Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Black Smoothie

Hey scholars,

I have been incorporating activated charcoal into my daily life (almost). From making black lemonade to brushing with it to whiten my teeth, so why not a smoothie?? I kept it really simple. Other than providing the color and providing some digestive benefits, it tastes like a vanilla smoothie. Get into it.....


2 frozen bananas 

1.5 cups non-dairy milk

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Activated charcoal


Blend everything.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Vegan Burrito

Hey scholars,

I have been trying to be more strategic with my grocery shopping- cost and meal planning. This week, I am making a really simple, yet delicious and filling burrito. Here is what I use, but a burrito can be whatever you want it to be. 


Refried beans
Black beans
Brown rice
Red onions


Heat/cook foods 
Add fillings to burrito
Roll burrito
Eat burrito

(You can also enjoy as a burrito bowl, salad, or nachos)


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Cherry ACV Drink

Hey scholars,

A vegan YouTuber I follow made an ACV drink and it is reminiscent of kombucha, which I love. Today was grocery day, so I made sure to pick up ingredients for this drink. One trip I made was to Whole Foods for one ingredient, in particular, Bee Free Honey. I was informed that the store does not carry it anymore since Amazon bought it (a rant for another day). I did come across something I have not seen before, ginger syrup. Once I tasted it, it reminded me of ginger beer- something I need to try on my own. 

It is Saturday afternoon, grocery shopping all done, lectures for Monday and Wednesday are done, Wednesday's reading quiz is done, Friday's writing assignment is done and I also got in some writing on my dissertation. Now on to the ACV drink.....


1 cup Black Cherry Juice

1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar

2 tsp Ginger syrup (any vegan sweetener)

3 cups water


Put everything in a cup or jar 

Mix well

To me, it tastes like cherry juice with some ginger. Very nice! 


Friday, January 19, 2018

Chickpea Spread

Hey scholars!

Sometime last summer, I made a couple of chickpea based spreads. I have a new and improved mixture. I was not looking to improve on the recipes I already have, I love them. I made this recipe based on what I had in the kitchen since the weather prevented me to travel to the store(s) and stock my kitchen. I like this recipe because is simple and made of ingredients I pretty much always have on hand. Making these recipes satisfies my love for tuna and chicken salad. 


1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 celery stalks or 2 TBSP celery flakes
1 TBSP nutritional yeast
1 TBSP soy sauce, liquid aminos, or tamari
2-3 TBSP sweet relish
2 TBSP vegenaise or just mayo
1 tsp onion powder
Pink salt and black pepper to taste 


Either mash beans by hands and add other ingredients, mix together or (this is what I do), place everything into food processor and blend until smooth (you may like it a bit chunky so do not blend so much). 

This can be eaten on bread, with chips, with veggies, on romaine lettuce, in a wrap, or as is. 


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Q&A: Grad School Advice

Hey scholars! 

I am pretty often asked about applying to grad school and advice about the journey and expectations. As someone who has been in grad school for quite sometime (two Master's degrees and now a PhD in progress), I will give advice based on my own experiences from the past several years. 


Do your research- Where do you want to go? Who do you want to work with? What are your areas of interest? Do you have a research topic in mind? Where you go is important. I am not talking about prestigious schools and name recognition. I mean, where you go and get your training matters. 

Pay attention to each departments requirements- I made an excel spreadsheet with all the information and materials I needed for each school from the dept. I was applying to, deadlines, app. fee, transcripts, letters of recommendation, housing, funding, statement of purpose, writing sample, and whether I needed to mail in application materials, submit them online or both.  

See who is in the department you are wanting to apply to- Whose work interests you? Who would serve best on your thesis/dissertation committee? It does not hurt to reach out to faculty and strike up a conversation. 

Keep up with costs and fees- Every school varies in app. fees. They do add up, so keep that in mind. Transcripts may cost to send. Standardized test cost to take. Unfortunately, if you do not get in, you do not get your money back. 

Respect deadlines- Know when to have everything in. Late apps. are not considered. 

Standardized exam- These all suck. Study, take them, and move on. These cost money to take. Ugh!! 

Letters of Recommendation- Make sure that your recommendation writers are people you have good relationships with and will write you strong, positive letters. 

Statement of Purpose- This is probably the most crucial part to the application process. This is where you let the know who your are in a way that does not come across in the other parts of the application.  

