Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: Eating WhiteĀ 

I will never forget the time I was working at a local high school as a school social worker. Sometimes the students would come up to my office and chill during lunch time. I’d usually take a break and eat with them. I don’t even recall what I was eating this particular day, but there was a lot of greens/veggies-no rice or French fries in this particular lunch meal. One of my students took it upon herself to ask “Ms., why you keep eating white people food?” My brain stalled on that one and years later I’m not even quite sure what to say to the countless curious Black folks who ask the very same question in different ways when they see me eating kale, quinoa, bulgur wheat, chicken that isn’t fried or whatever they just can’t readily identify on my plate. 

This whole notion that eating healthy is a white people thing or a “bourghie behavior” actually leaves some people *insert health conscious Black folks* feeling some type of way. That if salmon trumps ribs as your choice on a menu you’re just being extra. That eating healthy is other people’s habits and people of African descent only acquire this taste in food once they earn a couple of degrees and take flight to other parts of town. 

I’m Haitian. So I’m quick to remind folks, our ancestors ate and Haitians are today still do find their sustenance from the land. Our juices are made fresh. Our vegetables are a melange of eggplant, chayote (that’s militon for my Zoes), carrots, scallions, onions, garlic, parsley, bell peppers–all to create the legume meal that I love so much. I don’t need meat in mine. Some crab maybe. Some lambi (conch) maybe. With some white rice. And “sauce poi blanc”. Mezami, my tastebuds just took a detour! 

I remember being raised in a home where neither pork nor any shellfish was permitted in my diet. Part of that was my mom’s personal Levitical biases and part of that was that she knew better so she did better with our meals. Olive oil was a staple. Except for the time we lived with another family and overdosed on hotdogs and bologna, she preferred sliced meats from the deli that didn’t have all that salt added. Oh! Did I mention my mom wasn’t white and that we didn’t live in some uppity neighborhood? So it irks me to no end when people make broad stroke comments about diets being white or black. Granted I do maintain that Haitian food is THE best food in the world-and since this is my blog I’m only stating facts. Lol! Digressing again. 

So I got me and the hubster back on a juicing plan. I dragged out my Breville juicer and it is holding court right next to my smoothie machine on the kitchen counter. One bottle per day. Nothing major. He’s 45. I’m 42. Our bodies demand extra attention and what better way to do so than to make a concerted effort to get some extra veggies in our system the raw way. So we got celery, carrots, ginger, apples, lime, strawberries, kale all up in this latest batch. The celery gives it this refreshing taste. The ginger spikes it up a notch. The carrots and apple balances it off with some sweetness. And the lime, believe it or not, brings it all home flavor wise. 

There are some of us who didn’t grow up with the best cooks or best diets in our lives. And if you’re like me, living on my own in college caused all types of rules to be broken. I went from eating no pork to eating the Friday night griot. Every Friday. Of every week. These days I probably eat it once per quarter (yes I mind my junk food intake in terms of quarters) cause it takes about that long to leave your system anyway! 

Circumstances may not have allowed for healthy balanced meals. We all joke about the red juice that causes ADHD to go undiagnosed in many households. Food deserts is a reality. For me to get a juice on the go, I would now have to leave my predominately urban community and head either east towards the beach or west towards the Everglades. It takes effort to do right by your temple. It takes money and time. The first time I got back juicing I promise you I burned 1500 calories between the setting up, breaking down, washing and then mopping my sticky kitchen floor. Then you think of the time and energy you take to do some random activity and you realize the return on the investment really does beat out the annoyance. 

I have had non-Black colleagues quickly hide their amazement when I ask about the nearest vegan option or plant based option eateries. Once they get over the shock that I’m not asking for the nearest bbq joint (and no offense to them cause I can gets down with some ribs too), they are more than happy to share in the love of healthy foods. 

