Saturday, January 29, 2011

Have You Ever Seen a Healthy Vegan? #15

Linda Howard

Linda Howard, owner of Alturnative Fitness and chief blogger of the Alturnative Fitness blog, is a former practicing attorney and healthcare compliance officer that turned “holistic fitness guru." She is an exercise, nutrition, tonic herb and holistic life enthusiast. She openly shares her journey to wellness and has embarked on a mission to help others find a holistic and natural path to fitness, well-being and vitality. This is her story:

As a teenager I made healthy lifestyle decisions, but still had health issues. I am now 48 and healthy. I feel like I am in my twenties; my energy is off the chain! In fact, I am reversing the aging process with thoughtful living. My vegan diet is a key ingredient in a winning formula for radiant health, optimal physical fitness and vitality.

As a child I got sick a great deal. I never liked taking medication. I would like to think it was some innate wisdom of holistic living, but the reality is I had trouble swallowing pills. My fear of swallowing pills made me challenge doctors whenever the prescription pad came out. My anxiety around swallowing pills and my frequent illness fueled my quest for information on medicinal herbs and nutrition. At 15 I was fasting; when I was 17, I stopped eating meat, poultry and shellfish and started juicing.

My health improved but my menstrual cycle was never normal. I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries and was told that there was no cure. At times my cycle was painful and sometimes it lasted so long that it became debilitating. I tried acupuncture and homeopathic remedies. I got some relief, but my problems did not go away. When I was stressed, it got worse. I was a prime candidate for a hysterectomy. The same time that the word hysterectomy was being tossed around I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel. Then I fell and seriously injured my hip and shoulder. I put on excessive weight, was living a very stressful life and I saw myself aging rapidly.

Drugs and operations were totally out of the question for me. My survival instincts kicked into full gear and I believed that I could turn my health condition around. (1) I slowed myself down to listen to my body and follow my instincts. (2) I tapped into what I know about nutrition and herbs. Anti-inflammatory foods were increased and pro-inflammatory foods were eliminated! I also started a regiment of tonic herbs and dusted off my juicer. (3) I tapped into who I knew that had a good understanding of natural healing. I became their student. (4) I put my research skills to work (as a NYC lawyer, I learn how to tirelessly research any issue). I found some research that stated that animal protein contributed to the growth of cysts. That’s when I became a vegan. I immediately stopped eating all animal products and never went back. That was nine years ago.

About five years ago, it dawned on me that I had no more health issues. I had no pains or occasional headaches, my energy was high, and I could not remember the last time I had a cold or the flu. I had been on my job at the time for four years and realized that I had never taken a sick day. My menstrual cycle was normal for the first time in my life; I had no signs of carpal tunnel, no occasional problems from my prior hip and shoulder injury and I managed stress like a pro. I started hitting the gym regularly and outperformed people half my age. For the first time in my life I was feeling athletic. This was major for me, because growing up I was so bad in sports that I was the last one to be picked for teams in gym class.

My creativity and my productivity are higher than it has even been. I am more patient and feel happier. I just have this indescribable feeling of well-being and vitality. I can't say why all of my health problems disappeared and why I feel so good- - - I don’t know if it was one particular thing or all things. All I know is that whatever it is, it is working for me and I am a healthy vegan full of vitality.

Visit the Alturnative Fitness blog at

You can also follow Alturnative Fitness on Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for your beautiful story!
Althea ◦

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thought for the Day

My oldest son Raymond had a Febrile Seizure yesterday morning. We went to the ER via ambulance. It was a trying day for my family. He is home today, still weak and slightly feverish. And today is his brother's birthday. Although we will celebrate Jona's b-day on Saturday, we are all tired. Today is about rest, OWN, and more rest.

In the interim, I'm sharing some wise words from my friend Michael Harris, who leads a Cleanse Group in Baltimore. Cleansing my whole house and cleaning out all of our insides has been heavy on my mind.

The body is always ready to change and become whatever we choose. The problem is that we often choose without awareness and we end up with what feels like the wrong body or the wrong energy or a tendency toward illness. The body reacts to our thoughts, habits, and food choices.

