Sweet Potato Overnight Oats

Super easy to make ahead and delicious!

Ingredients

1/4 cup of rolled oats

2 tablespoons of chia seeds

Half of a mashed sweet potato (boiling a sweet potato cooks faster)

1/3 cup of water

1/4 cup of yogurt of your choosing (i would recommend plain greek yogurt)

Mix all of your ingredients and leave overnight! This makes one serving, so if you want to make ahead for the week adjust the measurements accordingly.

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You Good Sis Becomes an LLC

My path to yoga was a simple one. I found a groupon deal to a local Bikram yoga studio near my house and I went. I was curious to see what I would find and what I would feel. This one class started it all.

In April 2017, I completed my 200 RYT and was ready to jump into teaching—and that’s what I did. I was inspired by the yoga community I had built in Boston, but something wasn’t clicking. I would teach a class and be the only person of color in the room. I was working at a very corporate like yoga studio part of a larger chain that focuses more on churning out teachers for revenue than connecting with the students on a philosophical level. But, I stayed— I stayed because I was afraid to leave my comfort zone of free yoga and the little funds I would make off of teaching.

That summer I met my business partner, Jaylee, at a book signing and the rest was history. We both connected on the idea that wellness in Boston (and really everywhere) was very white. We never really felt comfortable practicing in a space that clearly wasn’t meant for us. Black women aren’t taught that wellness is accessible to them, it’s seen as a privilege. We’re meant to be angry, to fix things, to be the backbone, but when are we allowed to take a break?

That fall we started what is now our collective, You Good Sis. It’s a space for black and brown identifying women in Boston to come together and connect on mental, spiritual and physical wellness. For a little over a year now, we’ve produced amazing events with some great local partners. Today, we’re launching our Kickstarter. We’re raising money to solidify our status as an LLC, create bigger events and continue investing in our community in person and online.

I’m proud of the work we’ve done and the work we’ll continue to do. The support we’ve seen from others shows that this is a necessity and we’re only getting started.

Now is your chance to become part of a transformative movement—give today.

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1 Day Juice Cleanse

I know what you're probably thinking. A juice cleanse? Isn't that restrictive? Aren't juices terrible for you? Don't you actually get less nutrients?

Hear Me Out

I was definitely skeptical of doing any juice cleanse for a lot of reasons. I was just gonna be full on...liquids? I'm recommended to snack on almonds or cucumbers if I got hungry? Wouldn't I just be in a cranky mood all day as I literally cleaned out my bowel system?

These weren't all wrong assumptions to make, but I'm glad I proved myself wrong. So why do people do juice cleanses? A lot of reasons! Some people think of it as a mental health day for your body. Do you know it takes half of our bodies energy to digest food? Think about it, whenever you eat a huge meal, you end up getting the "itis" later. With juice, our body doesn't have to digest that--it's just the nutrients from the fruits/veggies. Juices are raw and beautiful because they contain live enzymes, so we can just kick back and let our digestive systems do the work for us!

Give me the benefits

When you give your body time to rest and reset from digesting for a day, this means you give it the opportunity to focus on other activities your body already does, but can do at a faster rate! In just one day, you let your body

  • clear up your skin

  • boost your immune system

  • help reduce bloating

  • increase your energy

  • sleep peacefully

  • reduce inflammation

  • release toxins

  • restore your digestive system

How the day went

I chose to do my 1 day juice cleanse on one of the busiest days of my week, not the smartest decision I’ve ever made, but I charged on regardless. I used the Pressed Juicery 1 day cleanse for first timers and honestly it was great! There wasn’t a juice I didn’t like. Starting the day with Vanilla Almond helped coat my stomach and make it feel full while ending it with Chocolate Almond was like a dessert I didn’t know I needed.

I did some research beforehand to prepare myself for this cleanse. The biggest advice I got was to sip the juice through straws to avoid chugging the juice. This will help you almost “chew” your juice as it goes down as well. I drank a lot of water throughout the day, staying hydrated and full was extremely important—just lead to a lot of bathroom trips. I kept busy while being at work, teaching two yoga classes and running errands. There were a few times I got a little hungry throughout the day, but I just ate a few almonds when I wanted.

