The Sistah Vegan Project

Ouch! Systemic Suffering and The Third Noble Truth – Buddhist Peace Fellowship / Turning Wheel Media

http://www.buddhistpeacefellowship.org/ouch-systemic-suffering-and-the-third-noble-truth/

The above was written by my mentor Zenju and expresses systemic racism and suffering very well.

“She Didn’t Look Depressed to Me”: On Postpartum Depression and Funky Smelling Girls

image

Dr. A. Breeze Harper

The other week, I was at my community park in Berkeley, CA. I overheard two men who work at the community park center, talking to each other. One of the men told his colleague that he saw a female colleague dancing at a club. He said that she was on disability leave because she had postpartum depression. Shaking his head disapprovingly at his colleague, he said, “I saw her at that club and she was having a good time. She didn’t look depressed to me.”
It wasn’t my conversation so I didn’t come over to correct this man and his assumptions about what it ‘looks like to be depressed.’ I decided to be ‘polite’ over being ‘politically correct’. Should have I?

…But then, a few days later, the same man started talking to me about one of the kids there at the park who was attending the summer camp program. He informed me that one of the preteen girls smelled ‘really funky’ and that he had to tell her mother that she needed better hygiene practices. He said that her mother was offended and he told me he said, “Well, would it be better if one of her friends told her she was really funky?” He said she needed antiperspirant. So, this 50 something year old man thought he was trying to be helpful, but I found it really uncomfortable that he was even talking to me about this.

When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I learned how I was supposed to be ‘ashamed’ of smelling bad. Boys apparently could smell nasty, but not us girls. It was all around me: ridiculous commercials that reminded me how disgusting and shameful it is to smell like less than a prize winning rose as a female. I also remember my mother telling me that I should make an effort to make sure I don’t smell while on my period. I never was able to solve that ‘problem’ though, as I was always very odoriferous during Aunt Flo’s visit. Puberty basically meant spending a lot of time using soaps, sprays, and anti-perspiration deodorants to mask my natural bodily odors; products that I would later learn were horrendous for my health.

Unfortunately, I grew up in an interesting culture in which people like my mother and this man at the park believe that one should use harsh chemicals to mask the shame of natural odors. And on top of this, I would later learn that as the only Black girl in an entirely white K-12 school system, I simply could not smell or make it appear that I had ‘bad’ hygiene practices because I had to represent an entire race of people (that, in itself, is another story!).

And of course most of us who subscribe to this culture don’t even know that products such as anti-perspiration deodorants are toxic to our systems. So, as this man at the park explained how he confronted this mother about her daughter’s odor, I kept thinking how this girl shouldn’t dunk her body in a bunch of chemicals that will increase her likelihood of yeast infections (FDS use) or using just to make people like this man, happy. But, I also thought about how this man commenting about her hygiene practices is Black and so is she. How much did that have to do with his need to tell her mother? Is he concerned about this issue with all kids he helps to take care of during summer camp, or are Black girls more of a concern because he doesn’t want them ‘embarrass’ all Black people?

Overall, this man’s perspective on cisgender female’s bodily processes (hormonal changes that cause postpartum depression and certain body odors starting with puberty) was quite disconcerting for me. However, I know that he is not an anomaly but rather represents what a majority of those in the USA think.

Maybe I will return to that park, armed with data that shows how postpartum depression is real and that most Americans have an unhealthy relationship with how they deal with the fragrant human body? I can leave a gentle note letting him know how his perspective is potentially harmful and hurtful.

If you enjoy the content of my writing, you can find out more about my latest book project. This book will be book number 3 for me. My first two were Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010) and Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014).

My new book is tentatively title “Gs Up, Hoes Down”: Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix). Don’t worry folk, the first part of the title is from DJ Cavem’s song of the same title which talks about Gs as “organic growers” and “hoes” as the garden tool. Go here to find out more.

Vegan Secret #1 For Minimal Menstrual Pain and Heavy Bleeding

So, I started my period today. I am going to be honest with you. There is no single nutritional and health regiment that will work for every single person who is menstruating. However, I wanted to share with you what I do so I can have a pleasant menstrual cycle each month.

image

I made a white bean, kale, ginger soup. Kale is my go to herb for just about everything that ails me. Kale and ginger are anti-inflammatory. This is important, as an inflamed uterus means lots of bloating and pain. Kale is also high in nutrients such as lutein (great for eye health), Vitamin C (awesome immune system booster), and Calcium. When I do not have time to make a hot meal like soup, I will make a smoothie or lightly saute a half bunch of kale in a little olive oil and sea salt with fresh ginger slices. My favorite way to eat kale is via a smoothie. Whether it is my period or not, I eat kale nearly every day, but also take a break in between to be gentle on my thyroid. So, I will be on kale for 3 weeks and take 1 week off.

