The Sistah Vegan Project

Archive for the category “Health and Healing”

Surviving Through Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

Eva Luna and Sun, healthier and happier in spring 2014.

Eva Luna and Sun, healthier and happier in spring 2014.

In January of 2014, my kids (a newborn, 2 year old, and 4 year old) all got Coxsackie A Virus at the same time. Better known as Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD), this virus is something most kids in the USA get by the time they are ten years old. Though usually benign, HFMD is a miserable experience in which one gets a blistering sore throat, slight fever, and throbbing headaches for 1-2 days. After these symptoms have subsided, the virus produces painful and itchy blisters in and on the mouth, hands, and feet. It is about a week of hell wrought with sleepless nights.

Having not caught HFMD as a child, my body had no immunity against it. However, I didn’t end up getting HFMD past a sore throat. The sore throat only lasted about 3 hours! My secret weapon against this virus was a holistic anti-viral dietary regiment that I put myself on as soon as my sore throat hit me. Allopathic practitioners will tell you that there is no cure for HFMD. That may be true, but just because you get the virus doesn’t mean you have to get the full-blown symptoms. I am living proof that you can avoid the supposedly unavoidable! As a matter of fact, within a few hours of starting this regiment and then taking a 2 hours nap, I started feeling much better. My sore throat vanished, and I felt brand new. I stayed on this dietary regiment for 5 days.

Take the sugar and coffee out of your diet. Replace with mostly high quality plant-based proteins and lots of greens like kale.

 

Sugar weakens the immune system so take it out. I removed the sweets and replaced most of my meals and snacks with mostly dark leafy greens and protein. Viruses love caffeine, so take it out of your diet. Below is the super green smoothie I drank with my breakfast and lunch. Using a high-quality blender, like a Vita-Mix, is highly recommended to finely grind the kale and ginger root. Ginger is essential to boost the immune system, but it also helps most of us digest raw  or lightly steamed cruciferous vegetables like kale.

  • ¾”-1” cube of fresh ginger root.
  • ½ bunch of raw Dino kale
  • 1 tsp of Organic Hawaiian based Spirulina
  • 30 oz of water
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 apple (optional to make it sweeter)

 

Apply Neem Oil.

Though it smells strongly like a mixture of sulfur and garlic, don’t let it deter you from using it. I rubbed it all over my face, hands, and feet 2 times a day to prevent getting the blister outbreaks. I recommended applying about 3-4 drops on your face, as well as 3-4 drops for the hands and feet. If you have sensitive skin, mix the Neem oil extra virgin coconut oil. You can do a ratio of Neem oil and coconut oil that is 1:4. Add several drops of Lavender essential oil to the mixture to decrease the pungent smell. I ended up mixing ½ ounce of Neem oil with 2 ounces of virgin coconut oil. I highly suggest using coconut oil because it is anti-viral and anti-bacterial as well.

 

Elderberry.

 I made Elderberry tea and drank it 3 times a day. Elderberry is a superb anti-viral and immune system-boosting berry. I buy my organic Elderberries in bulk because the syrup they have in the stores are pricey. Be sure to decoct your Elderberries for at least 20 minutes, as sometimes Elderberries can cause illness if they are eaten raw. I always use organic Elderberries. However, if you prefer to use a high quality Elderberry syrup over making your own tea, that is fine too and a little more convenient.

1000 mg of Vitamin C per Day.

I took 1000mg of vitamin C each day in two increments, at 500mg per dose. I took 500mg of ascorbic acid based Vitamin C in the morning and evening, with food. Don’t take 1000mg all at once, as your body can’t really make use of more than 500mg within a few hour period.

 

Goldenseal.

 

I took a Goldenseal tincture 3 times a day. Like Elderberry, it’s a superb immune system booster and anti-viral herb. My brand of choice is Herb Pharm. I prefer the glycerite, as alcohol-based tinctures tend to make me feel sicker.

Apple Cider Vinegar.

I drank 1tbsp of apple cider vinegar mixed with 8 ounces of water, 3x a day. Apple cider vinegar helps to prevent the virus from replicating any further, once it enters your body. You must use apple cider vinegar and not any other form.

Good luck and happy wellness to you and your family!

If you enjoyed this article, check out my new book project about ethical eating, hip hop, and black male vegans.

Bio:  is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project. Her emphasis are in the the intersections of critical food studies, critical health studies, and multi-culturalism. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis and is currently a research fellow in the human ecology department of University of California. She is passionate about teaching how plant-based diets can help pregnant and lactating women thrive. The Sistah Vegan Blog and her official website, A. Breeze Harper, are the two websites you can go to in order to be updated about her writing, speaking, and videos.

 

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

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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.

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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.

[Video] Scars of Suffering and Healing: A Black Feminist Perspective on Intersections of Oppression

This is the talk I gave at the Activist’s Table Conference, which took place at UC Berkeley on March 15, 2014. It was sponsored by the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition. I talk about Sistah Vegan and also read from and analyze my newest book, Scars, a social fiction that intersects issues of racism, internalized homophobia, and speciesism to name a few. This is my first public presentation of my new book and reading excerpts from the much anticipated novel.

In addition, check out the graffiti on the wall of the bathroom stall that was right down the hall from where I gave my talk. Perfect timing!

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Engaging with the idea that interrogations of race, gender, and whiteness in veganism is not pointless: Reflections on the Sistah Vegan Conference

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(Photo of Dr. A. Breeze Harper)

The Sistah Vegan Web Conference took place on September 14, 2013. It was titled “Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies.” (What, you missed the conference!? No worries, the entire conference was recorded and you can purchase the recordings by clicking on ‘CLICK HERE TO REGISTER’ on the conference page. Even though the conference has ended, clicking on this link will send you to the recordings purchase page: Sistah Vegan Conference Recordings)

It was a terrific 8 hours. Here is a small taste of what we learned, talked about, and shared:

  • How veganism was healing for Black women’s reproductive health
  • Black women, veganism, and the challenges of sizeism
  • Patriarchy as problematic in the USA animal liberation movement
  • PETA’s racialized-sexualized uses of the female body to promote ‘going vegan’ for animals;
  • How the ‘white savior complex’ complicates and causes stress for Black women within certain USA vegan and yoga community spaces
  • The politics of industrialized and processed baby food and creating an indigenous vegan womb ecology
  • The ways in which the Sistah Vegan Anthology motivated so many of us to chose the path of veganism

I think that this conference is very important for a significant number of people interested in critical studies of food, critical studies of animals, and/or Black studies. However, I really suggest this conference to the significant number of ‘post-racial’ (almost always white identified human beings) people who continue to contact me with clear anger (whether it is direct or passive-aggressive) that they can’t believe that I am bringing up how race, gender, and whiteness influence vegan practice, rationale, and consciousness. And such messages arrive on comments sections of my blog, FB pages, or my personal email box with the confession by most that they have never read anything about critical studies of race, black feminist theory, or critical whiteness studies– but they are CONFIDENT and CERTAIN that issues of race, gender, and whiteness have no place to be interrogated within the realm of veganism. They may not recognize this, but this is called white entitlement when they approach me in this manner. It is an act of discursive violence and it is the perfect example of how whiteness, as a system of communication and rhetoric, operates. This method of communication is simply not harmonious, not healing, and is the antithesis of non-violence (ahimsa) that veganism embodies for so many of us.

I simply offer that if folk with the above communication behavior want to have a sincere and open discussion about the “point” of the web conference, Sistah Vegan anthology, and my other social science based research, that they start with listening to the Sistah Vegan conference; maybe reading the Sistah Vegan Anthology, and also reading my masters and dissertation work which clearly articulate the relevance and importance of engaging with critical race, black feminist, decolonial, and critical whiteness studies within veganism in the USA. I assure you, both Harvard (my Masters work) and University of California (my dissertation work) would not have been passed me if I had not properly used social-science based research and rigorous methods and methodological approaches to my intersectional work on veganism, culture, and systemic oppression. I would not have received the coveted Dean’s award from Harvard for my Masters thesis work (only given to one candidate per department) and nor would have I received a 2 year fellowship to complete my PhD work from University of California, if the deciding committees at both institutions had determined that my academic inquiries into veganism were ‘pointless’ or ‘race-baiting’ (as many of [mis]interpreted). Please email me at sistahvegan (at) gmail (dot) com if you would like to receive citations and/or copies of my published works, thesis, and/or dissertation to get you started. With that said….

Thanks so much to everyone for making this an incredibly awesome event. I look forward to next year’s!

If you participated in the event and/or listened to the recordings, please post to this blog how you felt about conference, what you learned, what you may have had difficulty with, what was surprising to you, etc.

Pathologizing the ‘fat body’ as immoral and then experimenting on non-human animals to find a ‘cure’.

