Sunday, April 29, 2012

A day of renewal

I just walked home in the rain.

And I didn't mind at all because I was so full of joy! God did something great for me today. He gave me this sense of renewal. I ended this last week feeling completely drained--physically and mentally. I ran around all day yesterday and ended the night on a slightly awkward note--hanging out with an old group of friends for the first time in a while and realizing that they were no longer really my friends and the place that I was in was no longer my scene. It was very disconcerting. Especially since part of me felt a very strong desire to do whatever it took to fit in with that crowd again. That desire didn't win but I hated struggling with it!

I woke up this morning feeling very tired but anticipating the day ahead. I was late for church (as I normally am although it is literally a 4 minute walk from my apartment) but from the moment I got there this morning to the time that I walked home tonight, my day was fantastic. And not fantastic in a loud, "oh my God!" way. A peaceful kind of fantastic.

It began with listening to one of my pastors speak on hearing, recognizing, and listening to the voice of Jesus amidst all the other voices that vie for our attention and allegiance. The sermon was based on the following verses:

"After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” John 10:4-5

I've heard this small passage preached many, many times, and have read it myself even more times but each time honestly always feels new. My pastor really wanted to emphasize that all the other voices we hear--media, advertising, whatever is adamantly seeking our attention apart from God-- are ultimately self-serving voices whereas Jesus' voice is always directing us towards something for our own good. His ending point was that Jesus is the only one who has earned the right to be listened to and he encouraged us to continue to learn the sound of his voice. My description doesn't do it justice, but it was a great sermon that geared me up to do alot of Jesus seeking this week.

An impromptu lunch with my great church community came next. I plan to do a blog post sometime explaining more fully, but for now I just want to say that I am so blessed to be a part of Many People's Church (interesting name right?) or MPC as we fondly call it. It's a pretty small church, less than forty I'd say, and we are the very definition of a "motley crew" but that is part of our beauty as a community! God has really tied my heart to them and I am so grateful!

After lunch, I took myself to see Titanic in 3D. I love that movie and can pretty much recite the whole thing (only as it's playing though). It's such a beautiful story. I've heard so many people downplay it as simply another romance but the beauty of it surpasses Jack and Rose's story (which really is so absolutely beautiful). It is just such a great human tragedy! And it's an excellent movie in general--extremely well written with extremely epic cinematography and visual and sound effects! Even if you're not big on the romance aspect, you cannot deny the brilliance of the rest of the movie and be a sensible human being. I'm sorry, you just can't... I could talk about the Titanic for hours but I will move on. Oh, but one more thing needs to be said--Jack could not have fit on that plank with Rose. Anyone watching closely should've seen that initially when he put her on the plank and tried to get on it too, it toppled over and started to sink. Ok.

After Titanic, I moseyed on down (and by "moseyed" I mean "took the train") to Loyola's campus to attend the final Ecclesia service of the year (Ecclesia is an on campus church service that one of my MPC pastors does at Loyola). A student gave the sermon tonight and he did a great job. This one was based on the John 15 passage where Jesus speaks about being the vine that we, the branches, must remain/abide in. The student did a really good job of explaining and emphasizing the fact that branches don't strive to be nourished or to grow or to bear fruit. The branches don't have to bring the rain (in fact they can't) and they don't have to make themselves look really good and appealing to entice the gardener (God) to come and prune them so that they can bear fruit. All the work is done by God/Jesus. He feeds us and he cultivates fruits in us, all we have to do is remain. It was another message that put my heart in a great place to seek the Lord this week. When the service was done I stuck around a bit to chat with a few people, and was really blessed by those short conversations.

And then I walked home in the rain. Singing this song the entire way:

In short, today God replaced the stress of my week with the peace of a slow day. And in that day he wiped away the discomfort that came from feeling isolation from a group of people and an old way of life and replaced it with a heightened awareness of my belonging to a great new community and of the rightness of the direction my life is taking now. After a time of feeling very overwhelmed by the world and somewhat distant from him, he reminded me that his voice is the only one worth listening to and reassured me that I don't have to strive to make things happen in our relationship or to make my life the way it should be-- he is the one doing the essential work. And in light of all that, I am so ready to take on this new week!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

This week

Some soaking action: Red lentils, sunflower seeds, garbanzo beans, almonds. Why? Soaking and/or sprouting legumes, beans, and seeds breaks down their natural enzyme inhibitors making their nutrients more accesible i.e. easier for your body to digest and absorb! 6 hrs-overnight is best for most!

