My Diabetic Gourmet Journey Day 6

My intent today was to be transparent about my body and lifestyle transformation journey.  What God placed in my spirit was to speak about what humbling myself really looks like.  I, like many others have the habit of comparing ourselves to others when setting goals and celebrating achievements.  However, I have discovered that I can’t even compare myself to my former self.  My ego tells me that I can set these lofty standards for myself, with no real guidance, rhyme or reason and still expect to bust them out with no problem.  So, as usual, God had another plan for me.

I finally went to cardiac rehab on Tuesday morning, with my playlist and headphones all prepared to get back into full workout mode, only to be rudely awakened to the seriousness of my heart condition and my diabetes management.  I was used to eating a carb heavy breakfast before working out last year because my blood sugar would drop before the end of my session and I would end up feeling nauseated and about to pass out.  So, with this old mindset, I ate some rice and veggies for breakfast justifying it based upon my old habits.  Much to my surprise my blood sugar was 310 by the time I reached the VA.  I also found out that it is dangerous to workout with a sugar reading above 300 because apparently your body can take it either way, low or high during the workout.  Since I had driven so far they allowed me to proceed while wearing a heart monitor.  First reality check.

Next I thought that I would get back to my 25 min mile pace on the treadmill, which to me is not fast at all.  I was embarrassed to find out I could only go at 1.8 for 10 mins, 5 mins on level 0 of the recumbent stepper and 10 mins of level 1 on the bike.  Second reality check and ego blow to my soldier mentality.

Finally I found out that I can’t let my heart rate get over 110 at least right now.  This means I can only do cardio for a max of 30 mins 4 times a week.  I can’t strength train until further notice. Can’t take any supplements and basically have to be ok with the fact that I may not be able to build muscle for awhile.  I joined the 5 star nutrition challenge with the intent of purchasing some detox and protein supplements to speed up my progress, with the rationale that as long as I stayed away from fat burners I should be fine.  My cardiac nurse let me know that I needed to change my body goals to simply focus on heart health for the next few months.  I was kinda disappointed to put it mildly.

That evening in my #MediaMavericks group #TeeJMercer was teaching on running your race at your own pace and not to compare myself to others because everyone has different circumstances, and I realized that I had been comparing myself to my old person, pre heart attacks.  The realization that I really have to start from scratch set in hard.  Just because my brain is telling me I feel fine, doesn’t mean it is actually so.  Ego and pride are tricky bastards.

This little bit of depression sent me on a wagon jump off my diet regimen to irrationally devour some pound cake.  After checking my account to discover I was overdrawn because I forgot about an automatic bill coming out, my emotional tailspin continued sadly and I didn’t even feel like cooking healthy.  SMH

The lesson here was that I discovered 2 of my binge triggers, depression and broke.  Glad to say I stopped my pity party within 12 hours and got back on track.  I did manage to not eat out and I made some delicious broiled jerk salmon and Green chile baked chicken legs. Still working on cooking some veggies and a pot of beans.

The other thing I am learning is to honor my body by resting when it calls for it, even if it is in the middle of the day.  I had to admit that as much as I love being domestic by cooking gourmet meals and keeping my house spiffy, that can’t be my priority these days.  Another bit of wisdom confirmed by Coach #TeeJMercer.  I wasn’t expecting to get such consistent life wisdom from joining this group, clearly confirmation that God directed me here at the right time.

So on the way home after penning this post during a pedicure, I was reminded of my final lesson which is to continue to dwell on my successes and not my failures.  Joel Osteen was talking about having a good opinion of ourselves and I wanted to end this post by saying that I celebrate the fact that I did eat healthy low sodium, low carb meals every day this week.  I did make it to workout so far twice, I managed to write this blog post and I listened to my #MediaMavericks group chats everyday this week which has kept up my motivation.  Although I want to be transparent, I am going to find a balance between candor and celebration.  I want to motivate and not add to ways in which we beat ourselves up daily.  So, I will end this by saying that we all are works in progress and by the grace of God, and divine timing, we will run our race at our own pace with our unique anointing.  Until next time, Be Blessed!

