Monday, May 31, 2010

The Final Step in the Raw Vegan Hero's Journey

12. I am a teacher
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).
Prior Steps:
1. I manifest the life that I want by proclaiming it in the NOW
2. I align myself with my core values
3. I am open and willing to change
4. I study to become a fantastic raw food chef.
4 1/2. I learn where my food comes from.
5. I develop a spiritual backbone.
6. I have allies, supporters and mentors.
7. I heal my relationship with food (I get an emotional grip)
8. I find emotional satisfaction in things other than food
8 ½. I practice forgiveness
9. I practice juice and smoothie fasting
10. I possess an unrelenting desire to heal
11. I am a shining example of health

You are the Hero of your own life. Life IS the Hero's Journey. As a raw vegan, you've decided to take control of your health, in a way that is comfortable for you, and gone against the grain (waaaaaaaaaaaaaay against the grain :-).

The student has become the master. Or, to quote Dr. Maya Angelou, "When you know better, you do better." Those who do better show others how to be better.

A teacher shares what she knows with love and compassion. Because of her "road of trials," she has healed herself and helps other people find their inner light as well.

Shrek, Fiona, and their babies

I've used fictional characters journeys from movies because they are a two-hour replication of real life. Back at Steps Five and Six of this journey, I listed the Top Worldwide movies of all time. All but one followed the Hero's Journey to the letter. These movies resonate deeply with us because we see ourselves in them. Do we not root for the Hero to rise to the challenges (the road of trials) and be "resurrected" so he can bring back a "reward" to his community?

In Shrek, the ogre wins the heart of Princess Fiona, ridding the land of Far, Far Away from the grip of the evil Lord Farquaad.

In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is transported to the Land of Oz only to learn that she already has everything she ever wanted.

In Titanic, Rose, with Jack's help, frees herself from a suffocating, abusive relationship, survives epic tragedy, and goes on live the life of her dreams.

Master Jedi Luke Skywalker

In Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Luke has become a Jedi Master and forgives his father, allowing Darth Vader to redeem himself before his death.

In Cars, Lighting McQueen transforms himself from a bad-ass superstar into a race car with heart, transforming the dilapidated, forgotten town of Radiator Springs into a hot tourist spot.

In the darkened theatre, we are cheering the Hero, hoping he gets his act together and sees the light.

You, the Hero of your own life, have people (allies and mentors) cheering you on! For as you transform yourself, you give others permission to do the same thing. And that is the reward you bring to your community!

You have gone through all the steps with laughter and tears, and now it's time for you to step onto the stage to help others. A raw vegan teacher can do many things:

-Start a blog
-Teach raw food classes
-Start a YouTube Channel
-Become a raw food coach
-Become a chef
-Become a caterer
-Write books and ebooks
-Go on television
-Create endless possibilities for yourself!

But is it really The End? Movies must end, but life continues. The Raw Vegan Hero's Journey has many highs and lows. But the clarity, the energy, the vitality you feel are worth it. You are worth the journey. The world is waiting for you.

Thank you for reading.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Step Eleven in the Raw Vegan Hero's Journey

11. I am a shining example of health
Inspired by the mythical Hero's Journey first compiled in The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell (photos, this time, are of REAL people on their own journeys).

You've been raw for a while.

You are feeling good.

People are asking you, "What are you doing different? You look amazing!"

Resist the urge to preach.

Simply share what you have been doing.

Everyone is not going to jump on your raw bandwagon at your speed. They will jump on at their speed.

At this point in your journey, rather than proselytize, be a shining example of health. Defy conventional wisdom about health, aging, athleticism, and nutrition. By "be-ing" the change you want to see, trust me, people will pay attention.

I've been using photos of fictional archetypes in the previous steps. Although there is one more step to go, I had to use photos and stories of real people this time. I am in awe of the three people I introduce to you today.

Marcus Patrick
Marcus is best known as an actor, but he is so much more than that. He is a personal trainer, holds a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, Life Coach, and committed raw vegan. I have spent a lot of time on his You Tube channel and on his blog, and I'd like to book a flight to Hawaii so I can train with him. Marcus has dedicated his life to helping others achieve the same level of fitness and health that he possesses. When I look at his videos I am amazed by his glow. Is he not a shining example of health?

Christy Dufell Seguin
I found out about Christy while doing a Google search on what to eat after exercising, specifically for a raw vegan. I browsed her site and was stunned when I saw her 40th birthday photos. She took them on February 7, 2009. I'm 38 and wouldn't yet wear a two-piece bikini in public. Christy has gorgeous photos of herself on her website.


