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 Rasta 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! 

Themed Music Playlists

Hey scholars!

When I listen to music, I do so according to my activity and vibe. My tastes are eclectic, which helps to figure out what best fits my current vibe and activity. Here are a few examples of lists I frequently go to and add to over time. All of these are what I am currently listening to while I write my dissertation. Aside from the lists below, I like the Bossa Nova/ cafe music music streams on YouTube, especially when I am working in a quiet space, it makes for perfect background noise; I am not one of those people who can write in silence. I need words for inspiration. Here are some lists that helps to put me in a creative mood.......


Sinead Harnett- If You Let Me
Alina Baraz- Lavender and Velvet
SZA- Broken Clocks
Sabrina Claudio- Confidently Lost
Cree Summer- Soul Sister
H.E.R- Focus
Rendevous at Two- Replay
Raye- Bet You Wish
Kehlani- Escape
Solange- Where Do We Go


Rita Shelby- Cherish the Moment
Anita Baker- Whatever it Takes
Will Downing and Rachelle Ferrell- Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This
Pancho Sanchez- Morning
Lalah Hathaway- I'm Coming Back
Nnenna Freelon- All of Me
Chris Botti ft. Jill Scott- Good Morning Heartache
Chaka Khan- My Funny Valentine
Jeff Lorber- Never
Saunders Sermons- In a Sentimental Mood
Esperanza Spalding- Wild is the Wind

Laid Back Hip Hip:

Mos Def and Aretha Franklin- One Step Ahead of Ms. Fat Booty
Disable Planets- Rebirth of Slick
Soul II Soul- Back to Life
Nas ft. Lauryn Hill- If I Ruled the World
Arrested Development- People Everyday
The Fugees- Ready or Not

Late Night Vibes:

Tamar Braxton- All the Way Home
Janine and the Mixtape- Cold Out
Norah Jones- Don't Know Why
JOY.- Same Place
Tink- I Like
Lady Antebellum- Need You Now


Jazmine Sullivan- Masterpiece

Adam Levine- Lost Stars
Lisa Stansfield- All Around the World
Angie Stone-No More Rain
Gladys Knight and the Pips- Neither One of Us
Chaka Khan- Your Love is All I Know
Regina Belle- Baby Come to Me
Teena Marie- Out on a Limb
Luther Vandross- Don't Want to Be a Fool
Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald- On My Own
Chante Moore- I Cry to Myself
Floetry- If I Was a Bird
Duke Dumont- Ocean Drive

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Fishless Fillets and Chips

Hey scholars!

One of the greatest lessons I have learned since embarking on this journey is be creative and open to new foods. Being creative has sparked new recipes from foods I enjoyed before becoming a vegan. One meal I loved, was fish sandwiches and fries, or fish and chips. I was never a big fan of fried foods, but fried fish when it is done right was my shit!!! In my undergrad years, I have been to my fair share of pubs and a local pizza joint in Cincinnati and indulged. In a previous post, I used Gardein fishless fillets. This recipe again calls for a couple of these awesome fillets. For the chips, I used Alexia seasoned waffle fries.

Cook the fries and fillets according to their instructions.

Tartar sauce:
1 cup vegenaise 
1 TBSP minced onion
2 TBSP lemon juice
1.5 TBSP sweet relish or dill if you prefer 
Salt (I used pink himalayan salt) and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and spread onto bread.

Now, assemble the sandwich:

1 Hoagie Roll 
Cheese (Daiya cheddar slice)- melt on top of fillets 
Tartar sauce 

Plate fries 


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

20 Things About Me

Hey scholars!

I did this post back in July 2015, so I thought that I would update it. 

1. I am a vegan. A strict vegan. When I first started out, I was flexible with it, but not anymore. 

2. I am in my fourth year of my doctoral studies. I have finished my coursework, passed all of my qualifying exams, and presented my research prospectus to my department. My status is All But Dissertation (ABD). I am in my dissertation phase.....

