Managing Adult Acne & Your Diet: Products & Food to help

Let’s face it: acne sucks. That wasn’t just an attempt at a cliche, but my honest feelings.

Ever since I was a teenager, I was a sufferer of acne. Still am. Adult acne is very real and unless you have the insurance of a goddess, sometimes it’s not always easy to keep it at bay.

Overall, adult acne is usually due to an influx of hormones that can be inflamed by stress, chemical make-up or simply your diet. There are a variety of sources that tout different ways to ‘cure’ it or manage it. 

Personally, I’ve seen quite a few dermatologists (which you’ll need to do during your meatless journey, trust me and to determine your remedies) and used nearly every acne system on the market…It was frustrating and expensive. 

If I ever thought my skin was finally clearing up, that one HORRIBLE breakout ruined my esteem or any progress I felt I had made. In my opinion, why was I paying to have everything ‘clear it out’ and then start over until I ran out of said supply? I still had to go out in public after all. 

Out of the things that were prescribed to me, Retin-A and Acanya gel were a nice combo. However I was still dealing with breakouts from time to time. 

I’ll list a few of the methods that helped during the Rx and after it ran out that seemed to keep my breakouts to a minimum. 

  1. Witch Hazel – I always used this in high school, but I started back using it less than a year ago and ‘adding’ it with my current toner. Anything alcohol-free is vitally important as inadvertently causing more oil or sebum to produce could produce more break outs. I use it as soon as I get out the shower in my problem areas on my body or face and let it dry. 
  2. Black Soap – Another product I was experimenting with when I got financial freedom. This is touted as the ‘end all be all’ to any sort of skin issue, but personally it depends on what and whom you’re buying it from. Be careful ordering batches of these, as you want something that can’t be misidentified as a small child or bits of glass due to a lack of proper processing/filtering. Made from  palm ash, tamarind extract, tar and plantain peel and other natural sources that give it a dark brown or light brown color. The ‘dirtier’ and less uniform it looks, the more authentic the soap. I used this at night and washed it off with cold water. Don’t get this in your eyes, I repeat: DON’T GET THIS IN YOUR EYES
  3. Water – How many times can this be repeated? The times where my skin looked the most flawless was when I “kept drinking like a fish,” as my college roommate called it. 
  4. Apple Cider Vinegar & Green Tea – I always loved tea, and green or black tea was how I chose to wake up in the mornings. After mixing the ACV with hot water and honey and not tasting very good, I decided to just throw a tablespoon into my green tea. Best idea ever. I get the nutrients of both and the health benefits cited from the ACV. Apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’ is said to be the homeopathic ‘thing’ that can help with anything. Again, that’s all hearsay unless medically proven, but it does help with my energy, and the more that I’ve consumed, the more of a glow my skin seems to have. I can’t explain it quite simply but it’s doing something and I like it. Just don’t drink this by itself – tooth erosion is real
  5. Colorful foods – as mentioned in my previous post, the more color in your diet, the better your diet. The better your diet? 

Hopefully these are some things (other than sleep when you finally graduate) that can help ease your journey when making a drastic change that will affect your internal and external appearance. 

Happy Nomming

Develop a Natural Sweet Tooth: Healthy snacks and food items to munch on

Ever since I decided to go meatless, I really got into the various snack items that can be found in any co-op or store on a hill. Here are a list of things you can chose to add to your diet and make people feel bad about their own simultaneously and I really really like.

Toasted Coconut Chips

These are light and buttery. Strips in a spaceship bag made of heaven.

Dried Mangoes

They’re pretty sweet due to the added sugar…But who cares. Have five strips and be awake for anything!

Dried Seaweed – You can usually find this in the ethnic food aisles in any store or those stores on the hills…but be careful with this! Eating too much made me feel a bit light-headed. But the added salt in some brands can make you think they’re just chips. Newsflash; they’re not. One or two sheets are good or you can use them for some home-made sushi rolls instead…

Trail Mix – No picture needed as it’s an age-old snack. You can either pay to buy a wholesale bag to last you through the months or you can make your own. Try to stay away from too much of those chocolate pieces!

