By Winnie Gaturu

I have a close friend, Janice, who always adds a piece of lemon to the water in her water bottle. I've always thought it looks pretty cool so in a bid to improve my water intake on a daily basis, I decided to add a piece of lemon to my water bottle too. After all, I've heard and read about the many benefits of lemons to our bodies. I found myself refilling my 16 ounce water bottle one or twice a day and was really proud of myself. Surprisingly, by the second day my lips, mouth and throat were feeling dry all the time and I started feeling dehydrated, so I  thought that the answer was to drink more lemon water. After two weeks of this, I decided to stop drinking lemon water in exchange for plain old water, and the dehydration was gone. Now we can agree that lemon water has a wide range of benefits. It is supposed to help digestion, boosts the immune system, and is even safe for kids, in a more diluted form, so what was I doing wrong?

Continue


Initially, after that experience, I had sworn to myself not to drink lemon water ever again. It was only after talking to Janice and some of my other friends that I realized some of the mistakes I had made.
For starters, I would put a half-lemon piece in the water bottle which made it hard to monitor the concentration of lemon I was drinking. Since I weigh 150 pounds, I should squeeze a lemon to get 1/2 ounce of lemon juice and mix it with 8 to 12 ounces of water. Janice didn't have a problem since she would only put a thin slice of lemon not half of it like I did. Secondly, I'd drink and refill the bottle once or twice during the day. Apparently, drinking too much concentrated lemon water leads to dehydration. Janice doesn't refill her bottle once the water she left home with is over. So maybe that’s why our outcomes were different.

I also realized that lemon water has its share of disadvantages too, like heartburn, frequent urination, aggravated stomach ulcers, and tooth sensitivity caused by the citric acid that can lead to tooth erosion. To avoid this, simply swish clean water in your mouth once or twice after drinking lemon water.

Clearly, there was a lot I hadn’t considered before starting my lemon water journey. I am wiser now! I’ve learnt that there's a limit to the amount of lemon water I can take daily and some of the precautions I should take. Although I'm now sticking to drinking plain water, I'll go back to drinking at least a glass of lemon water every morning soon.

What do you think? Yay or Nay to lemon water?

Winnie Gaturu is a writer, tech lover, mom, wife and student from Nairobi, Kenya. During her free time, she loves trying out new recipes, diy projects, filling in crossword puzzles and spending time with her family. You can catch up with her on yourhairandbeautywrite.wordpress.com.

By Winnie Gaturu

I have a close friend, Janice, who always adds a piece of lemon to the water in her water bottle. I've always thought it looks pretty cool so in a bid to improve my water intake on a daily basis, I decided to add a piece of lemon to my water bottle too. After all, I've heard and read about the many benefits of lemons to our bodies. I found myself refilling my 16 ounce water bottle one or twice a day and was really proud of myself. Surprisingly, by the second day my lips, mouth and throat were feeling dry all the time and I started feeling dehydrated, so I  thought that the answer was to drink more lemon water. After two weeks of this, I decided to stop drinking lemon water in exchange for plain old water, and the dehydration was gone. Now we can agree that lemon water has a wide range of benefits. It is supposed to help digestion, boosts the immune system, and is even safe for kids, in a more diluted form, so what was I doing wrong?

Continue


Initially, after that experience, I had sworn to myself not to drink lemon water ever again. It was only after talking to Janice and some of my other friends that I realized some of the mistakes I had made.
For starters, I would put a half-lemon piece in the water bottle which made it hard to monitor the concentration of lemon I was drinking. Since I weigh 150 pounds, I should squeeze a lemon to get 1/2 ounce of lemon juice and mix it with 8 to 12 ounces of water. Janice didn't have a problem since she would only put a thin slice of lemon not half of it like I did. Secondly, I'd drink and refill the bottle once or twice during the day. Apparently, drinking too much concentrated lemon water leads to dehydration. Janice doesn't refill her bottle once the water she left home with is over. So maybe that’s why our outcomes were different.

I also realized that lemon water has its share of disadvantages too, like heartburn, frequent urination, aggravated stomach ulcers, and tooth sensitivity caused by the citric acid that can lead to tooth erosion. To avoid this, simply swish clean water in your mouth once or twice after drinking lemon water.

