Earthy Herbal Tea Recipe for Gnarly Allergies

Yup, it’s allergy season, and for some it means misery and sneezing fits. Unfortunately, I’m a part of that group and it sucks to the 150th degree, but in my luck/creativity I’ve concocted a tea that erases the irritating symptoms that Spring brings! With these five herbs (which I purchased from The Crystal Fox in Laurel, MD) I went from scratching my eyes to feelin’ fine in 30 mins flat, but get what you can or make substitutions to your liking. Now onto the tea!

What You’ll Need: 

  • Nettle leaves
  • Raspberry Leaf
  • Chamomile
  • Turmeric
  • Lavender buds (optional)
  • Teapot or mug
  • Strainer

 

Instructions: 

Add 1-2 tbsps of each herb to your strainer and steep in boiling hot water for up to 5 mins. Stir in a bit of sugar if drinking straight up herbs ain’t yo thang.

 

Have a less sneezy Spring!!

Are Mainstream Self-Care Tactics One-Size Fits All?

 

When I think about self-care nowadays, I always picture a blonde yoga teacher who swears that the spiritual practice is the only pathway to true happiness. Well, I have been practicing yoga, meditation, and other self-help type thangs for most of my adult life, and I can definitely say that they induce feelings of joy and calm unlike no other. Whenever I feel purposeless and constantly uneasy, it’s nice to know that a little quiet time devoted to being present will shake off some of those nerves; and I emphasize “some” for a reason…

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve experienced depressive moods and bursts of anxiety that I just wrote off for being an awkward kid. You can imagine how hard being a teen was: always hating myself for feeling out of place (mostly because of my skin color and hair texture) while silently worrying that bad things will happen to me. Now that I’m an adult I have no choice but to acknowledge my mental health concerns, especially since I have personal goals that require my full attention.

When I first started doing yoga at 15, it was more for the exercise than the spiritual aspect; but once I practiced yoga as a whole after I went vegan, it felt like a new world had opened up to me. I followed the lifestyle to the best of my ability and even then did something feel off. I’d get so pissed at myself for slipping up and not being conscious with my actions, having weak core strength, or having my mind wander too much during meditation, and I wasn’t focusing on why I felt like I had to be hard on myself all of the time.

Never will I blame yoga or other similar activities, but they are not the cure for ailing mental health. They are great for relaxation and developing positive self-talk but it is not helpful to believe that meditation will automatically resolve severe anxiety just because it sounds cute. Not everyone is able to sit still or complete a yoga pose or even have their mind stop racing, so most typical self-care practices we see today totally leave those folks out. Why are those with mental health issues often left out of the conversation?

I wish to highlight that breathing exercises, regular movement, and positive self-talk/image are all very important ingredients to a better mood, but there are people who truly don’t have control over how they think or feel and should be included in the discussion about self-care. People should be encouraged to do what’s right for them rather than follow a super specific template of finding happiness.

I’ll always have my yoga and meditation routine down, but you can bet your ass I’ll never deny my deeper issues ever again. Sure, my fluctuating depression and anxiety might not go away but it’s the price I pay for experiencing life and I wouldn’t change myself for the world.

For those who are seriously struggling with their mental health, I encourage you to talk to a professional if possible or maybe even visit http://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/self-care if it works for you.

Chunky Chana Masala

 

I’m sure most people would agree that Indian food fucking rocks! I, for one, can’t live without it, so I had to make one of my favorite dishes from the tasty cuisine to satisfy my craving at home.

Chana masala, consisting of chickpeas and a blend of mouth-watering spices, is pretty easy to make with a lot of room for creativity. In this case, I added potatoes to the mix because why not? You can almost never go wrong with potatoes!

Now that you get the idea, let’s get started already!

