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How to use dances of the African Diaspora to be fit

How to use dances of the African Diaspora to be fit

Pilin-Anice-Using-Dances-of-the-african-diaspora-to-be-fit

In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating a mother, entrepreneur and Wellness Warrior you’ll love.

Pilin Anice is an Afro Flow Yoga instructor located in CT right outside of New York City (NYC).

What is Afro Flow Yoga?

Afro Flow Yoga® is a dynamic class that fuses vinyasa yoga sequences with dances of the African Diaspora and live drumming founded by Leslie Salmon Jones & Jeff Jones.

Getting in the work…

Pilin got into yoga and African dance her freshman year in college at Howard University.

This is so amazing and full circle because, at the time, I didn’t understand how connected the two were or realize they would have such a huge impact on my journey!”

After completing her 200hr RYT in 2010, she had a vision of merging yoga with dance and prayed on it. Shortly after, in a Haitian dance class at The Ailey Extension, she met Leslie and learned about Afro Flow Yoga®.

I knew it was the practice I saw in my vision!

Pilin started training with Leslie in 2011 and teaching shortly after.

It has been such an honor to share this incredible practice with communities around the world!

Pilin on the meaning of her work as a woman of the African Diaspora

Pilin and her daughter during their #mommyandmini2018 Yoga Challenge!

Communities with people of color are struggling with preventable diseases and poor health.

 It is my mission, not only as a woman of color, but also as a mother, to empower and educate as many as I can to make choices that have a positive impact on their health.

Making the shift to a healthier lifestyle can be a challenge because we don’t always see ourselves represented in mainstream yoga or wellness.

It bring me joy to know that the work I do may inspire someone to see its possible and begin the journey to holistic wellness.

Get into Afro Flow Yoga

 

Pilin regularly teaches and monthly classes at the Ailey Extension and around NYC and CT. You can find the schedule on:

She’s also hosting a yoga and surf retreat, Restore & Explore in Panama on Aug 8-13!

Connect with Pilin on Instagram @pilinanice

Get Unstuck Coaching Program

The Get Unstuck Coaching Program is for millennial women feeling stuck, that want to get out of their heads, and overcome their paralysis by getting to know themselves. You’ll learn to love yourself no matter what, you’ll know exactly who you are, you’ll have full clarity on what you want and will Fearlessly step into your purpose.

Interested in joining? Apply for a free strategy session to get started.

Awaken Your Self-Awareness & Thrive

Manifest your dream life, get to know yourself, join a community of supportive professional women and start thriving.

The Ultimate Guide: Kitchen Tools Beginners Need to Meal Prep Healthy

The Ultimate Guide: Kitchen Tools Beginners Need to Meal Prep Healthy

It’s Saturday morning and you are excited to prep a healthy lunch for yourself.

Like a good student, you’ve done all the preparation.

You found a recipe that is not too complicated and you even picked all your ingredients from the grocery store.

As you start to review the instructions, you realize there are at-least two kitchen tools you are missing.

Don’t you hate it when that happens?

It’s like no matter how hard you try, there is always something keeping you from eating better.

You start to wonder,

How are you supposed to know which kitchen tools you need to eat healthily?

As a beginner, do you need every single tool listed in every single recipe?

If so, why do you need these tools? Are you going to use them more than once?

You want to believe you can make this work.

The question is how?

Good news:

You do not have to buy every single kitchen tool in every single recipe you want to try.

However,

There are some kitchen tools that will make your journey a little easier.

This ultimate guide is designed to help you decide which kitchen tools you absolutely need as a health-conscious cook.

Make sure you save it and share with your loved ones around your birthday, and the holidays :-).

Before you get started with the kitchen tools,

Here are some things you need to know.

No.

You do not need to run and buy every single item on this list.

Yes.

You should go through your kitchen and check off any items you already have using the Kitchen Tools for Beginners Checklist below.

Download the list

You’ll be surprised at how many of these tools are already in your kitchen.

No.

You do not need to go with my recommendations.

The items recommended in this post are items of my personal use that have worked well for me over the years.

You’ll see a range of price options for different budgets.

Do what’s best for your budget.

Next –

Let’s talk cookware safety.

Did you know that some containers can leak toxins into your food?

Yep.

Unfortunately, some pots and pans can do the same thing.

Ok, I know what you are thinking?

Nory, how do I know what is safe?

No need to worry.

The folks at Gimme the Good Stuff researched it for you.

Here is what you need to know about the safety of your kitchen tools.

Cookware is made of a variety of materials. As the New York Times reports, some are safer than others.

Check out the breakdown below:

Safe Materials

  • Ceramic: True ceramic is life.  Beware of brands that coat their ceramic with nonstick materials. We already went over this. Teflon is no Bueno.
  • Porcelain Enamel: Enamel is a form of glass. Enameled cookware is most often cast iron with an enamel coating.
  • Tempered glass: Truly the safest route. There is cookware made of tempered glass, and if it is in your budget, you should grab it.
  • Crockpot: These have a ceramic insert and must pass FDA regulations for lead.  If you are concerned, get a cheap test kit and check your crock pot for lead.

Safe-ish Materials

  • Cast iron: The cast iron can help prevent anemia by adding more iron to your food. Switch between cast irons and other pans during the week to avoid ingesting too much iron.
  • Stainless steel: These are mostly good. However, stainless steel is made with nickel and once again too much of anything can be a problem. Switch it up during the week to keep it on the safe side.
  • Titanium:  The only reason to be cautious about titanium cookware is that it seems that most manufacturers now coat their titanium cookware with non-stick finishes, which brings us back to Teflon. Moral of the story? Avoid cookware that is coated with non-stick finishes.

Use with Caution

  • Aluminum:  Avoid all aluminum cookware. Note that pans with an aluminum core within cookware made of safer metals (such as stainless steel) are fine.
  • Unprotected Copper: Too much of anything is not right for you. Too much copper in your body can be toxic. Some foods react with unprotected copper cookware and leach too much copper into your food.
  • Non-stick /Teflon:  You might have heard Teflon is safe, I thought it was too. Until learning how toxic it is. The EPA told companies in 2015 to phase it out. The American Cancer Society even weigh in on this.
  • Plastic: Apparently you can get a plastic pot. Yea, don’t do that. While we are at it, do not microwave your food in plastic either.