Smoothies – You don’t need an expensive piece of equipment. Get a blender or mixer from any store and call it a day. During my mornings or afternoons in between classes, I added strawberries, blueberries and mangoes with any kind of nectar juice and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.

Fruit Bars – Any thing “apple,” is a go-to of mine, but feel free to experiment! However always be aware of the ingredients!

Happy Nomming!

Drink till you Drown (well not really): Staying Hydrated

Some sources always try to use water as a sponge for your stomach. As in, “drink all this water and you’ll never need food again!”

Nope, nah and never. During your meatless diet however, you will get the munchies. It’s a given. In this way, your desire to be healthy can get thrown out of wack because of the bad habits you may form because you feel as though you can’t eat anything…

Stop being lazy and get a grip! You can be eating all the healthy food this green Earth can offer but if you’re not adequately hydrated, people will tell and your body will suffer in various ways. 

During my early stages of going meatless, I searched for my old water bottle. Reusable of course. Some folks like to get fancy and get one of these:

Plot-twist, these Voss U.S. bottles no longer use glass. By Christian Rasmussen on Wikipedia
Plot-twist, these Voss U.S. bottles no longer use glass. By Christian Rasmussen on Wikipedia

Recently I decided to revert back to a water bottle choice I used all through elementary school:

It’s plastic and HUGE can resuse it as many times you want.

I didn’t pay an expensive amount, and I can drink the recommended amount of water for my body weight (take your weight and divide by 2) without worrying how many water bottles I’ll have left for the week. 

Overall, drinking more water (and making an effort to do so), has cleared up my skin, fuels my energy, and I have less of an inclination to eat after 7pm unless I’m just bored

Drink as much as you can throughout the day. Your body will thank you and you’ll have folks wondering what tournament you’re training for. 

Water is a great conversation piece but should be a very important piece in your diet 





Vitamins & Color are your Friends: Being nutritious using the brightly colored food items

As mentioned in my first blog post, my mother was highly concerned with how my dietary needs would be met, after taking out an important staple like meat. She harped with our doctor to look for things I could take or do in order to keep up my healthy balance.

For a while, I was taking the brand name supplements, also throwing in some extra Vitamin C for good measure. It seemed like it was working until ‘that day…’

See ‘that day,‘ consisted of my latest shift at the campus cafeteria. It was a slow and boring shift but easy money. However, although I was sleeping enough prior before getting up, walking around etc. I still felt very tired. Almost as if I imagined myself falling down and never waking up. 

After consulting with the nearest doctor, I was told I was borderline anemic and I needed to start working on my iron and B12 levels. 

Great and gross…Iron water smells like blood if you don’t mix it right.

So I tried out iron pills and continued to have huge bowls of dark greens during lunch and dinner, or just as an evening meal. 

In the morning, I’d have bright red grapefruit, and bright orange cantaloupe after a bowl of cereal or scrambled eggs. Nothing but bright red tomatoes or a bowl of dark red beets. Very blue blueberries or bright orange carrots as a snack – I could go on! 

Do you see what I’m doing here? All of these colors are not just to tie a fancy abstract writing piece but to show how Mother Nature signals the ‘good stuff’ depending on the color. For instance, according to Fruits & Veggies, More Matters, the more colorful your diet, the more phytonutrients, or antioxidants you consume.

Here is a post for the different nutrients found in the above foods I mentioned (beta-carotene, lycopene etc.) and more!

On the bright side, the majority of these things taste good so keep using pure supplements (try to stay away from synthetic oils) and colorful foods. 

Happy Nomming! 


Besides Tofu, What else is Out There? (easy recipes and filling meals)

Since I’ve gotten used to ‘cooking’ between these four walls that are a dorm room or campus apartments, there are a few ‘go-tos’ that are incredibly filling and easy to make during undergrad. 

