health

Fibro Friday: Managing Inflammation with Turmeric

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope your week was great, and I hope your upcoming weekend is even better!

Over the past few months, I’ve been keeping close tabs on my fibromyalgia: I’m looking out for new (or recurring) symptoms, any difficulties in recovering after flares, or other changes that may be worth noting. I keep up with these because I stopped using prescription medication a few months back, and this is my first time – since my diagnosis – observing how fibro shows up in my daily life when managed through other methods.

As part of my symptom (and overall health) management, I’ve been incorporating supplements that promise to reduce pain and inflammation in the body. While fibro is not an autoimmune condition, nor is it a condition that is typically associated with inflammation, my research confirmed that inflammatory conditions exist in most people’s bodies, and most of us benefit from the reduction of inflammation. For this reason, I decided to add turmeric into my daily supplements.

I opted for a liquid supplement, and, since my flexible spending plan covers glucosamine and chondroitin products, I got a glucosamine supplement that also included turmeric (2 for 1!). I have thoughts on glucosamine products that I won’t share today, but I’ll touch on that in a future video. Anyways, back to turmeric: I decided to use Tropical Oasis Joint Complete Premium Plus- Liquid Joint Support Supplement w/Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Plus 800mg Turmeric Curcumin. I took this product for more than 30 days, and I did this consistently, just so that I can confirm whether I have gotten any results.

Here is my YouTube video discussing fibro and inflammation:

And here’s a YouTube video that I posted earlier today, discussing the outcome of my experiment:

I have to conclude that, while I didn’t notice an immediate or drastic difference in how I felt, I compared the way I felt to how I usually feel in the winter season and I took note of what symptoms were present, missing or mitigated. In previous winters, I am extraordinarily achy, tired and suffer from mild flu-like symptoms, even while taking prescription medication. However, this year, I only felt a little tired and very few aches. I only noticed flu-like symptoms when I actually had the flu (you can read about that ordeal here). So, comparing this year to prior years is the best metric I have, and I can confidently that adding turmeric was a good move for me. I didn’t feel the normal winter “slump” that I usually experience, and I found myself needing less down time when I felt a little tired. I also started adding another supplement into my rotation (more about that next week) and that has been making a difference, too, though I only added that in toward the end of the turmeric experiment, well after I determined how effective the turmeric was for me.

I’m also considering adding in a different turmeric supplement to see if I have different results. I’m thinking I’ll choose between Qunol Liquid Turmeric Curcumin with Black Pepper, Dr. Mercola Organic Fermented Turmeric, Turmeric Gummies for Adults & Kids with Ginger & Black Pepper Extract, or I may try something completely different. You’ll just have to stick around to see what I choose!

That’s it for today. I hope you all have a great Friday and a fantastic weekend! Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

*This post contains affiliate links.

food · health

My Favorite Black Vegetarian and Vegan YouTubers

Last week, I shared that I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Tumi Johnson’s work and her YouTube channel, Performing Healing. I purchased her book, Delicious Healing, to give me some ideas on how to improve my health by using self care, mindfulness, and a nourishing diet. Dr. Tumi is a medical doctor that has been living a raw vegan lifestyle for a decade, and her transformation from overworked and undernourished clinician to radiantly healthy performer and holistic healer inspired me tremendously.

Dr. Tumi’s page inspired me to peruse YouTube for other vegetarian and vegan YouTubers. While I’d followed a few of them before coming across Dr. Tumi, I thought it would be nice to compile a few of my favorites over here. As I explore more options with plant-based eating, I’m certain I will have to do a second part to this post, which works for me. I hope you all enjoy this list!

Performing Healing – As I mentioned previously, Dr. Tumi is a medical doctor and raw vegan. Her channel doesn’t focus solely on recipes but it does highlight what a fully vegan lifestyle entails. The recipes that she has provided are often simple to recreate, but it has to be noted that she is a raw vegan, so adjusting to this eating style may require a bit of effort. However, for those that are interested, she’s a wonderful resource. As a bonus, her videos are all lovely, with excerpts of dance and fantastic little wellness tidbits sprinkled throughout each of them. And naturally, she’s written a book about her wellness philosophies. You can learn more in her book, Delicious Healing.

