End of March- Turning 25

I turned 25 on the 24th of March. March is always that exciting yet stressful month of the year for me. I am a person that loves celebrating Birthdays. I have always been! I trace this excitement back to my childhood. My mother always set up a “birthday-table”, since I am a “frühlingskind” (spring baby) she would create an Easter tree for me-by placing twigs and branches in a large vase. She would then decorate the twigs, by hanging little colourful Easter eggs and pretty ornaments. She would sing for me and I would blow out my candles and we would have cake.

 

There are some memories that you hold on to as a child, especially if you lost the person that you had those memories with early.  This year I turned 25, it feels scary because there are a ton of things that I want to do and so many things that I am unsure of.

 I am currently working part-time and trying to pursue my dreams/hopes and still figuring out my life.

 

Here is a list of 25 statements/facts/thoughts/scatters that I would like to share:

  1. I hope to learn to edit videos and pictures better in the coming months
  2. I grew up with family traditions until the age of 8. I hope to start a new tradition of spending time with my family every Sunday
  3. My family is my younger brother
  4. Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin describes the relationship that I have with my brother quiet accurately
  5. My brother is 3 years younger than me
  6. I live very close to the area where my Mother used to live when she was in her 20s
  7. Berlin will always be the city where I had a mother
  8. My mother died when I was 8
  9. At nine my confidence started to diminish
  10. I used to go snorkelling a lot as a young girl. I would go alone and spend hours floating on the ocean’s surface and watching the corals below me
  11. The subject’s that I enjoyed most in primary school were English and English literature
  12. I changed school’s three times
  13. In ninth grade, I cut all my relaxed hair with a shaving razor blade and went bald. I did this because I had promised my mother that I would never put relaxer in my hair.
  14. As a teenager I looked for approval and love from boys and others. I would alter myself so much just to gain approval.
  15. Nobody told me growing up that it was ok to grieve. It was more like its over now, get over it already, so and so years have passed.
  16. I won a poetry competition once
  17. My middle name is Kondo. When I was born I had a lawyer as the German social services thought that Kondo was a boy’s name. But my mother’s mum was called Kondo so my Parents had to prove that the name was not a boy’s name :/ if only Marie Kondo’s book would have been a bestseller back then.
  18. As a teenager, I tried out several religions as I was searching for rules and guidance. Looking back, I realise that all along I was searching for something that would let me know that I was Ok.
  19. I came back to Berlin on my own when I was 19
  20.  People in Germany did ask me if I grew up with Giraffes in my backyard
  21. I did not grow up eating fruits, veggies or organic produce. I am a 90s baby. I celebrated one of my Birthdays at Mcdonalds and another at Pizza Hut.
  22. I have been plant-based for almost 3.5 years now.
  23. I have come to realise that in a long distance relationship it is not about the distance but more of what happens when you see each other again. Just because you survived 3 months or a year apart does not mean anything. It is about how strongly connected you feel once you are back together in one space again.
  24. I have learnt to let go of things that I can not control. I still miss my mother but I am not ashamed of that fact anymore, that’s why I can share all this.
  25. I am grateful to everybody that came out to celebrate me.

 

P.s I made a carrot cake. I always use the same recipe because it seriously does not disappoint get it here.

 

 

Chai Ya Mdalasini (Cinnamon) Mix

I recently read an article that was shared by a friend that was titled “Tea if by sea, cha if by land: Why the world only has two words for tea”. The article outlines how both these terms originate from China and how the spread of the words depicts how globalization worked before the term “globalization” was a term.

In Swahili, the term chai is used. I grew up drinking chai in Mombasa. I find myself drinking chai now as a way to soothe myself after a long day. Chai is something that I took very much for granted in my childhood, I now approach it with more mindfulness. 

Anyway, there are two ways of drinking chai in Mombasa; either you can drink chai wa rangi (translating literally to chai of colour) which is a blend of fresh crushed ginger, chai spices, black tea leaves and nothing else. The second way is known as chai ya maziwa(chai with milk what is a so-called chai latte here in Europe). Chai is drunk in various ways in Mombasa as there are some recipes that lean more on the Indian influence and use more cinnamon, other recipes use more crushed ginger (chai ya tangawizi). Every household has their own way of preparing chai. I remember that as a child when we would visit my mother’s village in Embu a common breakfast would be margarine spread white toast bread stacks that would be cut diagonally into right triangles, that would be dunked into the chai. I loved this breakfast as I am a sucker for dunking all kinds of things in my tea! This type of breakfast is a staple for a lot of people across Kenya.