Overall, I liked it

It’s obvious we live in a features obsessed world. There is always some new fad, some new diet, some new pimple cream to try. I would say, don’t be fooled by that stuff. Try stuff because you want to, not because you want to fit in. I have my own issues with food that I acknowledge and looking back on the other side of this juice cleanse, I feel okay. A 1 day juice cleanse to reset my gut (with all the 17439284 problems I have with it) was a good thing for me to do and I was able to ease myself back into my regular diet the next day with no issues. Let me make this perfectly clear, every body is different. My experience may not be your experience and that’s okay.

First Timer Cleanse, would highly recommend buying your juice to save you the stress!

First Timer Cleanse, would highly recommend buying your juice to save you the stress!

I can definitely see myself doing this every 3 months. My gut health (even after this 1 day juice cleanse!) has seen a difference! I’ve made a drastic intake of water and homemade almond milk into my diet and it’s obvious how helpful it’s been. Would you try a juice cleanse?

Nighttime Routine

Let's talk about Zzz's. 

Today, I'm bringing you my nighttime routine. In December 2017, I took a two week bootcamp course that entailed working out everyday at 6AM. It was...hard, but it made me realize the importance of having a solid nighttime routine to get me ready for the next day. I was not born a morning person, but I definitely believe in making yourself one! Let's get into it.

Why are nighttime routines important?

Having a routine to get a good night's sleep is crucial for setting yourself up for success! Some of you may be able to fall asleep with no prep, some of you might crush 5 episodes on Netflix before you finally give in and close your squinted eyes--whatever you do make sure it's benefiting you and not harming your longtime health. Keeping a consistent bedtime and routine will help ground you when you most need it! This will keep your internal clock in check and help you fall asleep and wake up with ease. 

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How to get started

First, decide what you need to get a good night's rest. For me that means that environment needs to be set up. I find my bedroom light to be a bit harsh, so I've invested in a Ikea lamp that is nice for setting up the mood as well as a lightbulb hanging from the nook above my bed. As some of you may know, I'm really into essential oils (thanks mom) and that it is extremely crucial to my daily life. I have my oil diffuser giving off a scent of Lavender and Cedarwood with the timer set for four hours. I need these two basic elements to get me started, mood lighting and scents. Time permitting, I typically like to drink a soothing tea (think Chamomile/Lavender). I'll put the kettle on and head to the bathroom. I wash my face with a local brand and then use a rosewater toner and follow it with my Curology prescription and then moisturize with a face oil. By the time I'm done with this, the water is typically ready for my tea! I put a few drops of CBD oil under my tongue, this helps to relax me and put me in a more meditative state. I recently started using Badger Natural's Nighttime Balm and really like it! I put it on my wrists, behind my knees and the soles of my feet for maximum benefit. 

Am I done yet? Not quite.

Ever since I was old enough to write, I would. I specifically remember the habit starting in 7th grade. I would journal and call them my letters to God. It's a little bit different now, as I don't start them with "Dear God" anymore, but it's more a recollection of my day. Sometimes I write pages, sometimes I write one sentence. I commit to writing at least something, it's a good practice and I'm a nostalgic binch who likes to read back when I'm bored (read: see my growth). So, now I'm settled, drinking my tea, writing my journal with my head scarf on (gotta keep those edges looking nice). Once this is done, I want to tell you that I read a book and drift off to sleep. Sometimes that's true, sometimes I watch an episode of The Office because it's a classic and it's comforting. 

I do also recommend getting f.lux if you are someone who is constantly looking at the computer screen late at night, as it adjusts the backlight to match indoor lighting. If you're feeling really fancy and want to spend the extra cash, Felix Gray glasses filters blue light and is easier to look at your computer screen no matter what time of day!  

So now what?

