Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vegan in Atlanta Part 1: Truva Mediterranean Restaurant

As you know, I visited Atlanta, GA almost 2 weeks ago for a conference and race. Also, as you know I am vegan and Atlanta is known for its tasty Southern soul food which is often devoid of fresh vegetables and vegan options. Although, I always pack emergency food for my travels I wanted to explore the vegan options Atlanta offered. I stayed in downtown at the conferences host hotel I didn’t want too stray far from the location so my options were limited to the surrounding area.

I roamed the streets like a tourist taking pictures of everything in my Bay Area weather confused dress which was: long sleeved and above the knee. 

After passing over 8 restaurants that could barely meet the needs of a vegetarian. I came across a beautiful restaurant and named Truva. The menu had many vegetarian options and a few vegan options. I studies the menu for a good ten minutes outside before I decided to go in. I didn't want to walk in and walk right back out if I learned they had nothing I could eat.

Finally, I decided and ordered stuffed grape leaves and red lentil soup it also came with bread that I was assured hadn’t been prepared with dairy or eggs. I was in business.

My waitress was very kind and efficient. I would definitely visit again and the food was delicious and filling. (I tried to go back the next day for lunch but they’re only open for dinner).

Red Lentil Soup

Stuffed Grape Leaves

Monday, September 17, 2012

Part 2 I did It!!!: Black Girls Run Conference and Race

I just returned from the Inaugural Black Girls Run Race to End Hunger Conference and Race weekend in Atlanta, GA. Words cannot describe how inspired, motivated, and rejuvenated I feel from this trip. Within three days I was immersed in love, sisterhood, fitness, and adventure all in one. But, before I tell you about my journey I must thank those who helped me get here

I usually do not like to bring up God publicly in an effort to respect others beliefs. But, in this case I have no choice because this experience had everything to do with God. I am grateful for every blessing, kind person, monetary donation, and warm heart I encountered through this process. I had a vision, I declared it and it was manifested just as I had seen it. With the help of my mother, father, aunt Sheila, uncle Rob, grandpa, friends Cecile, Jay, and Scott. I was able to attend this great event debt free.

Never in my life have I been surrounded by such beauty, success, health consciousness, and sisterhood among women. Hundreds of women poured in downtown Atlanta’s Sheraton Hotel for a once in a lifetime conference that discussed topics ranging from: Marathon preparation, speed training, hair care, and the psychology of a runner. We closed the educational day with an Honors Dinner in which Oldest Woman Bodybuilder Ernestine Shepherd was the keynote speaker.  It was an organized and beautiful ceremony and on top of that our pre-race dinner was delicious and suitable for every dietary need from Meat eater to vegan to gluten free. Following our eventful night, we ladies rushed to our beds for our beauty rest in prep for our race the next morning. At 7am the popular Atlantic Station was filled with over 4,000 runners (women and men) of BGR ready to  Race to End Hunger. Together we made history.  

Below are a host of pictures and anecdotes I want share with you about this great event.

At airport on my way to ATL

While waiting to board my flight I opened my favorite magazine: Oxygen to find my comment won letter of the month and I win $50 for it. It was a great way to begin my trip.

 I arrive in Atlanta to a wall of History. I stood there for several minutes reading and taking pictures. I felt very proud to see aspects of my peoples history showcased in such a public environment and in a positive manner. I loved it!!!

BGR Founders (from right) Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks with two friends at Friday Night Mixer

 Saturday's Workshops were posted on a screen by time, class, room. It was very organized and efficient.  We were to choose 4 workshops out of  10 workshops options. Guess what I chose to take?
Koya Webb's: "Foods you Love that Love you back"

Queen Sheba, Mari, Kevin, Stickman (from dead prez): "Psychology of a Runner"

Tina Klien:"Marathon Training: How to run a smart Race"

Green Salad lunch at hotel
 We had a two hour break in between workshops. I went to explore downtown Atlanta and not to my surprise there weren't any vegan options. So, I returned to the hotel for a green salad. I ate and read my Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine. My waitress was also very sweet she brought me two salads (one on the house) maybe she thought I would still be hungry :)
My conference gear

Honors Dinner looked so beautiful
Pre-Race Dinner

My plate: Veggies and Pasta
Dessert: Chocolate cup filled with fruit

Night before: Race Day Check-List: race bib, race shirt, fanny pack, wiki head band, ipod holder, earphones, peanut butter, apple, perfume (before race/don't take with), lip balm, water, wiki socks, towel.