So what does this all mean?

As you decide which tools to purchase keep an eye out for materials that are not safe for you and your family.

Keep in mind that your budget will also dictate how safe you can go. Start where you are and slowly save for safer cooking ware.

Now let’s dive into the list of kitchen tools.

Remember you do not need to buy every single item on this list right away.

Take your time and start with the items you will use the most.

Download the list

Kitchen Tools

Baking Dish

If you want to start meal prepping you need this in your life. Baking is the most time efficient way to cook multiple things at once. You can use it to cook all your vegetables, meats, and even rice in the oven. I own a set of two which are great when preparing different types of fish or veggies for the week. They are easy to use and easy to clean. Plus, they are dishwasher friendly. They are great to marinate mushrooms too.

Nory’s Pick:

Pyrex Basics Clear Oblong Glass Baking Dishes

Baking Trays

Are you a fan or frozen items? My husband and I have a sweet spot for frozen potato wedges; our baking tray is perfect for them. You can also use them for things like cookies, bread, and other vegetables. We use ours at least once a week to make plantain chips. These are perfect for quick meals when you do not want to spend too much time in the kitchen.

Nory’s pick

Option #1

Option #2

Blender

Do you need a blender? Yes. Just not a fancy one. Blenders are great especially for people short of time. If you like to have breakfast on the go, blenders are perfect for smoothies, if you are into soups or purees, having a blender would change your life.

The question is, how much should you spend on a blender? That’s up to you and your budget. You can buy a blender only for smoothies, or you can invest in a set that includes attachments like food processors. You can start with something simple and get more attachments later.

Nory’s Pick:

Nutri Ninja Ninja Blender Duo with Auto-iQ

Nory’s pick

Option #1

Option #2

Can Opener

Canned food is not the devil. If you are short on time, there are plenty of healthy canned options you can use to eat better. You will need a can opener. No way around this!

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Chef Knives

Do you hate struggling to cut meat or vegetables? It has nothing to do with your strength and everything to with your dull knife.

A good chef knife is the answer to your cutting problems. This handy tool will help save time when cooking and make cooking your meals feel like a breeze. Seriously, when I invested in a chef knife, it changed my life. You can start with one and build a collection as you get more advanced in the kitchen.

Nory’s pick

Option #1

Option #2

Cloths

These are great for cleaning when you are cooking, and you can slip a damp towel under the cutting board to prevent it from moving. Cloths are great to keep your hands clean when you are cooking too.

Nory’s pick

Option #2

Option #3

Colander

Perfect for draining and rinsing canned goods, rice, pasta, vegetables. Get one on the bigger side to avoid running out of room. I use my colander every single time I cook.

Nory’s Pick:

Stainless Steel Colander – Micro-Perforated Strainer

Nory’s pick

Option #1

Option #2

Cooking Set

You need a cooking set sis. Once again, you don’t need Rachel Ray’s cooking set, just the essentials. A saucepan, a non-stick sauté pan, and a large stockpot. Depending on how much you cook and for how many people you might need different sizes, you just need the basics to get started.

What are they good for? The non-stick sauté pan is great for searing and sautéing meats, vegetables. The saucepan is perfect for cooking rice, vegetables, reheating soups and sauces. The large stockpot is great for making pasta, making stock, making chili, and making soup.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Crock Pot

Crock pots are slow cookers that are perfect for eating healthy on a budget. You can leave your slow cooker for hours or overnight to bring out the flavors in your food. Your slow cooker is perfect for making broths, chili’s, vegetables and everything else in between!

Nory’s Pick:

Crock-Pot 7-Quart Manual Slow Cooker

Nory’s pick

Option #1

Option #2

Cutting Board

If you do not have a cutting board in your kitchen, it is time to invest in one. Like yesterday. I recommend you invest in two cutting boards. One for meats and pungent items like garlic and onions. One for fruits and vegetables. Have you ever cut mangos or apples after cutting onions and tried to eat them? Take my word for it; it is not pleasant.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Foreman Grill

When I visited my now husband’s apartment for the first time, he used his Foreman Grill to cook grilled chicken for me. I was amazed at how great the chicken tasted and more importantly how fast it cooked.

If you do not have access to a grill this a great investment. You can use the ridged side for grilling anything you want and the smooth side for making eggs, pancakes, even tortillas. If space is an issue for you, this item is a lifesaver and a must-have.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Food Scale

If you are a beginner, the food scale is your new best friend. The food scale will help you keep your portions under control. How else are you supposed to know how big a 2 oz. is?

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Download the checklist

Julienne & Vegetable Peeler

We all need a vegetable peeler. It is great for vegetables and fruits. Consider getting a julienne vegetable peeler because it will help you reinvent your food. Is like having a spiralizer and a peeler in one. You can make fine noodles from zucchini, carrots, beets, and other veggies perfect for salads or bowls. It is easy to clean and smaller than a spiralizer.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Measuring Cups

Some items on this list are designed to help you control your portions. Every single recipe you try will require measuring cups. How else would you know how much a cup, ½ a cup or even ⅛ of a cup means? Do not get fancy, a simple set of the one below will work just fine.

Nory’s Pick:

Pyrex 3-Piece Glass Measuring Cup Set. Source Amazon.

Nory’s pick

Option #1

Option #2

Measuring Spoons

Ever try to eyeball a ⅛ of a teaspoon of anything? How are you supposed to know how much that is? The good news is the measuring spoons will take care of that. Using these tools, you will avoid over seasoning your food, and you will better control how much salt and added sugar you use.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Meat thermometer

As a health-conscious new cook, food safety is your priority. How do you know if your food is ready? That’s where the meat thermometer comes in. The meat thermometer will help you avoid undercooking your food and keep you from getting sick.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Metal Tongs

Tired of burning your fingers trying to turn your food? Time to invest in metal tongs. Not only will they help you avoid injuries, but they will also help you cook your food evenly. These come handy especially when you are grilling.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Mixing Bowls

Don’t you hate it when you put dressing on your salad, and it is not equally distributed? Yea, me too. Mixing bowls would take of that issue. The bowls are also perfect for seasoning and marinating your meat, vegetables and anything your heart desires.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Oven mitts

Avoid burning your hand when checking on your goodies in the oven. These are also great for moving your pots while keeping your fingers injury-free.

