Here is a fast protein-packed and hearty breakfast I've been making lately. It keeps me fueled and full for a solid 4 hours.
This plate has 1 avocado (half scooped and added to my egg scramble with onions) which has 2.9 grams of protein and 3.1 grams of saturated fat, Vegan sausage from Field Roast which has 10 grams of protein and 0 saturated fats, 2 eggs which have approximately 8 grams of protein and 3 grams of saturated fat and 1 Ezekiel (gluten free) raisin bread which balances the protein with a nice serving of complex carbs.
While the Ezekiel bread is defrosting and toasting in the toaster oven, i dice onions, and the Vegan sausage and cook them in olive oil, red chili powder, salt and pepper until brown, then add 2 eggs and half of the avocado. I never have the patience or guile for omelets so I end up scrambling my eggs.
I wrote this short story in the first person. The character’s name is Nina. I hope you enjoy it.
She is texting non-stop. She has learned to channel her manic thought flow in to neat little square bubbles that 'ding'. The 'ding' is much more tolerable than her stream of consciousness, nervous, fast paced ranting. She's going on about the daughter she feels sorry for, the one she can't baby or protect enough. She is going on about leaving him, about how angry she is with him for putting us through his shit and for disrespecting his family. I take a deep breath. I haven't slept the night through and was hoping to catch a few more minutes before my interview in Midtown. I spit out the truth tactfully in a neat little text message box. My diagnosis doesn’t get an immediate response. Even at 31 people can have eating disorders, they come in all different forms. Extreme neurosis and nervousness lead to high acidity and the need for an adrenaline rush: the type of rush that comes from not eating or conveniently forgetting to eat.
I've done it before. Sometimes I still do it. I know what’s up. The texting continues , "should we bring her to home?" But its dad that triggers her issues. I feel like replying, " its the air that triggers her," but I wait and try to explain to my dear worried mother that working is where my sister thrives, take her away from that and she will disintegrate. Already a size 00, she still has to role up her pants. How could mother not know? It has been so obvious. “Focus on the physical” I advise. Give her IV shots or make her gain 15 pounds, see how that changes things. Mother needs my help but knows I am on the verge myself. She backs off and the 'dings' stop but my mind is already racing. Now, I’m there, deep in the anger, the hate, the guilt, a nimbus cloud is forming outside my window and inside my head.
“Focus on the next task “I tell myself, time for breakfast. I’m not hungry anymore. I sit with a bowl of cereal. I’m on the verge of crying. I reach to call my ex. I need to walk through a calm scenario as I eat my cereal. But he is busy. He asks if everything is ok, rubbing my neck and holding back a burst of tears I manage an unconvincing "yes" and hang up. I let out a big sigh. “You can do this.” I tell myself. I grab my iphone and put my favorite song on repeat. I get ready fast and leave an hour earlier then scheduled. I listen to it 4 times in a row. 36 minutes later I'm a new person. I'm strutting my stuff on 28th and Broadway in my black shorts, pink blouse, black heels and shades. They look, they mutter under their breath, I hold my head a little higher. They can’t help themselves.
I’m an hour early and desperately need a dose of happy. A wholesale jewelry store! I find 1 million styles in sterling silver! Ecstasy. Something I can actually wear without getting a skin rash. I spend 40 minutes in the shop piling up the earring and rings in my little box. The attendants whisper in Spanish, annoyed at my indecisiveness. They don't know I can understand. The handsome manager holds my purse as I try on each pair of earrings. I’m in meditation, I’m in another world. Its not healthy but at least I'm in the present moment. The ‘here’, the ‘now’…all that bullshit. I open each clasp and try one earring on after another, glance in the mirror and make my decisions. I repeat this until all 20 pairs have been tried. I select my final four but then I go for more. There are so many colors. There are so many shapes. Life is so pretty! Right? These cute little things are sparkling at me. I could spend all day here. Its 15 minutes before my interview. I haven't finished my selection. I say I will be back but the handsome manager knows I won't be.
Its pouring rain, I don't care. I cross the street and enter the ACE hotel, I’m sitting in the dimly lit and noisy lobby. It’s a funky mix of a library and coffee shop. I find a large comfy chair, and look around. I reach for my phone to email Dan that I'm here. As I mumble about the internet, the man sitting to my right takes that opportunity. He asks the waitress for the internet passcode. I thank him. he leans in closer, "what’s your name? What are you here for? Oh an interview? Are you nervous? No, you don't look nervous you look cocky as hell with your long legs. I saw you walk in, mmhmm. Well I know you have an interview and all that but maybe we can talk again. Oh you're laughing? Oh now you are stuttering. Come on Miss New York, girl, come on long legs, give me your best excuse. How do you know I'm not Indian? But what if I convert to Indian? What do you mean you can't convert to Indian? Ok so where do I go to sing at Union Square? Sing with the hippies? Ok, ok, ok, then we can talk? Ever considered dating outside your race? Oh you did? What happened? He was a jerk huh? Look at you trying to answer me without getting too personal...well high five for the most original rejection. Good luck to you miss India, go on with your sexy self."