Routines are hard and take practice, but you have to start somewhere. Find your comfort zone with how you want to end your night and elaborate from there. You'll be amazed at how much better your next day will be when you get restful sleep coupled with the coziness you bring. Enjoy friends!

Products I mentioned

Plastic Free Week

How much plastic do you use on a daily basis? Do you get an iced coffee every day from Starbucks/Dunkin/your favorite coffee shop? Do you recycle often? What about straws, how many of those do you go through? Now let's talk about products. There's probably plastic in your phone, your shoes, glasses, etc. Even your debit card! According to earthday.org, 91% of plastic waste isn't even recycled! So while most plastic isn't even biodegradable, this waste will literally last billions of years. It seems like plastic pollution is never ending and will always be around us. Don't let that discourage you though. 

Recently, I found myself going through literal bags of recycling on a weekly basis. Curious to how much I actually used after revisiting some shocking facts (like those mentioned above), I challenged myself to go plastic free for one week. A friend also joined in and it helped to have an accountability buddy. The rules were simple. No added plastic. This meant that a container I had bought before the challenge started wasn't going to disqualify me--I truly wanted to see how much I went through in a week. 

This week was challenging! It really made me realize how much plastic I go through individually. From the plastic bags you put your veggies in at the grocery store to unnecessary plastic containers for my vegan pesto I get from Trader Joe's (really, TJs??). I 100% recognize that I carry class privilege in being able to even participate in this challenge and provide plastic free alternatives for myself--this is not doable for everyone. 

Products I used during my Plastic Free Week:

  • S'well water bottle
  • Diva Cup (not planned, but my period started this week!)
  • Hydroflask bottle (for hot drinks)
  • Metal straws
  • Reusable bags (like Stasher)
  • All the tote bags
  • Bamboo Utensils
  • Mason Jar (for water, tea, coffee)
  • Pyrex Food Containers 
  • Metal Straws
  • Cloth bags for veggies/produce

I mistakenly got a cheese stick from the farmers market that came wrapped in plastic--whoops! I also participated in a happy hour before seeing a live podcast taping and the drinks only came in...plastic cups. 

I done messed up

I done messed up

The biggest hurdle that I was worried about was bringing my 24oz Mason jar to coffee shops and asking for my iced tea/iced dirty chai in that. They all complied and that was super nice! The one thing I didn't try was going to Life Alive and ask them to put my smoothie in there, not sure if that one would pass over well, but I'll still definitely try! My bamboo utensils came in handy when I got ice cream at JP Licks and used my spoon instead! Also, I'm not sure if it's me, but ice cream tastes better with bamboo spoons. I noticed my need for takeout also decreased knowing that most of it would come in plastic as well. Grocery shopping took a little extra time as I consciously made wise decisions of what products to actually buy. I was never a huge fan of buying pre chopped/pre cut veggies/produce and now absolutely saw no use for them--especially seeing all the plastic they came in. I tend to buy a lot of frozen veggies and fruits, so I refrained from that this week. In the future, I'll probably buy veggies in bulk and freeze them as soon as they get them!

Loose parsley! Tastes like grass, but it seasons my food so well

Loose parsley! Tastes like grass, but it seasons my food so well

The Takeaway

Living a 100% plastic free life will nearly be impossible in this lifetime--and that's okay. My goal this week was to see how I can reduce my plastic use. Taking the extra time to bring your own cup is worth the reduction in plastic pollution. Not to mention, some stores might even give you a discount if you bring your own reusable cup! There are a lot of cities now that charge for plastic bags and they have the right idea (they also tend to give you .10 discount if you bring your own bag)! Making a conscious effort to reduce your plastic use is better for the longevity of the Earth. It's definitely something that will take practice and it's helped me realize that yes, I should also compost. Again, recognize that living a reduced plastic life is absolutely a privilege and only do it if you have the means. Start small! Get a water bottle if you don't have one, a reusable coffee mug, some grocery bags and then go from there.

Diesel put my iced tea in my mason jar!

Diesel put my iced tea in my mason jar!