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Parchment paper

Parchment paper is grease- and moisture-resistant paper specially treated for oven use. You can use it to line cake molds and baking sheets, to wrap fish and to cover countertops during messy tasks to make cleanup easy.

Nory’s Pick:

Reynolds Kitchens Parchment Paper

Nory’s pick

Option #1

Option #2

Stirring Spoons and Spatulas

Stirring spoons are a must-have for cooking. You can use it in your soups, chillis, with your rice, stews, you name it. You can use it to flip, mix, stir and scrape your food. Wood is a great material because it is safe and easy to clean. Did you know that if you place a wooden spoon placed on the top of a pot it would keep it from boiling over? Yep. Give it a try!

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

Storage Containers

You might be thinking, you need fancy containers. You don’t. Having the right containers is essential because they help keep your food fresh.

For lunches and dinners, I recommend using glass. They are great because glass does not leak any chemicals into your food. For items like nuts, seeds, and fruits you can use BPA free plastic containers. Use these when you are on the road and need to have snacks handy. They are lighter and easy to carry.

Nory’s Pick:

ProGlass 24-Piece Food Storage Set with Easy Snap Lids

Option #1

Option #2

Option #3

There you have it.

Being a health-conscious cook is not always easy. There is lot’s to learn, and at times, you will get frustrated and overwhelmed.

Do not panic.

This list is the best place to get started.

Yes, this list is long.

However, remember, it’s a guide, not the rule of law. Be patient with yourself and start where you are.

You can do this.

Do not let your kitchen tools stand in the way of the healthiest and happiest version of yourself.

Afterall isn’t that why you are here?

So do it.

Download the checklist  and review your kitchen today.

Awaken Your Self-Awareness & Thrive

Manifest your dream life, get to know yourself, join a community of supportive professional women and start thriving.

A Love Letter to the Unhealthy and Unhappy Version of Me

A Love Letter to the Unhealthy and Unhappy Version of Me

A-Love-Letter-to-the-Unhealthy-and-Unhappy-Version-of-Me-Title

Before 2010 I didn’t love myself.

I pretended I did because I thought I did.

I was so unaware.

Had no idea what self-love was.

How self-love was supposed to feel.

Why self-love was important.

You see,

No one ever taught me.

And maybe, no one ever taught you too.

Perhaps,

That’s why you clicked on the title.

Or,

Maybe you are looking for someone to relate to you, to your story.

Someone to make you feel OK about how you feel about yourself.

Before 2010, I felt alone.

Lost.

Confused.

Until one day,

Someone said “You need to love yourself.”

And it stuck with me.

I was finally ready to figure that out.

I wanted to know what self-love was.

I was ready to learn how to do it.

I was ready to love me.

I was ready to stop pretending.

This letter shares some things I wished I knew then.

Things that would have made the journey a little more comfortable.

And, although, chances are we’ve never met,

In my heart I know, that if you are anything like me,

You need the content of this letter as much as I did then and sometimes still do now.

Let’s get started.

Nory Writing in a journal.
Journaling is a great way to practice self-love.

Hi Beautiful,

Because you are beautiful.

You don’t need anyone else to tell you that to believe it.

You don’t need men, friends, family members to validate your beauty.

Especially, men.

While we at it,

Stop defining yourself worth based on what men say to you.

For years you’ve mastered the art of pretending.

Pretending to be confident and not care about what people say about you and how you carry yourself.

Pretending to be strong in front of others,

Yet,

As soon as you close the doors, you break down into tears.

Because, PRETENDING.

Pretending to be ok when you are not ok,

Because you are always supposed to be ok.

You’ve been raised to be strong.

Independent.

Confident.

Weakness?

What is that?

You aren’t allowed to be weak. To be vulnerable. To NOT be OK.

You believe this,

You do your best to hide your fears and insecurities,

Because, FEAR.

Fear of what people will say, fear of not being strong, fear of not being confident, fear of not being independent.

Fear of needing others.

Fear of not being who you are supposed to be.

You wonder,

  • Is this how things are supposed to be?
  • Will all this be worth it?
  • Am I doing this right?

I am here to tell you everything will be ok.

The world doesn’t turn out to be as scary as you think.

You don’t need to worry yourself like this.

You won’t need all this worry training.

Here is what you need:

Accept that you are not perfect

You’ve been taught that mistakes are bad.

Everyone says you should avoid them because mistakes are a form of failure.

And,

Failure is bad.

The truth is,

You’ve been lied to.

Failure and mistakes are not bad.

They are lessons in disguise.

They are a part of the process.

Mistakes are great teachers of –

  • What works for you and what doesn’t.
  • What you know and what you don’t know.

More importantly,

Mistakes put you in control of deciding what you want to do next and why.

They put you in charge of deciding what to do with the lessons you learn.

That’s powerful.

By obsessing over being perfect, you miss out on these lessons and will find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again.

You can’t skip certain lessons in your life.

Accept that you will make mistakes.

Commit to learning from those mistakes and use those lessons, to make smarter/informed decisions in the future.

I know you hate that you can’t solve everyone’s problems, but worrying is not the answer.

You have to set some boundaries for yourself, sis.

Learn to say no,

No to perfection.

Because, perfection is not a thing.

Be honest with yourself

Having a croissant in Madrid. I love carbs as much as the next person, that's why I have them in moderation.

Honestly,

You do not have to be everything to everyone.

You cannot pour into other people if your cup is empty.

Stop running away from the root of the issues you are facing.

This is why you run to food for comfort.

Because, control.

By focusing on controlling the things you CAN’T control, you end up feeling like there is NOTHING you CAN control.

Well,

There’s one thing.

Food.

You think that you are in control, but you are once again pretending.

Because, feelings.

They are the ones in control right now.

Your feelings decide what you eat and when.

If you want to change that, you have to face yourself.

Face your insecurities.

And –

You need to stop using other people’s pain to avoid your own.

Stop pretending you don’t carry your own baggage.

