Stay In Your Lane

Remember that one time I went vegan?

Exactly one month after making that post, I searched the internet high and low for (natural) ways to combat my anemia. Being able to put a name to the way I’d been feeling for months led to this intense research. I took my iron pills when I remembered & they seemed to be working, but I wanted more. I needed to know of the alternatives that existed. One of the first articles that I entertained, highlighted the significant amount of iron present in the very thing that I had elected to give up... meat! I decided I’d look into that further. With each click and swipe I found that I could not escape the fact that I was not doing enough to combat my anemia. In fact, I was hindering the slighest effort to counter this condition.




All of these were the recurring sources of iron. No matter where I looked, I was sure to find these. Needless to say, the day after I had conducted my research, I went out to dinner and ordered the steak of course. I. Was. Afraid. This moment helped me to come to a huge realization: Health is truly wealth. If I am to be serious about my health and living a long life, I must do what's best for me. Although veganism seemed like a super healthy option, it does not suit my health needs. I gained so much from taking the time out to find out what foods would heal me. This was just a gentle reminder to stay in my lane.

That One Time I Went Vegan

"Try this," she said as she fanned the chili-laden fork in my face.

"What is it?" I inquired as I snatched the fork without hesitation, immediately following the directions of my colleague. As she attempted to tell me that it was vegan chili, I quickly interceded with my heartfelt "thanks" for allowing my taste buds to dance for that brief moment. Prior to this moment, I had never considered vegan. I was pretty complacent in eating well and incorporating animals and their by products into my diet. I did not see a need to eliminate either for the purposes of health. That moment, however, caused me to shift my thinking. "How might I challenge myself and go a little further with this wellness lifestyle by not eating meat?"

Let's see . . . where do I start?

Love for vegetables? Check. Love for fruit? Check. No need to drink cow's milk? Check. This, in addition to my desire for whole grains and minimally processed foods seems like a good starter kit for going vegan. . . Right? Oh, not to mention the part about how I don't really need to eat meat with every meal. I'm good and ready to go!

...or so I thought. "Try it out," I told myself. In going forth with trying it out, I decided I would begin composing my list of "whys" for becoming a vegan throughout the process. Once I actually began to embark upon the journey, I realized the only substantial reason I had was that it would give me an opportunity to get more creative with my recipes and not rely solely on meat and other animal by products. Once I started, I realized, I really did not miss chicken or other meats. The only food items that had a tight grasp on my taste buds were cheese and eggs. This prompted me to, further, consider why I wanted to carry the title vegan. Did I simply want to be part of the trend or was there some deeper reason? This second check-in provoked me to dig a bit deeper for a second reason: hormones.

Fortunately, I have had multiple opportunities to experience life outside of America the Great. In my travels, I am always reminded of how distinctly different poultry looks and tastes abroad. I am also reminded of the cause: mass production. As a New York native, there are not many opportunities for us to grow organic and while we are allowed to purchase “organic,” are we really? We do not know what is truly being marketed to us. In addition, meat is pumped with hormones, fattening it and making it so that more people can be fed. This was my new “why.” I wanted to have a bit more control of what I was depositing into my body.

I continued to swim with these two “whys,” yet, were finding more and more that they were not enough for me. Ultimately, all of the things we eat are junk. The only true way we can be sure that we are eating well is by growing our own foods. [Yes, even our fruits and vegetables are sprayed with pesticides, chemicals that are to the detriment of our health.]

...and just as quickly as I had gulped the idea of myself going vegan is just as quickly as I had regurgitated it. The title is too confining. Healthy/ health conscious has been and always will be the ultimate goal. I do not think anything is wrong with veganism. I have just found that it is not for me and that is ok. Everything is not for me.


In typical Cadacia fashion, as the year draws to a close, I find myself in a conscious overwhelming state of reflection. My mind is overcome with thoughts of the many events that have occurred over this past year, how I feel about my 2017 as a whole, what I have done well, what I am ashamed of and what I would like to improve upon for the upcoming year. I also found myself thinking a lot about change and how the embarkation of a new year does not have to warrant change. Instead, individuals warrant that change.

