Wellness Wednesday: Shiitake Mushroom and Jackfruit Tacos by Chef Cedric

by Chef Cedric

Cedric stops by to share his Asian fusion vegan taco recipe.

Ingredients for Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut in half, seeds and stems removed

Marinate anywhere between 30 minutes and 24 hours.

Ingredients for Asian Pear Salsa:

  • 2 medium Asian pears, diced (skin on or off) or 1 large
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped

Ingredients for Gochujang Crema:

  • 1/2 cup of vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp of lime juice
  • 2 tsp of Gochujang

Cooking Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the marinade.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved, pour the marinade onto a shallow baking sheet or into a plastic bag.
  3. Add the mushrooms, turning to coat.
  4. Marinate for for 30 minutes up to 24 hours in the refrigerator, turning occasionally.
  5. While the mushrooms marinate, whisk together the ingredients for the Gochujang Crema in a small bowl. Cover and set aside.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients for the salsa together.

  1. Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high.
  2. Remove the mushrooms from the marinade, but keep the marinade.
  3. Cook mushrooms for 5 minutes per side or until lightly charred on both sides.
  4. Slice each mushroom into 5-6 strips. Set aside.
  5. Grill the peppers for 1-2 minutes per side, brushing with the remaining marinade.
  6. Slice each pepper half into 5-6 strips.
  7. Spread the Gochujang Crema on each warmed tortilla. Add shredded lettuce and a few strips of portobello and red pepper. Top with Asian pear salsa, slices of avocado, sesame seeds, green onions, and cilantro (if desired).

Embracing the Change by Madeline Y Sutton, MD, MPH (Dr. Madeline, MD)

by Madeline Y Sutton, MD, MPH (Dr. Madeline, MD)

We’ve all heard our mothers, aunties, friends, and grandmothers speak of “the change.” Then, we reach this period of transition, and we’re still like, “What in the world is happening?” No matter what we think we know, it still catches us off-guard. That’s how the conversation starts with many of my patients, and that’s certainly how I felt when I started to notice that something felt different with me. But what I have learned and shared with all my patients is that there is a joy in understanding and embracing the change…

“The change,” or menopause, happens for most women by the age of fifty-one. For many, the change does not happen abruptly, but gradually over time. To be fully menopausal, a woman has to not have a menstrual cycle for twelve months. However, menopausal symptoms can last from four to as long as ten years, especially for some Black/African American women (whew—ten years is a long time!). Symptoms can include hot flashes, night sweats, memory changes, sleeplessness, vaginal dryness, feeling less sexually aroused, irregular periods which are often very heavy before the very last period, mood changes, and/or weight gain; these symptoms are all due to our ovaries shifting to deliver less estrogen than ever before in our lives.

And we’re learning more about how the menopause transition process is different for many Black women and Latinas. Several research studies show that Black women and Latinas often begin perimenopause earlier, experience menopause symptoms more intensely, and have longer transition periods. One national, longitudinal study of women and menopause, the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), has found that Black women and Latinas reach menopause two years earlier (age forty-nine) than the median age of fifty-one years. Earlier menopause has implications for increased risk of heart disease, stroke, bone fractures, altered sexual experiences, and decreased life expectancy. For women of color in the United States, data suggest that long-term, cumulative effects of systemic racism and long-term stress are negatively affecting our overall health, including an earlier median age at menopause. That’s a lot to take in, Sisters…

Several research studies show that Black women and Latinas often begin perimenopause earlier, experience menopause symptoms more intensely, and have longer transition periods.

So, here’s how we navigate and embrace this change.

First, if you don’t already have one, find a healthcare provider who listens to you, I mean really HEARS you and your concerns. You need to be able to have a real talk with them.

Second, write down your questions and include a description of any symptoms you might be feeling or have felt recently. This will help you remember those things you may want to discuss with your doctor, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant, and these details will help your healthcare provider determine which options to consider and discuss with you.

Third, if your healthcare coverage options limit your ability to select a preferred provider, then engage an advocate (someone who can help you get your concerns addressed and questions answered) during your health visits. This advocate can be a friend, family member, a hospital employee who is there to help patients, or even a paid professional.

Fourth, be open to discussions that may include low-dose hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Ask questions to be sure you understand what are myths and what are facts regarding HRT. For many patients, starting a low-dose HRT regimen, even for a short-term, is extremely helpful for symptom relief.

Fifth, let’s be open to lifestyle changes—if you smoke cigarettes, find help to stop; if you haven’t had much body movement, find a walking path or take the stairs; if your food is often heavy with cholesterol, replace a few meals with more baked foods and vegetables. If you’ve never had therapy, go talk to someone; processing long-term stress and systemic racism is real, and we need to deal with that. All of these affect how we go through menopause.

And ladies, embracing the change also means maintaining your sexy. I want you to always hold onto the part of you that is sexual; she doesn’t go away just because you’ve gone through the change. So, whether that means new lingerie, a fancy pair of shoes, a self-care adventure for you, a new sex partner or new games with a current sex partner, make sure that you are not sacrificing something that you may desire. Talk with your health care provider, get what you need, and continue living your best life while embracing the change.

You might find that life after the change is even better than what came before it…

Dr. Madeline Sutton (Dr. Madeline) is a board-certified gynecologist with over two decades of clinical research and patient care experience. She uses her social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram @ DrMadelineMD) to highlight women’s health topics and answer women’s questions. She has published over 150 scientific articles and a book about sexual health. She is living her best menopausal life and enjoys helping other women do the same.

Photo Feature: Na’Shara Tyson

Na’Shara Tyson

Na’Shara Tyson (age 40) is the mother of two young men and a wife to a pastor. Daily, she gives thanks to God. Na’Shara is also an elementary school educator and an adjunct professor at the same college she graduated from. By 2024, she expects to attain a doctorate in school leadership.  

