Tag Archives: Health

Homemade Laundry Detergent (All Natural and Easy)

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After a conversation during dinner last week, I discovered that you could make your own laundry detergent.  I immediately decided that this would be my project for this week. Aside from the fact that homemade laundry detergent is better for you, I needed more laundry detergent and didn’t want to spend 8 dollars on something that’s not gonna last that long.  

I took the recipe from WellnessMama.com because it was simple and only contains 3 ingredients:

8 cups of Washing Soda/Baking Soda (one 55 oz box; about $3 per box)

8 cups of Borax (one 75 oz box; about $4.50 per box)

2 bars of soap, about 4 cups grated (Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap, Burt’s Bees, or Ivory; about $4 each)

                     = 1 gallon powdered laundry detergent

All of these things were fairly simple to find.  I chose to use baking soda instead of washing soda because I wanted to use the baking soda for other things around the house.  I picked lavender castille soap because I love how lavender smells. The whole process took about 15 minutes to grate and mix. Grating the bars of soap is actually kinda fun and a good stress reliever.  Combine everything in a large bowl and mix to ensure even distribution.

 

 

RESULTS:

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I used 1/4 cup of detergent per load, as recommended by the recipe. I was a little skeptical about using powdered soap ( I’ve been using liquid soap for as long as I can remember), but it cleaned everything pretty well. If you’re one of those people who feel like your laundry isn’t clean unless it smells like roses, then you may need to think of a different option.  All of our smelly workout clothes smelled fresh after washing, but didn’t smell overwhelmingly like lavender.  In fact, it smelled very, very, very faintly like lavender, but everything was cleaned so I didn’t mind.  Overall, it was a success, no chalky residue or sticky feeling on the clothes.  I’m so excited about what other natural things I’ll make in the future. I’ll keep you updated….

 

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Facebook fasting for discernment…yeah, you read that right!

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My daily schedule consists of waking up, looking at Facebook, listening to Our Daily Bread devotional, showering, eating, getting dressed for work and then going to work.  While I’m at work I’ll check Facebook again, just in case I’ve missed something important in the world.  Facebook is THE premier news source, you know.  After work, I’ll eat, spend time with my husband, and unwind by watching a movie, reading OR looking at Facebook.  Do you notice a pattern here?  I look at Facebook more than I’m reading The Word.

This is a problem not just for my spiritual health, but for my mental health. The more I’m focused on what’s important in the world, I lose focus on what’s important to God.  Everybody is celebrated on Facebook. If we are feeling good about ourselves and are proud of what we do we want the world to know.  Only the good is plastered on Facebook and we rarely hear about anyone’s failures.

My priorities tend to line up with worldly achievements and I forget that God has a specific calling on my life.  I tend to question what it is that I’m supposed to do.  My job doesn’t appear to be making as much of a mark as other people seem to be doing.  Am I supposed to take the GRE and go to grad school in order to do great things? There are so many of my friends that seem to have already reached their full potential. When will my time come, Lord? I immediately blame myself for not being motivated enough, I become envious and covet other people’s success, and I rethink all the things that I could have done differently in order to be where they are.  This lowers my self-esteem and I get caught in this circle of hating myself for not being motivated or “active” enough, convincing myself that I’ll never be cut out for “greatness” because of my lack of motivation, and feeling stuck because I still desire to use my talents to do good things.  This is toxic and is delaying all the progress that I could be making on discerning my  purpose in life.  Therefore, I have decided to take a Lenten fast from Facebook in order to seek God’s face and further discern my purpose in life.

I came across this scripture while reading some faith blogs for inspiration.

“Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load” Galatians 6:4-5 NIV

I also found another translation (The Message) for the same passage, and  the purpose of this fast became even clearer.

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others.  Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” Galatians 6:4-5 The Message

This Lent, I’m purposefully removing myself from Facebook world where everyone does everything right.  I will focus on God’s Word, develop my talents for writing and healing, and discern how I should use my talents.  Writing is a conversation that I have with myself after reading or life experiences incur a scavenger hunt of my soul.  I’m able to discover many things about myself, others, and our relationship with God. I will make a “careful exploration” of who I am and whose I am and “sink” myself into that.  I will do my best not to compare myself with others.  And I will take responsibility “for doing the creative best” I can with my own life.  How satisfying will that be?!