SweetPotatoSoul – Jenne Claiborne, the lady behind the wildly popular SweetPotatoSoul YouTube channel, is truly one of the OGs of the vegan YT community. She has over 600,000 subscribers, and has also published her recipes in the cookbook, Sweet Potato Soul: 100 Easy Vegan Recipes for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul. If you’re interested in beautiful videos with tasty recipes, you should definitely check out this channel.

Rachel Ama – Similar to SweetPotatoSoul, Rachel Ama also has over 600,000 subscribers and a longstanding commitment to the vegan lifestyle. On her channel, she focuses on flavorful dishes that borrow heavily from international cuisine, such as dishes from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. I like that her recipes are great for transitioning vegans that may be concerned that they’ll have to compromise flavor for this lifestyle (nothing could be further from the truth!) Rachel has also published 2 books, titled Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats: Tasty plant-based recipes for every day and One Pot: Three Ways: Save time with vibrant, versatile vegan recipes.

Black Forager – The creative behind this channel, Alexis Nikole Nelson, has an extremely strong presence on other social media (such as Instagram and TikTok). However, she also shares her recipes on her YouTube channel. I love her fun energy and the fact that she makes vegan dishes with foraged vegetation. This takes a special level of creativity and vision, and she absolutely knocks it out of the park each time. I’m waiting patiently for her book . . . She hasn’t announced that she’s writing one, I’m just putting that wish out into the Universe. Until then, I’ll console myself with the NPR interview that she did.

From the Comfort of my Bowl – I love that this channel features vegan comfort food. Despite the fact that I have loved experimenting with raw vegan meals, sometimes I want warm, cooked food that is both satisfying and still cruelty free. As a bonus, many of the meals featured on this channel are also gluten-free. The channel has a companion blog with all of the meal details.

This Infinite Life – This adorable family of 8 lives a vegan lifestyle down in the deep south (Atlanta, Georgia). On this channel, the family tries packaged vegan items, but they also indulge in varying eating challenges and share recipes. This channel is an especially good option for anyone that is experiencing difficulty with transitioning to a vegan lifestyle: the videos show how easy it is to replace your favorite animal-based products with vegan alternatives. There is a companion website which also features three ebooks written by the creative minds behind the YouTube channel.

Those are some of my favorite Black vegan and vegetarian vloggers. Do you have any recommendations? I’d love to hear all about them!

*** This post contains affiliate links.

health · life curation · reading list

Book Review – Delicious Healing

Hey friends! Today’s book review comes courtesy of my research into the health benefits of grape leaves. You see, I have some wild muscadine grape vines choking out my lovely rosebushes. A little research revealed to me that grape leaves confirmed what I already knew, which is that they can be used in savory dishes (dolmades, anyone?). However, I was looking for a recipe that would allow me to easily incorporate the leaves into something else that I would consume regularly. After perusing some videos on YouTube, I found recipes for smoothies that included grape leaves (yay!)

Under one of the videos I viewed, I saw a recommendation for a video posted by the YouTube channel Performing Healing. I was drawn in by the picture used for the recommendation: a sepia-hued woman with sunkissed freeform locs and wide doe eyes looked back at my earnestly. Curious, I checked out her channel, and quickly found myself bingeing on her content. The woman behind this channel, Dr. Tumi Johnson, is a medical doctor that has transitioned out of a conventional medical career into a holistic healing practice that incorporates nutrition, lifestyle management, and creative arts to support overall wellness.

Enter Dr. Tumi’s book, Delicious Healing. I bought the Kindle version of this book so that I could do a deeper dive into Dr. Tumi’s philosophy and approach to wellness. I was not disappointed. The book is brief but packed with pertinent information to help readers craft their own paths to optimum health. As the title suggests, the basis of the program is using food (specifically, a raw vegan diet) to properly nourish the body, while integrating other holistic health practices (such as joyful movement, adequate and restorative rest, creative expression, and meditation, among other things) into a wellness plan that truly heals the reader on multiple levels.

Dr. Tumi’s relays her own experience of poor dieting, a unimaginably stressful career, and a brush with death itself, to assure readers that she has walked her own path to true healing. Her current lifestyle – living in her off-the-grid dream home with her adoring husband and precious little boy – is a testimony to the kind of goodness that can unfold when we do the work of healing ourselves and prioritizing our values. Her journey to happiness started with working through her own poor health and aligning her life with her values and knowledge as a medical professional.