Notice I didn’t say ‘healthy’ but we can slide in a few of those if you insist…

  1. Mac & Cheese
  2. Salmon & Salad
  3. Spinach & Shrimp

Mac & Cheese – My mac & cheese dish is an odd bowl. For starters you need a either your standard brand mix (again, this isn’t healthy) or you can purchase you own elbows.

For some reason, this noodle dish I’ve seen growing up is spiced up with mustard. So after boiling your noodles, and adding any cheese (or dairy-free?), squirt some mustard along with some butter.

I'm worth more than something on your hot dog...By @theimpulsivebuy on Flickr
I’m worth more than something on your hot dog…By @theimpulsivebuy on Flickr

After spicing it up, I usually throw some marinara sauce in it, giving it a nice, “I cook like an amateur on Master Chef,’ blush red. 

Salmon & Salad – Salmon is pretty tasty, but if you’re too eager, you can easily destroy all enthusiasm to try some. No one wants under-cooked fish (raw or die) or a piece of rubber to chew on.

During nights I’ve watched my mom just ‘whip up some fish,’ here’s how it goes:

Season your fish however (basil, oregano…No Old Bay, that’s tacky)

Melt a tablespoon of butter in a skillet on medium heat

Rub your season mix on the fillets

Let the fish cook on each side, getting a light golden brown (usually five minutes each)

Squirt a little lemon juice and add a few sauted onion slices and tomatoes

Absolutely no lemon slice

Now that your fish is done, you can let it cool off for a bit while you throw you salad together. I usually go for the ‘spring mix’ in stores; spinach, baby lettuce and some other weird stuff.

French calls it something...We call it Spring Mix. Photo by DocteurCosmos on wikipedia
French call it something…We call it Spring Mix. Photo by DocteurCosmos on wikipedia







Since you most likely didn’t use all of the tomato, it can be used with the salad. Just heaps of greens and buttery golden goodness, can make for a very fancy dorm (or home-made) meal that’ll leave everyone questioning why the ramen no longer tastes as good. 

Last but not least there’s my Spinach & Shrimp dish. Made when I was in a rush and wanted to be fancy, yet again. 

Spinach is easy to cook. Almost too easy! Just get a non-stick pan, some olive oil and chopped garlic. Let the olive oil heat up a bit, and throw as much spinach leaves into the heat. The leaves will curl and get smaller, so you’ll want as much as you think is ‘enough.’ The shrimp is fairly easy as well, no matter if you boil or saute it. Just let it thaw out first under some cold water for about five minutes

You can then eat these two together or add it to some quick rice for a really hearty meal. 

I hope you take these options to heart and try it when you’re feeling bored. But remember, it will get boring if you don’t shape it up! Happy Nomming!

Just Got Paid & I’m Hungry: Meatless on a Budget

So you’re at the store, the deposit went through and that stomach is growling.

Let’s just rewind and see where we went wrong with this fantasy. My number one tip for any “BROKE ‘BODY” is to NEVER shop while hungry. You end spending more than what you’ve budgeted for, and cravings pass on (believe it or not). The latter gives way to many wasted items and funds.

Let’s imagine ourselves full and frugal, got it?

My general shopping list when it comes to food items, are things you can pair up with anything else and have it last for a good week as leftovers. Let’s prepare a list assuming you already have enough of the “essentials” (seasonings, herbs etc.)