It’s OK.

That’s the only way to let go of what weighs you down.

It’s OK to NOT be OK.

And,

FOOD is NOT the answer.

You need to do more than exercising to be healthy

Nory doing yoga in Madrid, Spain.

I know you think that hitting the gym four times a week is all you need to get a six-pack.

You’re wrong.

And that’s not healthy.

Right now,

You can eat everything you want without worries.

That will change as you get older.

Start caring for your body right now.

You only get one.

Drink more water.

A lot more water.

Are you even drinking water?

Drink less alcohol.

A lot less alcohol.

Do you really need to be drunk every weekend?

You don’t need to be hovering a toilet at the end of the night to have a good time.

Before I forget,

A box of Oreos is not a meal.

Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Please!

You might never stop being a stress eater, but you can make better choices about what you eat.

This includes fast foods.

Cut back on the caramel sundaes at McDonald’s.

Trust me,

You will thank me for this once you hit your late twenties and thirties.

Go to therapy ASAP

OK, I know what you are thinking.

“I am not crazy; I don’t need a shrink.”

There is nothing wrong with being a little crazy.

Therapy is not about being crazy,

Therapy is bigger than that.

It’s about keeping your mind healthy.

It’s about slowing down and taking time to get to know yourself better.

It’s about showing up for yourself.

  • Therapy will help you peel layers of pain you didn’t know existed.
  • Therapy will teach you how to heal.
  • Therapy will make it easier to love yourself, unconditionally.
  • Therapy will even help you with your poor eating habits.

That’s right.

Your relationship with food is more complicated than you think.

You eat some foods over others because they remind you of people or happy times in your life.

Eating healthy is not as simple as you think.

If you are going to be successful, you will need help sorting some of that out.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

Because, depression is real.

Because, mental health.

Being healthy is more than working out, you have to care about your food, your mind, and your spirit as well.

At first, self-love will be hard

Nory and her husband JP dancing in DC.
Nory and her husband JP in Washington, DC.
Right now, you are focused on losing weight.

Guess what?

That’s not important.

Weight gain is only the manifestation of everything you have going on.

Weight gain is only a symptom, not the root of the problem.

That’s why weight loss is the easy part.

Keeping the weight off, that’s a different story.

That’s why you need therapy, to peel the layers that keep pushing you to make the same mistakes.

To help you get to the root of why food is your coping mechanism.

Therapy will help you do that.

You won’t find happiness on the scale or the fridge.

Happiness comes from accepting that the only actions you can control are your own.

Happiness is embracing all your imperfections and selfishly caring about your well-being.

All parts of it.

Happiness is giving yourself permission to be ok with not being ok and doing something about it.

Happiness comes from acceptance,

And treating yourself like your own best friend.

Good news:

It all works out in the end.

You do lose the weight.

You keep it off for seven years and counting.

You get to the root.

You end up meeting a guy, he is fantastic and yall even get married, not that you care about that right now.

You learn to set boundaries, and it turns out to be the best decision.

You learn to put yourself first.

You learn to love yourself a little more every single day.

Until one day,

You’re strong enough to write this letter!

So,

Be patient with yourself.

Because to a certain extent, everyone does their fair share of pretending.

No one is perfect.

Like Lauryn Hill once said,

“Your worst version of yourself is better than your best version of somebody else.”

Never forget that,

I am proud of you.

I love you!

Awaken Your Self-Awareness & Thrive

Manifest your dream life, get to know yourself, join a community of supportive professional women and start thriving.

EmPOWERED to Serve: Why Your Zip Code Can Shorten Your Life by 21 Years

EmPOWERED to Serve: Why Your Zip Code Can Shorten Your Life by 21 Years

Did you know that you can live 21 years less than your family member living just five miles away from you because of your zip code?

Think about this for a moment.

Earlier this year I shared a simple method to transition to living healthier, I gave you a step-by-step process to meal prep as a beginner and even taught you how to curb your sugar cravings.

Are these things important?

Absolutely!

But, there’s more:

According to the American Heart Association, many factors are impacting your health besides your behaviors.

There is a component of living healthy that no one talks about and it affects every single one of us.

And the answer might surprise you.

Source: EmPoWERED To Serve Summit, Hosted by the American Heart Association

It’s your community.

Your neighborhood plays a considerable role in your ability to eat better and become healthier.

Deep down you know this is true.

If you live in a community with little to no access to healthy options, healthy living feels impossible.

Is like being asked to pass a test without the proper study guide.

How are you supposed to do that?

It’s not only crazy, but it’s also unfair.

Good news:

Source: EmPoWERED To Serve Summit, Hosted by the American Heart Association

EmPOWERED To Serve

The American Heart Association is dedicated to building healthier lives and have developed the EmPOWERED To Serve ™ movement to tackle this issue.

What is EmPOWERED To Serve ™ movement anyway?

The goal of the EmPOWERED To Serve ™ movement is to improve health within multicultural communities.

If you are looking to improve your health, this movement is for you.

The best part?

You will get an opportunity to make a positive impact in your community.

You might be thinking,

Nory, why should I care about the EmPOWERED To Serve ™ movement?

Here’s a clue:

According to the American Heart Association, your zip code may increase your risk of stroke, high blood pressure and other types of heart disease.

That’s right!

Imagine how that can impact the lives of the people you love.

Think about your extended family, the children attending your local school, the members of the church you visit on Sundays.

All their lives are at stake here.

More good news:

Source: EmPoWERED To Serve Summit, Hosted by the American Heart Association

Earlier this month the EmPOWERED To Serve ™ movement brought together experts and thought-leaders in Washington D.C. to discuss how to help these communities.

As part of this event, ten finalists in the American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED To Serve Urban Business Storytelling Competition competed for awards from $10,000 – $30,000.

The goal of the competition was to identify fresh ideas and innovative solutions that would make it easier to live healthy in multicultural communities.

Sounds impressive, right?

You bet it is!

For more information on the EmPOWERED To Serve movement and the EmPOWERED To Serve Urban Business Storytelling Competition, visit empoweredtoserve.org.

If you want to learn who won the competition, keep reading.

Out of 128 submissions, ten finalists were selected. Three winners were chosen to implement their plans in their community.