6:30 am: Before the Race
Onika and I before race. I sat next to her on shuttle she was so sweet. She adopted me to her New York BGR team. 

New York Black Girls Run Team

After a very hilly 10k I completed it at 1:05
My Medal

There were so many people at the finish line cheering us on. It was so exciting.

Jorie from Chicago and I: we met in line while waiting for a complimentary massage.

The after race party was so fun. Imagine a football field full of Black Girl Runners taking pictures, dancing, singing, stretching, getting massages and just having a great time. We danced the wobble, the BUTT, and the dougie as a group. We even took it way back and made a HUGE Soul Train line. It was so fun and beautiful. I am glad I went and now I am even more dedicated than ever to fitness and sisterhood. Thank you Black Girls Run!!!

After a fun filled weekend, a 10k race, new friends, good food, and 2 flights later I am back in Cali

 I also go to meet two of role models which were major reasons why I decided to go to ATL.

Koya Webb and I
Ernestine Shepherd and I (not a great picture, I don't have a flash, but its something)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Corazon Juice Bar's: Liquid Love

The "heart" of San Francisco California, is in the Mission district where fresh squeezed juice and smoothies from Corazon juice bar call your name. This urban abode is just the place for a pick me up, liquid meal, juice cleanse, or end of the day rejuvenater  It is ran by a native San Franciscan family with a great a story to tell. The menu is creative and reasonably priced. The juice bar is trendy, well lit, and minimal.

Although, it appears small there is enough sitting for a party of 10  (trust me I counted because as soon as I left all I could think of was inviting all of my juicing friends over for a party). Their most popular drink currently is the Super Fresh which is a mix of: cucumber, mint, spinach, pineapple, and apple. This tasty juice is packed with antioxidants, iron, essential minerals, and a fresh kick. I also like the Rhyming Orange. (I haven't tried them all yet)

For many reasons Corazon's existence excites and inspires me.

 1. A juice bar in the Mission District. The Mission is known for many things and most of them are not positive. The mere presence of fresh juice uplifts the community. The enzymes from the juice allow the body to accept nutrients leaving us feeling satisfied and happier. Also, the aroma of fresh juice is so pleasant, young children may begin to ask why "Tampico" doesn't smell that way?

2. Owned by native San Franciscan's: I love seeing natives investing in their own community as opposed to relocating and taking their business dollars away from the cities and towns that nurtured, taught, and raised them. Corazon is contributing to their native city economically by keeping the dollars in the city. While also improving the communities health by offering fresh juices that are known to improve digestion, healing, wellness, and overall well being.

3. Owned by people of color: The people who are plagued most with diet/lifestyle related illnesses such as diabetes, heat disease, obesity and cancer are people of color. Yet, the majority of vegetarian and vegan restaurants/venues/advocates are not these people. I am elated to support any business of color that is promoting health and wellness to others especially if located in a community where people of color reside. Food justice is an epidemic in America. Without access to good quality foods or at least the option to it in my eyes it is a crime.

4. Benefits of juicing: A juice bar helps share the benefits of juicing with others. It plants a seed figuratively and literally into the body about growing into optimum health and wellness. It is a better alternative in both taste and benefit to other popular beverages such as soda, coffee, and energy drinks

"Super Fresh": Cucumber, mint leaves, spinach, pineapple, apple
Above is my "end of the day pick-me-up" after long day with students. As I walk to the juice bar I always see at least five others pouncing the Mission pavement with Corazon cups. What I love most is that these people come from every walk of life I see mothers, business men, students, and teachers like myself drinking the liquid love that comes from Corazon juice bar.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Healthy Sweet Treat

Double antioxidants from the strawberries and the dark chocolate. This is my go-to treat when my sweet tooth is calling. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

At Home Chef: Vegan Taco Recipe

Homemade Vegan Tacos


Romaine Lettuce or red cabbage or dino kale
1/2 Red Pepper
1 Tomato
1/2 Onion
Corn tortillas
Daiya Mozzarella Cheese
Seasonings to taste (Chilli powder, Himalayan salt, black pepper)
Your favorite brand of fuax meat

Chopp all vegetables: tomato, onion, red pepper, lettuce.