As always friends, reduce, reuse, recycle. Do your part and make your corner of the Earth a little more green.

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Period Cups: What, How, Why?

Have you seen that episode of Big Mouth where Jessi gets her period for the first time and a tampon i walking around the city singing Everybody Bleeds? If you haven't, you need to.

I'm here to talk about period cups. The what, the how and the why??

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional (even though my parents are!) and all of this is from my own personal experience. So take it or leave it--and ask your own doc!

I've always been curious about period cups but was extremely skeptical at first because why on earth would I stick a cup up my vagina and leave it there for up to 12 hours. I started my menstruation journey at the ripe age of 12. I loathed the idea of tampons until I got to college (I am not kidding, I truly think this is also a black girl thing, idk). In the past year, I have started to wear Thinx in combination with Lola tampons! I felt great knowing that I was putting in a product that was completely organic into my body and reducing waste with period panties as a nice backup. I should mention that my cycle is not extremely heavy. I have never used a Super tampon in my life, so apologies if I cannot relate. Recently, I got an itch for period cups, they've been around for the past 20 years, but more buzz has been given to them lately.

The Diva Cup!

The Diva Cup!

 

So what is it?

A period cup is a non-toxic, eco-friendly, affordable, and sustainable alternative to tampons and pads! They are typically made out of silicone making it pliable to fold and stick in like you would a tampon as it collects your uterine lining (so fun, right??). 

From doing my own research, I realized for me to do a solid review of the Diva Cup, I needed to test it out for three cycles, minimum. I used my first Diva Cup in March this year. Boston had another weird snow storm and I went to Whole Foods to stock up on food (for no good reason) and as I was in the check out line, it wrapped well into the wellness section and I ended up right next to period products. The Diva Cup and the Lunette Cup were staring in my face. It seemed serendipitous since I had spent my previous snow day researching all about period cups, how to insert them, remove them, which one would be better for me, etc. I picked up the Diva Cup and promised myself that my next cycle I had to try it. 

On March 14, the fateful day came. I read many reviews that inserting your first time, you should try it in the shower. I did my usual routine, took a deep ass breath, propped my leg up on my tub, folded the cup and exhaled as I slid it in my vagina. As I relaxed, it was much easier for me to guide the cup in and rotate it 180 degrees (this helps it suction to your cervix). I still wore my Thinx panties with it the first three cycles, just in case I didn't insert it properly. Needless to say, once it was in there, I couldn't feel it. I was able to go throughout my day and not worry about changing it out every three to four hours (you can leave it in there for up to 12 hours, depending on your flow). Taking out the Diva Cup is similarly not stressful. I watched probably three different youtube videos on how to remove the Diva Cup and also read countless reviews. The easiest method that made sense to me was to squat/hover over my toilet (or opt to do it in the shower!), make the action as if you're about to poop, grab the tab at the bottom of the cup (if you haven't cut it off) and tug on it until you get a grip. By this point, your fingers should be gripping the cup, inside your vagina. From there, guide one finger up to break the suction at the top of the cup--PLEASE DO THIS. If you do not break the suction, it will actually hurt 100x more when you pull it out. From there, dump it out into your toilet and then wash it in the sink! 

Again, depending on how heavy your flow is, I would suggest keeping it in the first time for the full 12 hours, perhaps break it at the 10 hour mark if you're feeling suspicious. The biggest lesson I learned from using the Diva Cup is that you do not bleed as much as you think you do. 

It's really not that big.

It's really not that big.

 

Why Should I use a Period Cup?

