check out this guide and you won't be sorry.
Let's be honest. If you've been a carnivore for your entire life, becoming a vegetarian isn't going to be an easy task. Here are some ways that you can curve your chicken and waffles withdrawal symptoms:
Participate in meatless Mondays
Not only is this beneficial to your personal health, but also the health of the planet. Here are some recipes to get you started.
Cut out one meat product at a time
Instead of going cold turkey, stop eating one type of meat each month until you've reached the bottom of the list. This will definitely make it easier for you to resist cravings when you cross over.
Use meat-product substitutes
If you want to eat 'meat' without the negative health benefits, Boca and Morningstar Farms are two of many popular store-bought vegan-friendly brands that you should try. Another alternative is to purchase soy-based 'meat' products from your local health food store.
Hopping the fence
Now that you've prepared your mind and body, you're ready to join the green side. Your new lifestyle will need to be tended to a lot more in the begining, but once you get the hang of it, it'll be a breeze.
Toss your old diet to the side
Yes, this is possible. Simply removing meat from your go-to dishes isn't going to cut it. Branch out and try new recipes, vegetables and fruits. You'll need the extra nutrients to make up for what you're missing from meat.
Don’t overdose on the soy
If you're using soy-based alternative meat products, make sure that you're incorporating other foods. Fruits, veggies and whole grains are your friends. If you're eating a veggie burger, add a side of salad. Enjoy your chik'n strips with stir-fry veggies and so-on and so-forth.
Invest in a vegetarian cook-book or cooking class
Not doing this is a mistake that can will cause you to ruin your body by depriving it of nutrients. You'll need guidance on your journey. Here are three book options that you should consider: Thug Kitchen ($14.99), Complete Vegetarian ($2.91) and The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook ($16.99).
Plan your meals like you plan your day
For the first few weeks of your new lifestyle, you should do meal prep. Preparing your meals in advance will ensure that you don't inadvertently get started on a junk-food diet or find your way back to the land of carnivores.
Start snacking and taking vitamins
You'll need to pay special attention to make sure that getting enough protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and omega–3 fatty acids. Snacking on nuts and seeds will help you make up for these missing vitamins. You can also take vegetarian supplements as well.
Good luck! You can definitely live a vegetarian lifestyle if that's something you want to do, and hopefully these tips help you achieve that goal.
Feeling ready to get started on your vegetarian journey? Let us know in the comments below!
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Bowls aren't just for cereal anymore. From Chipotle's burrito bowl to açaí and chia seed smoothie bowls, the power food bowl trend seems like it's here to stay. And why shouldn't they? There are so many tasty, healthy (and not so healthy) recipes to try, tweak and enjoy. Want to create some of your own? Here are 11 different power bowls to sink your spoon into.
Bangkok Coconut Curry Noodle Bowl
Peach Pie Smoothie Bowl
Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl
Chia Breakfast Bowl
The Hippie Bowl
Gluten Free Breakfast Power Bowl
Jerk Chicken and Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Bowl
Grilled Veggie Taco Bowl
Spirulina Smoothie Bowl
Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie Bowl
Hawaiian Pork Burrito Bowl
What's your favorite power bowl? Let us know in the comments below!
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Imagine you’re 10 years old and you find out that your dad has been diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. You learn that it’s a potentially life-threatening disease, which runs in your family. Then you’re told that for the first time in two centuries, your generation probably won’t outlive their parents.
This would be enough to intimidate any child, but the news was no match for 10-year-old Haile Thomas and her family. They used the news as inspiration to change their lifestyles and successfully reverse Haile’s father’s diabetes. Since then, the now 15-year-old teen chef has dedicated her life to being a health advocate for youth. She uses her platform to advocate for children’s health and plant-based diets.
Haile’s resume is impressive, with accomplishments beyond those of folks three times her age. Here are just a few of the many hats she wears:
Haile is founder and executive director of the HAPPY Organization, which teaches basic cooking and nutrition to kids in Arizona. She founded the nonprofit when she was only 12! HAPPY’s mission is to engage, educate and inspire youth to embrace healthy habits and transform their lives by providing vital nutrition education, cooking, social and emotional programs. Programs such as HAPPY Chefs present 2nd-5th graders with fun, hands-on ways to interact with healthy foods.
Haile is a Jr. Chef Advisor for Hyatt Hotels, consulting on their 'For Kids By Kids' menu. She also appeared on Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off when she was only 12 years old.
Haile has spoken at national health conferences and appeared in media such as O Magazine and The Dr. Oz show. Her gigs include prestigious venues such as the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Kids State Dinner, Clinton Foundation Childhood Obesity Summit, and TEDxKids.
Haile runs a YouTube channel, Plant-Powered Haile, where she shares her vegan lifestyle with her subscribers.
If Haile’s spirit and drive are any indication, then Generation Z is prepared to take charge of the obesity crisis themselves and inspire a whole generation to embrace a healthier lifestyle.
