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All things health and fitness related.

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!!

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!!

My Calming Journey to Sirsasana (with Back-bend)

As we all know (or at least hopefully), yoga is not just about the physical; it is the union of the mind, body, and spirit. It’s just as much of a meditation session as it is an exercise, so asanas (poses) like these create small mental shifts with every achievement of them. I didn’t complete this task because headstands are cool as hell, but because I knew I would overcome a mental roadblock along the journey to it.

For me, this pose represents my new-found ability to sort through troubling thoughts and unwanted emotions. The headstand itself pushed me to achieve this mental clarity and the back-bend allowed me to be flexible during the mindset change. In the past I would give into neurotic and irrational thoughts, always trying to make a solution to every problem I faced, but I realized that not every problem has a solution that’s in my control. Also that problems are only problems based on my outlook on life: I can see them as negative and wallow in my pain or see them as positive and know these struggles will help me grow; and there’s NOTHING negative about growth!

So, thanks to my practice on this asana, I have been more aware of my monkey mind and choose to not allow it to take control of my emotions. I am calm, I live presently, and my mind is tranquil.

How to Go Vegan in 3 Obvious Steps (Overnight Transition on a Low-Budget)

Vegan for Everything

For those who are ready to make the big switch, this will be a total cinch! But to those who aren’t interested, I feel that information like this would be of use anyways because you never know what words will strike a chord…

It didn’t take much for me to want to transition to veganism exactly three years ago. I was already on a basic bitch health kick and would do anything to feel better and get in shape, and the more research I did, the more I found that animal products were possibly the cause of my chronic ailments (like constipation, acne, borderline insomnia, etc.) and decided to cut back on my intake severely. Then, something inside told me to watch a slaughterhouse video to truly see where my “food” was coming from and after that, I went vegan and never looked back! Notice how I describe myself as a vegan and not “plant-based.” When one transitions to a plant-based diet, they are dropping most of the animal products they usually eat (sometimes except for honey) but don’t extend that notion to other parts of their lives; primarily for health reasons. This means they probably still wear fur or leather, do not find animal cruelty as an ethical issue, and will sparingly eat animal byproducts as a treat. Uncool.

Vegans, on the other hand, take animal abuse super fuckin seriously…and I mean that as a good thing haha. They recognize animal suffering as a social error and don’t support businesses that exploit this issue. This means not consuming animal products or its exploitatives of any kind, including food, fashion, makeup, hunting, zoos, aquariums, vivisection, breeding, and a lot more. In my biases, I recognize that I praise veganism and those who live by it, but that does not mean that I think we are superior. Although the lifestyle does alleviate health problems, animal abuse, and planetary destruction, it does not change my philosophy that all animals (and humans too, duh!) are cosmically equal.

Now that I’m done blabbing, lets get down to the nitty gritty! In order to transition to a vegan lifestyle, one would have to:

  1. Get educated.  The reason why most people don’t succeed at living vegan is because of their lack of education before tackling it. It’s too important to do your own research about this serious problem and come to your own conclusions. Of course vegan propaganda exists, where facts and statistics are exaggerated to get people to quit their sick fix; but the more research you do, the more you will notice a consistency in the numbers. Also, the easiest way to learn more about this topic would be to watch the Holy Trinity of Veg Movies: Forks Over Knives, Earthlings, and Cowspiracy; which can all be found on YouTube and/or Netflix. You can also throw in Gary Yourofsky’s “Best Speech Ever” on YouTube if you dare! These awesome films will give you in-depth looks into the health, ethical, and environmental problems that animal agriculture causes; and they’re well-written to the max, too.
  2. Give up the junk.  After thorough research, hopefully you understand the issue at-hand and decide to swap all your animal products with plant ones. This means buying meat, dairy, and egg alternatives instead of using your dollar to support a corrupt industry. But don’t fret, animal alternatives are just as tasty and affordable as the usual stuff! At a typical grocery store, boneless chicken breasts costs about $3.27/lb while tofu is an average of $2-2.50/lb; and if you wanted to be mega healthy, dried beans are around $1.39/lb. Tofurkey sausages, Daiya cheeses, and Beyond Meat chicken strips ring in at about $4-5 max at your local supermarket, but you can also get your proteins in its whole form with beans, plain tofu, and tempeh (and they’re cheaper!). Commercial grocery stores hold inexpensive vegan and accidentally-vegan items also. This step also includes refusing to purchase anything that exploits animals, like animal-tested makeup; fur, leather, down, or silk; going to circuses or zoos; or supporting speciesism in any way. If you just so happen to have an actual leather jacket or makeup from a cruelty-supportive company laying around, it’s up to you whether or not you want to give it away since you were unaware before you bought it; but just remember that it used to be someone’s skin or that someone was harmed in the making of said product, which is freakin horrifying and sad.
  3. Walk the walk.  Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to make this an actual lifestyle! All you need to do is live the first two steps in its entirety, which sounds like an ordeal but it’s definitely not if you give a shit. It may seem like you’re “reducing” your life to constantly checking  ingredients of simple foods, bitching at meat-eaters, and being burdened by the lack of support you get in a non-vegan world, but that is completely NOT true. Think about what you’d be gaining: a clear conscience, better karma, better health, social awareness, more compassion toward your fellow human, some corporate detachment, respect toward all animals, reduced environmental impact, and, hopefully, a new cause! So don’t be a Negative Nancy and think about your sacrifices, just be happy that no one was sacrificed so that you may be comfortable; there’s no better feeling than that. Now go get your veg on!

