Someone once told me that they use dental floss to cut their desserts. Y'all. When I heard that—and the person proved to me that doing it does indeed work—that inspired me to look up some other underrated approaches to food because, again, if folks are out here slicing up cake with floss, what else am I missing? What could I be sharing with others who enjoy food—whether it's eating it and/or preparing it—too?
So, let's do this. Here are 15 things that have revealed to me that I've either been consuming food or cooking it, not necessarily the wrong way but a way that is far less beneficial than what is listed below.
Aside from those semi-annoying tiny seeds in kiwi, I really like this particular fruit. Good thing too because it's high in vitamins C, E and K, fiber and antioxidants. In fact, what a lot of people don't know is kiwi not only supports digestion and boosts immunity but because of the high amount of Vitamin C that's in it, kiwi has the reputation for relieving asthma-related symptoms too. Anyway, while I won't be getting into all of the health benefits of every food mentioned in this article, I thought it was important to share this because the main way folks eat kiwi wrong. It's wrong because they remove the skin when it's actually the skin that contains the most nutrients. So, the next time you decide to have some kiwi, remember to keep the skin on. It's better for you that way.
Most of us grew up hearing that carrots were good for our eyes. There is a lot of truth to that, thanks to all of the Vitamin A that's in them. Carrots also contain fiber, biotin, potassium, beta-carotene, Vitamin B6 and even some protein. All of this helps to lower your cholesterol levels, reduce your cancer risk and keep you regular.
If you happen to be like me and you prefer to snack on baby carrots, you might want to consider cooking them more often. The reason why is because, when carrots are cooked, it actually raises the level of carotenoids that are in them. This is cool news because carotenoids help to protect your skin from sun damage as well as strengthen your bones, boost your immunity and even give you a little more brain power.
So yeah, that kinda debunks the myth that all vegetables are better when they're raw…doesn't it?
Strawberries are a low-calorie way to get in some fiber, Vitamin C, folate, manganese, potassium, several plant compounds and even a little bit of protein into your system. Eat them consistently enough and you'll be doing your part to help to regulate your blood sugar levels, protect your heart and reduce your cancer risks. Well, that is if you eat your strawberries whole. Although a lot of us like to slice this particular fruit up, the reality is that strawberries are extremely sensitive to light and oxygen. So, when both hit them, they lose their potency rather quickly. That's why it's far better to just rinse them off and eat them as is. No knife needed.
4. Grilled Fish
Do you like the taste of grilled fish but hate the clean-up process that follows making it? Something that you can do to keep your fish from sticking to your grill while also giving it an amazing citrusy taste is to place your fish on a bed of sliced lemons and limes. It will make for a delightful tasting, softer fish that won't get all into your grates. (This one tripped me out a lot, actually.)
This point was definitely an ah-ha moment for me. Have you ever opened up a container of yogurt, seen that watery stuff in it and immediately poured it out? Yeah, try not to do that. Believe it or not, what you're looking at is whey protein which is an excellent source of protein (especially if you're a vegetarian or vegan).
As you may already know, protein helps to build muscle mass, keep your hair and nails nice and strong, lower your blood pressure, reduce bodily inflammation and can even help to treat type 2 diabetes. So, unless the yogurt you're about to eat has expired, mix the watery stuff in with it and eat it like you normally would. It will literally do your body good.
Like cherries yet hate the pits of them? Here's a hack that can make eating them so much easier. Simply place a cherry "right side up" on an empty glass bottle (like a soda bottle). Then take a thin wooden chopstick and poke it through the top of the cherry. The pit will fall into the bottle and then you can enjoy your cherries with ease.