This week ...

felt like so much! I guess there wasn't anymore to it than usual but for some reason I was particularly aware of how much running around and rushing I do. I came home each day feeling very, very drained. I tend to regularly feel like there isn't enough time to do everything I want to do but I think the problem is that I over plan and over commit, try to do a lot in an inadequate amount of time and am often not very wise about how I use that time--the "want to do" things frequently win out over the "should do" things which sets me up for a time-strapped, stress-filled situation later on. And then alot of the time what I think are the "should do" things aren't even really the "need to do" things. I don't know how to fix this yet.

-I drafted about three non-food related blog posts but didn't have time to edit them and make them "postable."

-I got a cold. And it made me realize that it's been a while, nearly a year (maybe longer) in fact, since I've had a legit cold. I think I can attribute this recent one to the 8.5 mile run-walk I did last Saturday. Did you know that viruses are pretty much always lurking on/around/inside your body, inactive until something (like spontaneously adding 6 miles to your regular running distance) weakens your system and gives them the chance to make their move?! The cold was very short lived. I had a day and a half of a mild scratchy throat, a morning of having minimal energy and coughing up icky phlegm and then I was back to normal. I was very proud of my immune system. The  last time I remember having a sore throat and cough was in late october/ november 2010. The cough lasted for 4-5 months (into the first couple months of 2011), my body just couldn't kick it. I definitely think that my over 100% increase in veggie and fruit intake over the past months has helped my body become a better virus-fighting machine!

-I read Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life -it was a great, informative read and I will definitely own the book one day soon. I also started reading The Body Ecology Diet. It is freaking me out. I will tell you more about why later.

-I spent alot of time in the kitchen whipping up yummy gluten free fare. I absolutely LOVE cooking and preparing food but there was definitely a night this week where I started to feel the beginnings of what I  call "food burnout." On that night I was in the kitchen, looking at all the pots on the stove, the dirty dishes in the sink, the food specks on the floor, and the random ingredients on the counters and kitchen table, and I wanted to just throw down my spatula, march from the kitchen to my bedroom and get right into my bed. I held it together long enough to finish cooking though...and got up the next morning with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement over the foods I planned to prepare that day. I'm addicted.

I ate pretty well. Lots of fruits, lots of veggies, no refined sugar (except for a chocolate chip cookie), no gluten (except for that chocolate chip cookie and 2 ritz crackers). I think, however, that I have a banana problem. I ate about three of them a day. Makes me glad they're so cheap. But still, I think I might be overdoing it. Anywhoo here is some of what I made!

Stir fry!
I get a little kick out of putting my green smoothies in this glass.
"Vegan Protein Pancakes" Completely gluten free! -I got the recipe from one of my favorite blogs.
I found the recipe for this after googling "gluten free flatbread." It was better than anything I'd hoped for. Seriously. The main ingredient? Soaked grains. oh yes.
The makings of another bean-based dessert.
Say hello to the "Bean-based Blondie" I halved this recipe, ommitted the chocolate chips and used oil instead of apple sauce (b/c i didn't have apple sauce ::sniffle::). Unlike my last bean dessert this one had oats in it so I definitely liked the texture more. This one also had slightly more of a bean taste (i think maybe b/c of the lack of apple sauce) but it wasn't a problem at all, I actually preferred the flavor of the blondie to the brownie, slightly bean-like and all!
I tried a pizza recipe from the Thrive (book I mentioned earlier) diet. Not like any pizza i've had before--the crust is made from kidney beans, cooked brown rice, and spices. Overall it was different but so flavorful! Will definitely make it (or another variation) again and again!
Okay that is all, I must sleep now!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I am so pleased to announce...