If I’m missing anything or you need any help, don’t hesitate to holla at me! I’d be delighted to vegify you 🙂

Naked and Unafraid

Does anybody ever wonder why being naked is a crime, a sin, or a social no no?  Well I do very often, especially since our bodies are a beautiful part of ourselves that should not be shamed.  But what is it about our birthday suits that are so damn taboo?  With much obsessive thought, I’ve come to believe that it is the over-sexualization of the human body in society and the religious/conservative stigma that sex is heathenistic.

That’s probably even why clothes were invented!  There was a time where we human beings walked about in nature bare assed; dicks slangin’ and titties hangin’, but with the advent of strictly structured moral-based systems (you can call it religion), we were taught to be afraid of sex and to not provoke the wonderful act with the exposure of our genitals.  We obviously fell for the trick, so much so that we created customs and laws supporting that nonsense.  Along with this collective ideology came about the painful insecurities many people are made to feel about their physical appearances to prevent them from being comfortable with their true nature: weight, height, symmetry, hair texture, skin color, boob size, dick length, the list goes on for years.  And with the “sex sells” mentality of big businesses and their over-saturated use of size 0 dames and ripped dudes in advertising, it puts the icing on the cake of poor body-image and cultural aversion to sexual-like images.  Although Americans are relatively addicted to sexual culture, it is only so because of the taught moralistic demonization of sex which causes deprivation of healthy sexual expression and appreciation of the naked body.

It seems to be a trend nowadays to discourage women (and sometimes men) from wearing revealing clothing or from finding pride in their appearance, as if showing a little leg makes them less of a respectable being.  Of course professionalism comes into play with that argument, but just how professional and conservative do we humans have to be at all times?  Must we always wear suits and panty hose to let off the appearance of being civilized?  Absolutely not.  The women mentioned earlier might not be what we call “professional,” but at least they’re happy with the way they look and have the balls (well, maybe not haha) to show the world.  I’m not too sure many people can do that, and probably wouldn’t due to backlash; but backlash doesn’t seem as big of a deal when you’re truly content with your being.  As the youngins say, haters gonna hate!

For generations, we have learned that sex and nudity are sinful and problematic, but what’s really problematic is how far we are running away from the truth.  The truth being that there is NOTHING controversial about what we were born with; our naked bodies are beautiful and sex is magical, but we will not learn that in a society where these things are second to murder simply because of worn-out beliefs and corporate profits.  Yes, there are some people who cannot handle sex and nudity: the rapists, pedophiles, and other sexual aggressors, but those sick people have distorted views of intercourse because they link it to power.  This does not mean that nudity necessarily provokes sex, it is that sexual aggressors have no control over their sexual impulses and that is nobody’s fault but their own.  So no, women are not “asking for it” when they wear mini skirts or crop tops, they are pleased with their beauty and show it proudly.

