How to avoid the Box Lunch -__-

This post is not about Vybz Kartel but he has helped me take a closer look at the box lunch phenomenon in Jamaica. It’s not a rare thing for Kartel to shed light in interesting and abrasive ways on social, financial and economic issues so I am not ashamed to give him some credit.

So, about these box lunches -_-.

For many Jamaicans it is a well established habit for us to  order food from a corner shop to answer when hunger calls. The meals are served in foam boxes, hence the term ‘box lunch’. Unfortunately, we are not being offered the most nutritious dietary options when we take a look at the menu boards. And let’s not limit it to box lunches but inlcude foil wrappers and paper bags (i.e. all other fast food options).

.Box lunch

We bounce between the classic rice and peas and fried or baked chicken, stewed peas, burgers or patties. This is not to say that these options are all setting out to clog our arteries but let’s be honest. A consistent diet of any combination of the above is not nutritious, only filling. You’ll always be full. Full of what though? But full of shoddy, poor quality food. -__- Not the fibre and roughage your body needs, not the healthy fats, not the vitamins and nutrients that empowers your body to heal and protect against disease and discomfort.

So how can we ease our way into better eating habits? I’m sure we are familiar with what to eat but our cry is that it’s hard to find. Most fast food provide just a few shreds of carrot and cabbage as decoration beside the 2 cups of rice and deep fried chicken breasts. It is also much cheaper to eat poorly so in the interest of good economics we go with the box lunch options. Here are some eat right cheats that cost you less in the long run:

1.  Go to the market. Downtown (Kingston, Jamaica) is my favourite spot. I spend just JMD$3,000 and get a 3 week supply of fish, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cabbage, pak choi and fruits. All these have quick preparation times and require only  a working fridge to store your home-cooked meals.

coronation market  Coronation Market, Kingston Jamaica.

2. Dedicate a day of the week for meal preparation. Cook at least 3 dishes that serve you twice ( which equals 6 meals). Package and store so each day you grab and go. That way you have control over the amount of oil, butter, salt or sugar that is used. It also gives you autonomy over what you want to eat. How many times have you ordered food because “that’s all they have” although it’s not what you want? Don’t get backed into a corner with unhealthy options.

3. If you can’t cook all the meals for the week at least set two days when you won’t buy food on the road but will eat from your kitchen.

4. Switch to Water: Although it’s not a substitute for food but it reduces your intake of sugary and acidic drinks like sodas and box drinks which we often pair with our meals. Water is good for your skin, bones and organs. It can also help you control your calories if you’re looking to lose some weight.

5. Eat on time. If you miss meals you’ll always feel like you’re starving. Then you just want to eat the world in an attempt to catch up on what you’ve missed.

eat on time

All of this is in an effort to limit the intake of the all too popular box lunch and guard against the reckless eats that offer your body no real nutrients. So let’s box weh di box lunch! It’s not as hard as you might think it is. I’ve been doing it for the last 2 months and it’s a new habit that keeps my purse closed more often than not and helps me stay on track with my healthy lifestyle goals.

Remember, your health is your responsibility.

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Jamaican “Girls Gone Wild”

IMG_1938Under-age girls and boys, alcohol, dancehall music and of course the adults who facilitate this unholy marriage! We have work to do and it’s not enough to say the girls are out of control or the parents aren’t paying attention.

But we cant’ resist so right now…today…we make room. We allow John Public to raise the roof with shouts and screams of “protect the children”, “save our future” and ” where are the parents?” We point fingers and frown at the truants in uniform who have so shamed their school. We do nothing but rant and rave on social media tonight so that tomorrow may resume life as we know it with a misplaced sense of moral superiority. We pass them by the corner and write them off as worthless and idle. Never stopping to offer guidance or kind words.

But instead of joining the gang of naysayers let me offer some solutions and challenge you as a reader to practice one…just one…any one you choose, and witness how that can positively impact the life of a young person and encourage positive and socially responsible behaviour:

1. Allow youth to speak, then listen when they speak. When youth lack means of expressing themselves they find ways to exercise power over what little they own which, in most cases is just their body. They use their body to get attention, pleasure, presents/presence and love because many feel they have no other asset. How about we talk the time talk with and listen to them? Maybe help them to find their true value?

2. Do not be hypocrites! We cannot expect to engage in certain types of behaviour and restrict our teens simply because they are not old enough. They watch us keenly and what you do affirms to them that it is ‘do-able”. Never discount the impact your actions have on the life choices of these impressionable minds.

