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I’ve Been Intermittent Fasting for 961 Days: Here’s the #1 Reason Why

“A diet changes the way you look. A fast changes the way you see”

Lisa Bevere

I have been intermittent fasting for 961 days. I have an excel spreadsheet which lists the day, date, and number of hours fasted. I started my intermittent fasting journey on July 24, 2018. You know how Forrest Gump said he felt like running? Well, I felt like fasting and I never stopped. And I never will. I never want to go back to the days when I wasn’t fasting. Fasting opened a portal to an entire new world that I love living in.

I can talk for hours about the physical benefits of fasting. The regeneration of the immune system, the weight loss (without muscle mass loss), autophagy, regulation of high blood pressure, insulin levels, and the deep healing that occurs on the cellular level. I could rave about my enhanced performance at the gym, the mental clarity, and the increases in my production at work. I am sharper, I can process information faster. My critical thinking skills have expanded. I sleep better, I feel better and I look better because I intermittent fast.

“The discipline of fasting breaks you out of the world’s routine”

Jentenzen Franklin

But none of this compares to the spiritual leaps and bounds I’ve made due to fasting. Food is more than calories and grams of carbs, protein or fat. Food is information. It carries important instructions that tells your body what to do. The fast, fried, and low vibrational foods that we eat tell our body and cells to degenerate, produce dis-ease and die. The live, whole food, plant-based foods we eat send signals to our body to regenerate, regulate and heal. But what happens when you fast? There is no information being transmitted, good or bad to our body and cells. The only information being accessed is the information lying dormant in your DNA. When you fast, you reactivate dormant DNA. The pineal gland is activated on a deeper level. The opening of the third eye occurs. The secretion of your melanin increases. And we know that melanin is the biochemical substance that makes Black people Black. Fasting literally makes you more black. You begin to see and feel the world from an elevated and ascended state of being. You become a magical, spiritual force.  

You begin to access generations of information, strength, wisdom, and power embedded deep within the fabric of your DNA, previously inaccessible due to being deeply entrenched in American society. So much of who we are is buried beneath the varied and harried layers of white supremacy and the resulting transgenerational trauma that can sometimes define what it means to be Black in America. Fasting peels back the layers one by one until one day you look in the mirror and you see who you truly are. Cellular truths are revealed. And this only happens when you fast consistently and intentionally. You stop believing what you hear on the news. And you start believing the intuitive truths that soak you like a gentle rain.

“Fasting speeds up your spiritual progress”

Unknown

Yes, I love that I have lost weight, built muscle mass, reversed my high blood pressure, and regulated my cholesterol levels. I love that I have less anxiety and more concentration. But nothing compares to the reactivation of dormant DNA. Nothing compares to the opening of my third eye, and the information that has been revealed to me spiritually and esoterically. The increased knowledge and access of who I am, where I come from and why I am here. The expansion of my spiritual power. This is the #1 reason why I fast and the #1 reason why I’ll never stop.

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Black Woman Heal: The Racism in Gynecology

“History, despite its wrenching pain cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage need not be lived again”

Maya Angelou

This is a special blog post because it includes excerpts from my latest book, “The Black Girl’s Guide to Healing: 10 Ways to Achieve a Healthy, Pain Free Period”.

The Black woman must take her rightful place as self-healer. She must master herself and her thoughts. She must begin to muster up the courage to trust her intuition when it comes to her body. As J. California Cooper (my favorite author) says, ““The only thing, no matter how long you live; that is truly yours, is your body”. Your body is all you have and there is no one beside you that knows what is best for your body. Especially not the white man and that is particularly true when it comes to our wombs.

The womb is the essence of your being. It is what makes you, uniquely you. It is where the wisdom and power of your entire being is held. The woman’s womb is the seat of her creativity. It holds the key to her magic, power, inherent beauty, and divinity.

When there is an imbalance or dis-ease in the womb, there will be imbalance and dis-ease in all areas of our life. It will manifest most readily in our physical health. But it can also manifest in our relationships, our finances, and careers. But a woman who heals her womb, heals her life. It is the center of your world. You must guard and protect it for all it’s worth.

