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EP10 // Being Healthy is NOT a Drag - An Interview with Neema Black!

Jun 21, 2021
Shannon Klenk Neema Black Episode 10


Multi-passionate, multi-talented Neema Black is not your average vegan!

There is NO cardboard tasting food here.  And NO hard core ‘you have to change everything, right now, in order to be healthy’ here.  Neema’s passion for making plants the primary source of your fuel is infectious and judgement-free.  

As she says, “Our relationship with food is complicated!”  She’s filled with practical tips, suggestions and ideas while inspiring with joy and her harmonious spirit!  If you need creative ways to get more plant-based foods into your diet in a way that is really, really doable for you and your chronic illness, Neema is an amazing resource!  

Takeaways from today’s episode:

~People can give you advice and tips, but at the end of the day, you be you. 

~You deserve to do that thing that lights you up, JUST BECAUSE it lights you up.  You don’t need to have any other reason than that!

~Everyone has a wellness journey.

~Open mindedness helps in our relationship with food.  

~Look for the lesson.

~Know when it’s time to rest.  

~Sometimes you need to say, “What the f*#!,” but that doesn’t mean you aren’t grateful.  

~Shoulding on yourself is contrary to self-love.

~Our relationship with food is complicated.

~Infuse your food with positivity. 

~Be intentional about having joy in your life every day.  

Where to find Neema:

Cooking Demos & The 90 Days to Wellness Plant-Based Eating Program >>> 

Instagram >>>

Facebook Group: Harmonious Living and Eating >>>

Where to find Shannon & Finally Effing Happy: 

Learn >>>

Connect >>>  [email protected]

Community >>>

Email List >>>

Work with Shannon >>>

Leave a voice message >>> 860-385-1088


Hey Beautiful, and welcome to Finally Effing Happy, a podcast and community for kick ass can do women living with chronic illness. Shannon Klenk, happiness coach and self care strategist. I share with you my personal journey to joy through chronic illness. bring you some amazing guest speakers and share tons of happiness hacks and self care strategies so that you too, can live in joy and happiness, despite what chronic illness or condition you may be living with day today, and I am absolutely thrilled that you were here for today's episode, because today is a toolbox talk. To put one more tool in your self care healthcare wellness mindset toolbox. As kick ass can do women living with chronic illness. I know you are amazingly resourceful, and you know what works best for you for your health, your heart and spirit, your journey. And in today's episode, you'll pick up a new tool or two to make your journey easier, or be reminded of one that you haven't used in a while. Or maybe you're a fresh take on an oldie but goodie, whatever it may be. I am so excited to share this collective wisdom from some of my most favorite guests during these toolbox talks. So with no further ado, let's see what's in store for us today.


Hey beauties, I am super excited for today's episode. I know I say that every time but I really really really am. Today I bring to you the multi passionate multitalented, Neema Black, She is the founder of Harmonic Soul Wellness. And everything about her sings that harmony. She is the founder of the 90 days to Wellness Plant based eating and before you turn this off and go I'm not a vegan, I don't want to be a vegan. I'm not a vegetarian. Here's the deal. I love food. I love food. I love all kinds of food. I love junk food. I love healthy food. I love my baby back ribs as much as I love a good wild rice stuffing and an acorn squash. And we all know what our preferences are. And we all know what works best for our own body. And that is the thing that I appreciate so much about nehama and her approach, she refers to herself as the non judgmental vegan and she totally is her passion for making plants are the primary source of your fuel is infectious and judgment free. And in addition to the practical tips on how to get more plant based food into your diet. She has such a relatable and down to earth approach on our emotions with food. As she says our relationship with food is complicated. You can say that again. So with no further ado, I bring you harmonic soul wellness Neema Black.


Shannon Klenk

I'm well how are you? 


Neema Black

I'm doing good. Thank you so so much. I'm so excited that we finally get some time together. I love your flower in your hair. It's totally one of the things that I talk about in my community a lot is that because we spend so much time just feeling energetically low. It's nice to have those reasons to put a flower and our hair and a little lipstick garden and rocket you know, absolutely.