In Mombasa, people do also drink their chai with margarine spread toast bread. Yet there is also the traditional Swahili breakfast which is chai na mahamri ( mahamri is a cardamom-spiced doughnut that is not in the shape of a circle but in the shape of a triangle). Sometimes the mahamris are filled with mbaazi wa nasi (which is pigeon peas in coconut milk stew). So delicious!

People in Mombasa add sugar to their chai which in some cases has had not so good health effects on the people. I find that by adding maybe more fennel or more cinnamon, chai can be enjoyed without adding sugar.  Therefore here is my Chai ya mdalasini (chai with cinnamon) mix.  I made a video that shows the whole process:

 

One small disclaimer this is not your Nyanya’s way of making chai. This is my way which is very much inspired by how I am feeling, where I am, what I see, read and taste. If you want your Nyanya’s Chai mix then please just ask her.

 

 

 

 

Love for your skin

Part of growing up for me is coming to love my body for what it is.  A huge part of my body is my skin and since winter in Berlin is dry and cold, my skin suffers. I think that as a black girl the first act of self care that i was taught was to moisturise my skin daily. My mother showed me how to apply palmers cocoa butter on my skin from when i was about 6. She always applied lotion on me and my brother in such strokeful way. First the legs and then working her hands up. Of course the most important places where the knees, the area behind our knee cups and our elbows. These areas tend to get very dry if not moistorised. The way we tested if we had lotioned ourselves well enough would be by scratching our skin. If we could draw a white line on our skin we definetly had not applied the lotion on well enough.

Anyway, I am trying to cut down on plastic and on wasteful packaging as much as possible. Therefore I made my own body cocoa butter. It is so easy to make and so nourishing for your skin. Just google the ingredients and a ton of benefits will pop up. This recipe is very much based on the recipe by trash is for tossers from Lauren Singer, check her out she is a zero waste queen.

What you will need:

spatula

electric hand mixer

bowl

glass jar

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of melted raw shea butter

1/2 cup of melted raw cacao butter

1/2 cup of sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil

drops of essential oil of your choice

 

Method:

1. Mix the melted butters and almond oil in a bowl. Place in the fridge for 1 hour or until the liquids have become solid.

2. Take out the bowl and mix with a stand mixer. Mix until a creamy consistency is formed. Use the spatula to scratch it all together. Add an essential oil of your choice i used vanilla. The quantity of the esential oil depends on your preference.

3. use a spatula to place the mix in a glass jar.

store in a cool dry place.

How to cook for yourself by yourself

“I like to cook, but for other people.”

“When I am on my own; I just do not see the point of preparing food for myself; I cannot finish it all off on my own.

” I do not like to plan.”

I hear comments like these often. For me these are just excuses that these individuals have been conditioned to believe. This may come off as judgmental, however I have observed that people who tell me these things, are eating a lot of highly processed foods. Another thing I have observed is that the people that have told me these things usually complain about their sugar intake, go on drastic crash diets and fasts at some point, or suffer from some stomach ailment.

Personally, I find it annoying when people comment on my eating habits. I usually get these comments like “oh wow its insane how much effort you put in.” “I simply could not cook like you, I have too much to do.” I do not understand why the normal act of cooking needs to be commented on so much. Let us get something straight, cooking for yourself and preparing food for yourself is part of being human. Without food we as humans do not function.

Some people try to go for long stretches without food and trick themselves that they do not need adequate quantities of food because they are “so zen”. For me this just sounds like an eating disorder, as it is a matter of disciplining yourself and restricting only to binge on a whole bar of chocolate at night.

However, I do not mean to say that everyone who does not cook for themselves fits the above outlined scenarios. I get comments about my cooking especially from white cis males, who ridicule my cooking and try to gaslight me by saying that I am too extreme with my cooking habit. I assume that these individuals come from households where the parents do the cooking and that they have socially acceptable body types that they simply do not need to think about cooking. I get comments from women as well mainly women who are thin and do not experience social stigma for their body types, other times they question me buying of organic produce as if I should not be buying organic.

But I won’t let these negative comments slow me down. Cooking for myself is an act of self-preservation, it is my way of caring for myself. I have noticed that my mood and the way I think and feel all depends on how my nutrition and digestion is taken care of.