I think what really impressed me most about this book is that the information is “common sense” that most of us fail to implement consistently, written in a way that invites readers onto a healing journey, rather than lecturing them on what they need to change about their lives. Dr. Tumi’s tone is exactly the kind of energy I look for when talking to my own healthcare team. She doesn’t scold: she gently invites and offers unwavering encouragement. I loved how she discusses how poetry supported her healing, and it inspired me to reconnect with the creative arts that feel nourishing to me.

In short, I highly recommend this book! It’s a great reference for anyone that wants to know exactly how to determine the most crucial pillars to improved health, as well as a guideline for how to integrate these pillars more fully into their lives. You can check out Delicious Healing here. Also, you can learn more about Dr. Tumi on her YouTube channel or on her website (DrTumiJohnson.com). Here is one of my favorite videos that she’s shared.

I hope you all have enjoyed this post! If you decide to check out Dr. Tumi’s channel or book, please let me know!

***This post has affiliate links.

health

Fibro Fridays – The Latest on My Health Journey

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! I hope you all have had a great, pain-free week. And, if you experienced any pain at all, I hope you were able to get relief quickly.

I’m taking another (mini) break from reviewing the various fibromyalgia protocols (the last one I reviewed was Dr. Wylde’s protocol) to talk about a different fibro topic; namely, I’ll be discussing what’s been happening with me and my health journey.

For starters, I’ve been feeling pretty good overall. I tend to experience a lot less pain during the warmer months, and that’s due to the temperature (I am more uncomfortable in cooler temps), the increased vitamin D (since I spend a lot more time in the sunshine), or some combination of the two. I’ve been taking advantage of those low-pain days and getting as much done as I can.

I have also been making changes to my diet and medication. I’m incorporating a lot more raw fruits and vegetables into my meals, usually opting for whole fruits for breakfast as opposed to eating a lot of grain or processed foods, salads for lunch, and protein and veggies for dinner. I have been tapering my medication in the hopes that I’ll be able to eventually fully transition off of them. So far, so good: I haven’t had any major pain or flares since I started the tapering process.

Another thing that has been helping with my health is doing yoga more frequently. I do it for the fitness aspect but one of the bonuses of yoga is being mindful of my breathing. I often forget to take deeper breaths, so it’s nice to have a reminder. Yoga is amazing for fibromyalgia, since it gently stretches the muscles while simultaneously encouraging the release of stress. It’s one of the most frequently recommended exercises for people dealing with fibro.

Part of the plan over the next few months involves experimenting with some plant-based eating plans, progress in my yoga practice, and find more natural pain relief options. I’ve been working on some products and supplements to help with fibro pain but it’s still early in my experimentation. Here’s hoping I’ll be able to create something amazing that I’ll be able to share with you all soon!

That’s my brief rundown of how I’ve been feeling lately, as well as where I am in my health journey. I’m looking forward to hearing from you all in the comments. Take care, and have a great weekend!

food · health

Fibro Friday – The Berry Protocol

Happy Friday! We made it through another week, and boy, what a week it’s been! I entertained a few of my younger relatives for four days, and those little ones WORE ME OUT! I loved having them around, so, despite being exhausted, I will certainly have them visit again very soon!

Anyhoo, today is Fibro Friday, so we’ll be discussing another protocol that may offer some fibromyalgia relief. Today’s post looks at the protocol promoted by Dr. Ken Berry. I first mentioned Dr. Berry a few weeks ago, in the Fibro Friday post discussing some of the latest fibromyalgia research. I’ve been following Dr. Berry for a few years now, and I enjoy his practical wisdom about healthcare and living optimal lifestyles. Dr. Berry has been practicing medicine for over 20 years, and he encourages his audience to adjust their diets and daily habits in order to reduce or eliminate symptoms from chronic illnesses.

