Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Step Eight and a Half in the Raw Vegan Hero's Journey

8 ½. I practice forgiveness
Inspired by the mythical Hero’s Journey first compiled in The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell (photos are of famous, recognizable characters on their own journeys).

The infamous scene from Ghost

Forgiveness: Why is this included in a series about The Raw Vegan Hero’s Journey? It’s tied into emotional eating. Speaking for myself, I realized a few days ago that I was holding on to anger and resentment, primarily at myself. A friend of mine told me that depression is anger turned onto oneself. So what was I angry about? Choices I had made. Things I had said. Once I began forgiving me, I stopped craving food which didn’t serve me, like sugary sweet stuff. This process is a new one. But I can feel the emotional difference already.

The women of Why Did I Get Married?

Forgiveness is, to me, one of the hardest spiritual lessons to practice. It’s easy to point fingers and say, “But you don’t know what he/she/they did to me.” If, as a child, you were wronged (abused, molested, raped, teased, bullied), that was not your fault. But it was your experience. As an adult, it’s now your responsibility to do what you want with the hurt and pain. Would you rather walk around angry blaming others for what they did to you, or would you rather be free of that pain living an amazing, happy life? One type of life certainly feels better than the other. The key is forgiveness.
This topic is far too big to deal with in one blog post. But forgiveness will open your heart. Don't wait until you are on your death bed before you acknowledge the need to forgive others.

- Read the April 5th issue of People magazine. There’s an interview with David Smith, Susan Smith’s ex-husband. Fifteen years ago, Susan Smith killed their children. David’s story of forgiveness is a powerful one.

- Any book about forgiveness and how to achieve it.



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Steps Seven and Eight on the Raw Vegan Hero's Journey

7. I heal my relationship with food (I get an emotional grip)
8. I find emotional satisfaction in things other than food
Inspired by the mythical Hero’s Journey first compiled in The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell (photos are of famous, recognizable characters on their own journeys).


Food, at its essence, is fuel for the body. The purpose of food, from the time we are conceived, is to nourish every cell, organ, and tissue, so that we, as humans can function at an optimum level. We can argue about what are the best foods for our bodies. Since this is a raw vegan blog, and the author feels that raw food is the best fuel for her body, then she is going with that. (But I always say listen to your own body’s wisdom.)

I love food. I love everything about it. Texture, taste, smell, combinations, and possibilities all make me swoon. The problem comes in when food becomes a substitute for expressing feelings, otherwise known as emotional eating.

Denzel Washington as Coach Herman Boone in Remember the Titans
I am no psychologist. I’m just someone who has struggled with this issue for years, particularly the past seven years. What I can say is the moment you recognize that you are an emotional eater, you are on your way to healing. The phrase, “It’s not what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating you” is a truism. Watch any episode of the TV show The Biggest Loser and you’ll see that the contestants have been eating their pain for years instead of dealing with it.

My biggest suggestion is to find a faith, or belief system, that grounds you. I’ve been doing some soul searching. I believe I’ve found a faith that supports what I receive from The Mocha Angels. Therapy, yoga, chakra work, particularly throat chakra work, will all help. I focus on the throat chakra because that is the seat of communication. When we force down our self-expression with food, that stifles the throat chakra. It’s important to feel safe when you speak.

Losing Your Pounds of Pain by Doreen Virtue
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

The Great Debaters
While you work on healing your feelings, find other things to do which don’t involve food. I love kickboxing, yoga, reading, and writing. Make sure you love to do your activities. Choose things which make you feel good. For those of us who love food, it’s pleasurable. You want do things which are equally as pleasurable and fun. You don’t want to feel like you’re being distracted. You want to really have fun!

And speaking of having fun, I made the Grapefruit Cleanser juice from Everyday Raw. It’s grapefruit, apples, limes, and kale. I do not like grapefruit. But this is a refreshing, tangy drink. When I’m still thinking about a drink a week later, it’s a good one.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney

Thai Salad with Creamy Thai Dressing

I don't think adjectives exist to describe the food in Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney. This isn't a review of the book. I asked Matthew if I could blog my way through his book, and he graciously said "yes." His creations are a marriage of culinary technique and artistry.

