Juicing for Beginners-Part I

I was first introduced to juicing about 4 years ago and have grown to prefer drinking my veggies and fruits over eating them, mainly because they surprising taste better as juice, but also because I am able to fully absorb more nutrients. Before I ever made my first juice, I read “21 Pounds in 21 Days” by Dr. Roni DeLuz. This book did a phenomenal job of explaining illness, how our bodies work, and how to restore our bodies back to an alkaline state. It also went into detail about her 21 day juice detox and came equipped recipes as well. Single handedly, this book is responsible for opening my eyes to the world of self-healing via honoring our temple with foods provided by nature, and I highly recommend that anyone interested in taking a proactive stance in their health make time to read this publication.

Cover of "21 Pounds in 21 Days: The Marth...

Cover via Amazon

I first became interested in alternative health during the process of my daddy being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. When the doctors were reluctant to answer my question as to why/how a mass—as they refused to even use the word cancer at first—could grow inside a person’s body for years and that individual be totally unaware; I started conducting my own research and essentially learned that it’s because we consume “food” that our bodies weren’t created to digest. When our body is unable to properly break down what we consume, then the matter remains and sits inside of us, quite often turning cancerous, among other things.

I am often reluctant to have conversations with individuals about this because we are so programmed to believe that we can (A) take a magic pill to alleviate any health issue we have and (B) we can just pray about it and hope for the best. Both of these options exclude the acceptance of responsibility for the things we eat. We don’t want to believe we don’t have to get sick, because in the presence of this belief lies the responsibility of ceasing to eat what we’ve always eaten. No one wants to hear it’s their fault they got sick—that the years of eating all of the sweets, fast foods and processed foods have come to back to haunt us. Yes, the entity designed to regulate our food, and interestingly, also our drugs-the FDA holds some responsibility in ensuring that the “food” provided to us is safe, however when we learn that the bottom line of business is money and not health; we can’t continue to blindly push the blame.

Ok, this post was supposed to be about juicing because I’ve been asked by several people to give them some tips on how to get started, but in my quest to give some back ground information; I’ve gotten off on a tangent. Nevertheless, I hope the preceding information has helped someone or at the very least sparked enough curiosity that it propels you to conduct some research of your own to better understand the connection between what we consume and the alarming numbers of people who are getting sick these days.  If you are a patron of the “I gotta die of something” tribe, I beg you to change your membership, as I watched my daddy die a death so painful that I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

God didn’t create us to suffer. In life or in death. Love yourself enough to become informed and make the necessary changes. My eating is far from perfect and every day is struggle because deprogramming is a difficult process, however little changes here and there is better than slowly dying in ignorance.

I will write a part 2 containing some tips to get you starting with juicing.

 

Sincerely,

Shanika

 

loveyourself

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I’m the Grinch

My paternal grandparents had 3 children: my dad (the eldest) and 2 girls. Growing up, I spent holidays with my paternals and as a result, those experiences shaped my definition of “the holidays,” which included gigantic family dinners (that I helped prepared when I became old enough and had permission to enter my grandmother’s kitchen), lots of love, laughter, and life!

This time of year was something I always looked forward to as a child.

Life changed and God decided to take the youngest girl in 2007, my dad in 2008, and my grandmother in 2009. As you can probably imagine, things are much different, and as a result; I am not in a festive mood this year. But it’s 2013, right???

For reasons I won’t list publicly, this holiday season is one of the toughest I’ve experienced since 2009 to the point where I really just want to go to sleep and not awake until January 2, 2014.

Yes, I have my daughter, the light of my life, but as far as she’s concerned; all of her days are filled with love, laughter, and life, as she is oblivious to what Christmas is because she experiences blessings daily. Children as young as she have Christmas everyday! 🙂

I’ve been pretty emotional today and just wanted to post to say: those damn presents do not matter. I’m not speaking to what you can or can’t afford. I’m speaking to the true spirit and meaning of Christmas: the giving of unconditional love, the traditions, the joke telling, sitting around watching the parades and games, spending time with the people who you love the most.

Those of us engrossed in the the grieving process (which lasts a lifetime) would return every gift to have our loved ones back.

Those who have family members who are deployed would give up those stupid, cheesy decked halls to be in the presence of their loved ones.

Those who are unable to travel home because of work and/or obligations would love to take for granted the feast that’s prepared. And to be able to eat it with their family.