Follow Na’Shara on IG and FB: @owlteachem

Navigating the Change has partnered with photographer, Sorcha Augustine to curate images of women who are thirty-five or older being their full selves.

Sorcha Augustine is a dance and theatre photographer from Sarasota, Florida. She creates dynamic stage and promotional photography for performing arts organizations, as well as authentic portraiture of performing and visual artists, helping them communicate their skill, personality, and passion to their audiences.

Follow Sorcha on IG: @sorcha_augustine

Book Sorcha for your photos: https://sorchaaugustine.com/

My Choice

Like most women, I always knew the day was coming when I’d have to deal with menopause. I wasn’t especially worried about it, as I didn’t want to conceive any more children and considered menstrual periods to be an annoyance I would gladly do without. I’d heard about hot flashes, night sweats, and all the rest of the possible symptoms, but I also knew that not all women had to deal with those and blithely assumed I’d manage to just sail through it all. 

But then I had my first hot flash.

It seemed that one minute I was riding in the car with my husband, heading home from a trip to the shopping mall, and the next minute I felt a sensation I could only describe as being cooked from the inside out. I actually panicked a little before I realized just what was happening. And then I ordered my husband to pull into the nearest convenience store so I could buy a cold drink with as much ice as possible in it.

Eventually, I learned to cope with the hot flashes without being quite so dramatic. And that was a good thing, because they came with relentless regularity. I was averaging about ten to twelve hot flashes a day and woke up at least three times a night with them. I would usually manage to fall into a deep sleep in the early hours of the morning, just before it was time to start my day. Tired and crabby became a normal state of being for me, no matter how hard I tried to feel otherwise.

Still, I knew this phase wouldn’t last forever, and that many women found relief using natural remedies. I tried them all, but none made the slightest bit of difference, much to my great disgust. I heard hormone replacement pills almost always helped, but I had also heard they were considered to be risky, so I simply soldiered on. My doctor told me typical menopausal symptoms last three to five years, so I believed the only thing to do was get through it.

Unfortunately, my symptoms didn’t let up after I passed the five-year mark. When I mentioned it to my doctor, he said that since the symptoms were lasting more than five years, I was probably one of the minority of women who would have them long-term…meaning many more years, and possibly, for life. Alarmed, I asked my eighty-six-year old mother when her hot flashes had finally ended. She thought about it for a minute, and then said,” I don’t believe I’ve had a hot flash for at least five years, maybe a little bit longer than that.” I know she doesn’t have a great memory, but that was still not the answer I wanted to hear.

So at my next annual check up, I talked to my doctor about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). He told me there were risks, but they were extremely small for the first three years, and that he would support whatever decision I made. I thought about enduring another twenty years of hot flashes and night sweats and then asked him to call in the prescription. I knew the pills slightly increased my chances for breast cancer and blood clots, but that was a risk I was prepared to take, especially since I had no family history of cancer.

We all have the right to make educated and personal choices about how we handle our health, including how we manage menopause.

Ann Coleman

I learned quickly that not everyone approved of HRT, and since we live in a time where minding other people’s business is considered not only acceptable, but often downright mandatory, I was told by many that I was foolish to take the pills. Naturally, many of those who said that were men or women who had gone through menopause with few or no symptoms. “Hot flashes are natural,”  I was told. “Women have been coping with them for centuries.” I never actually pointed out that disease and death are also natural, but that doesn’t mean I have to embrace them, but I thought it once or twice. My body may be my own, but my choices about it were apparently up for general discussion.

It’s been four years since I started HRT, and I’m gradually weaning myself off the pills. So far, the hot flashes have been minimal and tolerable, so I hope that is a good sign. I didn’t stop taking them because I gave in to outside pressure, though. It was a personal choice I made after my husband was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. Suddenly the world of cancer and its treatment became all too real, and I was no longer willing to take the risk, no matter how small.

In short, I simply changed my mind.

The lesson I’ve learned from it all is this: We all have the right to make educated and personal choices about how we handle our health, including how we manage menopause. And we have the right to change our mind when presented with new facts or new circumstances. We don’t have to explain our choices to anyone or apologize for them when others disagree. I will forever be grateful for having a doctor that simply presented the facts and let me make my own choice about how I handled my menopause symptoms, because he recognized what many people do not: the symptoms were mine, the risks were mine, and ultimately, my body is mine and mine alone. 

Resources about HRT and Hot Flashes/Flushes:

Ann Coleman is a woman in her late fifties who loves reading, writing, working with shelter dogs, working on her house and yard, and helping her extended family. She writes about recognizing and appreciating the positive aspects of aging on her blog Muddling through My Middle Age.

Write for Navigating the Change.

Wellness Wednesday: Yoga for Bedtime with YOGAMOTIF

Navigating the Change has partnered with Alecia Dawn at YOGAMOTIF to offer everyone a natural remedy for insomnia: Yoga for Bedtime! In this 18-minute video, Alecia takes us through a gentle yoga practice that’s sure to prime you for a restful night. But remember, don’t have sugar and alcohol right before bed! That will be counterproductive.


Alecia Dawn is an arts worker and yoga guide who explores the creative process as an invitation to heal. She believes that creating art and creating life are connected and invests her time in people, projects, and communities that explore these practices. In 2018, she founded YOGAMOTIF, a creative wellness studio that offers art and yoga classes to youth, pregnant people, and the community at large. She makes space to center Black women in healing, and is honored to support the community with a joyful and breath-centered practice.

Alecia holds a Master of Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Alfred University, and is a registered prenatal yoga teacher. Learn more about her work at YOGAMOTIF.com

Follow YOGAMOTIF on IG: @yogamotif

Follow YOGAMOTIF on FB: @yogamotif

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