When You Believe…

sem·i·co·lon

ˈsemēˌkōlən,ˈsemīˌkōlən/

noun

a punctuation mark (;) indicating a pause, typically between two main clauses, that is more pronounced than that indicated by a comma.

Every tattoo on my body has some personal meaning to it. This is a marking that, unless I have it covered, I will bear for the rest of my life as a message to the world as to what I am about or was going through at the time. This is my newest addition.

As an mental health advocate and survivor of suicidal thoughts and depression I chose the word believe with a semicolon replacing the letter ‘i’.

This tattoo encourages me to bel;eve that things will be better and that this is not the end of my journey.

It’s one thing to just say aloud or to myself that even though times are hard that they will be better and things will be okay. It’s a total difference when you actually bel;eve that things will be better or different.

The bel;ef in a better way is what makes it happen. When you truly bel;eve that you will be okay, you will be. You have to bel;eve.

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What The Health Are Y’all Doing? 

Okay so I’m sure by now you’ve seen or heard about the documentary on Netflix called What The Health. This is another health documentary in the same vein as others like Supersize me and Food Inc. Similar information as well. Nothing new under the sun.

Anyway this documentary has sparked a new craze of people going vegan. Cool. Whatever. I’ve been a vegetarian/pescatarian for about a solid 3 years and I love it. I could possibly go vegan but I love honey. Yeah, honey. See honey is a byproduct of bees and a bee is considered an animal. In order to be vegan you can’t eat any meat or any meat byproducts. When my friend told me about the honey I knew right then and there that I was not down with that vegan life. Nope. Not for me.

Getting back to the film. I didn’t really like it. Take that back, I really didn’t like the documentarian. Documenter? Documentarian? Anyway, the guy that was doing the documentary. He seemed to be kind of douchè-ish. Plus his name was Kip. I mean he spent the first half, pretty much, of this thing calling the different associations like American diabetes, cancer and Susan G komen and asking all these high level questions to low level employees. Why would you call and ask the first customer service rep you get on the line questions like why they have certain things on their website and/or are promoting things that you feel are opposite of what they should stand for? You should be asking marketing not the lowest rung on the totem pole. I’ve worked customer service before and gotten calls from douchè-ish people like this and I tend to either transfer them to the corporate headquarters help line or just hang up. They have no clue as to why you think beef causes diabetes but there are beef recipes on the website, Kip! Did I mention his name is Kip?

So if you haven’t seen it yet when you do watch it fast forward about an hour. The real gem in this, if you can make it past Kip’s douchè-ish (yes, I am trying to make that a word) attitude, is when they talk about the health benefits of a plant based diet. They break down many of the myths around food in general as well as show a few ‘real’ cases of people that had miraculous turn arounds with their health by switching to a plant based diet. I put real in quotations because we don’t know if these people really had problems before and changed or if it was just an act. Not saying Kip is a liar but you can only trust someone named Kip only so much.

Now, switching from a mainly meat to plant based diet should not be an overnight thing like some people are trying or claiming to do.  As with any transition, it is most effective when done over a period of time. While some people have said they have been able to quit things cold turkey with no looking back this is not the case for the majority. Slowly cutting things out of your diet is a better and healthier approach than to just stop altogether. That’s just my opinion so take it as you may.

I just want you to be happy and healthy. I also want you to do your research before you just dive into being vegan or any change in your diet. There are several things said in this film that aren’t necessarily true. I mean it seemed like he made some pretty outlandish claims in an attempt to scare you into being vegan. Do your Googles! Research for yourself and don’t go by another person’s opinion of what’s good or bad for you. When it comes to health what’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander. Again and I can’t say this enough, do your research and consult with a doctor or nutritionist or a dietician. Someone that can not only advise you but also help you transition your lifestyle.

Yes, I said lifestyle. This is a lifestyle change not just a diet. If you haven’t noticed there aren’t too many, if any vegan or vegetarian fast food spots. That means meal prepping and/or knowing what and when you plan to eat ahead of time. No more ‘oh I’ll just run out and grab a bite to eat’ life for you. It sucks but this is the life you chose or rather the one Kip chose for you…

I’m one of those people that eats to live instead of living to eat. While I love food and experiencing different stuff I also don’t eat food or things just because it’s there. I use food as fuel and not as some sort of guilty pleasure. I used to do that but over time I had to evolve past that. Thanks, Type 1 diabetes and Ciliac disease…

I say all of that to say this. If you see this film and it makes you want to eat healthier or even become vegan then good for you but always always always do your research beforehand to make sure it’s the right decision for you. That’s with anything really though. If you see this and decide to keep living the way you are then that’s cool too. Like I said earlier what’s good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander. Weigh your options and as always do what is best for you.

Get Checked Out

 

Have you ever had that little twang, tweak or itch that just won’t go away?  You know it’s there and it’s not supposed to be but you keep putting it off because you don’t think it’s causing any real damage and it will go away or maybe it was just over exerted yourself the day before. Why wonder? Just go to the doctor and get it checked out.

Would you rather pay $35-50 now or $10-100,000 later? We are in the age of modern medicine with all kinds of technological advances. In other words, if there is something wrong, and it’s caught early enough, there is more than likely a cure for it. You just have to actually go to the doctor to get checked out.

