Black students, White schools


Black Students, White Schools


Over the weekend, I stumbled across a story in The New York TimesAdmitted, but Left Out” about Black students who attend or did attend elite, mostly white private schools in New York City. Unsurprisingly, the article took on a familiar refrain, documenting the awkwardness and difficulty that students of color can encounter when they don’t match up neatly with the dominant race, and often the culture and class level, of their peers.

It’s a downside of private education that I’ve often heard discussed and worried over, mostly by Black parents who want the best education — often perceived not to be a public one or in a predominately Black environment — for their kids. Even when the kids hail from Black families that are staunchly middle-class or even affluent, those parents still wonder specifically how their Black kid will manage, it being a given that they won’t quite fit.

It’s a worthy concern, as demonstrated by the Times article. A lot of kids face adversity and culture shock that thus far there hasn’t been a way conceived to fully prepare them for. It’s important to acknowledge their stories and work on ways to help the schools and students adapt better to diversity. But there’s another side to the story too, a much less dramatic or controversial one, which is why I’m assuming it’s not so often told.

I’m one of those Black kids who went to what some might consider an elite prep school. It wasn’t in New York, but Maryland, and as far as the elite ranking of prep schools goes, mine probably fell midway on the list. My parents were lured to send me there by its proximity to our house and the promise of its 100 percent graduation and college attendance rate.

We had a campus, not a building, but no one was delivered to it via helicopter, or to my knowledge, a personal driver, which can be a non-eyebrow raising occurrence at the most elite schools. Most of my classmates didn’t have nationally notable surnames like say a few students at our rival school Sidwell Friends where Chelsea Clinton earned her diploma and the Obama girls are currently educated. My schoolmates did include the offspring of a high–ranking government officials and notable local businessmen, but mostly it was the spawn of two-parent households where both degreed parents worked hard, got paid well, and sacrificed a bit to shell out around $17k (adjusted for inflation) a year for their kid, often more than one, to attend.

I showed up at my school in 1991 as a 12-year-old eighth grader. Until then, I’d attended mostly Black private schools. I lived in a Black neighborhood, went to a Black church. At my new school, my class — around 30 kids and at the time, the largest in school history — was the first with a significantly “of color” population, about one-third of the class, the same as the students mentioned in the Times story. Both the senior and junior class that year had one Black student each. I don’t recall any other “of color” students among them to add to the diversity.

At the new school, it wasn’t so much the white that was the issue, it was the freedom. There was no asking to go to the bathroom, just get up and go. There were breaks and free periods where students could just roam anywhere we wanted to on campus and as long as we weren’t destructive, no teachers bothered us. It sounds like a free-for-all — and it seemed like one initially coming from a place where students were treated more like inmates — but it was just differently structured, not poorly structured. And I came to prefer it for the obvious reason that I liked the freedom.

In the classroom, I was encouraged to explore and express, create and challenge and critique constructively as opposed to the way of my previous schools, being told what to think and how to think it and when to regurgitate. That created a bit of a cultural clash between my parents and I. At school I was expected to question and argue. At home, my Mississippi-bred daddy didn’t appreciate the “back talk”, but eventually learned to alternately live with it or turn me over to my mother to manage. (The other big conflict was the affection I picked up for alt-rock like Jewel, Alanis Morisette, Oasis and Green Day, all of which sounded like white noise to my bred-on-Motown parents. At least hip-hop had a distinguishable beat. My father nearly stroked out when I put a poster of white boys on my wall. My mother wanted to torch my Jewel CD, which I played every morning and as loud as possible.)

Antagonizing experiences with my white classmates don’t really stand out so much. Admittedly, that could be my memory’s sentimental way of reflecting on my formative years. But even after a few days of mental probing (and a long talk with my best friend who attended middle and high school with me) we can only recall a few moments from those 5 years that were unduly troubling beyond normal teenage stuff.

There was the Middle Eastern girl who only dated Black guys, affected a stereotypically Black accent and dropped “N-bombs” freely, but honest to Hova she really didn’t mean any harm by it, and immediately stopped when she was called out. There was the time when a kid a grade below me showed up to school — we didn’t have uniforms — wearing his father’s KKK belt buckle and explained, “I don’t have a problem with Black people, only with n***ers.” Either the headmaster or Dean of Students promptly asked him to remove it.

There were many awkward conversations — as reflected in the larger world. Like the time the LAPD cops that beat the crap out of Rodney King were acquitted and some of my non-Black classmates didn’t understand why the Black kids were so upset. A history teacher gathered the entire class together for a teachable moment, which somehow descended into an argument over which was worse: the Holocaust or slavery? When the O.J. Simpson verdict came, a bunch of students were gathered around the TV. The reactions — either “WTF?” or “Hallelujah!” — were divided by race. I don’t recall any teacher — they were all white — broaching that one. Racial profiling of Black men especially was as big a subject then as it is now, and my poli-sci teacher attempted to justify it by explaining something like, “If you worked at 7-11 and if every time someone with a green hair, purple gloves and yellow pants came in, they robbed the store, isn’t it justifiable to profile people with green hair, purple gloves and yellow pants as potential criminals?” He completely missed the idea that you skin color isn’t a removable accessory. Oh, and there was the female teacher who stumbled into a bunch of Black girls playing double-dutch during our free period and remarked fondly at our “natural rhythm.” She was corrected that it was cultural, not genetic.