Absolutely love it. Especially after a year of you know, exercise clothes and a whole year of not needing to be dressed up except for right. You can see on camera. Yeah, and I've got my perfectly imperfect shirt on today, but no one can see. Right.


Neema Black

Exactly. So it's like those few moments when we have an opportunity to, you know, put on a little lipstick or you know, do something a little bit different or even put on a cute top. It's like we have to make the most of it for sure. 


Shannon Klenk

Absolutely. So um, why don't we just dive right in? Because I don't know a lot about the work that you do. I know about the work that you do from your podcast, which is Harmonious Living. Do I have that right? And yes, and you have some of the most creative titles for your podcast. By the way. I love your titles on your podcast.

And so, yeah. On your Instagram page though your first title is singer songwriter. Tell me a little bit about the singer songwriter side of you before we get into the food side of you. 


Neema Black

Absolutely. So I'm a multi passionate person. And as people get to know me, they'll see that I have all of these different sides to me. So Music is my first love, I've been singing since I was a child is the thing that lights me up, that gives me my wings. And so I've been doing it all my life, you know, often performing with different groups, sometimes I'm just doing it for myself for my own enjoyment. I am in a local band here. And I'm one of the CO lead singers. And during COVID, of course, we weren't able to keep performing in front of public groups. And so I've kind of taken a step back and like many people, pivoted in 2020 and started looking at Well, what other ways can I express my creativity.

And so that's kind of how the other sides the thing, the other things that you see on my Instagram evolved. But yes, I've been a vocalist, and I just love doing music, I love performing. 


And you know, being around people. I like recording as well. But it's just the way that the energy has been. I kind of took a step back, even from writing, I think I've just been really kind of taken it all in and observing. And it's like, there's some things that are brewing that they're gonna come out on paper, and they're going to come out in song soon. But I think, like a lot of people, it's just been really a time of introspection. And just, you know, looking at the world now, because it's so different than we've experienced it, at least in my lifetime. I think a lot of people would feel the same way. 


Shannon Klenk

Yeah, I would totally agree. And I referred to this time, a little bit for myself as like a sacred pause.


Neema Black

It has been, you know, sometimes when we think of pause, it's not necessarily a positive thing. But combining it with that sacred space of being able to step back and have the space to reassess a little bit and go, What does light me up? And that thing that lights me up? Can I do it? Just because it lights me up for no other reason. But because it lights me up. And I think so many of us stop doing the thing that lights us up, because we're like, what's the purpose other than the fact that it just like this.

And I love that you still bring that to your life. And you can see that in the spirit of the work that you do for sure. Thank you for sharing that part of you. And now tell me about the plant based living this part of you that I will share a little bit about my journey as we get into it. But I would love to hear a little bit how you got to that place in your journey. I'm sure you have some story that brought you to that place for you. 


Neema Black

Absolutely. So you know, everyone has a wellness journey. And that's one of the things that I talk about in my podcast. And for me. I think my first glimpses really started when I was a teenager. And maybe even further back than that. I would say that, you know, my mom always tried to make sure that we had balanced meals, although, like many people grew up in the US with a standard American diet. And so I was an omnivore. And but I was in high school, and I had a really engaging biology teacher. And this particular year, he taught us a lot about chemicals in food, and preservatives. And all of these things in my mind was just blown. And so I really started taking more pay more attention to what was in the foods that I was eating so much so that at that time I decided to stop eating red meat. And so I was only eating poultry and seafood for several years. And so I made that conscious decision that I wanted to eat better. And then fast forward to in my early 20s I noticed that I had started picking up some weight. And I know that part of that was from you know late night eating and you know kind of hanging out and Eating after partying and stuff like that, and I realized that I needed to take a more disciplined approach to my eating. And so my first experience with plant based eating was I actually went raw as a vegan for what I did for several years, but within the first six months, the weight really just melted off.

