Mind, Body, Soul Monday: Definitely Natural

SHREVEPORT, La. - Five years ago, Joslin Mar-Dai Pickens made a snap decision.

"I just started basically to try and lose some pounds to win a weight loss contest," she explained. "Which, I did! I lost 65 pounds!" 

She did it cold turkey by cutting out turkey and all other animal products, including dairy, to adopt a completely vegan diet.

"I think oftentimes we think the meat is the main coarse but really, if we don't put celery on the meat then it's not good," she said. 

The new diet did more than help her lose weight. 

"I had suffered from migraines, low energy, low B12," she said. "I had anemia. Those things have since been eliminated due to my plant based diet." 

And the lifestyle became contagious.

"So much so that my teenage daughter is vegan now, which was a hard thing!" she said. "My whole extended family... my mother, my sister, my brother-in-law [are all vegan]."

Now, she's making sure even more people have whole options with her business, Definitely Natural.

"I started it because of my natural hair first," she explained. "And when I started eating differently, I needed different minerals. I said to myself, 'man, I wish I didn't have to order all this stuff from New York and Jamaica and Africa and different places just to get my stuff for my hair.'"  

Northwest Louisiana naturalistas now have access to worldwide retailers, including handmade products by Joslin. 

A one-stop-shop even popular bloggers and stars frequent, including cast members from Fox's hit show, Empire.

I normally survive off of baking meals in the oven. But, I found her all natural 'power bowl' recipe pretty simple:

- walnuts (store bought) 
- spaghetti squash
- broccoli crowns
- baby carrots
- sea salt
- cayenne pepper 
- paprika
- ginger
- hemp seeds

- soak the walnuts overnight or boil them in water for 20 minutes
- heat oven to 400 degrees F 
- slice spaghetti squash in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds
- place on baking sheet cut-size down and roast 40-45 minutes until tender
- wash baby carrots; cut and wash broccoli 
- place on baking sheet and add to 400 degree F oven for 7 - 10 minutes or until tender
- after walnuts are tenderized, pan fry on high heat and until cooked; season with sea salt, cayenne pepper, paprika and ginger
- use a fork to scrape out squash
- add squash, broccoli and carrots, walnuts into one bowl
- top with hemp seeds

It's delicious! 

With a full time job, maintaining a separate business isn't easy. But Joslin says it's worth it. 

"To help other people see that they can be healthy, still enjoy comfort foods in a plant based way that helps the environment, helps your body... and it's overall impact on life is just so much better," she said. "I think that's the sense of fulfillment that I have. I feel like I'm helping other people. I'm not keeping secrets."

You can shop Definitely Natural on Facebook: www.facebook.com/definitely.natural

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