Those who are homeless don’t really care about having the latest gadgets that will soon be forgotten next month when the next new thing comes out.

Think about that when you’re consumed with consumerism. Materials don’t matter, but moments do.

While I am a self-proclaimed grinch (and rightfully so, in my opinion); I’m thankful I still remember the reason for the season.

Sending my prayers, love, and hugs to everyone out there who can relate.

 

Shanika

thegrinch

Holy, Holes, Whole~Part II

Given the imperfect nature of life, the process of being poked, prodded and left filled with holes, reconnection with God, and subsequently made whole again is something that occurs during the continuum of a lifetime. Therefore, in my opinion, the goal shouldn’t be to attain a staunch position of holiness, but an ever-growing, ever-evolving posture of seeking to pour out the negative and refill with new vision and insight into the nature of God. Our stance should be one of earnestly seeking to know more of Him, to become more and more like Him daily with a humbly submissive, dependent nature that won’t allow us to become so Biblically elite that we turn away those who need God most.

So how do we do this?

1. Never forget from where you come. Remembering how much you’ve learned and grown over the years will allow you to remain humble, and thus open to learning and growing more. This will allow your spiritual nature to continually evolve.

2. Tell your story. By allowing those who may be struggling alone in the dark stumbling over the same lessons over and over to hear your personal story, it will normalize what they are going through and they can feel more confident knowing they aren’t really alone in their struggles. It will also give you a feeling of accomplishment knowing you were able to help another person begin the process of becoming whole. Sharing is healing.

3. Don’t get caught up in memorizing the text. Regurgitation by definition is a natural release of all that is bad, so why would you merely want to vomit out a scripture given the valuable nature of its content? Take some time to go deeper to understand the meaning and apply the meaning to how you live your life. Everyone who comes in contact with you should come in contact with the Bible through normal everyday interaction, not simply because you are “preaching a sermon.” Actions speak louder.

4. Throw out the notion that you have to be perfect. I’m not certain where this theory came from; perhaps it’s a twisted view of the concept of being Christ-like. While striving for perfection is perfectly okay, remember that the beauty of life rests in our ability to continually develop. Once that halts because of achieving nirvana, we die. In order to truly live, you mustn’t ever stop learning and given that there’s always something to learn; accept that you won’t ever be perfect.

5. Love more, judge less. To my knowledge, God hasn’t died (and remained dead, depending on your beliefs), which means His position isn’t vacant. If you focus more on loving your brothers and sisters as is (the way God loves you), then there will be less time to pick apart their faults. We all come up short at some point in time, so give a little grace and focus on loving the person despite their holes. Besides, how can you judge someone when you aren’t, nor have you ever been, or will ever be perfect? A wise man once told me, “I’m going to do the loving and let God do the judging.”

Through it all we must be thankful for grace and mercy because without it, we would have less bullet points on our list of achievements. The process of spiritual development is one on which many of us long to progress. Progression can be very difficult because rigid belief systems are by nature prohibitive. We must remember to remain open to new perspectives, new experiences, and new insight, as they all have a place at the table of righteousness. Your whole-self will thank you and before you know it you will be surrounded by wholesome people.

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Holy, Holes, Whole~Part I

The Process of Spiritual Development

I’d be willing to bet we all know people who can recite Biblical scriptures as fluidly as they can say their names. Many times these people are also able to eloquently explain their interpretations of those scriptures. The ability to accurately quote scripture is held in high regard by many, as it is the expectation of those who choose to live according to this text to fervently study it daily, with the assumption they will be able to communicate what they’ve learned to others.

If you aren’t as well versed on the Bible, inadequacies can creep in during conversations with the Biblical elite, even when you know the message you’ve verbalized is well thought out, logical, and accurate in terms of the meaning and application of the Word. In some communities the inability to quote scripture is something that is frowned upon, and voice of those unable to do so discredited. There are others who are more concerned with living out the essence of what it means to “treat those the way you want to be treated,” as opposed to merely spewing the words. Of course we know those whose regurgitation raises more hell than heaven, which often times contradicts any good intentions, leaving many disenchanted with all things holy.