In a pan pour in 1/2 of chopped yellow onion with 1/4c. water. This will create its own oil which will rule out having to use any oils that could become carcinogenic if used at high temperatures. Next pour in your faux meat, stir as you season it. Cook for 4-6 minutes.

In a skillet with water and onion or oil lightly fry the tortilla to your liking. Let sit on a paper towel to catch excess oil.

On a plate, in this order add tortilla face up, meat, cheese, lettuce, veggies, guacamole and salsa if you like. Wah La!!!! Vegan Tacos. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Portal Restaurant's Vegan Brunch

I visited Portal Restaurant for their Sunday Brunch and it was awesome. Great service, great prices, great music, great location, and an assortment of menu options. I got the fruit bowl with a side of granola this was the safest vegan option however, this is a great place for vegetarians. I ate on the patio which overlooked Oakland's Lake Merritt it was beautiful. I will be back.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Until I get a Trainer

Finding a quality personal trainer takes time and effort. You have to see if there's a connection, factor their rate in your budget, and make their available times work for your schedule. It can be a hassle sometimes. So, until I get a personal trainer I've learned that with consistency, dedication, proper form, and a few tools you can get similar results on your own.

    Fitness is an integral part of my life and maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle supports my well being, happiness, energy, and productivity level. What can I say my wealth is my health. I believe in self sufficiency. So, just as I create my own meal plans I also create my own fitness program. I carve out 60 minutes 5-6 days a week to dedicate to exercise.  Research has shown that in order for the body to see results you have to keep it guessing by switching things up a bit. Thus, you may find me anywhere from the gym, to jogging trails, hiking national parks, jumping rope, to in a yoga studio, in a dance class, or in the quiet of my home kickboxing with Billy Blanks. The list goes on.

     I have a host of gadgets and tools that assist in my weekly routine that manage to keep me on my toes (literally) below are a few of them:

My home gym/fitness tools:

Exercise & Food Journal

 I keep an exercise and food journal to keep me on track with my goals and to continue challenging myself daily to meet or beat the previous days time.

Jump Rope
 Jumping rope is a childhood pleasure and an adulthood treasure. This keeps my heart rate going and its really fun.
Kick boxing w/ Jillian Michaels (this includes weight training)
 If your ready for the toughest 20 minutes of your day- take on this video which will have you pouring sweat and using muscles you didn't know you had.

Old School Throwback: Tae Bo-
This 90's throwback still has a place in my heart. It has a simple and straightforward approach while remaining ultra challenging and motivating.

Weight Training Assistant
Without a trainer I often run out of cool and effective moves. With my free weights this book is full of new and innovative exercises that range from easy to difficult.

Ab Roller
 The ab roller is SERIOUS!!! after just 10 reps I feel the burn BAAD.

 I use these weights with my exercise videos and with my weight training book. 

An Average Exercise Week:

Jog 6 miles outdoors

Weight training


Jog 6 miles

60 min dance class

Jump rope





Jog 6 miles outdoors

Weight training

Jog 6 miles

60 min dance class

Jump rope





Jog 6 miles

20 min Tae Bo Video




20 min Jillian Michaels Video

Jump rope






Saturday, September 1, 2012

At Home Chef: Bean and Sprouts Bowl

This is one of my staple meals that I find myself eating several times a week. I make a large pot of black beans and purchase all of my veggies on Sunday. Creating this meal takes very little time. I have included the ingredients below.

1 bunch Kale
Red pepper
4 cups cooked Black beans (with onion, garlic, vegetable broth)
Broccoli sprouts 

First I soak the beans overnight to release the enzyme inhibitors. Next, in a big pot I combine the black beans, vegetable broth, onions, and garlic into a crock pot (slow cooker) to cook overnight. Once the beans are done I get a bowl fill it with shredded kale, chopped red peppers, cooked black beans, and finally I cover it with broccoli sprouts. I also like to add shredded carrots, radish, and spinach.