All posts by Venus Vegan

SuperNatural

I went vegan for health, ethical, and environmental reasons and with that change came my return to natural hair, minimalism, and holistic living. The most shocking change was my concern for the products that I was using is my daily hygiene routine as well as cleaning my home. I read articles by Wellness Mama and watched documentaries such a Chemerical. These sources of information showed me that it was not enough to be concerned about the food I was putting into my body but also the products I was using on my skin as well as the chemicals and toxins in my environment. There was only so much detoxing that could take place if during the detox I was rubbing the toxins onto my skin and spraying it in the air. This amount of information can be overwhelming. How do you know what chemicals to be weary of? Are there affordable alternatives? Do these companies test on animals? Do these products contain animal ingredients? Where can these products be found? And are the products just as effective? These are all great questions and I will do my best to answer them. Throughout the article I will be referencing an app known as “Think Dirty”. This app is used to check the toxicity of common personal products. Many companies do not list the ingredients in their products as they claim it as a “Trade Secret”. Sure!!!! Yes I understand the need for privacy but when a nation allows a corporation to make decisions based on the health of that nation there are alarming results. This apps rates the toxicity of each product on a 1-10 scale with 10 being the most toxic. It also shows the type of toxicity such as carcinogenic, reproductive/developmental, and allergy/immunotoxicity. I try my best to only purchase and use items that are in the 1-3 range. 1-3 is non toxic. 4-7 is half toxic half non toxic. 8-10 is toxic. The app also has an “Our Picks” tab that allows the user to browse less toxic options of the same type of product. *Think Dirty is only available at the Apple Store 

Household Cleaning

Warning: If you have to sit outside or open the window while you are cleaning your home because of the products you are using, there is a good chance the products are toxic. 

I will be honest, I was a lover of all-purpose cleaner, the smell, the shine. Not until I started using less toxic cleaning agents that I realized it was unhealthy for my breathing to change once I started using the spray.

Store Bought Options:

409 9


Seventh Generation 1

I love the way it cleans. Truthfully this is the only cleaner I have purchased since going vegan. It worked well and was not too expensive. 

DIY All Purpose Cleaner

2 tablespoons baking soda

1/2 of distilled white vinegar

10 drops of favorite essential oil

Fill up the rest of the bottle with water

Personal Hygiene

Warning: If your lotion is causing your skin to be drier than ever you need to make switch. 

I find it interesting that it is not until we are healthy that we realize we were even sick to begin with. I thought it was perfectly normal to walk out of the shower and have dry skin. I thought that was the purpose of lotion to handle to dryness. As it turns out the lotion is only for added moisture and not the main source. The skin should be locking in the moisture from the water during the bathing process. 

Store Bought Options:

Bath and Body Works 9

Don’t you just love the sweet smells? Well that scent comes at a cost. 


Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

This liquid soap is highly concentrated so you must dilute. The good news is that each bottle doubles because of the dilution. The soap is mild and made from vegetable oils. It also has many uses from shampooing hair, shower gel, floor cleaner, vegetable wash etc. 


DIY Body Wash

This is my favorite body wash. Not only because I make it myself and it is affordable but also my skin has never felt this moisturized. Lotioning now is a treat but not a necessity. 

1 cup Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap

1/4 cold-pressed, cold-processed castor oil

5 tablespoons vegetable glycerin

10 drops of your favorite essential oil

Once thoroughly mixed add as much water as necessary. 

There are many other DIY recipes and healthier options out there it just takes time to notice that they exist. I never knew there was a eco-friendly section in the cleaning aisle of my Shoprite. It wasn’t until I was looking for that sort of product that I found them. Behind all of the chemical-laden products there is hope of a healthier you. If you would like me to go through all of the natural, eco-friendly, vegan, cruelty-free products that I use on a daily basis just let me know. For now I will leave you with a bit of information and allow you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions. 
http://www.thinkdirtyapp.com

It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Be Healthy…

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Summer Detox 2016

Hey guys! 