Real People Eat Real Food: Black Bean Burgers

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I’m starting a new series that showcases a bunch of recipes that I’ve tried.  I’ll try my best to incorporate non-processed foods in the recipes, with a few exceptions. My point is that, as Americans, we have become accustomed to eating processed food and encouraging gluttony on our plates. Incorporating real foods into your diet helps to ensure that we get all the right nutrients and not starve our bodies of things that are necessary for healthy functioning bodies and immune systems. I also want to show that you don’t have to eat like a bird in order to eat healthy or lose weight. Moderation is key, but filling up on good nutrients will lead to better health.

My first recipe is Bri’s Black Bean Burgers ( how ’bout that for alliteration?!). I found this recipe online, but made a few alterations (some by accident).

Items needed:

2 large eggs

1 cup bread crumbs

2 15 ounce cans of black beans (drained after opening)

1 large red onion (chopped)

1 green bell pepper (chopped)

1 tablespoon chipotle chile pepper

A hand full of mushrooms

3 cloves of garlic (chopped)

 

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375

1. In a large bowl, mash both cans of black beans until thick and pasty. 

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2. Place the onions, garlic, green bell pepper, and mushroom into a blender or food processor (Food processor is probably better. We used a blender because that’s all we had). This mixture should smell like guacamole when blended. 

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3. In a smaller bowl mix the two eggs and chipotle chile pepper.

4. Place the blender mixture in the bowl with the beans. Mix together. Now pour and mix in the egg mixture and bread crumbs in the bean mixture. Now you should have an “everything mixture”.

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5. Form patties with the everything mixture and place on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake on one side for 11 minutes and then flip over the patties for another 11 minutes.  

But is it tasty?

Don’t expect them to taste like burgers, because it is not made out of meat. While cooking, it smelled so much like a Korean restaurant, and the kick of the chipotle chili pepper powder reminded me of the kick in kimchi. This kick was unexpected because the original recipe called for just chili pepper powder, not CHIPOTLE chili pepper powder. However, without this kick, I have a feeling these burgers would be really bland.  Overall, this was VERY tasty! My husband loved them too! Next time, I would probably add more bread crumbs to hold them together better.  

Try them and let me know what you think!

NO FAST FOOD 2014!!

2013 was a great year for healthy decisions. I made a list of goals at the end of 2012 and getting healthier was on that list.  Unlike years prior, getting healthy became a priority for me.  My husband and I moved to Maryland to live with my parents for a while in order to understand what living with lupus meant. After a brief period of seeming to get better, he relapsed and had another flare up in fall 2012.  He wasn’t able to work 40 hrs a week and go to seminary part-time like he was doing.  His fatigue and foggy consciousness made it hard for him to get out of bed and do anything at all.  Therefore, I was determined to learn how to be healthier so that he would become healthier also.  I also wanted to prepare myself for baby.  Even though we don’t plan to have a child anytime soon, I want to make sure that our child is carried and brought into a healthy environment.  

So here are a list of healthy things that I accomplished in 2013.

1. Go through a whole summer eating only seafood and fruits and veggies (no meat).

2. Try new workout routines so that I find out what works best for me.

3. Research, research research. Recognize what’s true and what’s a myth. Netflix, the internet, and trying new foods helped to determine what foods work best for me.

4. Buying food from farmer’s markets helped me to pinpoint exactly where my food comes from. It also helped to boost the local economy.

5. I created this health blog to educate me and others about a salubrious lifestyle.  This is also practice for what I hope to do for a living.

6. Lose weight. I’ve lost 18 pounds since April 2013.  This wasn’t easy, but it helped me realize that being healthy doesn’t come in a magic pill, its a lifestyle change.

7. Food prep is key for sticking to your diet and a lower grocery bill. Planning what I was going to eat for the week helps me to only eat what’s there and nothing extra. Going through grocery aisles and picking up things you desire but don’t eat is temptation and costs more!

8. I learned to love water.  So essential and refreshing!

Whew! I think I have a lot to be proud of! *Pats self on back*  I’ve come a looooonnng way.

So what’s next for me in 2014? 

1. No FAST FOOD 2014! Even when we travel. I’ve learned this year that things that are made quickly are generally not the best for you. #nofastfood2014

2.NO SODA 2014! I did a pretty good job this year at minimizing soda intake and drinking  more water but I want to eliminate soda completely. #nosoda2014

3. First 5k 2014!  This is happening. For Real, for real. #first5k2014

 I didn’t think that I’d accomplish all that I did this year.  All it took for me was one bold step.  I made a resolution and stuck with it.