My Shopping List
Pasta (any kind – try whole wheat if you’re feeling healthy)
Meatless meat – Brands like Gardein and MorningStar are more common in my area, but try to go for the bags of meat crumbles rather than single items. These aren’t cheap!
Seafood – because I don’t eat meat, seafood is nice replacement and if you’re smart about it, it can’t set you back and you can end up saving a bit. I tend to go for shrimp, talapia and if I’m able to spring, salmon.
Veggies – try to go for filling items (think starch and bright colors)…I’ve seen bags of steamed yams, potatoes, carrots & broccoli combos. These can last a while and taste better than frozen (in my humble opinion). Spinach is also a great saute item and as is for a salad snack. Celery can be added to anything or just eaten alone.
Soup!! A can or box of this is probably the staple of my entire dorm/campus life. If you’re trying to go out of your comfort zone in terms of tomato or lentils, try other lines. Other than the usual Progresso can, I’ve been getting into Pacific Soups. The Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato is pretty awesome, I must say if you want to feel fancy for two days.
If you’re trying to be creative, you can also thrown some stock in the cart as we have veggies and meat substitutes on the list. May it be vegetable or fish-based, these generally last about a week. For the cheap route, Swanson’s are pretty reasonable and simple in terms of ingredients and pricing.
Sweetener/Sugar alternative, such as honey or Blue Agave
Olive & Vegetable Oil
Minute Rice & a big bag of Brown Rice – You’re better off getting the big bag of rice (you’re broke remember) or capping the minute stuff at maybe 6 or 10 pouches. The latter is easier to prepare, however Uncle Ben’s does have a great option for those looking to crunch time – these bagged rice which can be part of two servings for a quick dinner.
Tomato on the Vine – these are a bit pricey but you’ll find yourself using these more often when you taste them! For cheaper but better results (in due time), get your own vine.
A large onion
Trail Mix , and or Fruit Bars or cups of any kind
Eggs – You need your protein remember?
Fruit – apples, oranges, grapefruit

An estimate of these items (if you stick to store brand versions for a few items), can be about a total of $30 to $47 US dollars. Oh and while you’re at it get yourself a store membership card to take advantage of sales. Coupons are never just a mom thing either…

Struggling to Salivate: The Bare Cupboard for a sole “meatless”

I want to start off by writing, just because you’ve decided to stop devouring meat, your kitchen doesn’t (or shouldn’t) have to look like:

empty cupboard
Don’t ransack before you’ve thought carefully. Or let anyone do this. Ever.

As we continue down this revelation, you may begin to encounter this conversation flow, once the news of your betrayal for barnyard friends as food, is revealed:

“So are you all set up to go to the luncheon? I hear the food is going to be really good!”

“I bet it will! All that money ready to stretch their bands in expectation? Of course the food will be good! What’s the menu again?”

“I heard it’s some kind of pasta-“

“OOh! Pasta! Okay and what else?”

“Yeah pasta, some Cesar salad and glazed chicken.


Taken by Ivan Lanin on Flickr –

You see the small child to the right of the photo? Yeah that’s me in this sort of moment. I’m upset, disappointed and annoyed.

What about ME?! US?! I beg of you, please don’t ever turn down an opportunity to eat anything. Let’s hope the hypothetical dream killer allows a choice to be made before throwing the fork out of your tiny hands, and throwing that lovely general store napkin on the floor?

Once you begin to get used to your new lifestyle, it will be easier to do any of the following; obsessing or ditching. You’ll either get obsessed with the new fad for the conscious eater in various organic groceries, or the same meal 24/7. On the positive, you may also find it easier to be more resistant to reject certain items in your diet like kale just because it tastes funny (no really, I’ve tried).

Monotony doesn’t have to be in your veggie future. Remember what I wrote when I mentioned actually telling your family that you decided to be difficult? This is why; if you have any family member that is

  1. Understanding
  2. Can cook as though their life depended on it.

Then get to the doe-eyed sulk and start rubbing your eyes and stomach to prepare.

Cooking is a skill you need to acquire through watching said family member, or a stranger. There are many alternatives such as soy, eggs, fish/seafood, various beans and vegetables, and quinoa (yes that’s a word) to be the base for your delusions. Actually knowing what to do with any of the stuff, is the next step, and something I, and every meatless had to learn for themselves. Either when the units were away. Or when you’re on a campus that does not have very great vending options.

When I got to college, and I didn’t have a personal anything just yet, I had to get creative with the options in our cafeteria.

They had salad, pasta, sandwich (grill or deli style), soup, pizza, fries, and the main course.

Plenty is good for your body, but not for any cigar rasps. You should quit.

I got into salads, spinach especially, because you need it, and it is life. Omelettes whenever they were available, and maybe a tuna-sandwich or egg, if the omelette wasn’t an option. Then you eat as much as you want, and drink as much of the ‘good stuff’ as you want (pure juice, milk, or even better, H2O). What can I say, you’ll be hungry at this point. 