It’s detox time! Time to cleanse the bowels, liver, kidneys, and skin. Awaken to beauty and live your true purposeful life. My spring detox went extremely well. I usually use my detox time to implement new habits into my lifestyle that I would not have incorporated otherwise. Last detox I tried oil pulling and a morning power hour. Oil pulling is the use of oil to rinse out the mouth just as you would use mouthwash. A morning power hour is an hour spent each morning caring for your mind, body, and soul. This would be a great time to workout, read, and reflect. Those power hours were amazing!!!!!! 

 This detox will be a 10 day raw vegan cleanse. I am already eating a mostly raw diet. I can’t wait to see the improvements in my body and my thoughts after going fully raw for 10 days. Mostly raw is going well for me except for the expense. Eating cooked whole grains and frozen veggies works out really well. The cost isn’t too high but it is also nutrient dense. As of late my mostly raw lifestyle is a huge smoothie for breakfast, cooked lunch, and another huge smoothie for dinner. Each smoothie contains greens (the type of veggies I hate to have raw) approximately 3 cups per smoothie! I can buy a large bag of spinach at the bulk store. Bulk stores and Trader Joe’s have frozen fruits that do not contain any added sugar or preservatives. 
For the detox I would love to do a super huge green smoothie for breakfast, possibly a huge zucchini or cucumber salad for lunch, and another huge smoothie for dinner. I want to feel my best and find an eating style that supports my physical, mental, and soulful development. For added bonuses, I will be reading throught this detox, doing yoga, and meditating. I want to get the full cleanse experience. I use detoxing as a way to refresh and restart my body, find new ways of eating, and new things to incorporate into my diet and lifestyle. 

Styling My TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro)

My big chop was different than what I expected. My intial intention was to go to the salon and get my relaxed ends cut off. After talking with my stylist she suggested that I leave some relaxed ends in the front and middle to complement my face shape. I loved the cut and was SUPER excited to play with my hair. I got home and wet my hair to start only to realize my hair had never actually been this short and I had no clue how to style my hair. Why not rock my fro you ask? Well since there were still relaxed ends left on my hair with the back natural…it didn’t look too good. The back was kinky and the middle and front were straigth in some parts. It made for a jacked up fro and I just could not be out looking a hot mess. I did a quick google search and headed straight to the bathroom. The first style I decided on were bantu knots. Bantu knots are known by different names theoughout the African Diaspora. In America they are called Bantu knots, around the Caribbean corkscrews, gotta love Jamaica with the chiney bumps. All in all it is a style where a small to medium section of hair is twirled around tight enough until it begins to wrap around itself. My hair was not long enough for it to be tucked in under the bantu knot to secure it in place so I had to use pins. The next day I took out the pins only to realize I had to have done 40 bantu knots…..crazzzzzzy. I loved my hair but that was just too much for me. I did it once again because in order to maintain that style it needs to be replicated again in larger sections for the next day. I would have loved to do larger sections but my hair was already at the max with 40. Bantu knots were great and I will eventually  return to that style but it was not realistic to style my hair everyday. 

I went on to try the twist and curl (my favorite style to this day). I loved this style because a regualar old twist just would not work for me. The ends of my hair were still straight so the twists would not hold. I had to get creative and purchase a lifetime supply of perm rods to keep the ends curled. This style was much more feasible because I was able to use larger sections. Also my hair was growing out of sight which aided in my using larger sections. Prior to my big trim where the relaxed ends finally left my hair, I also did braid and curls. These styles worked because they were fairly easy to do and also blended the two textures together. 

Regimen 

Weekly: Co-Wash Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner

LOC Method: Liquid-Water, OC-shea Butter Mixture (Shea butter, castor oil, vegetable glycerin, tea tree oil)

Monthly: Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse, Bentonite Clay mask w/ acv

What’s New? (Mostly Raw, Returned Natural, New Job, Different Career)

I have not fogotten you. So many changes have been happening and I have yet to update you guys on them. What I am doing with my life? I am not quite sure but I am definitely enjoying it. I will do my best to update you when things happen but in the mean time here is everything in a nutshell. 