What will your health goals be this year?

Write to me and tell me what your health resolutions are for 2014.  I’m anxious to hear everyone’s stories.

Why Investing In a Planner is One Of The BEST Things You Can Do for Your Health!

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While everyone was up early on Friday morning ( or Thursday night) waiting in line for the coveted electronic device or piece of clothing, I was thinking about a 2014 planner. Yes, a weekly/monthly planner. For the past three years, I’ve been as excited about getting a planner for the New Year as a kid is on Christmas morning.  But a planner is not just for appointment keeping.  Nowadays your planner can be so much more! Read why I think a planner is one of the best investments for your health.

1. Logging and keeping track of your workout and eating habits. Sure, they have an App for that. Why put this in a planner when I can put it on my phone? Health apps are very helpful for logging health behavior, but they do very little for seeing how your health behavior compares to everything else in life.  Putting all of your appointments, work and school assignments, and dinner dates with friends all in one place helps you to realistically plan your workouts and meals ahead of time.  Thus, you are less likely to skip a workout or a meal.

2. Life doesn’t have to be a cacophonous nightmare. Plan for a symphony.  If you are reading this blog, you’ve probably had a time in your life when you’ve felt overwhelmed.  Maybe it was during finals time and you had a hard time balancing your extracurricular responsibilities with your workload. Or maybe you’ve started a new job and you have less time to work out or cook healthy meals. It has happened to all of us. Life gets busy, hectic, even crazy.  Utilizing a weekly/monthly planner that has slots for appointment times allows you to visualize all that you do. We’re human, and we forget things. Writing down all of your activities and birthdays and responsibilities allows us to plan to make time for all these things. This can also help you see what you’re spending too little or too much time on. Using a planner can help us visualize and rearrange our priorities.

3. “Me time-tea time”. The activities that we’re a part of help to develop us, but that’s not all there is to us. Everyone needs time to recharge and refocus to avoid burn-out and other health issues due to busy-ness.  There are a variety of different ways to reflect; art, photography, music, prayer/devotion, meditation, exploring nature, etc.  One should pencil in time for something that makes you happy and something that you enjoy at least once a week…probably more often if you are an introvert.  These stress relievers help to decrease the likelihood of emotional and mental health issues. Health is not just about what you eat or how much you exercise, its about feeling completely well inside and out.

4. “Me-time” is important but “we-time” is more important for healthy relationships. Life is not always about you. A planner helps you see reasons to celebrate other people as well. Birthdays, anniversaries, and reunions are reminders of how humans are supposed to be relational beings.  The more time we spend away from our loved ones, the more our relationships with them suffer. Celebrate someone. Hang out just because. Your friends and family will love you for it.

5. Goal planning and goal assessment.  

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At the end of my planner there are 28 pages of blank, lined paper for notes. The first two pages of notes are reserved for outlining my goals for the next year. Consequently, I’m always aware of where I want to be. The other pages are reserved for my favorite scriptures, quotes, sermons, lists,  ideas, and thoughts.  In other words, its comparable to a mini-diary. All of this serves as a good reflection at the end of the year. For example, of the 17 goals that I listed at the end of last year to achieve in 2013, I accomplished 12 of them. Even though I fell short of five of the goals, I’m still pretty proud of myself. I accomplished some things that I didn’t even plan for last year. There are some things that I didn’t achieve on my list that aren’t applicable to my life anymore. Therefore they aren’t are my list for this year.  How are we expected to get to our goals if we can’t verbalize them or imagine a path to get there? Goal planning and goal assessment are vital to achieving our life and health goals.

You can’t plan your whole life, but utilizing a planner can help you look at the bigger picture. Are your activities balanced and are they working toward a healthier lifestyle physically, mentally, and emotionally? If so, then you are well on your way to successful life!