And I was convinced I wasn't doing any extra exercise, I wasn't doing anything special, I was just eating better. And I noticed that my energy levels increased significantly, my skin got clearer, my mind was clearer. And so I started just researching and, you know, experimenting on myself and just learning as much as I could. And then, as time went on, I started noticing some health issues with some family members. And one of them being diabetes. And the other being high blood pressure, which you may or may not know, are two ailments that are common, in particular with people of color. But you know, genetically speaking in my family, I noticed these, these conditions were happening. And I saw as I was doing my research, I learned so much about things that are preventable, through lifestyle choices. And so at that point, I made a commitment to myself that, well, if I can prevent myself from dealing with heart disease, or, you know, exposure to cancer, or hypertension, or all of these other things, if eating well, and taking care of myself can help me prevent that there, let me do that. And so it's just kind of been an ongoing journey. And I'm not saying that I've been, you know, perfect. And certainly, there have been times where I've gone back and forth between being vegan or vegetarian. And, or, you know, there were, there was a time where I had poultry again, or seafood. And so I've experimented on myself, and you know, family members, and seeing what works for me, and what I've seen that my body responds to the best. And what science says, works best for people is a diet that's heavy in plants, and fruits and vegetables, and legumes, and grains and all of that. 

So that's one way of saying that, yeah, it's been, it's been an ongoing journey. And, you know, one of the biggest things that I tell people is, people can give you advice and tips and stuff like that, but at the end of the day, like, do you what, what works for you, and you know, like, if you're enjoying that, then you know, keep with it, our bodies have an intelligence. And so you have to learn what your body responds to, and then give it that, you know, your body will let you know, when something that you're consuming, is good for you or agrees with you versus when it's not, oftentimes we will mask or we will suppress or not listen to those things that are happening. And the body is saying, like, for example, I get a stomach ache when I eat this particular food, Well, hello, that's a clue, right? that your body is somehow not responding. And often times I will go to a doctor and say, every time I eat this, I get a stomachache, and then the doctor gives you some medicine. And so we you know, we put band aids on things, and it can add up over time, lead to chronic illnesses. So there's something to be said, for listening to that intelligence. Absolutely. And I think that, you know, it is such an important issue for this community of women who live with chronic illness, there is a nuance to each of us the journey that every person has this nuance to not only their individual chronic condition, but how it presents to them. And what I have learned and I just really honor is that women do know what works for their body. We do. It's the doing it and the doing it consistently. And that's where the sisterhood and the support and being willing to connect with other women to say this getting my water everyday is really hard or I know I like zucchini, but I don't know how to cook it. What do I do, right?

Don't want to spend six hours on YouTube because I can get obsessive about how to cook or zucchini, all of us being willing to ask for help in some of these areas, I think is so important. And then honoring that listening to ourselves so that we can make those choices. I also, you know, I would love to hear any of your sort of go to recommendations. So for example,

part of my condition is I've had a bad belly pretty much my whole life and not too long ago, my naturopath I work with a naturopath as well as Western medicine I do at all, like all are welcome in this healing space. And so she said, You know what, why don't you just, why don't you just try and add some papaya into your diet. I was like, okay, so you know, fresh papaya, dried papaya, right? I get all analytical about it as smart women do sometimes like, Alright, let's dissect what kind of Avaya just just get some good non sugar added organic papaya eat a strip a day. Now I could sell you some really expensive enzymes, you could go to a doctor, and they'd probably put you on some kind of chemical or just let's start with the papaya. No joke. 10 days later, one little piece of papaya a day. My stomach's right as rain. Wow. Right. And, and part of it is a willingness to be open to papaya might be the answer.

Because how times how many times are we like? I don't know, you don't understand my situation is really complicated. Well, I'm sure it is complicated. But try the papaya anyways.