Mostly Raw


I am going mostly raw. When I say mostly raw I mean that the majority of my diet will be uncooked (nothing over 116 degrees Fahrenheit) plant-based whole foods. Why this change? Well the truth of the matter is that after doing several detoxes the importance of raw foods is evident, however I HATE eating most raw veggies and only enjoy bananas year round. Thank God for the blender. I can eat my raw fruits and veggies in one swoop while getting all of my nutrients. I have never been a fruit person. For the longest I wasn’t eating any fruits at all. When I was in college I decided I wanted to start eating healthier so I began with bananas, a fruit I knew I would enjoy. Bananas were the only fruit I was eating for a while except for summers. Summer fruits are everything I could ever ask for. I love watermelon, honey dew, cantaloupe, and mangos. During my Spring Detox (details soon to come) I bought some frozen fruits (the summer ones) for the detox and I realized that I can enjoy a variety of fruits throughout the year without sacrificing taste in my smoothies. I planned on continuing with this lifestyle change until the weather gets too cold to continue and then I can pick it back up again once it gets warmer. My plan of action is to have a breakfast smoothie, cooked lunch, and a dinner smoothie with various fruits and nuts for snacks. Wish me luck on this journey and I hope you include more fresh fruits and veggies in your diet as well. It may also be important to note that I am not weighing myself as I make these lifestyle changes. Since going vegan I have gone down 2 dress sizes. I know this because I bought a dress for an event and tried it on. I went from a size 16 to 12. The dress was supposed to be form fitting and it was when I tried it on in the store. Three weeks later on the day of the event the dress was much looser. I am not on a weight loss journey I am on a health journey and I know that with health will come weight loss. 

 

Return to Natural

After spending a few posts discussing natural hair and the act of transitioning my hair is finally natural.  After five months of transitioning I just felt the urge to big chop (cut off all of the relaxed or damaged ends). I looked up and down for salons in my area only to find that natural hair salons were charging and arm and a leg. I ended up calling jc penneys and getting a much better quote. I went in with a style in mind. My stylist told me that the style I had chosen was cute but because of my face shape I should leave a few relaxed ends on to complement the style. I took her advice and loved it. My hair was mostly natural and it stayed that way for almost 3 months. My hair continued to grow but I was growing tired on the relaxed ends left on my hair that needed curlers at the end so my hair didn’t look crazy. I went back to the same stylist and she cut off the rest of my relaxed ends. I was just shocked at how thick my hair was. I love my hair. I sometimes wish I had done this sooner but the reality of it is that I was not ready. Returning to natural is not a hobby, it’s a serious commitment that I made for almost 8 months to grow out my hair and deal with two completely different textures, learn an entirely new way of styling my hair, using different products, and learning to feel confident in a new way. If you have chemically treated, color damaged, heat damaged, and/or breakage I would encourage you to think about taking the plunge and focusing on your hair health regardless of race/ethnicity, curl pattern, porosity level, length etc. My hair has NEVER been this thick, soft, and healthy all at the same time. It’s a journey that is well worth it. 

Relaxer Days
Transitioning
Getting it cut
Big chop pre big trim to natural

New Job/Different Career

Yes! I finally found a job. I have been there almost three months now and I love it. My title is Parent Mentor and I assist the parents of children who are under the care of the state regain custody of their children or maintain custody of their children all while assisting with day to day tasks and creating a more structured environment. This new career has me thinking about all of the other things I can do to help society so I’m thinking about counseling which is well within the lines of what I am doing now just with more in depth knowledge of behavior. 

Now that we are up to date I can start coming up with new topics to discuss. 
Bye Guys!!!!!!!

Dr. Hyman’s 10 Day Detox

I’m sharing this detox journey a little late but better late than never. I wanted to start off 2016 with a bang and what better way to do it than detoxing? Yes I detoxed for 10 days with the company of my mom and aunt (a support system is crucial to success). Let me start off by saying that this journey was amazing. Of course there were bumps in the road but finishing the journey was well worth it. I had never done a detox as long as 10 days which gave me a great sense of pride. Along with the pride came the much needed weight loss motivation. After 10 days I lost a total of 5 lbs which as stayed of for about a month now. What is this detox? Did I eat real food? And did I poop?