Body Shaming: Why Your Unsolicited Advice Is Doing More Harm Than Good

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Have you ever been to a restaurant that has the meal that you’ve been craving all week? You’ve worked hard at work or school and you feel that you deserve a reward. You wait and wait until it arrives at your table, perfectly presented and waiting to be devoured. Just as you’re about to dive in, you can feel eyes staring at you and your plate. You think, “Maybe he or she is just as hungry as I am and wishes this was his or her plate.” But, after a more careful examination of the person’s face, you notice the look is a look of disgust, and he or she is not looking at your plate, his or her eyes are looking straight. at. YOU. Then comes the dreaded comment. “You really don’t need to be eating that. You’re fat enough already.”  Immediately, you drop your fork and become pensive. All of your pride vanishes and you become self conscious. You know that you are overweight and are working to improve it, but all you can think about is how overweight you are. When your friend asks you what’s wrong, you quickly say that nothing is wrong in order to avoid making the situation more awkward than it is.

 

Or, have you been out eating with your close friends at a casual dinner or lunch? Everybody is ordering their favorite meals celebrating your friend’s engagement. Everyone is starving and when the plates come, you start eating without hesitation. You look up and everyone is looking at back and forth at you and your plate. “You should seriously contemplate eating a burger, Sarah. You’re too thin and don’t eat enough. Some people are beginning to think that you have an eating disorder.” Your elated mood is knocked out of you like you’ve been punched in the gut. Why can’t you just enjoy your meal? Yes you’re thin, but it’s definitely not because you have an eating disorder.

 

Maybe you’ve had a stranger say these things to you. Or, maybe you’ve given this type of advice to someone you know. Most likely these words have come from people close to us in an effort to help make us healthier. While it may prompt someone to conform to that person’s beliefs about an ideal weight, neither comment makes a person feel good about himself or herself. So what are the implications of saying these things?

 

FAT SHAMING

People probably assume that telling someone that they are fat and shaming them for it will inspire that person to lose weight. Being overweight and obesity are risk factors for “heart disease, type two diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers and other chronic conditions”. Shame someone into being skinny right? Wrong.  

NPR recently posted an article about a study that Angelina Sutin and her colleague developed.  They surveyed “6,000 American men and women age 50 and older who were asked how often in their daily lives they experienced different types of discrimination”.

“Overweight people who said they’d experienced discrimination based on weight were more than twice as likely to be obese four years later than people who didn’t mention such discrimination. And those who started out obese were three times more likely to remain so if they’d been harshly targeted because of their weight.”

According to this study, discrimination does not motivate a person to change their behavior if they are overweight, it actually makes them more overweight.  

 

SKINNY SHAMING

Just because a person appears to be small, doesn’t mean that he or she is perfectly healthy. A recent phenomenon among teen girls has encouraged them to go great lengths to become smaller in order to have a “thigh gap”. According to a USA TODAY  article, this skinny trend is nearly impossible and potentially harmful to its persuers. 

“Vonda Wright, a Pittsburgh-based orthopedic surgeon and fitness expert, said the spacing between a person’s legs is based mostly on genetics. And even extraordinarily thin people may not have a body type that can achieve a gap. You have to be both skinny and wide-hipped, she said.

Besides, Wright said, it isn’t a goal worth chasing. Most fit people won’t have a thigh gap because their thighs are muscular enough that they touch, she said.

“Skinny does not mean fit or muscular,” said Wright, who works with Division I athletes. “I cannot think of one athlete I deal with” who has a thigh gap.”

 

Because of the obesity epidemic, the health issues of being overweight are well known. Little attention is given to the health issues caused by being underweight. Discovery Health reports that underweight people, not just those who are anorexic, are at risk for “heart disease”, “diabetes”, “lowered immune system”, “anemia”, “fertility issues”, and “osteoporosis”. 

 

SO HOW SHOULD WE TELL A LOVED ONE THAT WE’RE CONCERNED ABOUT HIS/HER HEALTH?

This is a great question that is not so easily answered. A person’s health depends on a lot of factors. Size is just one of them. Health depends on genetics, diet, environment, socio-economic status, access to healthy options, physical activity, knowledge of healthy options and attitude/beliefs about health. There are many factors that affect one’s health status and someone could teach a whole class on how each factor affects health. As one starts to learn about all of the different puzzle pieces that encompass health, shaming someone based on size doesn’t seem as helpful as one initially thought.

Cook for a loved one. Find out what their favorite meal is and find an alternative way to cook it, without as much salt, sugar, or fat.