7. Black Tea
If you're a tea fan, I'm thinking that you've got some black tea somewhere in your collection. That's awesome because it's got a ton of antioxidants, it's good for your heart health, it helps to improve your gut health, lowers your blood pressure and can even reduce your chances of having a stroke. Just make sure that when you have a cup that you leave milk out of it. Interestingly enough, when you put milk into black tea, it can negatively alter the cardiovascular benefits that the tea can provide. That's because milk proteins literally make it more difficult for your system to absorb tea's vitamins and nutrients. Gee, just one more reason to consider going without dairy, huh?
Tomatoes are the kind of fruit that's really good for you because it's a great source of vitamins C and K, fiber, potassium, protein, folate and lycopene (and antioxidants that fight heart disease, cancer and aging signs). It's also got 95 percent water in it which makes it the kind of food that helps to keep you hydrated from the inside out. Anyway, while most of us tend to eat tomatoes when they're raw, it's actually best if you consume them once they've been cooked. That's because the nutrients in them significantly increase if tomatoes are prepared at around 200 degrees (Fahrenheit).
9. Ice Cubes
Ever wonder why your ice cubes tend to look rather cloudy when you put them into your glasses? The workaround for that is to boil the water that you plan to put into your ice cubes.
That will help to get all of the impurities in the water out, so that your cubes will look crystal clear. How cool is that?
I got rid of my own microwave several years ago. If you still have one, you're pressed for time in the morning, yet you would still like to have more than a cup of java on your way out of the door, DIY microwave omelet eggs taste pretty darn good. Just scramble a couple of eggs, add the other ingredients that you want and pour everything into a microwave-safe mug. Put it into the microwave on medium for 2-2 ½ minutes and you're good to go. Also, if you're looking for a way to keep your eggs perfectly round in your skillet (maybe for a sandwich or something), slice a couple of onions into some thick rings and place them into a hot pan that already has a bit of oil in it. Then crack your egg inside of the onion. Your egg will be round as the ring is. Perfect.
I actually enjoy making my own guacamole. Problem is, the urge to eat some is pretty random and sometimes, when the craving hits, the avocados that I've bought aren't ripe enough yet. If you can totally relate, you can speed the process up by covering an avocado up in foil and placing it into your 200-degree oven for about an hour. Just make sure that you use it immediately because the "speed up process" does cause avocados to taste slightly different.
Come to think of it, another ripen hack is to pull off the stem of a fresh avocado. If after you do it, the avocado is still green, it's not ripe. If it's brown, it's over-ripened.
One of the most potent natural medicines is garlic. Straight up. A part of the reason is thanks to the 33 different sulfur compounds that it contains. And while a lot of us already know that garlic is a wise thing to eat when we're feeling under the weather, many of us miss out on getting as much of its strength as we should because we're eating it all wrong. See, there's an enzyme in garlic known as allicin that actually gains its power by being exposed to the air. That's why, if you plan on cooking with garlic, it's best that you don't mince it and immediately put it into your pots and pains. Instead, crush or press the pods, let them sit for 10-15 minutes and then put them into your dishes. That way, you'll get more of the anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties that garlic has to offer.
Whether it's pork, turkey or my personal favorite beef bacon, here's a hack to keep in mind. If you'd prefer your bacon to appear nice 'n flat like it does in restaurants and on food blogs, opt for baking it instead of frying it. Simply lay your bacon on a baking sheet that's been covered with aluminum foil and set your oven to 350 degrees. In 15-20 minutes, you'll have crispy bacon. Plus, by going this route, you can bake a considerable amount of bacon at one time. Plus, it's healthier which is always a bonus.
I know a lot of us like to look so extra when we're eating sushi (LOL). Here's the thing, though. Chopsticks are actually for classic sushi, not sushi rolls. Rolls we are supposed to eat with our hands. Know what else? Ginger and wasabi are never supposed to be combined with soy sauce. In fact, the actual purpose of ginger is to cleanse your palate. So, eat it first and then enjoy your sushi rolls. Again, with your fingers.