Meet the finalists:

Maria Rose Belding | MEANS Database |  Philadelphia, PA

MEANS Database notifies food banks and pantries of food donations in their neighborhood. Food Connect delivers surplus food from retailers to community organizations serving the hungry.

Sharon Butler |  Eat Away Hunger |  Washington, DC

The Eat Away Hunger backpack food program provides nonperishable healthy food to children in need to take home when school meal programs are unavailable, mainly during the Winter and Spring breaks and three-day weekends.

Nisha Sarveswaran | Ambiance Data |  Detroit, MI

Ambience Data has created small, inexpensive hardware devices that monitor indoor air pollution. They empower families to take control of their health by knowing what family members are breathing from day to day.

Kenny Fennell | GoWithCaravan |  Detroit, MI

Caravan is a web-based platform that offers hourly rentals for five to fifteen-person passenger vehicles sourced from nearby owners. Caravan’s vision is to ensure lower-income urban residents can access education, employment, and healthy foods in their neighborhoods and the region beyond through shared-use mobility services.

Nyasha Nyamapfene | Gospel Run |  Chicago, IL

Gospel Run is a public health organization created to inspire health, transformation and expanded possibilities in the individuals, families, and communities we serve.

Cecil Wilson | GoffersGotIt |  Chicago, IL

The GoffersGotIt motto is “Getting Things Done on the Go!” Goffers provides on-demand mobile task assistance. Services include, but are not limited to, grocery shopping, laundry delivery, and prescription refills.

Sequoia Ross | Tricycle Urban Agriculture |  Richmond, VA

Training the next generation of urban farmers. An innovative approach to learning the business and practice of Urban Agriculture

Diop Adisa | KHeprw.org |  Indianapolis, IN

Our model supports young entrepreneurs who want to be the next generation of urban farmers by bringing healthy affordable food into this particular community while strengthening relationships and supporting urban farmers.

Rickey Wynn | See What I See |  Ft. Worth, TX

See What I See (SWIS) is an easy to use product, designed to allow a sick or shut-in person to see through the eyes of their caregiver in real time and communicate with them at the same time.

Danie Brillman | Unite Us

Unite Us is a veteran-owned technology company that builds coordinated care networks of health and human service providers that support individuals by addressing all social determinants of health.

Astonishing, isn’t it?

It is incredible what we are capable off when we focus on helping members of our community live healthily.

In addition to the competition, the event highlighted a number of sessions designed to teach us how to help our communities.

Source: EmPoWERED To Serve Summit, Hosted by the American Heart Association

Kimberly Perry, Director, Food Security, AARP Foundation facilitated the Collective Impact to Transform Communities session.

This session focused on how we can improve our communities by collaborating with both traditional and non-traditional members partners.

Karen Wells, Manager, Community Impact and Annie Thornhill, VP, Community Health, American Heart Association, lead a conversation on Healthy Food Access.

Sadly,

Many families do not have access to healthy foods.

Because, Access.

Imagine having to travel twice as far just to avoid eating fast food.

That’s the reality for families living in typical black neighborhoods in Chicago.

By now you are probably wondering,

How can YOU get involved?

That’s why before I share the winners of the competition with you, I want to encourage you to become an EmPOWERED To Serve Ambassador.

You can get healthier and make your community a better place at the same time.

Here’s what you’ve been waiting for:

Congratulations are in order to the top three winners. I look forward to seeing their initiatives come to life.

Winners: Nyasha Nyamapfene, Maria Rose Belding, Cecil Wilson Source: EmPoWERED To Serve Summit, Hosted by the American Heart Association

Now it’s your turn!

Do your part and join the movement!

Can you really afford not to?

Note: This post has been sponsored by the American Heart Association.

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7 Reasons Why The Key to Health is Learning More and Reading Less

7 Reasons Why The Key to Health is Learning More and Reading Less

Wouldn’t it be great if you could snap your fingers and all your health worries went away?

Sadly,

That’s not possible.

If it were, you wouldn’t be reading this post, and you would probably be filthy rich.

The truth is,

Living healthy is all about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

OK, I know what you are thinking?

Nory, why are you telling me this?

Because, knowledge.

You are here to learn how to make eating better work for you, and this is an important lesson.

Plus, I am going to step out of my comfort zone in November by attending the W.E.L.L. SUMMIT, but more on that later.

First –

We’ve all been there.

We’ve read every blog post, promising to get us the body we want finally.

We’ve followed every single guru assuring us they have the answers to our problems.

We’ve even pinned all the healthy recipes in the world, although we’ve never tried them.

So what’s the problem?

Why is it working?

I’ve been there.

I’ve felt your frustration.

Until one day,

It hit me.

I was reading, but I wasn’t learning.

Let that sink in for a minute.

You are reading, but you aren’t learning.

Reading is easy; you do it mindlessly.

Learning takes work.

You have to take time to internalize the information you’ve learned and commit to incorporating it into your life.

See the difference?

The question is,

What are you supposed to do?

Here are seven reasons why you have to read less and learn more and how.

Let’s get started.

1. You Need to Know What’s Most Important to You, Right Now to Be Healthier

Source: atzmut.com

Have you asked yourself what is the most important thing to you right now to live healthier?

Is it to eat more vegetables?

Eat less fried food?

Understand what healthy fats mean?

Is it to find time to meal prep?

You might have read about what’s important to other people.

You probably relate to that.

But what’s most important to YOU?

Being healthy is deeper than eating more fruits and veggies.

It’s about confronting yourself.

It’s about being honest with yourself about what matters to you.

Noone else.

For example,

The most important thing to me right now is to provide you with useful information to help you successfully start living healthy.

That’s why I am attending the W.E.L.L. SUMMIT I mentioned earlier.

To meet other healthy living experts who can show me better ways to help you.

What is the  W.E.L.L. SUMMIT anyway?

The W.E.L.L. Summit is a life-changing experience for those seeking self-improvement and welcome all who are as passionate as we are about living well.

From beauty bloggers and wellness professionals to those looking to learn more about the ever-expanding realms of inner beauty/peace of mind, clean eating, of-the-moment

fitness trends, making informed consumer decisions and exploring the now covetable field of green beauty, this is the place of inspiration.

