Monday, December 7, 2015


As I mentioned before, me and the kids went to my friend Kristine's house for Thanksgiving. Our celebratory holiday was two weeks after the terror attacks in Paris. After dinner, the adults talked as adults do: about world news. The Paris attacks came up, as well as the 24/7 news coverage. Paul, Kristine's husband, who works for a branch of the American military, gave an interesting perspective. He said, "We live in a 24/7 news cycle which makes it seem like the world is on fire. Three billion people lived in domestic tranquility last night. But you are not going to see that on the news. That would be boring."

I liked Paul's thinking.

Then San Bernadino happened.

I did watch the coverage because I wanted to know what was going on. Somewhere in the midst of watching the news, I had a realization. I said to myself, "Three billion people lived in domestic tranquility last night. And I was one of them."

Our planet houses 7,386,188,920 people, and counting, according to the World Population Clock. Perhaps four or five billion people lived in domestic tranquility last night. That would leave two billion people, plus or minus a few hundred million, caught up in war, famine, civil unrest, corrupt governments, shootings, both police and domestic, incarceration, gang/territorial turf wars, domestic/physical/sexual abuse, human trafficking, kidnapping, family arguments over insert your disagreements here, flood, fire, foreclosure, natural and environmental disasters, racism, sexism, any-ism that disregards a person's humanity, drug/alcohol addiction, injustice, poverty, homelessness, debt, bankruptcy, accidents, hunger, disability, divorce, and/or grief and anguish over any of these things, including natural causes of death.

We all have personally lived through some of these things, and may live through worse before our lives come to an end. (And the fact that we did survive trauma is a testament to the human spirit.)

A 24/7 news cycle bombards the world with bad news. (Anyone remember when TV used to go OFF?? Ya'll remember the static? Can we return to that?) Folks thinking the world is worse than ever. No, it's not. We are now privy to all that badness, all day and all night.

I say:

-Choose Oneness. The ego enjoys separating us into groups. Everyone is most comfortable around their family and their "tribe:" the people who share your values. I am most comfortable around Black holistic intuitive women. They speak my language. However, I've learned the most from people who look nothing like me.
-Choose Peace. If you want peace, be peaceful. Handle your childhood shit and your grown-up baggage so you can radiate peace. Chaos within radiates fear, creates chaos, and ruins relationships.
And I am all for speaking truth to power (i.e., Black Lives Matter, etc.). Activism works. Societies evolve because of social movements. I am talking about handling your own personal stuff so you stand inside your power with peace and confidence.
-Choose Love. We are made from Love. Love is what we are born into (hopefully), and love is the last thing on our minds when we leave. In San Bernadino, one of the victims who did survive, called her sister to say she loved her, and asked her to tell their family the same. Same thing happened during 9/11. People on the planes, in the Twin Towers, and in the Pentagon called their loved ones to say, "I love you." When time is short, you realize love is what matters. Love yourself, and love others.

So the next time fear permeates the airwaves, turn off the TV. Do not read social media comments that spread fear and hate. Remember: "Three billion people lived in domestic tranquility last nightAnd I was one of them." Then go do something that brings you joy. The world is full of glorious laughter, passion, bliss, creativity, service, and joy.



Sunday, November 29, 2015

Body Ecology Month 2

The boys holding mason jars full of fermented vegetables.

Here is what I know for sure: food combining works. In short, for proper digestion combine:
- ocean veggies and/or non-starchy veggies with animal protein
- ocean veggies and/or non-starchy veggies with starchy veggies
- ocean veggies and/or non-starchy veggies with grain-like seeds (millet, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat)
- ocean veggies and/or non-starchy veggies with protein fat

In other words, steak (animal protein) and potatoes (starchy vegetable) do not mix. Think fish and rice, or a shrimp pasta - bad combination. The original Body Ecology book goes into great depth about this. There is plenty of other books about it too. How do I know this is true? My kids turned back into Gassy Fart Machines when they violated this rule. Raymond had chicken noodle soup when he was briefly sick (I think he and I successfully fought off the flu with energy work, sleep, and essential oils). All he did was fart. He did not with the vegetable soup. 