3. Affirm their self worth. We very quickly bash a ‘deviant’ school boy or girl and yet we’re not as quick to affirm the positive behaviours they engage in. Simple things like getting up from their seat to allow an elderly person to sit on the bus, wearing their uniform correctly, getting home on time, doing well in school, engaging in extra-curricula activities. We are far to willing to lambaste and abhor than to praise and reward our youth. They notice that you notice only when they do wrong and that’s NOT-NICE.

4. Speak to our young adults as simply that – young ADULTS. We assume that they can’t understand and simply give commands as if they were pets bound to sit, sleep and eat as we tell them. Maybe at 4, 5 or 6 years but certainly not at 14, 15, 16 years. They are exposed to information at all levels. They can call your bluff by simply ‘googling’ the facts so speak with them as you would someone you respect. When you respect someone your goal is not to manipulate power you have over them or to keep them in the dark. Instead you give credence to their good judgement and their ability to make rational decisions.

Only then can youth trust themselves. Only then will they have the confidence to stand up to peer pressure. To avoid socially irresponsible behaviour. Only then are we “empowering [them] to contribute meaningfully to building and strengthening the communities to which they belong” as stated in Vision 2030; communities which include their peer groups.

So ladies and gentlemen of the Maggotty High School, I speak positively about the life you will lead, one marked by responsible and civil conduct; one inspired by the will to improve your character, achieve success in all your endeavours and build the social and economic fabric of this country. I refuse to write you off; I refuse to put you down because you will get more than enough of that in the coming weeks.

I choose to build you up and encourage you to do more to make yourself, your siblings and your parents proud the next time your face is caught on camera. It’s not impossible to do, so I refuse to say that you can’t.

God bless you all!

If you have not seen the video you may view it here: Maggotty High School “Girls Gone Wild”

Feel free to post your comments below or send me a tweet @kryticalmind.

Blessings.

You need a Partner!

The key to a healthy relationship is all in the “S” – Spiritual, Sexual and Synergistic elements. Many of us cheat ourselves out of healthy relationships because we either don’t know what we’re looking for or don’t know what to give to our significant other. How can you improve your chances of relationship success? The answer is simple (but not easy to execute).

1. Find the spiritual balance. There is no relationship more fulfilling than the one with your Creator (whether you think He/She is in the clouds, in a bottle or the chemicals in your body resulting from the Big Bang). As a Christian I am consumed with a passion for knowing Christ and aligning my expectations and actions with His will. What a say, do and aspire to be are all guided by His precepts. If you’re an athiest/agnostic try self assessment. Who are you? What are our goals? What do you like/dislike about yourself? How can you improve YOU? If you’re not balanced how can you provide support for another??

Balance

2. I doubt I need to explain the importance of sex and sexuality in a relationship. Our biological/chemical dimensions speak to the physical and emotional value of sex for most, although some live fulfilling lives without it (resist the urge to enter a Catholic priest joke here). Speak openly to your partner about your sexual likes, dislikes, fantasies and insecurities. The sooner you address those the better. Note, I didn’t say the sooner you have sex…I said the sooner you speak about it! Timing is yours to choose but please be responsible. Just know that it’s NATURAL to have sexual urges!

Nature

3. The final and most important element is the Synergy between partners and this is where many of us come up short. We love the promise of the relationship, the sound of the words “I Love you” and speaking as a woman, the poetry of his eyes. All of that is precious but the mettle is tested when you must invest more than your body and begin to coordinate life goals, family plans and financial habits. This is when you start developing a “PARTNERSHIP”. Are you ready to share your very being with another in equal proportions to strengthen the relationship from just being intimate to becoming an intimate partnership? Not sure? Well here’s how you’ll know:

  • Honesty – You will find honesty second nature and will not wonder if you should or shouldn’t tell them that you (insert inconvenient truth about yourself here)
  • 50/50 – You will be more flexible in setting your priorities, ensuring that both of you are able to achieve your personal and professional goals
  • Union – Two will become one. You will not have to feign interest in your partner’s life; force yourself to feel sad when they are hurt or; feel like you’re turning up for another day on the job when you see each other.
  • Trust – Stop here. Breathe. If you have to try to trust your partner something is wrong. If they have a problem trusting you, again, something is wrong. Speak openly about the insecurities, the issues being brought over from past relationships and take time to assess whether both of you have the same expectations. One person can’t think they’re in a long-term relationship while the other is simply testing the waters. Give him/her the right to choose if they want what you have to offer. Don’t deceive them into an arrangement that you have no intention of honouring.