Stinging Nettles is another great herb to have in your diet, whether you are menstruating or not. I usually make a 1/2 gallon of nettles tea per week so I have enough to last me the week. I take a big pot, put 1.5 cups of nettles (dried. If you use fresh, wear gloves so you don’t get a rash. Don’t worry, the heat neutralizes the stinging component) and about 75 ounces of water into it. I bring to a boil and then once it boils, I turn low and simmer for 5 minutes, and then I turn it off, cover, put to the side, and let it infuse over night. This is called an infusion and this process allows the minerals and vitamins to be drawn out the stinging nettles. An anti-inflammatory plant, it is great for toning the uterus, cleansing the kidneys and liver, and provides Calcium and vitamin K to name a few. It is also excellent for fertility as well as achieving beautiful hair and skin.

Exercise four times per week . I hike or power walk with weights on me (a baby in an Ergo carrier) 3-5 times per week.

I also found that eliminating sugar and refined flour from my diet, the week before and during my period, is an excellent way to ensure low inflammation. Eliminate caffeine as well.

Of course there are many other things one can do, but these are my core dietary and exercise principles.

For the past 2 years, I’ve basically been listening to Stic.Man’s The Workout . It’s a brilliant pro-vegan and holistic health album. While pushing my babies up the steepest hill in Berkeley, Marin Ave, I like to have the song “Let It Burn” on repeat. As a matter of fact, Stic.Man will be one of 6 amazing black male vegans I’ll be writing about for my latest book project. This book will be book number 3 for me. My first two were Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010) and Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014).

My new book is tentatively title Gs Up, Hoes Down: Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix). Don’t worry folk, the first part of the title is from DJ Cavem’s song of the same title which talks about Gs as “organic growers” and “hoes” as the garden tool. Go here to find out more.

BREAKING NEWS: Man Dies; Veganism Blamed

Originally posted on Meaty Vegan:

608-W-Oklahoma-Anadarko-OK-73005

[BUFFALO CITY, OK] Harper County Police and the Harper County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the death of a Buffalo City man this morning.

A 92-year-old Buffalo City resident was found dead in his modest prairie home earlier this week. Local authorities believe his vegan lifestyle may have contributed to his unexpected death. David Nash, retired postal worker for Buffalo City, was discovered deceased in his reclining chair by a neighbor who felt “something was just not right.”

“I considered David a friend, in spite of the fact he only ever brought hummus and veggie burgers to our community cookouts,” said Daryl Leno, a neighbor of Nash’s. “Considering the bizarre diet he was on, I’m pretty sure that’s what killed him. I mean, come on, what is hummus anyway?”

The County medical examiner confirmed upon closer inspection of Nash’s home, they could only find whole foods, beans, rice, fruits, vegetables, and some form of…

View original 235 more words

Race-consciousness, Hip Hop, and Veganism: A New Sistah Vegan Book Project Update

Here is an update to my newest project:

gofundme

Title: “G’s Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix).

Some of you have asked why would I use “hoes” in my title. “Isn’t that sexist and misogynistic, Breeze?” So, let me make it clearer (especially if you have not watched my Oberlin May 2014 talk that explains this). Well, I am actually not referring to Snopp Dogg’s song from 20 years ago, but DJ Cavem’s song from his Produce Section: The Harvest album from 2012. DJ Cavem is a vegan and expert gardener who teaches youths about being ecoconscious, cooking veganism, and awareness around the prison industrial complex. DJ Cavem uses “Gs” to mean “Organic growers” and “hoes” literally as the gardening tool to cultivate healthy and strong communities.

ceeknow

Cee Knowledge (left), Breeze Harper, DJ Cavem (right)

Book Description: Vegan mainstream rhetoric often falls into a post-racial mindset; that is, the assumption that since the Civil Rights Acts, racism and legacies of colonialism are no longer significant impediments to achieving equality in the USA. Furthermore, rarely does the vegan mainstream reflect on how structural racism shapes one’s logic, goals, and communication strategies around ethical consumption.

