The Story of Sista Okra and The 100-Day Veggie Challenge
The Holiday seasons can do funny things to people. You are coming to the end of another year and you start looking back on the things that you accomplished/didn't accomplish, etc. You know the score. I don't have to tell any of you about this. I was on a roll, people. I was eating cookies, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream in any flavour I wanted, Lunchables, Popcorn, Chips of every kind, Hot dogs(Hebrew National when I had the $ but Ball Park Beef when I didn't). I had my cakes. That's right. Cakes. Chocolate, Italian Cream Cheese, German Chocolate, Carrot Cake, Lemon, Cheese Cake with Strawberries or Cherries or Pumpkin Swirl. You get the picture. I was wolfing it down like there was no tomorrow.
Hanukah came and I am always excited about Hanukah. Yes, I am Jewish, a Jew-of-Color as we call ourselves or JOC's. I lit my candles all 8 days and said my prayers. I began to thank G-d for all that He did for me and has done for my over the years. I was still wolfing down food. But something was about to change. I did not see it coming but it came nevertheless. After Hanukah and the Christmas season was over, I awakened one day to prepare for work. As I sat on the side of my bed, I heard this: "Take care of your health! Take back your health! You don't need to be told what to do. You already know what to do. You just need to do it!". I was stunned to say the least. I mean, wow! But you know what? When I stood up from the bed, I had something within me that I could not ignore. It was a new determination, a new direction, a new mission. You see, I feel and do believe that I had a "G-d Moment". That is when G-d just gets tired of you acting like a nut and He just intervenes in the way that will get your attention. All of this was playing out with the seriousness of my older brother's illnesses. His Kidneys are gone. He has Diabetes and a bad Heart, suffered from extremely High Blood Pressure for years. He is a Retired Washington, DC policeman(retired at 47) and has 3 degrees. He has traveled and had a good life. But all of this did not teach him how to eat to live. He ate a lot of Fat, Salt, Sugar. He liked to sip expensive wines, beers, etc. Keep living like this for many years and it will catch up to you.
Well, it caught up with him. The doctors are saying he could live a year if he does the right things to help himself. I ask you all. Who knows our bodies better than we do? I rest my case. So all of this was taking place around me. Then I had my "G-d Moment". As the New Year came closer, I felt the power of those words. I started planning and deciding how I wanted to do my new way of life. 1 January came and I was off and running. No sodas, no white bread, no sugar, no added fats, no milk, no meat. Drastic, you say? Yes. I had to be drastic if I wanted to save my life and my health. When you have the potential to live a healthy life and you don't take it, who is the foolish one? I had to make the cut from what I ate in the past to push myself further. It was during this time of planning that the 100-Day Veggie Challenge came into being. The name and challenge is based upon Bunny Berry's WholeFu Challenge over at RawFu. I started my own Challenge. It had to fit me and my life. I wanted to keep things simple as I can OCD on you real quick.
I cleaned out my frig and my cabinets. I purchased a small blender so that I could make Smoothies, a good knife set, produce keeper food ware. I got enough food to last me for a 2-week period. I began to eat as proper as I knew how and drink water. I didn't know if anything was happening in my body but I kept it up. I was going to the Ladies Room quite a bit more than usual. I wasn't really worried about weight loss at the time. I was just trying to keep it simple. But I noticed my thoughts and my mind becoming clearer. I felt a happiness about life that had been missing for so long. My clothes began to loosen up. I was joyous. All this time, the situation with my brother is going on but I held on. All I wanted was His Will, His Plan for my brother, the family, myself. January ended and February came with more stress concerning my brother. We thought that he was truly leaving us and tears just started to flow. Sister Vegetarian and others began to pray for him and for the rest of the family and he is alive today. Baruch Hashem - Praise G-d. I weighed on 8 February. I started at 249lbs. I was down to 234lbs! 15lbs! I was so shocked and happy. 15lbs and I did not starve myself but ate as Genesis 1:29 told us to eat. In fact, I was following Genesis 1:29 without really thinking about it. I call myself "The Genesis 1:29 Lady". It is so simple yet so sublime. If we just take into our minds and hearts that we are going to live and do what He instructed us to do for a healthy life, we as individuals and as a people would turn ourselves around. Personal Responsibility has to come into play. We can blame our parents, our upbringing, anything we want but until we start to look at ourselves and see what we are doing to exacerbate the situation, we'll stay the same. You have to become sick and tired of being sick and tired. You have to come to the point that your self-esteem needs to improve for YOU. Not your lover, your husband, your family but for YOU! You have to BE the CHANGE that YOU DESIRE to SEE! As Yoda told Luke Skywalker: "There is no try. There is only Do."
I wasn't loving myself, respecting myself by eating the way that I did. I wasn't respecting and showing my devotion to G-d by what I was doing. I was living on the lower level. This way of eating has helped me to keep kosher. My eating/nutrition has now been taken to the Divine. Those laws are there for a reason regardless if people follow them or not. They have never been abrogated or done away with. They are still there. Jesus even said that.
This is not a religious story but a story of one thankful, grateful Black woman living in Virginia. I was a wreck but I am coming out of it. I still have a long way to go. I not only want to lose weight but I want to be HEALTHY. THAT is my main goal. I want to be the best that I can be. I want to inspire others to take the plunge into health. If you have a condition, go to the doctor. Seek help. It is no sin to ask for help. We all need it sometimes. Seek out a Dietician/Nutritionist if you can afford it and if not, some Health Departments have Dieticians/Nutritionist with them. Just be careful that they don't try to discourage you in your endeavours. Pray for someone to come and help you if need be. Ask Sister Vegetarian!
Since staring this way of life, I have met the most wonderful people online and in my actual life. I am learning new things all the time. READ! I can't say enough about reading. Read books, articles, etc. about getting into the best health that you can. Exercise. I walk 2 miles to and from work except in bad weather. At first, I was huffing and puffing but since I have dropped 15lbs, I can feel the movement of my body. I walk at night to go to work( this must stop but sometimes I have no choice but to walk at night. I need my job.). I place G-d in front and behind me. I just have to go with Him. I am not rich in money but I am rich in people who really care for me. I don't know any of you. You don't know me. This is not everything but just a snippet about me. I want you to live. I want you to be healthy. I want you to be the inspiration someone needs out there today. Do something good for yourself. Not for any other person but only for Y.O.U.! I am not there yet but I am on the journey. I hope that I am granted life to finish this. I have this chance to drop to the natural weight of my body. I am not rushing this but taking my time. Each day, I just live it and it all mixed together with my reading Genesis 1:29. That worked for me. It may not do it for you. Find what does and...DO IT!