Writing Sample- Make sure to submit a strong, polished, finished piece of work. 

Apply for funding- See if the school and/or department has funding (internal). Search for funding in other places like the Ford Foundation (external) and other databases.  

The journey:

Imposter syndrome- You will feel inadequate. You will feel like all of your peers are smarter than you. You will feel that maybe your writing is not where it should be. You will feel that maybe you are not ready for grad school. You will feel that everything you write is crap. This is all normal. While these feelings may not go away, you will learn how to manage them. You are enough. You made it to grad school for a reason. Do what you need to do, hustle, and finish. 

Writing groups- I am a part of a couple of writing groups. One is a summer group where we share what we have written on any project we are working on and get feedback from the group. The other group we usually meet up someplace and write for a few hours at a time. We hold each other and ourselves accountable so that we reach our writing goals= finish an article, dissertation/thesis, book, etc. 

Study groups- This may be helpful in understanding the reading materials. Get together and discuss what you read so that when class time comes, you have already discussed the reading materials and hopefully not feel lost in class. 

Social life- Find a balance between school and your personal life. Some of my days are spent hanging out with friends. We eat, talk, play games, just main; and relaxin'.  

Time management- This ties into having a social life. Find a schedule that works for you. Sometimes during the week,after class and work, I would do my readings and any writing components, so that on the weekends I can focus on myself outside of school. Sometimes, I would save my readings and writings for the weekend. How I work just depends on my mood and how much I need to get done. Find what works for you. 

Do your work and turn it in!!- Yes, this has to be stressed to many grad students. There is a lot of reading and writing. There is only so much time to get everything done. Do the readings. I have noticed and many classmates have said that they do not do the reading from time-to-time, if ever. You know that you have written assignments to do, do them. Do not put them off and think you will be granted an extension because it is grad school and blah, blah, blah. 

Attend conferences- Network is crucial for so many opportunities, especially jobs. It is also important to get your name and work out there. 

Practice self-care- This includes whatever you need to do and not do to take care of your mental and physical health. For me, this ranges from simply grocery shopping and juicing to doing my nails to watching television to napping to running in the park to reading something that has nothing to do with school to visiting museums and the list goes on. 

Have fun- Enjoy your journey. Do not let these years go by without enjoying them. Once they are gone, that is it. You know what you need to do to get through your program(s), do that and find time to enjoy your life as well.   

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Q&A: Thoughts on Marijuana

Hey scholars!

I have been asked about my thoughts on marijuana and whether or not it should be legalized. There are two parts to this argument. First, marijuana needs to be decriminalized. Second, it should be legalized, everywhere. There is a difference between the two, they should not be used interchangeably. So then, what do they mean?? 


To be clear, discourse regarding decriminalizing marijuana involves the buying, selling, and using marijuana without their being any fear of criminal prosecution. Looking at the criminal justice system, half of all drug busts are for marijuana according to the American Civil Liberties Union.  Those busted with weed, are carrying small amounts, we are not talking about drug kingpins. Let's talk race, when it comes to who uses marijuana, blacks and whites use it at similar rates. Here is the racial divide:

Recently, there have been stories about white mothers who talk about how marijuana make them better parents. For many black and brown men and women, their dealings with marijuana makes them criminals. Also, the weed boom disproportionately leaves people of color out. Roughly one percent of marijuana dispensaries are owned by black people. The war on drugs was racist from the start to be perfectly honest. 


Over the years, numerous studies have been published on the benefits of marijuana use, such as controlling epileptic seizures, treating glaucoma, decreasing anxiety, slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's, easing the pain of Multiple Sclerosis, treating inflammatory bowel diseases, and the list goes on.... Many use it because they want to. Nothing wrong with that. 
Why is it a Schedule 1 drug?? You know what else is? Heroine. 

In hearing conversations on this topic, many people are tolerant of cigarettes and not marijuana, even though research has proven the negative and even deadly effects of smoking cigarettes. There are many drugs Big Pharma pushes and no one utters a word until side effects take place. You have seen and heard commercials for medicines to treat virtually every symptom ever, which are followed by commercials that start with, "Have you or a loved one??...." Why not reform and support something that is beneficial for so many people?? How will Big Pharma and politicians make billions on something the people can harvest themselves??   

