Health

When Trigger Hits│Fighting Depression

No, not again.  I can feel it. The trigger. I was doing so well. What happened? Okay, think about all of your blessings. Practice gratitude. You got this Dom. You got this. You…

I usually run into the bathroom at work before the tears begin to travel down my cheeks. This feeling always finds a way to sneak up on me. I absolutely hate this feeling.  The feeling of confusion, fear, and defeat.  Caused by over-thinking and the lack of patience. Leading to anxiety and panic attacks. Then, I am left with guilt for feeling this feeling in the first place. This is what goes on in my mind. This is the cause of the dis-ease in my temple.  And what annoys me the most, is the fact that I know I have the power to control it.

I suffer from depression. I hate saying that word. I feel like every time I say it or think it, I am giving it power to control me. So many times I feel powerless. When depression hits, I am unable to get out of bed to do the things I love or just be present. Thinking and not living. One trigger comes from work. I am not working in a place where I love or simply enjoy what I do. I spend most of my days in a place I actually hate. Wait… strong word. I spend most of my days in a place I strongly dislike. I am not learning skills or progressing in any areas I need for the things I want to do with my life. I never saw this happening. However, I do not regret my current situation because it is all part of my process to becoming (or reawakening to) the person I am meant to be. I take accountability for my choices because at the end of the day, the Universe gave me what I ASKED for. I was chasing money and benefits and I got just that. I am grateful for it and know there are others that would love to be in my shoes. However, at the end of the day I pushed my passion to the side.  I am a creator and stopped creating. I believed that a 9-5 would bring an easier life (which it did for me) but it didn’t give me a happier life. I realized that, for years, I have been seeking relative happiness instead of ABSOLUTE happiness. The happiness you find within. Therefore, I am thankful for this process for reminding me how important living is. How important passion is. How important it is to feed your soul.

Mental illness is a topic that continues to surface on my timeline every day. I know that I am not alone. However, knowing that doesn’t make me happy either. What I want is to be part of the solution that leads to the end of mental illness, holistically. I know that ultimately we have to work within. However, another trigger comes from what I see happening all over the world. I can’t even turn on the news anymore. It feels like I absorb so much energy from what I see and it’s overwhelming.  I want to do more to help. I know that one day I will be able to help. I want to heal other beautiful souls, help build a stronger and more unified community. But first, I must heal myself. Which I have been doing. I have been using various tools from my journey starting in my late 20’s. Focusing deeply on my spirituality (without my strong connection to God, I really don’t know where I would be right now). One of the mechanisms I use to help me during my moments of depression, is reminding myself that my current situation is not the end-all-be-all. I have to remind myself to see the bigger picture.  I have to remind myself to stay focused, be patient, and never forget to be present. I know it’s a work in progress. Life is a work in progress.  I’m a work in progress. I am ever-changing. Always evolving. I am in my cocoon right now and I accept this fragment of my life.

I am journeying to find my soul again and I have been doing better. Doing things I want to do without seeking outside validation. I am learning to listen within. I will continue to learn the universal language so I can better communicate with God and my ancestors. I am learning to trust my process.  I am learning to breathe.  I am learning to be more courageous and less fearful. I am learning to accept me. All of me. I am learning to let go of habits that create the same patterns that lead to self-destruction. I am on a journey of self-evolution.  It’s uncomfortable and lonely at times, but very necessary.  I don’t know exactly where I will be in the future, but I know exactly where I DON’T want to be right now. I know soon it will be time for me to move on. When I do, I pray that I will be completely guided and protected.

I want to be more transparent with you and myself. It’s hard to share this because I have always been strong, never showed weakness. However, I am learning that there is strength in vulnerability. To be open to your own truth. Self-realization is a big important step towards healing. I’m learning how to be in a relationship with myself and love myself to the fullest so I can be a better servant to the world. And together, if we help one another, the possibilities are endless. The future is bright. We can reawaken and ignite the power we hold within.

Love + Light

DS

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5-Minute Morning Gratitude Practice

Hello Beautiful Souls!  What is the first thing you do when you wake up?  Do you grab your phone? Check your emails? Or, scroll through social media? Although these actions have become a habit for most of us, taking at least five minutes to center yourself can mean a big difference between a clear, focused, uplifted spirit and an over-active, flustered and cluttered brain. Below is a gentle sequence you can practice to help awaken your senses, loosen up tight muscles, set intentions, and mentally prepare you for the day with grace and acceptance.

Before you begin, remember that inhale and exhale is equivalent to one full breath. Breathing full breaths through every posture is key. Remain in each asana for 5-10 full breaths. With each breath, feel the sensation flowing through your body, while keeping your face relaxed, and gently flow into the next asana.

Gyan Mudra /Mudra of Knowledge
20161011_095128Mudra Hand Prayer – Thumb positioned between my brows to activate my Third Eye20161011_095015Cat Cow20161011_09530920161011_095322Thread the Needle20161011_095338Seated Back Twist
20161011_095353Cross-Legged Reverse Plank20161011_095413Extended Child Pose20161011_095207

Do you have a morning routine?  If so, feel free to share in the comments below!