Yes, and then a willingness to try the papaya. And then you know, just just the openness to that experience. And then if the papaya doesn't work being open to try something else. So I know that you may have some go to suggestions or things that you might recommend, and not for any one specific thing. But what are some of your favorites that really nourish you? Wow, this is the thing is that my philosophy and you I'm sure you've heard this cliche about Let food be thy medicine. And so starting from there, and starting from the premise mentally that the natural state of our body is wellness. And so if we start from there, then if we look at illness, illnesses, that there's something that is out of balance, because our body, our bodies have the ability to heal themselves, our bodies are natural healers. But sometimes we have to give them the tools or the fuel to heal. And like you said, oftentimes, it's a matter of exploring trying things that you might not have tried before, and being open to trying new things. And some people may put their nose up at certain things that they haven't tried. And sometimes what I have found is that your tastebuds may change over time. So things that I didn't like when I was younger, I thought I didn't like when I had them in a different form. I found out that I actually did like them better. Oh, nice. Like what can you think of an example? Well, like certain vegetables, for example, where I didn't like the texture, like I'll give you a really easy one spinach. So if you have spinach, if it's overcooked, or let's say if you only have it frozen, and you don't know the the beauty and the texture and taste of having it raw, then you could miss out and say oh, I don't like spinach. But it's just because of the form that you've had it in or you know, certain vegetables, if you have them out of a can and they taste mushy to you. Well, if you have it fresh, then you may experience it a whole different way or even like if you cook certain vegetables a different way. So for example, I love roasting vegetables. It brings out other flavors in them and then using herbs and seasoning and things like that in the cooking that make it more appealing. But so I like to say you know having a variety of foods is a good go to when it comes to the digestion and the gut in particular. As you mentioned, you know, papaya and things like that, that have good digestive enzymes, pineapple so some people don't like the taste of papaya. And again, it depends on what form you have it in so maybe someone doesn't like fresh papaya. What

They might like papaya juice, they can take tablets or, you know. So in other words, there are many ways to enjoy it, you know, dry papaya, actually is really good. And it's really sweet. And actually, I, I tend to prefer dried papaya over fresh papaya oftentimes, but I like to find it, you know, like without sulfur because you know, they add preservatives to it sometimes. And so again, it's about exposing, trying a little bit being open to try. 


So even if you say you don't like something, give it a shot. And more often than not, you'll find, okay, well I like this, I don't like that you get feedback. And you know, other things that are good for good health are, of course, you know, probiotics, sometimes people will do like kombucha or do like fermented foods. So like your sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, with the mother in it, the raw apple cider vinegar. So there are a lot of different ways to deal with your gut health.


But the other thing about that, of course, the vagus nerve, which is connected all the way from the brain, and so there's something to be said for the brain, gut connection to so if you're dealing with a lot of stress that can affect your digestion, too. So it's not just about the food always, sometimes it's about our thoughts. 


Shannon Klenk

Sure. So let's talk about mindset for a little bit, Because you're truly to all my listeners, if you're on Instagram and not following Neema, you need to go follow her on Instagram, because she just has the most uplifting quotes, you know, sometimes you hear quotes that you just see the same ones over and over again, but I read yours and really connect. And so I love that people need to go follow you.

So but let's talk about mindset. And let's talk about that body, that brain gut connection, because I'll tell you that part of my story was that I was not properly diagnosed until I was about 40 years old. And so I had spent all of my life sick, I had had one kind of infection after another after another after another, I am the classic case of the 1970s and 80s. I was fed antibiotics like candy, right? It just it kept me going that probably kept me alive, in all fairness to my doctors of the time. But this place of I believed it was my fault. I believe that my being sick was my fault. It was because I know you're shaking your head, I just love that right I I had internalized at every level of my being it was because I didn't eat right, or I didn't sleep right or I didn't manage stress well, or I didn't whatever. And I use isn't the right word. But I sought out all kinds of mindset support. What happened for me was I actually then use that to shame myself even more. Because I couldn't think my way into feeling physically different. I could think my way into a better more gratitude space, positive mindset, etc. But I couldn't think myself healthy.

And again, that was just one more layer of how this is my fault. And there was this place in time where I got properly diagnosed. And there was a sense of really deep acceptance around there are certain things in my body that I'm powerless over, right? Like I'm powerless over my white blood cells.