I just read an article on the NY Times, “Gut Bacteria From Thin Humans Can Slim Mice Down.” 

This is amazing to me. First, fatness is pathologized in the US. And then, to offer a cure, scientists conduct experiments on non-human animals to prove that they can cure the immoral fat body. I’m just shaking my head over this.  As usual, the lack of critical thinking around the new obsession over bodies that don’t conform to a BMI of 21 is disturbing. The lack of more critical thinking and compassion towards non-human animals being experimented on, in this article, is very sad.

I also started thinking about how fat-shaming and sizeism in the USA mainstream vegan and vegetarian community don’t really engage in critical analysis of the fatphobia in this culture. Even though most animal liberation oriented vegans don’t support non-human animal exploitation, this NYTimes article points to a huge over-arching problem: concepts of healthy bodies continue to be shaped not by objective science, but by normative ideologies of civilized bodies that are constructed by systemic sizeism, classim, ageism, ableism, racism, and sexism just to name a few. These ideologies influence the direction of medical science research. The detached use of non-human animals as ‘experiments’ to cure our anxieties over achieving the perfect healthy body really speaks volumes of how much our minds, at least here in the USA, have been colonized. Even though the collectivity of USA vegans condemn speciesist logic in using non-human animals for medical experimentation, a majority continue to support fat-shaming, sizeist, ageist, as well as ableist and racist/colorist conceptions of how a moral body should look like. There is a reason why Skinny Bitch is a bestseller and why VegNews declared Rory Freeman their “person of the year” for 2008: The majority of VegNews and Skinny Bitch fans sincerely believe that not being skinny is objectively immoral.  For that 2008 issues, VegNews didn’t take the time to even write one sentence that critiques the accepted USA culture of fat paranoia and shaming. As “person of the year”, Vegnews upholds Freeman’s books and her bodily aesthetic (white, class privileged, skinny, young, able-bodied) as the benchmark of a ‘healthy’ vegan change-maker; and they do this without ever questioning how that body type reinforces white supremacist capitalist conceptions of a post-2000 healthy moral citizen.

The intersectional topics of fat-shaming, veganism, and race will be one of the keynote talks at the upcoming web conference on September 14, 2013: “Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies.” Click here to find out more.

T.O.F.U. Magazine will be sponsoring several scholarships for people to attend the conference. Please check out their amazing issue this past year that interrogates veganism, sizeism and body types here.


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Updated: Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies

(Updated with times for each presentation)

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1st Annual Sistah Vegan Conference

“Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies”

Date: September 14, 2013

Time: 10:00am-6:00pm PST (USA)

Location: Web Conference Using Anymeeting.com. This means the location is on the Internet, accessible by computer or telephone. 

Registration $45.00

Conference Recordings: The entire conference will be recorded and downloadable 24-48 hours after the event. Those who have already paid for the LIVE conference viewing will have access to the recordings. However, if you simply want to purchase the recordings, that option is available for $25.99. However, this option will not be available until the recordings have been processed. Hence, you cannot register to download the recordings until 24-48 hours after the event.

Please note that anyone can register as an audience member to learn about the critical and embodied perspectives of women of color vegans. Anyone can register as an audience member . One need not identify as a girl/woman/womyn/trans vegan of color to participate. This is open to all.

Click here to register

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SPEAKER LINE UP AND SCHEDULE

(PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS A TENTATIVE SCHEDULE AND THAT IT COULD POTENTIALLY CHANGE)

10:00 AM PST

Introduction: How Veganism is a Critical Entry Point to Discuss Social, Animal, and Environmental Justice Issues for Black Women and Allies. 
Speaker: TBD
Length: 10 minutes

In this introduction to kick off the conference, the speaker will introduce how the concept of veganism can shed light on critical issues effecting Black girls and women in the USA. She will explain how veganism, as both method and philosophy, is an often overlooked perspective in a USA society that has normalized the exploitation and abuse of racialized minorities such as Black females, as well as the normalization of violence against the environment and non human animals used for human edification. This talk will be an introductory segue into the scheduled talks and discussions. It should hopefully open up innovative ideas by intersecting veganism, health activism, food politics, animal compassion, and anti racism into the lives of Black women and our allies. In addition, the speaker will introduce what is means to be an “ally” in the context of the Sistah Vegan Project.

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10:15 AM PST

Keynote Talk: How Whiteness and Patriarchy Hurt Animals

Anastasia Yarbrough

Inner Activism Services

Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: In the animal rights movement, racism and sexism are treated primarily as separate forces comparable to but not wholly relevant to animal protection, with the exception of leftist pockets inspired by ecofeminist animal liberation thought, the Animal Liberation Front and other direct action groups, and the emerging Critical Animal Studies.  As recent as the 2013 Animal Rights Conference, the “mainstream” animal rights movement tends to treat anti-racist, anti-sexist movements as struggles of the past that inform the new frontier social justice movement that is animal rights.  However, the goal of this talk is not to argue how and why this tokenizing is a problem.  Instead, my focus is to spark a dialogue on how white supremacy and patriarchy directly impact the animals we’re striving to help and protect, thus giving further relevance in the animal rights movement to become more conscious of how racism and sexism operate in society.  As a black woman who is also a long-time activist for animal liberation and justice, I have the unique position to see these intersections and notice that human violence towards animals is rarely ever lacking color or gender, nor is it always simple to tease apart from systemic issues like racism and sexism. Therefore, I hope that this talk can serve as a useful and engaging spark that is relevant not just to animal rights activists but also to social justice activists who are just beginning to consider animals.

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10:50 AM PST

Presentation Title: PETA and the Trope of “Activism”: Naturalizing Postfeminism and Postrace Attitudes through Sexualized Bodied Protests

Aphrodite Kocięda

University of South Florida

Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: For this presentation, I will explore PETA’s marketing campaigns that use the trope of “activism”, couched in vegan and anti-animal cruelty rhetoric, to naturalize postfeminist ideas and postrace attitudes about women’s bodies. In this postfeminist space, attaining a white sexy body becomes activist work. For PETA, the ethical aims of the vegan diet (is purported to) coincide with attaining a particular type of femininity that excludes women of color. Women of color are only strategically used in their campaigns as authentic signifiers of “diversity”  where the white framework remains undisturbed. PETA uses “activist” rhetoric in their ads to bolster and naturalize the postfeminist and postrace ideas inherent in their logic.

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11:25 AM PST

Presentation Title: An Embodied Perspective on Redefining Healthy in a Cultural Context and Examining the Role of Sizeism in the Black Vegan Woman Paradigm

Nicola Norman, B.S. Nutritional Science

Baltimore, MD

Length: 30 minutes

This presentation takes a look at sizeism and how it affects attitudes in the Black community and the mainstream towards Black Vegan Women. Body Mass Indexes calibrated to white norms contribute to producing stigmas and increasing challenges to women whose bodies seem to exist at the intersection of social and cultural pressures/expectations. How big our hips, buttocks, and thighs are, are constantly being put under a microscope by family, friends, community, and the bigger society that we live in. This may be affecting Black women on the fence about trying veganism for its health benefits or deter them already due to these pressurized standards. Black vegan women of all sizes are often chastised for not meeting those standards. Black female bodies are very commonly exoticized in society.  I will give examples of this and look at how sizeism is many times at the crux of this. Lastly, I will offer suggestions on how to combat the challenges of sizeism within mainstream vegan rhetoric in the USA.

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Break 12:00 PM PST

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12:25 PM PST

Presentation Title: Cosmetic Marginalization: Status, Access and Vegan Beauty Lessons from our Foremothers

Pilar Harris

Pilar in Motion (pilarinmotion.com)

Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: The terms ‘Vegan’ and ‘Cruelty Free’ are labels that help lend integrity to commercially produced cosmetics. Yet these labels may also be used for marketing purposes, particularly in campaigns not created with black identified women as the intended target consumer. Although the internet has largely transformed access to cosmetic products labeled ‘Vegan’, there exists a degree of status and exclusivity in terms of the price point and distribution of these products, so that many black identified women remain marginalized. These products include body care, makeup and feminine hygiene items, the things we use daily and that are closer to our bodies than the clothing we wear. One option in taking a stance against cosmetic marginalization is to extract from our histories (personal, cultural and otherwise) the beauty lessons that were intended to nourish, protect and cleanse our bodies long before they could be known as ‘Vegan’.

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1:00 PM PST

Open Discussion: “Why I Relinquished the Gospel Bird and Became a Vegan”: Girls and Women of African Descent Share Their Reasons for Choosing Veganism

Length: 45 minutes

During this hour long moderated and open discussion, Black girls and women will share their reasons for choosing veganism. If you would like to participate, email sistahvegan (at) gmail (dot) com to secure your space to speak. Space is limited to about 8 storytellers. You will have about 5-7 minutes to share your journey.

