By Erickka Sy Savané

2018 is here and once again we are faced with that question: Do I set another New Year’s Resolution?

You know it’s hard putting on the same pair of jeans year-after-year because the ones you really want to wear are too damn small. Finally, you start looking at those big jeans saying, they’re not so bad. You just gotta know how to rock them. Then you forget all about those other jeans. Until, that something or someone comes along, reminding you that it’s never too late.

This is for all those who believe that the best is yet to come, and that this new year is an opportunity to let go of the past and come out of the gate swinging!
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ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING. Be open. Be fearless. Be ready to switch up your game plan if it’s not working. Resistance will always be there ready to stop you, but this year is about going all the way. Now, in case you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be fearless, surely you were fearless at least once in your life. Think back to that time and remember what it felt like to slay that dragon. Did you walk into the boss’s office and demand a raise? Did you drop that dude that was bringing you nothing but drama? Whatever the case, let your rock-star-alter-ego save the day. Hey, it worked for the Queen B. Honestly, Beyonce is cool, but we all know Sash is the real star!


EAT FOODS THAT GIVE YOU ENERGY. And that ain't Snickers! Or soda. Or chips. You can’t slay no dragons if you don’t have the energy to raise your sword. Stock up on bananas, which are full of sugar, but also full of energy, spinach which helps with digestion, curbs overeating, prevents constipation, combats colds and will have your skin looking shiny like a brand new penny, and honey, which was used by ancient Olympic athletes, along with figs, to enhance performance. Blend these super ingredients into a power shake and watch yourself go!


Make EXERCISE a priority. No one is saying go out and run a marathon, but most of us can step it up in the workout department. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk whenever possible, and dance! In addition to helping tone the body, research has shown that dancing reduces tension and stress, boosts creativity, improves posture and balance, wards off illnesses, fights depression, and raises confidence. Not to mention it’s fun. Whether out at a club or in the comfort of your home, turn on Pandora Radio- ‘Bollywood Workout’ channel is sick!- and you will be dropping it like it’s hot in no time.


GET YOUR SEX ON! Studies have found that sex can lower blood pressure, reduce heart attack risk, give you increased energy, and relieve stress. That may be all you need to meet your goals this year! But if you find that the only time you get hot is when you see an Idris Elba photo, have no fear BADAM is here. A little known fact is that almonds boost sex drive, so this sweet Indian drink made of almond milk with a touch of Saffron and Cardamom is sure to get your temperature rising. Those in the know swear by it, but they may be too busy having sex to share the news.



CLEAN HOUSE! A de-cluttered home leads to a de-cluttered mind, which clears the way for creativity to flow, increased energy and an overall fresher outlook on life. But don’t just clean your house, LITERALLY CLEAN HOUSE. Get rid of toxic people too. Studies show that toxic people bring you down and often discourage you from achieving your goals. By letting these people go, you’re actually making room for those who are positive and will support you.


WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS. First, be clear about what you want to achieve because it’s hard to get what you don’t know you want. Once you know, write it down, and here’s one damn good reason:
According to a study conducted in 1979 by the Harvard MBA program, graduate students were asked if they had set clear, written goals for their future and made plans to accomplish them? The result, only three percent had written goals and plans, 13 percent had goals that weren’t written down, and 84 percent had no goals at all. Ten years later, the same group was interviewed again and the result was enough to make your toes curl. The 13 percent of the class who had goals, but did not write them down was earning twice the amount of the 84 percent who had no goals. The three percent who had written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent of the class combined. Need you hear more?


HAVE FUN! Yes, reaching goals, reclaiming your hotness, catching fire, sometimes even getting out of bed can take every ounce of energy you have, but it’s not going to kill you, so be easy about it. Have fun. Reward yourself for things done right, forgive yourself for falling off track, and always keep going. YOU GOT THIS!!!

How do you plan to catch fire this year?

Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife and mom, based in Jersey, City. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.comMadamenoire.com and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter and Instagram or ErickkaSySavane.com
Angela Means aka 'Bye Felicia' from the movie 'Friday'
Via TheGrio 

Ever wondered what happened to Felicia from the cult film favorite Friday?

Angela Means may forever be remembered for her “Bye, Felicia” scene with Chris Tucker and Ice Cube, but now the actress and model has left behind show biz to run a vegan café in L.A. The best part? It’s proudly situated in the ‘hood.'

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'Friday' 
“All I can say is that the spirit led me. And now I have a vegan cafe in the ’hood,” Means tells LA Weekly of Jackfruit Café, which operates out of a donut shop.
She says that she has always had a passion for cooking and a tragedy in the family is what led her to become more interested in health.
Means was a vegetarian as a child and now considers herself a vegan, and while she has always loved cooking, she had not considered combining these passions with business until a few years ago.

Photo Yelp
She started out as a personal chef, though she had no experience, and then began to prepare her own line of raw puddings and other desserts. Next, she started to sell those at RAWkin Juice in Burbank, California. She is currently a shareholder.

