Posted on

Guest Post: Mel Scott

When I Must Have Chocolate

Originally Published June 12, 2016, by Mel Scott on BlindAlive

Full disclosure: I am addicted to chocolate.

Of all the common vices in the world, chocolate addiction isn’t really so bad if it is done right. I am not saying, “in moderation.” I strive toward moderation in most things, but I do not achieve perfection when it comes to eating chocolate.

My chocolate habit has been refined over the years and so has my language around it. Now, I say it is “my daily dose of chocolate.” I make it more of a ritual instead of an all-out binge. There are days though when all rules go flying out the window. I like to say, “The defenestration of moderation has occurred.” The big word makes it feel more palatable — pun intended.

Sometimes I must have chocolate pudding; I absolutely adore it. I monitor everything that goes into my body carefully, and there is absolutely nothing in this recipe that is bad for you. Of course, I do not share it with my husband. In fact, I eat all of it before he gets home, or I might hide it in the back of the refrigerator.

In my favorite chocolate pudding recipe, there is plenty of room for substituting ingredients. I like to add chia seeds, which will require more liquid. I add nuts too. This is really a base you can modify in all kinds of ways. You can change the milk or delete the vanilla. Just play around with various combinations of ingredients.

Here is the recipe:

Chocolate Avocado Pudding with Coconut Milk

Total Time: 10 min

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: n/a

A creamy delicious pudding that is chock-full of nutritious ingredients. The creamy texture of this snack/dessert is largely attributable to the gorgeous avocado!

Ingredients

Serving Size: 2
1 + 1/2 ripe California Avocado, peeled and flesh removed from pit
1/3 cup quality cocoa powder (100% pure cacao)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla essence

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Of course, I love making this in my Blendtec Blender. Also, did you know you can use avocados in place of mayonnaise? I do it all the time. You can find this, and any number of creative uses for avocados at the California Avocado Site.

Check it out and tell us what you think on our Facebook page, Twitter, or via our BlindAlive Community on Facebook.

Enjoy yourself!

Posted on

An Image Of Positivity Changes Perceptions In A Big Way

Logan & The Silhouetted Man

Liz is standing on the left, and Logan standing on her right. They are both dressed up for Logan's chorus concert at school this past May. Her guide dog, Bryce Krispie is sitting in front of her, his nose and face towards the left side of the photo and his rump pointed between her and Logan's feet.
Liz Oleksa, her son Logan, and guide dog, Bryce Krispie

It all began when talking with my 13-year-old son, Logan about this really amazing website and blog of “Bold Blind Beauty,” and the icon that comes along with it all; her name is Abigale. She is a beautiful combination of “Ability” and ordinary brown bird, the “Nightingale.” Abigale is depicted as a classy bold woman, who wears a stylish dress, handbag over her arm, a snazzy updo hair style and proudly walks with her red and white cane, as Abigale is a woman who happens to be visually impaired.

I was speaking with Logan about how important it is to be proud of who you are, regardless of disability, regardless of how we look on the outside because we all have an inner beauty that shines through. It is about how we present our attitude and image of “self-worth” to the world around us. Logan said that it was really cool and an impressive idea to be sending out to everyone, not only people who are blind or visually impaired. He told me that made him think of something, and he would be back in a bit because he wanted to go make me something.

I had lost my sight in September 2012 from Diabetic Retinopathy. Logan had seen how I went from living my life as a person who was sighted and had no self-confidence, to being a person with no physical sight and finally being proud of who I am. I finally can walk in a room with my head held high, knowing that I am enough and that I don’t need to prove myself to anyone except myself. I have always joked with Logan about my loss of eye-sight, that no matter what, I will always be cooler because I can do everything with my eyes closed, so to speak…

Needless to say, about a half hour later, Logan came back to me and said that he had something to share with me. He had taken my positive attitude and combined it with the amazing “Abigale” concept to create an image of his very own. He described it as the following to me: It is a silhouette of a man using a red and white cane, on a pure white background. The man is facing the right of the picture where the black text reads

“Blind people can do anything that sighted people can do. But blind people are cooler because we do it with our eyes closed!”

He told me that he was so proud of me because he knows that whenever someone says to me that I can’t do something because I am blind, my initial reaction is to prove them wrong and say, “Watch me! I may not do it the same way, and it may take me a bit longer, but I WILL do it!!!”

This is such an important message to be sent out, for both Abigale and “the silhouetted man”. Not just for the blind and visually impaired community, but for all people. People as a whole. So many people, disability or no disability, struggle with negative self-image. What people need to remember though is that it doesn’t matter what the outside looks like, but rather what shines from the inside. How can we present ourselves in confidence, self-pride, and self-worth if we keep a negative image of ourselves as a whole? Let yourself be proud of who you are! You are unique and beautiful in your very own individual way, and that inner beauty has so much to share with the world!

Liz  Oleksa aka Her Royal Blindness, who also happens to be the President at Lehigh Valley Council of The Blind has one of the most sparkling personalities of anyone I’ve met and I’m so happy I have connected with her. The loving gesture made by her son is a testament to not only is doing a great job as a parent but demonstrates the content of her character. 

Posted on

Guest Post: Ashley Morgan

Confidence Is Beautiful, Confidence Is Ashley!

