Meet Theresa Birks – Well Diva Wednesday

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Hey Divas!
I’d like to introduce you to Theresa Birks.  Theresa is responsible for managing the page MPEPA Beautiful Women.
 
Each day Theresa highlights the accomplishments and projects of women she would like for us to know about and support.  The page started with 11 members as a way to promote women in her community but has evolved to include all women working to better themselves and their own communities, and has over 800 members.  I thought of Theresa for Well Diva Wednesday for this reason and a few others.
 
Some of the steps I think of when I say “Well Diva” is being able to make good decisions for yourself, create an action plan, and get it done.  When you can do that thing that brings you closer to your personal success plan, and in the process overcome any obstacles, put aside excuses, and make it happen, you are moving towards being a Well Diva.  For Theresa, one of those things includes working towards her Masters degree in Counseling Psychology.  Her recent Facebook post caught my attention.
 
Facebook Family,

I need your prayer. Tonight is the first class in my University of San Francisco Psychology Counseling master’s degree program. I am so nervous and scared…lol. It seems like just yesterday, I registered for college level courses with my baby Brandi.”

 That was a little over a week ago.  Theresa is now in the midst of her action plan towards her personal goal for success.
 
“I plan to obtain my Psychology Counseling Credential and become a therapist who will help bridge the gap between African Americans and the Mental Health System. I hope to continue to work in the nonprofit sector to provide counseling for women and their children.”
 
 I asked Theresa to share a bit about her recent nuptials, as I could not for the life of me figure out why she would be in a relationship with someone for 21 years and then finally get married.  But like a Well Diva, it was her own choice.  She shared with me how her life’s work had taken priority, and how this wonderful man supported her and waited patiently for her to decide to give herself to him.
t birks wed
“I met him one evening and we never parted. We raised our children by previous partners together and he encouraged me to enter college. He retired, cooked, made sure I ate properly. He prepared my breakfast before school, and lunches. We generally cooked together in the evenings. He took me to school for two years straight while obtaining my first degree and now I just entered graduate school. Life got in the way. He kept asking and I would always say let’s wait, then I went for my BA and we just kept putting it off. Looked up and 21 years passed! We are in such a good place.”
 
 Does it get any sweeter than this???
 
Sometimes that shiny ring, or the promise of “happily ever after” with Prince Charming can be a huge distraction.  But a Well Diva knows how to keep focus, and let things happen in her time, and God’s time.  I want to say thank you to Theresa for being an inspiration and encouragement to others.  She went for what she wanted, she let nothing distract her, and she fully trusted God to keep her man by her side while she stayed focused on His will for her life.
theresa birks fam
Do you know a Well Diva that we should all know about?  If so send me an email and let me know her story.  I’ll be happy to share her joy with others.

 

 

Cookbook Giveaway and Review – No Fooling Around

 

green smoothie book

I’m not usually one to participate in April Fool’s Day.  In fact I’m a little perturbed by a whole day dedicated to foolishness. Aintnobodygottimefuhdat.  Anyway, I am not joking when I say that some lucky Diva who joins me for the Detox for a Diva: Spring Cleaning will win this cookbook. Green Smoothies for Every Season was written by the same lady who wrote The Green Smoothie Bible, so you know she knows her stuff. I love that the recipes are broken down by seasonal ingredients, and that she discusses rotating your leafy greens so that you don’t get too many of any one mineral. There’s also very good info on the benefits of green smoothies, so you’re not just drinking something green and making a fool of yourself.  There really are huge benefits. Yeah, Kristine Miles is not fooling around with her health. She has blessed us with this nice little book that I can’t wait to share with some lucky Diva.  Will it be you? The price to join us goes up at midnight so don’t miss out. Join here. As for the book giveaway, the contest ends April 7.

ps – This book was donated to me by the publisher for nothing in return except to let them know when I give it away or do a review.  Ain’t that nice?