Most of the other stuff was harmless, like the time a bunch of us, of all colors, were sitting around talking about everything and nothing and a male classmate became shocked — shocked! — to discover that Black people don’t wash their hair daily. He wanted to know why not and I explained. Since he felt comfortable enough to pry, I asked him, “What’s up with white people and washcloths? Why just the soap, dude?” He assured me that they used them. I remember difficult conversations (read: heated arguments) about the choice of music for the school dances with the Black kids demanding more hip-hop and R&B. (And yes, we got our way.) That’s about as salacious as I can recall.

My experience wasn’t perfect. And I’m sure if you started asking around to other students who attended my school, you might find unfortunate tales of woe similar to those often told about Black kids being educated in white environments. Perspectives do matter. And from mine, being Black at a predominately white school wasn’t so bad.

Well the writer has her take. Hmmm. What’s your perspective?  I’m certainly not a big fan of  sending our children to predominantly white schools. Public or private.  In general I’m not pleased with what I see in those circles.  Homeschooling or independent Afrikan-centred schools will continue to get my vote, my time, my energy. What about you?  Consider this: As black students move into private schools at greater rates, a number of questions are raised. To what extent and under what conditions is a private school education better than a public school education for black students? What are the social and educational benefits and costs of being educated in a largely white environment? And what will be the benefits and costs as private schools themselves become increasingly black? Are the economic sacrifices made by black families to send their children to private school worth it to the individual child—to the black community?

Marijuana: So you’re ready to stop smoking?

Trying to quit smoking? Wonderful!!!  The first step is to detox. Naturally that is. This is KEY!  Fresh juices, lots of water and herbs will help you.  Lots of rest can aid the process. Yoga, tai chi, qigong, meditation are awesome aids too.  Contact a local herbalist and/or naturopathic doctor.  Reach out to Queen Afua, Djehuty Ma’at-Ra and Dr.Llaila Afrika if you feel to.

yoga meditation

yogiman  How to quit smoking  A substance abuse cleanse  Marijuana detox tips  ” ” ”  Drug detox tips   ” ” ”

Real talk!!!


The down side of smoking marijuana

From a Naturopathic Doctor… 

Marijuana: Healing Herb Or Harmful Weed?

So which is Marijuana, healing herb or harmful weed? We know what the pot smoker advocates have to say and we know what the conventional medical community has to say on the subject. But what about the naturopathic community? Here is what the well known and well respected author of the book, “Healthy Healing,” and N.D., and PhD, Doctor Linda Rector Page has written on the subject. “We should be clear about what Marijuana is and what it isn’t. Marijuana is no longer the mildly euphoric 3 or 4 hour high of the 60’s and 70’s.” Many claim that Marijuana is not addictive. However Doctor Linda Page says, “It IS addictive.” And as for the effects of smoking Marijuana she says, ” Both mental and physical health are clearly affected, especially in the terms of blood sugar balance, muscle coordination, reaction time and emotional deteration. Work suffer from lack of ambition and direction, family life and relationships suffer because of apathy and non-communication.”

Doctor Page also points out that a vast majority of Marijuana users who have been smoking weed since the 60’s and 70’s and more often than not completely unaware that since the Marijuana of today is so many more times stronger than that which most smoked some 20-years ago or more, new more exaggerated bad side effects have been discovered and reported by many users. These new stronger bad side effects include reports of, “acute anxiety attacks (see Hippie Planet online to read verified accounts of this), paranoia, incoherent speech, extreme disorientation and hallucinations lasting up to 12 hours. Marijuana also impairs the reproductive system, specially in terms of reduced male sperm count, and both long and short term memory, and depressed immune system, by as much as 40%.

Does Marijuana Have Less Health Damaging Effects Than Smoking Tobacco?

“Marijuana smoke today contains the same health damaging carcinogens as tobacco, only now in much higher concentrations. Because Marijuana smoke is inhaled more deeply and held in the lungs longer than tobacco, it leads to servere lung damage. All the attendant diseases of nicotine smoke are now besetting Marijuana smokers- especially chronic bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer as characterized by anxiety, sleeplessness, tumors and chills.”

What About Marijuana As Medicine?

In considering possible medical uses of Marijuana, it is important to distinguish between the whole Marijuana and pure THC or other specific chemicals derived from cannabis. Whole Marijuana contains hundreds of chemicals, some of which are clearly harmful to health. TCH, manufactured into a pill that is taken by mouth, can be used for treating the nausea and vomiting that goes along with certain cancer treatments and is available by prescription. Another chemical related to THC (nabilone) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating cancer patients who suffer nausea. The oral THC is also used to help AIDS patients eat more to keep up their weight. Scientists are studying whether THC and other related chemicals in Marijuana (called cannabinoids) may have other medical uses. But again, this also differs from merely recreational Marijuana smoking.