I meet Gary, coincidentally his former start up was a dating site. I tell him about my earlier encounter. Maybe its a sign and I'll get the job. We talk for over 2 hours. It’s a good sign. I'm finally hungry. I leave the dim hotel and enter the bright light. I drink the rest of my Starbucks Mocha Frappucino. I don't even drink coffee. I head back to the jewelry store. 200 dollars has bought me a feeling. I'm hooked on it. I skip to the nail salon for a mani-pedi. It’s big date weekend coming up and I have to look groomed! The salon is full, so I try another. Its terrible, no foot massage, no relief but my nails look pretty.
Walking home my energy is so high. I'm jamming to Kanye, Jay-z, Jazzy B, Foo Fighters. "My hero" comes on. I think of my hero. I think of her wedding, dancing for it and making a badass video of her life. I’m laughing out loud now, louder than the waves crashing against the rocks. This is the euphoria that follows after the low. I'm hungry.
My euphoria is making my hands shake. I sit to calm myself and watch the water. I hold my hands open. I am in the ‘now’. I am so happy. I am powerful. It's time to go home. No packages for me at the front desk. Darn! USPS still hasn't delivered my packages. Lentil soup and jalapeno chips for dinner. This week has been so nutritionally unhealthy. I get a notification from my doorman, maybe there is a mistake, maybe I did get a package downstairs. It’s only my brochures that have arrived. I grab the tape dispenser at the front desk and go around the island to poster my ad asking shops and restaurants if I can stick my ad on their windows. Everyone is so friendly. I ask the bartender for a waitress job. He asks for a card. “I own the pizzeria too, I'll call you." I pass 10 year olds who are cursing as they walk by and I can't resist saying something. "I apologize ma'am."
A man is putting a dresser on the street, is it garbage? Louise is the building's maintenance guy. I convince him to let me borrow a dolly. "But you can't push the dresser alone, its too heavy girl." I go running to get staff from my building but meet three young men half way there. I approach like a hustler. "Hey guys, busy? Want to help me push a dresser and make a few bucks?" The youngest of the three, Mookie responds, "you look like Pocahontas." I think to myself “I'll be any Disney Princess you want, just help me push this dresser up to my apt.” "We boys have been living here for 13 years, we know where everything is." We talk about college. I go off on my regular, "education is everything" speech. Mookie is still talking up his physical prowess. "I’m a body builder I could probably lift that dresser by myself." I can see his legs shaking inside his baggy jeans as he lifts half the dresser. The eldest, Louise pities him and steps in. We are on our way, the 4 of us with my stupid half broken dresser. I’m racking my brain to see if i have cash. No cash! I run ahead of them back to my apt. My roommate has no cash either. I write 3 checks and get water ready.
"It fits perfectly in my room." I thank the boys and give them my last two coveted snickers bars cold from the fridge. They look puzzled at the checks with a woman taking a bubble bath design on them. I explain how to cash a check, how to open a bank account, how to apply to college. They leave but Mookie doesn't go without a hug.
My roommate steps out from hiding. 3 black teenage boys are too much for her. She tells me the little old lady in 21b saw my ad and wanted my help. I knock but no one is home, I go to leave and the door opens. "It takes me a long time to get up you see," a little old lady with a horrible hunch answers the door. "Come in, come in." The apt is crammed with beautiful home decor from around the world. "Im Suzanne 'OShea" before I reply we are at her computer. Her frustration to post an item on the community online board for sale makes her forget all propriety. Behind her is the most ornate and stunning gold threaded ceremonial kimono hanging fully stretched on the wall. I stare at it with my mouth wide open. "Its my favorite" she says and draws my attention back to her computer." I post her leather natuzzi couch. Her smile comes back. She wants her Chinese rug on there too. I run back to my apt to shut the door I had propped open and the three boys are back. "You forgot to put our names on the checks." I explain what 'to cash' means again. Mookie is satisfied and signals for all of them to leave.
I run back to Mrs. Oshea. I lay the rug on the super polished wood dining table. I take a few pictures. She inspects my photography. After approval, the Chinese rug is up for posting. Mrs. O'Shea is ecstatic. I’m hungry. Oh I have to return the dolly. Its too cumbersome to roll, I lift it on my shoulder but just a bit too heavy. I make it half way and switch shoulders. I call my friend to make the walk bearable. We are both excited about the small victories we have had despite the negativity.