There has been a seemingly unending assault on the Black woman’s womb.  Birth control, uterine fibroids, PCOS, cysts, excessive menstruation, endometriosis, infertility, and hysterectomies have become synonymous with black womanhood. It is as if we are born, we suffer, and then we die. Our wombs are not valued in the same way as white women.

J. Marion Sims is touted as being the Father of modern Gynecology. He invented the speculum, which is still used today for vaginal dilation and examinations. He also developed the surgical technique to repair vesicovaginal fistula, which is a severe complication resulting from childbirth. Many women were relieved of their suffering due to Sim’s medical breakthrough. Unfortunately, the only women who benefited were white.

J. Marion sims perfected his craft by experimenting on enslaved black women without any anesthesia. The widespread belief amongst white society at that time and even today is that blacks did not feel pain like whites. In her groundbreaking book, Medical Apartheid, Harriet Washington explains:

Medical journals and professional word of mouth had detailed the inhalation of ether as anesthesia since the early 1840s, and Sims knew of this, but he flatly refused to administer anesthesia to the slave women and girls. He claimed that his procedures were not painful enough to justify the trouble and risk attending the administration, but this claim rings hollow when one learns that Sims always administered anesthesia when he performed the perfected surgery to repair the vaginas of white women in Montgomery a few years later.

Sims experimented on 12 enslaved Black women. We know the names of three of those women; Lucy, Betsey and Anarcha. 18-year-old Lucy was the first woman he experimented on. She had just given birth a few months prior and could not control her bladder. 

The women were completely naked, positioned on their knees, bending on their elbows as their heads rested in their hands. Sims experimented on 17-year-old Anarcha 30 times over a period of 4 years before he finally perfected the fistula surgeries. I cannot begin to imagine what our ancestral mothers and sisters suffered. The torture, humiliation, and physical, emotional, and spiritual trauma is unfathomable, unforgivable, and unforgettable.

The US healthcare system is not a safe place for us to heal. There is a documented history of the black woman being deemed expendable and without inherent value. There is a documented history of experimentation and torture. Our wombs are not safe. We must become our own healers. We must love, respect, and trust ourselves enough to take complete control of our health and the health of our wombs. History has shown what can happen if we leave our healing in the hands of others, particularly our oppressors.

We do not have to relive the past. What Dr. Angelou said is worth repeating, “History, despite its wrenching pain cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage need not be lived again”. We must face our history in this country with courage. We must face the systemic and institutional racism seeped in western modern medicine with courage. When we do this, we will gracefully snatch our wombs back from the very system that has destroyed it and begin to heal.

To read this chapter and more in The Black Girl’s Guide to Healing: 10 Ways to Achieve a Healthy, Pain Free Period click HERE

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Avoiding the Winter Skin Blues: 4 Ways I’ve Kept My Skin Glowing

The skin is our largest organ and is responsible for removing nearly 25% of all the toxins that the body eliminates. If the body is unable to eliminate toxins via the digestive tract, liver, kidneys, or lymphatic system, it will use the skin as an overflow route. Therefore, healthy skin indicates a healthy body.

Buffalo NY winters are rough on the skin! Each winter I struggle to keep my skin adequately moisturized and avoid flaky, ashy, itchy skin. In the past I’ve tried all different kinds of creams and lotions, but this winter my skin has been soft and supple with minimal ash, lol. Here are the 4 ways that I’ve kept my skin healthy this winter

Drinking Sufficient Water

Healthy skin starts from the inside out. The greatest and most effective skin care product is water! Water clears the skin, makes it smoother and helps decrease the effects of aging. It also keeps the skin moisturized. At a minimum, everyone should drink half their body weight in ounces daily. For example, someone who weighs 200lbs should drink at least 100oz of water daily. Adding fresh lemon or limes is an added benefit and will produce greater results.

lemon juice in cup
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Dry Brushing

I dry brush my skin every day. Dry brushing removes dead layers of skin. It keeps the pores open and functioning well. It makes the complexion brighter by removing the things that dull the skin and improves circulation. It also decreases cellulite and increases collagen production. Dry skin brushing allows your skin to breathe and cell renewal is stimulated. How to dry brush? Starting from the feet, dry brush in a firm upward motion toward the heart to increase circulation.