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Back From the Brink Again…Spiritual Warfare is Real

For those of you that are new to Wani’s World, allow me to reintroduce myself, My name is Wani, W to the A-N-I (In the voice of my favorite rapper Jay-Hovah, LOL)! Nah, but for real though a reintroduction is appropriate because I feel like a new woman in all ways after my experiences in the past couple of months. I am clear about my purpose and ready to stop bullshitting and get to work letting people know how empowered they can be by simply having faith. I struggled previously with clarity on how to use my gifts, both spiritual and practical skills, not knowing which was the clear path. Suffice it to say that God put a fire under my ass because people need to hear what I have to offer. He also showed me that the war going on for our minds and souls is real out in these streets and I need to get involved. So I have decided to just do what I do best, which is be me and express myself through my unique humor and wisdom in writing.

Which brings me to my two lessons for today: If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, not the goal (courtesy of #KimberleyPitts Life Coach) and Listen to my body’s messages (Courtesy of #LouiseHay). As the saying goes, when we make plans, we make God laugh. I went to bed Tuesday night with all types of shit on my To Do List and woke up the next morning feeling like someone crushed my right arm and hands with a brick. I have Sjogren’s disease, which causes flare ups that feel like a bad bout of rhuematoid arthritis. Unfortunately, I don’t have the Venus Williams version where I can still play in Wimbledon unfazed, but I manage alright. I actually was lulled into comfort because I hadn’t had a flare up in few months, so I was surprised that day by the pain. So, here is the other ish, I had a second heart attack on June 22nd, much to my surprise because I just had a heart attack on April 4th where a stent was placed in my artery to clear a blockage. I just knew that this would last for at least a year and I was not even on the lookout for any other cardio issues. Thank God for the Veterans Hospital, although they get a bad rap for their administrative services, I have no complaint about the medical care. Let me paint the picture for y’all…

I actually use Kaiser for my primary care because it is closer to my house and I get tired of driving all the way to DC for the VA. I started having symptoms like shortness of breath and tingling pain in my arms about a week prior and I sent an email to both Kaiser and the VA for advice. Kaiser Cardiology hit me back ASSURING me that my symptoms were NOT cardio related and I should continue with my regular workout activities. Although I requested to see the cardiologist after my last episode, they apparently did not feel it was important so we just talked via phone. I gave them the side-eye on this but since I am not a doctor, I figured well perhaps I’m just being paranoid. The Cardio nurse from Kaiser finally called to me to schedule an appointment for that Thursday so I figured there was no urgency, since she called me on Tuesday. As I was preparing to get my hair done in DC on Wednesday morning, I received a call from my primary care nurse at the VA desperately urging me to get to an emergency room stat! I was stunned because I had just been assured that I was good and I proceeded to argue with the nurse. Thank God she was persistent and made me promise to come in immediately. So, my plan was to check in at the VA ER and see what was good, then make it to my hair appointment after I was released. Ummm, yeah so that was NOT in God’s plan for me that day. I got to the hospital with no incident, but when I parked and was walking to the ER entrance, Yo!, I thought I was about to pass out. The pain gripped my chest and my arms buzzed like I was being stung by a million bees. I was like, Nah not again! Once I made it into the ER and was checked in, the attending Dr came and told me to thank the nurse that made me come in because she most definitely saved my life. I was having a heart attack right then.

I was immediately rushed to the cardiac catheter lab and prepped for surgery. Now here is where it got dicey… I was supposed to have some anesthesia but I don’t think the attendant put it in my IV soon enough. He was all busy talking and joking trying to put me at ease and I kept thinking, Umm I am still way too wide awake for this. I felt the cardiologist stick the catheter in my right wrist, and all of a sudden my artery started violently spasming! The more he tried to pull it out, the more it spasmed. I was in that joint cussing and screaming because it felt like someone trying to pull a cinder block through my vein! All with no damn anesthesia. I would not wish that pain on my worst enemy! They finally gave me some painkillers and was able to extract the catheter but the damage was done. My right arm was basically out of commission because of the swelling and bruising. Apparently my case was one of the worst they had ever seen and it has taken a few weeks for me to able to even get back to typing. I am still not at 100% functionality with this arm but again I thank God that it is usable. They did find another blockage which had formed right above the original stent and the original stent had started to close up.