Dr. Hyman’s 10 Day Detox is 10 days without refined sugars, carbs, and legumes. How did I make it? I thought it would be pretty tough. The sugar I could handle going without because my diet is pretty limited in refined sugar. I only drink water during the day and tea without sugar at night. I thought going without the carbs and legumes would kill me. I am Jamaican. If there is anything we Jamaicans know it’s rice and peas. Going without both for an entire week let alone 10 days is unheard of. Carbs and legumes are a staple in my Jamaican and vegan diet. I’m not quite sure how but we made it through. After all this talk about what I didn’t eat, let’s talk about what I did eat: blueberries, cranberries, almond butter, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, almond milk, almond butter, tofu, tempeh, onions, and every green vegetable you can think of. The food was real, wholesome, and filling. I was never hungry unless I ate late. I also had cashews as a snack most days. Now for the poop! This is not an unnatural 10 day poop session. Granted, it does happen A LOT, but in a very healthy way.When  it’s time to go to the bathroom you will know. Trust that your body will lead you in the right direction. 

10 Day Meal Plan: 

http://www.doctoroz.com/article/10-day-detox-diet-one-sheet

Breakfast Smoothie 

 ​

Lunch Salad:

  
Dinner Meal

  
Pros:

  • The breakfast smoothie was absolutely delicious and filling
  • The detox allows you to pick which veggies you would like to use each day
  • The veggie variety makes it easier to stand very similar meals each day
  • I lost 5 lbs
  • Much of the weight was lost around my mid section
  • I have kept the weight off

Cons:

  • I did not read the book so there may been been more smoothie options but I only had the one for 10 days
  • There are limited vegan protein options (tofu and tempeh) so dinner meals become redundant
  • It calls for a lot of raw veggies especially for lunch and raw veggies are not my favorite. 

Lasting Effects:

  • I no longer use refined sugar in my cooking (only agave and vegetable glycerin)
  • My rice and beans/peas dishes now contain more vegetables than ever before 
  • I am warming up to the idea of salads 
  • I am determined to keep the weight off and continue to lose in a healthy way
  • Detoxing will become a regular thing for me at the start of each season. 

All in all I am glad to have completed the detox successfully. Will definitely be doing this again. Maybe not this detox per se for the start of spring but a detox nonetheless. Try it! You will be glad you started. 

P.S. Go to Trader Joe’s for the nuts and seeds and your local farmer’s market for the veggies to cut down on costs. 

$30 For 2 Weeks of Groceries

How can that be? It’s the simple concept of a farmer’s market. These are some of the best deals that I have found as far as fruits and vegetables are concerned. My initial vegan journey began with lots of stops to Trader Joe’s. Don’t get me wrong this store is amazing but it will not be my go-to for most of my fruits and veggies simply because of price. I will however show up on a regular for a few items such spinach, kale, tomato paste, agave, chia seeds, hemp seeds etc. The savings I saw at the farmer’s market were like no other. I can confidently say that I can spend less than $20 and have enough fruits and veggies to last 2 weeks. Though the bulk of my shopping was completed at the farmer’s market, there were a few things I wanted to purchase at Shoprite such as brown rice and beans. The prices for these items were cheaper at Shoprite. If the farmer’s market sold brown rice it would have saved me soooo much money…but sadly they didn’t. Now the grocery list is not $30, but I ended up going to Trader Joe’s to purchase some of the items listed above along with frozen veggies.  With this newfound information and grocery venue I be able to truly live a whole foods plant based lifestyle that doesnt solely consist of carbs. I think I will post everytime I go shopping so you can see the bargains and begin on your frugal health journey. I can also post recipes of the meals I have made with my groceries to give you some ideas on what can be prepared. 

Here is my list with prices:  
  

Where Have I Been?