Dr. Berry has multiple videos addressing his approach when it comes to fibromyalgia treatment. He recommends a ketogenic diet, as well as going through the steps of determining whether you actually have fibromyalgia (requesting specific lab work to ensure that you haven’t been misdiagnosed). Here is Dr. Berry’s protocol, explained by the doctor himself:

Some of the key takeaways for me were:

  • Focus on rebuilding health cells and healthy myelin sheaths
  • Remove as much processed carbohydrates from the diet as possible
  • Pay attention to “sneaky” carbohydrates that spike blood sugar, such as honey, agave nectar, tubers and other starchy vegetables
  • Eat lots of healthy fatty options, like high-quality meats and seafood
  • Determine if you have other underlying issues, such as hypothyroidism or depression, that may have symptoms that can be confused with fibromyalgia
  • Check both your A1c and C-Peptide levels, to determine if you are experiencing symptoms related to elevated levels

Dr. Berry’s recommendations are worth a try, especially if you are curious about reducing your fibromyalgia pain without relying upon prescription medication. I appreciate the fact that Dr. Berry doesn’t promise a “cure”, but he advises his viewers that starting with his recommendations may provide significant relief for fibro symptoms.

Have you heard of Dr. Berry before? Have tried any of the tips that he outlines in his video? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

Have a fantastic weekend, friends! I’ll talk to you all soon.

fitness · goals · health

Using Law of Attraction for Weight Loss

I was on the fence about discussing this, because I CRINGE whenever someone posts “shortcuts” for weight loss, career success, etc., and, upon reading their advice or listening to their testimony, I find that they don’t actually tell the FULL details of how they accomplished their goal. I also didn’t want it to sound like law of attraction (LOA) is a magic wand that can be waved over our difficulties and *POOF!* the challenges disappear. Don’t get me wrong: LOA can be magical, and yes, sometimes it takes no more than thinking about a particular thing to make it happen. But, this is not always the case.

Sometimes, action is required for law of attraction to work. But for today’s story, the actual “action” was minimal, so I’ll give you the step-by-step story of how I manifested 11 lbs of weight loss in 6 days, with no diet or exercise required. Yes, it’s true: I lost ELEVEN POUNDS using just my mind. Not one moment was spent counting calories or sweating at a gym (or on my personal treadmill!) to make it happen.

This all started with a doctor’s visit. This particular visit was on a Monday. When the nurse weighed me, I was a solid 25 lbs heavier than my goal weight. I’d tried the cabbage soup diet the week before, and, while that helped to flatten my tummy, I didn’t progress beyond day two, because I started experiencing terrible headaches (hence my reason for going to the doctor). Since the beginning of the year, instead of losing 15 pounds (per my 2021 goals list), I’d GAINED an extra 10.

This was discouraging, but I thought, hey, maybe it had something to do with my clothes. I came home, removed my clothing, and found that my home scale only went down two pounds. When the truth stares you in the face, it’s impossible to deny it TWICE. I accepted the weight and vowed to change it without harsh diets or rigorous exercise.

Intuition led me to try using the 55 X 5 method to kick off my weight loss journey. I’d advise anyone else to listen to what their intuition tells them, as it’s often the most reliable internal guidance system that any of us has available at any given time. Intuition doesn’t scream at us, nor is it usually drastic: it’s often a gentle nudge that feels like, “Hmm, why not?” or, “Ooh, that sounds like fun”. In my case, my intuition felt strongly like the former. 55 X 5 felt like an easy way to get my mind on board with weight loss.

If you’ve never tried the 55 X 5 method, I’ll give you a brief explanation of what it is. Simply put, you figure out what you want to experience or create (for me, weight loss) and craft a short, simple phrase that captures what you desire. It helps if the phrase includes gratitude. For me, I came up with, “I’m thankful that I weigh X pounds”. The phrase should be in the present tense, as if you’re experiencing your desire reality RIGHT NOW. Then, you write the phrase 55 times a day, every day for 5 days in the notebook or journal of your choice. At the end of the 5 days, you should have what you want, or see positive traction in the direction of what you desire. (If you want a more detailed explanation, I advise you to look it up on YouTube or check out articles online about it.)

I wrote “I’m thankful that I weigh X pounds” 55 times a day, every day, for 5 days. The weight that I put in my notebook was 15 lbs less than what I saw on my doctor’s scale, but I didn’t care about whether I would drop 15 lbs in 5 days: I just wanted to see SOME results. On day 6, I released my attachment to the outcome. My body didn’t look any different, but I felt better about my weight because I knew my mindset was changing to that of someone that was 15 lbs lighter. On day 7 (exactly one week after my doctor’s appointment), I weighed myself. And I was 11 lbs lighter!