Now I leave a little tiny window open for miracle of miracles. Maybe one day I wake up and have a normal amount of white blood cells. And that'd be wonderful. It's possible miracles happen? 


Neema Black

Absolutely. But I may or may not be able to think my way into more white blood cells, I may or may not be able to sink my way into IGA antibodies. And so this mindset brain gut piece, this fine balance between what I put out into the universe is critical and I can't think my way into more white blood cells or I can't think my way into how my kidneys going to release my insulin or right I can think my way into loving myself enough to making different food choices which will impact How my kidney is going to release my insulin or etc. And I know that's a really long winded question. I think you're learning about me, I asked really long.

But whatever comes up for you around that, I would love to hear your thoughts again. You know, you said a lot. And I think, and I was thinking about this before we got on this call is that there's so many lessons. When a person is dealing with a chronic condition, as you said, you know, there's a lot that goes into your head in terms of blaming and shaming and even frustration that people deal with when, if the one depending on how you advocate for yourself, if you're not being heard, if you're not getting the response that you need from your healthcare practitioners, and, you know, bless people who go into that field, I'm not, you know, casting aspersions on anybody. But I would also say that, because Western medicine tends to not look at root causes as much, they're sometimes some suffering that people go through. But I think one thing that's helpful to have is to have as an affirmation that I have whatever the condition is, it doesn't have me. And so if you start from that premise, and then again, look at everything in life as a lesson, sometimes the lesson might be surrender. Sometimes the lesson might be, okay, let me learn how to balance what part that I can control what parts I can manage, and which which parts, I need to just listen to my body, whether it's telling me to rest, whether it's telling me,

you know, this is working, or this is not working. It's a balance. It's a balancing act. And I think there are so many lessons inherent in it. And, you know, getting back to what I said earlier, just even knowing when it's time to rest, but sometimes we do do do, and sometimes we do in spite of what our body's telling us, and sometimes we our bodies will shut down, because it's like, okay, you didn't listen, I've had enough. I'm stopping. Right. And so, you know, there's definitely something to be said for, you know, dealing with with that part of the mindset.

The other part, I think, and you mentioned the word gratitude. It's something that I am a complete adherent of and a complete proponent of is a daily gratitude practice, you know, being able to thank God for all of it, the adversity, the sunshine and the rain.

Because it's all part of the journey. And I know that sometimes it's easier said than done, finding one little thing to be grateful for and then grasping on to that and then letting that expand. I think that goes a really long way.


Shannon Klenk

I am loving this conversation. But this is a good spot to take a quick break and remind you as always, that nothing on this podcast is intended to diagnose, treat, heal or cure any illness and any medical advice specific to you and or your condition should be directed to and receive from your medical team. And I want to make sure you know about two things going on at Finally Effin Happy that may be of support to you or someone you know in love. As you know, I am the queen of self care your personal self care cheerleader, because I am crazy passionate about women being kind to themselves through sustainable, consistent, doable, daily self care. And maybe you just feel like you don't have the time or the motivation or those little things don't matter or by the time you've taken care of everyone else. You're exhausted. I completely understand I have so been there. Just over 10 years ago, despite having lots of good things in my life. I was walking around with a suicide hotline number in my pocket and my self care was more like this desperate patchwork, something more akin to a NASCAR pit crew stop than a reliable loving daily self care. But I wasn't willing to give up on joy. I wasn't willing to give up on my dreams regardless of how physically and emotionally horrible I felt and I tried everything. I reached out to so many self help programs, but what I found is that many of those cookie cutter approaches didn't take into consideration the specific nuances of my chronic illness and the physical and emotional unpredictability that went along with it. So I created a self care system for kick ass women living with chronic illness that makes showing up for you. Totally doable, in small, manageable baby steps. And it has allowed me to completely change my life, my energy, how I show up for my family, my work, but most importantly, how I show up for myself, all while managing a chronic illness that can knock me on my ass when I least expect it. You can relate to any of that and some loving self care accountability. Sounds wonderful. Listen up. The first thing is that every Sunday night at 8pm Eastern, I go live in my facebook group. Finally Effing Happy you can join the Facebook group at Finally Effing Happy Group and there will be a link in the show notes. But I go live every Sunday night at 8pm. Eastern. And I take 10 to 15 minutes to infuse my week with energy and enthusiasm by creating and committing to a self care plan just for the one week ahead. And if you'd like to infuse your week with a little energy and enthusiasm, come join me again The link will be in the show notes. 