I don't have bed bugs!! The pest control guy came today, inspected my bug "sample," my mattress, the rest of my room, the living room, my furniture, the kitchen etc. and found ZERO sign of bed bugs. Hooray! Welcome back peace of mind! Well..almost. This is great news but it also means that the cause of my recent skin inflammation is once again a mystery! I am back to suspecting dietary causes which is fine. I would much rather deal with a food allergy than bed bugs!!

Anywhoo here are a few random food pictures from today! I ran-walked 8.5 miles this morning in support of making clean water more accessible in Kenya! The experience was challenging but the aftermath was incredible. I was tired but it was the best tired I'd felt in years. I was peaceful, happy, and relaxed. Thank you post-exercise endorphins! I came home and slept for 6 hours (in my wonderful queen sized, bug-free bed). When I woke up the endorphins were long gone and my knees were telling me they didn't appreciate what I'd done this morning! I decided that dinner would be something quick and easily digestible so that I could let my body devote most of its energy to recovering instead of breaking down food. I made a quick run to the grocery store ( I had to get bananas!), came home and made miso soup (something I'd been planning to do for a long time) and a yummy dessert smoothie.

Miso soup ingredients: barley miso, wakame, tofu, onion
I should have sauteed the onions a little before adding them to the soup. Preparing miso soup is a quick process b/c cooking the miso at a high temperature and/or for too long destroys the enzymes that make miso worth eating. Because of the short cooking time the onions were basically still raw and therefore pretty overpowering when i ate them!
My dessert smoothie: 2 handfuls spring salad mix, 1 tbs almond butter, 3/4 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp agave nectar, 1 banana, 1 tbs cacao powder, stevia to taste. yum!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gluten-free 1,2,3!


So I've done pretty well this week with my eating. Going gluten free actually has not been that big of a challenge. When you think about it, there is no reason why wheat and wheat products have to be in every thing that we eat! Just another sign of imbalance in our food culture (definitely a future blog post!) Anyway, "Gluten free 1,2,3 !" was the name I came up with on Wednesday (yesterday) when I was thinking about what to put in this post. At that point I'd been gluten free for 3 days so it worked haha. I was not gluten free today however, because...

...Last night  I found out that gluten might not be the culprit behind my latest skin ailment. The problem might be bed bugs!! I won't get into too much detail with that story but you can't imagine the horrible nervous breakdown I experienced upon realizing that that could be the issue. My hysteria gradually worsened as I did more and more research on bed bugs and their habits. Ahh! I promptly moved to my sofa which really was not an effective move because, according to what I've read, it'll only take them 2-3 days  to "sense" my new location, make their way over to the sofa, and continue to bite me and drink my blood while I'm sleeping!!! Gah! If you ever want to be seriously disturbed, research bed bugs. Fortunately the pest control man is coming on Saturday morning so I figured if I sleep on my sofa two nights, then move back to my room for one night, I might successfully avoid them...or spread them around my condo even more. We'll see. I actually won't even know for 100% sure that I have bed bugs unitl the PC man does his inspection and takes a look at the "sample" I found. A friend of mine who had bed bugs a little while back looked at my specimen and said that it wasn't a bed bug. Welp, I'll know soon.

So with bed bugs replacing gluten on the hot seat I took the opportunity to eat a few more of the patties that I made on the weekend. Haha. I do plan to return to my gluten free ways in a couple of days though. Even if it turns out that bed bug bites were indeed the cause of my skin inflammation, I still want to see if eliminating gluten from my diet has any noticeable effects.