Finally I beg of you…DON’T FEAR BEING SINGLE! Desperation should not be the motivation for you to enter a relationship. Like dogs smell fear, so too do relationship predators smell vulnerable prey. Being single doesn’t mean that no one values you. Remember the first “S”? Spiritually you must centre yourself, assess your value and never allow someone to “bawl down yuh price”. If you’re not afraid to be alone you are less likely to sit and suffer indignity, disrespect and betrayal.

So, go on out there and experience the beauty of a PARTNERSHIP! Reap the rewards of an honest union! Bask in the longevity of a  relationship built on firm foundation! Trust me, it’s absolute bliss! 🙂

Feel free to comment below and let me know if you think I missed something.

Follow me on Twitter @kryticalmind 

Can’t wait to hear from ya!

Why Hair creme and Bleaching cream are the same

The person most likely to be offended by this post is one whose hair style represents a ‘relaxed’ (apparently it was ‘uptight’ about something) version of their natural mane. But I guarantee you this is not the purpose of the post. The last thing on my mind is to tell you what to do with your assets so #KeepCalm. All I want you to do is stop pointing fingers…deal?

Last night, a popular Jamaican television program shed some ‘light’ on the skin lightening phenomenon in Jamaica. Amidst criticism from my tweeps  on how self-depricating it is to attempt to change the complexion of your skin I drew their attention to the similarities between ‘creme hair’ and ‘cream skin’. Needless to say, I drew blood as well.

Is the skin cream worse than the hair creme?

Similar to the medicine prescribed by the doctor with a raft of other potentially devastating side effects, so too is each creme/cream carrying its own baggage. Take a look and decide which risk you’re more willing to take based on that annoying thing that keeps punching holes in arguments….uhhm…I think it’s called empirical evidence -_-

http://africanhealthmagazine.com/2012/02/23/new-study-links-relaxers-to-fibroids/

scalp-burns

See page 14 – http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets/78n0065/78n-0065-rpt0002-vol1.pdf

bleached

It’s not my place to say which is worse because at the end of the day we must all choose our poison. I simply want you to be aware of the evidence before you go sprouting nonsense to anyone who will listen.

The Shared Roots

So since they’re both carrying dangerous, unhealthy side effects I guess we have one similarity in the bag! But wait…there’s more. 😀

When you ask a ‘bleachaz” as we call them in Jamaica, why they’ve decided to bleach their skin the responses are clear and simple – they prefer to be ‘brown’; it’s more convenient socially and professionally; it looks better; they get more attention/compliments.

half way

When you ask somoene why their hair is processed what do you think their responses are? They reflect the same themes of convenience, preference and aesthetics. *gasp!*

relaxed

So what makes the lightened skin inferior to the relaxed hair? What empowers the ‘creme hair girl’ to lash out at the ‘bleachaz’ for applying the same principles to her personal asset – her skin? The answer… HYPOCRISY!

SO JUST SHUT UP!

All this talk about loving the skin God gave you and being proud of your ‘blackness’ and embracing your roots doesn’t seem to apply to our (hair) roots as black women. Why try to ostracize and point fingers, lambast and ridicule when the same reason you’re straightening your hair (chu becaw it did lean when yuh bahn?) is the same reason they’re trying to be brown?

Both groups are convinced that they have the right to alter their assets to achieve greater convenience (in whatever realm), to suit their personal preferences and to look beautiful. I have never known someone to change their appearance with the aim of looking less attractive so evidently whatever an individual does to enhance their beauty is their business! It’s about what they think when they look in the mirror.

Since we care so much about how badly damaged someone else’s skin is why don’t we all start distributing sunscreen at stoplights because the collective damage of this special Jamaican sun is far greater than the number of people who are voluntarily damaging theirs.

BUT WE WON’T DO THAT!

We won’t because we don’t really care about “di gyal skin”. Our true intention is to criticize so we can exercise some ill-perceived superiority when little do we realize that we’re both sailing in different boats that are headed to the same dockyard. The only difference is one sailor is docking to pick up their shipment of Nadinola and the other to pick up that “Dark and Lovely”.

What do you think? Do people bleach and creme for the same reasons? Tweet with me @kryticamind and take this quick poll!

Please feel free to drop you comments below and I welcome differing perspectives! 🙂  

–Blessings

Guild Elections and Voter Hypocrisy

On March 20, 2013 dawn broke and we met our newly elected Guild Representatives. Couple that with the bevy of insults spewed on social media about the incompetence of some of the newly elected Councilors and you would assume that these persons had stuffed ballot boxes to win. No, they didn’t. People got out of their beds, took a shower, walked to the polls and voted for these candidates.