And now, the floss thing. Me? I like to bake. A lot, actually. The only thing that really gives me any anxiety about it is when it comes time to cut a cake (including a cheesecake). Sometimes the knife seems to do more harm than good. If you can totally relate, guess what hack will help you out? Dental floss. Yep, so long as it's unflavored (waxed is helpful, though) and you keep your hand steady the entire time, it can slice through your cake in a way that makes for a much cleaner cut. Hmph. Makes me wonder how many bakeries do this. I might call a couple of 'em up to see. Anyway, enjoy eating the "right" way, sis.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Unapologetically, Chlöe: The R&B Star On Finding Love, Self-Acceptance & Boldly Using Her Voice
On set inside of a mid-city Los Angeles studio, it’s all eyes on Chlöe. She slightly shifts her body against a dark backdrop amidst camera clicks and whirs, giving a seductive pout here, and piercing eye contact there. Her chocolate locs are adorned with a few jewels that she requested to spice up the look, and on her shoulders rests a jeweled piece that she asked to be turned around to better showcase her neck (“I feel a bit old,” she said of the original direction). Her shapely figure is tucked into a strapless bodysuit with a deep v-neck that complements her décolletage.
Though subtle, her quiet wardrobe directives give the air of a woman who’s been here before, and certainly knows what she’s doing. At 24 years young, she’s a “Bossy” chick in training— one who’s politely unapologetic and learning the power of her own voice.
“I'm hesitant sometimes to truly speak my mind and speak up for myself and what I believe,” she later confessed to me a couple of weeks after the photoshoot. “It's always scary for me, but now I'm realizing that I have to, in order to gain respect as a Black woman— a young Black woman— who's still navigating who she is. And you know, I'm realizing that closed mouths don't get fed. And if I keep my mouth shut just because I'm afraid of what people's opinions of me will be or turn into, then that's not any way to live.”
For Chlöe, the journey into womanhood is about embracing who she is, without succumbing to the perceptions of what others think of her. From the waist up she’s everything you’d imagine. A gorgeous goddess with the kind of sex appeal that some work hard to embrace but fail to exude. But unbeknownst to anyone not on set, her bottom half is covered by a white robe, surprising coming from the girl who boasts “'Cause my booty so big, Lord, have mercy” on her first hit single “Have Mercy.”
But that’s the beauty of Chlöe. There’s more to her than meets the eye. More than what a few sensual photos sprinkled throughout an Instagram feed could ever tell you. Just like the photo-framing illusion of her portrayed from the waist up, what we know about the songstress is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more beneath the surface.
Some hours later Chlöe leans back in a high chair as her locs are transformed from a formal updo to a seemingly Basquiat-inspired one. It’s pure art, and at her request, no wigs are a part of the day’s ensemble. She’s fully embracing her natural hair, a decision that wasn’t always a socially accepted one.
In the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, (Mableton, to be exact) Chlöe began to explore the foundation of her self-image. At an early age she and her younger sister, Halle, demonstrated a vocal prowess and knack for being in front of the camera that caught their parents’ attention. Soon after, they were sent on a parade of local talent shows and auditions, and eventually broke into the digital space with song covers on YouTube.
It was during these early years that Chlöe first learned that the entertainment industry could be unforgiving to those who didn’t fit a particular beauty standard. Despite the then three-year-old snagging a role as the younger version of Beyoncé’s character, Lilly, in Fighting Temptations, casting agents requested that her natural locs be exchanged for more Eurocentric tresses. Ironic, considering that growing up Chlöe saw her hair as no different than that of her peers. “I remember specifically in pre-K we had to do self-portraits and I drew myself with a regular straight ponytail, like how I would put my locs in a ponytail,” she says. “I just never saw myself any different.”
Chlöe would also learn the true meaning of a phrase that would later become an affirmation posted on her bedroom mirror: “Don’t Let the World Dim Your Light.” After attempting to wear wigs to fit in, the Bailey sisters instead chose to rock their locs with pride, which undoubtedly cost them casting roles. Yet they would have the last laugh when making headlines as the “Teen Dreadlocked Duo” who landed a million-dollar contract with Parkwood Entertainment, and the coveted opportunity to be groomed under the tutelage of a world-renowned superstar.