In this book, I will explore how key Black male vegans are employing hip-hop methods to create race-conscious and decolonial approaches to vegan activism. Such icons will include vegan chef Bryant Terry, Kevin Tillman of the Vegan Hip Hop Movement, hip hop and eco conscious musician DJ Cavem, and Stic.Man of Dead Prez.

These men are examples of alternative black masculinities, cooking up complex and complicated models of ethical consumption, environmental justice, and nutritional activism that you won’t find in the popular PETA campaigns or the bestselling books Skinny Bitch and Skinny Bastard.

What also makes this book unique is that I will use social science based methodologies such as black feminism, decoloial theory, and critical pedagogies of consumption to analyze the work of these men. Simultaneously, the writing style will be fun, easily accessible, inspirational and critical; one need not have a graduate degree in critical theory to understand it.

Goal: Ultimately, the goal of the book is to show how intersectionality of race-conscious, decolonial thought, and hip hop activism do not DISTRACT from the tenets of veganism, but in fact strengthen it. This is Sistah Vegan Anthology’s sibling and long overdue. If you enjoyed Sistah Vegan, you will enjoy this new book project, which I gave an amazing introductory lecture about at Oberlin College this past spring 2014.

Delivery date to press: Fall 2016.

Funds will be used to pay for travel to areas such as Denver, CO to interview DJ Cavem, copy editing, proof reading, cover design, a new computer (mine died), and promoting the book.

I already have a press for the book. Once I sign the contract, I will let my fans know who it is with.

If you also want to know more about my writing and success in this field, you can go to http://www.abreezeharper.com .
gofundme

Update: G’s Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)

gofundme

I have updated my new book goals and TITLE. Originally titled “Living Bling, Going Green”: Redefining Black Masculinities Through Hip Hop and Veganism, I changed it to this….

Title: “G’s Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix).

ceeknow

Cee Knowledge (left), Breeze Harper, DJ Cavem (right)

 

Book Description: Vegan mainstream rhetoric often falls into a post-racial mindset; that is, the assumption that since the Civil Rights Acts, racism and legacies of colonialism are no longer significant impediments to achieving equality in the USA. Furthermore, rarely does the vegan mainstream reflect on how structural racism shapes one’s logic, goals, and communication strategies around ethical consumption.

In this book, I will explore how key Black male vegans are employing hip-hop methods to create race-conscious and decolonial approaches to vegan activism. Such icons will include vegan chef Bryant Terry, Kevin Tillman of the Vegan Hip Hop Movement, hip hop and eco conscious musician DJ Cavem, and Stic.Man of Dead Prez.

These men are examples of alternative black masculinities, cooking up complex and complicated models of ethical consumption, environmental justice, and nutritional activism that you won’t find in the popular PETA campaigns or the bestselling books Skinny Bitch and Skinny Bastard.

What also makes this book unique is that I will use social science based methodologies such as black feminism, decoloial theory, and critical pedagogies of consumption to analyze the work of these men. Simultaneously, the writing style will be fun, easily accessible, inspirational and critical; one need not have a graduate degree in critical theory to understand it.

Goal: Ultimately, the goal of the book is to show how intersectionality of race-conscious, decolonial thought, and hip hop activism do not DISTRACT from the tenets of veganism, but in fact strengthen it. This is Sistah Vegan Anthology’s sibling and long overdue. If you enjoyed Sistah Vegan, you will enjoy this new book project, which I gave an amazing introductory lecture about at Oberlin College this past spring 2014.

Delivery date to press: Fall 2016.

Funds will be used to pay for travel to areas such as Denver, CO to interview DJ Cavem, copy editing, proof reading, cover design, a new computer (mine died), and promoting the book.

I already have a press for the book. Once I sign the contract, I will let my fans know who it is with.

If you also want to know more about my writing and success in this field, you can go to http://www.abreezeharper.com .
gofundme

ThankTank Creative is to Blame!

Dr. A. Breeze Harper:

A wonderful idea. Awesome.

Originally posted on Meaty Vegan:

IMG_8144

I haven’t blogged in quite a while. When I first started MeatyVegan.com, I was blogging every day. Every. Single. Day. Then it went to once a week. I could manage once a week. Then I started my own vegan consulting firm, and now the meaty is on the back burner.