New Year New You Mango Lassi Smoothie

culinary therapy 006

How is your new year going so far? Many of us take the month of January to renew, refresh, and rejuvenate our health.  I know I am. So I came up with this most fabulous “MangoLassi” smoothie and am delighted to share it with you. It has chia seeds for omega 3, fiber and calcium, turmeric which is a powerful antioxidant (cancer fighting) and liver supporter, high protein and heart healthy almond milk, fresh squeezed orange juice for vitamin c, carrots for beta carotene (cancer fighter) and vitamin A (to enhance eye health), and mango for sweetness and whole host of nutritional goodies (vitamins A, C, B6 as well as folate, fiber and copper). I came up with this by trying to make the perfectly pretty orange smoothie.  I would say this one is a total success. Pretty, healthy, and delish. Wanna try it? Here you go! Continue reading “New Year New You Mango Lassi Smoothie” »

#HealthyHolidays Blog Carnival Recipe from Kitchenista Diaries

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Today’s blog carnival recipe is a real beauty. Angela at Kitchenista Diaries provided us with this festive vegetable dish. Some vegetables are meant to be side dishes. But this one is gorgeous enough to take center stage, don’t you think? To learn more about Angela and get the recipe for her Riesling and Dijon Haricot Verts with Crispy Shallots (that even sounds sexy) visit her at The Kitchenista Diaries.

Our #Healthy#Holidays blog carnival will continue through December 20. If you know of a food blogger that you think would like to join us, send them to Renee@soulfoodtherapy.com.

Holiday Recipes Blog Carnival

It’s that time of year again – the turkey, the dressing, oooh lawd the sweet potatoes with the marshmallows on top! (fanning self)  I’ve gotten together with some fellow foodies to help you out a bit this year by hosting a #healthyholidays blog carnival.  Starting today through December 20 I’ll be sending out recipes with a twist.  These recipes are healthier and are designed to appeal to the soul food lover in you.  Doesn’t that sound just fabulous??  So here is the first one, submitted by Chrystal and Amir of The Duo Dishes.

A Different Type of Greens for the Holidays

Massaged Kale Salad - The Duo Dishes

Winter’s vegetables are in full force with kale winding its way to the top of the list. It is one of those vegetables that goes a long way, but it was never one that frequented either one of our family tables. Kale popped up once we found the farmers markets and restaurants of L.A. Kale chips and kale salads were the winners that swayed folks in the direction of this green. Kale salads are fairly easy to find on restaurant menus, but they are also very simple to make at home. The dark, rich greens stand up well to a tangy, sweet vinaigrette and a variety of stir-ins to add a variety of textures to each crunchy bite. 

Typically, holiday meals include collards, mustard greens and perhaps turnip greens. Although most of our families have moved away from stewing them in butter and ham hocks, those bunches of greens have usually been stewed to oblivion, lacking many of the nutrients the fresh greens held before going into the pot. The best way to keep the beneficial minerals and nutrients in your greens is to eat them raw or lightly steamed, blanched or sauteed. Once they’ve been cooked for a couple of hours, all you have is green mush. Don’t compromise the flavor, texture or healthy elements of your greens this year! Try something new that will satisfy your cravings for the green goods.

If you want to switch things up this year, poke around your grocery store for fresh kale. Kale just might be addictive. You can judge for yourself once you take a bite. Who can feel guilty after swallowing a big bowl of greens? It’s nearly impossible thanks to the punch of vitamin A, vitamin C, lutein and beta-carotene. Kale can be eaten raw or lightly cooked. Look for the deep green, large curly bunches, and be sure to wash the leaves very well before cutting out the fibrous stems down the middle. Once you have the hearty leaves, where you go from there is up to you. Sautee it with garlic as a side dish, drop the leaves into any soup, add it to your mashed potatoes or drop some in your juicer for a big kick. We suggest a salad for starters. Here’s one that will set you on a delicious path, not only for the holidays, but hopefully a long time afterwards.

 

Massaged Kale Salad with Caramelized Onions, Cranberries and Pine Nuts – Serves 4 to 6 

Dressing 
1/3 cup olive oil 
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
1 tablespoon honey 
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
 
Salad 
2 pounds kale (approx. 3-4 bunches of kale), stems removed and leaves very thinly sliced 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter 
1/2 tablespoon olive oil 
1 large red onion, thinly sliced 
1 tablespoon sugar 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
1 tablespoon water 
1 cup pine nuts, toasted 
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped 
Parmesan cheese, shaved 
 
1. Whisk the olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and red pepper flakes together in a large bowl. Add the kale, and toss to coat. Using your fingers, rub the kale gently for 3-5 minutes or until the greens begin to wilt and soften. Set aside. 
 
2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a shallow pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sugar, tossing all of the ingredients in the pan. Season with the salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for another 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the water and continue cooking for 15 minutes, then remove from heat. 
 
3. Top the wilted kale with the warm onions, pine nuts, cranberries and Parmesan cheese before serving. 
 
About The Duo Dishes
We are Chrystal and Amir, otherwise known as the Duo–two passionate eaters, experimental cooks and college friends based in Los Angeles, California. We mix family traditions, regional fare and new ethnic flavors to create dishes that emphasize our love for a quick fix meal or an elaborate feast. We have been featured on NPR.org, The LAist.com, CulturePOP.com, and KTLA.com, in addition to working with national and international brands–Bertolli and Alexia Foods–for recipe development projects. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Youtube.