Clearly, there was a lot I hadn’t considered before starting my lemon water journey. I am wiser now! I’ve learnt that there's a limit to the amount of lemon water I can take daily and some of the precautions I should take. Although I'm now sticking to drinking plain water, I'll go back to drinking at least a glass of lemon water every morning soon.

What do you think? Yay or Nay to lemon water?

Winnie Gaturu is a writer, tech lover, mom, wife and student from Nairobi, Kenya. During her free time, she loves trying out new recipes, diy projects, filling in crossword puzzles and spending time with her family. You can catch up with her on yourhairandbeautywrite.wordpress.com.

Runners in Berlin #berlinblackish2017
By Mwabi Kaira

It was winter 2012 and I had my fuzzy slippers on, sipping on a cup of tea with my feet up flipping through my copy of Essence magazine when I read something about Black women runners. I took a mental note and thought one day I’ll run something and went about my day. At the top of the year I met Shonda, my college friend for lunch, and she brought along another friend. Turns out, that friend belonged to the same organization I was reading about; Black Girls Run! I told her I was interested and in March I laced up my tennis shoes and went to my first Black Girls Run! I couldn’t run to the mailbox at the time, but something inside told me I could do this and I listened.

Continue

I was a good runner all the way up until fifth grade when puberty hit, yes I was an early bloomer. I noticed the audience of boys started getting larger at the finish line and that was the end of that for this shy girl. My first run with BGR in 2013 was a struggle...It was 3 miles and I think I only got through a mile and a half because I didn’t get the directions right and instead of getting lost I decided to just go back to my car. And I didn’t run the whole distance. I pushed myself to run a block then walk until I caught my breath before running again. The following week, I went back and was encouraged by the women of BGR to just do my best. I made it past the point I stopped the week prior, so I felt pretty good. I kept going back week-after-week and the consistency paid off; my breathing got controlled as I ran, I found my cadence and eventually I could run the entire 3 miles without stopping. The weekly BGR meet-ups became so much more than about running but about sisterhood and encouragement. Their mantra is “no woman left behind” and these ladies will wait for you no matter what your speed is. The faster ladies will finish the route and actually come back and run beside you till you finish and all the women are waiting with high fives and cheers of good job. These ladies taught me what running shoes to buy, what kind of compression pants and sports bra to get, and had running tips. I ran my first 5K that May and my first 10K that October. I couldn’t believe that I was a runner! No one was more surprised than me when I signed up for my first half marathon and ran it in March 2014.

Mwabi Kaira

The running joke has always been that African-Americans don’t run unless they’re being chased. Running was just not something we did for pleasure. Case in point, in 2011 only 1.6 percent of runners in the United States identified as African-American. But that’s changing.

Ashley Hicks-Rocha and Toni Carey founded Black Girls RUN! in 2009. The movement really took off in 2011 when a group of black women met to run the Publix Half Marathon. BGR offers weekly runs all over the country. Black Men Run followed suit in 2013. All these groups were created with our health in mind; our numbers for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease have always been alarming. Running on a regular basis and controlling what we eat changes these numbers drastically.

Michelle Richardson was almost 300 pounds when she decided to take control of her health and weight. She changed what she ate and started exercising, first taking walks and moving up to jumping rope. As she dropped weight she added running. It was not easy but she kept at it and refused to quit. Michelle says, “I use to be that overweight girl wishing that I could do it. I remember struggling through my first 5K and now here I am with over 120 pounds lost naturally and I have run over 11 half marathons and 1 full marathon. I am so proud of myself and know if I can do it with discipline anyone can.”

Michelle Richardson
Another movement was born in 2016 when Heather King decided to ask other African-Americans to run the Georgia Publix Marathon with her. This is not a popular marathon because it is considered one of the toughest courses. It was the actual course used for the 1996 Olympics. I had several half marathons under my belt and signed up along with 500 others from all over the United States and 3 countries. We trained and made history on March 19, 2017 as Team Take down Publix. We now travel together to run in Berlin, Jamaica, Paris, Miami and wherever there is a race. We encourage each other on the course and party afterwards. We have our elite runners who make record time and break records and we have runners like me who are not fast but cross the finish line in our own time. Even Kevin Hart caught the bug and ran the New York City Marathon on November 5th.

Today, the number of African-American runners has jumped to over 8% and will continue to rise. If you are interested in joining the movement, look up Black Girls RUN! and Black Men Run and meet them for a run. I’m warning you, it might become a habit that will take you to places you never imagined. If you have the desire, we will get you across the finish line.