The good news is that the body is a good listener. It is always willing to move with our intention because it is always creating itself. We need only change a few habits and choices in order to experience ourselves as a constant creation aligned with our true needs.
Eating or drinking something you desire just because it tastes good can interfere with our body’s needs. A good example is when feeding a prize animal, say a horse. We want the animal to have a shiny coat and lots of energy and vitality. We feed the animal whole grains and vital foods. We would never feed the animal flour products or processed foods. The animal would love candy if we allowed it to eat sweets, but we know it loves an apple just the same.

Similarly, our body responds to vital living foods, whole grains, leafy greens, whole foods, loving intention, kindness, structure, and lots of care. Treat yourself like a prize animal. Take extra care. Take time to listen to your thoughts without commenting, without judgement. You don't need to fix anything because you are moving in the right direction and it will fix itself. Whatever is out of balance will be brought back into balance again. Listening. Allowing. Choosing for health and tasting the vitality of food. Silently eating and feeling nourished. Feeling strong and confident in your inner intention for yourself.
Living in peace & deeply listening.
Serving humanity with compassion and awareness.
Expressing joy through music.
~Michael Joseph Harris


Mocha Angel message: Pandemonium no longer reigns in your sacred space. Clean out your home −one room at a time − because clutter blocks your blessings. Allow your home to reflect the One Most High.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Drinks that make you go "hmmmm"

...or more like "whooo!" or "ghaaa!" You know, juices and smoothies that make you pucker your lips together, then you say, "Damn, that's tart!" I've been saying that a lot lately. Sarma's "My Favorite Greens Shake" is bitter, sweet, and tart all at the same time. Would I make it again? Yes. Would I have ever thought to put grapefruit, cucumbers, lemons, limes, greens, sprouts, and stevia together in one blender? No. 

I only put 1/2 teaspoon of stevia because I'm in savory mode. The reader is free to add as much stevia or agave as she wishes. More of either sweetener would obviously make for a sweeter smoothie. In a few months, I'll add more stevia. I guess what I'm saying is for a non-alcoholic drink, it's got strong flavor.

This smoothie is made for the adventurous palate. Beginners, beware. You may never drink another green smoothie again. Intermediate and Advanced folks, blend away, and take your mouth on an unforgettable ride.

Skin Saver Juice: I'n not sure where I got this recipe from. Parsnip, celery, carrots, and green pepper. Again, I went "gaaah!" SAVORY!


Mocha Angel message:  Ask for clarity about a troublesome situation in your dreams. In the dream state, you are more receptive to messages than you are in the waking state. Give it a try tonight and see what answers are revealed to you.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Best of Raw 2010

Hi, Family:
It's official. The Raw Mocha Angel is a finalist in the Best of Raw "Best Raw Vegan Blog" category. If you'd like to vote for me, the direct link to that page is:
Scroll down to the second group of finalists.

The link to the overall finalists is here:
The categories are "People," "Products," "Media," and "Places."
The Raw Mocha Angel is under the "Media" category.

Thank you, and love,

Mocha Angel message: Juicing clears toxic sludge from your body allowing you to think better. If you are at a crossroads, consider a juice fast for one to three days. Your life and the decisions you need to make will become much clearer.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Adventures in Savory Raw Food

There's no apples in my house! This is so new to me! Juice with no fruit? But I am doing it family. I've made the plunge into savory raw food in order to heal my Candida. Above is Calcium Rich Cocktail from Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life by Cherie Calbom. It called for 1/2 a lemon as sweetener, but I added the other half in too :-). Cucumber, kale, parsley, celery, lemon, and tastes as unsweet as you would think.

This is Peppy Parsley, from the same book. I also made Beautiful Skin Cocktail, and took photos, but somehow, they are missing from my camera. I'm sure my photog children deleted it off the camera. :-)

These are ingredients for Green Delicious from Green For Life by Victoria Boutenko. I didn't have Roma tomatoes, only sun-dried. I soaked them overnight, then made the smoothie the next morning. Again, I'm getting used to this "no sugar". It's weird, but I'll get there.


Mocha Angel message: From TUT: Whenever something doesn't work out the way you thought it would, Althea, instead of thinking that something went wrong, see it as something that went unexpectedly well, but for reasons that are not yet apparent.

Everything plays to your favor.