Hypocrisy 

One man, One vote

How dare any of these students chastise other voters about their choice in leaders when we  subscribe to the principles of democracy and one vote for one man. Your opinions are welcome and discontent is your right. But do not quarrel with people about their choices. The Guild debates gave us some insight into the candidates, voters had an opportunity to make an informed decision – and they did. They knew their choices, they saw the Manifestos, they heard the speeches (informed) and they voted (decision). Just as we claim sexuality and religion as personal intimate decisions, a woman’s vote is her own. Don’t be a hypocrite. Don’t masquerade as the champion for human rights and then scorn someone for exercising theirs. Cry if you wish, mourn even…but GET OVER IT!

Attack the Problem

Many will agree that in some races the pool of candidates was poor. But that’s not the candidates’ fault. Not only were they brave enough to step up to the plate but luckily all they needed to qualify was financial clearance.  To make a bad situation worse many students are not able to vote despite being issued an ID card at the beginning of the Semester signalling to the world (if not just to the lady at the Caribbean Airlines counter when we check on that extra piece of luggage) that we are students of the UWI, Mona. To make a worse situation worst those who can vote seem to be doing more harm than good.

With no option on the ballot to vote “No Confidence” the voter looks down the barrel of a gun. Why? Because in the event that there are two or three ‘bad’ candidates, one WILL be selected. One WILL wreak havoc on the students by failing to fulfill their mandate through maladroit leadership.

Those are the real problems. Not that people elect them, but that we can’t protect our own interests as students by refusing to settle for the least of a number of evils.

And yet we progress

ImageDespite these seemingly malignant electoral maladies the Guild has managed to survive year after year, doing good in the neighbourhood. The Halls continue to provide a model for developing Arts/Culture, Mentorship and Sports. The Vice Presidents organize and execute special projects (financial assistance, bus service, security) to the benefit of the population. The External Affairs Chairperson continues to extend well needed support to surrounding communities and the CEAC gives you Integration, the highly anticipated, always jam-packed, sweaty event that needn’t worry about patronage.

Isn’t that all we want though? When have we demanded more? When have we protested poor performance? When have we boycotted the ‘walking street dance’ (as one student described it) that is Carnival?

But I know we’ll all turn up at the Assembly Hall in March 2014. We’ll put on our thinking caps, approach the microphone with pointed questions to challenge those who’ve thrown their hat in the ring; and pretend to care about what our student leaders do. In true cowardly fashion we don’t tell people what we think until there’s a room full of students to cheer us on. We don’t tell people when they’re getting it wrong until it’s time to punish them for it. This is the way we’ve done it for decades but I suppose we expect that one day Betta Mus’ Come.

Tweet your responses (@kryticalmind) or leave me a comment below

A Goodaz Guide for Valentine’s Weekend

Holy Isshh! I’m now blogging…cool beans *prances*.

It’s the season for lovers – Valentine’s day – and it’s only fitting that I kick it off with some tips on how to light some flames in and out of the bedroom that will blaze much longer than this 24 hour lover’s day frenzy.

It’s a “Goodaz Guide” because it requires confidence, daring and sexual courage.

So..here we go!

V-Day this year was on a Thursday…smack dab in the middle of your weekly monotone. *yawns* There’s really only so much you can do before you have to wake up for work on Friday so let’s not try to achieve the impossible. What is possible however, is creating a weekend experience that makes Monday morning more than just the countdown to Friday but the day after forever. So let me share with you some tips that can improve this V-day weekend experience and ensure an unforgettable experience.

NUMBAH 1!

Shave! Unless your man has expressed a preference for a lush garden get yourself a stick razor and remove the excess ‘clutter’. It’s veeeery arousing and erotic for a man to be able to see the goods (whether or not he’ll be dining). Secretly, all men want a porn-like sexual experience and if you can’t do the whips, chains, implants and stripper heels this is a suitable compromise. You don’t have to go clean-shaven; there are various shapes and designs available. If you’re not sure which to choose visit a porn website and take your pick. If you’re a first timer I’d suggest you get a wax, only if you can afford it because we still have bills to pay, right?

To make it even more erotic you can even ask him to help you shave but of course if you want to surprise him it’ll have to be a do-it-yourself job.

P.S. Shaving your vagina and leaving your legs, armpits and abdomen hairy will defeat the purpose of a porn-like experience so if you’re guna do this you have to commit and go all the way woman!

NUMBER 2!

Are you thinking about getting your hair and nails done (the full perm, set and dry…mani-pedi) to impress him when he sees you? Expecting him to drool at your perfectly primed body? GIVE IT A REST! He may notice but the only person getting tingles about that is you when you see your french tipped toes sprawled out in your Bridgets – and the girl across from you who doesn’t own a Bridget and is secretly despising you for having them on. If those are the tingles you’re going for then good for you…but I doubt it.