It was the eating-in-the-dorm room part, that proved a bit difficult. What if I was still hungry or missed the time for immediate bloating? This is when you begin to get resourceful at the market. You see those bunches of soup cans, minute rice pouches, or potatoes, and oh my goodness fresh vegetables?! Grab them and use them! Use all the coupons, if you don’t want to worry about greedy grubbers stealing your fresh stuff, grab a fridge or get to nonperishable as a start.

Don’t forget some creativity! You don’t have to eat the same thing every single day. Colors are great on your plate, and so is anything under 30 minutes.

I’ll write about the quick ways in the next post so hang in there and get to mooching learning.

Start with these posts from The Veggie Table a giant encyclopedia of life and various recipes. 

Ditching the Chicken, Cow and their Friends

When I first decided to stop eating meat, I was nearing the end of my senior year in high school. A link to various images regarding the various types of mystery meat on the market (digitally altered perhaps) and the odd feeling of last night’s dinner weighed on my stomach and my face. The latter in which Proactiv and others tried to help.

Trying to be conscious of my health, and prove a point to my family (and maybe myself), I decided I’d stop eating meat.

You would have thought I had announced to my very Bajan/West Indian family, that I was mistaken about where I was, or how many days there were in a year.

See, meat & seafood are pretty much a base in a Caribbean diet aside from rice and peas. And if, for some reason, one decides to nix half of it, you still have the other.

Right? That’s what my mother wanted to know; what the hell was I going to eat? What doctor did I need to see? The vitamins, the weight marks – it was a sudden anxiety tunnel she drove me into.

But no matter! I was going to do it regardless. Until ‘that day.’


See, ‘that day‘ happened when I least expected it to. That’s how the Devil works, or so the elders say. I earned about eight dollars an hour doing the bare minimum of secretarial/Porter (correction, portress!) work for non-cloistered nuns on the weekends. I had a laptop, some snacks and complex convent to roam around when I needed to claim the word ‘fitness.’ Near the end of my shift, my ride wasn’t exactly on time, and the nuns were just about to serve themselves some humble food.

Would you like to have some dear?” How on earth could I refuse a giving soul? And turning down free food was sinful, so I meekly accepted, trying not to let the saliva reveal itself.


As I walked up the stairs, past the grandfather clock and the Virgin Mary, the nuns had a pretty big spread. Before I knew it I was laughing, digesting, and consuming, before the doorbell chimed.

Like a lady, I swallowed my gluttony and bid the nuns farewell until the next shift, and walked down the stairs. I saw the stained glass on the wall, and Mary bowing on the table, when I nearly collapsed like an actress in a telenova; I ATE THE CHICKEN.

Sure it was dry, stringy and needed water to go down, but I ATE THE FREAKING CHICKEN! What the hell?! The two weeks I salivated and starved. Opened the cupboard doors in disappointment and frustration. Dealt with harrowing headaches and a singing stomach, only to be tempted by the new evil that was MEAT!

I tried not to let the tears give way until I got to the car, and then I set them free. After wallowing in disappointment and self-loathing, my family members softly tried to tell me that I didn’t lose my badge or was less of a vegetarian because I slipped. What did they know? Well, I Googled it later, and saw that others said the same. So what the hell did I know?

All I knew is, was that unless I had full support and cash available to properly substitute this ‘no meat’ thing, it wasn’t going to be easy or last. When I calmed down and spoke to my mother about my decision, she slowly nodded and said “you can do it.”

I knew I could. I also knew that a nice plate of fish and rice would be nice to have right about then.

So, what have we learned for vegetarianism 101? Don’t cry over dry chicken or whatever meat type you ate when your first start out. You will slip up. If you’re serious about your new diet, have faith and let everyone know you haven’t lost your mind, but you’re trying something out for size. Also a strong stomach and good meals are a must! The first in case you do slip up, and the second if you want to swear off the stuff another time.