Credit: Derek Blanks
While that could be the end of a beautiful fairytale of self-empowerment, the reality is that it’s just the beginning of the story of her evolution. For most girls, the transition into womanhood takes place in the comfort of their own worlds, often limited to the number of people they allow to have access to them. But for Chlöe, it’s happening in front of millions of critiquing eyes just waiting for an opportunity to either uplift or dissect her through unwarranted commentary.
Many in her position wouldn’t be able to take that kind of pressure. But Chlöe is handling it with grace. “I feel like all of us as humans, we have the right to interpret things how we want,” she says. “I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
Chlöe isn’t the first artist to receive criticism for her carnal content, and she certainly won’t be the last. In 2010, Ciara writhed and rode her way to banishment on BET when the then 24-year-old released her video for “Ride.” In 2006, 25-year-old Beyoncé received backlash for “Déjà Vu."
"I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
So much so that over 5,000 fans signed an online petition demanding that her label re-shoot the video because it was “too sexual.” Even 27-year-old Janet didn’t escape critical headlines when she shed her image of innocence for a more risqué appearance with the 1993 release of janet.
It’s almost as if public reproach is a rite of passage for young Black women R&B singers on the road to stardom. Good girls seemingly “go bad” whenever they embrace the depths of their femininity, and fans only like you on top figuratively. But Chlöe has learned not to bow down to other people’s opinions, but to boss up and control the narrative. As the saying goes, well-behaved women seldom make history. If sex appeal is her weapon, she wields it well.
On set, Chlöe exudes the energy of Aphrodite in an apple red, off-shoulder dress with a sexy high split. In between shots, she mouths the lyrics to Yebba’s “Boomerang” as it echoes throughout the space in steady repetition at my recommendation. The hour grows late, yet Chlöe is heating things up as eyes stare in deep mesmerization of the girl on fire.
Credit: Derek Blanks
Through music, she explores the depths of her being, a journey that seems to be, at its foundation, rooted in self-discovery. Whereas their debut album The Kids Are Alright (2018) boasts a young Chloe x Halle empowering their generation to embrace who they are while finding their place in the world, their second album Ungodly Hour (2020) shows the Bailey sisters shedding the veil of innocence for a more unapologetic bravado.
What fans looked forward to seeing is who Chlöe shows herself to be on her debut solo album In Pieces. In an interview with PEOPLE, she confesses that releasing her first project without her sister was “scary.” "It was a moment of self-doubt where I was like, 'Can I do this without my sister?’”
Chlöe has never been shy about sharing her insecurities or her vulnerabilities, all of which are laced throughout the 14-track album. “I want people to have fun when they listen to it and to just realize that they're not alone and it's okay to be vulnerable and raw and open because none of us are perfect; we're all far from it. And I think it's healing when we all admit to that instead of putting up a facade.”
The gift of time has given the self-professed “big lover girl” more encounters with romance and heartbreak. Love songs once sung for their beautiful riffs and melodies become more than just abstract lyrics and are replaced by real-life experiences, which she tells me is definitely in the music.
In her single “Pray It Away,” for example, she contemplates going to God for healing instead of going at her ex-lover for revenge for his infidelities. “With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable,” she says. “I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
Has Chlöe been in love? That still remains to be said. Of course, she’s been linked to a few potential baes, but dating in the digital age isn’t as easy as a double tap or drop of a heart-eyes emoji. It requires a level of trust and vulnerability that’s hard to earn, and easy to mishandle. To let her guard down means to potentially set herself up for disappointment. “It’s difficult dating right now, honestly, because you really have to kind of keep your guard up and pay attention to who's really there for you. And you know, I'm such an affectionate person and I love hard.