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1:50 PM PST

Keynote Talk : “Midwifery, Medicine and Baby Food Politics: Underground Feminisms and Indigenous Plant-based Foodways and Nutrition”

Length: 35 minutes (25 minute talk, 15 minute Q and A)

Claudia Serrato

University of Washington

Doctoral Student of Sociocultural Anthropology

www.claudiaserrato.info

During this decolonial era, Indigenous midwifery in East Los Angeles despite the several attempts to dismantle this ancestral practice along with their Indigenous plant based nutritional advice thrives as the alterNative to biomedicine. The Indigenous foodways and nutritional ways of knowing guided by these midwives is critical in restoring or decolonizing pregnancy, birthing, feeding experiences and most importantly health. In placing the decolonial present into perspective, a herstoricalfeminist narrative of early Los Angeles, midwifery, medicine, law, and the baby food industry discloses a critical dimension of the colonial matrix of power, which has neglectedly been overlooked in determining changes in diet, health, and birthing. In recovering Indigenous foodways and nutrition, underground feminist practices in the urban ethnoscape of Los Angeles restores womb and taste healing memories.

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2:30 PM PST

Presentation Title: Constructing a Resource Beyond Parenting as a Black Vegan: Discussing Geography and Theology and Their Contradictions Within

Candace M. Laughinghouse

Regent University, PhD Candidate (Theology of Animals)

 Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: Surprisingly, I receive more support from non-blacks when it comes to parenting as a black vegan. Within the black community, I am guaranteed heavy doses of skepticism and defensive responses if I choose to reveal that my children have never ingested a hot dog, hamburger, bacon, and chicken!  But beyond parenting as a black vegan are the challenges that relate to geography, theology, and even my own appearance. The Sistah vegan movement (as I like to call it) is inspiring as I pursue a doctoral degree in theology of animals and the effects on black theology. As a parent, my job is to protect my children and teach them the road to fulfillment in life involves education, using their talents, and compassion for all sentient beings.  I want to present the above topics as many black parents have a theological foundation that can be seen as contradictory to being vegan.

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3:05 PM PST

Panel DiscussionYoga for the Stress Free Soul Sista

And Radical Self-Care Teaching: Exploring Privilege in Yoga & Veganism for Girls of Color

with Sari Leigh

Anacostia Yogi www.anacostiayogi.com

and

Kayla Bitten

Length: 50 minutes (40 minute discussion; 10 minutes Q&A)

Abstract: Sari Leigh will give black women,  practical yoga tools to help resolve stressful home situations, past racial traumas, heartbreaks and reconnecting to spirit. Participants will learn the 15 second Mind Cleanse, A Soulful Flow yoga sequence and the revolutionary power of Mantra.  Kayla Bitten will address how, on a daily basis, we people of color continue to reap the oppressive consequences of a society who refuses to see us as part of the movement to a society of innovative development and solidarity. Working with young girls and women, Kayla has witnessed first hand the effects of a society whose racist and misogynistic views has stifled them; stifled them in a way that has them questioning their worth, pushing them to participate in harmful ways of nourishment both physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and their all around position as a young girls of color living in America. Advocating ways to engage in radical self love and care is an important practice that Kayla teaches these promising young girls. She achieves this through eating habits and yoga, but she also continues to realize the lack of representation in an area where engaging in such self care is considered ‘for white people only’ (or westernized to an unnoticeable position), blatantly financially unattainable, not having the access, or being taught by those who do not have an ‘all inclusive’ work ethic. Kayla will discuss how we can began to help young girls learn and unlearn ways to decolonize and resist through acts of self care such as accessibility to spaces where we can learn about vegan/vegetarianism/ healthy eating (and ultimately how to create our own spaces where these resources can be attainable) and yoga.

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Break 4:00 pm PST

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4:20 PM PST

Open Discussion: Reflections on the Sistah Vegan Anthology

Moderator: Dr. A. Breeze Harper (tenative)

Length:  35 minutes

In 2010, Lantern Books published Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society. It was the first book of its kind to centralize the Black female vegan experience in the USA. Regardless of racial or ethnic identity, all are invited to openly dialogue about how Sistah Vegan anthology, as well as the Sistah Vegan Blog, affected their lives. How did you end up with the book? What chapters stood out for you? Did you give the book to a friend or family? Do you teach with the book? What would you like to see in the second volume? Email sistahvegan (at) gmail (dot) com if you would like to participate. Space is limited, so please reserve your spot.

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5:00 PM PST

End of Conference Keynote Address:

Is Black Decolonization Possible in a Moral Economy of Neoliberal Whiteness? How USA Black Vegan Liberation Rhetoric Often Perpetuates Tenets of Colonial Whiteness 

Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Research Fellow

Department of Human Ecology, Community and Regional Development

University of California Davis

Length: 60 minutes (45 minute presentation; 15 minute Q&A) 

Abstract:   For this concluding keynote, I analyze the food that a popular Black vegan guru promotes in order to ‘purify’, ‘decolonize,’ and ‘liberate’ Black Americans from legacies of colonialism and racism. First, through an Afrocentric framework, I show how this Afrocentric philosopher resists anti-black conceptualizations of Black women as “unfeminine” and “breeders.” Such a stance is empowering and a declaration of anti-racism against the mainstream USA narrative that Black women and girls are disposable and worthless. After this analysis, I use Black feminist theorizing to explore how the meanings this famous health activist places on particular vegan commodities, unconsciously reproduces heterosexist, ableist, and black middle-class ‘reformist’ conceptualizations of a ‘healthy’ Black nation. Lastly, I explore how USA Black vegan consumer activism may often be at the expense of oppressing other vulnerable communities (i.e. how certain Black liberation empowering super-foods come to us because of economic policies embedded in neoliberal whiteness).  If we engage in vegan consumerism without regard for how our vegan commodities get to us (i.e. sweatshops, child slavery, displacement of indigenous communities) what does this truly mean in terms of liberation, as well at the limits of decolonization within a USA capitalist moral economy?

Registration Fee:  $45.00

Click here to register

I ask for a registration fee to pay speakers, pay for webinar service, and also to fund the Sistah Vegan project to become a non-profit organization. Go here to learn more about that.

Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: Sistah Vegan Exclusive Webinar

The San Francisco Greens Workshop that inspired me to create this webinar can be seen here.

Date:

August 18, 2013

Time: 10:00 am PST/1:00pm EST (USA Time Zones)

Cost: $29.99

Duration: 90 minutes (approximately)

Registration: You can Register by clicking here.

Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free Anymeeting.com (my webinars are hosted through Anymeeting.com so if you don’t want to call a regular phone number to access it you can join the webinar with a password via a free Anymeeting.com account). You should have speakers or headphone to hear. I will be using video and audio so participants will be able to hear me present and view PowerPoint slides in real time. The webinar will be recorded and available to access for free those who have registered. There will be Q and A at the end. There is also the option to by the webinar, on demand, once it has been recorded.

About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.

Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food.

If you enjoy the work I have done, if it has helped you, your organization, your students, your family, etc, and you want to see it go to the next level of a non-profit social justice organization, please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below. When Sistah Vegan becomes a well supported non-profit, I hope to offer a diversity of educational material (webinars, workshops, books, articles) that guide people through ways to raise pre-school aged children on a fun and healthy plant-based diet.  If you do not want to use this method, but prefer paypal, click on the link on the right upper corner of this blog page to donate via PAYPAL.

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Disclaimer: I am not a certified practitioner or medical doctor. Please consult with your practitioner before trying any of the foods or herbs that I recommend

Want strong healthy hair and glowing skin? Black hair and skin care the natural way!

Black women and girls: My name is Dr. A. Breeze Harper. You can achieve glowing skin and strong healthy hair with a few simple steps. I want to share this wisdom with you. Will you join me?

PhotoBreeze

Dr. A. Breeze Harper without make-up, May 2013.

Dr. Harper, November 2012 with daughter, Eva Luna.

Dr. Harper, November 2012 with daughter, Eva Luna.

  • Learn how to combat breakage and strengthen your hair, no matter how long or short.

  • Discover how postpartum hair loss can be remedied without medical treatment or expensive alternatives

  • Learn how this one simple and cheap natural oil can grow your hair, add hydration, and is also excellent for your skin

  • Learn how easy it is to ‘go natural’, with the right shampoo, oils, herbs, and conditioner

My name is  Dr. A. Breeze Harper of the Sistah Vegan Project. I have been complimented often about how much my hair grows and how much my skin glows. I do not go to hair salons or spas, and nor have I worn make-up for about 15 years.  I will teach you what foods and herbs you can take, as well as put on your hair and scalp, that will help your hair grow, become stronger, and healthier.  I will also focus a portion of this webinar to growing you hair back, after giving birth. Postpartum hair loss is all too common amongst women. I know women who had children 2 or 3 years ago and continue to have hair loss and thinning problems. With a few tips from me, they were able to grow their hair back.