The last year of my life has been somewhat of a metamorphosis as I searched to reevaluate and make sense of my purpose and direction. For those who are looking to live a life of meaning, I’ve found we often reach a crossroad where we want to evaluate and reevaluate to make sure our lives continue on the right track and on task with the reason for which we were created. During my self-assessment, one of the most transformative lessons I learned was that God can’t use perfect people. A recent conversation birthed this message to me: “This isn’t for the holy. This is for people with holes who need to be made whole again.”

This was liberating for me because it allowed me to see the purpose in my pain, the value in my voids, and welcoming of my wounds. Sometimes we have to be broken down to absolutely nothing so God can show us how miraculously marvelous He is, all by Himself. When we have so many holes that all guilt, pain, disappointments, unfulfilled promises, closed doors, misunderstandings, abandonment, neglect, abuse, misuse, manipulation, lies, deceit, tears, loneliness, depression, stagnation, unanswered questions, and every toxin that poisoned our body can finally be poured out. After this purification occurs, God refills us with love, forgiveness, resolution, fulfillment, open doors, surplus, honor, integrity, enlightenment, renewal, joy, truth, smiles, laughs, security, forward motion, answers, and healing, thereby making us whole.

Given the imperfect nature of life, this process of being poked, prodded and left filled with holes, reconnection with God, and subsequently made whole again is something that occurs during the continuum of a lifetime. Therefore, in my opinion, the goal shouldn’t be to attain a staunch position of holiness, but an ever-growing, ever-evolving posture of seeking to pour out the negative and refill with new vision and insight into the nature of God. Our stance should be one of earnestly seeking to know more of Him, to become more and more like Him daily with a humbly submissive, dependent nature that won’t allow us to become so Biblically elite that we turn away those who need God most.

holyholeswhole

Christian or Insecure

Quite often I am baffled by those who proclaim to be Christian. In my mind, a Christian is someone who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their life. In order for this to happen, one must admit they are nothing without Him and in Him have everything. If this is truly the case, why would anyone who is a Christian portray themselves as better than someone who is not as far along on his or her Christian journey as they are (this is a loaded question in and of itself, as no one can really know the intricate details of the relationship between another person and Christ, however for the purposes of the point I am about to make; let’s assume these Christians are basing their assumptions off of the sins another has committed—I know, I know, but bare with me… ;))? How can you be better when, by your own confession and submission, you are nothing without Christ, meaning you are who you are and have what you have SOLELY because of Him?

(meditate on that for a minute)
Is it human nature to became arrogant and forget the dependent nature of a Christ-led life? Do we get amnesia and begin to believe we have what we have because of our hard work and good decision making? We’ve done the right things and viola, we have a great life! Why does there appear to be a need to put down another, however passive-aggressively, when professing the goodness of God manifested in our lives? Why not just give our testimony without the low-key snubs? What’s that all about?

Are we truly Christians or are we insecure in who we are? Or is it both? Insecurity often brings about unsolicited competition stemming from looking around at others and seeing in them what we wish we possessed. Not that the Christian journey is a perfect one, as there will still be trials; but if our lives are truly submitted on the altar, shouldn’t we always have joy even during our trial periods? We know God is with us right? If we truly have joy why put down another person?

There’s nothing wrong with Godly correction, that’s not what this is about. If I have learned a valuable lesson, it’s then my responsibility to share it with you. However, under no circumstances is it okay for me to address you in a manner that suggests I am higher up on the hierarchy of heaven than you are.

Comparison and competition is running rampant through churches. Sanctuaries aren’t always a sanctuary from the world. Sometimes the toughest battles are fought within God’s house because God’s imperfect people forget we are imperfect. We forget that it’s only through grace and mercy that we have the lives we have in the first place. No person’s decision making is so great that they can avoid all negativity. It’s not that we are good that great things happen for and to us, but that the God we serve is good that He allows His greatness to shine through us by granting to us favor. In turn, we are to give Him the glory.

Let’s try to remember that when we get so caught up in our seemingly perfect lives because in the blink of an eye, your world as you know it can change and you can be living a life you’d never thought you would.

I know this from experience.

Be humble and be honored. (Wash.Rinse.Repeat.)

AUTHOR’S EDIT: This post stemmed from a real-life event, however it would be less than fair not to point out that any situation in which a person has to put down another in a passive-aggressive ploy to somehow compliment themselves is an indication of low self esteem. We can pat ourselves on the back for our accomplishments if we so choose, however we should be able to do so without speaking negatively about anyone. The only competition that exist is within our minds, as each person has a unique purpose. Just because we both deliver pizzas, for example, doesn’t mean I need to speak badly about your business because it’s operated differently from mine. There are people only I can reach and the same in true for you.

