Update: My Daughter is Back Home


There is a reason updates have been few and far between the last few days. My daughter Essence, who has been in the hospital battling leukemia since January 12th, is finally back home. After a successful stem cell transplant and over five months of recovery time, she was finally cleared for release on November 25th.
Continue Reading

My Daughter’s Battle with Leukemia

Click to enlarge

“Maybe this happened to me so I can be a blessing to someone else.”

Less than a month after being diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of Leukemia, these were the words my beautiful daughter Essence uttered to me. I remember marveling at her strength then, and continue to do so today as she preps for yet another round (her third) of chemotherapy.

I share my story, my daughter’s story, because as Essence said, maybe it will be a blessing to someone else.
read more » » » »

Balancing Act

SUMMER BODY (140x140)

We have all become accustomed to the fast paced world we live in, and the constant movement and energy it takes to keep up with it. The kids have extracurricular activities that you are busting your butt to get them to on time, after hours of dealing with delusional co-workers; You still haven’t decided on what meal to prepare for dinner that everyone would enjoy; Laundry still hasn’t been done; your supervisor is demanding you complete a report that’s apparently due by the end of this week, yet he didn’t mention it until right when you were walking out of the office; Oh! And your man requires the same amount of attention your children do!
read more » » » »

Your Body Is Your Temple

October is breast cancer awareness month. Not surprisingly, black women are more likely to have not only breast cancer but diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses. Many of these illnesses that black women are more likely to contract could simply be avoided through a healthy diet and sufficient exercise. We are bombarded with cookbooks and different diets that claim to help us shed the unwanted pounds. But it is easier said than done. Most people generally understand that in order to lead a healthy lifestyle, one must couple exercise and the proper diet. But most women, especially young women, or women on-the-go, cannot always adhere to these stringent guidelines. The thought of eating healthy used to make me cringe. But as I get older, I’m realizing that what I do to my body now will have a direct effect on my life in the near future. The importance of the proper diet and exercise is not emphasized enough, especially not in the black community. Many black women fear that too much exercise will cause them to lose their shape and possibly their favorite asset. Having an hourglass figure is sexy but what’s sexier is being healthy. It is unfortunate that the only time we feel that a change is needed is when we are faced with a dire situation such as diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Heart disease is one of the leading killers of black women, so we need to look at our selves and examine our lifestyle and make some changes.

For some, eating right is not the problem; the problem is finding the time to exercise during the day. When you are working 12 hour days and sleeping only a few hours every night, it is difficult to squeeze exercise in. And don’t be fooled by the common misconception that because you are small, thin or not overweight that you do not need to exercise. That is an absolute crock. Smaller women can still contract diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure from not eating a balanced diet. Exercise is an exceptional habit to cultivate. Prevention is a lot easier than living with or developing a potentially life-threatening disease or condition. Not only does exercise promote weight control and ward off diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, exercising also releases endorphins to the brain, which in turn generates feelings of happiness and euphoria. If you’re not a gym person try taking a walk outside with friends or join a fitness class at your local gym. There are plethoras of ways you can increase your activity and get your blood flowing. Many doctors have stated that the importance of exercise in warding off illnesses and diseases cannot be overemphasized. Exercise is proficient at warding many types of diseases.

If your main goal is to lose weight, the best way to do that is to lower caloric intake (diet) and increase caloric burn (exercise). When you hear the word diet, it probably paints an unpleasant picture in your head of a woman starving herself, constantly checking the scale for the smallest ounce of weight gain and consuming low calorie snacks and diet sodas. Eating healthy does not have to be this excruciating. There is no one-size-fits-all diet. Everyone is different and therefore my best piece of advice is to eat every food group in moderation. For some people a carb-free diet works and for others going vegan has changed their life. The first thing that we need to do is change our lifestyle habits. It may be hard at first to modify your eating and hit the gym but the benefits to these two elements will save your life.

Janice Gassam is a graduate student currently getting her degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology. To contact Janice her email is gassamjz@gmail.com
You can also add her on any of the following social network sites.
http://www.facebook.com/janice.jnice
Twitter:
http://twitter.com/#!/JaniceGassam
Tumblr:
http://decodingtheenigma.tumblr.com/
Youtube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/user/1987jbaby?feature=mhsn

Toning Shoes, Have You Tried Them?

I recently purchased a pair of Champion Pace Toning Sneakers. Unlike a lot of people however, I did not purchase them because I thought by simply walking in them my thighs would look like this; rather I bought them because they looked so gosh darn comfortable. As someone who has used walking as a means of daily exercise for over a year now, I have come to realize the importance of a comfortable shoe and am always on the lookout for something to make my daily routine more enjoyable. Not too particular about which brand I bought, I hit up Payless and walked out with a pair for a cool $39.99+ tax (I also got the toning sandals for $29.99).

When I got home I tried them on and just as I had hoped- they were super comfortable and felt like I was walking air. I decided to test them out further and went out for a walk. This is about when things got a lil trippy. Walking down the stairs of my building I felt as if I could tip over at any minute. To say they felt unstable would be an understatement. Even when walking on a flat surface I felt as if I was being pushed back a bit.

Once I got home I read the box my new sneaks came in and sure enough, that unstable feeling I was experiencing was a part of the whole toning experience. Apparently if you feel like you’re about to fall over at any minute it makes your muscles work harder to keep you stable.

I’m still a bit on the fence as to whether I will keep wearing these sneakers or try another brand. I’ve been eying the Shapes Ups by Sketchers lately- though the $110.00 price tag makes me SMH.

Has anyone here tried the Shape Ups or any other brand of toning shoe? If so, what was your experience?

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

In today’s diet obsessed society, carbohydrates or carbs for short, get a very bad rap. Many of us avoid them completely when trying to lose or maintain weight. Interestingly, carbs are one of the body’s main sources of energy and is very important to our daily body functions. Foods that contain starches, sugars and fiber are all grouped together within the carbohydrate family. Simply put, there are good carbs and bad carbs. It’s our task to determine which carbs are good for us, which ones to avoid at all cost and which ones we cant live without (even if we should avoid them at all cost).

Simple Carbs.
Simple carbs can usually be identified by their ending “ose”. Examples I am sure you have heard before are, glucose/fructose (from fruit) and table sugar (sucrose). Simple carbs should be avoided when possible. I have to admit it can be difficult at times; many low-fat products include simple carbs. These added carbs, provide flavor to our food, which is good for our taste buds, but bad for our waistlines. These simple carbs have no nutritional value, thus our bodies have no need for them. Eating simple carbs will satisfy us in the moment, but we’ll feel hungry soon after.

Some Examples:
Table sugar
Corn Syrup (avoid at all cost!)
Candy
Most packaged foods
Pasta made with white flour

Complex Carbs.
Complex carbs simply put, are the good carbs. Complex carbs are better for us because they leave us feeling full after we have eaten. Complex carbs. have nutritional value, which the body can use. Our bodies take a longer time to digest complex carbs., they burn slowly in our system, which keeps us feeling full for a longer period of time. Though, complex carbs are good for us, certain complex carbs must be eaten with moderation, (i.e. Pasta – made with whole grain).
Some Examples:
Spinach
Lettuce (greener the better)
Carrots
Apples (The skin contain the majority of nutriential value)
Grapefruit
Oatmeal
Potatoes

Good Luck