A Labor Of Love

I come from a very black, very Southern family. I grew up eating collards seasoned with hog maws, munching on pork skins and stuffing myself with Mac and Cheese. I have fond memories of watching my Nana fry chicken and gobbling up my Muss’ (my great-grandmother) baked cream of mushroom chicken with rice. These habits migrated with me as I aged. Desiring and preparing the foods my body needed for proper nourishment didn’t come easy to me. I was more inclined to choose fries over kale, pizza over a salad, etc. 

In August 2016, upon learning that my grandfather passed from lung cancer, I decided to put down the cigarettes and start caring more about my health. Despite the circumstances that spawned the change, it was pertinent. I was in bad shape. I would wake up in the mornings coughing up a thick phlegm. I could barely walk up and down the steps. I could barely walk to the store. My breath was short. I was eating horribly. I didn’t work out. I had excruciating backaches and knee pain.

I was intimidated and scared of the changes I would need to make. I didn’t know anything about health generally, my body or what healthy looks like for me. The road was going to be a long one. I didn't know if I could do it. I fell head first into the trap that catches most people and found myself bouncing between extremes: restrictive veganism and week long fried chicken binges. I hated the “good” foods I was eating. I wanted pizza and wings, not tofu stir-fry. Eventually the holidays came around, I went home to visit family and I ate however I wanted. I gave up on caring about my health.

Again.

In March 2017, I stepped on the scale for the first time in two years. I weighed in at 250 pounds. To say I was heartbroken would be an understatement. This was the heaviest I had ever been. I hated myself, my body and that I had let my health get that out of control. I was embarrassed and disappointed. I’m a person who is very on top of things in my life — my career as a journalist, my connections with people close to me, everything. But when it came to my health, I had given up.

I decided to buckle down and began my journey toward a plant-based, active lifestyle. It has not been easy. I've spent the last 18 months figuring out how to listen to, nourish and physically train my body. It's an ever-revolving door. Somedays I need to sprint and eat 6 times a day, others I need yoga and mangoes. It's a constant process that can be exhausting, but there's nothing that could make me go back to how life was before because I believe that eating healthy foods and exercising saved my life. 

I've been documenting my progress on Instagram. The positive feedback and encouragement from those who've been following my journey has inspired me to share this work more broadly. I've decided to openly and honestly share my story while encouraging you to make better choices. I want to show you that you can, that it may not be as hard as you think, that it's possible. I am not a dietician or a nutritionist, nor am I here to give you medical advice. I simply want to share the effort that I have decided to put into my body and my health.

This labor of love is a time consuming process. I routinely decline social outings so that I can workout, spend time meal prepping every meal and snack for the week or because I don’t have the discipline to decline unhealthy foods that day. 

But I don’t do this, eat a plant-based diet or exercise because I hate my body. This is out of a profound respect and a visceral love for myself and my body. And when you love something, you listen to it and you do what is necessary to take care of it.

I hope my journey inspires you to start your own. It’s hard as hell. I’m still trying to figure it all out. I am still failing. I’m still getting back up when I do fall. But I’m here and I’m not stopping. I don’t get to give up on myself again.

With that said, welcome to my website. I hope the blogs, the recipes and the advice inspires you to make better food and drink choices. I hope you strive for health over what the scale says.

I hope you win.