Fighting Breast Cancer with Diet and Other Ways

It’s that time of year again – think pink, race for the cure, save the ta-tas, all that jazz.  I know I’m a little late but it’s actually never too late to fight.  I won’t tell you what you already know – get your mammogram blah blah blah.  Instead, let’s talk about a few preventative measures you can take that I don’t think we hear about as often as we should.

1-Eat a whole foods plant based diet.  No, I’m not telling you to go vegan.  But women who consume a diet high in meat products, particularly those that are not grass fed as well as hormone and antibiotic free, have been found to have a greater incidence of cancer.  A good plan of action is to make sure that no more than ¼ of your meal consists of animal products.  Another option is to have a few meatless days a week.

2- Go easy on the dairy products – The milk industry would not want you to know that milk does not necessarily do a boobie good, but there are studies that show an increased risk of premenopausal breast cancer among a group of women who consumed high fat dairy products on a daily basis.  Given that there are traces of growth hormones in milk even if it is low fat, I would say watch your intake just to be safe.

3- You don’t have to blame it on the genes – We know that a woman with a family history of breast cancer is automatically at an increased risk.  But keep in mind that not only did she inherit genes but she inherited lifestyle as well.  Consider things in the life of your family member who has/had breast cancer and determine what, if anything, you could do differently that could decrease your risk.   Diet, exercise, exposure to stress, obesity and toxins are all things that can affect your risk of breast and other cancers.  These are all factors that we have the power to influence.

4- You are what you think you are.  There are multiple studies that show the strong correlation between what you think and what becomes your reality.  It’s called the placebo effect.  When you think you are taking a pill that can heal you, you miraculously are healed.  Thank God for a powerful mind, and be sure to use it in a positive way.

5 – No science to back this one up but I thought I’d share.  I once heard a minister say that rejection from a man can lead to breast cancer.  Again, no idea what the evidence is on this, but since I have much respect for this particular minister, I thought I’d mention this one.  I do know of 3 women who have had breast cancer and were in awful relationships at the time.  Hmm, I would think any emotional pain internalized could lead to a variety of illnesses, so I guess in that aspect, this would make sense.  This is basically a way of acknowledging that getting rid of a bad relationship is good for your health.  We know this but it’s often easier thought than done.

So that’s my short list of preventative measures.  Be sure to pass this on to your girlfriends and fam.  Do you have something to add to the list?  If so be sure to leave it in the comments below.

References:

http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/Table14Dairymilkconsumptionandbreastcancerrisk.html

http://www.tcolincampbell.org/courses-resources/article/avoiding-breast-cancer-with-diet/?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=76&cHash=4af0558305

http://www.wired.com/medtech/drugs/magazine/17-09/ff_placebo_effect?currentPage=all

http://www.lifepowerblog.ca/blog/2011/1/20/mind-over-matter.html

 

 

 

Overweight? You Might Have Food Allergies

As I shared a few days ago, I used to struggle with my weight.  But what I didn’t tell you is the weight was the least of my troubles.

A couple of years ago I started having chest pains, mainly upon awakening in the morning.  This was accompanied by nausea.  This went on pretty consistently for about a month.  I thought there was something wrong with my heart.

The pains became more frequent.  So I finally decided to see a doctor for an EKG. Continue reading “Overweight? You Might Have Food Allergies” »

The Leafy Greens Cookbook

leafy greens cookbookHelp!  I need for you to spare a few moments to complete my survey. It’s the only way I will know what you want from Soul Food Therapy. Email me your name and email address once you do so you can be entered for a chance to win the brand new “The Leafy Greens” cookbook!  Survey open until Sunday, August 25 at midnight PST.  Winner will be chosen randomly by random.org.  Cookbook will be mailed only to an address within the Continental US.  Thanks so much for your help! Survey link here.

 

Black Girls Eat Healthy Too!

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Just a little note to let you know about a great new venture – our new meetup group!  Yay! This is an opportunity for those of us in the SF Bay Area to get together and do some healthy fun activities together, like cooking classes, farmer’s market visits, restaurant reviews, and whatever you’d like to suggest. Join the meetup website, then join Green is the New Black – Black Girls Eat Veggies Too.  Our first outing will be this Saturday.  Once you sign up you’ll be notified of all upcoming events.  I look forward to living healthy with you!