Warning the Interview you are about to read will make you think! It will require that you behave as a grown up and above all else, USE common sense!
Chocolate Orchid is NOT a Licensed Nutritionist/Dietitian and is not offering any Medical advice. Get it?
Please consult a Physician or a Licensed Nutritionist, Dietitian or Certified Personal Trainer about diet and physical health. A Choice of Weapons, Chocolate Orchid are not responsible if you twist yo legs behind yo neck or some crazy type of ish! Mista Jaycee
Hey Y'all, welcome to the first Kongo Square Chat for 2010. It is my pleasure to welcome the writer and fellow blogger Chocolate Orchid to A Choice of Weapons.
Jaycee: Thanks for joining us. I've followed your blog Chocolate Orchid for a while and have enjoyed it tremendously. By the way, I tried the Chia Seeds.
Chocolate Orchid: Really? What did you think?
Jaycee: I really enjoyed them in food. I tried them in juice but they would just stick to the sides of the cup after they began to expand. But I had a lot of energy and felt full.
Chocolate Orchid: I'm glad you tried it.
Jaycee: You weren't kidding about that gas problem though. Whooo! (Laughter) It did act as a whish broom for my colon. Well, enough about my colon:
Chocolate Orchid: (Laughter) Thank You!
Jaycee: What got you interested in nutrition and natural hair care?
Chocolate Orchid: I think I’ve always had an underlying interest in nutrition. I grew up seeing my father jog and exercise on a daily basis. He was the one who decided to change from eating white bread to wheat bread so consequently I believe he laid the foundation to my consciousness about health. On the flip side of that, my growing up my eating was not the best. Both of my parents worked full-time so especially after their divorce, my mother did what most single mom’s back in the day did. They relied on fast food to feed the kids because they had to bring the money in which took up a lot of time.
Unfortunately, eating McDonald’s all the time along with little exercise resulted in me being quite obese. Being a young teen and weighing in at 180+ lbs was not a great combo.
At some point in high school, my mother enrolled us both in (watch out for an age-spoiler alert) a Richard Simmons gym. They talked to us about eating properly and had some great exercise classes. I lost weight. And being a typical teen girl, wanted to be cute for the boys, so I was on a mission. By the time I hit my Junior/Senior year of high school, I had slimmed down to around 130 lbs.
Then came college. Little money + late night snacking + a Krystal’s on the corner = a combo ripe for weight gain. So from there my weight/nutrition fluctuated until about age 23 when I regained my desire to focus on nutrition and exercise. So I would say, my history with being overweight was my basic motivating factor. These days, it’s still about looking good but a lot more about not wanting to be a diabetic which runs strong in my family.
Jaycee: Ah, Krystal's, the Southern equivalent of White Castles. I too, am a victim of their deliciously crafted debauchery! (Laughter)
Chocolate Orchid: Now natural hair is a whole other story. I’ve always admired women who wore their hair natural. Always! I just didn’t have the guts or "self" to go for it until a motivating experience put me into the "Screw it.!Life’s too short to live worrying about what other people may think. I’m gonna do me mode!".
So a little over 2 years ago, I had all the relaxer in my hair whacked off. No more than 2 inches of hair on my head and I was so happy. I felt like I was rediscovering myself. And I loved it and me!! When I think about it, natural health, whole nutrition and natural hair all go hand in hand.
Jaycee: Since, you’ve began writing on natural hair care what have you "focused" on when speaking on Afrikan American hair? Is it the hairstyles or maybe diet or lifestyle additives that Men and Women may be adding to their hair? For example, Mary J. Blige has used hair weave, blond hair color and others swear by the perm or lye relaxer.
Chocolate Orchid: My focus is more on loving the hair that was given to you by God. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with a weave (every once in a while) or color to mix things up a bit but when you consciously or subconsciously think that your God-given hair is ugly or unattractive or that it’s not good, there is a problem.
I understand that we were conditioned to think this way about ourselves. I do understand that this stems back to the days of slavery so it really makes my heart ache to see people who still live under this veil of thought. My wish is that every woman knows that her hair, from the kinkiest of kinks to silkiest of silks is beautiful. I think once we embrace, accept and love our hair and physical features, then the general level of self-esteem will rocket up.