Healthy Breakfast: DIY Gluten Free Pancakes

For my PANCAKE LOVERS! 
I have been looking for a healthier alternative to replace those ever-delicious, classic buttermilk pancakes. You’re probably thinking, “Duh, just eat wheat pancakes”… Well, unfortunately, wheat pancakes leave me bloated (I think I’m allergic to gluten – I definitely need to get that checked out). During my research, I came across this recipe from simply-deliciousfood.com and I decided to try making these cute hotcakes for myself and, boy was it worth it!  In less than 30 minutes (prep time and cook time combined) I was able to to indulge in some warm, healthy, delicious (and gluten-free) goodness!  OMG, did I mention delicious?!  And, even more, they were fulfilling without leaving that bloated or lethargic feeling.  Follow this recipe and try them for yourself, I promise you’ll be hooked!

Ingredients

2 Bananas

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup Oats

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

Pinch of salt.

To keep this as a healthy breakfast, use honey or organic maple syrup.

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine the peeled banana, eggs, oats, baking powder and salt.
  2. Allow to blend until the mixture is as smooth as you want it and blended well. Allow the batter to stand for 10-20 minutes until thickened slightly.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Fry spoonfuls (1 level pot spoon = 1 pancake) of the batter until golden brown on both sides.
  5. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup and fresh fruit of your choice.
  6. Enjoy!
Recipe and instructions from simply-deliciousfood.com

Homemade Vegan Cheese


vegan cheese (2)This past week I was craving cheese and since I’m avoiding anything with animal byproducts, I needed to find a creative and healthy alternative.  I remember when my dad was experimenting and created this creamy, rich sauce for his pasta.  When he told me it was made by using cashews, I was shocked!  He definitely introduced me to something new because I would have never thought one could make a cheese-like product using nuts.  Well, now (months later) that experience came in handy because I needed to satisfy my craving and I knew exactly what I was going to try – and it actually came out great, if I may say so myself!  The recipe is surprisingly easy and of course I’m happy to share it with you!

Homemade Vegan Cheese

Prep time:  10 Minutes

Total time: 1 hour 10 mins

Ingredients:

1 cup of raw cashews (soaked in filtered water for 1 hr)

1/4 cup of Nutritional Yeast

1 cup of original flavored Almond Milk

3 cloves of garlic

2 Tbs. of Dijon Mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Add all your ingredients into your blender and blend until it’s nice and creamy and thick.  That’s it!  I told you it was super easy!  Keep in mind the cheese will begin to solidify after it’s been chilled.  You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days and thaw it out for about 10 minutes before use. Enjoy!vegan cheese meal (2)

Living the Vegetarian Life… For 4o Days

20150223_205247 (2)I have to admit, I’ve been eating a lot healthier since about November 2012 (the beginning of my fitness journey) and have been more conscious about where I buy my groceries from – especially my meats (chicken, turkey and fish).  I started buying organic or locally and have been making sure my chicken and turkey meat were farmed raised and cage free, and my fish were wild caught.  However, I have always been intrigued about individuals who were able to live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.  I always wondered if I was capable of handling it and would I still get all of my nutrients and build muscles on a plant-based diet.  Well, the only way to find out is to experience it for myself. So I stopped wondering and I took on the challenge on February 21st, 2015.  No meat or foods that contain animal byproducts are allowed to enter my system for 40 days.  I do, however, still consume honey and use honey for most of my beauty regimen.

Now that I have implemented a plant-based diet into my life, I have to make sure I’m receiving all the nutrients I need!  It takes discipline but it’s also not as difficult as it may seem. You can do it too, I promise!  Below are a list of important nutrients we need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to ensure that we continue to build muscle (I definitely could use the extra help with my muscles since I work out and practice yoga).

During these 40 days I will document my progress, my feelings, my hair, my nails, and my body.  I also have chronic anemia and am really interested to see if it will improve or not after this plant-base diet challenge. Hmmm… and, who knows? This could be the start of a new chapter in my life. Stay tuned for updates.  Enjoy!

Protein

(Beans, Nuts, Seeds, Whole Grains, Legume)

 vegan-protein

Healthy Fats

(Avocados, Nuts, Seeds)

avocado

Iron

(Iron from animal sources is “heme” iron which is easily absorbed into our body. The iron from vegetables is “non-heme” iron and needs other components to be absorbed properly by our bodies.  Thus, while on a plant-based diet, it is important to consume plenty of Vitamin C to help compensate for this and to assist absorption of the iron into your body).iron_food

Carbohydrates/Complex Carbs

(Oatmeal, Brown Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Whole Fruits & Vegetables)

stories-oatheart

Calcium
calcium

B-12

(Neither animals nor plants produce it.  It is found in bacteria that forms in animal feces (which is why most herbivores eat their feces…. ugh, so GROSS). However, B-12 have been added to fortified foods and supplements. Supplements are recommended because as we age we become less able to absorb b12 )

Iodine

salt1

Omega 3 Fatty Acid

(Leafy Greens, Flaxseeds, Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Beans, Seaweeds, Winter Squash, Collard Greens, Wild Ricewinter squash

Zinc & Vitamin D

Photos from:
http://www.riceproteinfacts.com/
http://naturallysavvy.com/
http://www.dhvanishah.com/