Date: June 30, 2013

Time: 10:00 am PST/1:00pm EST (USA Time Zones)

Cost: $30.00

Spaces Left: 27 out of 30.

Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes (approximately)

Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free WebEx account (my webinars are hosted through WebEx, so if you don’t want to call a regular phone number to access it and then pay per minute, you can join the webinar with a password via a free WebEx account). You should have speakers or headphone to hear. I will be using video and audio so participants will be able to see and hear me present. The webinar will be recorded and available to access for free for you who have registered, to refer to as long as you desire. There will be Q&A at the end.

How to pay: please sent payment to my PayPal account. My email associated with that account is breezeharper (at) gmail (dot) com. In the memo field please type in “hairjune2013”

About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.

Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified practitioner or medical doctor. Please consult with your practitioner before trying any of the foods or herbs that I recommend.

Achieve glowing skin and strong healthy hair: Black hair and skin care the natural way

Black women and girls: My name is Dr. A. Breeze Harper. You can achieve glowing skin and strong healthy hair with a few simple steps. I want to share this wisdom with you. Will you join me?

PhotoBreeze

Dr. A. Breeze Harper without make-up, May 2013.

Dr. Harper, November 2012 with daughter, Eva Luna.

Dr. Harper, November 2012 with daughter, Eva Luna.

  • Learn how to combat breakage and strengthen your hair, no matter how long or short.

  • Discover how postpartum hair loss can be remedied without medical treatment or expensive alternatives

  • Learn how this one simple and cheap natural oil can grow your hair, add hydration, and is also excellent for your skin

  • Learn how easy it is to ‘go natural’, with the right shampoo, oils, herbs, and conditioner

My name is  Dr. A. Breeze Harper of the Sistah Vegan Project. I have been complimented often about how much my hair grows and how much my skin glows. I do not go to hair salons or spas, and nor have I worn make-up for about 15 years.  I will teach you what foods and herbs you can take, as well as put on your hair and scalp, that will help your hair grow, become stronger, and healthier.  I will also focus a portion of this webinar to growing you hair back, after giving birth. Postpartum hair loss is all too common amongst women. I know women who had children 2 or 3 years ago and continue to have hair loss and thinning problems. With a few tips from me, they were able to grow their hair back.

Date: June 30, 2013

Time: 10:00 am PST/1:00pm EST (USA Time Zones)

Cost: $30.00

Spaces Left: 27 out of 30.

Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes (approximately)

Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free WebEx account (my webinars are hosted through WebEx, so if you don’t want to call a regular phone number to access it and then pay per minute, you can join the webinar with a password via a free WebEx account). You should have speakers or headphone to hear. I will be using video and audio so participants will be able to see and hear me present. The webinar will be recorded and available to access for free for you who have registered, to refer to as long as you desire. There will be Q&A at the end.

How to pay: please sent payment to my PayPal account. My email associated with that account is breezeharper (at) gmail (dot) com. In the memo field please type in “hairjune2013”

About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.

Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified practitioner or medical doctor. Please consult with your practitioner before trying any of the foods or herbs that I recommend.

“Come on, y’all know Black women be ashy and can’t grow their hair”: Unlearning ‘ugly’ myths about Black hair and skin

Growing up, I experienced a lot of women of color telling me that Black women ‘just can’t grow hair.’ I never doubted this, as I thought that that was true, as my hair never seemed to grow. In addition, I thought us Black folk were just supposed to have not only have hair growth problems , but always ‘be ashy’ and have ‘dry looking’ skin. Why did I accept such a myth, which seemed to be more about harboring internalized racism about the ‘lack of natural beauty’ of Black women, than it did with any ‘real’ facts. I remember one day at Sally’s, hearing two black females working there, joking about how black women are always ashy and that we can’t grown our hair to saves our lives. I was in my early 20s and perhaps it was because I had finally been introduced to bell hooks (LOL)– but their comments were quite upsetting and infuriating to me. Why did so many of us think this way about ourselves? However, little did I know that a year or two later, this was indeed a myth and I could   ‘easily’ achieve glowing skin and strong healthy hair with a change of lifestyle through a plant-based diet and hair/skin care regiment. I want to share this wisdom and my experiences with you. Will you join me?

My name is  Dr. A. Breeze Harper of the Sistah Vegan Project. I have been complimented often about how much my hair grows and how much my skin glows. I do not go to hair salons, spas, and nor have I worn make-up for about 18 years. I have also been asked for years, to offer quick and basic classes to teach women my secrets. Well, I have finally decided that I feel comfortable enough to transition the Sistah Vegan Project into a non-profit and start offering basic interactive webinars that teach you what I have learned. Even though all are welcomed to attend, this particular course will be focused on the specific needs of Black women and girls.

PhotoBreeze

Dr. A. Breeze Harper without make-up, May 2013.

Growing your hair and having a natural (i.e. afro) is possible through holistic methods. In this webinar, I will teach you what foods and herbs you can take, as well as put on your hair and scalp, that will help your hair grow, become stronger, and healthier.  I will also focus a portion of this webinar to growing you hair back, after giving birth. Postpartum hair loss is all too common amongst women. I know women who had children 2 or 3 years ago and continue to have hair loss and thinning problems. With a few tips from me, they were able to grow their hair back.The second part of this webinar will teach you about the herbs, foods, and topical treatments I use to achieve glowing and healthy skin. I was able to cure my ‘incurable’ eczema and tackel my constantly dry and ashy skin.

Date: June 30, 2013 Time: 10:00 am PST

Cost: $30.00

Spaces Left: 27 out of 30.

Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes (approximately)

Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free WebEx account (my webinars are hosted through WebEx, so if you don’t want to call a regular phone number to access it and then pay per minute, you can join the webinar with a password via a free WebEx account). You should have speakers or headphone to hear. I will be using video and audio so participants will be able to see and hear me present. The webinar will be recorded and available to access for free for you who have registered, to refer to as long as you desire. There will be Q&A at the end.

How to pay: please sent payment to my PayPal account. My email associated with that account is breezeharper (at) gmail (dot) com. In the memo field please type in “hairjune2013”

About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.

Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified practitioner or medical doctor. Please consult with your practitioner before trying any of the foods or herbs that I recommend.

“Come on, y’all know Black women be ashy and can’t grow their hair”: Unlearning ‘ugly’ myths about Black skin and hair

PhotoBreeze

Dr. A. Breeze Harper without make-up, May 2013.

Dr. Harper, November 2012 with daughter, Eva Luna.

Dr. Harper, November 2012 with daughter, Eva Luna.

Growing up, I experienced a lot of women of color telling me that Black women ‘just can’t grow hair.’ I never doubted this, as I thought that that was true, as my hair never seemed to grow. In addition, I thought us Black folk were just supposed to have not only have hair growth problems , but always ‘be ashy’ and have ‘dry looking’ skin. Why did I accept such a myth, which seemed to be more about harboring internalized racism about the ‘lack of natural beauty’ of Black women, than it did with any ‘real’ facts. I remember one day at Sally’s, hearing two black females working there, joking about how black women are always ashy and that we can’t grown our hair to saves our lives. I was in my early 20s and perhaps it was because I had finally been introduced to bell hooks (LOL)– but their comments were quite upsetting and infuriating to me. Why did so many of us think this way about ourselves? However, little did I know that a year or two later, this was indeed a myth and I could   ‘easily’ achieve glowing skin and strong healthy hair with a change of lifestyle through a plant-based diet and hair/skin care regiment. I want to share this wisdom and my experiences with you. Will you join me?

My name is  Dr. A. Breeze Harper of the Sistah Vegan Project. I have been complimented often about how much my hair grows and how much my skin glows. I do not go to hair salons or spas, and nor have I worn make-up for about 15 years. I have also been asked for years, to offer quick and basic classes to teach women my secrets. Growing your hair and having a natural (i.e. afro) is possible through holistic methods. In this webinar, I will teach you what foods and herbs you can take, as well as put on your hair and scalp, that will help your hair grow, become stronger, and healthier.  I will also focus a portion of this webinar to growing you hair back, after giving birth. Postpartum hair loss is all too common amongst women. I know women who had children 2 or 3 years ago and continue to have hair loss and thinning problems. With a few tips from me, they were able to grow their hair back.The second part of this webinar will teach you about the herbs, foods, and topical treatments I use to achieve glowing and healthy skin.

