Monthly Resource Collection May 2021

My newest obsession (aside from quitting coffee- which is going amazing by the way) is learning about how beauty, health, and wellness spaces have been colonized and therefore systematically made inaccessible to many people because of varying identities. I’ve been seriously studying this topic because it inherently intersects with just about every “ism.”

As a beauty professional (but also just as a human committed to social change) I believe it is so important I make the effort to understand how beauty, health and wellness practices have been stolen and appropriated from different cultures and religions, but also how these sectors of business have been whitewashed and healing has been constructed as a privilege for the few. These practices have very real and dangerous ripple effects on the mental and physical health of our society, affecting some much more than others.

Currently I feel like I’m constructing my own college semester (or several semesters) consisting of books, podcasts, webinars, documentaries, and articles created by BIPOC, people of various body sizes and shapes, disabled folks, and LGBTQIAA+ folks to try to learn from those who have not been placed conveniently in the front and center of the behemoth which is our current beauty, health and wellness industrial complex.

I’ve been on my fitness, health and wellness journey for years, focusing on the physical components. As I transition into a me that still loves moving my body, but is much more focused at this time on working on my mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness I think it is imperative to seek out a wide range of perspectives as teachers. People who specifically consider and recognize intersectionality and social systems as inextricably entwined with our healing and wellness. Individually, and as a collective. Healers who understand the implications these systems have on physical bodies.

If you were to look at my home library, I’d like to think the diversity of voices there is great. But when I started looking at the wellness / self improvement section of my collection, the majority are written by cisgender, non-disabled, White women, with some cisgender, non-disabled White men sprinkled in there. I didn’t have ONE book on business, self improvement, fitness or veganism written by a Mexican (my other half). What a disgrace.

Instead of feeling disempowered or guilty, I instantly saw a huge blind spot in my learning and turned it into an opportunity for change and growth, that hopefully I can share with you. There are so many more amazing authors, teachers, badass fitness instructors, vegans, and holistic health practitioners that want to share their gifts with us. Unfortunately, it takes more than diversifying our social media accounts to find many of them. It takes effort. Research. Time and energy. It takes paying them for their services if you are able. Until one day when finding a Latina business coach with a emphasis on holistic wellness from an intersectional perspective becomes as easy as finding a White woman on social media, eager to help you lose weight.

These are the resources I found particularly enlightening this month, but there are many more coming.

Books:

The Body Is Not An Apology, Sonya Renee Taylor

Every. One. With. A. Body: READ THIS BOOK! I received it with my monthly subscription to http://www.feministbookclub.com and oh my, did it deliver. Taylor posits that in order to dismantle systems of oppression we must learn to practice “radical self-love.” This is different than self-acceptance, confidence, or even self esteem, which she argues are not “scalable,” but restricted to the individual. When we work to unlearn and dismantle the systems that have taught us not to love our own bodies this will translate into empathy for bodies different than our own, and ultimately help to create a world where hate and terrorism against bodies will no longer be acceptable or common practice.

When we speak of the ills of the world – violence, poverty, injustice – we are not speaking conceptually; we are talking about things that happen to bodies… Racism, sexism, ableism, homo-and transphobia, ageism, fatphobia are algorithms created by humans’ struggle to make peace with the body. A radical self-love world is a world free from the systems of oppression that make it difficult and sometimes deadly to live in our bodies.”

Check out Sonya Taylor: https://www.sonyareneetaylor.com

Vibrate Higher Daily, Lalah Delia

Lalah Delia is a “spiritual writer, wellness educator, and certified spiritual practitioner.” She is such a light in the world and I am so glad I am learning from her! This book is an overview of her concept of “vibrating higher daily” which is essentially a way of existing in the world in a positive and enlightened way that draws you closer to your purpose, the collective, and the “divine” in order to use your gifts to create a better world.

Lalah Delia also teaches amazing webinars on everything from energy cleansing to divine timing. I signed up for her monthly subscription at https://www.vibratehigherdaily.com and I have been extremely happy with the amount and quality of content available for the $22 / month. I highly recommend!