I started working through the book pre-accident, so it's been at least three weeks since I've tasted this food. But I haven't forgotten the experiences. The Thai Salad and Dressing? I'm still thinking about it. The effort was worth the experience.

Salsa Fresca
Mango Guacamole
Two of my favorite foods are salsa and guacamole. Make these two dishes together and be in Heaven as you eat. I'd never had gauc with mango in it. The combination works well.
Banana Almond Butter Cup

The Classic

The Banana Almond Butter Cup is in Raw Food/Real World. I had to make it again. I made it on February 5th, right before the Blizzard of Century here in Maryland (seriously, the most snow in the state EVER since records started being kept in 1883). It was cold outside, but who cares? It was a taste of summer in a cup. Frozen bananas, cacao nibs, cinnamon, almond milk, and agave. Wow. It's as a good as it sounds.

The Classic is frozen strawberries, frozen bananas, and almond milk. Since bananas and strawberries go together like peas and carrots, how could it go wrong? It was perfect.

Until next time,


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lessons from a Car Accident

Hi Everyone:

I'm keeping this post short, just to let ya'll know I am still alive and doing better. My injuries were a concussion and whiplash. The past two weeks have been very intense physically, because of the pain, and intense emotionally, because of lessons learned.

1. I learned that I wanted everyone to like me. I have dropped that need. It's a long story, but it only took twenty years to recognize and resolve a clear pattern of my trying to fit in with women who are not in alignment with my values.

2. I found out who my friends are...and I am happy to say there are a lot of you all!

3. I do manifest my desires via words and thoughts. I wanted some time off from doing readings; have the income to do so; lose weight, and start my sons' blog. Because of the accident, I've done all of those things. I never expected that getting rear-ended would make all of those things possible. Watch what you say, think, and desire, because you will get it, just not necessarily how you expect.

4. It was time to start a separate blog for my boys; www.healingmysons.blogspot.com is the domain name. It's been on tap for a year and half. For the same reasons I started The Raw Mocha Angel, I believe people of color have got to speak up about their alternative healing. The disparity in health/education/everything else for Colored Folk (is it okay to say that?) versus White Folk is ridiculous. You all know I'm going to tell the truth.

(Stepping on soapbox now. I think my concussion has made me a little more forthright.) It's the damn twenty-first century. We have a Black man of mixed-race heritage, as he calls himself, as president. Facebook and Twitter have us reconnecting with our elementary school buddies and ex-boyfriends and girlfriends we haven't spoken to in decades. Technology is moving at lightning speed.

But the discussion around health care (The whole health care debate? I see faulty logic on both sides) and education seem stuck in 1984. My sons Raymond and Jona both have language/speech/learning delays. We, meaning Colored Folk, have got to think outside the current medical and educational model to help our children.

I finally got past the difficulty of writing about my boys. For any parent who has a child who speaks, thinks, and learns differently than the accepted norm, we have to speak up and share what therapies work and don't work for our children.

So check it out and let me know what you all think over at the Healing My Sons blog. I will be back blogging about raw food soon. I have four posts in my backlogged arsenal.


Healing My Sons, Introduction


Both of my sons have speech/language/learning issues. Neither has been diagnosed with having Autism, or even being on the Autism Spectrum. All three of them are intelligent, learned men. I’m not sure if Raymond and Jona are Natural Late Talkers, have a language delay, a language disorder (there is a difference), ASD, Echolalia, or what. They will see a developmental pediatrician in May, which will help.

Here is my bottom line and mission statement: To help my sons to reach their full potential as boys and men.

My goal with this blog is to chronicle my children’s healing with a gluten-free/casein-free vegan diet (GFCF), a raw vegan diet, yoga, martial arts, acupressure, and any other holistic & educational therapies that help my boys thrive.

I agree with the late Ann Wigmore that the root of disease is toxicity and deficiency. I also believe that we are mind/body/spirit entities and that healing takes place on all three levels.