This post is for those that simply find it difficult to take care of themselves and cook for themselves by themselves and for themselves. No worries darling, I got you covered, it is simple. It may be boring at first, but you can do it.

As a side note, I am currently in a long-distance relationship myself, so I have been cooking a lot for myself and to be honest I know what it is like to be unmotivated to cook for yourself. So here is a very doable checklist to get you started on cooking for yourself, let’s get it!

1.   Meal Prep

Meal prepping is a great tool, which will assure that you always have self-cooked food available. To meal prep you need five things:

  1. Tupperware
  2. Rice cooker (optional but also essential if you are highly unmotivated)
  3. Some carbohydrate: rice, millet, cornflour, potatoes
  4. Legumes
  5. Veggies

-Get a rice cooker! At the push of a button, you can prep your legumes and you can make your rice and millet. The best part of a rice cooker is that you do not need to take care of anything or worry that something will get burnt, as it automatically switches off when everything is done.

-Prepare your veggies by simply chopping them up, place on a baking tray, drizzle them with your favourite oil (if you are oil free use water), massage in your favourite spices and shove in the oven and bake till ready.

During meal prep to avoid loneliness I would recommend listening to a podcast or to some feel good tunes, trust me it really helps.

-Now that you have prepped your meals, put everything in a separate Tupperware and once cooled place in the fridge. I always make dressings as well that I then drizzle on my food. I make different dressings so that even though the base of my food is the same; veggies, carbohydrate and legumes the dressing always differs which adds a different flavour. Here is one of my fave tahini dressing recipe:

What you will need:

1 Tbsp of tahini

½ tsp of honey or molasses

½ tsp of miso

1 Tbsp of lemon

1 tsp of apple cider

Chilli flakes (optional)

Method:

Mix everything in a small bowl with a whisk and place in a small tightly sealed jar. Drizzle on food when serving or just before consumption.

 

-For legume recipes there are a ton of things that you can make, think daal, or coconut mung beans, bean chilli.

 

2.   Prepare a tray of something sweet

If you like sweets or always need desert than prepare a tray of something sweet. I personally like to make a big tray of sweet potato brownies, that I cut into squares. I freeze half of the brownies so that they do not go bad. Another alternative is making energy balls or banana bread.

 

 

3.   Autopilot Breakfast

In winter I always eat the same breakfast which is oatmeal. This is my go to breakfast and it does not change it is part of my morning routine, since I already know what I will be having for breakfast I do not have to think too much about it.

I would recommend finding something that you always have for breakfast as well, something that remains constant.

However, if you get bored quickly of having the same thing every day then switch up the toppings or alternate between two things that you like. You could also designate a day on the weekend when you will make a special breakfast like pancakes or a chickpea omelette.

Invite a friend over on weekends and have breakfast with them or eat with your flatmates/family on weekends or when you have time.

4.   Soup for Dinner

I would recommend making a super quick soup for dinner. Soups are warming and if you are someone that maybe does not snack or goes for long hours between meals because of classes or work, soups are a good idea. Soups are super easy to make so make sure to always have a veggie bouillon (aka vegetable stock) at home.

If you do not want to wash up or anything grab your favourite soup bowl; boil water in a water cooker; take a desired portion of your vegetable stock and place it in your bowl; add boiling water into your bowl and stir; now add the veggies from your meal prep; add legumes from meal prep; you can also add the carb from your meal prep: then top with lemon juice and freshly chopped herbs; add your choice of spices and enjoy!

try my miso soup recipe.

*Tip- buy a bunch of fresh herbs wash them and freeze them, these herbs last you ages and can always be used when you need them.

5.Remember this is for you

Remember that cooking for yourself is an act of self-love. Yes, I know that some of you may not relate to this, as you have always felt love or maybe you never have, and it is difficult for you to cut out time for yourself because someone told you it is wasteful. Self-care and self-love does not always have to be cultivated by doing extraordinary things on the contrary I think that it is the little day to day things that add up like cooking for yourself. You do not need to cook something extravagant either, all you really need is simple ingredients, ingredients that you can understand. Beans, rice and spinach so simple yet so nutritious. I hope this list is of some help!

Do not hesitate to reach out to me and share your ideas and questions in the comment section below or send me a mail. Now go on you got this 😊