All was rectified with my heart and I am about to start this body rehab from scratch. I feel like I am being stripped of every crutch I ever had and God is forcing me to do the emotional, spiritual and physical work to get back to my full capacity. I mean I had to give up weed, painkillers, salt, sugar, fatty foods, and I have to go easy once I get back to working out. This is now literally a life or death situation for me and I have to drastically change my diet, my exercise routine and overall my whole lifestyle. No more marathon grocery shopping and cooking days, placing unnecessary stress on myself to accomplish crazy unattainable goals that I set for myself.   In other words, I was really doing the most. My niece told me I need to take several seats, and I agree. LOL

I feel like this is where the spiritual warfare comes in. Every time I feel like I am moving forward in my calling to encourage people with my writing, I have a setback in some form of illness. However, I refuse to be held down and God did not give me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. I usually have a problem with following directions, basically because I feel the need to always put my Wani spin on shit. This time around, I am going to follow the instructions of the mentors that have been placed in my life because whatever I was doing clearly wasn’t working. It is so true that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. In the past month, I have been linked up with 3 free resources that are the answers to my prayers. #TeeJ Mercer of the Media Mavericks Academy has challenged me to stop lurking and Make Some Noise in the media with my gifts. I am starting a new exercise program with the VA’s Cardiac Rehab program and I have joined a 45 day nutrition challenge with 5 Star Nutrition to shed some pounds and drastically change my eating habits. My plan is to chronicle my journey in video and post some recipes under my other hashtag #thediabeticgourmet. One of my passions is to show how healthy meals can be delicious and not bland. I will stick to the meal plan but add my special touches to make the food enticing enough for me to finish the challenge.

So, with this in mind, pray for me y’all because again, this is a life and death lifestyle change for me. I know I am not the only one in this place and hopefully my journey can inspire someone else to change their lives and form healthy habits. I plan to keep it 100 at all times, which means that I will post my good, bad and ugly days. Just so I can really keep track of my emotional triggers that seek to knock me off my good eating. Again, this is also to help others track what causes them to binge eat because I am not alone in this temptation. So, let me wrap this up by saying the original plan changed because of my health issues but the goal is still a major lifestyle change. The struggle is real but I can do all things by the grace of God and in the words of Jay Z, I will NOT lose!  Until the next time, Be Abundantly Blessed!

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Let’s Be Frank About This Ish…Racism is the Real Issue in America!

The past few days have been a frenzy of violence that has affected the whole country. These abominable acts have both widened the chasm of emotions between races and brought about displays of solidarity between the same.  I have been mostly silent on the issues of #AltonSterling, #PhilandoCastile, #SandraBland, #TrayvonMartin, #MikeBrown, #TamirRice, #EricGarner, #AkaiGurley, #FreddieGray, #JamarClark, #SeanBell and the seemingly endless names of Blacks that have perished at the hands of the Police in various cities over the years.  My silence has been because I am tired of talking and everything has pretty much already been said. This phenomenon is NOT new, the rhetoric spewed after each incident is NOT new, the collective outrage by people of color is NOT new, the media spin to demean the victim is NOT new and finally, the clear, incontestable video evidence of police brutality/excessive force is NOT new.

In 1963, Malcolm X spoke about “the chickens coming home to roost”, regarding the climate of hate that was present leading up to the assassination of JFK. His comment was… Wait for it… miscommunicated by the media and made to sound like he condoned the President’s murder. When Malcolm was asked if he thought that Blacks had made progress in the area of racism his response was profound and unfortunately still relevant in 2016.

Brother Malcolm said, “I will never say that we are making progress if you put a 9 inch knife in my back and pull it out 6 inches, that is not progress. Progress is when the wound that the knife blow made is healed. They haven’t even begun to pull the knife out, much less heal the wound. They won’t even admit the knife is there!” The classic Bob Marley joint, “I Shot The Sheriff”, ( no pun intended for the Dallas situation) poignantly states again the result after years of unwarranted hatred. “Sheriff John Brown always hated me, for what I don’t know. Every time I plant a seed, He said kill it before they grow. Reflexes had got the better of me, and what is to be must be. Every day the bucket a-go-a well, One day the bottom a go dropout.” Sadly, after this last shooting of Mr. Castile, the bottom dropped out for Micah Johnson in Dallas and he decided to martyr himself for the  #BlackLivesMatter cause.   I say he martyred himself because he had to know that he would not survive this suicide mission, especially given the sparse record of Black men being apprehended without incident.

Now, I hate to say this but, this despicable act against completely unrelated law enforcement personnel, against random cops is what REALLY got the conversation started about the systemic racism so prevalent in our justice system. Just a day before, the victims were being vilified in the media and there was “perhaps some altercation that happened before the video started rolling”. However, when the victims were law enforcement, all of a sudden each one was a hero. No lengthy list of any reprimands or cases of excessive force against any of the slain officers…none in all their collective years of service?   If they were Black officers would their characters have been assassinated along with their bodies?

