Aren’t you tired of crashing before noon and needing a coffee refill multiple times throughout the day?

Believe it or not, the more coffee you consume on a daily basis, the more dependent your body becomes on that caffeine-fix.

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Trust me. I’ve been through caffeine withdrawal and it is not pretty. Headaches. On top of headaches. Anger. Fatigue. I thought I’d never make it through.

And this was just from a month of drinking coffee consistently every morning.

But then I discovered the power of smoothies and how they could not only help me feel confident in how I started my morning but they also gave me a longer-lasting energy throughout the day.

Foods like cacao, Goji berries, hemp seed, and blueberries make me feel alive. Coffee just makes me feel like my eyes won’t stop moving unless I go to sleep.

I know how hard it is to take a break from coffee, but it is so worth it. Eating fresh, raw ingredients immediately gives you a boost of energy and makes you feel clean throughout your body.

Here, I have put together some of my favorite smoothie recipes that give me that good ol’ energy that lasts longer than the 45 minutes I get from coffee.

Enjoy!

NOTE: For all recipes, combine ingredients using a high speed blender. Be careful not to over-blend ingredients and if using frozen fruits/veggies, thawing may be necessary.


Green Clarity Smoothie

Packed with leafy greens that will clean you out, blueberries for extra energy, and ginger for an extra zing!

SERVINGS: 1

1/4 cup dandelion greens
1/2 cup spinach
1/2 cup kale
1/2 cup blueberry
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1 tbsp ginger
water


Berries Berries Berries

Antioxidant rich and naturally tangy, berries are a great way to start your day.

SERVINGS: 1

1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup goji berries
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup raspberries (or kiwi)
1 tspn ginger
ice


Papaya All Through Me Smoothie

This simple smoothie will give you that push you need for consistent bowel movements while also providing antioxidants and anti-cancer properties.

SERVINGS: 1

1 1/2 cup papaya
1 cup coconut water
1 tbsp chia seeds
ice


Kick Ass Cacao Smoothie

If you want a real bang of energy, then skip the chocolate and use raw cacao bits. Rich in antioxidants, zinc, magnesium, dietary fiber and other nutrients, this superfood will give your body a natural boost that feels - and almost tastes - like coffee.

SERVINGS: 1

1/4 cup raw cacao bits
1 cup almond milk
4 baby bananas
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp cinnamon
water


Spinach Me Green Smoothie

Another leafy green smoothie that with the avocado, makes a creamy breakfast.

SERVINGS: 1

3 baby bananas
1 cup kale
1/4 avocado
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
water

Feelin' Smooth Strawberry Coconut Smoothie

This one is all about the coconut milk. A fourth cup of coconut milk contains 27 percent of your recommended daily intake of manganese, which controls your blood sugar and boosts your metabolism. Not only will you feel balanced energetically, but you'll burn fat throughout the day.

1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup strawberries
1 palm of cacao bits
2 baby bananas
1 tbsp cinnamon
water

Sometimes energy is more or less a state of mind. Eating foods that are high in sugar, salt, or fat overwork the body and prevent it from using its energy efficiently. However, a diet rich in whole, raw foods pushes the body to rid itself of toxins and run more smoothly.

Ease off the caffeine slowly by replacing your coffee with a smoothie at least once a week. Your body will tell you what is best for you.

Which of these recipes is your favorite? Share in the comments!
************************
Ariel is a writer, lover, and certified personal trainer. With a passion for helping others improve their quality of life, she uses her knowledge and writing to connect with other women (and men) looking to change their lives. If you're in need of inspiration on love, strength, or confidence, check out her blog, The Freewoman Diaries or her YouTube Channel here. For personal training inquiries or life advice, send her an email: freewomandiaries AT gmail DOT com.


Aren’t you tired of crashing before noon and needing a coffee refill multiple times throughout the day?

Believe it or not, the more coffee you consume on a daily basis, the more dependent your body becomes on that caffeine-fix.

Continue Reading


Trust me. I’ve been through caffeine withdrawal and it is not pretty. Headaches. On top of headaches. Anger. Fatigue. I thought I’d never make it through.

And this was just from a month of drinking coffee consistently every morning.

But then I discovered the power of smoothies and how they could not only help me feel confident in how I started my morning but they also gave me a longer-lasting energy throughout the day.

Foods like cacao, Goji berries, hemp seed, and blueberries make me feel alive. Coffee just makes me feel like my eyes won’t stop moving unless I go to sleep.

I know how hard it is to take a break from coffee, but it is so worth it. Eating fresh, raw ingredients immediately gives you a boost of energy and makes you feel clean throughout your body.