"So when I meet the one person that I really, really am into, it's hard for me to see any others and I get attached pretty easily. And you know, I don't know, it's…it's a scary thing.”
Credit: Derek Blanks
“With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable. I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
While broken hearts yield good music (queue Adele), what’s in Chlöe’s prayer is the desire to be happy. What does that look like? Well, she’s still figuring that out herself. “Honestly, I'm the type of person who I don't truly learn unless I experience it. So it's like I can view and watch my parents and watch the loving relationships that I see in my life and be like, ‘Oh, I want that. I would love to have that.’ But then I also have to experience [love] on my own and see what my flaws or my faults might be or see what my good things about myself are. I feel like it's really all about self-reflection. And even though our base is our family and that's our foundation, we are still our own individuals and we have to find out specifically the things about ourselves that may be different from what we saw from our parents when we were growing up.”
Her ideal beau, she tells me, is someone she can feel safe to be her fun, goofy self with, but who also gives her the space to be the boss chick chasing her dreams. A man who understands that just because the world compliments her doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to hear those words from his lips or feel it in his touch. A bonus if he shows up on set after a long hard day of work with vegan cinnamon rolls. You know, the basic necessities. “I like whoever I'm with to constantly tell me they love me and that I look beautiful because I do the same. I am a very mushy person, and if I see something or you look good, I will never shy away from saying it out loud. And I want whoever I'm with to do the same, be very vocal. Tell me that you love me. Tell me what you love about me because I'm doing the same for you because that's just the person I am.”
Until she meets her match she’s married to the game, and for now, that seems to be perfect matrimony.
Credit: Derek Blanks
On stage at the 2021 American Music Awards, Chlöe solidified her position as a force to be reckoned with. It was a full-circle moment. In 2012, bright-eyed and baby-faced Chloe and Halle would walk onto the set of The Ellen Degeneres Show and blow the audience away as they bellowed out their future mentor’s song. Ellen would present the sisters with tickets to attend the AMAs, assuring them that they would be back and had a promising future. Nine years later, Chlöe descends from the sky cloaked in a snow-white cape and matching midriff-baring bodysuit for her debut performance. It’s the first time she’s graced the stage of the very award show that she was once an audience member of.
As she shakes and shimmies and boom kack kacks out her eight counts, it’s clear that she’s in her element. Just like her VMA performance a couple of months prior, and the many more stages she’ll continue to grace, she brings an energy that has earned her comparisons to the beloved Queen Bey herself. An honorable statement, considering few R&B songstresses are getting accolades for their entertainment capabilities. It’s on these very stages, in front of hundreds of astonished eyes and millions more glued to their televisions at home, that she tells me she feels most sexy. Powerful, even.
But off stage, it’s a different story.
It’s more than just the commentary about her image and media-flamed rumors that get to her. Mentally, she’s in competition with herself. The desire to be the best burns at the back of her mind with every performance, every production, and every time she steps into the booth. Before, she could share the weight of this burden with her sister. Being a part of a duo meant she could turn to Halle for quiet confirmation and encouragement without a word being exchanged. But lately stepping on the stage means stepping out on her own. And despite being a breathtaking, five-time Grammy-nominated star, Chlöe doesn’t escape the reality that sometimes we can be our own worst critics.
Over the last year, she’s been coming to terms with who she is on her own while overcoming the fear of failing to become who she’s destined to be. While the world waits to see how Chlöe wins, the real triumph is in every day that she chooses herself and continues to walk in her purpose. “I don't really have anything all figured out, honestly. But what I try to do, a lot of prayer. I talk to God more and I just try to do things that calm my mind down and just breathe.”
To whom much is given, much will be required. She’s been chosen to walk this path for a reason. Once she fully embraces that everything she’s meant to be is already inside of her, she’ll be an unstoppable force. “My grandma, Elizabeth, she just passed away and my middle name is her [first] name. So I feel like I truly have a responsibility to live up to her legacy that she's left on this earth. I hope I can do that.”