I hope to walk away from this experience better equipt to not only inspire you to become healthier but also give you the tools to make it work for you.

Just like you, I need to be honest.

Honest about what I can and cannot do.

That’s the only way you will be able to achieve your goals.

2. Everything You Think You Know About Eating Healthy is Probably Wrong

Seriously,

Building the health you want can get complicated.

There is a lot of information out there.

Sometimes, it feels like there is too much information.

That’s why you have to question everything.

Including what I post here.

Ask yourself,

Can this information help me fix what’s most important to me right now?

Because, time.

Do not waste your time with information that doesn’t meet you where you are.

If you want to learn, you have to do more than reading; you have to learn from the best.

Another reason why I am thrilled to attend the W.E.L.L. SUMMIT.

Their speakers include the best in the field!

  • Jessamyn Stanley – Author, Yoga Teacher and Body-Positive Advocate
  • Latham Thomas – Celebrity Wellness/Lifestyle Maven and Birth Doula
  • Koya Webb – Celebrity Holistic Health Coach and Yoga Instructor
  • McKel Hill – Author & Creator of Nutrition Stripped
  • Alba Ramos – Non-toxic Beauty & Lifestyle Youtuber and Blogger

If stop learning, you will stop growing in your healthy living journey.

However,

Don’t just learn from anyone, learn from people who have helped other people and can share that knowledge with you!

3. Your Tribe is the Reason You Succeed in the Long-term

Who is your tribe?

You might have heard people tell you,

You need to find your tribe.

What does that even mean?

Your tribe will lift you up when you are feeling down.

They will motivate you when you are feeling discouraged.

Your tribe is the reason you succeed in the long-term.

Guess what?

I am one of them.

Seriously, I am.

I am committed to your success like it was my own.

Because, experience.

Early on my journey, I connected with Koya Webb, one of the speakers at the WE.L.L. Summit.

With over 15 years of practical application and certifications from the Integrated Institute of Nutrition (IIN), National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM), Source of Yoga

500hr and many others, Koya stays on the pulse of what’s fun, fresh and effective when it comes to optimal nutrition and healthy living.

Her mission is to create a healthier planet one breath at a time via holistic healing, oneness and eco-friendly living.

I joined Koya’s 10-day detox/plant-based challenge.

This challenge taught me how to add more plant-based options to my routine without feeling deprived.

It became the foundation for a healthier lifestyle; I didn’t think it was possible.

And…

I cannot wait to meet her in person.

Koya has been in my tribe for years!

Here’s the deal,

Your tribe can make or break your healthy living journey.

That’s why,

I want to inspire you the same way Koya inspired me.

Because,

I am committed to you and seeing you crush your goals.

Your success is the driver behind iAmHealthyFit.

4. How to Find Your Tribe

Have you ever felt alone?

Living healthy can feel lonely.

Especially in the beginning.

The trick is to surround yourself with people who are at least a few steps ahead of you.

These people know what is like to get stuck.

They know how you feel.

Because, experience.

You might find them at your local wellness center.

They might be your friends, family, or workers.

You might find them on the internet.

The point is, you have to put yourself in a position to find them.

Get over your fears of not being liked.

Stop thinking that you are too awkward and won’t fit in.

That’s why I am attending the W.E.L.L. SUMMIT.

Because, my tribe.

I am putting aside my insecurities (well most of them), to grow and get better at helping you.

For what is worth,

It sorta freaks me out.

Because, fear.

I hate to be in places where I don’t know people.

But the bottom line is,

How else are we supposed to grow and learn?

5. Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Source: The Muse

It sounds simple. And it is.

Getting uncomfortable is at the core of living healthy.

Even if you grew up in a family that valued healthy living,

You better get ready to get uncomfortable.

You are probably wondering, Why?

Think about it this way,

Ever been that person at the dinner table,

The person asking the server a million questions about all the substitutions you cannot make to your meal?

That’s uncomfortable.

The whole table makes it weird because they stop and stare.

Most servers are annoyed that they have to do this back and forth with you.

And you,

You have to decide how important this meal is.

Is it worth all this extra attention?

It feels uncomfortable.

Because, it is.

Your journey will be uncomfortable.

And at times you will want to give up.

Sometimes, you will throw in the towel.

That’s ok.

The sooner you accept this, the less uncomfortable it will become.

The easier it will be to get back in the game.

Am I uncomfortable heading to the NYC for the W.E.L.L. SUMMIT?

Absolutely.

But I won’t let that get in the way of what’s most important to me.

Growing to be in a better position to help you.

6. Knowledge is Freedom

It is that simple.

Knowledge gives you the power to make the tough decisions without the drama.

Knowledge makes it easier to say “NO.”

  • No to foods,
  • No to people,
  • No to events,
  • No to unhealthy behaviors.

That’s what freedom looks like in your new journey.

If you focus on:

  • Identifying what’s important to you,
  • Finding your tribe,
  • Learning from the best,
  • Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and
  • Finding spaces to grow.

I promise you that your journey will be a little easier than most.

It won’t be a walk in the park.

You will have good days, and you will have bad days.

But as time goes by,

You will have less bad days and more good days.

7. Sharing is Caring

Then comes the best part!

You share the wealth.

You inspire one person to do the same.

You pay it forward.

You might be wondering,

How?

Just live your truth.

Lead by example.

Be real about your journey, in good times and when things get rough.

That’s how we help others; we join their tribe.

Before I go…

The most exciting part about attending the W.E.L.L. Summit is sharing everything I learn with you.

If you are in the NYC area, I want to invite you to join me personally.

Maybe the entire conference is too much for you, totally understandable.

So, come party with us!

Join us for the Live W.E.L.L. Party on Friday night from 5:30 to 9:00 pm. With 30 vendors, book signings by our speakers, Kombrewcha & Steaz based cocktails, food tastings, manicures by tenoverten, fun photobooths and more, it’s an evening of wellness you don’t want to miss. Limited tickets are available!

 “The Live W.E.L.L. Party Ticket — $29.” 

What do you have to lose?

PS:

If you cannot attend the summit, don’t worry I’ll post an update with everything you need to know.

In the meantime,

Can you please do me a favor?