Dr.Page’s Guild To Repairing The Damage Done By Marijuana Smoking…

The following information can be found on page 338 in Dr.Page’s book, “Healthy Healing.”

1. Take a protein drink every morning.

2. Because Marijuana leaches B vitamins….Dr.Page recommends following the diet outline for HYPOGLYCEMIA and to also control sugar cravings.

Natural & Healthy Alternative To Marijuana For Calming Nerves:

Natural food storss and even many regular grocery stores carry herbal teas that relax the nerves. You can also try aromatheraphy with such soothing scents as rosemary.

What are some of the immediate effects of smoking marijuana?

Some immediate physical effects of marijuana include a faster heartbeat and pulse rate, bloodshot eyes, and a dry mouth and throat. No scientific evidence indicates that marijuana improves hearing, eyesight, and skin sensitivity. Studies of marijuana’s mental effects show that the drug can impair or reduce short-term memory, alter sense of time, and reduce ability to do things which require concentration, swift reactions, and coordination, such as driving a car or operating machinery.

Are there any other adverse reactions to marijuana?

A common bad reaction to marijuana is the “acute panic anxiety reaction.” People describe this reaction as an extreme fear of “losing control,” which causes panic. The symptoms usually disappear in a few hours.

What about psychological dependence on marijuana?

Long-term regular users of marijuana may become psychologically dependent. They may have a hard time limiting their use, they may need more of the drug to get the same effect, and they may develop problems with their jobs and personal relationships. The drug can become the most important aspect of their lives.

How does marijuana affect driving ability?

Driving experiments show that marijuana affects a wide range of skills needed for safe driving — thinking and reflexes are slowed, making it hard for drivers to respond to sudden, unexpected events. Also, a driver’s ability to “track” (stay in lane) through curves, to brake quickly, and to maintain speed and the proper distance between cars is affected. Research shows that these skills are impaired for at least 4-6 hours after smoking a single marijuana cigarette, long after the “high” is gone. If a person drinks alcohol, along with using marijuana, the risk of an accident greatly increases. Marijuana presents a definite danger on the road.

Does marijuana affect the human reproductive system?

Some research studies suggest that the use of marijuana during pregnancy may result in premature babies and in low birth weights. Studies of men and women may have a temporary loss of fertility. These findings suggest that marijuana may be especially harmful during adolescence, a period of rapid physical and sexual development.

How does marijuana affect the heart?

Marijuana use increases the heart rate as much as 50 percent, depending on the amount of THC. It can cause chest pain in people who have a poor blood supply to the heart – and it produces these effects more rapidly than tobacco smoke does.

How does marijuana affect the lungs?

Scientists believe that marijuana can be especially harmful to the lungs because users often inhale the unfiltered smoke deeply and hold it in their lungs as long as possible. Therefore, the smoke is in contact with lung tissues for long periods of time, which irritates the lungs and damages the way they work. Marijuana smoke contains some of the same ingredients in tobacco smoke that can cause emphysema and cancer. In addition, many marijuana users also smoke cigarettes; the combined effects of smoking these two substances creates an increased health risk.

Can marijuana cause cancer?

Marijuana smoke has been found to contain more cancer-causing agents than is found in tobacco smoke. Examination of human lung tissue that had been exposed to marijuana smoke over a long period of time in a laboratory showed cellular changes called metaplasia that are considered pre-cancerous. In laboratory test, the tars from marijuana smoke have produced tumors when applied to animal skin. These studies suggest that it is likely that marijuana may cause cancer if used for a number of years.

Our Sons: Manhood Rites


We all go through various rites in life.  There are some that we’re more prepared for than others. Boys-Men rites of passage programmes are key! You can find these programmes in your local community. Ask around. Check online. If you don’t find something suitable connect with a few other families you’re comfy with and create your own. There are lots of resources that can help you along the way. Here are a few great ones: A father and son talk  about rites of passage and what it meant for their family.   S.T.E.P.: Rites of Passage & Manhood Development    Sunz of Sankofa  ” ”   The PLAN/Immanuel Praise Fellowship ROP Program    The B.R.I.C.K. Program    Mother to Son ROP ”    Straight Street ROP ”   Omega CDC ROP ”    ORIGIN ROP ”  Egbe Akokonrin ROP ”  Afrikan Village’s ROP ”   H.Yuya Assaan-Anu’s take on rites of passage  Mentoring/rites of passage prog.

fatherson cornrows2


Let’s embrace ’em: Atheists, agnostics, freethinkers

Most of us have a really hard time fully embracing people who are not spiritual or religious.  I used to struggle with it too.  Big time!! How did I get over it? Hmm. Years of internal work helped me identify where my issues were coming from. It was confrontation time.  Getting to know some beautiful people who are atheists/freethinkers helped too. Thanks to all of them for nudging me out of my comfort zone. Let’s all learn to show some love and compassion. We can agree to disagree at times. It’s all good provided we do so respectfully.  Black atheists answer a few questions  Black atheists’ rondatable discussion  Article entitled “Please Stop Assuming All Blacks are Christian” 

If you’re an athiest/freethinker who is looking for support don’t hesitate to reach out to:   Black Atheists of America   Black Non-Believers of Atlanta      ” ” ” Chicago   African Americans for Humanism   Foundation Beyond Belief: Humanity at Work