3. I have two rescue cats, Batman and Charlie (girl); they are siblings and one years old. 

4. My favorite show on television right now is This Is Us. 

5. When I am done with school, I want to live abroad, Canada included.

6. Last December, after my oral exams defense, I got my septum pierced.

7. Still an introvert also, I am socially awkward, anti-social, and a hermit.

8. Career goals- documentary filmmaker 

9. Contemplating law school- if this GOP tax bill scam go through, I definitely will not be going to law school.

10. My dissertation focuses on transgender history 

11. Favorite vegan social media:
       - Edgy Veg
       - Sweet Potato Soul 
       - The Raw Boy
       - Shania Belcon

12. Favorite YouTube Content
      - All Def Digital
      - Joe Santagato
      - Qaadir Howard 

13. I am a bohemian soul 

14. I am a HUGE Kombucha lover. I really like Kombucha because it is black owned by a woman in Memphis. 

15. Favorite 2017 albums: SZA- Crtl and Kehlani- Sweet, Sexy, Savage 

16. I am the oldest of 5 siblings (4 girls, 1 boy)

17. I wrote a book. 

18. Took a bowling class in undergrad and bowled a 286 in one of the classes. 

19. The older I get, the more I become a morning person.

20. My 2017 book suggestion: Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of  Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Black Names Matter

Hey scholars! 

Some time ago, I visited a coffee shop on campus for a green latte to help me get my day started. I ordered my drink. After checking all the necessary boxes and writing the correct abbreviations for what I wanted, the barista asked me my name. “Rebekkah,” I tell him and proceeded to spell it for him. Sometimes I forgo doing so, just to see what the barista comes up with and they come up with some interesting spellings. Anyway, I spelled it out for him a couple of times, I understand that the spelling is not as common. As he is writing my name down, he mumbles, “Ghetto.” In a level that he can hear and put his ass on notice that I heard him, I said, “It’s biblical.” He looked up at me in shock. Yeah, I heard you punk. If you knew what you thought you did, you would not have responded the way you did. If you had any sense, you would have known that it is from the bible. I almost did not pay for my drink. 

If I was a different type of person, I would have caused a damn scene. I wanted to, but why give him that power?? I did not want to black out and go in, then I would have been the one in the wrong. Angry black woman on deck. Forget that this is a black on black crime. Who cares that I am pursuing a PhD? Who cares that I teach courses? All of that would have either a). been ignored and all the attention going to my anger or b). been used to keep me silent in the future, my head down, eyes forward, know my place. It really pissed me off. 

Still does to be honest.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Vegan Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Hey scholars!

When I first became a vegan, I thought that cheese was something I would never have again. Let's face it, for a long time, vegan cheese was some substance that did not melt, stretch, or taste good. Long gone are those days. There are a number of brands that meet your cheese needs. Winter is coming and the freezing cold temps are here. This time of year, comfort foods are a must. While grocery shopping today, I got a craving for grilled cheese and tomato soup. I have seen many conversations about a particular cheese that is absolutely perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches. That cheese is Chao creamy original slices. The ingredients include coconut oil and tofu. 

This cheese is impressive. The texture is smooth. The taste is light and creamy. It melted exactly like you would expect it to for a grilled cheese sandwich. There is no lingering coconut flavor to it at all. As good as it is, I just might stock up on a few packages. This cheese is that good. Since it contains coconut, there is a bit of saturated fat, but I would rather consume fats from coconuts than cows. Each slice is 60 calories and has 0 grams of cholesterol. Although I kept this sandwich simple, feel free to jazz it up the way you like. I think this cheese will pair well with additions like tomato, avocado, and spinach. 

I paired this sandwich with a delicious tomato and basil soup. Perfect lunch for a cold day. 


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Skin Care Routine

Hey scholars,

My 30s have been filled with self-care routines since leaving behind my turbulent 20s. I am determined to make this decade better as I possibly can. Fortunately my skin has not been plagued with acne and hella breakouts; I do have my moments though. No matter our skin type, we experience changes in our skin from hormonal imbalances, environmental factors, food, water (lack thereof), and other factors, So to help keep my skin healthy, this is the routine I follow as well as the products I use.