Podcasts:

Shine Brighter Together Podcast with Monique Melton
Season 3, Episode 29: “Do Better w Rachel Ricketts”

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/shine-brighter-together/id1464945623?i=1000518800938

Latino USA
5/21/21: “Masks Off With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez”

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/latino-usa/id79681317?i=1000522634422

No Meat Athlete Radio
5/13/21: “NMA Chats: On Being a Vegan Activist in the Black Community with Jasmine C. Leyva”

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/no-meat-athlete-radio/id476196931?i=1000521580114

Get Loved Up with Koya Webb
Season 2, Episode 47: “11 Rituals to Raise Your Vibration”

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/get-loved-up-with-koya-webb/id1455677259?i=1000470869132

Black Girl in Om Podcast
12/17/29 59. #55. “Creating Space To Expand: A Live Conversation with Rachel Cargle”

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/black-girl-in-om/id1117951237?i=1000459859296

Real Food Reads Podcast
Episode 22: “Decolonize Your Diet: Luz Calvo and Catriona R. Esquibel

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/real-food-media/id1215522970?i=1000414763700

Movies:

Seaspiracy

This documentary focuses on the environmental impact of fishing, but also touches on the human rights violations perpetuated by a highly unregulated global industry.

It’s Week 4 of Less Coffee.

Today marks the fourth week of my plan to phase out coffee. I’m taking the slow and steady approach, rather than quitting cold turkey. Today I’m sharing my exact method for quitting, and my favorite alternative plant based energy-boosting beverages that are making the transition pretty simple and painless.

My plan for quitting coffee:

-Week 1: My baseline “normal” amount of coffee I consumed on a regular day before this experiment was about two liquid cups. This week I cut it back to 1.75 cups per day, and instead of drinking it out of my 20oz Yeti Tumbler, I drank it out of a regular coffee cup. This may seem irrelevant, but I find that my brain thinks that a ton more liquid fits in a Yeti even though the reality is that it fits about the same amount (or slightly less) as a medium-size coffee mug. Since a lot of this transition is mental, I decided that even though I was only drinking a quarter cup less coffee this week, if it looks like a full mug of coffee instead of a slightly less full tumbler, it couldn’t hurt. Hopefully that makes sense. The mind games are real.

Week 2: This week, after a very successful and painless first week, I cut my coffee intake down to 1.5 cups per day, and started experimenting with mushroom lattes here and there, just to find a recipe that I liked. We’ll get into that later, but mushroom teas and lattes can literally be delicious, and give me WAY more energy than I expected.

Week 3: Week three is when I was afraid things would begin to go downhill. Up until this point I was feeling great, and not much different. But now I cut my coffee intake down to one cup per day. At this point there was simply not enough delicious warm liquid to pair with my morning ritual. So I’d enjoy my one cup of coffee with my Nutpods creamer in my cute 14oz Yeti Rambler Mug (get yourself something cute to make this process fun), then make myself a mushroom latte to follow. All week, I felt amazing.

Week 4: Today marks the beginning of my week of only 1/2 cup of coffee per day. Now it feels silly to have two separate beverages, so I’m back to using my 20oz tumbler, but with my 1/2 cup of coffee blended into my mushroom latte. For a full two cups of delicious morning-routine goodness.

Week 5: My plan for next week is to continue to mix coffee into my mushroom latte, but cut it back to 1/4 cup per day.

Week 6: 1/4 cup of coffee mixed into my mushroom latte every other day.

Week 7: I’ll reevaluate how I’m feeling at this point and adjust accordingly, but I think at this point I will cut it back to two days this week.

Week 8: One day this week.

Week 9: Full mushroom latte, no coffee!

Obviously you can see it will take me about two months, or a little bit more, to fully quit coffee. I rarely consume any other caffeinated drinks, and am not concerned with the small amount of caffeine I consume through foods like cacao. So I’m taking it slow so my mood and energy can maintain, and hopefully improve, without many of the common withdrawal symptoms or irritability. I’ve been drinking coffee for about half of my life, so I want to quit it in a way that will be sustainable forever. So far, so good.

The Mushrooms:

I picked up Cordyceps, Chaga, and a 5:1 Maca concentrated extract from a brand called Moon Juice. I was already mixing Lion’s Mane Elixir from a brand called Four Sigmatic into my coffee on occasion so I also keep that in our cupboard regularly. I’ll link everything I purchased below, with a brief description of why I chose these ingredients. Just click on the photos for more information. I imagine that this list will be ever-evolving as I figure out what I like and try new things, but at this moment these are the energy-boosting ingredients I’m experimenting with. I also did a ton of outside research before landing on these, so I encourage you to do the same.

Cordyceps “Bioactive Supershroom”

From the brand: Moon Juice

For energy, recovery, balancing blood sugar.

Chaga “Protective Supershroom”

From the brand: Moon Juice

For energy, concentration, and immune-boosting.