Jaycee: I grew up with the Seventh Day Adventist Health Message where the vegetarian diet was strongly promoted along with abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. It’s a good lifestyle but it was not main stream. Going Veg has now become more main stream. That said, I’ve seen a lot of fat vegetarians!
What are we doing wrong? (Laughter) Are we supposed to be losing weight and showing a more natural physique?
Chocolate Orchid: (tickled) Well, I’ll say this. Fat is fat! Good or bad, if you eat a lot of it it will still put the weight on you. Especially, if you eat a lot of it with little to no exercise. That being said, smaller proportions are always in order.
There is nothing good about overeating, even in the "veg" world. Avocados and nuts contain a good amount of fat. So you definitely can still be overweight as a vegetarian, vegan and raw-vegan.
Personally, I do believe that our physique’s should be more natural. And that’s not to say that everyone’s natural physique is small. I believe with the right lifestyle it should level off. But keep in mind, that everyone is different, so everyone’s natural physique will still vary.
Jaycee: Now on the other side, I’ve seen a lot of folks undertake lifestyle/diet changes are their appearance radically changes! They look unhealthy, skeletal and weird. What are we doing wrong? (Laughter) Where is the balance?
Chocolate Orchid: Again, it boils down to balance. Looking gaunt is not healthy. You’ve gotta have balance. Include fats. It does'nt mean to overindulge in them but our bodies do need some fat.
Jaycee: Are you vegetarian, vegan or a raw foodist? Why? How long? If you switched then how long and why? (Laughter)
Chocolate Orchid: At this point, I would call myself a "practicing" raw vegan or raw foodist. My goal is to have a lifestyle that includes consuming 75% raw foods. Raw and living foods consist of all fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds, grains, sea vegetables and other plant-based organic/natural foods that have not been processed or cooked.
It is food that have not been heated over 116 degrees to preserve their vitamin, enzymes and minerals content. That way, during the digestive process your cells are actually getting nourished and fed. Cooking destroys the very things that your body needs to function properly. Honestly, it is not my goal to be 100% raw or even 100% vegan. I still believe that you do need some animal product in your diet (at least I do) and until or unless my body tells me otherwise, I will continue to have some. By the way, I strongly believe in getting in tune to "your" bodies needs.
I just believe that animal food and by-product intake should be very minimal. We really don’t need animal protein the way it’s pushed on us through advertising. The Standard American Diet’s (also referred to as S.A.D.) promotion of animal consumption is all about greed and over-indulgence which has lead to some pretty horrific treatment of animals. Then on top of all this, the processing of not only animal and plant-based foods is insane and leads to toxicity in people which of course leads to more sick folk.
Jaycee: Was it a spiritual or political decision?
Chocolate Orchid: It definitely was Not a political decision! I guess I’ll go with spiritual in the sense that it began with me wanting to improve myself, which included, being a healthier person. Now, it’s becoming more.
I’m a lot more conscious about my food choices, how the food was treated/grown and where it came from or where it was grown. I even find myself looking to see if fair trade is involved in the process. It’s funny but I never envisioned myself as the person who believed in "conscious" eating but everyday I’m finding myself considering all things as it relates to the fair treatment of the environment, people and animals more and more. I’m definitely still evolving.
Jaycee: Have you read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle"? That will change your view on eating meat and the Meat packing industry.
Chocolate Orchid: No, haven't read that yet.Jaycee: After that book was released, congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act and created the Food and Drug Administration.
Jaycee: Did you under go any negative changes with the diet/lifestyle change? Who did you consult and what did you read to find out why and change it?
Chocolate Orchid: But of course! *laughs*
When you go against the grain the mass, you’re always gonna get the "side-eye".
It’s cool though!
I know that my journey is encouraging, inspiring, and rubbing-off, on some folks. So it’s all good!
Physically, you can (and I have) experience detoxification symptoms, which may or may not include, some or a few, of the following: nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, bad breath, bad body odor, etc etc. It’s not pretty but a necessary part of the process.