In the comments section, let me know what is your biggest challenge eating healthier right now?

I will use your feedback to create future content on the blog.

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Make Meal Prep Work for You: 5 Wonderful Secrets Every Beginner Needs to Know

Make Meal Prep Work for You: 5 Wonderful Secrets Every Beginner Needs to Know

Have you ever found yourself wishing you could start meal prepping?

You’ve heard the advice a million times.

“You need to meal prep.”

You’ve given it your best shot.

You bought containers, you picked the recipes and you even went to the grocery store.

And yet…

Your fridge looks nothing like the pictures on social media.

You want to meal prep.

The question is,

How do you do it?

I recently had the opportunity to return to Good Morning Washington and share a simple method to teach you exactly how to start meal prepping.

The best part?

You won’t have to spend countless hours cooking in the kitchen.

Actually, there is NO COOKING involved.

That’s right!

Zero.

Most people are convinced that meal prepping requires cooking.

Wrong!

Meal prepping is any activity you do to prepare your food in advance. This includes cooking and it also includes prepping/planning snacks.

Want to see how it works right now?

Check out the infographic below or scroll to the bottom to watch the segment!

So go ahead.

It’s easier than you think.

Make meal prepping work for you!

Click on the image below to check out the full segment!

Nory and Julie Wright at Good Morning Washington!

If you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends and loved ones.

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How to Eat Healthy Without Support,The Right Way

How to Eat Healthy Without Support,The Right Way

Admit it.

You’re tired.

Every time you go out with your loved ones you must justify your decision to avoid certain foods or drinks.

And you’re starting to wonder, Is this what it’s always going to feel like?

How do the pros do it?

How do they eat healthy when everyone is questioning every decision they make? Do they have a support system?

Well, I have a little secret for you:

Not all “pros” started out with a support system. In fact, some of them found their support system while on their journey to eat healthier.

I’m excited to give you all the details on how you can do the same on today’s post.

While I began eating healthier in 2010, that wasn’t my first time giving it a try. While in college, I “worked” hard to “eat healthy.” My efforts always fell short because I had no idea what I was doing, and the people around didn’t know either. It was a never-ending cycle of trying and failing without any real results.

Until one day I accidentally found a support system and my life changed forever.

Having knowledgeable and supportive people in your life will help you:

  • Understand what is healthy eating and why it is important,
  • It will give you the tools to get started and set a solid foundation because they know what is like to be in your shoes,
  • Keep you motivated when you are feeling discouraged,
  • And hold you accountable to ensure you achieve your goals.

My support system inspired me to share everything I know with you, to help you eat healthier without feeling overwhelmed and deprived.

We all have people in their lives that either help or hinder our ability to eat healthier. Because Peer Pressure is a genuine thing, having people in your life who do not support you, will make your journey at-least ten times harder.

Here is What to Do:

Be Honest With Yourself

You must ask yourself, are the people in my life helping me or are they making things harder? Most people want to see you healthier, they love you and want you to be the best version of yourself. But they won’t always understand the sacrifices you must make to maintain your new lifestyle. And that’s when things get a little complicated.

It is hard to support someone when you do not understand their needs. That’s why even though your loved ones mean well, they aren’t always the most supportive.

This exercise will help you identify the people that you can call for help and the people that you need to love from a distance.

Have “The Talk.”

Let your loved ones know that you are committed to eat healthier and explain to them what that means to you so that they can help you.

I will never forget the day I had the talk with my mom. I am convinced that all she heard was that I wasn’t going to eat white rice anymore and I was quitting red meat and pork for good. Coming from a Garifuna, Afro-Latino household, she was appalled. Food is a big part of our family, and she didn’t understand why I was giving these things up.

But she listened to me and wished me well.

This talk puts everyone on notice, and for what is worth, they will begin holding you accountable.

Walk the Walk Even When No one is Watching

Telling your loved ones about your new lifestyle if only the first part.  Now you must walk the walk, or at-least try your best. This is the most challenging advice you will get, but it is the MOST important.

Some people expect you to fail.

My mother was one of those people.

Now, she didn’t exactly want me to fail, but her behavior she made it easy to make poor decisions (at-least that what it felt like). She knew I didn’t eat white rice, yet she cooked it all the time, she knew I didn’t eat fried foods yet every time I opened the fridge there would be something fried starring directly at me. This was a clear sign that it was time to move out LOL.

She didn’t mean any harm, but her actions made my transition tough.

That’s when I learned that you should only worry about what you can control. You cannot control other people’s actions, and you cannot blame them for your poor decisions.

So if you want this work, you will have to put in the work.

Focus on learning how to say NO TO:

  • Foods,
  • Events,
  • People,
  • Drinks,
  • And most importantly, to yourself.

Always remind yourself that you are in control.

This process takes time. Remember to compromise with yourself. You do not have to decline every single invitation, you will accept some of them and when you do, make sure you enjoy yourself. You have to be patient with yourself.

As you begin making healthier decisions, it will be easier to attend events and not over do it.

It is all about compromise.

I am here for you, and I am ready to be your number one cheerleader. When you join our mailing list, you will feel motivated, inspired, and you will be held accountable.

Your Turn

If you found this post helpful, please share with your loved ones on Facebook. You never know who is struggling because they do not have a support system.

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How to Meal Prep as a Beginner to Free Up Your Time

How to Meal Prep as a Beginner to Free Up Your Time

What would you do if you had 4 – 6 extra hours during the week to do whatever you wanted?

Would you start a new class? Maybe read a book? Would you finally visit that friend that’s been asking you to come over?

What if I told you that you could free up your time to do the things you enjoy the most and eat healthier at the same time?

In this post, you will learn how meal prepping can help you do exactly that!

Using these tips, you’ll be able to:

  • Meal prep with as little as 20 minutes (yes, that’s all you need),
  • Learn how to pick meal prep friendly recipes without being overwhelmed,
  • Meal prep in 5 simple steps,
  • Decrease your cooking time by up to 50%!

… And more!

Before we get started let’s discuss the two biggest myths around meal prepping.

Myth #1: Meal Prepping takes forever!

If you do a simple meal prepping search on google or social media, you will more likely see a picture that looks like the one above.