Do you know any other teens who inspire you to live a better life? Tweet me or let me know in the comments below!
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Some people can go vegan cold turkey. Others transition to a vegan diet over time. I transitioned to a vegan diet after being vegetarian for more than three years. Here are some tips I've tested to make your transition to a veganism easier.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or dietician. This is information that I have learned on my personal journey and want to share to help you with yours. I encourage you to do your own research and make the best choices for you. Please consult a doctor before making any significant diet changes.
1. Be prepared
Maybe you’ve heard this before, maybe you haven’t. Either way, being prepared is essential to succeeding with your new lifestyle. You should always have something vegan-friendly in your fridge or snacks for when you're on the go. If you're going to be out and about most of the day, pack a meal or know where there are vegan-friendly restaurants in your area. The last thing you want is to be tempted to eat something non-vegan because you are hungry and weren’t prepared.
2. Try to make the majority of your diet plant-based
When I say “the majority of your diet should be plant based,” I mean around 80 percent.The bulk of your diet should consist of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and whole grains. This is something that I’m still working on because I love bread (most breads aren't vegan by the way) and pasta.
3. Don’t restrict calories
Now this is one of the many perks of a vegan diet. You don’t have to, and, in fact, should not restrict calories. You are already eating whole natural foods, there is no need to limit calorie intake. Give your body time to adjust to your new plant-based lifestyle before limiting calories if you choose to do so.
4. Give yourself some options
It’s a total myth that vegan food is boring. There are endless vegan food options (well...minus meat, dairy and other animal byproducts) to choose from. You might have to get a little creative, but that’s another perk of being vegan. Here are some sites with great recipes to get you started: Sweet Potato Soul/Brown Vegan.
5. Don’t be so hard on yourself
It’s totally okay if you slip up and eat something non-vegan. This is a lifestyle change, just learn from it and keep it moving. Give yourself some credit, the fact that you’re even considering going vegan is a step in the right direction. Nobody is perfect, which is why we need to encourage and support each other to make healthier lifestyle choices for the mind, body and soul.
Grad Student, Free Spirit, Holistic Life Enthusiast. Check out my blog: miramarshall.com. Follow me on Instagram and Snapchat @MiraMarshall.
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Congrats! You’ve decided to become a vegan — a lifestyle that promotes healing and overall wellness. But managing the transition the first few weeks or even months can be tricky. Whether you’re a novice or just struggling with the lifestyle change, here are 7 mistakes I and others have made so you don’t have to.
Going cold turkey
I get the all or nothing mentality, but going cold turkey when it comes to anything this drastic will undoubtedly shock your body. Cravings will be heightened. You could even have withdrawals. It’s a surefire way to not stick with it. Smooth, gradual transitions are more natural and give your body the time it needs to adjust. I gave up meat in increments, first red meats, then poultry and finally seafood. It was another year before I gave up dairy. I did it all at my own pace, whatever felt good. Now, if you are adopting a plant-based diet for critical health issues, by all means take the plunge immediately. Otherwise, explore the landscape. Discover how your body reacts to certain foods. Allow it to be an adventure instead of a death sentence. Remember, you are choosing this.
Eating more starchy carbohydrates
Giving up meats made it very easy for me to add an additional helping of carbohydrates onto my plate. Please let the 5lbs I gained in doing so be a warning to you — put the bag of chips down. I should also say that carbohydrates are not the enemy. Just don’t overdo them, especially the processed kinds such as flour, rice, pasta, cereal, etc. Meat is filling, so we look for something similar to fill that void. But that over-satisfied and stuffed feeling we experience at the dinner table isn’t natural. We only think it is because that’s how we’ve been eating for so long. Food is our fuel. It’s supposed to energize us, not debilitate us. Keep your typical serving size of healthy carbohydrates (beans, legumes, etc) and double your green veggies.
Not properly replacing proteins
Many people do feel lethargic and/or moody after making the transition to a plant-based diet. It’s not because of the lack of meat, it’s the lack of proteins and minerals we are used to getting from meat, along with the toxins and the absorbent amount of hormones and antibiotics I’m sure your body doesn’t miss. So what’s the fix? An absorbent amount of greens of course. A good helping of dark, leafy green veggies pack everything your body is missing and then some — protein, iron, calcium and essential minerals you can’t get from meat and vitamins A, C, K, potassium, fiber, etc. Broccoli contains more protein per calorie than steak and spinach runs neck and neck with chicken and fish. Another great source of hearty greens come from the ocean in seaweed. Although greens are essential, so are your healthy carbohydrates such as quinoa, beans and legumes. If your body is well-fed with these key foods and an assortment of fruits and veggies that span the color of the rainbow, your body will feel better than it ever did while eating meat.