What I ate on days 1,2, and 3:

My goal was to have a picture of every single thing I ate and to post a detailed day by day list but I didn't/don't have the time for that. In general I had a green smoothie for breakfast. Each day I blended slightly different combinations of the following ingredients--various greens (collards, mustard, turnip), kale, or spinach, half an avocado, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1 banana,1 tbsp flax or chia seeds, 1/4 tsp kelp, homemade raw almond milk and/ or water to blend. And then at some point in the day I would have an orange, another banana, baby carrots, an apple, oatmeal w/ a tbs of chia seeds , a slice (or two) of gluten free buckwheat-oat cinnamon bread  that I baked on sunday (I got the recipe here) with some almond butter, raisins, and a grain/bean combo for dinner.
Here are some food pictures from the last few days!
I was so happy with this smoothie, the consistency/texture (smooth and creamy!) and the flavor (strawberry heavy!) were perfect! Im going through a phase where I'm really loving having a strong banana- strawberry flavor in my green smoothies!
Lunch one day: carrots and apples; a slice of "Cinnamon Coconut Raisin Bake and Oatmeal!  
Soaked black beans. This was my first time ever using organic black beans. What a difference! I've never seen such vibrant color from my regular "Goya" beans!!  
"Spicy Black Beans"- Got the recipe from a book I was reading! Ah-mazing flavor. I ate this with brown basmati rice!
Stir fry! No recipe here :)!
Okie dokes. That is all. Send prayers my way as I battle these bed bugs (that might not actually be there?) !

Monday, April 16, 2012

Now I really have to clean up my act

Because my body has officially had enough. Enough of what? I'm not 100% sure but I'm thinking of the massive amounts of sugar, wheat flour, and processed foods I've been feeding her. In March, I posted about a challenge I wanted to take on to "rebuild a healthy life foundation." A major part of that challenge  was getting on track with eating healthfully consistently. Unfortunately my approach to that wasn't successful.  I won't get into details now but the point is that although I get my green smoothies and fresh juices in most days and though I only prepare vegan meals, my diet has been a far cry from what I know it's needed to be. I have always been funny that way, managing to eat large amounts of healthy food and junk simultaneously. And now my body is rebelling hardcore. How? Well, as I type this I'm experiencing severe discomfort. Intense itching and hives everywhere! Even on my face! It's almost unbearable and I'll be lucky if I have any skin left tomorrow morning.

The itching started a little over a month ago. At first it was pretty mild and I just attributed it to dry skin caused by the winter weather. But even after I resolved to become best friends with my lotion,  the itching persisted and got worse. Some mornings I would wake up with my skin scraped raw in places and realize I'd been scratching in my sleep :/. I was beyond confused and perplexed. My skin itched horribly but there was no rash or other sign of inflammation. And then about a week and a half ago the welts showed up. In beautiful patches, all over. They've been hanging out ever since. They decided to throw  a party tonight. An absolutely crazy party all over my legs, back, arms, stomach, neck, and face.

I don't know for sure why this is happening but I did some research and my symptoms sound alot like the ones attributed to Dermatitis herpetiformis which is closely related to celiac disease i.e gluten intolerance. Even though doctors have been absolutely useless to me over the past few years (completely unable to help me with any problem I've brought to them) I'm going to make my way to one soon. In the meantime I'm throwing out the sugar and gluten and majorly reducing my salt consumption. Although I'm not sure what's wrong I've done enough food/ nutrition research over the past year to know that  that my body is fully capable of healing itself from most ailments (especially allergies) if I allow it to do so. For many reasons sugar and too much salt definitely interfere with the body's healing process so they have to go for now. I think the hardest thing will be parting ways with my huge bag of Sucanat, and my even bigger bag of white whole wheat flour! I remember being so excited about buying that flour.  For months, I've been flirting with the idea of going gluten free--I suffer from a few things I've heard and read going gluten free is supposed to help with--but I could never get myself to fully commit. Now I have all the  motivation in the world because I can't deal with this discomfort for much longer.

After a month or so, I'll reintroduce gluten to see if it really was the problem. And even if it wasn't I'd have done something great for my body because I eat to much wheat flour in general (I consumed about 2.5 cups this past weekend--in the form of various baked goods haha. It was mainly whole wheat but still...2.5 cups in 3 days! Not okay!).

So that's that. I am partly excited.