A neatly packed fridge with numerous meals for the week. All prepped into individual containers ready to use during the week.

And yes, depending on what you are cooking, this process can take a long time.

However, that is not what meal prepping is. You see, that picture above shows the final part of ONE of the many different types of meal prepping techniques you can use.

Meal prepping is any action you take to help you prepare your food in advance.

That’s it.

When you meal prep, YOU ARE IN CONTROL.

That’s right. You decide how much you want to meal prep depending on how much free time you have. There are a lot of meal prepping techniques to pick from and don’t worry we will get to the best ones for beginners later in this post.

Myth #2: I Don’t Have Enough Time to Meal Prep

This myth is the main reason why you have not reached your healthy eating goals and why you spend too much time in the kitchen trying to figure out what to eat.

Ever looked at a meal prep picture and thought to yourself,

“If only I had the time, I would give it a try.”

The truth is that you can start meal prepping with as little as 20 – 30 minutes. That’s the average time of an episode of your favorite show.

As a beginner, this is the best way to start. If you are anything like me, you have a favorite TV show or podcast, and I know you watch or listen to more than one episode at the time. This is an excellent way to repurpose your time. What a better way to meal prep while we do something you already enjoy.

Why Should You Meal Prep?

Meal prepping is the best way to eat healthier without feeling overwhelmed and deprived, and it is a time saver.

It will help you:

  • Decrease your cooking time by 50%. 6 HOURS. That’s how much time it takes me to cook during the entire week, in comparison to the near 10 – 12 hours before I began meal prepping.
  • Shorter trips to the grocery store. Instead of wasting hours at the grocery store buying things you don’t need, meal prepping will help you stay focused on only buy items needed for your prep. Most of my grocery trips are 30 minutes or less.
  • GET MORE FREE TIME! Using the extra 4 – 6 hours I’ve been able to spend more time with my husband, write more awesome content on the blog and I even enjoy more me time.

Learn How to Meal Prep in 5 Simple Steps

1. How to pick the best technique for you

As mentioned before there is an endless list of meal prepping techniques or methods to choose from. As a beginner, you should start with one of the following.

Snack Prep: This method is perfect for you if you have 20 minutes or less to prep. Make a list of your snacks (no more than 6) for the entire week. Then prep and pack them, so they are ready to eat. Pick snacks that travel well like fruits (bananas, oranges, strawberries, cherries, etc.), seed (peanuts, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds almonds, etc.) and vegetables (carrots, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and edamame, etc.).

The Basics: If you have between 1 – 2 hours to prep this method is for you. Pick your recipes for the week, no more than 4 (that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and prep the basic items. Cook your grains, marinate your protein and freeze your veggies. Then use the “Snack Prep” technique to prep your snacks!

Go all out: This method is perfect if you have 2 – 3 hours to meal prep and it takes more time because there are more pieces to the puzzle. First, you pick your recipes for your meals (no more than 4), then you cook your lunch and dinner for 3 – 4 days at the time. Then you use the “Snack Prep” technique to pick your snacks (no more than 6)

Tip: Pick the days and time you want to meal prep and plan your week around it. 

2. How to pick recipes that are meal prep friendly

To avoid being overwhelmed, pick recipes that are simple and easy to follow. The best recipes are those with less than 10 ingredients.

Pick recipes that use ingredients that you can reuse or that you might have at home. This will also help you cut back on the time you need at the grocery store and will save you money. Win and Win!

Here are some examples:

Overnight Oats

  • Oats (steel cut oats are good)
  • Milk (you can use almond, coconut or regular) and
  • Your favorite fruits (bananas, strawberries, peaches, and other naturally seedless fruits are good options).
  • You can also add chia seeds which are a great source of fiber and omega 3.
  • If you are a sugar addict like me, feel free to use dates or a little raw agave for sweetness (but you do not need it).

Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa. Quinoa is a great grain to sub white or brown rice. It has a lighter feel and it is also a good source of protein.
  • Cooked black beans
  • Cooked corn
  • Chopped onions
  • Chopped bell peppers
  • A protein of your choice
  • Sea salt
  • A fresh lime

Fish and Broccoli

  • 2 oz of fish (wild caught salmon is my go to).
  • 1 cup of cooked broccoli
  • A pinch of sea salt for seasoning
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh crush peppers
  • ½ a fresh lime

Use these recipes to get your creative juices flowing and feel free to adjust them to your liking. Make sure you limit the amount of added sugar and salt you use especially if you want to lose that belly fat.

3. Make your shopping list and shop.

Once you have your recipes this step is very easy. Put all your ingredients on one list and put a star next to the ingredients you have at home. This will help you save time at the grocery store. If you want this work you have to stick to your list!

4. It’s Cooking Time

Once you have your ingredients, cook your food. If you are using meat as a protein, start by cleaning and marinating it. It will really make the flavors pop when is time to cook. Then start cooking the items that take the longest to cook, like grains. While those items cook move on to your veggies.

Tip: If you are only prepping, separate your fruits and veggies, clean them using apple cider vinegar, cut them and put them in the freezer.

5. Store and Repeat.

Once you are done prepping, store your food in the fridge using an airtight container. Most meals can stay fresh up to 5 days depending on what you are cooking. Highly recommend glass containers because they help keep the food fresh and you avoid any chemicals from leaking into your food.

The best part about meal prepping is that you can do as little or as much as you like and you can still enjoy the benefits of planning for the health you want.

Although I don’t always want to meal prep, I’ve learned that not doing it means eating unhealthy foods, spending more time in the kitchen and more money during the week. Meal prep is like wine, the more you do it, the better you will get at it.

So do not be discouraged if your fridge doesn’t look like the Instagram photos. This process is about you and what makes sense for where you are right now.

What matters most is that you start making small changes every day to help you get closer to your goals.

Your Turn

Meal prepping is such a big topic, and one post hardly scratches the surface. So now it’s your turn to let me know what to talk about next.

Do me a favor and answer this question in the comments.

What is a one burning question you have about meal prepping?

I’ll definitely use your questions to help develop more great resources for you in the future.

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Manifest your dream life, get to know yourself, join a community of supportive professional women and start thriving.