Photo of Ashley sporting a bob hairstyle posing for the camera with a big smile on her face. She is wearing a pretty blue & white patterned crew neck top
Ashley Morgan

Hi, my name is Ashley Morgan. I am a daughter, sister, aunt, and teacher and I am also blind. I was born 3 months premature and only weighed 2 pounds, 1 ounce. The doctors gave me too much oxygen, and it damaged my retinas, causing me to be diagnosed as legally blind.

Growing up, I had no vision in my right eye, and I had very little vision in my left eye. I could see things only if they were very big and close to my face.

My parents made sure that I had a normal childhood. I went to public school throughout my education, and I had all the normal childhood experiences. I went to birthday parties, sleepovers, rode my bike, and roller skated. Most of my friends were sighted, so I was very much a part of the sighted community. Throughout early elementary school, I used a closed circuit TV, allowing me to read and write in print.

At the age of 11, my parents enrolled me in a school district that had a visually impaired program. At that time I learned braille and how to use a long cane. Doors began to open for me upon learning these new important skills. When I entered middle school, I was a dual media learner, using both braille and print.

While in middle school I decided that I wanted to be a teacher of the visually impaired when I grew up. After graduating high school, I went on to college, attending Kent State University, where I majored in Educational Studies and attending graduate school at The Ohio State University, where I received my Master’s in teaching the visually impaired.

Going to college as a young woman who is blind was very difficult, but so rewarding as well.

I learned how to be a greater self-advocate for myself, and I explored my passion for teaching on a deeper level. Once I received my Masters, I began teaching the visually impaired in 2010. Then, during my first year of teaching, I lost the rest of my sight as a result of Closed Angle Glaucoma, becoming totally blind with no light perception.

I’ve held numerous teaching positions in the past 7 years. I feel blessed to educate children who are blind and visually impaired and to educate the sighted community about blindness. I don’t view my blindness as a disadvantage, but rather a gift.

My greatest gift that I can give to someone is knowledge. I love educating children who are blind and I love educating the sighted community about blindness.

It is so satisfying and rewarding to me when I can teach a child a new braille contraction and then watch that child use it in applications. I love working with children to help them use their assistive technology and watch them flourish in the classroom.

My newest venture is being a Younique presenter. Younique is a cosmetics company whose mission is to uplift, empower, and validate women. I believe that I bring a unique aspect to the Younique family since I am blind.

My blindness has allowed me to see beauty in a different way for I believe that our emotions and actions are what make us beautiful.

What really matters to me is not how that person looks but how they feel, their actions, and how they interact with those around them.

What really matters to me is not how that person looks but how they feel, their actions, and how they interact with those around them.

I believe what we wear whether its clothes, jewelry, or makeup can evoke emotions. And it’s those emotions that make us beautiful. I want to be able to help women experience make up with their senses: feeling, touching, smelling, and hearing and not focusing on sight.

I believe that my disability does not define me, but rather has molded me into the woman I am today. I have embraced my blindness. We all have a story to tell, and that gives us powerful connections to others and allows us to sometimes make positive change.

You can contact Ashley through her Younique site at www.youniqueproducts.com/WildHeartAshley

 
Posted on

Guest Post: Lisa Salinger

Creative Thinking … It Tastes Just Like Chicken

Originally Published June 05, 2016 on BlindAlive by Lisa Salinger

Veggie topped pizza with broccoli, tomatoes, yellow and red peppers, and cheeseHave you noticed how many things are said to taste “just like chicken?” From frog legs to tofu turkey, to alligator meat, the refrain is the same: “It tastes just like chicken.” I doubt that anyone is actually gullible enough to believe this. After all, nothing tastes exactly like chicken except for, well, chicken. So why do we say it? My unproven theory is that we want to compare something that’s new and unfamiliar to something we know and like, or even love. It’s why parents tell children that their liquid medicine tastes just like candy. The parents know it’s not true, but to them, the health benefits of taking the medicine are preferable to the consequences.

I’ll never forget my first taste of whole wheat pizza with vegan cheese. A delivery order to my office had been confused, and we ended up with four of these pizzas, and only one traditional one. Some of my coworkers were not pleased, but they were hungry, so they dug in. Comments followed quickly. “This doesn’t taste like pizza. It’s awful!”

A friend of mine sometimes refers to me as Polly the Peacemaker. Polly is for Pollyanna, who always looks on the bright side, and peacemaker comes from the fact that I’m happiest when everyone in my world is getting along. So you can see why I couldn’t just let the negativity continue.
“That’s because it’s not really pizza,” I said. Only something that sounded so offbeat would stop the conversation in its tracks.

“I don’t really think of it as pizza. If I did, I’d be really disappointed. I think of it as Vegan flatbread, and it’s pretty good. The crust is different, but it’s kind of nutty, and it has texture, and the cheese doesn’t taste like standard Mozzarella, but it’s a nice mix with the veggies that are on top.”

If you feel like you’re just eating a healthier version of pizza, and you don’t really like it, you’ll just feel cheated, or at least I have. But set that notion aside, and maybe substitute a mental script like, “I am making healthy choices and am enjoying Vegan flatbread.” It may just sound like a game of semantics, but why not recognize the unique differences of each food you try? After all, not everything tastes like chicken, and that is as it should be.

If you’ve found a helpful food substitution or a mental trick that works for you, please let us know. You can always respond via social media or on our Facebook group.