And then the second thing I want to share with you I am offering three women 30 days of one on one coaching at the beta price of $298. That five and a half hours of individualized one on one coaching time to dive into what is holding you back from showing up for you and living your fullest life after completing a thorough self care assessment with me taking into consideration the nuances of your chronic condition and how it physically and emotionally presents in your life. I will run alongside you for the rest of the month and cheer you on week in and week out as you build your very own self care superstructure. And when your self care foundation is strong, when your roots reach deep into nourishing soil. Everything is possible. So if any of that sounds good to you, and you're having a hard time generating that all on your own, DM me, send me an email. Let's chat about it. I can answer any and all questions about this one on one coaching offer at the beta price of $298. That's five hours of one on one coaching, to start building your self care superstructure, and have a personalized coach running alongside of you for some loving accountability to make it real. And whether that sounds interesting to you, or you join me on Sundays at 8pm to prioritize yourself for the week ahead or listen to this podcast and continue to fill your self care toolbox. I hope you find whatever it is that supports you in showing up for you. Be kind to you today. Now let's get back to today's show!


I'm grateful for my dogs. I'm grateful for my husband. I'm grateful for Kathy Heller teaching us how to be C students. I'm actually grateful for my condition. Now. I wasn't always grateful for it. And I too am a huge proponent of a daily gratitude practice. And every day I write down three things. One thing that I'm genuinely grateful for one thing that's working in my life.

And one place where I see God, spirit, divine, unconditional love, some kind of magic, whatever word people are most comfortable with. In the world alive and well in my life are yours today. Because some days I can't if you on a low energy day or a day when I'm really sick when I don't want to be sick. And it's like what are you grateful for, I can almost even shame myself for not feeling more grateful because I know there's stuff I'm supposed to be grateful for. But I'm having a hard time really accessing it. And then it becomes this, you know, self defeating cycle. And so I've found I can always find one thing. I'm genuinely grateful for one thing that's working for me. And one place where I see divine beauty operating in the world today.

And I've been doing that practice as well for Couple years and it has fed me. Your second thing for sure. It's a beautiful practice. 


Neema Black

Absolutely. And, and this is the thing, we have to remind ourselves, it's okay to not be okay. And just like with everything that we've been dealing with, with COVID, as you know, we, before we got on here, we talked about silver linings, and but you know, there's a lot of collective grief going on. There's stuff that's happening, serious things that are happening in the world. And of course, we're affected by it. And so you know, sometimes, I don't know if I can cuss on here, I'm spiritual, but I cuss. You know, I have the mouth of a trucker, hence, your name Finally, effing unhappy I try and tone it down a little bit when I'm live on the podcast. But yes, you can. Yeah, you know, sometimes it's like, What the fuck, but that doesn't mean that you're not grateful. 