Still not convinced that nudity and sex are our natural-born rights?  Then be mindful of how you feel the next time you stand naked in the shower or achieve that orgasm while making love and tell me that doesn’t feel blissful!  Traditions, customs, social norms, and collective ideologies cannot and should not keep you from appreciating your true nature; those tales are only there to keep you “in line” and ignorant.  So be bare as much as you can, make love responsibly, and more importantly, love the skin you’re in; it’s all you have.

No Bra? No Undies? No Problem!

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Well it probably goes without saying that I do NOT wear under-garments of ANY kind; and you know what?  I fuckin love it <3  This lifestyle was something I literally fell into, not something I wanted to emulate or necessarily advertise, but it’s worth it on so many levels…

I can remember the first day I decided to ditch the dainties cold veggie turkey and go straight commando; ahh, what a glorious day that was!  It was in late August of 2014 after my period, and something inside me was begging me to try it out.  Thank the universe for my intuition because that was one of the best decisions I have ever made haha.  That first time felt like heaven on my lady parts, especially since it was a blisteringly hot day and I wore a skirt to give my boo a little surprise 😉  My yoni felt like it could finally breathe, as if I was suffocating it with a layer of cotton that it didn’t need for years and years.  It only took that one day of genital freedom to un-undie me and the liberation I feel is beyond words.  Of course I wear the occasional bloomers for when the crimson tide rolls in, but after that, you’re not going to see any panty lines on this little booty!

Now onto the hard part: the dreaded brassiere.  Most people wouldn’t mind airing out their buns here and there, but freeing their chest?  Don’t even think about it!  There is much unnecessary stigma surrounding the use of bras; the illusion of support, the illusion of perkiness, the illusion of being attractive.  Sure they may seem helpful, but just how helpful are they?  In a somewhat recent study in France, University of Franche-Comte professor Jean-Denis Rouillon crafted a 15-year experiment on the effectiveness of bras on over 300 women between the ages of 18-35, though not accounting for breast size.  His results were that the lovely ladies who did not wear bras had a huge improvement of the development of stronger muscle tissue, thus the nipples gained a higher lift and they experienced natural support.  The beauties on the other side had an acceleration of sagging due to the restrictive material of bras preventing the supportive muscle tissue from growing.  He came to the shocking conclusion that bras do more harm than good because of its suffocative and uncomfortable qualities.  Damn dude, science don’t lie!

Not too long ago is when I realized bras just weren’t for me.  Well actually, that’s a bold-faced lie!  I ALWAYS hated bras.  See, I’ve had large breasts since the age of 9 so I don’t remember life without the use of boobie seat belts; I only thought I needed them because society told me so. Oh, how wrong.  As of late, due to my clean diet and mindfulness practices, this is the smallest I have ever been in my whole life.  I used to be borderline obese and mega top-heavy with a cup size of about 40 DDD, now I’m probably like a 32 C or something (which doesn’t matter because I’m not going to wear cups anyways haha).  Let me just say that women of all sizes and shapes can be braless, but it wasn’t until I gradually got smaller did I realize the uselessness and discomfort of bras.  Other than the illusions they let off, bras gave me the worst pain!  From sore shoulder muscles to an achey back, and even the embarrassment of having a quadra-boob (a term my dear friend created to describe an ill-fitting brassiere).  The societal pressures, the need to feel “attractive,” the need to feel “feminine,” and the possible stares and judgments seemed to be less important as I go through life day-by-day braless.  Although I have many insecurities concerning my breasts (their lack of perk, lift, and all things cutesy), I let them hang without a care in the world.  So what if I don’t have Barbie tits?  My boobs, my rules bro!  I am not breaking any laws, though it sure feels like it, and I am not hurting anybody’s feelings, so I am entitled to go au natural in any way I please.

It might be difficult to believe that there is so much comfort in being completely nude under our clothes.  Wait, what?  Is it really? Kidding haha.  My point is, we women have been pressured into wearing bras and panties for generations and don’t usually experience life without them.  You will be tickled pink to find that the positives outweigh the “negatives” for sure, and the best part is that it’s completely free to try.  Not $40 to $387,427 (I’m looking at you Victoria’s Secret!), but free.  Ladies, your personal liberation is definitely worth a shot, so I urge you to shamelessly go a week without under-garments and feel ALL the confidence restored in you.  I promise you, it’s the tits 😉