Are you a runner or have you considered it?

Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world.  She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993.  Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy.  She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon.  Keep up with her at http://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/

Runners in Berlin #berlinblackish2017
By Mwabi Kaira

It was winter 2012 and I had my fuzzy slippers on, sipping on a cup of tea with my feet up flipping through my copy of Essence magazine when I read something about Black women runners. I took a mental note and thought one day I’ll run something and went about my day. At the top of the year I met Shonda, my college friend for lunch, and she brought along another friend. Turns out, that friend belonged to the same organization I was reading about; Black Girls Run! I told her I was interested and in March I laced up my tennis shoes and went to my first Black Girls Run! I couldn’t run to the mailbox at the time, but something inside told me I could do this and I listened.

Continue

I was a good runner all the way up until fifth grade when puberty hit, yes I was an early bloomer. I noticed the audience of boys started getting larger at the finish line and that was the end of that for this shy girl. My first run with BGR in 2013 was a struggle...It was 3 miles and I think I only got through a mile and a half because I didn’t get the directions right and instead of getting lost I decided to just go back to my car. And I didn’t run the whole distance. I pushed myself to run a block then walk until I caught my breath before running again. The following week, I went back and was encouraged by the women of BGR to just do my best. I made it past the point I stopped the week prior, so I felt pretty good. I kept going back week-after-week and the consistency paid off; my breathing got controlled as I ran, I found my cadence and eventually I could run the entire 3 miles without stopping. The weekly BGR meet-ups became so much more than about running but about sisterhood and encouragement. Their mantra is “no woman left behind” and these ladies will wait for you no matter what your speed is. The faster ladies will finish the route and actually come back and run beside you till you finish and all the women are waiting with high fives and cheers of good job. These ladies taught me what running shoes to buy, what kind of compression pants and sports bra to get, and had running tips. I ran my first 5K that May and my first 10K that October. I couldn’t believe that I was a runner! No one was more surprised than me when I signed up for my first half marathon and ran it in March 2014.

Mwabi Kaira

The running joke has always been that African-Americans don’t run unless they’re being chased. Running was just not something we did for pleasure. Case in point, in 2011 only 1.6 percent of runners in the United States identified as African-American. But that’s changing.

Ashley Hicks-Rocha and Toni Carey founded Black Girls RUN! in 2009. The movement really took off in 2011 when a group of black women met to run the Publix Half Marathon. BGR offers weekly runs all over the country. Black Men Run followed suit in 2013. All these groups were created with our health in mind; our numbers for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease have always been alarming. Running on a regular basis and controlling what we eat changes these numbers drastically.

Michelle Richardson was almost 300 pounds when she decided to take control of her health and weight. She changed what she ate and started exercising, first taking walks and moving up to jumping rope. As she dropped weight she added running. It was not easy but she kept at it and refused to quit. Michelle says, “I use to be that overweight girl wishing that I could do it. I remember struggling through my first 5K and now here I am with over 120 pounds lost naturally and I have run over 11 half marathons and 1 full marathon. I am so proud of myself and know if I can do it with discipline anyone can.”

Michelle Richardson
Another movement was born in 2016 when Heather King decided to ask other African-Americans to run the Georgia Publix Marathon with her. This is not a popular marathon because it is considered one of the toughest courses. It was the actual course used for the 1996 Olympics. I had several half marathons under my belt and signed up along with 500 others from all over the United States and 3 countries. We trained and made history on March 19, 2017 as Team Take down Publix. We now travel together to run in Berlin, Jamaica, Paris, Miami and wherever there is a race. We encourage each other on the course and party afterwards. We have our elite runners who make record time and break records and we have runners like me who are not fast but cross the finish line in our own time. Even Kevin Hart caught the bug and ran the New York City Marathon on November 5th.

Today, the number of African-American runners has jumped to over 8% and will continue to rise. If you are interested in joining the movement, look up Black Girls RUN! and Black Men Run and meet them for a run. I’m warning you, it might become a habit that will take you to places you never imagined. If you have the desire, we will get you across the finish line.

Are you a runner or have you considered it?

Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world.  She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993.  Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy.  She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon.  Keep up with her at http://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/

 By Nicole Bourn

The mantra that we hear most often is we should “eat less and move more.” But if this caused sustainable weight loss we would never struggle while being on restrictive diets and already be thin by now. The truth is we need to eat enough food to get through the day. Most people are surprised to learn that I lost 92 lbs as a result of eating more \ (of the right food). Here's how you can eat a lot and still lose weight?