Then last year, she found her current home at King’s Donuts. The space wasn’t for rent but she felt a connection to it and she now runs her café out of their kitchen.

Means says that people were very open to the idea right away.
“People were like, ‘Oh my God, thank you. Where have you been?’ People are waking up now, watching films like 'What the Health.' A lot of younger people are getting their older relatives to come in.”
Means is now 54 and often works 13- to 14-hour days, seven days a week. She is running the entire show on her own for now but plans to hire some help when the new year rolls around.

“I leave here and I can’t wait to get back. I love what I’m doing.”

Keep up with Angela on instagram! 
Are you into vegan food?
Photo via Mwabi's instagram
By Mwabi Kaira

I was listening to an interview about the importance of eliminating what we consume and how what we don’t eliminate becomes disease.  I had been practicing meatless Mondays on-and-off and would do a week of being meat free here, a month of it there, and always saw it as a reset before I went back to meat.  This particular interview got me to thinking and I realized elimination was always easiest when I consumed more fruits and vegetables.  I decided to start with a week of being meat free and I felt so much better after the 7 days that I just decided to keep on going.  That was 5 months ago.  My taste buds have adjusted and I don’t miss meat.  Eventually, I’ll go vegan but for now I’m happy.

Being vegetarian or vegan is easy in your own home where you can prepare your meals.  There are not as many choices once you venture out for meals outside the home, but there are choices that just require some research.  The hardest part has to be family gatherings and the holidays.  There will be vegetables at the gathering but they’ll probably have meat in them and for the vegans, it will be hard to find dishes not cooked with eggs, milk and butter.  Fret not, you can still enjoy your holidays and be meat free by doing these things...

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Go to a Vegan Restaurant for your meal.
Several vegan restaurants are open Thanksgiving and offer a wonderful menu for the day.  Go Vegetarian Restaurant in Atlanta offered this menu for Thanksgiving; sliced vegan turkey topped with gravy on top of herb dressing, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, candy yams and cranberry sauce.  They were open from 9 to 4 allowing you enough time to eat and then stop by the family house for drinks and conversation after a full belly and avoid the awkwardness all together.

Prepare and bring your own food.  
This was my first Thanksgiving meat free and when the group texts started coming in with pork in the dressing, I knew I had to be ready.  I went ahead and made shitake mushrooms, green pepper and onion dressing, sweet potato cornbread and roasted butternut squash to bring to dinner.  Be prepared for eye rolls, side eyes and lots of conversation about what you’re missing out on and how you think you’re too good for everyone now that you are meat free, but hey, you can get through it like you do everything else.  There might even be straight clowning and your Mama might bust out the picture of you at 8 months old sucking on a turkey leg.  Your favorite cousin will talk about the time you ate 3 slabs of ribs all by yourself. Just take it and laugh along with them because we all have a history.  After grace just go get your plate you brought with you and enjoy your food.

You’re outnumbered and can’t explain yourself to everyone.
Do not go to the family dinner armed with stacks of facts about the benefits of being meat free and hand out a one pager with bullet points on why meat will kill everyone.  It took time for you to get to your decision and you have to let people come to the decision on their own as well.  You don’t want to be that one person turning up your nose and scrunching your face at people swallowing ham, turkey, and roast beef when once upon a time you were doing the very same and enjoying it.  Instead, allow your sunny disposition and energy to bring people to you to ask about your journey and tips on how to get started should they decide to give up meat.

Have a Friendsgiving with your vegetarian/vegan friends beforehand.
This will be a judge free zone and you can discus tempeh, kale, jack fruit, tofu, almond milk, seitan, and nutritional yeast without puzzled expressions in return.  You can enjoy all the foods you already eat and try some new ones and swap recipes.  You may even come up with strategies to navigate the non-vegetarian/vegan world.

If Thanksgiving was torturous and you couldn’t partake in any of the food, remember that moving forward it doesn’t have to be.  The tips above should get you ready for Christmas and you’ll be doing this no meat thing like a pro before you know it!

How do you survive meatless holidays? 

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?

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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
Via Nicolebourn.com
By  Nicole Bourn
Carefully choosing what to buy is something almost everyone has been through at some stage of their life. We all need to find a way of eating healthy and vegan on a budget until we have enough money to not care as much.
There's a very common misunderstanding of healthy, plant-based food being exceptionally expensive. This might stem from the idea that we have to buy expensive supplements, powders, superfoods or vegan meat and dairy substitutes in order to sustain this lifestyle.
These things can be nice to have but aren't really necessary to thrive and be healthy. If you strip it down to the basics, you will find that the whole food plant based lifestyle can actually be dirt cheap and easily affordable for anyone. With a little bit of knowledge, a healthy diet bursting with taste and nutrients will fit your budget even if you have to count every penny. The following 14 tips will get you the most bang for your buck!

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