  • Learn how to combat breakage
  • Learn how this one simple and cheap natural oil can grow your hair, add hydration, and is also excellent for your skin
  • Learn how easy it is to ‘go natural’, with the right shampoo, oils, herbs, and conditioner

Date: June 30, 2013 Time: 10:00 am PST

Cost: $30.00

Spaces Left: 27 out of 30.

Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes (approximately)

Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free WebEx account (my webinars are hosted through WebEx, so if you don’t want to call a regular phone number to access it and then pay per minute, you can join the webinar with a password via a free WebEx account). You should have speakers or headphone to hear. I will be using video and audio so participants will be able to see and hear me present. The webinar will be recorded and available to access for free for you who have registered, to refer to as long as you desire. There will be Q&A at the end.

How to pay: please sent payment to my PayPal account. My email associated with that account is breezeharper (at) gmail (dot) com. In the memo field please type in “hairjune2013”

About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.

Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified practitioner or medical doctor. Please consult with your practitioner before trying any of the foods or herbs that I recommend.

Beyond a Single-Issue Vegan Social Justice Project: Going Big to Fund Critical Change

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My name is Dr. Amie Breeze Harper and I am the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project. (http://www.sistahvegan.com ) My birthday was yesterday, and my wish for this year is to transform the Sistah Vegan Project into a passion that sustains me spiritually as well as financially. I am going to take a bold, exciting, and awesome step and turn the Sistah Vegan Project into into an official non-profit organization; it would be my full-time work. What would we do? Here are a few goals:

  • Investigate and report how USA plant-based dietary philosophies and animal compassion are impacted by racial/ethnic experience.
  • Provide webinars and workshops that teach about plant-based dietary philosophies with special emphasis on cultural, racial, ethnic identity in the USA. For example, a workshop about becoming vegan that acknowledges the realities of how racial health disparities and environmental racism significantly impact food access and knowledge of low-income communities of color.
  • Publishing scientifically based online materials about plant-based nutrition and health for varying demographics, but in particular, pregnant and lactating girls and women.
  • Create yearly Sistah Vegan Healing Conference/Retreat for females of color and allies. This event would enable us to share knowledge and build our leadership skills around plant-based dietary philosophies, but rooted in anti-racism, decolonial activism, and animal compassion that reflect the collective needs of females of color.
  • Publish 2 seminal media projects that investigate alternative black masculinities within the sphere of vegan food politics:
    • Brotha Vegan! Black Male Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society. This would be an anthology collection similar to Sistah Vegan.
    • “Living Bling, Going Green”: Alternative Black Masculinities, Hip Hop Eco-Consciousness, and Decolonial Vegan Nutrition. This would be a social-science based book which will investigate how plant-based philosophies are being reshaped and reformulated by Black men of the hip hop generation. How do they engage pedagogies of hip-hop, educating and mobilizing people of color about health disparities, as well as environmental and institutional racism, and animal cruelty?
  • Create Android and Apple smartphone apps and media that help you make more informed decisions about food, health, social justice, and eco-sustainability.

I ask you for your help to make this non-profit possible. The primary resources I need are monetary and would be used for the following:

A Social Media Intern. I would be seeking the help of a part-time social media intern who knows how to use the latest social media apps. Duties would include promoting the book Sistah Vegan and notifying people about my new speaking events and blog posts. Ideally, I would want to pay this intern, but would need to do it through donations. This would be a tele-commuting position.

An Android and IOS 5 App Programming Intern. I would need funding for a smartphone app programming intern who can create apps and digital media for our organization.

Public Speaking and Events Coordinator Intern. The bulk of my income comes from speaking engagements in which I receive an honorarium. However, thus far, Sistah Vegan Project is a one woman show. I have two pre-school age children and inadequate child-care help and have only been able to secure several speaking gigs each year. I simply do not have enough time to take care of my babies and actively search and network the numerous possibilities out there for public speaking. What I need is an intern who can promote my work to universities, businesses, and non-profits, in a concise and creative way, so these organizations can hire me to talk about 2-3x month. Ideally, I would want to pay this intern, but would need to do it through donations. This would be a tele-commuting position.

Resources and Funding for Travel to Conferences and Workshops. Over the past few years, I have been unable to attend numerous conferences because of registration and travel fees associated with them; in addition, I would have had to leave my babies at home and pay for childcare (which is so expensive, I just opt to stay home). For example, I am hoping to be accepted to the Interrogating Critical Studies of Whiteness Conference at Trier University in Germany, which takes place this summer. However, the plane ticket alone during ‘high’ season for traveling is $1600. Conferences are spaces in which I can share the social justice research of the Sistah Vegan Project as well as learn about new ideas and methods to strengthen the work that I do. I see financial donations or plane miles to help with such expenses.
Visiting Scholar Fees. Because I was not offered any type of academic position this year, I no longer have access to resources of a university: office space, scholarly community collaboration, auditing classes, online library services, etc. I will be applying to be a ‘visiting scholar’ at several local universities in my area. What this means is that I will have the resources I need to do my Sistah Vegan Project work. However, I would have to pay the university about $500 in ‘fees’ to be a ‘visiting scholar’.
501 C 3 Non-Profit Status. For 2013, I want to turn Sistah Vegan Project into an official non-profit. Fees accompanied with this transition are about $350.
Board Members. Once we are an official non-profit, I will be inviting candidates to send me a CV and short cover letter about why they would like to be part of the board. I will be seeking about 4 or 5 board members. At this point, board members will be volunteer.
Technology Costs. From WordPress Pro, to Vimeo Plus, to Comcast Cable Internet subscription, to Cisco WebEx, the Sistah Vegan Project relies on internet technologies as our primary method of educational outreach. However, these technology services are pricey and we seek donations that can help cover these costs.
Peer Reviewed Journal. Lastly, I envision us releasing a Critical Race and Vegan Studies journal twice a year.My goal for this year is to raise $80,000. Originally I had stated $60,000, but I have updated our needs to include a smartphone app programmer. This fundraising goal would provide enough money so I can work on the Sistah Vegan Project at a salary that is equivalent to want I need to pay for day-care, my rent, utilities, student loans, food, etc, as well as offer modest compensation to part-time temporary interns. I have been doing this work for years, and as much as I enjoy it, I can no longer do it for free. If you enjoy the work I have done, if it has helped you, your organization, your students, your family, etc, and you want to see it go to the next level of a non-profit social justice organization, please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below.

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How can I get my toddler to eat kale and broccoli!!!?

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I wanted to share with you 2 videos of my toddler happily eating broccoli and kale. I get a lot of parents asking me how it’s possible that my children eat greens because their children do not want to do that. My answers are simple: they won’t eat healthy whole foods diet if YOU don’t model it for them. My 20 month old sees me eating greens all the time: kale smoothies, steamed broccoli, raw okra. Ever since she was a newborn, she witnessed this; as soon as she wanted to begin eating solid foods, she demanded that I share with her my kale smoothies, raw greens, and other healthy greens that young children supposedly do not want to touch. Even more so, I have learned that babies develop palates for particular foods while they are in utero. I lived off of rich green and superfood diet that consisted of kale smoothies, raw okra, raw hempseeds, and chia seeds to name a few. I also learned that making ‘chips’ out of kale is a great way for them to eat kale ‘on the go’ or at the playground. I purchased a dehydrator several years ago and make kale chips for the kids. If you don’t have one, but have a gas oven, you can leave the marinated kale in the oven over night and the pilot light should be hot enough to dehydrate them.

Enjoy the videos below :-)

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Ask Dr. Breeze: How do I grow my hair back because of postpartum hair loss?

1. High protein diet (70-90g per day if you are lactating)

2. Diet high in the ‘good’ fats, such as avocados, coconut, and walnuts.

4. Maca Root. 1 tsp per day, in the morning, mixed in a smoothie or cooled down hot cereal, or some yogurt. Don’t take on an empty stomach, it could irritate it. Don’t take after 3pm or you may not sleep. Take for 3 days and get off 1 day.

5. Nettles tea. 3 tbsp of nettles leaf to 12 oz of water. Simmer the nettles leaf for 3 minutes in the 12 0z of water to neutralize the stinging component. Drink 2 cups per day, several times per week.

6. Use black and clear castor oil. Rub the oil (mix with a thinner oil to thin it out and make it easier to apply) on thinning parts of your hair. I rubbed it on my hair line. You can also add a few drops to your shampoo and conditioner. You can put a large amount onto your hair and wear a cap on it for about an hour and then shampoo it out and add conditioner.

Timeline of Hair Loss and Recovery

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November 2011. Lost one whole inch from my hair line. You can see the little bits of fuzzy hair around the edges that will break off completely in the next few weeks. I am 3 months postpartum here.

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November 2012. Hair line has come back. Hair is stronger, shinier, and thicker. I have it pulled back, but it’s actually down to my shoulders.