I have been gone for a bit of time, but it has been time well spent. I know I can log into my account and tell you whatever crap comes to my head but why not just wait a little while longer so I can provide you with some substantial information. The end of 2014 was a bit of a struggle for me. I had stresses with classes and friends and it all seemed to be too overwhelming. 2015 was my year of recovery. I focused on becoming myself again and getting back basics. Well now it’s 2016 and it’s Toriann’s Revitalization. I have never felt better. I am vegan. I am going natural. I am becoming a minimalist. I am health conscious. I am more aware. I am loving myself. The truth is that the better you take care of yourself the better you will feel, and I mean this from a physical and emotional level. Before the year started I began taking care of myself in a different way. Yes, I started eating a plant-based diet, but that’s not all of it. My diet has enabled me to feel better about my food choices and my impact on the environment. The more I read up on veganism the more I tend to find other health-conscious movements. 

This past week I began researching minimalism. What is minimalism you ask? It’s the idea that we don’t need more things to make us happy or even sustain us. It’s the idea that we should cherish the things and time that we have in order to do things that truly make us happy. This idea usually starts with a heap of decluttering: kitchen, bathroom, living room, basement, and closet. Anywhere there are things that are only take up space and do not bring joy to your life have to go. These things are baggage and are holding you back from oher things you could be accomplishing. How could a cluttered closet be holding you back? Well the cluttered closet is probably full of clothes you may never wear or have only worn once. What if you were able to return all of those clothes to the store and receive full price price for them? That new car may seem more attainable. That light bill may not be such a burden. That gym membership may be an option. I decluttered my closet, chest of drawers, and dresser. There were bags of clothes that went in the trash and bags that are making their way to Goodwill. There is also a small bag of things I may be selling. Through all of the rubble I found an entire work wardrobe, curtains for the living room I thought I would have to pay for, scrunchies and headbands, and more than enough toiletries to open up a Bath and Body Works. The toiletries were given to family by the way. Not only did I clear out the junk but I removed all of the clothes out of my life that did not fit perfectly and did not make me feel amazing in them. I am down to 2 jeans, 5 wear out shirts, 5 wear in shirts, 5 wear in pants, 5 gym outfits, and a capsule work wardrobe. I still have a long way to go before I can call myself a minimalist, but I think the hard work is done.  

https://simplenotplain.wordpress.com
  
I have become more health conscious. Yes, being vegan means I care about what happens to animals and the environment, but for some that does not translate into their own health. I have been doing a lot of reading on the scalp and skin in general. If people are following the no-poo methods of scalp cleansing then why are the lathering the rest of their skin? Shouldn’t the same concept apply? In the coming weeks I will be trying alternative methods of skin cleansing such as rhassoul clay and Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap. I will also be trying alternative moisturizing methods such as oils and butters on my skins. I thought I would start out on the face first before I did my entire body. Right now I am trying the oil cleansing method using castor and olive oil. It is too soon to be doing a review but I will definitely get back to you. For those of you who do not know what the oil cleansing method is, it is using oil to cleanse the skin and rid it of acne, scarring, dryness, oiliness etc. I know it sounds crazy to think  of putting oil on skin but there is a method to the madness. 

http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com

This year I planned on making all of the necessary changes to ensure I was living my life to the fullest. I thouht there was no better way to put my plans in motion than by doing a detox. It is only day 2 of Dr. Hyman’s 10 Day Detox so there isn’t much to tell, but once there is I will let you know. These detox cuts out carbs, sugar, and most fruits. The breakfast smoothie is th only straightforward meal. All of the other meals are amendable to you taste palette and mood. You are given vegetables and nuts and seeds to choose from and you create your own meals. This is not my first detox and it won’t be my last so stay tuned.  

http://www.doctoroz.com/article/10-day-detox-diet-one-sheet

   
I forgot to say Happy New Year!!!!! What are my resolutions you ask? Well I don’t have any. Whatever I accomplish this year I want to continue past 2017. There are a few things that I want to become habits in my life: healthy eating, exercise, more reading, advanced education, great friendships, and continued success in whatever I do. 

Stay tuned for more!