  • It's better for the environment and your body! Think about it. Even if you don't use Lola or other cotton menstrual products, that stuff is just plain bad for the Earth and your body! You don't really know what is in your tampon or your pad, but with a period cup, it's all natural and good for your body. Something I noticed from switching from Kotex to Lola/Thinx and now the Diva Cup, a lot of my typical period symptoms have either disappeared or lessened. This, of course, is in tandem of a healthy lifestyle (diet/exercise). 
  • Money, Money, Money. How much money do you spend on period products a month? A year?? With a period cup, you cut that cost significantly down. The upfront cost of a Diva Cup is around $40-$50. If you choose to use period panties in tandem, that may rack up to another $60 for two pairs. This $100 investment is much better in the long run than you constantly spending upwards of $30 a month for...the rest of your bleeding cycle years. 
  • Get more in tune with your cycle. The biggest takeaway I took from using the Diva Cup is how much more connected to my body I am. A tampon or pad can somewhat remove you from the bleeding part of your cycle. With a Diva Cup, I see exactly how much I'm building, the color of the blood, and I just feel really powerful knowing I have more control of my cycle. 

Overall Takeaway

I have now used the Diva Cup for 3 cycles consistently and I am not going back. I still use Thinx, because accidents happen. I order from Lola tampons as needed now and no longer have the subscription. The main reason why I still use Lola tampons? Mainly for yoga, obviously getting upside down and using a period cup isn't the best combo. I would recommend still using a Diva Cup during exercise, as long as you're not getting inverted! I sleep with the cup in, I go to work with the cup in, I go swimming with the cup in--the cup is amazing!  There is certainly a bit of learning curve, but don't give up. 3 cycles to get used to it is the recommended number. You may need more than that, that's okay. Take your time, this is worth the investment. 

What other questions do you have about period cups? Have you used it? Let me know! 

Helpful links:

Self Care Monday

Hi! I did something that I rarely do and took a day off work. I talk so much about self care and truly wish I could be better at it. On a typical work day (if I'm not teaching yoga), I'll wake up around 7:30/8:00 and do some yoga at home and then hop in the shower. I really try and eat breakfast before I leave for work or pack a breakfast to go with me. Nothing fancy, sometimes it's just avocado toast, if I have more time I like to make something more elaborate like pancakes or breakfast burritos! Lately, I'm a huge fan of drinking some sort of tea/hot water and apple cider vinegar/mushroom drink in the morning to get my immune system in check. The one thing I have learned from my job is that I have a somewhat weak immune system, so I really try to prevent sickness (especially since I travel a lot) in many ways.

For my Self Care Monday, I woke up around 9:00AM (shoutout to jet lag) and stared at my phone for a solid 30 minutes before realizing that is exactly what I shouldn't be doing to start my day. When I start my day out with the intention of waking up my system by light stretching, yoga, turning on my oil diffuser and grabbing some water--I just feel lighter. I realized that there was no way I could pull myself together to make the 10:00AM hot yoga class so I decided to make my grocery list and drink some Chaga Mushroom tea to prep for the 12:00PM hot yoga class! 

Four Sigmatic:  Chaga Mushroom Elixir Mix

So, after procrastinating a bit, I made my meal plan for the week. If you work with me, you know I'm particular about my monthly meal plan. I focused on a lot of comfort food. I have been traveling the past three weeks for work and it feels nice to know that I'll be here for awhile. I went to a Market Basket about 15 minutes away because I knew I would ultimately save myself way more money going there than the Whole Foods a solid 2 minute drive from my place. 

Turns out shopping with a list makes grocery shopping that much easier! I was in and out within 30 minutes. To reward myself before going to yoga, I obviously stopped by Union Square Donuts to munch on a Vanilla Bean donut before sweating it all out on my mat. 

How could I not stop by???

How could I not stop by???

Next up! Hot vinyasa yoga at CorePower Yoga--Medford. It's one of my favorite places and makes me feel grounded every time I walk in, whether I'm teaching or just flowing. The community here is strong and has made me recommit to myself every single day. 