In other news, here a few pictures of food I made/ate this weekend!
Made dinner with one of my favorite gals on Friday. Kristen is generally amazing and she is one of the few people in my life who it's easy to be vegan around because she is very enthusiastic about eating completely vegan foods with me! She is vegetarian but we all know that there's a big leap to be made between vegetarianism and veganism--she willingly makes it whenever we hang out :). That night we made Pepper "Steak" (seitan) over pasta with sides of kale salad (phenom) and cornbread (the best recipe i've ever tried). I got all the recipes from a book I just finished reading called By Any Greens Necessary and they were all great!  
I own a vegetarian Jamaican cookbook and decided to try the "stuffed vegetable patties" recipe last night. The traditional filling for a Jamaican patty is beef. The filling for this one was a mixture of cooked and mashed lentils, breadcrumbs, and various seasonings/spices. This is one of my little patties pre-baking.

The first one I tried!

It was absolutely delicious and tasted so much like the real thing!! I made about 10 and ate 3. Sadly I have to put the rest in the freezer for now b/c that yummy crust is not gluten free!

 Stay tuned for updates on my gluten free exploits!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Read this! You'll love it.

Yes, this article right here!

Yesterday, after seeing one of those commercials about "feminine itch and odor," I took a moment to wonder  (I often ponder this) why society is obsessed with regulating the cleanliness and pH of women's vaginas. When was the last time you saw a commercial about penis wash or an ad telling a man to use a certain product so that he'll be fresh and clean "down there" and thus be a happier, more pleasant, and more attractive individual? I'm just saying I'm all for balance.This morning, a friend of mine shared this article on facebook.  In light of my thoughts last night, I was especially amused.The article touches on the issue of vaginal regulation ( haha, coined that term myself) and racial hierarchies. Sound's interesting right?

Read it!

It's short.
It's witty.
It's about vaginas.

I promise you will die laughing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One day...

...I will have a perfect food day.

And on that day I will not eat about 10 Back to Nature cookies or half of a 10 oz bag of Frontera tortilla chips.

I also will not spend 30 minutes making fresh veggie/fruit juice only to leave it in the fridge as I rush out the door*.

Nor will I absentmindedly blend a whole habanero pepper into the [potentially perfect] gungo peas soup** I plan on eating for dinner for the next few days:
Good thing capsaicin is good  for the stomach.

* From what I've read, fresh veggie/fruit juice is best drunk within 30 minutes b/c after that oxidation greatly reduces its nutrient value. I wasn't able to drink it until about oh, 6 hrs after I made it. womp.
**In case you're wondering how that happened, I just forgot to remove the pepper before pureeing a portion of the soup.

On a more positive note, I had a great dinner of Cauliflower "mac and cheeze." I got the recipe from my former internship supervisor and tweaked it to make it vegan:
Before adding the breadcrumbs

Right out of the oven!

The first of the three servings I had!

And a tasty smoothie for dessert:
1/4 cup blueberries, 2 handfuls of spinach, 2 tsp cacao powder, 1 banana, 1tbs almond butter, 1 date, 1 tbs chia seeds and soy milk to blend

With a cookie on top :)!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

[Wo[men]'s] Bodies

They are ever the object of media scrutiny and cultural critique. And not in any beneficial way.

If a woman is in the public eye, no matter what profession she has--politician, actress, humanitarian, singer, writer, etc.-- we are always overly concerned with her physical appearance. And if that appearance falls below standards we've set for her then her intelligence, integrity, good works and talent are all in jeopardy. Mother Teresa is the only exception I can think of to this and honestly she is an exception only because she was already an elderly nun at the time she became most reknowned (only the most non-PC jerks would publicly criticize the appearence of an elderly nun).

What's said on TV or printed in magazines, newspapers, or online gossip columns isn't the only problem of course. I am learning to be just as disturbed when this kind of judgement happens in "private" places like my heart and mind. There's this tension--the same God who created us beautifully, to desire to see beauty, and with the desire to be beautiful, is the one who says "For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7. The problem must be in our "standards" and in where we place the most emphasis.

I also want to note, and I hope this came across in the post title, that I think men are subject to the same judgement. I just don't think the issue is anywhere near as pervasive (yet)  or as problematic for them because men have the historical privilege of already being established--they haven't had to "break in" to any field or arena of life and prove they have a valuable contribution to make. The main discourse is still that men get things done and that women give them a reason for getting things being pretty. If a woman wants to accomplish something she better not forget or neglect her main purpose.