Everyday: Cleanse, Tone, Moisturize with SPF

Sunday: Cleanse, Exfoliate, Tone, Moisturize 

Monday: Cleanse, Tone, Serum, Moisturize

Tuesday: Cleanse, Mask, Tone, Moisturize 

Wednesday: Cleanse, Exfoliate, Tone, Moisturize

Thursday: Cleanse, Tone, Serum, Moisturize

Friday: Cleanse, Mask, Tone, Moisturize 

Saturday: Cleanse, Tone, Serum, Moisturize 

Cleanse: Cetaphil, Biore, Pixi Beauty

I change up my cleaners on a daily basis. Every morning and days when I do not plan on leaving the house, I use Target's version of Cetaphil's cleanser. On hot days or following a workout, I use the charcoal cleanser. Every night and days when I use makeup, I reach for the mud cleanser. 

Mask: Pixi Beauty

I like this mask. It is light. Smells great. And it works really well. It can also be used as a spot treatment. 

Exfoliate: Charcoal and Black Sugar and St. Ives 

I like these exfoliators because they are gentle and effective. The green is my favorite. Also, I use natural deodorants, which some brands are prone to darken underarm skin, use the charcoal and black sugar scrub, works like a charm! 

Tone: Pixi Beauty

This glow tonic is awesome. It is a gentle exfoliating toner and because of this, I sometimes reach for a witch hazel. The glycol acid in this toner can be a bit rough on skin. 

Serum: Pixi Beauty 

You may have noticed that my skin care routine is full of Pixi Beauty products. Trust me, they are worth the investment. I like the rose caviar for nighttime use and the rose oil blend for the morning. 

Moisturize: Neutrogena 

For the time being, I am using Target's version of Neutrogena's moisturizer. I mostly use their hydro boost for dry skin during the winter months (it is time to stock up) when I need something a little bit heavier for cold temperatures that dry my skin out.  

Like my hair, my skin gets tired of certain products and I change them accordingly. For now, these are the products I use to keep my skin clean and healthy. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Weekly Hair Routine

Hey scholars!

Since being in my 30s, I have made it a priority to come with a proper hair care routine, especially because my hair is natural. My hair is prone to dryness and having a routine keeps it hydrated and healthy. Here is the routine I follow and after that I will display/discuss the products I use. 

Sunday: Shampoo, Condition, Deep Condition

Monday: Daily Moisturizer

Tuesday: Daily Moisturizer

Wednesday: Daily Moisturizer

Thursday:  Co-Wash and Moisturize

Friday: Daily Moisturizer

Saturday: Daily Moisturizer 

Shampoo and Conditioner (Co-wash): Maui Moisture

I have been using this duo from the Shea Butter collection. This is specifically designed for dry and damaged hair. I have been using this for the dryness but also since I have been coloring my hair (there is a collection for chemically treated/damaged hair also). This brand has several other collections worth checking out. 

Deep Conditioner: Eden's Jojoba Monoi

One of the biggest mistakes I have been making since going back to my natural hair several years ago is not deep conditioning at least once a week. 

Daily Moisturizer: Eden's Leave-In and Shea Moisture

Everyday, I lightly spritz my hair with water and use this leave in conditioner. On the days that I wash my hair, after using a leave in, I follow with the curl smoothie and style my hair. 

These are the products that I am using for the time being as my hair gets tired of the same products after a while. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

4 Ingredient Green Smoothie

Hey scholars!

My breakfast of choice, smoothies. Quick, simple, and delicious. Try this super simple, divinely delicious, green smoothie!

2 frozen bananas

2 cups nut based milk

A handful of leafy greens (I used a spinach and
arugula mix)

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder

Blend until smooth.


Travel Bucket List

Hey scholars, I am in the process of renewing my passport. I cannot believe it has been ten years since I got it. Thinking back to when I...