Shannon Klenk

Right. And sometimes it might be harder than other times to find something to be grateful for, but as much as we can, and as much as we can do it and give ourselves grace, when we don't feel like it, you know, do what you can write, and be okay with it. But you know, shitting on ourselves, you know, it's like, that's just another counterproductive mental thing that we do. And it's, it's contrary to practicing self love. So I try not to do it to other people. And I try not to do it to myself, well, let's, let's pivot just a little bit, tell me a little bit about really the plant based living that you both on your podcast, as well as on your Instagram, and I know you have some things coming down the pike. So tell me a little bit about your plant based living? Sure. So um, and I didn't touch on this earlier. But, you know, I found that as I was doing research, you know, over the years that I became really passionate about this lifestyle, and I became really passionate about being healthy and wanting other people to be healthy to come on this journey. And sometimes people are not into it. But some people are one of the things that I've been doing, you know, over the years, first, I found that, when I first started learning about this, I was quick to tell people about what was wrong with what they were eating, and I was, I was coming from a genuine place of wanting to be helpful. But I found that, you know, sometimes people were turned off by that. And I think sometimes people get this vibe that vegans are judgmental. And so I call myself the non judgmental vegan, because at the end of the day, people are gonna do what they do. But if you can help yourself by making small tweaks, and if you are ready to go deeper than I will take you there. And so to that end, I started teaching people over the past year, things that I have learned from my years of study from my years of research, and from seeing what works for me and other people that I've introduced this lifestyle to. And so it is a holistic thing for me. So yes, part of it is about eating well, and making, you know, plants, the primary source of your fuel, but also, again, it comes back to the things we consume are not just from our mouth, we consume things through our eyes, through our senses through our ears. And so you know, making sure to consume positivity, high vibration. And so we can we can get high vibrations from our foods, and our foods can be healing to us. And so that's a big part of what I have been teaching people. And so I started a program called 90 days to wellness. It's a plant based eating program. And in fact, I'm going to be starting a new cohort in the summer of this year. So I kind of took a step back a little bit. I'm still working with students from that, but I'm pivoting a little bit because I'm going to start doing some virtual cooking demos, because I found that people resigned. I can't wait. Yeah, so I love to cook. And it's a way that I can express my creativity. And one thing that I want people to know is that being healthy is not a drag. You can it can be fun, like it's people tend to think of deprivation, I tend to think of what you can have, you know, all of the things that you can explore that you might not have tried So to me it can be an adventure as opposed to Well, God. Have this healthy thing I know it tastes like cardboard, but it's healthy. It's like my Oh, for sure. I am not me, but it tastes like cardboard. Now I am not suffering to eat healthy. You know, like, if something doesn't taste good, just because it's healthy doesn't mean that I'm going to eat it like, I'm going to enjoy my food. And so I'm thankful that over the years, you know, I've been cooking and learning different recipes, creating some recipes. And so now I'm going to be sharing those with people. So I'll be hosting. Yes, so I'm going to be the next month, I'm going to start hosting my first virtual cooking demos. And because some people just want to learn maybe some vegan options that they can sprinkle in to their regular regimen. They're not necessarily wanting to go vegan all the way. I occasionally host workshops, where, like last year, I did a couple of workshops called so you want to be a vegan, it's for anybody who's exploring the idea, or who just wants to see what a plant based lifestyle is all about. But again, I'm not forcing anybody to do anything. So for those who are ready, and who do want to take a deeper dive, my 90 days to wellness program gives you all of that because we go into nutrition, we go into foods and mood, we go into a lot of different things I give people homework to do, we meet over zoom, I give people also mindset work to do because a lot of this health journey starts in the mind. And a lot of us have addictions to food that we aren't even aware of, there's been a concerted effort in the food industry to make things palatable or to make things so appealing to us that we kind of don't have resistance to it. And so there's a lot to be said for, again, reading labels and knowing being an informed consumer. And so those are some some of the things that I teach people about in my plant based eating program. 


Shannon Klenk

That's awesome. And I love how, you know, you said there are some foods that we can become addicted to, and it made me think immediately just based on our conversation, you know, there's some patterns of thought that we become addicted to, that is also related to foods we choose, you know, when I think about how many times you know, oh, this is my reward, I deserve this, and whether that's gonna be a beer or an ice cream or whatever. But also alternatively, so whenever I need to reward, I get to choose foods that don't really nourish my body. But also to when I've had a really bad day or something stressful or traumatic has happened. People want that beer or that ice cream. And so it's a no win situation, in terms of some of those patterns of thought of what relieves fill in the blank. 


Neema Black

Yeah, and that what we consume is not just the food, it's our pattern of thinking. 

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