Anyone who needs/wants to use it, should be free to do so. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Homemade Oven Baked Fries

Hey scholars!

Lately, I have been seeing a lot of discussion about the potato diet. This post is not about that, however, I love potatoes and have some sitting on my wire racks and so I decided to make fries, because why the hell not?? Here is a simple (almost) quick, delicious dish. 


Potatoes (I used 5 medium sized Russet potatoes; have fun, use red, purple, and russet potatoes) 
Taco Seasoning (homemade, see recipe below) 
Olive Oil 

*I did not measure, I usually just go by feelings and sight


Heat your oven to 425 degrees

Soak the potatoes in cold water for about 10-15 minutes

Scrub the potatoes and peel if desired

Cut the potatoes however you like, no pressure and toss them into a large bowl

Add the oil, salt, pepper, and taco seasoning 

For the taco seasoning- 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp black pepper, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, 6 tbsp chili pepper, 3 tsp paprika, 4 tsp cumin)

Make sure the potatoes are well coated with the ingredients 

Spread the potatoes in a single layer and place in oven for 30 minutes; after 15 minutes, turn the fries so that they bake evenly

Serve with whichever toppings you like or leave them plain 


Monday, January 1, 2018

2018: Goals (Cause I do not do resolutions)

Hey scholars!

I am not the one for resolutions, but I do set goals for myself, especially as I progress through the finals stages of my doctoral program. Here is what I am looking forward to doing/completing this year. 

1. Finish the year in the editing process of ALL of my dissertation chapters. I am putting myself on a writing schedule. By late fall/early winter, I need to be in the editing phases of my dissertation....

2. Accessing the job market here and abroad and applying for jobs to finally start my career. By October, I will be putting together application packages for various types of career opportunities, inside and outside of academia. I am willing to travel abroad... 

3. Submit article to peer reviewed journal. I am just about finished writing an article. There may be rejections, but hopefully someone will want it....

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Important Supplements for Women in their 30s

Hey scholars!

Since turning 30 in 2016, I have been trying to be more proactive about my health. That meant fining a multivitamin that had essential nutrients, does not make me sick, and are vegan friendly. While there are many vitamins and nutrients everybody needs like calcium, Vitamin A, D, and K, these are key for women in their 30s. 

Iron: I have dealt with an iron deficiency sign my early teen years, so it is crucial for me to take an iron supplement on a daily basis. Such a deficiency leads to anemia, hair loss, fatigue, and difficulty moving/exercising. This deficiency usually comes from moderate to heavy menstruation cycles, no meat consumption, and being an athlete. Be sure to not take too much. Side effects includes abdominal pain, vomiting and other symptoms; in children, too much can be fatal.  

Folic Acid (Folate or B9): When we hit 30s ladies, our bodies are considered to be preparing for childbirth. Whether or not we are trying, folic acid helps to maintain health by supporting the brain, cell production, enhance memory, and balance and enhance our mood. I make sure to load up this being that my zodiac sign is Cancer and people think that Cancer's are moody. 

Antioxidants: Vitamin C & E: The saying may be, "Black don't crack," but it can and will if you don't take care of it. At 30, your skin begins to show minor signs of aging. These antioxidants are powerful in defending your skin from the inside out. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and create collagen, which gives your skin that soft, youthful look, while giving it that elastic (the ability to bounce back) look that is promoted in cosmetic commercials. Vitamin E oil may be used topically to treat burns, scars, and to speed up the healing process.

I like Rainbow Light products because they have something for everyone.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Adult Wishlist

Hey scholars! 

Although Christmas is over, I have a year round wishlist. It is short, but carries a lot of weight.   

1. Debt free (student loans, car note, medical bills)- One of the joys of being a millennial is starting my career in debt, most of which is student loans. They make me feel like I am being punished for wanting an education. I live in a city where having a car is a necessity; I would much rather take a train/subway. Cars, no matter how new, are metal pieces of expensive junk. Another bill. Then sometimes an accident happens, here comes medical bills. Heavy burdens to carry.....

2. Homeowner- I am tired of renting apartments. I hate loud neighbors. I hate hearing somebody walk over my head. I hate hearing people next to me. I need more privacy and to feel like the place I am living in, is mine, giving me stability. It is also something I did not have growing up. I feel like with my student loans, this is almost out of reach. I am an optimist, so.....