wooden hanger with towels and body brushes
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Baking Soda Baths

I’ve been taking a lot more baths than showers lately. I find that showers leave my skin feeling dry, even with a shower filter. I take baths almost daily with baking soda (after dry brushing). The baking soda alkalizes the water, making the water less harsh on your skin. It also draws out toxins from the pores while softening the skin. You will notice an immediate difference in your skin. Start with 1-2 cups of baking soda to your bath along with essential oils and Epsom salt for added benefits.

a romantic setting in the bathroom
Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Choosing the Right Moisturizer

I always use natural butters and oils on my skin. I avoid any of the name brand, drug store lotions and creams. My winter go to’s are Shea butter, Jojoba oil, Coconut oil and Castor oil. I also use MarDavon Company skin care products. They are a black owned local company and I have been using their handcrafted body butters and lotions for nearly a year. I LOVE the way they make my skin feel and smell. Check out their products at:

 mardavonco.com

IG: @mardavon_co

Etsy: @MardavonCo  

Your skin doesn’t have to be dry, ashy, or dull. Try out these 4 skin care tips to avoid the winter skin blues!

Kathleen is a Published Author, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Vaginal Steam Practitioner, Yin Yoga Instructor, Reiki Level 1 Practitioner, and Death & Mourning Doula. She is also an Intermittent Fasting Specialist, Herbalist, and Traditional Hoodoo Rootworker.

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Sleep: The Underdog of Health

“He that can take rest is greater than those that can take cities”

Benjamin Franklin

After air and water, the body’s need for sleep is most important. Believe it or not, adequate sleep is more important than food. But sleep is often the one thing we neglect the most. The human body cannot survive more than three minutes without air or three days without water. After three days of insufficient sleep, the body begins to show the signs of sleep deprivation. How long can the body survive without food? 3 weeks!

In our go-getter, do more, be more society, sleep is something for babies and the lazy. But one will never reach their full potential or experience true health and wellness without adequate sleep. Sleep is essential for our physical, mental, and spiritual health. It is estimated that more than a third (some estimate up to 70%) of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.

What happens to the body while Sleeping?

Dr. Frank Lipman explains, “When you sleep, your brain protects itself from toxic proteins…this overnight cleanup keeps the brain clear and healthy”.  Adequate sleep improves learning, memory, decision making, and problem-solving skills. Your body goes into recovery and healing mode, repairing muscles, organs, and cells. The immune system is dependent on sleep, as certain antibodies are produced during sleep.

What happens when you get insufficient sleep?

The CDC has said, “Insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic”. Sounds a little dramatic right? It’s not. The impacts of consistently not getting enough sleep are extremely harmful. Lack of sleep can make you biologically older and results in a body and mind wired for stress. It also causes an increased risk of:

  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Weakened immune system
  • Mood changes
  • Poor focus, concentration, and memory

How much sleep do you need?

The National Sleep Foundation has recommendations for each age group. For adults aged 18-64, the recommendation is 7-9 hours of sleep per night. For adults 65 or more, the recommendation is 7-8 hours per night.

How to Improve Your Sleep?

  • Make sleep a priority
  • Stick to the same sleeping schedule every day (even weekends)
  • Develop a nighttime/bedtime routine
  • Disconnect from electronic devices at least a half-hour before bed
  • Don’t have caffeine after noon

Remember, being healthy, happy, and whole is your birthright and good sleep promotes good health.

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The Real Reason You Don’t Reach Your Health and Wellness Goals

“Sometimes you have to choose health, life and love over and over again until your being is ready to accept the new version of you”

Yung Pueblo

Whether your goal is to lose weight, get off your medications, reverse your chronic disease or just feel and look better AND you seem to always come up short and fail to reach your goal, the real reason this happens is because you lack consistency. I know that sounds so cliché, but it’s true. You don’t stick to any plan long enough to see results and experience lasting change. You drink water and eat healthy for a week or a month, drop a few pounds and then you stop. You join the gym but never go. You commit to drinking only water but when soda is on sale 3 for $10, you cave. Believe me, this is not to throw shade or cast any judgement. But we must accept the sometimes-harsh truths about the reality of our lives (myself included).  