Here, I have put together some of my favorite smoothie recipes that give me that good ol’ energy that lasts longer than the 45 minutes I get from coffee.

Enjoy!

NOTE: For all recipes, combine ingredients using a high speed blender. Be careful not to over-blend ingredients and if using frozen fruits/veggies, thawing may be necessary.


Green Clarity Smoothie

Packed with leafy greens that will clean you out, blueberries for extra energy, and ginger for an extra zing!

SERVINGS: 1

1/4 cup dandelion greens
1/2 cup spinach
1/2 cup kale
1/2 cup blueberry
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1 tbsp ginger
water


Berries Berries Berries

Antioxidant rich and naturally tangy, berries are a great way to start your day.

SERVINGS: 1

1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup goji berries
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup raspberries (or kiwi)
1 tspn ginger
ice


Papaya All Through Me Smoothie

This simple smoothie will give you that push you need for consistent bowel movements while also providing antioxidants and anti-cancer properties.

SERVINGS: 1

1 1/2 cup papaya
1 cup coconut water
1 tbsp chia seeds
ice


Kick Ass Cacao Smoothie

If you want a real bang of energy, then skip the chocolate and use raw cacao bits. Rich in antioxidants, zinc, magnesium, dietary fiber and other nutrients, this superfood will give your body a natural boost that feels - and almost tastes - like coffee.

SERVINGS: 1

1/4 cup raw cacao bits
1 cup almond milk
4 baby bananas
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp cinnamon
water


Spinach Me Green Smoothie

Another leafy green smoothie that with the avocado, makes a creamy breakfast.

SERVINGS: 1

3 baby bananas
1 cup kale
1/4 avocado
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
water

Feelin' Smooth Strawberry Coconut Smoothie

This one is all about the coconut milk. A fourth cup of coconut milk contains 27 percent of your recommended daily intake of manganese, which controls your blood sugar and boosts your metabolism. Not only will you feel balanced energetically, but you'll burn fat throughout the day.

1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup strawberries
1 palm of cacao bits
2 baby bananas
1 tbsp cinnamon
water

Sometimes energy is more or less a state of mind. Eating foods that are high in sugar, salt, or fat overwork the body and prevent it from using its energy efficiently. However, a diet rich in whole, raw foods pushes the body to rid itself of toxins and run more smoothly.

Ease off the caffeine slowly by replacing your coffee with a smoothie at least once a week. Your body will tell you what is best for you.

Which of these recipes is your favorite? Share in the comments!
************************
Ariel is a writer, lover, and certified personal trainer. With a passion for helping others improve their quality of life, she uses her knowledge and writing to connect with other women (and men) looking to change their lives. If you're in need of inspiration on love, strength, or confidence, check out her blog, The Freewoman Diaries or her YouTube Channel here. For personal training inquiries or life advice, send her an email: freewomandiaries AT gmail DOT com.
Photo Source: Vulture

R. Kelly is certainly a divisive person when it comes to his connection with ephebophilia. There are usually two camps: those that defend him as fans of his music and those that have no tolerance for his behavior with minors. Ever since his 2008 trial on child pornography, that debate has heightened and still remains a hot point today. He has since been acquitted of such charges, but the effect of that infamous sex tape has not faded away in the public eye.

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Cut to now, where the stakes have gotten much higher. According to several parents’ reports to police, the R&B self-proclaimed “Pied Piper” is being accused of running a “cult” for teens and subjecting them to emotional and sexual abuse. Additionally, Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones and Asante McGee have provided more details from their perspective as former members of Kelly’s inner circle.

“R. Kelly is the sweetest person you will ever want to meet,” said McGee. “But Robert is the devil.”

Per the three former inner circle members, Kelly oversees the “cult” full of teens that he dubs his “babies” which reportedly includes acts of sexual training of the teens by a “den mother,” videotaping sexual acts to be later shown to Kelly’s friends, and controlling rules such as having to notify Kelly when they want to leave the studio or their assigned rooms. Any deviation from the “house rules” are allegedly means to punishment.

Mack shut down any perspective groupie fantasies about R. Kelly who hope to live a “lavish” lifestyle once they become connected with the singer. “No. You have to ask for food. You have to ask to go use the bathroom. … [Kelly] is a master at mind control. ... He is a puppet master,” Mack said.

In one instance, a couple parents noted their daughter -- an aspiring singer -- once lied to them about a weekend trip to visit a college, but was in fact planning to visit Kelly in a trip arranged by Mack. There were even phone recordings obtained between the daughter and Kelly in which Kelly said things like, ““I want you to get in the habit of telling me what color panties you got on every day.” He also noted, I’m more interested in developing you. Songs are not an issue. We can always do a hit song.”