ThankTank Creative, a consulting, design, and marketing firm for socially-just, environmentally-conscious, and vegan businesses was launched on June 4 and its been a whirlwind ever since. Starting any company is a risk but starting a company like ThankTank, so focused on working exclusively with like-minded businesses, is an even greater risk. In this instance, it is a risk that has paid off.

The first call we received was from a woman in Sacramento and she started the conversation by saying, “thank you for being ethical vegans.” From that moment on, each of the businesses looking to expand, create, define…

View original 235 more words

Foraging in my neighborhood: is it a privilege?

image

gofundme

I like to forage while I walk from home to get the kids from nursery school. I push them back up the hill in our double stroller and it takes 80-90 minutes. On the way, we eat herbs and fruit that grow every where. Plums, Meyer lemons, figs, blackberries, rosemary, and lemon verbena to name a few.

Yesterday I passed by a beautiful bush with clear purple berries. See photo above. Do you know what it is?

Is foraging a privilege or not? I feel like it is for me, for the most part. I live in North Berkeley. Most people who have a house here can afford a little land and have it landscaped professionally. For the renters of apartments and homes, the landlords do the same to the land. They have edible plants planted, but it seems more aesthetic than to eat for these residents. Why do I think this? The fruit usually ends up falling to the ground and rotting. So, this waste bothers me, so I try collect as much as I can, while walking down the sidewalk. If it’s on an apartment building complex, I do the same. I make sure that I’m picking from plants in which it is obvious no one cares to use or harvest it. If residents don’t want passerbys forage, they post signs stating that and I respect those wishes. At the same time, I try to be careful of how I forage and where. I know many may not want to hear this, but as a visibly Black person, I try to make sure when it is appropriate to forage. My area doesn’t have many Black folk and I worry that I may be read as ‘stealing’ or ‘trespassing’ when I forage, vs. when, say, white looking people do. I am acutely aware that whenever someone is arrested in the area for home break ins, I see the cops arresting a Black person 90% of the time. Again, I wonder what this does to the perception of the non Black residents who live there. Just some food for thought…

I also think about whether or not there is a connection to rises or declines in urban foraging to gentrification happening in the SF Bay area. Anyone have a take on that?

Also, do you forage? If so, why or why not? Like how I write? Wanna support more? Check out my 3rd book project about Black male vegan heroes: gofundme

 

 

Green Spirulina Avocado Monster

I have three preschoolers and they love Spirulina. Kira Satya is seven months old and loves my homemade popsicles. This morning she had avocado, fig, and Pacifica Hawaiian Spirulina popsicle I made yesterday using Zoku silicon Popsicle molds. I highly recommend Zoku mini pops mold for preschoolers. All other molds are too big and they never finish the pops.

In my Vitamix blender I added 1 medium Hass avocado, five figs, 1 tsp of Jarrow baby probiotics, and 1 tbsp of Spirulina in the blender. I then blended everything on level 10 for about thirty seconds. I filled the molds and froze.

Eva Luna (2.5 yrs) and Kira Satya loved it.

image

image

Luna refers to herself as the Spirulina monster. Scary, no? LOL.

Sun is five now and I grew him on Pacifica Hawaiian Spirulina. He is in the photo below with me, mama. He started on Spirulina in utero!

image

Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities

I went to the Live Oak Festival in Berkeley today. The only stand that I was really interested in was PM Press, located in Oakland, CA. I knew I was on to something when I saw pro-vegan and anti-racism books on the same table. The man tabling was named Steven Stothard (I will admit it that it is not often that I meet white guys with a BA in Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality studies).

So, folk are always asking me what I am reading to work towards liberation. Well, here are some titles from PM’s table that I will be starting this month. I am really excited about all of them, but am most excited about Don’t Leave You Friends Behind. Here is description of Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind:

A collection of suggestions, tips, and narratives on ways everyone can support parents, children, and caregivers involved in social movements, this book focuses on social justice, mutual aid, and collective liberation. One of the few books dealing with community support for issues facing children and families, this reflection on inclusivity in social awareness offers real-life ways to reach out to the families involved in campaigns such as the Occupy Movement. Contributors include the Bay Area Childcare Collective, the London Pro-Feminist Men’s Group, and Mamas of Color Rising.

wpid-img_20140614_214920.jpg

wpid-img_20140614_163951.jpg

wpid-img_20140614_214937.jpg

 

Post Navigation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,939 other followers