Food Yum: My Open Letter to Cheese

Dear Cheese,

Yo! What’s up, homie? Can I be honest? I wanted to write this letter to you to express how I’m feelin’ about you. Simply put….I miss you. I miss having you in my life. I’m not sure when and why we stopped being friends but I’m really starting to take it personally. Why must you abuse me the way you do? Why do our meetings always end with me being doubled over in pain? It’s just not fair. Especially when you seem to be so prevalent in a lot of my favorite dishes. And especially since you come in so many variations. It’s just not right. Granted I still love a good piece of cheese pizza. But it comes with a price. And it ain’t pretty.

So I’m asking you…can we call a truce? Please? Think it over. In the meantime, I’ll be staring aimlessly at your siblings at the Whole Foods in Phillips Crossing.

Love you always,

Food Yum: Navitas Naturals Organic Acai powder & lip balm

Are you giving me a side eye right now? Wait, let me explain. Y’all already know about my green smoothie obsession. And for almost a year I’ve been sticking with the same ingredients; kale, spinach, bananas, berries, apples, mango, peaches and nut milks. But I’ve been wanting to switch it up a bit by incorporating some other ingredients.

Insert acai powder.

And you better say her name right. It’s ah-sigh-EE. Hit the jump to see the benefits of this superfruit.

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Green Smoothie Recipe: January Hurricane

The Clumps Facebook fam has requested it and so I bring you another green smoothie recipe. Last year I debuted my love for green smoothies and the obsession has not ended. I wasn’t drinking them as much during the holidays but they are back and with a vengeance. Bwahahaaa!! Hit the jump for a super easy and delicious green smoothie recipe. I call this one January Hurricane. It is named after the day Orlando went nuts when hurricane-like weather panicked the city.

What you’ll need:

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50 million pound challenge: Eat This, Not That…

When I first got serious about changing my eating habits, I almost died.

I’m not kidding.

To go from eating regular butter, sugary jelly and 2% milk to…none of that was ALMOST the death of B. Going cold turkey is hard for anyone. Especially when you don’t consider healthier alternatives.

And then one glorious day I heard about the book Eat This, Not That. It isn’t new. This “No-Diet Weight Loss Solution” book written by the Editor-In-Chief of Men’s Health came out in 2008. I didn’t discover it until a year later and it is changed my life. I’m not even kidding, y’all.

I think this is the most realistic way to begin loosing weight. While most of us KNOW what’s good (green smoothies) and what’s bad (french fries), sometimes it helps to get an idea of what’s “better”.

Here’s an example…

I never want to give up cereal. I’d rather eat healthier cereals. Eat This, Not That displays the stats of various cereals. On the left you eat the “Eat This” and on the right, there’s the “Not That”. The book also gives little tidbits about how to read the labels. Genius!

They do the same thing for your favorite restaurants.

Now don’t get it twisted, sweets. Devouring a doughnut is never the “healthy choice” but if you’re going to take that route, it’s best to go with the one with the least calories and grams of fat. I’d rather eliminate them completely but hey, you gotta be realistic.

And then the book has sections for holidays…

Drinks…

And special circumstances…

I’ve read this book up and down. I’ve got it memorized so well that I know the “healthier” options of  all of the products I pick up at the grocery store. And the same goes for eating out.

This book has really changed my life. I’m thinking it’s the best route to go for those who slowly but surely want to make dietary changes. I also have the Supermarket, Kitchen and Restaurant Survival guides.

You can grab any of these books for less than $15 at your bookstore. I got mine from Amazon.

A fan of these Eat This, Not That? Or not so much?

Other 50 million pound challenge posts:
Eat This, Not That
Greens 3x a Day
I’m no size 6, but I don’t care
Portion Sizes
Water Water is my friend
Green Smoothies are my BFF
Weight Frustrations

Join the Clumps of Mascara Team!!
Mascara Mamas team

50 million pound challenge: Weight frustrations

I have a confession. You ready?

I am hard on myself. Always have been. I often forget that change takes time. I like immediate results. I am patient while sitting in traffic. I am patient with toddlers. But patient with my own personal goals and achievements? Mega hard.