God’s blessings are INFINITE ;~)!!!

christianorinsecure

The First Delta I’ve Ever Loved

22 Founders of Delta Sigma Theta taken in 1913

22 Founders of Delta Sigma Theta taken in 1913 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course my earliest memory of you is in your kitchen, the place where many of our insightful conversations took place. The place where you told me it was great to be intelligent, but I also needed to know how to cook. The place where I trained and became a chef in my own right. The place where love and nurturing took place for all who passed through the threshold of your home.

Shaped to its Purpose, a fifty year history of...

Shaped to its Purpose, a fifty year history of Delta Sigma Theta by Mary Elizabeth Vroman published in 1965. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Words aren’t adequate enough to express how much I miss you and wish you had lived long enough to see me produce your namesake, however as we celebrate the centennial anniversary of the founding of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated; I can’t help but to reminisce about you.

As I remember the countless times I helped you deliver food to the elderly through the Meals on Wheels program, the countless clothing drives I assisted with at the church, or the times when you proudly strutted up to the voting booths; I never realized you were showing me the prototype of a woman of Delta and for what she stood and represented. I definitely can’t forget the times I would become angry at you when those women came to the house and I wasn’t allowed in the kitchen while you all did what I called the A E O (pronounced phonetically) work. I didn’t know what the heck that funny looking A E O meant, couldn’t figure out who would incorrectly write the alphabet and why they would do something like that, and didn’t even realized the letters weren’t A, E, or O; but I knew I wanted to become one, as these were the women I always saw doing the work in the community.

As I became older, I noticed many of my teachers were A, E, Os. Even a principal who paddled me often was one (back then we were given discipline in schools). I remember seeing a program for an event and learned the name was Delta Sigma Theta (I still couldn’t put together where the letters A E O came from–lol) and listed on the program were names I recognized from various schools, churches, and other businesses. WOW! This was an amazing group of women!

You never answered any of my questions about this group and now I understand why. You showed me who a Delta woman was through your work in the church, home, community, and through your work as a special education teacher. Thank you for letting me visit your classroom and teaching me that all children were beautiful, despite what the world thought of them. Even when the school placed you and the children in the basement because they didn’t think much would come of those children; you created an environment that not only incited learning, but it was a warm, nurturing and exciting place to be–I’ve never seen children so happy to be in a basement! I even wished I had class down there! You taught me creative ways to teach others. Amazing how that all works out.

Thank you for teaching me about Christ. Lord knows there are countless times throughout my life I wouldn’t have made it through without Him.

I feel so honored to have ever been in your presence because you taught through example. As few as they may have been, your words were always powerful, however soft. They also were cryptic, as you wanted me to seek knowledge instead of it being handed to me. You had a quiet passion that could erupt if provoked that let the entire room know you meant business!!! Thanks for showing me the many facets of womanhood. You didn’t let the times in which you grew up hinder you from becoming what God intended for you to be and while Delta was only one part of your life; I appreciate having an example that the mission is bigger than the aesthetic and fun privileges of the organization.

As we celebrate 100 years of Sisterhood, Scholarship, and Service; it is most appropriate I send up a shout out to the first Delta I’ve ever loved!

Thank you for being you!

 

thefirstdeltaieverloved

The Next Lesson

I think it’s easier to forgive others than it is to forgive yourself. At least I know this is true for me. I am so hard on myself that when I do or say something I think isn’t the best representative of my true self; it is virtually impossible for me to let go and forgive me. I set the bar so high for myself that when I miss it, it’s hard to bounce back because I beat up myself for missing the mark. Why is that?

Forgiveness lesson from flowers

Forgiveness lesson from flowers (Photo credit: juliejordanscott)

Control~I am control freak. Since I am in control of and responsible for my choices and because I am not the type of person to play the victim, when I make what I think is a bad decision; I consider it solely my fault, even if others are involved in the situation. I will forgive them and make provisions for them I don’t allow myself to have. So how do I forgive myself, given I know God will forgive me if I ask?

I don’t know, but I do know that I want to know. How do you forgive yourself? What does that process look like for you?

 

Forgiveness of self: the next lesson for me to learn.

thenextlesson