I created the
http://www.healingmysons.blogspot.com/ domain in September 2008. Today is the first time I’ve written, at length, about my children. I’ve wrote about a successful gluten-free experiment I did with my sons in May 2008 on my other blog, The Raw Mocha Angel, but that has been it. Let me briefly introduce my beautiful boys:

Raymond and his speech therapist, Miss Karen

Raymond, age 7.6 years old: The Bright-eyed Chatterbox

Raymond wakes up talking, and goes to sleep talking! He loves Disney/Pixar movies, and wants to be a director, a scientist, a builder, a chef, and a sandwich maker. He loves to cook, and is a Kinesthetic learner.

Up until the age of four, Raymond’s speech was unintelligible. It sounded like he spoke another language. But he always loved being around adults and children. He asks questions about the world all the time. He is in the 95th percentile for weight and height. He is as tall as a nine-year-old. My specific concerns are:
- Constipation. Up until my first gluten-free experiment, Raymond suffered from constipation. He always strained going to the bathroom. During the two weeks he was gluten-free in May 2008, he had BMs 12 out of 14 days. I recently did another one for fifteen days. He has BMs 13 out of 15 days.
- Leaky Gut symptoms. When I saw this on Sunshine Boatright’s site, I laughed. Raymond had a “beer belly” even though he is tall and slim. That has gone down being gluten-free.
- Food reactions. After a Halloween party in which he had regular cake, Raymond came home confused. He seemed lost. And during his birthday party a few months prior, he threw up.
- At least four stomach viruses.
- Poor eye contact. This has gotten better, but I know he lacks confidence sometimes in what he is expressing.
- Reading at a first grade level.
- Math at a kindergarten level.
- Has trouble understanding directions.
- Poor short-term memory. (Fantastic long-term memory!)
- Trouble with both expressive and receptive language.
- Repeats words or phrases to himself. For example, may say “Dog?” over and over again for 10 seconds.

Raymond receives individual & group speech therapy twice a week. He also has gotten an IEP through his local elementary school. Looking at the whole picture though, I believe the change in his diet is key. When he first went gluten-free, the behavioral change was dramatic. My husband noticed and was amazed. This latest round of gluten-free has not been dramatic at all. Only his BMs have changed. My next goal is to put him on a raw vegan diet for a week and see how he does, behaviorally and academically.

Jona, age 5.2 years old: The Imaginative Cool Cat

Jona is a creative kid with a vivid imagination. He loves to act out scenes from movies, loves to draw, spell, and play in his brother’s science kit. He’s a photographer too. “Strong-willed” is the best way to describe Jona. I’ve got lots of stories about how my son sticks to his guns. As my husband puts it, we’ve worked hard to get Jona to be “civilized.” Rom says to give him another year. :-)

Language-wise I do suspect Echolalia. A perfect example happened yesterday, but what followed was remarkable. I’d taken Raymond to speech therapy at the local elementary school. Jona and I walked around while we waited for Raymond. Jona saw four kids in a music class. They were all playing violas. The teacher allowed Jona to watch. She asked him, “What is your name?” His response was, “Name!” That’s classic Echolalia. Instead of answering the question, the child repeats back part or the entire question. He sat in a chair, for 30 minutes, to watch and listen to the children practice “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” I can’t remember the last time Jona sat still that long for anything. Of course, he wanted to play an instrument, and he didn’t want to leave. I had to bribe him with popcorn.

At the gas station, Jona, popcorn in hand, walked up to the cashier and said, “Hi, my name is Jona. This is my mommy. And this is Raymond.” I stood there stunned. A half-hour ago he couldn’t answer a question, but suddenly he *volunteers* not only his own name, but two others, and in full sentences. I could only point to the live music. Music is now part of his therapy too.

That’s my cool kids, in short. I’ll be honest about what works, what doesn’t, and how I do it. I believe mothers hold it down like no other. We need to stick together and share our testimonies. Thank you for coming along our (mine too) healing journey with us.




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