I recently had a doctor’s appointment and guess what? My freakin’ blood pressure is up yet again. 148/110 to be exact. I find this to be extremely disheartening as I feel like I am forever pushing myself to the limit physically. And when it comes to my diet, I have done a total 360. So why is my BP still through the roof?

My doctor has recommended that try to loose some weight. *insert exaggerated sigh* I felt like I was on the road to just weight maintenance. However, I have got to drop even more weight. Or else I have to get put on meds. Which would literally have to happen over my dead body as any form of non-holistic/herbal medication (OTC or prescribed) freaks me out.

I don’t even know HOW to loose more weight. It looks like I will have to consult with a professional. I’m not happy about it but I want to live a long and healthy life and will do whatever it takes.

This news is also another reminder to me…that keeping weight off is a lifestyle. It doesn’t end and for the most of us, it will be quite the challenge. Don’t let it discourage you. Continue doing what you have to do be healthy without being so hard on yourself. Yes, I work out 5-6 times a week. But it will be a snowy day in Florida before I turn down creme brulee. While most of my physical/dietary needs have changed, my love for desserts has not. And I’m okay with that. It is all about balance.

At the end of the day, I know that my high blood pressure is probably because of genetics. Not being in control of my health frustrates but I can’t let it stop me.

Hang in there, fam! We can do this!

Other 50 million pound challenge posts:
Eat This, Not That
Greens 3x a Day
I’m no size 6, but I don’t care
Portion Sizes
Water Water is my friend
Green Smoothies are my BFF

Join the Clumps of Mascara Team!!
Mascara Mamas team

50 million pound challenge: Fat and Fit??


Look at that….I’ve been doing a whole bunch of writing about healthy foods and smoothies but I have yet to talk about fitness! And that’s crazy considering fitness takes up a great chunk of my life.

The title of this post was inspired by A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss. It was there where I saw this video.


So yeah…the Wii Fit STILL says I’m overweight. My BMI is 30.1. I work out 5-7 times a week and have a diet that is 50% raw vegetables. Could it be that I am too fat and fit? Er uh…where do I begin with this?

Working out is important. And it’s one of those things that I always knew but ignored. For most of my life, I always made excuses for why I didn’t want to work out.

Hit the jump to continue…

“I don’t have time.”

I don’t want to mess up my hair.”

“I hate sweating.”

“But I fell down on my knee when I was 6 and it still hurts.”

All excuses for why I didn’t want to work-out. I was never an athlete. I was the typical kid in that I spent a lot of time outside running around, swimming and riding my bike but I was never on any team. In 10th grade I tried out for the volleyball team and gave up the 2nd day of conditioning. What a punk, right?

But now you can’t stop me from working out. And I’m tellin’ y’all…if I can do it, anyone can. Many ask what my motivation was. What finally got me to be a regular in the gym. It’s very simple.

High blood pressure. 
Diabetes.

While I don’t have the latter, people in my family do. My blood pressure was in the 140’s when I was only 22 years old. The thought of being put on medication scared the devil out of me. I knew changes had to be made. Changes that I probably wouldn’t like. Here’s how to do it…

1. Set a goal for yourself. Be it a dress size, weight or a challenge. Find  a realistic goal to look forward to. It was always easier for me to work-out when I knew I was working towards something I really wanted. I continue to do this every time I work-out too. If I am running outside, I always look at a marker (be it a tree or sign) and I push myself until I get to that marker. It is never easy but congratulating yourself on that little accomplishment does wonders for your self-esteem.


2. Have a support system. This is SO important. And they don’t always have to be people in your immediate life. Join social networking sites for those in the same position as you. Follow your favorite nutritionists or work-out folx on Twitter. Having the support of others really kept me going on those days when I felt like giving up.


3. Realize that it takes time. If you aren’t used to working out, don’t expect for it to be easy the first two weeks that you do it. It takes time for your body to adjust. And it is really more mental than anything. I FORCED myself to work-out every day for a month. After that month, going 4-5 times a week seemed easier.

4. Do not let yourself make excuses. I know, easier said than done, right? Personally, I feel awful on days that I don’t work out when I know I’m supposed to. Even if I can’t make it to the gym, I try to jump on the Wii Fit, jump rope, do some yoga or at least eat lighter that day. If being active is what you seek, make time for it. We make time for everything else, right? If you are a TV watcher, do lunges and squats during commercials. If you work at a desk all day, do mini-ab work-outs. The more conscious you are of working out, the fewer excuses you will make.