Christy wrote me and said, "Just for full disclosure, I am not completely raw vegan anymore, due to the rigors of a competition diet. I am very open about this and feel it opens up great conversation and education. There are schools of thought that are quite compelling regarding raw animal products, for example--The Primal Diet by Aajonus Vanderplanitz."

I asked her if she was raw when she took her 40th birthday pics: "Yes, in my 40th birthday pics I was completely raw vegan (except for the VERY occasional sushi every other month or so--never could give that up 100%), and had been for about a year and a half at that point."

"I am still very high raw. For example, I eat sprouted oat groats instead of oatmeal. I never cook any of my veggies, except when my coach assigns me red potatoes. I eat my sweet potatoes raw--cut 'em into sticks, shake in a baggie with pumpkin spice--yum!!!"

Is she not a shining example of health?

Nature's Fitness Model Sherif Kamal

Sherif is the one who inspired me to write about real people this time. I first read about him on Facebook via an invitation by Richard "Raw" Tasca, Jr. I saw Sherif's photos and my jaw hit the floor.

Viktoras Kulvinskas, author of the 70s classic Survival in the 21st Century is also spreading the news about Sherif: "Sherif is known as Nature's Fitness Model, and in his first UFE (Ultimate Fitness Events) competition placed fourth, which qualifies him to go to the next level UFE Elite Competition in November. No drugs, no synthetic supplements. Just nature."

Sherif was named "Rising Star of the Month" by World Physique magazine. In his interview, I loved his passion for living naturally. Not only is his body beautiful, but so is his heart.
Is he not a shining example of health?

Be a walking billboard for raw vegan and natural living, and the world will come to you. The next, and final step, in your journey naturally follows.

Until then,

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Interview with Terilynn Epperson

I've been a fan of Terilynn Epperson and her blog, The Daily Raw Cafe, for years. She absolutely "let's her love of raw food" shine through. Reading about another mother's life with raw food always inspires me. I've gotten to know Terilynn recently and she is a loving, energetic, passionate, creative spirit.

The Daily Raw Cafe is celebrating its 3rd anniversary with a kick-butt Cyber Celebration May 27 and 28. From the site: "on May 27, starting at 9:32 a.m. until 9:32 p.m (EST). I will post a giveaway every 30 minutes! That is 24 giveaways in one day." Rules and guidelines are here:

Terilynn Epperson

You have an awesome blog. Why did you start The Daily Raw Cafe?
Thank you, I think it’s pretty awesome too, it’s such a great outlet for me. And I love my readers, they are all rawstars. I started the Daily Raw Café to document my very first juice feast in May 2007. It lasted 27 days.

How has your blog evolved over the years?
After my first juice feast ended, I didn’t want to abandon raw foods or blogging so I naturally gravitate to creating original raw recipes. DRC has always reflected my interests in raw foods at any given time, which a blog should. I know raw foods is the way to go for me but I didn’t want to seem preachy about others embracing the lifestyle. I have always tried to keep it light when it comes to DRC, provide great and interesting recipes or information and let others decide if the raw lifestyle is for them.

I feel I have a bit of responsibility to what I write about. There was a time when I was a bit self-destructive and it wasn’t appropriate to share that sort of energy at the DRC, so I left DRC for awhile. Once I got my head on straight (through a third juice feast), everything was back on track and I feel that I am better for it and so is Daily Raw Café.

Terilynn and her husband, Man on the Raw

I believe your husband went raw first. How did you get started with raw food?
Actually, my husband, Man on the Raw, and I went raw at the same time. It was a Valentine’s gift we gave each other in 2004. We wanted to be on the same eating program, so we went to Barnes and Nobel to search out diets we both could agree on.I had known about raw foods for awhile and it sounded intriguing but I didn’t want to do it alone. I found a David Wolfe book and brought it to Man on the Raw, and he seemed really interested in pursuing it. That was the start of our raw journey together.

How old are your children? What's their opinion of raw food?
I have been blessed with three daughters, Jordan, 19, Donavan, 10 and Avery, 3 and one son Bishop 5. I also have two step-children Ashley, 23 and Kevin, 16. Jordan and Bishop won’t try anything but raw desserts. Jordan is allergic to nuts so it can be tricky sometimes serving her, especially since she hates vegetables but she will drink a green smoothie. Kevin, Donavan and Avery will try everything if asked, from salads, to dehydrated foods to nut pates and they aren‘t afraid to share their opinions. Avery loves greens and Bishop sits in the garden and munches on mint.