Interesting Stuff: Agnostics, atheists, freethinkers

The Black Community Has Been Waiting Too Long For God’s Help by Darrell Dawsey                           February 24th, 2013

Even as Black History month prepares to close out its final week, this Sunday marks the emergence of a nascent movement that promises a radical new direction for many in African-American communities. As it has for the past couple of years now, the fourth Sunday of February has been designated the Day of Solidarity for Black Non-believers, a call for unity among the relatively small but fast-growing ranks of African-American atheists, agnostics and freethinkers. All around the country, local and national organizations of black atheists are holding small meet-ups, huge conferences and intense symposia in an effort both to support each other and to draw attention to the increasing numbers of blacks who are rejecting gods and churches in favor of reason and a deep skepticism toward the religious idealism that has been a traditional hallmark of black communities nationwide. The Day of Solidarity has another aim as well — to confront head-on what many black non-believers see as a refusal by some whites in the secular community to acknowledge and embrace ethnic and racial diversity. According to the Free Thought Blogs: Black Skeptics: Based on their disinterest in any recruiting efforts, the leadership of the secular community is apparently very proud of the fact that they, on the other hand, have few people of African descent in leadership positions as well as very few members. While there is no genuine intent or concerted plan to change this situation, many attempt to explain this phenomena by claiming that black folk are just too addicted to religion; otherwise, those of us who aren’t addicted to religion are either nominal or closet atheists, and therefore, need not be taken seriously. During the past 25 years, I belonged to many secular organizations; it was indeed a challenge to remain in them. When African American atheists attempt to expand their visibility and participation in the secular community by organizing with other nonbelievers—especially those who have been historically ignored by the leadership of the secular community—to publicly celebrate their freedom from religious dogma; when we ask everyone in the secular community to celebrate along with us, and we set aside one day out of the entire year to do so, there’s a problem! Last year, some very intelligent and insightful atheists declared efforts to organize a Day of Solidarity for Black Non-believers as segregation! Those same people are otherwise dead silent about the segregation, hostility, and alienation directed towards black atheists within the secular community year-round. Indeed, skepticism hasn’t erased racism. For all of their willingness to reject religious dogma and convention, far too many white atheists still haven’t figured out how to reject the insidious racist thinking that compels too many of them to either overlook people of color or fall for the same hoary stereotypes about blacks and others that poison the minds of the theists they are so quick to deride. As a result, atheist communities often seem as closed to African-Americans as some communities of believers — sometimes even more so. Meanwhile, even as the media opens itself up to more discussion about “the new atheism,” much of it tends to focus on white freethinkers such as Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and PZ Myers. Too often lost in the mix are brilliant black skeptics such as Sikivu Hutchinson, Norm Allen, Ayanna Watson, Jamila Bey and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Not only does this skewed coverage present a false picture of homogeneity among atheists, it also reinforces the myth that all black folks are Bible- (or Quran-) thumping zealots who passively accept whatever religious ideology has been passed on to them by pop culture and previous generations. Truth is, there are millions of blacks who no longer (or never did) embrace the religion of our forebears. There are also burgeoning organizations, such as the Black Atheists of America, that are dedicated not just to exploding religious mythology but to making a substantive difference in the lives of other black people through science, reason and humanist compassion. They know that, for all of black folks’ slavish devotion to theism, black churches and mosques have proven utterly incapable of transforming the material conditions of most of our people (with the preachers who get paid off these hustles being the notable exceptions). In Detroit, for instance, churches and mega churches abound in almost every part of town, white elephants towering smugly above dilapidated houses, burnt-out storefronts and vacant lots. Look out on the major thoroughfares that cut through the most depressed black communities and you’ll find churches on top of, next door to and up the street from still other churches. And yet our communities are as burdened with violence, poverty, despair and dysfunction as they have ever been. We spend hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of dollars every week on love offerings and tithes and church “building fund” contributions and pay-ins to pastoral anniversaries. And what do we have to show for it? Sure, there may be a few church-run shelters or food programs here and there, a few mediocre charter schools and “alternative” education centers. But given all that blacks invest in religion week in, week out, is this really the best we can do? Is this all we really have to show for centuries of serving as the nation’s “spiritual compass” in many ways? Meanwhile, Christian preachers continue to make up the bulk of so-called “leadership” in our communities, at the helm of our civil-rights groups, our social organizations and our business confederations. We put them in charge of our schools and vote them onto our city councils. We depend on them to speak for us not just on “spiritual matters,” but also the pressing issues of the day in the physical world. Even as other communities send economists and lawyers and analysts to the table to address matters of public policy or criminal justice, we’re still relying on Pastor So-and-So to articulate our most complex and serious ideas and interests. While I don’t deny that the black church has indeed played a key role in blacks’ traditional fight for freedom — mostly because the church historically has been the one place blacks could gather without inviting racist hostility — I don’t believe that it does black communities any good to continue to hold on to Dark Ages religion as the panacea for our modern-day problems. We need a greater emphasis on reason, on science, on free thought. We need to quit “waiting on Jesus” and quit depending on “god’s messengers” to shape our politics, fight our battles and lead our collective struggles. We need to consider that maybe, just maybe, our pre-occupation with the supernatural hasn’t done a damn thing to change the natural conditions that delimit, and often destroy, so many of our lives. We have spent the better part of our history on American shores looking to heaven for help. It’s time to avert our gaze and begin looking to ourselves.  Sunday morning gatherings for agnostics, athiests, humanists, freethinkers. Good to know!