5. Tell yourself you can do it! This sound super lame but it really works. Positive thinking goes a long way. Especially when being conscious about health and fitness. Stop obsessing over what you used to look like. Stop fantasizing over having a body like your favorite celebrity. You are already beautiful. Tell yourself this and keeping reminding yourself that being healthy is way more important than how you look on the outside.

I’m no professional. I just want to be healthy. Not skinny. But healthy. Some confuse my active working out for wanting to be small. I have long accepted the fact that I will not be a size 2. Or 6. It is not in my genetic make-up. Where I’m from women are “thick”. Thick is fine but healthy is better.

I challenge you all to work-out to the best of your ability.  Work it out! If you have any tips or ideas, please share them!

Other 50 million pound challenge posts:
Eat This, Not That
Greens 3x a Day
I’m no size 6, but I don’t care
Portion Sizes
Water Water is my friend
Green Smoothies are my BFF

Join the Clumps of Mascara Team!!
Mascara Mamas team

50 million pound challenge: Green smoothies are my BFF


I can’t tell y’all how many emails I get about green smoothies. I am SO glad to see this yummy drink become more and more popular. So here it is….the All About Green Smoothies post.

Q: What made you want to start drinking green smoothies?
A: During the summer of 2009 I wanted to try something new diet-wise. I really wanted to start falling in love with vegetables again and incorporate them more in my diet. Sooo…I went on a raw food diet and loved it. I read about green smoothies and fell in love. I love that they are cheap, portable, easy to make, delicious AND provide me more than the daily recommended amount of greens I need.

Q: What makes these things so healthy for you?
A: You’re kidding, right? Green smoothies are nothing but fruits and vegetables–the two kinds of food that most of us don’t eat enough of. I could talk all day about how the health benefits of green smoothies, but this article sums it all up!

Q: Wait…you mean it has vegetables in it? Eww! That means it tastes gross, right?
A: Nope. Thanks to naturally sweet fruits, you really can’t even taste the greens. Some people get turned off by the green color and I don’t know why. Green is beautiful!

Q: How often can you drink them?
A: I drink at least 40 oz of green smoothie a day. My body literally craves them. I put them in washable bottles and sip them in between meals. They are also excellent for breakfast, after a work-out and as a dessert. Oh…and I love them as energy boosters.

Q: Do you need a super pricey and amazingly awesome blender like a VitaMix?
A: Heck no! All of my blenders have been under $50. I’ve gone through 3 in about a year so I should probably invest in a top of the line blender. However…my cheap-self won’t allow me to make the purchase. :( No worries. My current Black & Decker Cyclone is holdin’ it down!

See how it got its name?

Q: How do you make a green smoothie?
A: I knew you’d ask that!

First, do know that there are no rules to making these babies. No measuring is needed. Mix this and add that and you’ve got a green smoothie .Ice and water are the foundation to my green smoothies. Not to mention without them you’ll be drinking what tastes like pureed grass. Trust me on this. And of course you need GREENS. Like kale, for example.


Kale is typically used as a garnish but when blended it provides an insane amount of Vitamin K. I use this and spinach the most. You can also use lettuce, parsley and chard. I tried collard greens once but I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone. *gags*

And then you need fruits!


I ALWAYS add a banana in my smoothies. They seem to do the best job at cutting the veggie taste. Be creative with your fruits. You can use anything in fresh or frozen form. Very rarely do I purchase expensive behind fruits from grocery stores. I like to support fresh fruit markets and go to one every Sunday after church. However, because of the season my market is on hiatus and I’m left to buying fruits from the grocery store. Do you need organic fruits? I guess it’s a personal thing. I always get organic apples because apples are more prone to getting zapped with pesticides with their permeable skin and all. But when it comes to bananas, berries, etc…I say my grace and move on.

Got milk?


I don’t add any milks to my smoothies unless I am making them for a dessert or want a little something special. Rice milk is a rarity for me. I LOVE almond milk but apparently so does everyone else in the world because it is always out of stock when I want it. Coconut milk=heaven. But fatty heaven and for that I only add it in smoothies every now and then. Feel free to use any kind of milk you like. I avoid cow’s and soy milk because they both are no bueño on my tummy.

