Vegan Recipes

Vegan Chipotle Chili

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As y’all know, cooking healthy, pleasurably nutritious meals is one of the corner stones of my self care. Here’s an easy and delicious meal I whipped up the other day in no time..

Ingredients:

– 1 cup of corn
– 1 can of beans
– 1/2 large can of whole tomatoes
– cilantro
– 1/4 cup green peppers
– 1/2 chipotle pepper (de-seeded)
– 1/4 cup “no egg” powder (thickener)
– cumin
– black pepper
– sea salt
– splash apple cider vinegar
– dash of garlic
– tofutti sour cream
– chives

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a pot with about 1 cup of water. Cook on medium/high heat, stirring frequently, for about 25 minutes.

Serve with gluten free toast, garnish w vegan sour cream & chives.

That’s it.

Makes about 4 hearty servings. This chili has more of a smoky flavor than spicy, per se. For an extra kick, add a little more pepper – or a bit of Chipotle Cholula ūüôā Enjoy!

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Academic Musings, Life Musings

3 Lessons We Can Learn from Overcommitment

MeThis semester, I’m learning quite a lot about over-commitment. Over the past month or so, I gave three talks across the country while trying to find time to teach, run the Race, Ethnicity and Inequality workshop at SBU, mentor undergrads and graduate students, fulfill treasurer duties for SREM, handle service obligations, write peer reviews and make progress on several papers and the book project. Oh, and then there’s also the writing group I’m part of, and, gosh, everything else. Finances. Self-care. Family. Social life. Romance. Unexpected crises. SLEEP. Or rather, insomnia. I got very, very little sleep during the entire months of February and March. When I started feeling the ill effects on my health, I realized it was time to take a step back and recommit to my well-being.

Continue reading “3 Lessons We Can Learn from Overcommitment”

Academic Musings, Vegan Recipes

Black Bean, Melon & Chipotle Salad w/ Quinoa

Trying to remember to eat these days has been challenging. Working ridiculous hours, losing track of time & trying to get tenure.. Writing. Reading. Analyzing data. Trying to remain sane. A familiar story.

Last week, I spent the entire day working only to realize, around 5 pm, that I’d yet to consume a single meal. And I didn’t get that meal until 7.

It is possible that I might have had half a glass of red wine on an empty stomach, nonetheless..

Anyway. It was a big wakeup call that as I try to make headway with my writing, I have to make a concerted effort to reinforce my self care. Take breaks. Drink water. Breathe. Stretch. EAT.

Given that I don’t have much time, or much of an appetite these days, self care takes planning. So this weekend I set aside some of my Sunday afternoon to cook a few meals for noshing during the week

One of the best things I made was this salad. It was super easy and delicious. Chopped up half a red onions and half a melon. Threw into a bowl. Drizzled with apple cider vinegar and added a touch of sea salt. Tossed in some corn, bell pepper, chipotle and cilantro … Voila! An amazing summer salad. Vegan, organic and raw.

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Academic Musings, Life Musings, Spiritual Musings

The Nondual Academic: Revolutionary Self Love

This is the 3rd post in a 12 week series of essays on doing academic work from a nondual, spiritual perspective.  The idea is to open up a new conversation about academia, social responsibility, compassion and the ego.  Most Sundays, I’ll share my reflections on a variety of topics related to writing, researching, teaching and mentoring in the light of teachings from Hinduism, Buddhism and Christian mysticism as well as my own experiences

* * *

Today’s post is about self care and self love. ¬†It’s inspired, in part, by the FeministWire’s recent forum on Black Academic Women’s Health. ¬†This isn’t a side issue without¬†academic¬†relevance: it’s fundamental. ¬†Loving, accepting and caring for the Self is a prerequisite for my being able to show up in the world (and in my classrooms) with equanimity, peace of mind and strength.

To love one’s Self beyond the ego is a revolutionary act. ¬†In the video, I share some of my tools and techniques for self-care as well as the nondual spiritual perspective that informs these “rituals of love”. ¬†I cover everything from skin-care, hair-care, aromatherapy, body image, exfoliation, self-massage, make-up, meditation, supplements, working out, the whole nine yards. ¬†I also touch on a common (and serious) physical ailment among many academics and working professionals: Repetitive Strain Injury.