Score! The Universe

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Raw Food Real World / Raw Food Rehab

I've gotten the green light from Sarma and Matthew to blog through Raw Food Real World, as well as Sarma's solo book Living Raw Food. A few things have changed since, but I'll get to that in a moment.

Raw Food Real World is my favorite raw food book, bar none. I've made a few things from it in the past. But it always scared me. This is gourmet food to the hilt. But it also has scrumptious home meals and drinks too. I chose this one because I do want to be a raw chef. Until I make it to 105 Degrees and back to Carolyn's Raw Food Institute, why not go for the gusto? 

But here's the shift I've made: I've decided to eat only savory raw food for the rest of the 10 weeks left in the Raw Food Rehab program. (I'm careful with my words these days. "I only eat savory raw food" sounds better than "I'm not eating any sugar for 10 weeks!") I need to heal from Candida. Period. Eating savory raw, and using the food as my medicine is the way to go. I've created my own healing and food plan, which I'll assess every two days. I have a shopping list too. The list includes food from both Raw Food Real World and Living Raw Food. After the 10 weeks is over, I'll completely reassess and see if I want to add fruit and dessert back into my life.

The photos I've taken and food made were created in the midst of this decision:

Blue Grape Juice: I have never liked grapefruit, ever. But this drink adds honey and blue-green algae (I used spirulina). It's quite addictive.

I only made the salad dressing not the Greenmarket Salad. I found it tangy and rich. To keep the flavor, blend it each time you use it.

My new favorite dessert (when I start eating desserts again). Chocolate macaroons. WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The recipe calls for leaving them in the dehydrator for 12-24 hours. For me, any longer than 6 hours is too long. (I was eating them right out of the dehydrator.) I prefer the macaroons dry on the outside and moist on the inside, like a warm cookie. I left them in for 18 hours. They were still sweet chocolaty goodness, but too dry for me. But these treat are decadent, rich, not too sweet, and very easy to make. Raymond was my sous chef. It was like making a cake batter. Kid-friendly and awesome.
Time to Go Juice: That is prunes and water blended together I'm about to pour into the juice. The recipe called for juicing the prunes, but that didn't work. I even soaked them in water, then ran through the juicer. Still didn't work. So that's where the idea of blending prunes and water together, then adding to the juice came from. Another winner.

Thai Green Juice: I love cilantro as much as Sarma does, so this juice was right up my alley. Pineapples, cilantro, collards, and limes. Makes you squish your lips together and say, "Wow! That is TART!" But if you like that fruit and veggie combination, you will LOVE this.

Spiced Oatmeal with Dried Fruit: Yes, the oat groats require 5 days of soaking. But it was worth the wait. Although I didn't have golden raisins to mix into the oat groats, the dish was sweet and cinnamony. Raymond loved it, and I would make this again.

I've made this Cinnamon Banana Shake since March. Rom asks me for it all the time, even now in the dead of winter. It tastes like the best vanilla milkshake you'll ever drink. Malty and ice cold. Keep frozen bananas in your fridge so you can make it 365 days a year.


Mocha Angel message: Do not allow fear to ruin your life or thwart your destiny. Fear is an illusion that has destroyed many lives. Don’t let your life be one of them. Faith in God, and yourself, is the only way to defeat fear.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Yoga Challenge

Happy New Year!

Your Raw Mocha Angel is a 11-year veteran yoga teacher, but my practice has fallen off to only pranayama. In the January 2011 issue of Yoga Journal, they are offering to help get yogis back on track. Their 21-day program starts January 10th.

From the website:

Have you ever tried to start a home practice but couldn't stick with it? Well, we have the solution! In our 21-Day Yoga Challenge, which starts on Jan. 10, you'll receive all the help you need to create a home yoga practice that works for your life. No matter how much time you have or how you feel on any given day, it's still possible to practice yoga and reap the benefits.

How does it work? Each day, we'll present original videos of yoga sequences. There are 15-minute videos for morning and night; 30-minute videos to help refine your poses, work your core, and develop strength; and a super fun 45-minute flow sequence that'll have you moving all around your mat and getting a great workout in the process. By the end of the challenge, you'll have an arsenal of practices at your disposal to use whenever and however you want.


Mocha Angel message: No matter the weather, it’s all God, so go enjoy it!


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