The definition of consistent is, “not having or showing any apparent conflict”.  The definition of consistently is, “on every relevant occasion”. Some synonyms for consistently are, “continually, perpetually and unfailing”. The reason you fail is because you don’t do the things you need to do on every relevant occasion. The habits needed to lose weight are not engaged in continually, perpetually, and unfailingly. There is an apparent conflict in what you say you want for your life and the way your life is. This demonstrates a lack of consistency. But it’s not enough to just say you will be more consistent. We must delve a little further and uncover additional layers.

Underneath consistency is the layer of discipline. If you aren’t disciplined, you won’t be consistent. Discipline involves doing the thing you may not want to do regardless of how you feel. Developing the character trait of discipline will allow you to be consistent. Discipline also reveals the character trait of patience. A disciplined person does what they need to do for however long it takes. When they don’t reach their goal immediately, they don’t stop. They keep pushing.

“Small disciplines repeated with consistency everyday lead to great achievements garnered slowly over time”

“The successful person has the habit of doing the things that failures don’t like to do. The successful person doesn’t like doing them either, but his dislike is subordinated to the strength of his purpose”

There is one final layer to peel back when talking about consistency, and that is. Desire breeds discipline, which breeds consistency, which results in reaching your health and wellness goals. To desire something is, “to have an earnest wish to own or enjoy”. The synonyms of desire are, “to ache for, yearn for, and hunger for”. A desire is “a strong wish for something”. You must have a passion and longing for your health and wellness goals. You must have a passion to lose weight or stop taking your medications. If the desire is lacking; if you don’t want it bad enough discipline and consistency will be nonexistent. The desire to lose weight must be greater than your desire to overeat. The desire to lose weight must be greater than the comfort of being overweight. The desire to build the body of your dreams must be greater than your desire to relax on the couch or nap. Your desire to get off your hypertension medicine must be greater than your desire to eat fast food.

Yes, you lack consistency. But there is also a lack of discipline and a fundamental lack of desire. The desire is the key. Once the desire is present, the discipline and consistency will follow. The real reason you haven’t reached your health and wellness goals is you aren’t consistent. But all that really means is you don’t want it bad enough.

Desire + Discipline + Consistency = Reaching Your Goal

“The starting point of all achievement is desire”

Napoleon Hill

Kathleen is a Published Author, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Vaginal Steam Practitioner, Yin Yoga Instructor, Death & Mourning Doula, Intermittent Fasting Specialist and Herbalist.

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The Three Mistakes Black Women Make at the Gym

I’ve had a gym membership for 11 years. Over the years I’ve seen way more white women than black women working out (a different article for a different day). And when I do see black women in the gym I notice we consistently make the same mistakes. Notice I say “we”. I too have made these mistakes, but once corrected, I was able to reap the bountiful blessings of the gym. And I want you too as well. So here are the three mistakes black women make:

1. Too Much Cardio/Ineffective Use of Cardio

My first love is running outdoors. I love a good run, but black women spend too much time on the treadmill, elliptical, Stairmaster or bike. Cardio has its benefits but if you’re like me, you want to be toned, firm and look amazing naked. 30 minutes to an hour on the treadmill is not going create a toned, firm body. Yes, you sweat. Yes, you will drop some pounds. But cardio is not going to make you look good naked. Unless you do cardio properly and that involves HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT workouts involve short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower intense exercise. My favorite form of HIIT is to walk the treadmill at 2.5 to 3.0 mph for a minute and then run anywhere from 7.5 to 9.0 mph for 30 seconds and then back to walking at 2.5 to 3.0 mph. I will alternate between the walking and sprinting for 10-15 minutes. HIIT burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time and it helps to build muscle which is a perfect Segway to the 2nd mistake we make in the gym.

2. Not Enough Heavy Lifting

The more time you spend on cardio, the less time you have in the rack. If you want to build the body of your dreams you must lift and lift heavy. A lot of women avoid the rack because they are afraid that if they lift too much or too heavy they will look like a man. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We don’t have enough testosterone to look manly. We will however be curvy and toned. Yesterday at the gym I deadlifted singles at 225lbs. Do I look manly? It can be intimidating in the weight section with all the men grunting and groaning but don’t let that stop you. Incorporate the deadlift, squat, and press into your workout routines and lift as heavy as you can without sacrificing form. When you get stronger, lift heavier. Use the bar, dumbbells (not 5lb ones either) or kettlebells. Make lifting an integral part of your workout routine and you will fall in love with the results.