Today is a special one for some folks. Let me just say that I don’t think smoking is healthy. Period.  In the case of marijuana I can accept that some people may benefit from smoking it.  Even with that many users don’t know what they’re getting. That’s problematic to me. Much of the ganja on the market these days has who-knows-what in it. That’s SERIOUS.  Dr. Umar Johnson speaks
about marijuana  Dr. Sebi speaks on the subject  Effects of smoking and/or
eating cannabis  Health benefits of marijuana
So do I feel that marijuana should be legalized? Absolutely.  Now I’m not prepared to get into my reasons here. Suffice it to say that cannabis is a powerful plant. In a good way I might add (if it’s organic that is). It is an herb. It’s a vegetable. Everyone should have access to it.  
P.S.- Your best bet is to grow your own.
A plant growing at a cannabis farm

Wzup with all the hoarding????

Hmm. Ever noticed how common this issue is for us?  To varying degrees that is.  I have my theories about it. Let’s take a closer look. Poet, Lamont Steptoe, takes you through his cluttered apartment. He explains why he holds onto so many things.

What is Compulsive Hoarding?

OCD hoarding is considered a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This behavior, also called “pathological collecting,” involves acquiring and saving many objects that may seem useless or of no value. It is not uncommon for people with OCD hoarding to completely fill their homes with clutter so that the living space is unusable. Early psychoanalysts considered hoarding a sign of “anal” character traits because of the withholding nature of the behavior.

Hoarding can be a symptom of problems other than OCD, including mental decline in the elderly, mental retardation, schizophrenia, or even eating disorders (hoarding food). However, hoarding appears to be most common in the context of OCD, and it is found in about a quarter of the people diagnosed with the disorder. OCD hoarding is a compulsion that results from excessive concerns that certain objects cannot be discarded because they might be needed later. It may also involve excessive acquiring, such as compulsive shopping, extreme collecting, or acquisition of free things (e.g., free newspapers, pens, junk mail). Hoarding can be a result of severe indecisiveness over what items should be kept versus discarded; the hoarder simply cannot decide, so decision is avoided and all is kept. Hoarders also have difficulty figuring out how to best organize those items which are kept; as a result, the hoarder amasses piles of disorganized objects.

OCD Hoarding Can Be a Serious Problem

Hoarders may be called “pack rats” by others. The hoarder’s social life may suffer because of fears and embarrassment concerning the state of the hoarder’s living space. Hoarding behavior may extend to the person’s office or vehicle. In some cases, OCD hoarding may not be brought to the attention of mental health professionals until the local fire marshall has declared the hoarder’s home a health hazard. In at least one situation, a hoarder rented a second apartment to live in because his own apartment was too full to belongings to function as a living space.

Special Problems for Hoarders

Hoarders seem to have a unique set of difficulties compared to others. They tend to be more perfectionistic and indecisive. They have more severe levels of OCD symptoms and more additional psychiatric disorders. Hoarders may be more likely to have saving and symmetry obsessions. The compulsions involve not only hoarding, but possibly ordering, counting, and repeating compulsions. Hoarders are more likely to have personality disorders, especially obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and avoidant personality disorder, a condition similar to social phobia. Not surprisingly, they are more likely to remain single. In addition, more hoarders have close relatives whom they also describe as pack rats.

OCD hoarding seems to be more common in males than females. Hoarders typically have an earlier age of onset of OCD symptoms, and the symptoms are more severe. Hoarders also have more abnormal grooming behaviors, such as skin picking, nail biting, and trichotillomania (compulsive hair-pulling). There has been some discussion among researchers that perhaps hoarding is not actually a form of OCD, but rather a clinically distinct syndrome that is part of the OC spectrum of disorders.

OCD Hoarding Treatment is Not Easy

One particularly challenging aspect of compulsive hoarding is that hoarders often do not recognize they are impaired. Most cases of hoarding that result in professional attention occur at the request of concerned family members, landlords, or even the legal system. Hoarders have surprisingly little insight into the potentially dangerous nature of their hoarding behavior. They may even experience their hoarding as sensible and beneficial.

It does seem that patients with hoarding symptoms are less responsive to conventional treatments for OCD, such as medication and cognitive-behavior therapy. Compared to people with other forms of OCD, hoarders tend to experience more anxiety and depression and experience greater social dysfunction. It could be that treatment of OCD patients with hoarding symptoms is complicated by the fact that the OCD is more severe and the presence of co-occurring disorders. Nevertheless, improvement is possible using a flexible approach, with treatment carefully tailored to the patient’s specific symptoms.

Go vegan!