I thank Louise, run home and set up my new dresser. I love my slightly broken ugly tan dresser with stubborn drawers. The music is on, Im inspired. I clean thoroughly. As I cook chicken and cous cous, my roommate sprints to the door shouting a "bye." The door slams before I can reply.
Today was a great day.
I've never colored my hair before but the fresh spring air got in to my lungs and I decided to make a dramatic change. I found a hairdresser, Kazuki with 127 stellar reviews on Yelp. His salon &Hair Lounge is 2 blocks from my apartment on the Upper East Side. I didn't think he'd be available but I lucked out. After looking at my hair for less than 2 minutes, Kazuki (who is Chinese with a Japanese name) said, "why don't we give it a bit of color?" I looked through the mirror at his grey-purple shaggy hair. He noticed the apprehension on my face and said, "don't worry not like this, I'm really in to K-Pop." I laughed and said, "I've never colored my hair and I'm terrified." He put his hands together and bowed to me saying "thank you for letting me color your hair." I hadn't quite acquiesced but before i could interject, he showed me a beautiful celebrity hair style on his tablet.
Check out my Ombre for dark hair look!
I took a chance on another dramatic look and donned a pair of false eye lashes by Ardell (for the day only)! What do you think?!
During my trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil this past November, I got to visit the famous Laces & Hair salon for a treatment. The salon is family owned by Mercedes Dios and her daughters. They make all of their completely natural hair treatments in house (not sure about the Keratin). I opted for an Amino Apple and Honey nourishment which would de-frizz my hair, make it smooth but keeps its natural texture. My younger sisters got similar treatments, no one wanted the Keratin. Not only did the wonderful staff pamper us, but one of the owners personally consulted each of us on our hair quality and the best treatment. She even spent an hour on Niki's hair cutting each split end. Brazilian women take their hair seriously! The best party about the treatment (besides the neck massages) was that my hair looked and felt amazing for 8 weeks afterward!
I would wake up to amazing hair days (seriously, I have a few Instagram selfies). if you ever get a chance to visit Sao Paulo, do yourself a hair favor and get to Laces & Hair.
Check out my before and after!
I just flipped through 20 TV channels for 10 minutes and I'm fed up. I am so sick of the complete 360 degrees of hyper-sexualized shit content on TV, magazines, blogs and videos. I don't even watch TV regularly and I'm still sick of it. I'm tired of people exploiting their bodies or being outlandish with their opinions that add little positive value to society being given so much air time. Why do I need to know that Miley Cyrus is gyrating or again naked in her video every second of the day? Why?! Why does the girl who only takes pictures of her butt on Instagram have 2 million followers and a endorsement contract?
It makes me feel like I have to do all that crap to get noticed. It makes me feel like nothing i say is of value and that only my appearance matters and that is so freaking depressing. While Sheryl Sandberg tells me to lean in and Rosa Brooks tells me to recline back, Kim Kardashian is making 60 million plus a year for dating sports stars filming and her sex life. And if I do post a sexier picture on my social media sites, I over think posting it for fear of being another chick with a sexy pic. Or even worse, being a hypocrite.
My own South Asian community is no better. Every media channel dedicated to South Asians is about sexed-out Bollywood actors and actresses, Indian porn stars or musicians making hyper-sexualized videos. What is most disappointing is that so many other interesting things could fill this space. We could use these platforms to talk about lifestyle choices, cuisine, yoga, Ayurveda, religion, balancing your culture in America, relationships, work life balance for successful South Asian women... We are known to be such an educated, influential and prosperous immigrant group but don't have any major platform dedicated to showcasing this. Why not?! People do care, and they will watch quality.
Yeah I get it, there are initiatives like Miss Representation and shows that have great quality but the vast majority of what I'm seeing and listening too is sexual and its being shoved in my face. I just want it all to stop.
I had a fun time recreating the all American hot dog with the works vegetarian style for dinner last night. Though I didn't really make anything from scratch, I wanted to share my creations.
I bought Tofurky dogs and boiled them like the directions said for 2 minutes but then charred them up a bit with a dolop of oil in a non-stick. They need that extra grilling for a more authentic American feel.
I sautéed mushrooms with olive oil and 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and bought a corn, bean, diced onion and tomato salad and regular whole wheat hot dog buns (very unhealthy, i know). I also had some left over feta cheese, guacamole and salad laying around.
1. El Perrito Caliente: Guacamole, Corn, Mushroom, Mustard, Sriracha
2. Aristaois Dog: Feta Cheese, Corn, Mushrooms, Mustard and Ketchup
3. Diet Dog: Lettuce, Corn, Mushroom, Mustard and Ketchup
My favorite was number 2. Aristaois Dog and my least favorite was 3. Diet Dog. Don't put salad in your hot dog. What weird hot dog creations have you tried?