Is their diet a mix of cooked and raw food?
Their diet is more cooked than raw. I provide them with raw options (smoothies, salads) but I don’t push them to eat it all. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. I wish we could be an all-raw family but I haven’t found that path yet.
Terilynn and her children
How has raw food changed you?
Raw foods and particularly juicing has given me focus and clarity in the direction I want my life to lead. No matter what sort of situations I would like to see happen in my life, raw foods have provided me with a internal road map. I don’t feel weighted down with cooked, processed foods and

What was your 92-day juice fast like?
My first juice feast was brief but necessary to prepare me for my second feast, which was like heaven with bits of hell mixed in. A very emotional roller coaster ride. By the time I did my third juice feast, it was like visiting an old friend you haven’t seen in awhile and was so glad to reconnect.
What is your best advice for people interested in the raw food lifestyle?
Try it before you pass judgment. I encounter a lot of people who say they couldn’t eat that way and I ask why and they really don’t have a valid answer as to why they can‘t incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into their life. I know it’s not easy at times, it can be down-right hard in so many levels, emotional, physical, psychological. But we are worth it, we are suppose to be healthy and vibrant and alive. We tend to cut ourselves short out of habit, never giving ourselves a fair shot. Start cold turkey, start 80-10-10, start with one raw meal-a-day, just start.

Please share any parting words with The Raw Mocha Angel readers!
Learn and live the “The Optimist Creed” by Christian D. Larson


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lots of Appointments!

It's been two months since I updated this blog. Raymond and Jona have had lots of dr. visits in my quest for diagnoses. Raymond has been to Kennedy Kreiger in the Neuropsychology department. He will be doing cognitive testing in late June.

I took both children to University of Maryland Medical Center to see a development pediatrician. They say Dr. Karen Spencer and Dr. Valentine. He will offer his diagnosis after hearing from a psychologist and Kennedy Kreiger. That will be in July, so look for a diagnosis, and plans on many levels after that!

These photos are from their visits with Drs. Spencer and Valentine.

And below are two pictures with Dr. Tao, who is a relative's doctor. I just had to finally get a picture with Jona and stethoscope. Every time we go to any doctor, he wants him or her to listen to his heart. He says he is "Jona Doctor."

Dr. Tao listening to Jona's heart.

Jona about to listen to his own heart!

This is Lori Zavoyna, who is Raymond other speech therapist. He sees her in a group setting with other kids at our local elementary school.

And Raymond, ever the chef, made "Yoda Soda" from the Star Wars cookbook for kids. He is so creative in the kitchen and has a real passion for food (he picked the right mom!).
So that's it for now. More appointments are forthcoming. Once certain things happen, my blog will become about their therapies, progress, and healing.
Thanks for reading :-)


Monday, May 17, 2010

Step Ten in the Raw Vegan Hero's Journey

10. I possess an unrelenting desire to heal
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).
Prior Steps:
1. I manifest the life that I want by proclaiming it in the NOW
2. I align myself with my core values
3. I Am open and willing to Change
4. I study to become a fantastic raw food chef.
4 1/2. I learn where my food comes from.
5. I develop a spiritual backbone.
6. I have allies, supporters and mentors.
7. I heal my relationship with food (I get an emotional grip)
8. I find emotional satisfaction in things other than food
8 ½. I practice forgiveness
9. I practice juice and smoothie fasting

April, Tanya, and Sandino in I Can Do Bad All By Myself
“You are determined to heal, aren’t you?”
My husband has said the aformentioned sentence to me several times over the past few years. Yes, I am determined to heal. Healing is not so much a “finish line” but it is a journey. And it’s an integral part of The Raw Vegan Hero’s Journey.
In short: possess an unrelenting desire to heal.
I don’t care how many time you run in circles with raw food. You are ultimately running back to yourself. The sooner you acknowledge you already possess all you need to heal, the sooner you’ll feel peace.
My six-year anniversary with my relationship with raw food was in April. As the date passed, I reflected on my challenges along the way. This blog, and this journey, was to help other people as they struggle.
Dr. Maya Angelou, Tyler Perry, and Ciciley Tyson on set of Madea's Family Reunion
I realized two things:
1) I had to stop making new dishes. After six years, I’ve made countless raw juices, smoothies, soups, entrees, salads, and desserts. I was looking outside myself for an answer I already had. I have enough knowledge to pull together my favorite raw foods. I stayed up past midnight last night to compile those foods. I have a list of 15 entrees, 5 salads, 3 salad dressings, 22 drinks, and 11 desserts that I love. I made 2 copies: one for my purse, and one for my kitchen. It’s time to stock my kitchen with those items and master them. My focus, now, is healing maintenance for myself so I have the energy to do other things I want to do. I’ve hit the pause button on blogging through Light Eating for Survival and Everyday Raw. I’ll come back to them again when the time is right.
2) A struggle with food is never about the food. You are hungry for something else if raw is not doing it for you. I read Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth. It’s one of those books you must re-read at least once. Time must be given to let it marinate in your mind. A review is a month or two away for that reason. I’ve zeroed in on what I’ve been really hungry for.
Don’t ever give up on yourself. You are a Divine entity meant to shine your light and love in this world. If something is not working, pause, ask (insert your name for God here) for help, listen, then act. Love is always ready to help you.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mother's Day at Liquid Earth