Jaycee: Uh Oh! There's that disclaimer we always see on the drug commercials! May cause Bad Breath, Nausea, (Laughter)
Chocolate Orchid: Hmm, who did I consult?
Well, I had heard about the "raw vegan" lifestyle when I was considering doing a super detox that would have required me to eat that way. I didn’t do it because I was turned off by the amount supplements and vitamins that I would have had to take on a daily basis. I ended up finding a local raw foods chef and spoke with her about it.
Jaycee: Do you remember her name?
Chef Jenya Hampton
Chocolate Orchid: Her name was Chef Jenya Hampton. Unfortunately, she moved to Arizona. She told me that eating a raw vegan diet alone would cause you to detox so all that extra stuff wasn't really necessary and probably would be too much on my body. I’m glad I made that call to her. It was unfortunate for me that she's moved, but I’ve found someone else, Carolyn Akens (a master raw foods chef and coach), whom I plan on working closely with. She just doesn't know it yet but she's gonna be getting some business from me.
Raw Food Chef Carolyn Akens
Outside of that, I joined a meet up group and began doing a lot of research on my own through the Internet, books and local seminars/speaking sessions. It really does help to surround yourself with the information you seek, and a variety of people who are where you want to be and/or doing what you want to do.
Jaycee: Afrikan American folks come in all shapes and sizes so what’s natural for us?
I’m 5’8 and I remember that I felt great at 167 pounds but my Doctor was always pointing to the body mass index and said I needed to be 130. I would look like a pipe cleaner at that weight! I did! (Laughter)
Chocolate Orchid: Glad you brought that up. I honestly don’t put too much stock into those things because everybody’s body is unique. I think it’s way too general.
You have to be specific to your body’s needs and I’m sure that requires a lot more than detail than going by the basic general index. Everybody’s physical makeup is different. Everyone’s hereditary traits are different. So I don’t think people should strictly go by the body mass index.
Everyone is not going to be, or should try, to be naturally thin. That, also goes, for those who are trying to be voluptuous (say Beyonce-esque or J-Lo-ish). It just does'nt work like that!
As I stated before, getting in tune with "your" body and its needs is most important.
What somebody else does, may not be, what you need to do? Someone else’s slenderness may not be for you. Neither is someone’s voluptuousness.
Jaycee: Yeah, I remember reading about Video Model Buffy The Body and how she advised that she used a weight gainer over several months to bulk up. She stated that she was a natural size two with a large butt, which most of the Women in her family had as well but wanted a Va Va Voom type of shape. So she used a weight gainer to bulk up to a six or an eight.
Chocolate Orchid: Believe me, I’d love to have a fully matured Badonkadonk, with matching hips, but that was not my lot. I missed that "set your drink on top of the booty" type giveaway.
Jaycee: A Choice of Weapons will now pause for station identification while we examine Chocolate Orchid's Tushie. (It's for the INTERVIEW!) (Laughter)
Ok, we are back! With the interview in progress!
Chocolate Orchid: And that’s okay. As long as I’m working on doing what it takes for my body to function at an optimal level, I’m good. I’ve considered getting blood chemistry or profile test done to see what my body’s specific needs are. Reaching my natural weight is one of my goals for this year so I expect to be able to speak more on that by the summer or fall.
Jaycee: As far as the Ladies, most of ours, have curves! Even an Afrikan American, size 4 can have a large butt. So what would you say about a Woman’s shape that is realistic? I see some struggling over a lifetime to lose they Butt or some biological feature that can’t be lost! What’s the biggest misconception on diet and natural hair care that you’ve seen? What’s your pet peeve? (s)
Chocolate Orchid: I think the biggest misconception is that eating like this is a "white" thing. I hate to hear that because that so not true. Or another one is that they feel they’ll be required to wear a turban on their head and walk around barefoot all the time. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But it’s such bull!
I believe people use those as an excuse to not even try and to hold onto to bad habits and lifestyles. This is an all-inclusive lifestyle for everybody. Not sure if I’m answering your question, but I do see more people of color interest in a raw vegan lifestyle .