So here is a little bit of transparency for you: Within the last four months of the year, I have not attended the gym with the same level of frequency as I have been over these past 3 years.  Just this morning, I tried to evaluate my current situation in determining why it has been so difficult for me to make it to the gym. My conclusion is that I have placed an overwhelming amount of items on my plate. While the goal has always been to eat, I am realizing that with age, my metabolism is slowing down. There is a ton that I want and need to consume, yet, I am not able to work off the weight as easily as I once was. My goals and visions for my life continue to grow, yet, I cannot juggle all at once like I could do at one point in time.

What does this have to do with change? This has EVERYTHING to do with change, especially in the area of mindset. I am learning to adjust my mindset about my physical capacity to accomplish my goals. I still think it is of great importance to maintain my health through proper nutrition and exercise. I also think it is important that I continue to leverage myself academically and professionally. With that, something will lack a little. I can continue to eat well, exercise and work on my career, however, I cannot devote as much time to all of these things at once. I have to prioritize and that is what change will look like for me moving forward. I am refocusing on my academic and career goals first. I can simultaneously eat well, yet, workout a little less. That. Is. Ok. I am learning to be ok with that and, even more, learning to silence the background noise; the voices that question why I haven't been to the gym; the voices that question my gains. My gains will show up in other places until I can get back to re-prioritizing the gym. So in closing, the ultimate reflection for 2017 is that all of its events have led me to my current state and that is learning to be ok with where I am.


There is something about reaching the end of the workweek that excites me more and more, as it approaches every single week. On Fridays, my smile is much brighter; there is an extra pep in my step. I play my praise and worship music on my way into work a little bit louder. Ultimately, I feel most grateful for everything concerning my life on Fridays. I look forward to the weekend with a mind-racing full of the endless possibilities of the things I could do to be productive; how I can work towards making the upcoming week better than the last? With the happiness that accompanies my Fridays, I’ve begun a new Friday ritual that has made me even happier. Once the outdoor sunlight settles for the evening and the heat within my apartment rises, I feel charged to make my “me” time a full on experience. I deem this the “self-care” experience.

I will preface my “self-care” experience in saying that I have read my share of articles that discuss all of the things that self-care is not and lists an array of misconceptions about self-care. Something I’ve learned is that self-care has everything to do with self and what makes self feel good in every capacity of the word. With this, my experience begins with me lighting my momentary favorite candle. I, then, work towards making my home mimic the calmness that comes from the sun going down by either dimming the lights within my own home or completely shutting them off. Afterwards, I turn up the tune of whatever melody perpetuates the joy that I’m met with every Friday and continue this rhythm by running a shower.

This shower is incomplete without a trial run of lathering black soap, followed by gentle rubs of Trader Joe’s Lavender Sea Salt Scrub. The scent and sensation of the salt grains against my skin are well deserved and that is realized over and over again as I continue to scrub. The crystals work effortlessly to cleanse me of all that has been poured in over the course of, yet another, intense workweek. My shower is not concluded without Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Face Wash. One pump, simple lather, face feeling refreshed. Once out of the shower, I love on my skin some more by moisturizing with a combination of coconut oil and tea tree oil. This moment is sealed when I take the time to be still, even if for five minutes and concentrate on my thoughts. The weeks are so tough and overloaded with things to do that I never allow myself the mental space to think and simply be still. Once my moment of silence is complete, I either pour myself a glass of water or (if I’m feeling extra fancy) fill up my champagne flute with Trader Joe’s Sparkling Pink Lemonade. (I know, TJ’s should be paying me for the amount of times that I endorse them.)

Up until I started to do this without much thought, I never realized how much joy it brought me nor did I realize how much I need(ed) it. Although this Friday ritual has only recently begun, I have taken this year to tap into my self-care a little more. Some things I have done are making my manicures a priority by scheduling appointments that I have not deviated from (until I realized the chemicals were ruining my nails). I have also scheduled massages when I can and they have made a world of a difference. I work hard and am even harder on myself. It is always nice when I get the opportunity to do the smallest of things to appreciate myself …because we all know that NO ONE can love you like you! I’m learning to be gentler with myself and if you didn’t get anything else from this post, get that. Be gentle and kind to you.