I know that this is something that men don’t like to do. I am included in that bunch. I hate going to the doctor but I still go. I am a type 1 diabetic and I get a check-up every 6 months to ensure that everything is working and doing what it is supposed to be doing.  You take your car in for routine maintenance work right?  You are careful about what type of gas you put into it right?  Your body shouldn’t be any different. You should be mindful and careful of what you eat and also go to the doctor to proper maintenance.

I know what some of you are thinking. You are thinking how can I go to the doctor if I don’t have any insurance? I really can’t afford it.  You can’t afford to be sick either. There’s a little thing called the Healthcare exchange program that provides insurance for people in just such a case. Check it out and get some insurance. If you have insurance and are paying a premium on it every month, use it.  That’s all I have to say, sorry for the rant but preventative medicine can save money and lives.

New Venture Alert: YouTube

So I decided to finally do it. I have been saying that I’m going to get back to it for the longest and just never did it. Now is no greater time. So many times we tell ourselves that  we are going to do something like start a diet, or read that book that has been sitting on the dresser for the last few months, tomorrow. Everything is tomorrow or next week or next month. We tend to want to wait on that perfect condition before we do anything. Guess what?  That perfect condition is never going to come. Just jump.

I decided to start my YouTube channel again. I’ve been wanting to do this for months but never got around to it. I even have videos locked and loaded. I didn’t post them mostly out of fear. I’m at a different chapter in my life and I’m afraid to turn the page.  No more of that I’m just going to take a leap of faith and if it works out great, if not at least I can say that I tried it. My conscience is clear.

Most of what I plan to discuss is what I discuss here. Just a hosh-posh mess of everything that I talk about here just in video form. Health & wellness, shoes, fashion, politics, tv & movies. You name it. Mostly I will be discussing health & wellness. Physically, mentally as well as spiritually. I think that men, especially black men, don’t discuss health much. Yeah we talk about how to maybe gain muscle or look big but we don’t delve into the mental side of things like depression. Taking care of your mind is just as important as taking care of yourself physically. I plan to make that my main goal.

The link is here if you would like to subscribe. Check out my intro video below.

Pay Attention To Your Body

When your body sends you messages, listen.  It’s telling you something for a reason. Right before thanksgiving I had a little health scare. I noticed a lump that had started growing. At first it didn’t hurt or anything so I ignored it. Then it started hurting and became hard. I immediately made an appointment with my doctor to have it checked out.

At first glance we thought it was just a small cyst and with meds it would go away. No big deal. Just to be on the safe side she ordered an ultrasound for a closer look. Turns out it wasn’t a cyst but a hard mass sitting on one of my blood vessels. That is what was causing the pain.

At this point I had two options. The first was to essentially watch it to make sure it doesn’t get bigger and just take meds for the pain. The other was to have surgery to remove it and have it tested. Of course I opted for the surgery. If it doesn’t need to be there then take it out!

So I had surgery the Monday after Thanksgiving and am not recovering. The surgery went well and the mass was nothing more than that. Just a mass. Everything is right again in the world! For now at least.

Listen to your body. When something doesn’t feel right have it checked out. I know most people, especially men, feel like whatever the problem is that it will just go away on its own. While that may be the case for some things it is not for all. Have it checked out by a PROFESSIONAL. That’s what they are there for. I’m glad I was able to get my situation checked out and resolved. Also it is a good idea to do a monthly self check to make sure things are in order and where they need to be. That is how I discovered the lump on the first place.

What You Eat Don’t Make Me…

I have to start by saying that I love food. All types of food. But there lies a problem. I’m constantly eating things that I know I shouldn’t be eating. Things that I know for sure will make me sick to my stomach but I eat it anyway. Why? Because it tastes so good! I’m also a glutton for punishment.

It’s not like I’m eating something that I don’t know will make me sick and then it does. I’m talking eating things that I have put on a list to not eat because they’re tried and true that I will be hurting if I eat it. I can’t help myself sometimes. What do you do when the thing you love consistently hurts you in the end? You have to slowly ween yourself off of it. This goes for people as well as food.

I have to stop letting things destroy me just because I like them or it. It’s not good behavior and the only person that is suffering in the end is me. This stops now. I’m not longer going to allow myself to be hurt and pained by obstacles that I know are there to cause me harm. New life. New rules.

Run For Your Life

So Saturday I did this run/walk hybrid hosh-posh of a thing for 7.38 miles. That is the farthest I’ve ever gone at one time and I must say it felt kind of good. The farthest prior to that was 4.5 miles with 4 of that running and the final .5 walking.

I don’t even know what got into me. It was supposed to be a quick 2 mile jog around the neighborhood but like Forrest Gump I just kept on a running. I don’t know whether it was because it was a Saturday or because the weather was awesome or what. It whatever it is I now want to do it every Saturday.

A good run or walk always seems to put me in a better mood. It’s like it melts all the stress away. I love it and it’s a great way to keep me in those slim fit Levi’s without having to monitor my diet even more than I already do. And it’s greatly helps me manage my type 1 diabetes.

If you don’t run I suggest you give it a try or at least walking. It’s fall and the weather is nice out so put on some sneaker and pound that pavement or grass or dirt or whatever out there. You’ll thank yourself later. Trust me. Of course you want to consult with your doctor or a medical professional before beginning any type of exercise program.