57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan

Vegans are frequently misunderstood as fringe eaters with an unnatural passion for animal rights. While many vegans do feel passionately about animals, its time for others to see that a vegan diet and lifestyle go way beyond animal rights. Following a healthy, balanced vegan diet ensures a host of health benefits as well as prevention of some of the major diseases striking people everywhere.   “Why I am a Black vegetarian” clip   “Black vegetarians & vegans: Why vegan?” clip


All of the following nutritional benefits come from a vegan diet full of foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and soy products.

  1. Reduced saturated fats. Dairy products and meats contain a large amount of saturated fats. By reducing the amount of saturated fats from your diet, you’ll improve your health tremendously, especially when it comes to cardiovascular health.
  2. Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide energy for your body. When you don’t have enough carbohydrates, your body will burn muscle tissue.
  3. Fiber. A diet high in fiber (as vegan eating usually is) leads to healthier bowel movements. High fiber diets help fight against colon cancer.
  4. Magnesium. Aiding in the absorption of calcium, magnesium is an often overlooked vitamin in importance to a healthy diet. Nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens are an excellent source of magnesium.
  5. Potassium. Potassium balances water and acidity in your body and stimulates the kidneys to eliminate toxins. Diets high in potassium have shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
  6. Folate. This B vitamin is an important part of a healthy diet. Folate helps with cell repair, generating red and white blood cells, and metabolizing amino acids.
  7. Antioxidants. For protection against cell damage, antioxidants are one of the best ways to help your body. Many researchers also believe that antioxidants help protect your body against forming some types of cancer.
  8. Vitamin C. Besides boosting your immune system, Vitamin C also helps keep your gums healthy and helps your bruises heal faster. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant.
  9. Vitamin E. This powerful vitamin has benefits for your heart, skin, eyes, brain, and may even help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. A diet high in grains, nuts, and dark leafy greens is full of Vitamin E.
  10. Phytochemicals. Plant-based foods provide phytochemicals, which help to prevent and heal the body from cancer, boost protective enzymes, and work with antioxidants in the body.
  11. Protein. That protein is good for your body is no surprise. It may be a surprise to learn that most Americans eat too much protein and in forms such as red meat that are not healthy ways of getting protein. Beans, nuts, peas, lentils, and soy products are all great ways to get the right amount of protein in a vegan diet.

Disease Prevention

Eating a healthy vegan diet has shown to prevent a number of diseases. Find out from the list below what you could potentially avoid just by switching to a healthy, balanced vegan way of eating.

  1. Cardiovascular disease. Eating nuts and whole grains, while eliminating dairy products and meat, will improve your cardiovascular health. A British study indicates that a vegan diet reduces the risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Vegan diets go far in preventing heart attack and stroke.
  2. Cholesterol. Eliminating any food that comes from an animal and you will eliminate all dietary cholesterol from your diet. Your heart will thank you for that.
  3. Blood pressure. A diet rich in whole grains is beneficial to your health in many ways, including lowering high blood pressure.
  4. Type 2 diabetes. Not only is a vegan diet a weapon against Type 2 diabetes, it is also “easier to follow than the standard diet recommended by the American Diabetic Association.” Read more about it here.
  5. Prostate cancer. A major study showed that men in the early stages of prostate cancer who switched to a vegan diet either stopped the progress of the cancer or may have even reversed the illness.
  6. Colon cancer. Eating a diet consisting of whole grains, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, can greatly reduce your chances of colon cancer.
  7. Breast cancer. Countries where women eat very little meat and animal products have a much lower rate of breast cancer than do the women in countries that consume more animal products.
  8. Macular degeneration. Diets with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, can help prevent the onset of age-related macular degeneration.
  9. Cataracts. Much the same way macular degeneration is headed off by a vegan diet, cataracts are also thought to be prevented through the intake of the same fruits and vegetables. Produce high in antioxidants are also believed to help prevent cataracts.
  10. Arthritis. Eliminating dairy consumption has long been connected with alleviating arthritis symptoms, but a new study indicates that a combination of gluten-free and vegan diet is very promising for improving the health of those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
  11. Osteoporosis. Bone health depends on a balance of neither too much or too little protein, adequate calcium intake, high potassium, and low sodium. With a healthy vegan diet, all four of these points set a perfect scenario for preventing osteoporosis.

Physical Benefits

In addition to good nutrition and disease prevention, eating vegan also provides many physical benefits. Find out how a vegan diet makes your body stronger, more attractive, and more energetic.