This is just one of the many similar stories about young girls led astray toward a man who is reportedly a master at mind controlling vulnerable teens. As someone who is roughly 50 years old at this point and a superstar, there is a significant power dynamic in play in Kelly’s favor.

Contrastly, Kelly has maintained his innocence ever since the infamous trial for which has acquitted. “We can only wonder why folks would persist in defaming a great artist who loves his fans, works 24/7, and takes care of all of the people in his life,” wrote R. Kelly’s attorney Linda Mensch, in a statement to Buzzfeed News. “He works hard to become the best person and artist he can be. It is interesting that stories and tales debunked many years ago turn up when his goal is to stop the violence; put down the guns; and embrace peace and love. I suppose that is the price of fame. Like all of us, Mr. Kelly deserves a personal life. Please respect that.”

Source: Buzzfeed News

What do you think about these new allegations? Let’s discuss in the comments!
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Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director living in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. She is the co-host of the movie review podcast, Cinema Bun Podcast. She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre. You can follow her on Twitter @EmbraceTheJ, on Facebook FB.com/tstidhum, and Instagram @embracethej. You can find more of her work on her About Me page, https://about.me/tonjareneestidhum.

Earlier this week, rapper, T-Hood, posted a video of actress, Maia Campbell, pumping his gas and saying she wanted some crack. In the video, Campbell is clearly missing a tooth and is barely dressed in a bra and spandex shorts.

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It wasn't long before the video went viral. Right now, a search of 'Maia Campbell' on YouTube yields more than 800 results for videos posted this week.

If you're not familiar with who Maia Campbell is, she played the role of Nicole on the 90's show, South Central. She also appeared on Iyanla Vanzant's show, Fix My Life back in 2012, detailing her battle with bipolar disorder.

LL Cool J, who was Campbell's co-star on another 90's show, In the House, attempted to get in contact with the actress through Instagram writing, "If anyone has a contact on Maia pls let me know... " In response to the video posted by T-Hood, LL also took to Twitter: “Instead of pulling out your phone and filming someone who’s obviously having trouble. Maybe lend a helping hand? A kind word?”

As Campbell revealed in Fix My Life, she stopped taking her medication for bipolar disorder, which eventually led to her losing custody of her daughter, Elizabeth Elisha Gutierrez. Campbell has been in rehab before for drug addiction, but has relapsed multiple times.

Rapper T-Hood, who also filmed Campbell denying help from LL, has received a mountain of backlash on social media. Many people felt that he was exploiting Campbell's mental illness for views and was wrong to film her in the state that she was in.

T-Hood responded to the criticism in a video stating that he's known Campbell from "the block for years" and that she is not suffering from an illness, but that "... this b***h is just high as f**k". He even went as far to say that if she was white, like "Hilary Duff", and not black, viewers would care less.

Instead of using Campbell's life as a source of entertainment, it should be a call to action in the black community. Not another community issue that gets twisted into a race issue and deflects our focus away from opening our hearts to those who obviously need support. The worst that can happen is someone be considered a "lost cause" because they are struggling to deal with the stress of losing their mother, their daughter, and their career while also battling a mental illness.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, people with bipolar disorder may use drugs to help "control their moods or treat their symptoms". However, this will only make their illness worse, potentially leading to "more frequent relapses", thus creating a cycle of mood swings, drug addiction, rehab, erratic behavior, and relapse.

The constant re-posting of this video sheds light not only on the MIS-education of folks on mental illnesses, but also to the stigma around black mental health and its intersection with drug addiction.

If you don't remember, crack was brought into black and brown communities - after white people fled for the suburbs - and was followed by the mass incarceration of black and brown men and women. The crack epidemic of the 80's and 90's is still haunting us in 2017 and unfortunately, its victims are faced with hurt and criticism when they really just need help.

This is an inter-generational issue and like so many other problems that plague the black community, has been normalized and transformed into a topic of comedy, i.e., the term "crackhead" and movies like Friday.

With the normalization and mockery of such issues also comes denial, from both the sufferer and the observer.

T-Hood initially denied that Campbell had a mental illness until social media dragged him after which he had a change of mind, apologized to social media, and offered to take her to rehab if LL Cool J did not reach out to him.

Social media is obviously not the space - nor safe - for individuals with mental illness to seek help. Platforms like Instagram and Twitter, when used outside of private messaging, can put victims of media exploitation, like Campbell, in a vulnerable position, compromising their willingness to seek help or be helped. When a community lacks the knowledge and skills necessary to have a real discourse around mental illnesses, like bipolar disorder, its members perpetuation of stigma associated with mental health.