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March 2013. Hairline fully recovered.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. Please consult with your physician or practitioner before attempting anything I have suggested.

“Spirulina helps me poop”: Raising my babies on a decolonizing diet inspired by Queen Afua

I am teaching Eva Luna some Queen Afua inspired nutrition for her womb-health now. She is 14 months old.

I tell her every morning that kale is the food of the goddess. I tell her that I try to decolonize my womb with raw green smoothies. She doesn’t know what I mean, but she will soon.

I am hoping that she will appreciate the Afrowomanist healing knowledge I give her. Similarly to when Sun was a baby (he is 3 now), I make herbal teas while holding her.  I tell her how gifts like nettles help make breastmilk that is nutrient rich for her and is high in calcium and great for her skin and hair health.

The other day, we bought vegan organic ice cream scoop in San Francisco. After a few tiny spoonfuls, Sun decided to stop eating it. He said, “Mama, I don’t want anymore. I don’t want my teeth to get boo boos (what we call cavities) and fall out.” He then ran away to play at the slide on the playground. I always tell him that if it’s sweet, there is usually sugar in it and we have to be careful not to eat too much ‘sweet’ ( even fruit sweetened things) because it gives us “boo boos” in our teeth. This morning, Sun had his apples and spirulina and my homemade banana hempseed oat bars. He said, “Spirulina helps me poop!”

Eva Luna is drinking a green smoothie made from 3-4 big leaves of dino kale, 1.5 tsp of spirulina, 1 tsp of chlorella, 1 avocado, 1 .5 tsp of maca powder, 1.5 sq inch of fresh ginger, 1-2 tsp of apple cider vinegar, 1 pitted date in about 30 oz of water. I drank most of it, but she drinks about 4 or 5 oz. It is imperative that you add ginger and apple cider vinegar for digestion of raw kale. A lot of people can’t handle the raw kale without a digestive aid.

Toddler puking because of upset tummy? Here’s an herbal remedy idea for kids and adults

Today my son didn’t feel well… He vomited 4 times and couldn’t hold even water down this morning. I tried to coax him into drinking lemon balm and peppermint tea, but he was disinterested…

…so, I went into the yard and got some lemon balm and peppermint and decided to make an herbal sorbet for him. See, the thing is, my son will eat it if it’s in the forms of: ice cream/sorbet, cookie or chips. Seems like most toddlers in the USA function this way. :-)

I went back into the kitchen and found 1/2 pint of strawberries and 2 pitted dates. I threw everything into the Vitamix blender, busted out the Cuisinart ice cream and sorbet maker, and poured it in. 15 minutes later, organic strawberry, lemon balm, peppermint sorbet was ready for him and he ate it up. It cooled him down , hydrated him and settled his stomach down. He did not puke anymore after that, felt better, was less feverish. It’s about 9 hours later and he’s been fine throughout the whole day. Lemon balm is great fo upset tummies and is also calming. But maybe you don’t know that it’s anti-viral too and that the tea and essential oil of Lemon Balm, also known as Melissa Officinalis, is used to combat herpes virus.

Recipe for Strawberry, Lemon Balm, Peppermint sorbet:

  • You will need an Ice cream/sorbet machine
  • 1/2 cup of lemon balm leaves chopped up small.
  • 1/2 pint of strawberries
  • 1/8 cup of freshly chopped up peppermint leaves
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1/2 d of water

Blend until smooth then add to ice cream/sorbet machine. The consistency ends up being more like shaved ice then sorbet, but either way, he loved it. I know each person is different and many folk want warm or hot liquids when they have a tummy upset, but in this case, this worked well because it’s summer, a hot day, and he wasn’t interested in tea. I would have just gone for the hot tea ;-)

Disclaimer: Of course this is what works for my kids, so if your children are sick, please do contact your practitioner first before trying anything on this blog. However, I always want to spread the wisdom I have.

Vegan Vagina, Libido, and Keeping it Moist: Creating a Happy Yoni

PhotoBreeze

Dr. A. Breeze Harper

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Yup, that’s right.

I said “vagina.”

Stop being squeemish. (LOL)

For real, though, let’s talk about vaginal health. Yea, it’s a broad topic, but I am going to focus on maintaining vaginal moisture through herbs and food.

They sell so much lube in the stores, I have always wondered if it is ‘normal’ that so many vaginas in the USA have problems with ‘dryness’. I mean, what did people do before AquaLube?

Throughout my life, I have talked to so many females adults, sexually active or not, who are having major problems with finding a way to be wet all the time. Many experience chaffing and have to use personal lubricant just to walk around comfortably.

So, here I am, Sistah Vegan, about to talk about some suggestions to kept that vegan vagina’s moisture in harmony. And yea, you can consider these suggestions even if you aren’t vegan. But I wanted to focus on vegan vaginas more because I have also spoken to a significant number of females who have transitioned into veganism and then make the observation that their libidos are non-existent and/or they are having problems with vaginal wetness. It’s not the vegan diet, it’s probably just the fact that you aren’t getting what you need in your diet.

  1. Dammit, drink at least 70 oz of water per day. And this is if you are NOT even pregnant or lactating. If you are lactating and or pregnant (or both), drink at least a gallon a day. The water can’t be some dead chlorinated liquid. Filtered water is healthier. Stop drinking anything and everything that makes your body acidic. Stop the sodas and coffee and try to purify through water and reproductive health balancing teas.
  2. What herbal teas? These: Red Clover (don’t take if you are pregnant), Nettles Leaf, Red Raspberry Leaf, Oatstraw. I personally don’t do all of these and prefer drinking 3-4 cups of Nettles leaf tea. Make sure you simmer your Nettles in boiling water for 3 minutes to neutralize the stinging component. 
  3. Want a method to achieve orgasm and healthy libido that isn’t tested on animals? Try Hypnosis Erotica. Seriously, this stuff works!!!!
  4. Slippery Elm. The name says it all. Slippery Elm is from the bark of a tree and can be made into a tea or a porridge. It is highly nutritious and has a plethora of medicinal uses. It is very hydrating and after taking it for a few days, you will notice that your vegan vagina will be oozing vaginal fluid.
  5. Okra. That’s right. That slimy stuff my dad used to make in boiling water is actually good for your vegan vagina. Queen Afua, a vegan raw foodist who promotes whole foods veganism to put your vagina back into harmony, recommends raw okra in her book Sacred Woman. In Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit
    She wants you to chop it up and mix it with flax seed oil and eat it…raw. That’s right. Don’t complain about the taste and stop with that look of horror on your face. LOL. If that is too much for you, try baking okra on low, lathered in olive oil for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Eat it several times a week. If you’re pregnant, it’s excellent to eat throughout the pregnancy. That nasty slimy sh*t that used to freak me out when my dad ate it is REALLY healthy. That slime gets in your system and helps ease labor because it makes your vaginal canal uber slimey to pass that big headed baby through.
  6. Chia Seeds. Only in USAmerica would a company take such a sacred seed and turn it into a freaking chia pet. Seriously, WTF!? Well, that Chia Pet is a distraction from that real purpose of chia seeds. Not only are these little seeds packed with tons of protein, calcium, and EFAs, they are amazing in restoring and maintaining the moisture in your body. This little black seeds hold up to 10 times their own volume in water. Soak your seeds, about 1-2 tbsp a day in 10-15 oz of water for 15 minutes before drinking the chia seed drink. People eat chia seeds without soaking or grinding the seeds. You need soak chia seed in water or you’ll destroy your tummy and feel like poop. I recommend actually soaking them over night, but if you’re too impatient for the you can soak them for about 15 minutes. I soak them over night and it helps be assimilate the nutrients in them much better.
  7. Okay, if you’re vegan you better be eating EFAs. Chia seeds are high in Omega 3-6-9. But you also need to be getting those good fats and DHA in your diet. Take a vegan source of DHA. I take 400 – 600 mg of Deva Algae based DHA each day (I’m nursing, that is why. You probably just need 200-400 if you aren’t nursing or aren’t preggers). I eat 1 avocado a day as well and about 1/4 c of hemp seeds.
  8. By far, I think Maca Root  has had a profound effect on me. I have spoken about it many times in the past. It’s great to balance the hormones in a way that makes your libido healthy. A lot of women experience low libido for many reasons, but one of these major reasons is that the hormonal system is not in balance. This could be because of postpartum issues or you could be entering menopause. I recommend Maca Root Powder. And not just any one, but the one offered that is organic by Sol Raiz Organics. There’s is a special heirloom variety called Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon and I really feel the difference in comparison to the standard ones they sell in the store. Not all Maca is the same and most people are buying low quality varieties that don’t have the same effects as the Chacon one.
  9. Exercise! At least 20-30 minutes a day.
  10. Spicy food. Come on, I can’t be the only one who wants to get ‘freaky’, once I overdose on spicy Indian or Pakistani food. Fresh ginger, cayenne, and turmeric increase libido and vaginal wetness. Garlic too, but it’s really quite ‘fragrant’ and it’s hard to get your freak on with your girlfriend or boyfriend or spouse if you smell like a garlic pizza. But, if that turns your lover on, go for it!
  11. Sleep and relaxation. Make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  12. Want a method to achieve orgasm and healthy libido that isn’t tested on animals? Try Hypnosis Erotica. Seriously, this stuff works!