Lion’s Mane Elixir

From the brand: Four Sigmatic

For mental clarity, focus, and endurance.

In addition to these “supershrooms,” I also ordered a 5:1 concentrated Maca powder.

From the brand: Moon Juice

For energy and mood.

Current Mushroom Latte Recipe:

1.5-2 Cups Plant Milk (I use unsweetened almond)

1 tsp Mushroom Powder (I choose one type per latte. Cordyceps seems to be my favorite so far.)

1 tsp Maca Powder

1 tsp Raw Cacao Powder

1 tsp Maple Syrup

(If applicable, you can add coffee to this recipe in any quantity you prefer, just reduce the amount of plant milk added.)

Directions: Put all the powders in the bottom of your mug. Heat up your coffee / plant milk separately then pour over the top. Mix thoroughly and enjoy. I use a Powerlix Milk Frother to mix it and it works great and even froths it as well.

I bought mine on Amazon

My Favorite Vegan Junk Foods Right Now… that you don’t need to make yourself.

I love snacks. All of them. Sweet and savory alike. My husband would tell you I especially love chips and salty things and he would be right. I also have (at this point) quite a few options I make at home, but sometimes I just want to be lazy and go to the store to buy them like everyone else. I also find that new vegans and those of us trying to reduce consumption of animal products frequently wonder what vegan snacks are easy, delicious, and accessible.

Luckily I love finding vegan junk food that is either refined sugar free or extremely low in refined sugars, with fairly clean, organic ingredients, that are sourced ethically. It’s junk food without the corn syrup, food dyes, and questionable chemicals. That used to be a tall order. Today it’s becoming commonplace to find these types of items in your local health food store or COOP and I’m here to show you my favorite go-to junk food snacks of the moment. No time in the kitchen required!

Siete Foods Grain Free Tortilla Chips

The first item on the list are my favorite chips from Siete Foods. I personally love the Fuego and Nacho flavors because they remind me of classic Doritos without all the questionable ingredients. They’re delicious and crispy, and come in tons of options. This company also makes salsas, seasonings, taco shells, and miscellaneous other products.

Ingredients from Fuego Flavor
The Empowered Cookie Double Chocolate Chunk

Next is The Empowered Cookie. I found these when looking for alternatively-sweetened treats. Most of the cookies use coconut nectar to sweeten them, and the flavors are delicious! I enjoy Double Chocolate Chunk and Chocolate Chip Cherry the best. I’ve made these into ice cream cookie sandwiches and they’re amazing with some vanilla ice cream!

Ingredients from Double Chocolate Chunk
Coconut Bliss Dairy-Free Frozen Dessert Madagascar Vanilla Bean

Speaking of ice cream cookie sandwiches… Coconut Bliss recently came out with several flavors that are sweetened with agave and have extremely simple ingredients. They’re very creamy, and do not have a coconut taste like many of their ice creams have in the past. I love classic vanilla, but there are many to choose from. Some are sweetened with sugar so if this matters to you, make sure to check the flavors you’re interested in before purchasing.

Ingredients from Madagascar Vanilla Bean
Lesser Evil Paleo Puffs “No Cheese” Cheesiness

These are classic. For anyone who loves Cheetos… just pick these up. Warning: they are very addicting!

Plant Snacks Vegan Cheddar Cassava Root Chips

On that note… do you love Cheez-its? Try these. They’re not quite as cheesy, but delicious and much more crispy.

Sweet Earth Big Sur Breakfast Burrito

For the last couple of junk food suggestions I thought I would include grab and go options. I love these when I’m running errands on my day off. I can pop them in the microwave and be on my way in a few minutes.

Right Foods Vegan Ramen Chicken Flavor

Sometimes you just want a good old Cup O’ Noodles that is ready quickly. My best friend introduced me to these and I recently picked some up at my local COOP. Quick, easy, and delicious on cold, rainy days! Also, these have much cleaner ingredients than traditional prepackaged ramen, and there are several vegan options to choose from.

Ingredients from Vegan Ramen Chicken Flavor

All of the options listed today I am able to find locally at our Eureka / Arcata COOP stores and Eureka Natural Foods grocery stores. However, they are also available to purchase directly. Please see links below for reference and happy snacking!

https://sietefoods.com

https://www.empoweredcookie.com

https://coconutbliss.com

https://lesserevil.com

https://plantsnacks.com

https://www.goodnes.com/sweet-earth/

https://rightfoods.com/shop/