3. Not Stretching Before Working Out

I have recently realized the importance of stretching prior to working out. And I don’t mean a quick 2-minute stretch. Stretching for 5-10 minutes before working out loosens up the muscles and prepares them for the heavy loads. You’ll be able to workout longer before becoming fatigued and less likely to experience muscle strains. I find that when I stretch my workouts are much more productive. I can lift heavier and longer. My favorite stretches are butterfly, shoelace, and sphinx.

Stretch for 10 minutes+ HIIT Cardio for 10 minutes + Heavy Lifting for 40 minutes = The Perfect Gym Workout

Bonus Mistake: You can’t outrun your fork! 70% of your body composition is based on what you eat. What you eat in private, you wear in public no matter what you do in the gym. Incorporate intermittent fasting, juicing, and plant- based foods into your daily routine and you will reach your fitness goals faster.

Kathleen is a Published Author, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Vaginal Steam Practitioner, Yin Yoga Instructor, Intermittent Fasting Specialist, Herbalist and Death & Mourning Doula

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I Started Doing This One Thing and It Changed My Life

“If we are going to heal, let it be glorious”

Beyonce

As a Holistic Health Practitioner, my health and the health of my community is my number one priority. I am always looking for ways to improve my health and optimize the functioning of my body, particularly the systems that are designed to remove toxins and waste from the body… I’ll just cut to the chase. The one thing I started doing that changed my life was enemas! Once I started doing weekly enemas my health drastically improved. I felt lighter, I had less headaches and less toxins recirculating in my system.

The Colon

One of the most important systems of elimination is the digestive system and within that system the colon plays a very important role. The colon is responsible for reabsorbing fluids and processing the waste from the food we eat for removal and elimination (bowel movements).

Think about it. If we eat 3-6 times a day, 7 days a week, that is a total of 21-42 meals per week. If you only have one bowel movement a day that means you have 12-35 meals worth of waste still in your system. And some people do not have a bowel movement every day and that means more waste not being eliminated. Feces can become impacted in the colon and the bacteria and toxins will recirculate through the body causing several ailments and dis-ease.

The Benefits of an Enema

An enema helps to remove impacted feces from the colon. Enemas should especially be used when fasting. The following benefits are reaped with enemas:

  • Treats constipation
  • Clears out the bowels
  • Relives headaches
  • Increases energy levels
  • Clears the skin
  • Removes toxins from the body
  • Removes excess mucous
  • Alleviates Bloating

How to Perform an Enema

You can start with using store-bought enemas and then graduate to making your own. Lie on the floor or bed (yoga mat or blanket) on your left side. Gently massage the left side of your abdomen. Laying on the left side eases the passage and flow of fluid into the rectum. Gently insert the tip of the enema in the rectum (don’t go too deep) and squeeze the enema bag so the fluid is released into the colon. Gently massage the left side of the abdomen. When you feel the need to eliminate, feel free to release. You can use a stool for your feet for deeper cleansing. The water loosens up stool and allows for feces to pass though easily.

I do enemas at least once a week as preventative maintenance. This may be TMI, but I have the best and most productive bowel movements when using an enema. It feels great knowing that waste is no longer in me and I literally feel so light and free. After intermittent fasting and increasing water intake, enemas are my next and favorite recommendation. If you’ve never done an enema, you must try. If you have any digestive or bowel disorders, please check with your PCP to make sure there are no contraindications. One of the first articles I posted on my blog in 2015 was titled: Poop: The Perfect Sign of Pure Health. It was true then and enemas have made this even more true today.

Kathleen is the Owner of Melanin Rich Wellness Inc. The mission of MRW is to optimize the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the black community using African Holistic Health. Kathleen is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Certified Vaginal Steam Facilitator, Certified Yin Yoga Instructor, Herbalist, and Intermittent Fasting Specialist.