What you’ll need: 

  • Non-stick skillet
  • Sauce pan
  • Rice cooker or boiling pot
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 potatoes of your choosing
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • Salt/oil-free (if possible) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of white basmati rice
  • Curry powder
  • Garam masala
  • Garlic & onion powder
  • Salt & black pepper
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat non-stick skillet on med-high heat. Chop potatoes into desired size and toss into skillet. Add a cap-full of olive oil with basic seasonings (garlic, onion, and pepper) and let the taters steam for about 20-25 mins.
  2. Boil rice using the 2:1 (cups of water to rice) ratio. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  3. Once the potatoes are close to being fork-tender, preheat sauce pan on high and toss in chickpeas. Use a cap-full of oil with basic seasonings and stir until slightly browned. Pour in tomato sauce and add in all the spices to taste.
  4. Stir the chickpeas and sauce and let them simmer on low until the potatoes are soft. Then, pour the sauce mixture into the skillet with the potatoes and stir until the potatoes are evenly covered.
  5. Add any finishing touches and plate this beautiful meal!

Have fun with this and enjoy!!

Why “Get Out” Was So Damn Real

If you haven’t heard already, the all-too-realistic horror flick Get Out premiered this past weekend and made some serious impact…

Jordan Peele, of the comedy duo Key & Peele, made his film and directorial debut about a black man named Chris visiting his white girlfriend Rose’s parents for the weekend at their remote, seemingly cozy home. Despite Chris’ discomfort with the goings-on at the family’s estate, he stays to be polite and internalizes the microaggressive comments expressed by Rose’s folks and their friends. When Chris gets fed up with the funny business, he attempts to leave the creepy home but is met with violent resistance from the whole family.

What made this film so on point were the constant unassuming metaphors in every scene. I won’t name all of them for the sake of not spoiling this must-see, but my favorite example was the concept of the “sunken place”: where Rose’s psychiatrist mother hypnotizes Chris against his wishes, which leaves his body paralyzed but his conscious mind awake. This, to me, represents black people’s physical inability to do anything about our oppression although we are somewhat conscious of what’s going on.

Another one was the family’s collective act of luring in successful black men, grooming them, brainwashing them, and then, ultimately, becoming them (through a process I’d rather have you find out in theaters, sorry not sorry!). The abducted black people then went on to become servants and soul-less, hollow shells. If this analogy isn’t already clear, it is totally an allusion to modern and historical slavery. We were taken, forced to work, pressured to assimilate, made to believe lies, and we lose a bit of ourselves every time we deny this still exists. And also, this was completely in reference to how white people possibly want to be us; whether it is for our physical and mental strength, natural beauty, or innate talents.

Okay, I wasn’t going to mention another metaphor, but this one is definitely the best! At the end of the movie, after all the shit that’s happened to Chris, the person who saved him was his best friend Rod. Rod totally looked out for Chris the whole time and knew some weird shit was going on at Rose’s childhood home, and he truly stopped at nothing to make sure his friend was still alive. I think this shows that we black people have to have each other’s backs, and the only people who will save us are ourselves.

I’ll admit it, I’ve seen this movie three times since its launch and every time was a different outlook, but the third viewing was the hardest. It feels satisfying to see a movie you wholly relate to but it’s depressing because it pretty much sums up the black experience. We are constantly being told through messages in media that we’re “other” or “sub-human” and once we confront that, we’re gaslighted into believing that we’re exaggerating or that we should get over ourselves. Please, spare me that bullshit.

Hell, sometimes I even believe the emotional abuse that white supremacy has plagued me, because it’s easier to think that white people have your best interests in mind rather than be suspicious of every one of them. After a while, you want to stay silent about your own oppression so that the oppressors won’t belittle you anymore than they already do, but fuck that. Though many black people are vocal about their negative experiences in the U.S., this movie definitely touched on topics we must all discuss.

There was a happy-ish ending though because Chris was able to escape with his buddy, but where’s our escape? How do we release ourselves from this demon called white supremacy? I’m sure there’s no right answer to that, but I wish it was that easy to get out.

What are your thoughts about the movie? Lay it on me!