Jaycee: Do you practice Yoga or Tai Chi? Do you lift weights or do a lot of cardio? What role does exercise play in diet and natural hair care?
Chocolate Orchid: Yoga. I love yoga! I just started practicing it last year. I think everyone should do it or at least give it a try. I also love all kinds of cardio. I'm also feelin' belly dancing. Weights are okay. I just don’t like to do them too much because I find that I gain muscle easy. And I sure as hell don’t want to look hard. I believe that once my intake is more consistent it will level out. But I’m still in the process so I won’t really be able to say until later on this year.
I will say this, when you're consistently giving your best in a workout you definitely think twice about what you put in your mouth. After all, who wants to waste a great workout?
Jaycee: I practice Kriya Yoga and still practice Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan. I love both Art/Sports.
Jaycee: So I don’t have to convert to eating alfalfa spouts, pine nuts and Swiss chard to be healthy do I? I love the taste of spicy chicken! What changes can I make without buying out the Trader Joes or Whole Foods? (Laughter)
Chocolate Orchid: What chu talkin’ bout, Willis?! Those foods are da bomb-tastic!! (Laughter)
Ha ha ha!! I don’t think anything’s wrong with the spicy chicken. Just be picky about where it came from and how it was raised and processed. Also, maybe commit to gradually decreasing the number of times that you eat it within a month.
Mista Jaycee shaking his head No!
Chocolate Orchid: Not feeling that, well how about this?
Work on increasing your salad intake. Maybe work on increasing your fresh fruit and vegetable intake. Try making a plate that 3 parts raw vegan to 1 part animal protein. Go from there and see where that will take you. And take note on how your body feels!
Mista Jaycee shaking his head No!
Chocolate Orchid: Try instituting "Meatless Mondays" in your lifestyle. Or maybe, have a green smoothie, or fresh vegetable juice in the morning to start your day. Take baby steps. I definitely would'nt go at it cold-turkey. I’ve tried that plenty of times and I suck at it.
Mista Jaycee shaking his head No!
And yes, Whole Foods gets me, also. I recommend making an acquaintance with your local farmer’s market. I’m always pleasantly surprised, at the things, I can get and the prices, that I can get them, for at the market. Just the other day I went to my farmer’s market and found organic raw honey that was farmed locally.
Mista Jaycee shaking his head No!
Maybe even consider becoming a part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) which is becoming a popular way for people to buy local and seasonal organic produce. You can find one near you buy visiting
Mista Jaycee shaking his head No!
Jaycee: Were you heavy or did you have health problems?
Chocolate Orchid: Going into the raw vegan lifestyle, I wasn’t heavy. Going back and forth along with stress and an inconsistent workout regimen has made me a little more "thick" than I like to be but I’m working on that. But I am in the process.
Jaycee: Some Women I know grew lox when their hair began to recede. Did you experience that?
Chocolate Orchid: No, I’ve never had a receding hairline. What I did experience was my hair thinning out over time. I knew it was the chemicals and I knew that it would be best to give them up. It just took a life realization experience to get me there.
Jaycee: What would you like to say to our A Choice of Weapons/Chocolate Orchid and Blogosphere families?
Chocolate Orchid: First, I want and pray that you all realize how beautiful you are. Forget about what mainstream society has told you and what the media tries to show you. Go look in the mirror and see and accept the beauty that you were blessed with. Take note of it, and realize, that such a beautiful ,and unique creation, is worthy of great care. Secondly, that you are valuable to this world. I believe that we all were born for a reason and purpose specific to this life and effecting the lives after ours. Once we realize that, I believe that we will automatically take care about how we treat ourselves... our bodies, our spirits, each other and this earth. It's like a snowball effect. Understand that, realize your worth, then, act accordingly.
You can read Chocolate Orchid daily at http://chocolateorchid.blogspot.com/
Jaycee: Again, thanks for doing the interview. I certainly enjoyed it and I hope that you did as well. Very special thanks to Blogger/Model Fibi Love for permission to use the photos. http://www.fibilove.com/
BE Prayerful! BE Mindful! BE Careful!