I’m not so happy about how often my eyes roll back in my head, looking like I need a close encounter with the Exorcist, but hey, it is what it is.¬†The really cool thing? You get to see me in a do-rag. (If you want to skip the beauty segment and hear my rant reflections on body image, spirituality and well-being, jump to 20:52.)

Some takeaways:

  • SELF LOVE BEGINS WITH SELF ACCEPTANCE:¬†“Your body is the cloak God slipped into in order to know Itself.”
  • SELF MASSAGE IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT – I cannot recommend the Theracane more highly. ¬†I’ve used it since graduate school to help with daily aches and pains from typing when getting a massage from a professional, or a lover/friend isn’t possible. ¬†Yes, it looks like a sex toy and/or a torture device, but your back, neck and shoulders will be forever grateful.
  • SELF CARE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE OR TIME INTENSIVE:¬†Many products I use cost $1-$5. ¬†It takes me about 30 seconds to do my hair everyday and another 30 seconds to do my makeup. ¬†ONE MINUTE.
  • SELF LOVE IS THE BUILDING BLOCK FOR LOVING OTHERS:¬†“You find that there’s a beauty and a Godliness and a divinity and a sexiness and a sensuality and a gorgeousness about every kind of body. ¬†Disabled bodies, broken bodies, big bodies, skinny bodies, big bellied bodies, flat chested bodies. ¬†Look at the diversity of how God likes to cloak Herself. ¬†It’s fucking awesome. ¬†It’s amazing. ¬†And so if you can show up in the world having laid the foundations of self acceptance, self love — projecting that same level of acceptance and okayness to everyone you encounter . . . can you imagine the kind of love we can all make together?”


As I say in the video, I feel pretty strongly that it’s absolutely pointless to go to the gym unless you fucking love yourself first. ¬†Before you love¬†yourself¬† you have to accept yourself. ¬†In order to accept yourself, you must see yourself. So here’s a¬†practice I developed to experience increased body acceptance, awareness and appreciation.

Body Love Ritual 

  1. Find a quiet, private, safe place.
  2. Take a chair and put it in front of a full length mirror.
  3. Get naked.
  4. Stand in front of the mirror.  Pay attention to your breath.  Without forcing, simply focus your attention on the inhale and exhale.
  5. Look at yourself. ¬†Behold every inch of your body. ¬†Observe the thoughts, critical and kind, that come to mind. ¬†Let them be. ¬†Don’t try to change them. ¬†Just pay attention.
  6. Now sit down in the chair.  Keep looking.  How do you feel now?  Let your eyes roam from your toes to the top of your head.
  7. Now imagine your body is the Buddha’s body. ¬†Or the Christ’s. ¬†Keep breathing.
  8. Imagine God decided to craft flesh that looks exactly like yours. Let yourself absorb the reality that your body is already divine.
  9. Sit and breathe in the realization of your own divine perfection.  Revel in the awe at the fact that every atom in your body originated in the Big Bang.  Imagine everything in the universe that had to happen in order for this body to exist.
  10. When you’re ready, do something nice for your body (moisturize, stretch/yoga, self-massage) and put your clothes back on (or not . . .)
Life Musings

Sweet things

Sweet things I did for myself this weekend include..

– Finally trying out the pool at my gym. I’ve been saying I would take a dip for about 9 months, but I was always too intimidated and lazy to really force myself to do it. I’m not a great swimmer, though my back stroke and doggy paddle are on point, so I feared that I would be surrounded by hardcore aquatic pros. A conversation with some ladies in the sauna convinced me to take a walk over to the pool. I started out in the slow lane, trailing a line of septuagenarians before working up the courage to upgrade to medium. Ended up having a fab time and getting an excellent workout. I look forward to doing this more regularly.

– Speaking of working out, I was really proud of implementing my new present-moment approach to the gym. Instead of planning everything out or doing the same ol’ routine (stretching, cardio then more stretching), I decided to go with the flow and just do whatever felt right. After my pre workout stretch, I did upper and lower body strength training, then felt compelled to use the rowing machine, which I haven’t attempted in over a year. Then I did some stretching, light yoga and a session of hydro massage. I followed this up with sauna then that courageous dip in the pool. Fabulous workout.

– Thrifting. Need I say more?

– Cleaning. I really needed to straighten up and organize my laundry room and closets. Mission accomplished.