So that was basically my afternoon. After an extremely invigorating flow, I stopped by the Whole Foods (yes, the one 2 minutes from my place) to get the rest of the groceries I couldn't get at Market Basket. My entire haul of groceries made me extremely happy. Since I became a vegetarian last April, I have been obsessed with cooking. It makes me feel comforted and I can literally get lost in the smells of what I'm making. As a quick snack after my shower and before I started to clean, cook, organize; I made two fried eggs and toasted my favorite rosemary ciabatta bread from Birchtree Bread Company. I could feel some inflammation pop up in my chest (probably a result of me eating a donut before practicing yoga in an extremely hot room) so I made some turmeric milk tea! I've written about turmeric before, but it's a great anti inflammatory adaptogen that helps with keeping my acid reflux at ease. 

turmeric milk tea. can you tell i'm obsessed with portrait mode?

turmeric milk tea. can you tell i'm obsessed with portrait mode?

Thus began all the cooking. I made a lot. Sweet potato burgers, jollof rice, fried plantain (or Dodo for you Naija folks), vegan breakfast burrito prep and dreamed about making a dessert but honestly, it wasn't going to happen. I spent about roughly 3 hours in the kitchen and even had to make another trip to Whole Foods (rolling my eyes at my damn self) because I forgot habanero peppers for the rice. I felt really good and very much in my element while dancing to my March playlist and switching to Parenthood so I could be in my feels (it was a Virgo Full Moon, okay). The end result was magical as I scarfed down the most delicious veggie burger I have probably ever made and a traditional Naija meal.  

my ancestors are applauding somewhere

my ancestors are applauding somewhere

I'm definitely a clean at the end of you making a mess type of cook and I stand by it. After cleaning, I started to make my yoga sequence and playlist for the month of March and focused on the intention of being deliberate with movements. Every action has a reaction, so I chose really opposing poses to see how it would feel in my body (and hopefully my students!). If you're interesting in trying out the flow, come take a class (or maybe persuade me to finally make a YouTube channel)! I finished off my night by unpacking from my last work trip, cleaning up a bit and making an Aloe Vera Clay mask. I started Season 1 of Take My Wife by Rhea Butcher and Cameron Esposito while waiting for the mask to work its magic and make me look dewy. 

aloe vera is super interesting and has hella benefits! would absolutely recommend using on your skin, hair, your life, etc.

aloe vera is super interesting and has hella benefits! would absolutely recommend using on your skin, hair, your life, etc.

After washing my face mask off, I started my bedtime routines. I put lavender in my oil diffuser, brushed my teeth and flossed, prepped my work bag, prepped my yoga bag, prepped my breakfast/lunch for the next day. I journaled, I read and inevitably ended up watching The Office as I drifted to sleep. 

All in all, it was a good Self Care Monday. Self care to me is very active. A lot of it is me listening to music and dancing around or cooking or reading. Sometimes it's me going for a drive just because, or eating a donut before yoga class because why not? It's smart to take off days from work, even if it's every few months. Maybe you just veg out, maybe you run some errands, maybe you watch an entire season of BoJack Horseman--find whatever feels good. 

What does your Self Care Monday look like?

Turmeric Tonic

A wellness trend that you may have been seeing recently is the powerful spice: turmeric. People sprinkle it in their rice, roast their vegetables in it and even make tea with it! Turmeric is a powerful spice with lots of good health benefits. It's known for it's massive antioxidant content and ability to work as an anti-inflammatory. It's also a great immunity booster and even helps lower cholesterol. 

To help ward off sickness when I start to feel it come on (thanks New England winter) I've started to drink a Turmeric Tonic that helps ward off any sick feeling! It is basically flu season from October until April, so guard yourself with some natural supplements before you reach for OTC (over the counter) solutions.

This recipe was adapted from the Minimalist Baker one found here.

So basically I don't really use measuring cups when cooking unless I'm baking. I'm definitely a "shake the seasoning until your ancestors tell you to stop" type of cook. 

 

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Ingredients

  • A spoonful of ground turmeric
  • A spoonful of cinnamon
  • 2 fingers wide of chopped up (or grated) ginger
  • 2-3 cups of water, however you're feeling!
  • The juice of one whole lemon
  • Add in cayenne for that extra kick! (you can also leave this out)
  • Honey to sweeten!

 

Boil all of this on your stove and it should only roughly take 5-8 minutes. Pour it through a strainer and voila, you have your turmeric tonic!

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