There’s no doubt that she will. With a role in The Fighting Temptations at three years old, a million-dollar record deal, a main role on five seasons of Grown-ish, five Grammy nominations, a number one solo record in Urban and Rhythmic Radio, a debut solo album, and starring roles in recently released movies Praise Thisand Swarm (just to name a few), Chlöe’s certainly already made her mark, and she’s just getting started.
Photographer & Creative Director: Derek Blanks
Executive Producer: Necole Kane
Co-Executive Producer: EJ Jamele
Producer: Erica Turnbull
Digitech: Chris Keller
DP: Alex Nikishin
Gaffer: Simeon Mihaylov
Photo Assistant: Chris Paschal
2nd Photo Assistant: Tyler Umprey
Features Editor: Kiah McBride
Special Projects: Tyeal Howell
Hair: Malcolm Marquez
Makeup: Yolonda Frederick
Fashion Styling: Ashley Sean Thomas
For More: Cover Story: Issa Rae Comes Full Circle
"I Have Truly Survived the Unimaginable." Megan Thee Stallion Is Ready To Resume Her Next Chapter.
Megan Thee Stallion is ready to resume her life, not as a victim but as a survivor of gun violence.
In a recent as-told-to essay for ELLE, the 28-year-old mega-star took time to reflect on her experience surviving the shooting incident involving rapper Tory Lanez in July 2020.
In the piece, Megan described her traumas in the aftermath of the shooting and the drawn-out legal case and trial that brought on the public's negative reaction to the incident.
“Imagine how it feels to be called a liar every day?” Megan says. “Especially from a person who was once part of your inner circle.” She notes that many people were quick to doubt her story and blame her for how the incident unfolded. For nearly three years, she went through the weight of public humiliation, while being the brunt of jokes, memes, and “sneak disses” as her humanity was ignored.
“The truth is that I started falling into a depression,” the rapper says. “I didn’t feel like making music. I was in such a low place that I didn’t even know what I wanted to rap about. I wondered if people even cared anymore.”
She adds, “There would be times that I’d literally be backstage or in my hotel, crying my eyes out, and then I’d have to pull Megan Pete together and be Megan Thee Stallion.”
Megan wrote how not fitting “the profile of a victim” played a role in the dismissal of her traumas in the public eye and emphasized the importance of believing women when they come forward with their own stories of violence and abuse. “But my heart hurts for all the women around the world who are suffering in silence, especially if you’re a Black woman who doesn’t appear as if she needs help,” she says.
“So many times, people looked at me and thought, ‘You look strong. You’re outspoken. You’re tall. You don’t look like somebody who needs to be saved.’ They assumed that, per preconceived stigmas, ‘I didn’t fit the profile of a victim,’ and that I didn’t need support or protection.”
With time, the Houston fem-cee has been able to take a step away from the public eye to heal, spend time with her dogs, and “doing a lot of praying” to recover from the incident. “The physical and mental scars from this entire ordeal will always sting, but I’m taking the appropriate steps to resume my life,” Megan says.
And while she is “in a happier place,” there are still moments of anxiety that come up from time to time. “Talking about being shot still makes me emotional. I’ve started journaling as a way to better process my thoughts, hopes, and fears,” she says. “Prayer has also played a therapeutic role in my healing, because I can have honest and unfiltered conversations with God without any judgment.”
Megan concluded her essay by expressing her hope for a future where people can live without fear of gun violence and victims of trauma and abuse can receive the support and healing they need.
“My purpose is for these words to serve as the final time that I’ll address anything regarding this case in the press,” Megan notes in the article. “I understand the public intrigue, but for the sake of my mental health, I don’t plan to keep reliving the most traumatic experience of my life over and over again. I’m choosing to change the narrative because I’m more than just my trauma.”
With new music to come, we look forward to seeing Megan back on her healed, hot girl ish.
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