The following are links to recent articles that discuss aspects of this problem. And I have to ask, who but feminists are really pushing the dialogue about this?

Short and sweet for you Hunger Games fans.

Long and fabulous! Ashley Judd did such a tremendous job with this article. Please read it!

 My favorite quotes:

"That women are joining in the ongoing disassembling of my appearance is salient. Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it. This abnormal obsession with women’s faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times—I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women."


"In fact, it’s about boys and men, too, who are equally objectified and ridiculed, according to heteronormative definitions of masculinity that deny the full and dynamic range of their personhood. It affects each and every one of us, in multiple and nefarious ways: our self-image, how we show up in our relationships and at work, our sense of our worth, value, and potential as human beings."

I especially love this second quote for highlighting a problem that does not get enough attention. I am so against dominant standards of femininity and masculinity because they generally reflect only the ideals of those in power and either completely ignore or deny the legitimacy of the experiences of those who don't meet these ideals. God didn't make all men to be the same. God didn't make all women to be the same. Still we have that one list that we like to measure people against to decide wether or not they are satisfactorily masculine or feminine. Anywhoo, I'm drifting into another post haha...I will definitely discuss my thoughts on that particular topic, at length, later!

Really, the main purpose of this post was to  share the articles. Happy Reading!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why Feminism (part 1)

This is a simple introduction to Feminism a la Morgan.

"To be a feminist is to answer the question 'are women human?' with a 'yes.'"– Katha  Pollit

In undergrad, I wrote a wiki post titled “The Connotation of a ‘Feminist’.” In it I described what I knew of what people tended to think when they heard the word “feminist” or “feminism,” what I thought was an inclusive definition of the term, and why I thought the movement was necessary. My essay included statements like:

“Globally, women are treated as though they are less worthy than men.”

“Not only are people discouraged from identifying with feminists, but they also mentally check-out when they hear the term.”

“If all the women and men who believed that women should not be abused, taken for granted, or devalued could see the similarities between themselves and feminists, then feminists would have more credibility and thus a larger, more cooperative audience. The fight against the evils that disadvantage women globally would be much stronger.”


“When I learned…the spectrum of issues that feminists were really fighting against, I was no longer afraid to be a ‘feminist.’”  

The backlash from my classmates was incredible. I remember wondering if I was really in a Liberal Arts class or had momentarily been transported to a College Republicans meeting (not to take a swipe at republicans but the vast majority of the ones I know are not too fond of feminists). The only person who defended my ideas was my professor. Take a peek at our email correspondence following the ordeal.

On Mon Aug 04 17:44:12 EDT 2008, "SERVICE,MORGAN S" <> wrote:

Yay for cancelling the fourth wiki! And thanks for trying to get my group to see something good in my wiki post. lol. Can’t wait for tomorrow: /.


You're welcome. More importantly, don't worry too much about criticisms of your post. In fact, I applaud you for writing about a difficult, complex subject with such passion and dedication. Keep pressing this message!


Clearly, I appreciated his encouragement to have held on to this email for years. I think about it often. (And clearly I had no qualms about ignoring proper grammar and punctuation in an email to my Advanced Exposition professor. womp)

Sadly I don’t think much has changed in the perception of feminism since then. People who are outside of it still think of the movement as one of angry women who hate men but want a man’s power, and as one of women who are mainly concerned with being pro-abortion and pro- gay marriage. Sure that description fits some feminists (though I know none whom it fits fully)  but feminism is much deeper, much more intricate, and much less cohesive than that. Divides exist in  the movement and everyone has a different issue (or a different combination of issues) that most concerns them—sexuality, race, class, the environment, equal pay, violence against women, religion, reproduction, government systems, theology, law etc.