Tell your loved one that you love them and want to enjoy a long life with them. Have a heart to heart with that person. Explain to them that you want to be able to enjoy life with them and don’t want bad health to get in the way. Make sure that your love and concern for the person is evident. Don’t be too critical.

Workout with a loved one. Sometimes all that person needs is a buddy, someone to be with them to keep them accountable.

Be supportive. Becoming healthy is difficult. Let that person know that they you are willing to help them along the way.

 

BOTTOM LINE

Shame should not be a part of any motivation for becoming a healthier person. Telling someone that they are doing something bad without presenting viable options for a better lifestyle can result in extreme behaviors that could make the person even more unhealthy (i.e. eating disorders, depression).  Help encourage that person to work toward feasible health goals. Demonstrate what healthy behaviors are and aren’t through your own actions. Everyone is different and requires his/her own unique plan that is tailored to his/her lifestyle, body type, and desired health goals.

Try to avoid these mistakes while on the treadmill (Link to Prevention Article)

Walking on the treadmill can be a great way to exercise and relieve stress. Unfortunately, many people are using the treadmill incorrectly.  Incorrect use can lead to injuries.  Please read this Prevention Magazine article to learn how to walk on the treadmill correctly.

http://www.prevention.com/fitness/fitness-tips/10-mistakes-you-make-treadmill?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-Prevention-_-fitness-fitnesstips-_-10treadmillmistakes

 

Salubrious Person Profile: Ashley’s road to 5k

The Pursuit of Salubrity is a lot more fun when you can share it with friends. Having a group of friends with common health goals promotes community and a sense of accountability.  Ashley and I met freshman year of college and have been good friends ever since. We share a passion for promoting healthy lifestyles. I decided to interview Ashley because she is not only a great person, but she just ran her first 5k! Read her interview below about her reasons for running and becoming a healthier person.

When and where did you decide to start running?
1. I started running competitively when I was about 9 years old at the Boys & Girls Club. I also ran on my middle school track team in 7th and 8th grade and for all four years in High School (making All-State in the 4*4 and 4*8 relays). Running has been a part of my life for some time, but after graduating college, I began to wonder how I could keep it in my life along with busy schedules and bills. I hadn’t even truly realized that I enjoyed running until after it was absent from my life.

Why did you choose Black Girls Run for your first 5k?
2. I chose Black Girls Run as my first 5K for multiple reasons with the primary reason being that it is founded by Black women with the purpose of tackling the obesity epidemic in the African American community and inspiring Black women to get healthy and fit.

How did you do? Would you do it again?
3. I ran for ALMOST the entire time! Which is great for me. I think fell somewhere between 30-35 minutes, which shocked me like no other because I hadn’t worked out more than twice in the 2 weeks leading up to the race (I know, I know, not good).
I will definitely do it again simply because it was SO inspirational! Some women walked, some ran with friends, some were young, some were seasoned, some were thin, some were voluptuous. Black women were running and smiling and looking fly all at the same time! Short story: I was fortunate enough to run near a lady who I am assuming was a personal trainer, but she could have very well been an angel. Throughout the race, she would randomly shout, “Come on ladies! Keep it movin’!” “Lookin’ good ladies; keep it up!” When women slowed to walk she would start up again and link arms to pull someone along. It was SO encouraging!

Any advice for those who would like to run a 5k, or just want to live a healthier lifestyle?
4. Advice: 1. Research 5Ks coming to your area and register EARLY! Race registration fees usually increase closer to the date of the race.  2. Create a workout plan that starts in intervals of walk/running. Then progress to running over longer distances, and if you are really getting into good shape, begin timing yourself. 3. Start running! Even if you have never run a day in your life; just start! You will be amazed at how your stamina improves over time. 4. Hydrate! Self explanatory. 5. Substitute healthier alternatives into your diet. Instead of chips, try almonds or nuts, which will give you the crunch effect with healthy fats and protein.

What do you like to do besides running? I wanna know more about your upcoming Etsy shop.
5. Outside of running, I love art and being creative! I have been working on starting my own creative business for quite some time now with the hope of opening my etsy shop – EMBOLDN – in December 2013 (fingers crossed).
I aim to promote a message of self-love, particularly amongst the African American community, so many of my pieces will reflect this, mostly through images of music and health.
https://www.etsy.com/your/shops/emboldn/preview
Check out my shop in December and message me the code: SALUBRIOUS to get 10% off your first purchase!