That same night, the media and Dallas PD once again showed their bias and irresponsibility by mistakenly Tweeting out the name of one of the peaceful protestors and erroneously calling him a suspect! Mark Hughes, has been defamed and is now receiving death threats all because the media rushed to implicate a Black man that happened to be around the scene of the crime…although the shots were coming from overhead and he was on the ground, with witnesses the whole time. While being interrogated, the police claimed that witnesses reported seeing him shooting his legally carried AR-15, which was a complete lie! Clearly our rights as citizens are tenuous at best when it comes to people of color. We can be accused of being criminals by anonymous witnesses and arrested or detained without any due diligence being done to verify the accusations. Even in the midst of chaos and tragedy we are unlawfully detained and our children can be taken away from us all under the guise of “sorting everything out”, as was done with Diamond Lavish, Mr. Castile’s girlfriend.   I was appalled when I saw the video of her being told to get on her knees and back out of the car while her boyfriend lay bleeding to death without the officers even attempting to call for assistance. In fact, the officer comforted the other officer that shot Philando instead of comforting the little 4 year old girl that just witnessed this horrific act! Clearly Black Lives did not matter to these officers, they were more concerned with spinning the story of this murder that Thank God was captured on Facebook Live. Diamond Lavish might have been a Sandra Bland if she did not record the incident.

Now back to the system, and there is a system, which does not treat Blacks or other people of color justly. The fact that we have a Black President, a Black Attorney General and a Black Director of Homeland Security, yet these atrocious acts keep happening speaks volumes about how deep the systemic flaws run. President Obama is doing his best while working within the confines of the system, dealing with a blatantly racist Congress and even Secret Service officials that have not provided him with their best efforts. AG Loretta Lynch has brought Civil Rights investigations against every police department involved in the latest killings, however no indictments have been made. All that came of these investigations were confirmations of what we already know, there is a disparity in how Black and White citizens are treated by police. Jeh Johnson, Homeland Security head, is supposed to protect the US from terrorists yet these terrorists in the police departments are allowed to remain unchecked. In 2015, the FBI warned against White Supremacists infiltrating the police forces around the nation. I am sure Mr. Johnson got the memo yet the narrative is still that police are beyond reproach. This article, and others like it are quite eye-opening.

The last thing I want to mention as proof of a deplorable sentiment in America is all the hateful comments on social media. The hate is so palpable it leaps off the computer screen and permeates my soul. I shudder to think that these NY Times readers, Wall Street Journal readers, CNN and MSNBC viewers are really this vile in their hearts. These comments are not from uneducated Twitter gangsters and Facebook trolls. These comments are from doctors, lawyers, police personnel, firefighters, business professionals and educators who you interact with daily..oh and let’s not forget the Christians spewing the judgment and hatred while quoting the Bible.

So yeah, as I started off by saying, the crux of the issues in America is deep-seated racism. Police brutality is a branch of the rotten racist tree at the center of our American culture. The fact that a major political party is nominating an avowed racist to become the country’s representative for the next 4 years says a lot. Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again” refers to what? Great like when Niggers were seen and not heard? Great when all Asian people did was your laundry? Great before all this real-time technology that allows dirty cops and politicians to be caught in the act?  America is good now because of the advances that we HAVE made, but in order for it to ever be great we need to attack this poison head on. It is a complicated issue but since we are supposed to be such a praying country, God has the solution to everything. Since we are a Sovereign nation, led by God whom we always ask to “Bless America”it would seem that we would all be on the same page with being peacemakers as God instructed. The Word of God says that there is no distinction between the races and social classes when you are a Believer. Even if you aren’t a believer in anything spiritual, for the sake of a peaceful and stress free life isn’t it much better to not live in fear of people simply because of their skin color? I mean, it’s been a few hundred years people, get over it.   America is supposed to be a welcoming melting pot of diversity, so let’s embrace our power, harness whatever love we have left and work out a solution.

After reading this, I ask that everyone say a little prayer of gratitude and ask for wisdom in how we can heal as a society. I didn’t plan on this post being so long but there was quite a bit on my heart. Next post will be about what we need to do next, some solutions that some in our Hip Hop community have proposed. As always, Be Blessed and Thank You for coming into Wani’s World!



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