My introduction to Women’s Studies and feminism was jarring and my initial concerns were very personal. Things that had before kind-of gnawed at my subconscious were all of a sudden thrown in my face with a big “THIS IS NOT RIGHT” label. Things like women being demeaned as sexual objects through the unnecessary exposure of their bodies (and why I felt compelled to show off my body for attention), things like society’s tendency to blame rape on the victim’s lack of caution rather than on the perpetrator’s malevolent intention (and why I  was in constant fear of sexual abuse and felt the onus was solely on me to protect myself from rape), things like society’s skewed beauty standards and a woman’s worth too often being dependent on how physically appealing that same society judged her to be (and why I constantly measured myself against other women, felt most valuable when men complimented me, and felt like my hair should be straighter and my skin lighter).

I finally saw that these issues weren’t just random unfortunate circumstances but rather symptoms of a major societal illness—misogyny.  And feminism wanted to deal with it. Never before had I been in an academic setting that wanted to do that, that even talked about these problems. This awareness came at a time when I was particularly dealing with loving myself as the woman God made me. I realized that I could not do this well without fighting against the woman society said I should be. My faith led me to think about this “illness” in the light of God’s intentions and I could only come to the conclusion that he, like the feminists I was learning about, was displeased. In fact, I could not find a deep enough or more legitimate reason to object to the mistreatment of women than to know that God created women in his image and thus anything that demeaned, hurt, or lessened them could not be right.

So began the Feminism-Christian tag team— in a wonderful organization called Intervarsity Christian Fellowship I was beginning to be affirmed in the value of being a woman apart from what I had to offer a man, and in the value of being a woman whose ethnicity was part of her beauty rather than something that subtracted from it. In my women’s studies courses I was beginning to learn that people existed who wanted to address how I was negatively affected in society not just as a woman, but as a black woman—someone who because of my intersecting identities received daily messages, both blatant and subtle, that I wasn’t good enough or had to change to be acceptable.

Essentially the two combined to begin to answer questions I hadn’t even known I was asking. Was it ok for me to just be me?  Was I fine the way I was created? Did I have worth simply because I existed? Feminism said “yes!”  Christianity said “yes!” and I felt hope.

That was the beginning.

 “These may be termed Utopian dreams. Thanks to that Being who impressed them on my soul, and gave me sufficient strength of mind to dare to exert my own reason, till, becoming dependent only on Him for the support of my virtue, I view, with indignation, the mistaken notions that enslave my sex."

-Mary Wollstonecraft

I concur.

What I ate (last) Wednesday...and the day after that

Last week Wednesday I decided that I wanted to take a picture of every. single. thing. that I ate that day. I think I was successful, except I don't know what happened to dinner...

Breakfast was a simple affair- Banana and mango "fruit salad."

Pre-run snack of raisins, dairy-free chocolate chips, and cashews

Ingredients for a post-run smoothie: Almond milk, flaxseed, kale, frozen banana, frozen strawberries, frozen broccoli, dates
Ready to blend! Oh and don't knock putting frozen broccoli in your smoothie! You won't taste it!
The end result wasn't creamy enough so I added half an avocado.
Perfection! I love when my smoothies are really bright green instead of slightly brown and sludgy looking!

Lunch: Sunday's quinoa salad on a bed of green leaf lettuce, topped with half an avocado and kalmata olives (i recently discovered that i LOVE olives!)
Babysitting snack :/. I ate the whole bag. 3 ounces of processed, salty tastiness. 3 servings of instant regr(atification)et.
I did three things the following day that really excited me:
1. I finally made this oat bar recipe that I'd been wanting to try for weeks:
Paha, i took a bite before i took the picture. It was good but had nothing on my fave oat bar recipe!
2. Made soup for the first time without using a recipe! I was inspired by my little sister who makes amazing soups from scratch:
Ingredients: water, onions, olive oil, carrots, navy beans, collard greens, dumplings made from whole wheat and teff flours, and whatever spices i felt like dumping in there! It was soo good :)
3. Made my kitchen look like this:
Spotless :).
Oh and I also made this super simple green smoothie :
Collard greens, kale, banana, frozen pineapple, flaxseed, water
It was super bland so I added an orange. After that it was wonderful :).
The end.