You want him to fight an erection when he sees you so you’ll have to get dressed for HIM. Just for one night! One night!! Do it for him. This means, wearing what you know he’ll definitely want to take off.

Another key element is your hair. If he loves you in weave then get the best pack of Remy you can find and rock that human hair…stay away from the plastic, that is never appropriate.

On the other hand if he hates it then for the sake of all that is good and true don’t wear it an’ den vex when yuh nuh get a compliment! Avoid the tracks and the ponytails and all that other goodness. It’s his night, remember?? You’re trying to reel him in so make it worth his while.

NUMBAH 3!

Stretch

Do some stretches. Loosen up your muscles…it’s time to increase your range of motion. This is important for tip #4. Warm up those muscles at some point in the day…very close to that bedroom encounter. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds so you can really feel it. An important theme for Valentine’s is SEX so if you’re going to call it Valentine’s sex then make it worth his while – yes, I’m repeating –   and memorable. You can purchase some lingerie or the appropriate bedroom gear (you know his kinky ways so play them up, with added intensity). Make sure you have some lube on hand to help ease the various processes along 😉

Stretch, stretch, stretch! It will make or break...and we don't want to break

Stretch, stretch, stretch! It will make or break…and we don’t want to break

NUMBAH 4!

TOTAL DOMINATION: If you’re the type of woman who takes it lying down – and from the stories I’ve heard from men it seems most of us are – then tonight you have to dominate. From the moment you get a ‘rise’out of him you have no choice but to unleash the vixen.

*pause* I’m making two assumptions here. One, that you’re in a committed long-term relationship and two, that each knows the other’s  HIV status. A condom is always the best bet to protect against STIs so please make sure you have one on hand. And YES! It is still needed if you’re planning on starting off with a blowjob.

*unpause*

I strongly suggest the new Lady Saw “Love you with my heels on” and if you can handle it, keep the heels on. Can you see the importance of a smooth leg here? I’ve never seen a hairy leg in stiletto that looked attractive so please commit to Tip #1. Kelly Rowland’s “Motivation” is also high on my list of bedroom ballads so you can either hook your phone into some speakers or play it from Youtube.

Both these songs give the woman a lead role the bedroom and unfortunately you weren’t doing all those stretches to impress him in Missionary….doggy-style is a bit played out too. So here are some new ones.

  • The Erotic V

http://www.sofeminine.co.uk/kamasutra/positions__the-erotic-v.html

  • The Ape –

http://www.sofeminine.co.uk/relationships/album856252/sex-positions-kamasutra-sex-positions-21211675.html

  • The Seduction –

http://www.sofeminine.co.uk/relationships/album856252/sex-positions-kamasutra-sex-positions-21211675.html

  • The standing Wheelbarrow –

http://www.sofeminine.co.uk/relationships/album856252/sex-positions-kamasutra-sex-positions-21211685.html#p63

  • The Y-Curve –

http://www.sofeminine.co.uk/relationships/album856252/sex-positions-kamasutra-sex-positions-21211685.html#p63

*maniacal laugh* Trust me, he’ll remember this for months to come and his friends won’t hear the end of it. Blind fold him and give him more pleasure through his pores and the surface of his skin than he’ll get with his eyes. Let him imagine what you’re doing because he’ll be crafting even more sensuous images in his mind’s eye. This tip should take up most of the weekend, however the lead up is important to the process.

Include food, toys and games to make each day (not only in the nights,please) feel like an adventure.

Here are some sexy games you can explore

http://www.cosmo.ph/love-lust/mattress-moves/7-bedroom-games-to-play-tonight/

NUMBAH 5!

Talk, talk, talk. Not the nagging, oh-my-god-I-can’t-stand-my-boss kind. I’m talking the dirty kind. Ask him if he likes what you’re doing; make him put into words how he feels (or attempt to…his loss of words may arouse you in ways you never expected). Tell him what you would like him to do and how well he’s doing at it. Call him names (not that of your ex -__-) and come up with little pet names that you reserve only for the bedroom. The more pleasure you receive from the encounter the more relaxed you’ll both feel and if you’re doing it right, the more intense the orgasms. Yes, that’s plural! The aim is to outperform. Give him a minimum of two, raise the bar, burn him out!!!

Don’t be afraid to step out of the conservative shell of drone-like intimacy. Sex can do the most amazing things to the body and mind so don’t deny yourself the joy of exploration, discovery and addiction.

I hope this helps to set the tone for you and yours this V-Day. Make the extra effort to claim this weekend and spend time with the man you love.

Feel free to post your comments below and follow me @kryticalmind

#Blessings