I basked in my success for a few days, then I started reflecting on what else I did, other than writing in my notebook. I think it’s probably easier to say what I didn’t do, as opposed to what I did do. Here’s what I DID NOT do:

  • I didn’t count calories. I ate what wanted without guilt, though I will admit that I was a bit more mindful (I chewed a bit slower and savored the flavors more, so I wouldn’t stuff myself unnecessarily).
  • I did not do any structured exercise AT ALL. I did start keeping a quick count of my steps throughout the day, but my physical activity was at pretty much the same level.
  • I didn’t change my medication or supplement routine. In fact, while I had temporarily stopped my medicine during my cabbage soup “fling” (I was off of my medication and supplements for 3 or 4 days) I decided to get back onto my regimen a day before the doctor weighed me, and I’ve been consistently on them since then.
  • I did not shame my body. I sent my body lots of love and appreciation, and took a little more time to treat myself well (moisturizing my skin thoroughly after bathing, consistently doing my nighttime skin routine, etc.,.).

Now here’s the short list of what I DID do (outside of the things mentioned above):

  • I reminded myself that I am a person that weighs the amount I put in my notebook. I kept that in my mind, and tried to make decisions from that mindset.
  • I recalled Anne Barone’s advice, where she mentioned that any unwanted weight gain could usually be connected to an increase in clutter. I started throwing away some things that didn’t serve me anymore.
  • I started paying closer attention to the signals that my body was sending me. If a certain area felt stiff, I’d stretch until I got some relief. If I felt thirsty, I’d drink water until I felt truly hydrated, without obsessing about whether I was drinking too much or not enough. If I felt hungry, I stopped to pay attention to what my body was actually craving: fruit, vegetable, protein, or carbs, and yes, sometimes sweets or junk food. And, I’d give my body EXACTLY what it wanted, without guilt, but only to the point of satisfaction. Anything more would be me behaving as someone that weighs more than my target weight.
  • I slept without guilt, including, enjoying multiple midday naps. A well-rested body can release excess weight much better than an exhausted, sleep-deprived one.

At the end of this experiment, I think it’s safe to say that the most influential factor in the weight loss was the mindset shift. Writing my desired outcome 55 times in a row was a great way to program my mind toward being a healthier weight. The more than I insisted that I was 15 lbs less, the more my body conformed with that version of my reality. While I didn’t shed the full 15 lbs, I’m thrilled with the 11 lbs that I loss, and staying happy and grateful for success is another way to keep the weight off FOR GOOD.

I’ll be doing this again in the next few days, to blast through my next weight loss mental barrier. I can’t wait to tell you all how that works out for me!

I hope that you enjoyed today’s post. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

food · health

Implementing the Barone Diet

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the books that I read in the month of March. In that post, I mentioned that I read two books written by Anne Barone: Chic and Slim and Chic and Slim Encore. Naturally, the title reveals a little bit about the content: the book gives different ways to achieve slimness. But other than that, you may not be sure exactly what the books discuss.

In short, the books explain how the French lifestyle – from food to fashion to relationships – contribute to the ability to remain slim. After a particularly stressful year (most of us have been under tremendous stress this year), I noticed I’d put on a little more weight than I cared to have. So I pulled out Barone’s book and started to remind myself of the techniques I used to slim down a few years ago.

You see, back in 2015, I wanted to slim down, but I wasn’t sure how I could do it without feeling hungry or unsatisfied. I initially got a copy of Chic and Slim Encore for free on Amazon (there was a Kindle special) and, after reading it, I decided to purchase the original “Chic and Slim” ebook. So I started eating like the French and, wouldn’t you know it, I lost weight.

One of the best things about the French method of maintaining a slender physique is that it does not require deprivation. While on this eating and lifestyle plan, I am able to enjoy 4- and 5-course meals. I don’t have to exercise strenuously, and self-care is a priority. This eating plan allows me to lose weight without starving myself or sweating my life away in the gym. It’s perfect for me, because it allows my dining experiences to feel more elegant (and we all know how much I love elegant living!), as well as more intentional. My meals can’t be rushed, so I have a chance to really pace myself and avoid overeating.

So, if you’re interested in this particular diet, check out Anne Barone’s books. You won’t be disappointed!