  1. Body Mass Index. Several population studies show that a diet without meat leads to lower BMIs–usually an indicator of a healthy weight and lack of fat on the body.
  2. Weight loss. A healthy weight loss is a typical result of a smart vegan diet. Eating vegan eliminates most of the unhealthy foods that tend to cause weight issues. Read more about weight loss and a vegan diet here.
  3. Energy. When following a healthy vegan diet, you will find your energy is much higher. This blog post in Happy Healthy Long Life describes how NFL tight-end Tony Gonzalez started eating vegan and gained energy–while playing football.
  4. Healthy skin. The nuts and vitamins A and E from vegetables play a big role in healthy skin, so vegans will usually have good skin health. Many people who switch to a vegan diet will notice a remarkable reduction in blemishes as well.
  5. Longer life. Several studies indicate that those following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle live an average of three to six years longer than those who do not.
  6. Body odor. Eliminating dairy and red meat from the diet significantly reduces body odor. Going vegan means smelling better.
  7. Bad breath. Vegans frequently experience a reduction in bad breath. Imagine waking up in the morning and not having morning breath.
  8. Hair. Many who follow vegan diets report that their hair becomes stronger, has more body, and looks healthier.
  9. Nails. Healthy vegan diets are also responsible for much stronger, healthier nails. Nail health is said to be an indicator of overall health.
  10. PMS. When switching to a vegan diet, many women tell how PMS symptoms become much less intense or disappear altogether. The elimination of dairy is thought to help with those suffering with PMS.
  11. Migraines. Migraine suffers who go on vegan diets frequently discover relief from their migraines. Read more about the food-migraine connection in this article.
  12. Allergies. Reduction in dairy, meat, and eggs is often tied to alleviation of allergy symptoms. Many vegans report much fewer runny noses and congestion problems.

Too Much in the American Diet

The typical American diet not only consists of too much food, it also relies on too much of unnecessary food products or toxins. The following list explains how a vegan diet can eliminate these problems.

  1. Animal proteins. The average American eats twice as much protein as necessary for a healthy diet and much of that is from red meat. Getting protein from beans and grains is much healthier and reduces the risk for osteoporosis (see above).
  2. Cow’s milk dairy. The human body is not designed to digest cow milk and cow milk dairy products, yet the idea of milk being healthy is pushed through advertising. As many as 75% of people in the world may be lactose intolerant and many people suffer from undiagnosed milk allergies or sensitivities. By eliminating cow’s milk from your diet, you are improving your overall health.
  3. Eggs. Many nutritionists believe that the number of eggs in the American diet is too high. While sometimes disputed, it has been shown that eggs can raise cholesterol levels.
  4. Mercury. Most of the fish and shellfish consumed has mercury in it. While some fish have less than others, it is almost impossible not to be putting mercury in your body when you eat fish.
  5. Sugar. Most people have heard that Americans consume way too much sugar. Relying on other sweeteners that are not synthetic, processed, or derived from animal products is a healthier way to eat. Many vegans do not eat processed sugar due to the fact that most of the cane sugar is refined through activated charcoal, most of which comes from animal bones.

Other Benefits

In addition to the health benefits above, following a vegan lifestyle and diet also provides these benefits as well. From helping the environment to avoiding serious bacterial infections, learn other benefits to eating the vegan way below.

  1. Animals. Many people begin a vegan diet out of concern for animals. Whether opposed to the conditions of animals intended for food or eating animals in general, going vegan will help your conscience rest easily.
  2. Environment. Growing plants takes much fewer resources than growing animals. By eating vegan, you can help reduce the toll on the environment.
  3. E. coli. E. coli comes from eating contaminated red meat and is the leading cause of bloody diarrhea. Young children, those with compromised immune systems, and elderly people can become extremely ill or die from E. coli. Eating vegan means completely avoiding the risk of E. coli infection.
  4. Salmonella. Another gastrointestinal illness from animal products, salmonella food poisoning is closely related to E. coli. The most frequent way people contract salmonella food poisoning is through contact with raw eggs or raw chicken meat from chickens infected with salmonella. Again, going vegan means eliminating this risk altogether.
  5. Mad cow disease. It’s safe to say that most people would want to avoid contracting a fatal, non-treatable disease. One way to ensure you don’t get Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is by not eating animals infected with mad cow disease. While the incidence of mad cow disease is not reportedly so high in North America, it does exist.
  6. Global food supply. Feeding grain to animals meant as food sources reduces the amount of food that is available to underdeveloped nations. Many people will go hungry while that same food they could be eating is given to animals raised for slaughter. Eating vegan ensures that you have removed yourself from the participation of this imbalance.
  7. Hormone consumption. Eating animals that have been given hormones to speed growth (a common practice in the meat industry) means those hormones go into your body. Not only can this disrupt the natural balance of your hormones, but some of the hormones given to animals have shown to cause tumor growth in humans.
  8. Antibiotics. Antibiotics are frequently given to feed animals, which can lead to bacterial resistance. Many of the antibiotics used to treat human infections are also used in feed animals.

Healthy Eating

A vegan diet can be a much healthier way to eat. Find out how to combine the vegan diet with other ways of eating for an even more healthy way to go or discover ways to keep your vegan diet healthy but more convenient with the resources below.