– An evening at my cigar lounge. I hadn’t been in about a month. I’d go more often, but I have this thing about wanting to smell like ylang ylang and roses and somehow cigar smoke interferes with that.. I like this particular lounge primarily because of the staff and the clientele: most of the guys there are professional, friendly and interesting. We have conversations about the damndest things. Yes, there are Playboy magazines lurking around (though, I’ve never actually seen anyone “reading” them, thank God) and it’s basically a man-cave, but they generally make me feel super welcomed. It’s the kind of place where I can come in, plop down on one of the plush leather sofas, pull out my copy of “The Power of Now”, put “He’s Not That Into You” on one of the flat screen TVs, kick my feet up, chit chat about everything from work to sports to politics – or just be left alone.Tried a Griffen for the first time – wanted something mild and it hit the spot. Enjoyed a glass of Courvoisier and a taste of an amazing Louisiana whiskey – complements of some of the members there – and had great conversations all night.

– Errands. I mailed a package I’ve been procrastinating on for months, changed Zora’s litter, did about 6 loads of laundry, took out the trash, assembled a bag of clothes to donate to the thrift shop, bought groceries, finally packed my summer clothes away in the attic, cleaned my bedroom, and generally made my home a beautiful, comfortable space.

– For my own peace of mind, I finally found a brand of organic cat food Zora likes. She’s been on a bit of a hunger strike and I was starting to lose hope.

– For my spirit: Sunday morning satsang with Mooji. Meditation. Watched some vids by Eckhart Tolle about the ego and presence.

– Cooking! Made a fab dish: basil chicken with broccoli in a white sauce over whole grain pasta.

– Lit a fragrant candle.

– Continued my practice of body awareness and acceptance. Starting to feel increasingly more comfortable in my skin, even though I’ve put on about 3-4 pounds in the past few months. Feeling happy in this body. Enjoying it.

– Pampering: L’Occitane facial mask, self massage with my hands, theracane and a tennis ball, aromatherapy and lounging in my fave baby blue satin robe.

– Getting to bed early. And on that note, I bid you zzzzzzz.

Life Musings

Acts of kindness

Kind things I did for myself today:

– made a cup of keurig coffee in the morning

– paid a bill

– took out the trash

– cleaned up apartment so things would be neat when I returned home

– styled my hair the way I like it (as I do everyday..)

– conscious breathing and meditation throughout the day

– packed a full day’s worth of nutritious meals and snacks to take to work

– drank several cups of raspberry tea for medicinal purposes instead of coffee while in the office

– paid attention to moments of anxiety and relaxed

– crossed several things off my to do list

– wore a fabulous outfit.. and topped it all off with a very sharp black leather jacket/boots/gloves/attache ensemble

– morning, afternoon and evening aromatherapy with ylang ylang and eucalyptus essential oils

– 20 minutes in the sauna after work

– drank water

– took my supplements

– called my grandmother and my actual mother

– laid out my lovely new Christian Dior robe so it was waiting for me to slip into when I got home

– remembered to affirm acceptance of my body throughout the day

– kept my hands/body moisturized

– spruced up my office

– washed and dried a load of laundry

– made my bed

– organized my remaining blocks of work time for the week

– enjoyed hot chocolate and a delicious brownie after a long day

– self massage

Life Musings

This is how I love..

I come home after a very long day of teaching back-to-back classes, followed by mentoring a black women’s student group.¬† My commute is 45 minutes.¬† When I look at the clock, it’s well past 9 pm.

Weary, I make my way up the stairs. My eyelids are heavy.¬† I’m starving – and running on fumes.

And then, to my great delight, I find:

– a clean apartment

– my favorite satin pj’s arranged on my bed, waiting for me to slip into their luxurious embrace

– a gourmet dinner, ready to pop in the microwave: homemade mango sticky brown rice with organic sirloin stirfried with onions, bok choy and garlic in a wickedly decadent teriyaki glaze

– my favorite trashy, mindless Monday TV show (90210) recorded on the DVR, waiting to be played

And now I recline by candlelight, blissed out, nibbling on one of my favorite goodies — milk chocolate studded with almonds. All of this, courtesy of Crystal-of-Sunday-Past.. thoughtful gestures of my prior self to my current self.¬†

There will be a foot massage happening any moment, then some aromatherapy, conscious breathing, a little Mooji and reflection on the day ahead.¬† A good night’s rest and an early morning that will start with meditation, perfectly brewed keurig coffee, a workout session, hydromassage and sauna before heading to the office.

God, I love myself..