Only shopping at Whole Foods
The age-old myth that eating healthy costs a fortune I’m sure comes from someone who’s only frame of reference is Whole Foods. There are so many other options such as local farmers markets, small farms and local co-ops. Even stores such as Trader Joe’s or ALDI provide more variety. I admit, it's going to require more work on your end, such as finding out which store sells the organic tahini or which farm in your area will let you pick strawberries for a fraction of the store price. But this is an adventure, remember? You’ll be surprised how much you save by cutting out meat and dairy. Although stores like Whole Foods will have more options when it comes to meat substitutes and such, opt to learn more about the fruits and veggies that are grown locally and in-season where you live. If you want to ball out in Whole Foods, by all means make it rain. But it doesn’t hurt to support your local economy and reduce your carbon footprint on your road to cleaner eating.
Not reading the ingredients
I sometimes have to read this portion of the packaging twice just to make sure my eyes didn’t glaze over any essential no-nos. Although something might be advertised as plant-based or as a “meat alternative,” it might still have traces of dairy and/or eggs. If it is certified vegan (bearing a little “V” on its packaging) you’re in the clear. Otherwise, check out all the ways companies choose to hide details in their ingredients.
Not planning ahead when eating out
If you weren’t a planner before, as a vegan you most certainly will be. Don’t expect to go to a restaurant and have the ease and convenience of picking anything off the menu like you’ve done in the past. For most traditional restaurants, your options will be slim to nonexistent. And if you let it, it can be quite depressing. That’s why I make it a practice to plan ahead. If I’m going to a restaurant with friends, I might peruse the menu online before getting there. Or if I have any say so, I’ll make sure to pick a restaurant where I’m not just eating a side of broccoli and french fries. Luckily, a lot of places are catching up with the times and offering a larger assortment of vegetarian and vegan options. And most places do want to accommodate you. If you ask them to hold the cheese or replace the caesar dressing with balsamic vinegar, they surely will. Another cheat for me is to bring my own snacks — "I got mung beans in my bag. Swag." Never arrive famished and drink plenty of water (everyone should do this anyways). Be sure to check out Happy Cow for your next vegan rendezvous.
This is the biggest mistake you can make. Have you seen all the alternatives? We live in a prime age for plant-based living. There’s vegan pizza, hot wings, burgers, tacos, cookies, cakes, all your favorite comfort foods rolled into one. And that’s not even covering half of it. Shoot, I made vegan mozzarella sticks! If you don’t know what I mean, just type #veganfoodshare in any of your social media feeds and discover all the unadulterated goodness for yourself. #BlavityFoodie
Transitioning in any aspect of our lives can be difficult, but don’t let the challenge intimidate you. Enjoy the process and the obscene amount of benefits eating cleaner can give to you. Trust me, you got this. Welcome to Vegan-dom.
Share this post with the vegans and vegans-to-be in your life via Facebook below!
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I love cooking. However, any opportunity to maximize on flavor and minimize effort is greatly appreciated. In the same amount of time as an episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta, you too could have a low-maintenance, high-flavored dinner! When I don't have a lot of time, I like to make patties. You can eat them as burgers now, then have the leftovers with some roasted veggies or a salad later on. The combinations are endless. Whenever my boyfriend and I make these, I use ground turkey, while he opts for beef. You could also substitute the meat with a portobello mushroom seasoned to your liking if you want a vegan or vegetarian optio. They take no time to create and are extremely delicious.
1-2 lbs meat, ground
1 jalapeno, minced (optional but that extra kick is dee-lish)
4 cloves garlic, minced
grilled meat seasoning
2 tbsps fresh oregano, chopped
1-2 tbsps bread crumbs
Cheese (I love gruyère)
1/2 large red onion, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and work into meat evenly (no ingredient pockets). I grate a few pieces of gruyere directly into the meat for delicious cheesy bites. The egg will help keep everything together so that you can form the patties. Set aside.
Turn your grill to medium heat and spray generously with cooking spray. Try coconut oil cooking spray for a subtle coconut flavor. Place patties a few inches apart and grill for about 15-20 minutes. If the internal temperature meets 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it's done. I generally cook my patties a little past 165 degrees.
Toast buns, assemble and devour.
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This recipe from Sweet Potato Soul details just how to whip up some delicious and easy-to-make pesto. You'll learn about dandelion pumpkin seed pesto and a basil walnut version. It's an incredibly versatile food and this video won't only show you how to make it but also how to use it....
Vegan Buttermilk Waffles are delicious and very easy to make. Break out that waffle iron and try this amazing vegan breakfast by Sweet Potato Soul. This variation cuts out the buttermilk, dairy and butter but leaves no appetite for fluffy, golden waffles...
What does a vegan eat in a day? If the thought of giving up meat as well as all animal byproducts terrifies you, worry no more. There are plenty of delicious recipes that will fully satisfy your hunger cravings. Do you like sushi and ice cream? Vegans do too, and there are ways to eat them both without ruining your dietary choices. Check it out in the video...