I have to say that of the 10, the top 4 that I really suggest are the Hypnosis Erotica, Slippery Elm, drinking a lot of healthy water, and the Maca Root.

If you want to learn more about sexual health and increasing your vagina’s happiness as a vegan wombman, I recommend reading the chapter in the Sistah Vegan book by Angelique Shofar, who beautifully tells you the vegan foods to eat to make a happy yoni. The chapter is called “The Food and Sex Link.” You can buy a copy here: Sistah Vegan: Food, Identity, Health, and Society: Black Female Vegans Speak . Other sexuality related blog pieces that you may enjoy can be found here, where I talk about my new social fiction novel that comes out this summer and explores the sexuality of a young Black teenage girl, struggling with living in rural White New England.

If you enjoyed learning about your/the yoni, or other work I have done, if it has helped you, your organization, your students, your family, etc, and you want to see it go to the next level of a non-profit social justice organization, please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below. My non-profit will offer webinars and literature about reproductive health that are holistic and plant-based. If you do not want to use this method, but prefer paypal, click on the link on the right upper corner of this blog page to donate via PAYPAL.

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Disclaimer: Please consult your practitioner before trying anything on this suggestion list.

No More Auction Block For Me: On The Dangers of Colonized Minds in Capitalist Society

Cee Knowledge of Digable Planets, Sistah Vegan, DJ Cavem Moetavation at Brown Suga Festival in Denver on April 28 2012. Keynote speaker: A. Breeze Harper (aka Sistah Vegan)

Video recording of Breeze Harper’s April 28 2012 keynote address for the Brown Suga Youth Festival in Denver, Colorado. ATTENTION: THERE ARE 3 PARTS. SCROLL DOWN FOR PARTS II & III.

Part I (47 minutes)

This is the keynote lecture I gave for the April 28 2012 Denver, Colorado “Brown Suga Youth Festival”.  I talk about solidarity, decolonizing our minds, being aware of the dangers of capitalism on our minds, veganism, non-human animals suffering, food justice, and health activism. The first 9 minutes are introductions from the husband wife duo Naembe and Ietef, who put the festival together. I start speaking about 9 minutes into the video. There are 3 parts to this. The last is the q & a.

Part II (12 minutes)

Part III (The Question and Answer section: 11 minutes)

I want you to notice that Ietef and Naembe are both carrying babies. This event was something I could attend because they support folk with very young children. Naembe is carrying my infant daughter and Ietef is carrying their infant daughter as well. They made it possible to bring out my whole family, which is important for us because I nurse on demand. It is a true display of honoring “nursing on demand” as a food justice issues.  I thank them for that. I also thank Ashara, Ietef’s mother, who introduces me. I thank her for her spirit and for birthing such a wonderful man who is pro-vegan and pro-green, and just an overall awesome human spirit.The talk is more like a “songversation” . I sing and have a conversation directed towards youth, about the top 5 things I wish someone had told me when I was a youth. I wanted more help to decolonize my mind in regards to food and health, while trying to understand how capitalism has affected all of our minds, here in the USA.

I am inspired by Angela Davis’s Social Justice Teach-in Keynote speech that she gave in February 2012, at the University of California, Davis.

This Brown Suga Youth Festival was awesome. All about hip hop culture fuse with teaching youths about wellness, health, food!! It was pro-vegan and we had poetry slam, a panel discussion, break dance lessons, free vegan food samples (Thanks Lisa Shapiro), awesome art work, and a lot of youths! It was the 9th year of this festival.

Kick that cold’s butt, vegan style: Boosting your immune system with vegan holistic wellness

I was getting sick whenever my toddler would bring something home from the playground… but then I added these things to my diet and haven’t been sick since. This also works very well if you do have the cold or flu already and need to fight it fast. Watch the video to see what I added.


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*Grapefruit Seed Extract (Nutribiotic brand):

*Elderberry (boil in water. Never eat fresh elderberry or dried berries unless you have boiled them. If you don’t, you will poison yourself with cyanide that is found in the berry. The cyanide is neutralized through boiling them. If you are scared to do this yourself, then by a tincture of elderberry)
Click here– for Dried elderberry
Click here for —> Elderberry extract

*Ginger (fresh)

*Kale (fresh)

*Eucalyptus Essential Oil (don’t eat, just inhale). USE Radiata not Globolus species.

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Furthermore, if you already have a cold or flu, please note that this helpful:

* Cat’s Claw. I swear by it. The only reason I don’t take it is because it can’t be taken while pregnant or nursing. I recommend the tea over the tincture. Decoct the bark tea for about 20 minutes. Drink 2-3 times per day. Here is more information

* Don’t eat acidifying foods. I know it’s hard, but stay away from anything that isn’t “life-giving”. The top three things that most people do, while they are sick is eat things that make them sicker: fried food, sugar, and coffee. Take it out now. The rhino virus loves sugar and caffeine.

*Simmer several garlic cloves in vinegar. Or, you can chop up lots of fresh garlic and infuse it into olive oil and then take it that way after about an hour. I prefer that over simmering garlic. Raw garlic hurts my tummy, but the vinegar or the olive oil prevents that for most people who can’t handle the allicin. Try eating a 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of the minced stuff every 4 hours.   You’ll have dragon breath, but, whatever. The upside is that you’ll have lot of energy and it increases sexual libido LOL.

*Lots of catnip tea to break the fever and decongest your nose.

*Olbas essential oils. Drop it in newly boiled water and cover your head and inhale it.

*Plenty of rest and sleep and fluids that are non-caffeinated and non-sugar. Don’t get dehydrated.

*Don’t take over the counter decongestants or Nyquil. I know it sucks that I say this, but herbal and food healing are the way to go. These over the counter drugs don’t actually cure or kill any virus or make your immune system stronger. STAY AWAY FROM AFRIN.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or certified health practitioner. Always consult your practitioner before trying anything I suggest on Sistah Vegan blog and videos

Vegan diets can be risky for babies and kids? Sistah Vegan Responds to Nina Planck’s NYTimes Article

I updated this from last night because I wanted to write about B12 and provide several more book sources.

The other week, Nina Planck published an article about the risks of raising vegan children and I thought I’d answer some of the statements she made. You can find the article here that I’m referring to: Is Veganism Good for Everyone?

I wanted to just offer some of my own information, in response to Planck’s concerns of raising children on a vegan diet or being a vegan while pregnant.

First, Nina Planck wrote that vegans are deficient in many things which “include fully-formed vitamins A and D, vitamin B12, and the long-chain fatty acids found in fish.”

Breeze Harper’s response: Okay, there is a D3 source that is vegan. Vitashine. Yes, a vegan source of D3 and of course, if you live where there is a lot of sunshine, try sunbathing everyday, at least 50-75% of your body being exposed to the sun. Secondly, Fish get DHA from ALGAE, and that is one way how vegans get their DHA. Chia seeds outshine Wild Alaskan Salmon in terms of Omega 3 6 9. Vegans aren’t deficient in these things because of veganism being a deficient diet. It’s usually because people just don’t know they need to eat certain foods to get what they need. And let’s be honest here, there are plenty of omnivores who don’t know what they should be eating, while they are pregnant or not; whether they have children or not.

Planck wrote: “The quantity, quality and bio-availability of other nutrients, such as calcium and protein, are superior when consumed from animal rather than plant sources.”

Breeze: No this is not true either, in terms of Calcium. There is an amazing algae based source of calcium that is vegan and has an incredibly high absorption rate called Algaecal. You can go here and here to look at the articles being written about the “safety” of Algaecal. I took it during my entire vegan pregnancy and drank kale smoothies and ate a lot of chia seeds and nettles (both high in Calcium). You should not rely on calcium supplements alone, but rather get most of your calcium from food base sources. However, I do know that many people don’t always have access to, or time, to eat ‘right’ every day. This is why I do recommend the Algaecal. I did this calcium supplement and high calcium food regiment while pregnant and breastfed my 1st child (who was 2 at the time) until I was 33 weeks pregnant with my 2nd. Not only did I not have a calcium deficiency, I had so much calcium that my 2nd baby was born with teeth. My midwife and doula are witnesses, and they let me know that when babies are born with teeth this indicates she had enough calcium. Protein? I got this from raw hemp, Organic Hawaiian spirulina, chia seeds, chlorella, avocado, seeds, nuts, legumes, to name a few. I easily ate 70g of protein per day while pregnant. Had a home birth . No complications. My placenta was well nourished. The midwifery team was blown away by how healthy it looked.