Where da sugar at?


Adding a bit of sweetness to smoothies is also a rarity. Sometimes the fruits don’t provide enough and this is where additives come in. I only add a bit of raw cane sugar, honey, stevia or agave nectar. Maple syrup works well too but be careful….it is high in calories.

Flavor enhancements?


Some add whey and hemp protein to their smoothies. I haven’t tried either yet but I LOVE cinnamon and ginger. I also add a few drops of Vanilla extract in a smoothie if I really want a nice treat.

A blender full of green smoothie is enough to last me the whole day.


If I am detoxing, I double my intake of green smoothie and drink them in lieu of breakfast and lunch. The great thing about green smoothies is that they can last for a good 2-3 days in the fridge.

That’s it, y’all!

Some of my favorite random recipes include:

Sliced apples (super refreshing)
Strawberries
Banana
Kale

Avocado
Pineapple
Spinach
Coconut milk
Banana
….tastes like a green piña colada. Yum!

Blueberries
Strawberries
Kale/spinach
Pineapple
Almond milk
….full of antioxidants and GREAT for after work-outs.

Happy blending!

Other 50 million pound challenge posts:
Eat This, Not That
Greens 3x a Day
I’m no size 6, but I don’t care
Portion Sizes
Water Water is my friend

Join the Clumps of Mascara Team!!
Mascara Mamas team

50 million pound challenge: Water Water is my friend…


Let’s rap about water.

Do you drink enough?

Or are you stuck on sodas and high fructose juices? Would you rather drink coffee or a mixed drink than water? Pull yourself together, sister. Water is your friend. You NEED it. And not just when you’re thirsty.

I drink a little over a gallon of water a day.


It’s as if my body craves it. I mean, at any minute of the day…you can find me drinking from some bottle.


Purchasing water bottles can be expensive so I installed a filter in my kitchen. I fill up a gallon of water each day to take with me to work. That gallon sits at my desk and by the end of the day, it’s empty.

And in case you didn’t know, here are some important reasons why you SHOULD drink water:

  • Water can help flush out those nasty toxins in the body. Every few days I add either fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to my water. Both are great at detoxifying.
  • Water helps food digest properly. You know that yucky feeling in your tummy when you’ve eaten too much food and hours later you STILL feel a bloated mess? Um yeah…that’s constipation. Water can clear that up!
  • Water is good for the skin! And Lord knows I need as much help with clear skin as possible….
  • Water can aid in weight loss. Try replacing water with coffee, alcoholic beverages and sweet drinks for week and see what happens. Unlike all of those drinks, water has ZERO calories, ZERO fat and ZERO sugar.
  • Water makes for a better work-out. This is so true! I find that when I’m not drinking any water at all before and during my work-outs, I am more sluggish and tiresome. (source)

While experts say we are SUPPOSED to drink 8 glasses (or 8 ounces) of water a day, I think just making sure that you aren’t dehydrated is enough. However, if you’re on a weight loss journey, I think it’s important to keep track of everything. Even water. I keep my water in water bottles with numbers on them.

That way I can know for sure that I’ve had enough to drink in days I don’t drink from my gallon. Between my water and liquid heaven that is this….

I’m good! I’ve never been a coffee (yuck) or alcohol drinker so drinking only water and green smoothies works for me. On the weekends I’ll splurge a bit and drink a Shirley Temple (I’m such a kid, ha!) or sweet tea.

But at the end of the day, it’s water that keeps me feeling good. If you haven’t made friends with water, start incorporating more glasses of it in your daily schedule. If you need help, put an alarm on your watch or in your phone to remind you to drink more.

Any avid water drinkers out there?

I’m going to be posting about fitness the next few Challenge posts. You ready? Let me know what y’all think about these posts. Are they helpful? Don’t hesitate to send me any emails at Brittany@ClumpsOfMascara.com if you have any suggestions or questions!

Until next time….

Other 50 million pound challenge posts:
Eat This, Not That
Greens 3x a Day
I’m no size 6, but I don’t care
Portion Sizes

Join the Clumps of Mascara Team!!
Mascara Mamas team