3. Vegan fast food restaurant owner- This is something I have been thinking about for sometime, especially attending a university where the vegan options are slim to none. I would make my own juices, smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, hummus, guacamole, snacks. I would be a spot where you can pick up some food and either dine in or carry out. Also, everything would be affordable. Why is food so damn expensive??...... 

4. Own a Co-op and/or start a community garden- Memphis is a food desert. It truly is. I want to provide everyone with affordable fresh food. It is a travesty that food is one of the biggest socioeconomic divider. By that I mean, in places where income is low, the probability of their being fast food places and liquors are high and where are the grocery stores with fresh foods??? I also like the idea of community. We plant and harvest it and everyone has access to it. Thinking of access, actually making sure that people can physical access it is important. Being there is one thing, getting people there is something else. People will come, but can they??.....

Friday, December 29, 2017

Eating Vegan in Memphis

Hey scholars!

Since I have moved to Memphis, I have become a vegan. I am often asked, how/why did I do this in one of the BBQ capitals of the world????? I am also often asked about being vegan and black, as if veganism is a white thing. Yes, people have actually told me that veganism is white people shit. Saying and thinking that is stupid people shit. How in the hell is consuming fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, and plant based proteins like tofu, tempeh, and soy, something only white people eat?? The third question I am often asked is what/were do I eat? The "what?' question confuses me. I eat all kinds of stuff, like burgers and fries, pizza, tacos, etc. No, I do not sit around and deep throat carrots and celery sticks all day. Actually, you will never see me eating a carrot stick because the smell of carrots are headache inducing. I do eat them as long as they are shredded, blended, cooked, or juiced. Celery sticks, I usually throw those in the juicer and make a nice juice. Since I am the only vegan amongst my friends, when we go out, they wonder if there are places to eat that we can all enjoy. While there are places that are specifically vegan, many places make an effort to include vegan options on their menus. Vegans can enjoy a meal from entrees to dessert. I am not talking about piecing together a meal using side items only, even though, some places well......yeah... Here is a small list of some of the places that I enjoy from time to time. I prefer shopping at farmers markets and grocery stores and making my own meals, drinks, and desserts. This list is by no means a comprehensive list of vegan finds in restaurants in Memphis. 

1. Two Vegan Sistas- This black owned establishment is 100% vegan and mostly raw. I enjoy their mustard greens, mac and cheese, and corn bread. Soul food that is hearty and healthy!! The desserts are amazing as well. 

2. Lyfe Kitchen- This a vegan friendly fast food chain with sandwiches, sweet potato fries, smoothies, and infused waters. 

3. Pyro's Fire Pizza- Pizza chains are beginning to offer vegan cheese alternatives. Here at this build your own pizza place with crust, vegan cheese, and tons of toppings, yes pineapple on pizza is good. 

4. RP Track's- Located across from UofMemphis, this popular hangout has different tofu options such as BBQ tofu and my favorite, buffalo tofu fingers. My meal usually consists of buffalo tofu fingers, sweet potato fries, and ginger beer. 

5. Dejavu Creole Soul Food and Vegetarian Cafe- Enjoy southern comfort food like BBQ tofu, "chicken" salad, and numerous side items like greens and fried cabbage; they also offer vegan desserts. 

6. Evelyn and Olive- This Jamaican restaurant have the most amazing Pasta Pasta and black bean tacos topped with kiwi salsa. 

7. Mulan Bistro- Who says vegans cannot eat sushi/tempura? I absolutely love their sweet potato tempera rolls. Be sure to ask them to leave off the eel sauce. The General Tso's tofu is pretty great too. 

8. Robata Ramen & Yakitori Bar- Who does not love ramen? This place offers seaweed and soy broth topped with noodles, tofu, and veggies. 

9. Mama Gaia- This place is vegetarian but pretty much everything can be made vegan by leaving off cheese and some of the sauces. The bowls are popular as are the pitas and pizzas. 

10. Muddy's Bake Shop- This bakery offers a number of vegan cookies, pies, and cupcakes that are divine. As they expand their vegan treats, they take suggestions, bonus! 

Black Smoothie

Hey scholars, I have been incorporating activated charcoal into my daily life (almost). From making black lemonade to brushing with it to ...