5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went Vegetarian — and Gained 15 Pounds (Healthline)

Wellness, Writing

Originally published on Healthline


Health and wellness touch everyone’s life differently. This is one person’s story.

These days, lifestyle trends are a dime a dozen. Way back at the turn of the century, though, vegetarianism was still reserved mostly for hippies, health nuts, or other “extremists.”

Those were all my favorite people, so I latched on.

All of my older, wiser, more revolutionary friends assured me that being vegetarian was “healthier.” They said I’d feel dramatic physical, mental, and spiritual benefits after making the switch to meatless living. At the time, I was 17 years old and easily convinced.

It wasn’t until I attended college that my meatless path took an unexpected turn. Faced with having to make food choices that were no longer just philosophical, but tangible, I made some grave mistakes.

So in 2001, during my junior year of high school, I announced to my parents that I was giving up on eating animals.

They laughed. Nevertheless, I persisted, rebel that I am.

And the start of my lacto-vegetarian adventure was decent. Did I gain tons of energy, develop laserlike focus, or levitate during meditation? No. My skin cleared a little, though, so I counted it as a win.

The mistake I made, which caused me to gain 15 pounds

It wasn’t until I attended college that my meatless path took an unexpected turn. Faced with having to make food choices that were no longer just philosophical, but tangible, I made some grave mistakes.

All of a sudden, refined carbs were my new staple, usually paired with dairy. At home, I ate the same meals my mother had always made, just sans the meat and heavier on the veggies.

Life at school was a different story.

Think pasta with alfredo sauce, or cereal with milk for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The packaged vegetarian foods I sometimes bought from the grocery store turned out to be just as heavily processed.

It wasn’t until my second foray into lacto-vegetarianism (about six years later) that I was able to close some of the gaps in the advice of my old meat-free friends.

I was still dedicated to a meat-free lifestyle and exercised regularly, but by the end of my first semester, I gained more than 15 pounds.

And this wasn’t your average freshman 15. It wasn’t a “filling out” of my body type. Instead, it was a noticeable bloating and tightness around my belly. The weight was accompanied by a drop in my energy level and mood — both things I was led to believe only those dastardly meat eaters had to deal with.

So I quit being vegetarian, but then I went back…

My older, wiser friends must have left out a few details about vegetarianism. This weight gain was obviously not what I had expected.

Halfway through my sophomore year, I opted out. I wasn’t experiencing any of the benefits I thought I’d feel. In fact, I often felt physically, emotionally, and mentally worse than I did before.

It wasn’t until six years later, into my second foray into lacto-vegetarianism, that I was able to close some of the gaps in the advice of my old meat-free friends.

With more information and a deeper connection with my body, I had a much better experience the second time around.

Here’s what I wish I had known before my first ride on the vegetarian bandwagon:

Read the rest on Healthline…

How to Prepare Your Sacred Space Before a Distance Reiki Session (The Body Temple)

Wellness, Writing

Originally published on The Body Temple.

Reiki has numerous benefits. From helping alleviate pain to lessening feelings of anxiety and depression, this energy healing technique offers many different forms of relief and relaxation. The Universal energy channeled during a Reiki session is used by each receiver’s body, mind, and spirit in ways that are specific to their distinct situations. Reiki is effective for so many because the energy flows where a person needs it the most.

self-care is community care (For Harriet)

Reflections, Wellness, Womanhood, Writing

Originally published on For Harriet.

You are enough. Your health, wellness, and sanity are thorough reasons for taking excellent care of yourself. You must know this. We must know this. Even with families, companies, communities – hell, countries – depending on us to always come to the rescue, Black women must resist being absorbed by our various roles and relationships. Audre Lorde said “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I’d be crunched into other people’s fantasies of me and eaten alive.” At this point, we are fighting to define ourselves. Furthermore, we are learning and crafting the tools necessary to examine ourselves – to see our own wounds, and heal them; to recognize our own worth, and honor it. This is the very basis of self-care.

So this affirmation is vital: You are enough.

Still, you are not all.

UBUNTU: Ancestral Wisdom for Healing (The Body Temple)

Spirituality, Wellness, Writing

Originally published on The Body Temple.

I’m an introvert.

I know, I know… everyone is an introvert these days. But really, I am, and I was before it was popular to say so. I’m not painfully shy, but my alone time is precious. I feel drained if I spend too much time around a crowd (or only a few people… or even one person if the connection isn’t just right) and I need lots of time to recuperate. I love humanity with my whole soul, but ask me to engage with folks in that standard-issue, smile-and-act-interested kind of way that people expect… and it’s gonna be a ‘no’ from me, dawg.

Please invite me. I probably won’t come. But I love you. ❤

Admittedly, though, even as a solid introvert, I have still always had a longing for community. It’s a paradox I am constantly cycling through, and recently, it began to make sense.

Bleed Like a Goddess (The Body Temple)

Spirituality, Womanhood, Writing

Originally published on The Body Temple.

Confession: I love my period.

Yes, you read that right. I LOVE bleeding.

I’m not trying to brag, and trust me, I realize that this is not the case for all women. (It wasn’t always the case for me, either.) Many of you might experience crazy cramps (been there), wild PMS (definitely been there), Red Sea-level flows (that was me), and so on. Physical and emotional issues with bleeding can be even more intense if you struggle with fibroids, PCOS, if you’ve been raped (#metoo), assaulted or molested, had miscarriages, abortions (sigh… yes), or were told that this natural bodily function is dirty, unhealthy (heard that one), or a punishment for sin (yep, that too).