Campbell's own response to LL Cool J's offer to help can be seen as an extension of stigma around black mental health from being solely external to the individual, to existing within that person. She makes it clear in another video filmed by T-Hood that she does not actually want to connect with LL. Although there is truth in LL's statement that "you can't help someone who doesn't want your help," it does not mean that the community should give up on people like Maia Campbell.

It is unfortunate that there are so many people out there in the world like Campbell who are addicted to drugs or alcohol and have a co-existing mental health condition. To expand your knowledge on mental illness, here are some articles from the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses' website:

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Ariel is a 23-year old SoCal native, working professional, and Alumna of the University of California, Berkeley. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and through her studies, acquired a passion for gaining knowledge that would improve the quality of her life and further allow her to interact with and touch people in a positive way. You can follow her own blog, The Freewoman Diaries, at www.thefreewomandiaries.com

I've been thinking a lot lately about stress. First it was singer Brandy who recently collapsed on a plane due to the stress of traveling and working incessantly, says her publicist, and not long ago it was modelpreneur Tyra Banks who confessed that while she was at the height of her career, she was also exhausted and sad. Just today I saw a video that's been making the social media rounds of former ‘In The House’ actress Maia Campbell turning down LL Cool J’s request to get her help. It’s no secret that the once stunningly beautiful actress is addicted to drugs and in the footage she’s running a mile a minute. I couldn't help but wonder what will make her stop.

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And then I turn the question towards me.

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been running. Running from food stamps, a father who was never there, bills, weight, myself.

I only stop when I hit a wall. Like when I finally had to take care of my fibroids. Or when I was so stressed that I couldn’t pee. I’d sit on the toilet for hours waiting for a stream that would never come. It took walking around with a catheter strapped to my leg for a week, and eventually running to another city to shake it off.

Even when I had my babies I didn’t stop.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps,” people would say. But they were clueless about my life. When the baby sleeps is when the work begins. One time, just a week after giving birth I broke down on the way to Target. Mental and physical fatigue set in and I couldn’t remember what was so important that I needed to get in my car and battle horrific LA traffic. Before I knew it, I pulled over to the side of the road and cried till I ached. Maybe it was just hormones, but I cried like that earlier today and I haven’t had a baby in 5 years.

Lately, I’ve been crashing into my husband and my kids. I’m either dismissive, not present, or just plain mean.

My husband shared a poem he discovered online with me this morning and I was so far away. Thinking about work that needed to get done, bills I needed to pay. It almost felt silly to think that I could stop and listen to poetry. But I didn't say that, I half-listened with a blank look on my face, prompting him to scream, “After 12 years of marriage you still can’t tell me that your mind is somewhere else?!”

No. ‘Cuz I’m going to try to handle everything with as little disruption as possible, so I can get to the next thing. It’s not that I don’t care. I absolutely care. That’s why I run. It’s how I show my love. If I run fast enough all our problems will disappear.

Sometimes I envy my friend who just shuts down. She’s the only Black woman I’ve ever known to just stop getting out of bed for weeks. I never understood how she could do that because if I’m not moving I’m dead.

This running didn’t start with me. It was my mom and her mom before that. My mom doesn’t sleep at night because her mind is running like a motor that never stops. She’s taken three sleep studies in the past three months and doctors don’t know what’s wrong. I do. It’s called Black Woman Syndrome and it's been in our DNA since enslavement. I know this because the only time I slowed down was in Africa. Don’t believe that lie that it’s so hard there because it’s not. There was plenty of help. Help for your kids, help to cook and clean, help for your help. It’s in America that a Black woman has to work till her back and spirit is broken. And for what? To be told that she’s a b-tch who wants to spend her life alone? Listen Sherlock, work is all a Black woman knows, and if she let it all go, if she truly depended on someone else and it didn’t work out the joke would be on her and then she might die. I don’t like being this way. I wish I could change, just trick my DNA into thinking I’m a white woman because they don’t have to do sh-t. They get to whine and be soft and vulnerable because the world doesn’t depend on them like they do us.

So I run. And I’m not sure what will make me stop.

This evening my daughter was looking at me with this weird look while I was plowing through the dishes.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” I asked her.

“I’m just watching you, seeing what you’re doing,” she said.

I pushed pause to think about it for a minute...I’m doing the same thing I do every day, and I get faster and faster, I swear I can wash a whole sink full of dishes in two seconds. I saw her life flash in front of me, but the difference was she wasn't washing dishes she was taking a long walk in the park, smelling the roses. In that moment I realized that this is some straight bullsh-t’ and I sat my ass down.

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Erickka Sy Savané is a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter and Instagram or ErickkaSySavane.com