Planck: “For babies and children, whose nutritional needs are extraordinary, the risks are definite and scary. The breast milk of vegetarian and vegan mothers is dramatically lower in a critical brain fat, DHA, than the milk of an omnivorous mother and contains less usable vitamin B6. Carnitine, a vital amino acid found in meat and breast milk, is nicknamed “vitamin Bb” because babies need so much of it. Vegans, vegetarians and people with poor thyroid function are often deficient in carnitine and its precursors. “

Breeze Harper: Strange conclusion to draw. First, if you’re worried about getting B6, you can just take a vegan multi-vitamin during pregnancy and/or give your infant and toddler vegan supplements and vitamins. Want to not do vitamins? You can also get B6 from legumes, seeds, and nuts. Raw Pistachios and raw garlic are high in B6 (see: http://food.vegtalk.org/vitamins/raw-/b6.html). I made pistachio nut ice cream, lightly sweetened with dates. I threw pistachios, water, and dates in a blender and then put them in popsicle molds. Toddlers love ice cream or popsicle anything. Try it. For more information about B6 deficiency concerns, try going here: Jeff Novick on B6.

Also, in terms of vegan nursing, there are plenty omnivorous people I have read about or met who had nutritionally deficient breastmilk as well and had to stop nursing and start using formula for their infants. However, my 8 month old Eva Luna is breastfed from my vegan diet and she has no nutritional ‘deficiencies.’ She was born at 9.5lb, is in the 99th percentile for her age and appears to be healthy. Omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans can feed their children in a way that is balanced or not. It is not about veganism, vegetarianism, or being an omnivore as much as it is just making sure your kid gets what they need. (And I know these factors are not just about vegan nutrition education, but factors such as environmental racism, socio-economic class struggle, your ability to get to healthier food- you could be prohibited, due to mobility issues because you lack transportation for example, or it’s actually not safe to walke around where you live during certain times of the day to find healthier foods. )

Planck: “The most risky period for vegan children is weaning. Growing babies who are leaving the breast need complete protein, omega-3 fats, iron, calcium and zinc. Compared with meat, fish, eggs and dairy, plants are inferior sources of every one.”

Breeze : There are many vegan sources of calcium and iron that are highly absorbable. I used Nettles based Floradix iron for anemia prevention during my pregnancy. I took it in combination with World Organic chlorophyll and vitamin C source to mix (orange juice or a kiwi smoothie for example). Want a toddler to eat EFAs like Omega 3 6 9? Blend chia seeds with water, liquid form of algae DHA, and a banana and dates in the blender and put it in a popsicle mold. Refreshing and not just high in critical long chain fatty acids, you will be giving them and excellent source of calcium and Omega 3 6 9. Chia seeds are also high in iron and protein. A little goes a long way. Just be sure to soak chia seeds in water before eating, for at least 15 minutes or you’ll make yourself really sick. Still worried about a toddler not getting enough vegan based protein and Omega 3 6 9? Blend banana, hempseeds, and water together and put them in popsicle molds. If you made pops that have 1/4 c of raw hulled hempseeds per pop, that is 11g of protein, lots of fiber, EFAs, and other trace minerals.

‎Planck: “The breast milk of vegan mothers is dramatically lower in a critical brain fat, DHA, than the milk of an omnivorous mother.”

Breeze: Eat algae based DHA and chia seeds and your breast milk won’t be deficient in critical DHA. I take 600 mg of DHA algae each day. If you combine that with Chia seeds and flax seeds, it’s awesome. There is also the brand Ovega which is vegan source of EPA and DHA vegan.

B12 deficiency worries? Here is what Vegan Society has to say

In over 60 years of vegan experimentation only B12 fortified foods and B12 supplements have proven themselves as reliable sources of B12, capable of supporting optimal health. It is very important that all vegans ensure they have an adequate intake of B12, from fortified foods or supplements. This will benefit our health and help to attract others to veganism through our example. (source: http://www.vegansociety.com/lifestyle/nutrition/b12.aspx)

Seriously, just buy B12 supplements and take it or give it to your children; case closed.

There are a plethora of vegan nutritional specialists who have published the ways in which you can get everything you need as a vegan. If you are pregnant and want to do a vegan pregnancy, believe me as someone who did a vegan pregnancy and had an amazing homebirth: it’s possible. Reed Mangels has a new vegan pregnancy books out The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book. Mangels is brilliant and lays it all out for you. It’s $11 well spent. And for a great informative and humorous approach get the Vegan Pregnancy Survival guide. Wanna raise your children vegan and help them be as healthy as possible? Read Disease proof your child by Dr. Joel Furhman.

A vegan diet is possible. You can thrive. Your children can thrive. Just inform yourself, find the support you need, and read read read.

Basically, if you are deficient in overall nutritional information for your diet, then your diet will be deficient. Veganism, planned properly, is not deficient.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or certified health practitioner. Always consult your practitioner before trying anything I suggest on Sistah Vegan blog and videos

Would You Harbor Me: Food Justice, Decolonial Vegan Politics, and Solidarity

The videos below are my keynote address for the Environmental Justice Conference on April 7 2012 at the University of Oregon-Eugene, hosted by the Coalition Against Environmental Racism. I speak about Angelia Davis’s ‘vegan’ stance on social justice, Queen Afua’s Afrocentric veganism as a form of decolonial politics, and how Sistah Vegan fills the ‘gaps’ that I see in some of the Afrocentric and Afrikan Holistic Health rhetoric.  I think it went “well” if you consider the fact that Eva Luna kept me awake all nite and then I had to wake up at 530 (after finally falling asleep at 430) to catch my morning flight. I love how babies don’t understand they should sleep when it is dark and that they should not want to play.

I also wanted to share this: I registered for school finally. Wahoo! Thank you all for your generous donations. I almost have everything that I need to pay off the bill that I just received last week. I am $900short, so if you would like help with donations I appreciate it. This will help me be enrolled for spring and summer. I accept paypal donations to the email address breezeharper (at) gmail (dot) com. Your donations help me do the work that I do and I truly appreciate it.

Part I

Part II

I did want to note that in the talk I say that Queen Afua’s Sacred Woman doesn’t mention the terms animal rights, speciesism, or animal liberation. However, she draws her healing philosophies from the principles of Ma’at, that have the stipulation of “I shall not mistreat animals.” I did not make this clear during my lecture, so I do apologize.

Is Spirulina Really Toxic to the Liver?

In this video I talk about Spirulina and the debate about whether it is “toxic” or not.

The brand I use is Spirulina Pacifica and the Latin name is Arthrospira platensis. It is Hawaiian and Organic.

The woman who commented about Spirulina being toxic posted her comment here: http://sistahvegan.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/spirulina-super-baby-food-recipe/  under the name Angela. She provides links about Spirulina being toxic that you can view for yourself.

**Update:

I just read this journal article below and the conclusion states:

“Our results indicate that cultivated NO and SP do not contain MC and have minimal cytotoxicity. Furthermore, long-term BGA supplementation in mice did not induce any evident adverse side-effects. Therefore, NO and SP may be developed as a safe natural food for health benefits. Clinical trials are warranted to assess the safety of the BGA supplements in humans.”

NO and SP were the two different types of Spirulina they tested (“This study was undertaken to evaluate in vitro and in vivo toxicity of cultivated Nostoc commune var. sphaeroides Kützing (NO) and Spirulina platensis (SP). Neither NO nor SP contained detectable levels of microcystin (MC)-LA, MC-RR, MC-LW and MC-LR by LC/MS/MS”).

However, I eat The species “Arthrospira platensis” and that seems to be the “same” as Spirulina platensis  but I need to verify that.

Citation:

Volume 49, Issue 7, July 2011, Pages 1560–1564

Cover image

In vitro and in vivo safety assessment of edible blue-green algae, Nostoc commune var. sphaeroides Kützing and Spirulina plantensis

Maca’s results on the libido and hairline: Sistah Vegan’s update

My update on the product Organic Maca Root Powder by Sol Raiz: http://www.solraizorganics.com/

Wonderful stuff!

Breeze’s Boobs on Stage: Breastfeeding on demand is food justice

Who else is sick of being told that breastfeeding on demand should not be accommodated!? (sigh)

Breastfeeding on demand is a food justice issue. It is a right that is often not respected in the USA to its fullest. This video is my spiel on that….

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