So next time someone makes some off color comment about your coconut black rice, adashah, kale, toasted coconuts and avocado lunch (and it’s usually some poor, misguided brotha or sistah) don’t give them the side eye. Take the time to let them know what’s on your plate and point out the health benefits of your meal. They may roll their eyes and go about their high cholesterol, diabetic living or they may dwell on your comments and who knows? You may have gained a convert to eating healthy–not White. 

Our ancestors would be honored to know that you too are eating off the land and honoring the food traditions that transcend race and yes even color lines. I’m Black. Been eating Black since 1975. Whatever that is. šŸ™„šŸ˜‚


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Sistah Take A Seat

Sistah Take A Seat: Declutter Your LifeĀ 

I spent an entire day doing laundry, trashing old CDs and just getting into all sorts of fits each time I saw a corner of my house that had clutter piling up. Piles of books. Piles of junk mail. Piles of shoes. Ugh…

We usually assign Spring as the time to place back all the winter gear, go through our checklist of what to update around the house and tidy up our living spaces. We take inventory of what we have and promise we the retail gods they will never see us in a mall or on Amazon ever again! Yeah right. 

How many of us actually take the time to do the same with our lives? I mean if I’m going to try and get my house in order, may as well take some time to inventory my life and see what’s worth keeping or getting rid of. Right?

 *inserts sense of discomfort*

Take An Emotional Inventory                            

I’m entering a personally emotional season in my life. And I know every Spring my feelings are a bit raw this time of year.  Two weeks from Mothers Day means a loss of my mother. Since I know it’s coming up, I get myself mentally prepared for it. It’s usually a time when I will be around a lot of folks (weddings, graduations, etc.) so I know that I have to spend some time beforehand taking care of me. Journaling. Lunch with friends who have been down this road. Whatever it will take to make me be okay. That’s what you have to do. Take an emotional temperature of where you are with things. Marriage. Dating. Grief and loss. Children. Life. It happens. What should also happen is you making sure you’re okay. If that means therapy-go. If that means calling a mentor on one of your long commutes to work-call. If it means visiting a house of worship where nobody knows your name-visit. If it means praying without ceasing-pray. If it means camping with some friends-do it. Go. Do. Be. Take care of yourself. 

Take A Physical Inventory                       

That darn right ankle of mine really set me back some with my working out. But I had to reflect on how much of it was my ankle and how much of it was me just not making the time to workout. Yeah, work had exponentially picked up but I’m sure if I dug through all the hours I found to binge on some random TV series, I would certainly find the time to make it to the 24 hour gym that was five minutes away from my house. Guilty.  I read somewhere that physical beauty is a given in youth but not in the aging. It takes work to keep some thangs wrapped up tighter in your 40s! And I’m not talking about buying one of those body armor things that leave you breathless and about to faint either. Werk! If you can take the time to slay your face, your hair, your nails. Take the time to slay the very thing that houses it all. 

Take A Soul Inventory                                

French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin surmised it best, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” I believe my soul is eternal and that what happens here is just the beginning of my eternal existence. I believe God’s plan for my life didn’t start on the day I was born but well before the two human beings who procreated me even had a clue. I believe that my actions on earth have a ripple effect for eternity. So in that belief I’m ever humbled by the sacrifice made by Christ on my behalf. He died so that I may live. Live eternally with Him that is. It makes me take stock of my life not in the way of checking to see how much money is in the bank or how many likes I get on an Instagram post. But rather what kind of impact is going to earn me the “Well done, good and faithful servant.” When I get frustrated with humanity, I have to believe I MUST believe there is more to life than this. 

As much as I want to grab huge garbage bags and just dump everything in there and haul it out my house and start fresh, even I know that won’t solve the issue of clutter and disorganization.  It’s not the stuff that’s the issue, it’s the whys and the hows behind the stuff that I need to sit and deliberate over.  Just like our lives. It’s the sitting with it, the embracing it, the digging deeper that will yield a “spring cleaned” mind, body and soul.