  1. Raw. A raw diet lends itself to veganism by the very nature of its design. Find out how to combine live and vegan diets with Raw Inspirations.
  2. Organic. Eating organic and vegan is super easy to do. Use some of the recipes from this blog for help with meal ideas. The posts have slowed, but you can always search the archives for some great ideas on how to live and eat organic and vegan.
  3. Fat-free. Vegan eating is typically pretty low in fats anyway, but the FatFree Vegan Kitchen shows you how to make some delicious vegan food that is always fat free.
  4. Gluten-free. Due to allergies, Celiac’s Disease, or whatever your reason you avoid gluten, find out how to combine the best of gluten-free with vegan cooking in the Gluten-Free Vegan blog.
  5. Eating out. Eating out isn’t usually associated with eating healthy, but a vegan diet ensures there will be a lot less of the bad things in the food you choose. Find eating out options around the world for vegans here.
  6. Lunch. Maintaining a vegan diet means you are likely to take your lunch more often than most people. Vegan Lunch Box offers recipes, tools, and ideas for carrying great vegan lunches every day.
  7. Dinner. Coming up with new dinner ideas is challenging for everyone–regardless of what type of diet you follow. Check out this amazing selection of vegan dinner recipes accompanied with mouth-watering photos of each preparation on Dinner with Dilip.
  8. Dessert. While not all the recipes on My Sweet Vegan are for dessert, you will find a large selection of sweet vegan recipes with the most delicious-looking photos.
  9. Wine. Pairing vegan food with wine may be challenging for those who rely on the old standard of “white with fish and red with meat.” Read this article for ways to compliment your healthy vegan diet with a tasty glass of wine or this blog entry for specific pairings of wine and vegan food.
  10. Fun. These ladies know how to kick it with vegan cooking. Post Punk Kitchen offers some great recipes with a ton of fun infused in them.
  11. Be sure to go through the archives for more yummy food ideas.  Carl Lewis speaks    Famous vegetarians & vegans    Interview with vegan children      ”  with  vegan parents. Yes, their children are vegan too.


raw vegan pyramid

The benefits of using natural menstrual products


Washable menstrual products are making a comeback in the form of cloth pads, reusable menstrual cups, and sea sponges.  This is another example of the cycles of tradition that exist – all these products were around 100 years ago.  We have ended our madness and fascination with disposable, convenient, and fast, and are moving towards reconnection with our bodies, our lives, our communities.


Pads, variously known as napkins, surfboards, rags, towels, and cloths.

It is not just the chemicals from bleaching or from attempts to increase the absorbency of the material, that are toxic to our bodies and the environment, pads usually contain a plastic layer, and adhesive as well.

Washable pads offer women a positive, healthier, and ecologically sound alternative to traditional disposable menstrual pads.  They are soft, absorbent and comfortable to wear.  Since one of the reasons to use non-disposables as opposed to disposables is to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals, it is important to choose washable pads made from organic fabric if you can.  Different manufacturers use different organic fabrics, with the most popular being chambray cotton, hemp, linen, jersey and wool.


In one form or another, tampons have been around for thousands of years.  The traditional tampon works by expanding inside the vagina to absorb blood flow and prevent leaks.  Tampons are typically made of cotton or a rayon/cotton blend.  Most come with an applicator made of plastic or cardboard.

Tampons of any kind remove up to 35 percent of healthy vaginal secretions.

The use of conventional tampons has some personal and health effects.  Most current tampons are rayon and rayon/cotton blends, which have been chlorine bleached and contain dioxins and furans.  Rayon tampons also carry with them a greater risk of toxic shock syndrome.  Tampon use is also associated with an increased risk of vaginal dryness and vaginal ulcers, especially with the more absorbent tampons.

Most tampons come with a plastic or cardboard applicator.  Despite all the entreaties of manufacturers and building managers, these applicators continue to be flushed down toilets in alarming numbers.  Not only are these a problem for sewage treatment plants they also end up in the ocean and washed up on the beach. 

Enviro- and health-friendly tampons are made of non-GMO, organic cotton, hemp or other fibre that is grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides, are free of dioxin and furan residues, and are chlorine free.


The menstrual cup is a type of cup or barrier worn internally like a tampon but collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it.  Cups are reusable, and will typically hold 30 ml of fluid, which is roughly one third of the average total produced each menstrual cycle. It is recommended that the cup is emptied every 6-12 hours.  The frequency is an individual decision based on the volume of fluid released, and each woman is different.  Correctly inserted the cup is comfortable but it may take a little practice to find the angle and position that is right for your body.

There are two main kinds of menstrual cups currently available.  The most common kind is the bell-shaped cup made of latex rubber or silicone.  These cups tend to last approximately 10 years depending on how they are cleaned and stored.  The second kind of menstrual cup is more like a contraceptive diaphragm.  This product is designed for single use only.

Originally cups made from rubber were too hard but today rubber cups are soft and have a feel like the baby bottle teats that are made from rubber.

The cup forms a light seal with the vaginal walls allowing the menstrual fluid to pass into the cup without leakage or odour.  Its use does not interfere with the healthy vaginal environment, and its use has not been associated with toxic shock syndrome.  Some women find, due to anatomical differences caused from childbirth, that there can be a very slight leakage.  If this is the case, women can use a light cotton pad on their heaviest days.

Menstrual cups can be emptied, rinsed or wiped and then reinserted.  They can be cleaned by washing with soap and water and by boiling in water for 20 minutes after each cycle.


There are more than 4500 varieties of sea sponges.  They are plant-like animals growing in colonies on the ocean floor.  The softest ones are the Atlantic and Mediterranean Silks.  Harvesting sea sponges can have a disastrous ecological impact.  For these reasons the use of sea sponges as menstrual products cannot be endorsed.