Continue
The best strategy to losing weight is to add foods that are low in calorie density.

WHAT IS CALORIE DENSITY?

Calorie density is simply a measure of the concentration of calories in a food. The higher the calorie density, the higher the concentration of calories packed into the food bite for bite. This is an excellent indicator of how easy it is to overeat on a food, because the more calories that are packed into a food per bite, the more likely we are to overeat on that food.

Foods that are low in calorie density, like fruits and vegetables, don’t pack a lot of calories per bite. They are stuffed not with calories, but with water and fiber, making them bulky (and therefore more filling), which allows us to lose weight without going hungry.

On the other hand, foods that are high in calorie density, like cake or burgers, are stuffed with lots of calories per bite, with very little bulk (making them less filling), which can lead to overeating and too many calories.

THE 4 CATEGORIES OF CALORIE DENSITY

1. LOW CALORIE DENSITY
All unprocessed or minimally processed fruits and vegetables, such as apples, bananas, berries, kale, zucchini, and bell peppers. You can eat freely of these foods.

2. MODERATE CALORIE DENSITY
All unprocessed or minimally processed starchy vegetables like peas and corn, intact whole grains like brown rice and oats, and legumes like beans and lentils. You can eat a relatively large portion of these foods.

3. HIGH CALORIE DENSITY
More processed plant-based foods like bagels, dry cereal, bread, tortillas, and dried fruit. Limit the consumption of these foods.

4. VERY HIGH CALORIE DENSITY
Nuts and seeds, oils and fats, chocolate, and junk foods. Greatly limit or avoid the consumption of these foods.

The first 2 groups (low and moderate in calorie density) should make up the majority of your calorie intake. But the ratio of vegetables or fruits to starches can also be an important factor.

We all know that eating a large bowl of lettuce might fill up your stomach, but it will keep you hungry at the same. So make sure to combine your low calorie dense foods with some starches from the second category in order to feel satisfied and have enough energy.

You might have recognized that there are no animal-based foods in our 4 categories. This is because you need to remember that these should not be seen as food, since they are very harmful to your overall health and our planet. If you want to eat some chocolate or a burger, then choose the plant-based version like Vegan Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Nibs or Black Bean Burgers, and Beyond Meat Burgers, and you will be just fine.
TIPS FOR APPLYING THESE PRINCIPLES

1. Hunger
Whenever you are hungry, eat until you are comfortably full of food lower in calorie density. Don’t starve or stuff yourself, and don’t eat when you’re not hungry.
2. Sequence Meals
Start all meals with a salad, soup, or fruit. By starting with these foods that are lowest in calorie density, you begin to fill up on fewer calories.
3. Don’t drink your calories
Liquid calories like soft drinks or fruit juice have little if any satiety, so they don’t fill you up as much as solid foods with the same amount of calories.
4. Keep the categories in mind
Non-starchy vegetables are the lowest in calorie density and fat or oil are the highest. Therefore, adding non-starchy vegetables to any dish will always lower the overall calorie density of a meal. Consequently, adding fat or oil to any dish will always raise the overall calorie density of a meal.
5. Limit High Calorie Dense Food
If you use flour products or fats, integrate them into meals that are made of low calorie dense foods and think of them as condiments. For example, add a few walnuts or raisins to a bowl of oatmeal with fruit.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU
This basically means weight-loss and maintenance can be in your control. Meaning you don't have to under eat, starve, kill yourself in the gym or miss out on the fun and excitement of food. You can enjoy food, actually eat more and watch the weight melt away just as I did. In 9 months following the calorie density method I was able to lose 92lbs. So can you!

Would you try the low calorie density method to lose weight and be healthier? 

Nicole Bourn, is the founder of Vegan Mom Lifestyle, a lifestyle blog geared towards removing the fear and confusion from beginning a vegan or plant-based lifestyle. She began her journey simply for her own lifestyle purposes, into a healthier her and along the way has helped countless woman and men begin their vegan lifestyle. She is a native of Washington DC, a single mother of four daughters and an inspiration to many. During her journey as a Vegan she loss 92lbs, completely healed herself from both anemia and asthma. Follow Nicole, or Vegan Mom as some might call her, on Instagram, or nicolebourn.com