Jason, Antonette, and Rudy from Liquid Earth

Rom took me to a restaurant called Liquid Earth on Mother’s Day. It’s an awesome vegetarian/vegan restaurant in the Fells Point area of Baltimore. We had the most wonderful time. I’d wanted to go there ever since a few of their sandwiches landed on Baltimore Magazine’s 50 Best Sandwiches list.

Drinks on the wall :-)

Jona, the pickiest eater on the planet, only ate the bread and oil. I ordered him black beans and rice, but he wouldn’t eat it. (Good stuff!)

I ordered the Reuben sandwich for Raymond, who will eat anything at least once. The Reuben was on that 50 Best list. I had to take a bite. WOW. I would never take food out of my child’s mouth, but I was tempted. It was hot, silky, with just the right amount of the sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, swiss cheese, and “corned beef brisket” taste. I’m still thinking about it….

I ordered a raw burger, the first time I’ve eaten one. I was impressed. The seasonings, the consistency, even the collard wrap worked perfectly. I kept saying, “This is good. This is really good.” I ate the whole thing and wanted to order another one. It inspired me to try to make a raw burger at home.

Now to my husband, who cracked me up with his enthusiasm. Rom is not easily impressed, by anyone or anything. He ordered the Earth Burger, a veggie burger, with a side of macaroni salad (awesome!). I didn’t get to taste the Earth Burger because I was too busy taking pictures, which is too bad because Rom went on, and on, and on, and on, and on some more about his burger. This is what happened:

Thirty minutes into our drive home: “That was a good burger.”
Thirty-five minutes into the drive: “That was the best veggie burger I ever had.”
Forty-five minutes into the drive: “That was a good ass burger.”

Me: “You sound like Gayle King. When Oprah did a “Best Sandwiches in America” show, Gayle went around the country tasting and rating sandwiches. Five stars was the highest rating possible. She went to one place and gave the sandwich four stars. But on the drive home she kept raving about the sandwich to her daughter. Her daughter said, “Mom, if you’re still talking about the sandwich, then it deserved five stars.”

Rom: “Then my Earth Burger was a five star sandwich. I may need to go up there once a week. That was a good ass sandwich.”

I think “good ass sandwich” makes it ten stars. Perhaps I’ll get a bite next time.

I cannot wait to get back to Liquid Earth to try the raw pizza and some of their juices. We had a wonderful time. Jason, Antonette, and Rudy were very cool people. The vibe was easy-going and smooth. I loved it.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Strawberry Cobbler

I made a fruit cobbler from Sweet Gratitude by Matthew Rogers and Tiziana Alipo Tamborra. They suggest using a berry combination. I only had strawberries on hand, so that is what I used. Their suggestions of cobbler combinations follows:
white peach/raspberry/mango

The cobbler is one of the easier recipes in the book. The topping is walnuts, date paste, cinnamon, liquid vanilla, and salt. The fruit filling is fruit, lemon, agave, liquid vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.

And it was scrumptious. It made a wonderful breakfast. Rom loved it.

Sweet Gratitude is a textbook on how to make a raw dessert. This is not an entry level book. If you are serious about learning how to make desserts that impress people, or want to go professional, this is the book for you. If you are a newbie, don't buy this because you'll leave with the impression that all raw desserts are complicated. That is not true.

Raw Desserts by Jennifer Cornbleet, or Ani's Raw Food Desserts by Ani Phyo feature much easier desserts. Sweet Gratitude's level of difficulty also speaks to the quality of the desserts.
I give it a 10 out of 10, for people who want to take desserts to the next level. If you don't, you'll wind up leaving it to collect dust on your bookcase.




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