Thanksgiving was another one. We went to my friend Kristine's house. (I am sorry there are no pictures. I made a chocolate ganache pie and kale salad. I accidentally spilled almond milk on my cell phone, which hurts for more than one reason. It's acting up, as you can imagine. I have to get a new one. Taking photos or anything else is tricky). I let them eat what they wanted. Yikes...Return to Fartland. I have realized this about myself too, so I have been food combining as well. 

I also added homemade fermented vegetables to their program. I use cabbage, carrots, garlic, and ginger along with Body Ecology Culture Starter and Kefir Starter. Raymond actually gave me a compliment when he said, "These fermented vegetables are good. I like them." 

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? A compliment in the midst of  "I hate this diet! It's making me cranky!" I'll take it! I also added beef broth to Raymond's diet. He drinks it without a problem. What's also clear is sugar does not work for them, especially Raymond.

The biggest news I have is that Jona did something so nice for a girl at his school. His class was walking around the track, when a girl named Lindsey fell down. Jona ran up to her to comfort her. He asked her if she was hurt. Then he said, "It's okay. You are going to be fine. We are going to get you some help." Apparently the girl was appreciative. Jona's teacher gave him a sticker. It's the one in the photo above.

EMPATHY!!! Yes! My baby showed empathy for someone outside of his family. On to Month 3 for them.

Their mom has made changes for herself too. If I can photograph my food, that will be next.

Althea ◦

Thursday, November 19, 2015

8 year blog-anniversary :-)

Eight years ago today, I wrote my first post. Thank you to the 310 people who subscribe to my blog for your love, patience, kindness, and feedback. And thank you to anyone who has ever loved me.

Last night, I talked on the phone with Steven Barnes, writer and teacher extraordinaire. Mr. Barnes took time out of his schedule to answer a question I had about his Ancient Child meditation, which is the most powerful meditation I've ever done. He was open, kind, patient, funny, and charming. Emphasis on patient. This guy is one of my gurus. And he talked to me like we went way back. I am still processing the conversation, but I realized that I've had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting, in person, on the phone, or emailed/messaged directly, one-on-one, people I admire.

I have met:
Toni Morrison
Tananarive Due
Steve Barnes
Queen Afua
Danny Dreyer (ChiRunning creator)
Victoria Boutenko
Mike Dooley
Mimi Kirk
Matthew Kenney
Sarma Melngailis

For my anniversary, I want to dedicate my blog to the my most influential teachers in the areas of raw food, fiction, fitness, yoga, and metaphysics.

Raw Food Teachers:
Ann Wigmore
The Boutenko Family
Matthew Kenney
Tonya Zavasta

Fiction Teachers:
Langston Hughes
Toni Morrison
Maya Angelou
James Baldwin
Steve Barnes
Tananarive Due
Alice Walker
Every female novelist in the African Diaspora
with a special shoutout to:
Leslie Esdaile Banks
Bebe Moore Campbell
J. California Cooper
Toni Cade Bambara
Brenda Wilkinson
Virginia Hamilton
Mildred D. Taylor
Gloria Naylor
Sheree Thomas

Fitness Teachers:
Jamie Eason
Hollis Leibman

Yoga Teachers:
K. Pattabhi Jois
Betsey Downing
Doug Keller
Shakta Kaur Khalsa
Darshan Kaur Khalsa

Metaphysical Teachers:
Mocha Angels
Queen Afua
Mike Dooley
Louise Hay
Catherine Ponder

Uber shoutout to: Oprah, Angela Davis, Harriet Tubman, Phyllis Wheatley, Diahann Carroll, Rosalind Cash, Elaine Rice-Fells, Janet Sloane Alexander, Amaadi Coleman, Lori Savko Perdue, Monica Utsey and the entire Southern DC Mocha Moms chapter, Cindy Tawiah, Radhia Jaaber, Shanna Bulluck, and my mama, Ardilia Wesley, for being supremely influential and amazingly fabulous beyond words.



Saturday, November 14, 2015

Loving Yourself to Great Health Includes.....

me, Thursday, November 12, 2015

....lifting weights!!!

Cutting to the chase, before I started culinary school we were told we could gain weight. Since I was making raw food, I didn't believe it. Gain weight I did. Despite me putting up a picture of myself and, in a few paragraphs, sharing my stats, I am not ready to share how much I weigh. I still can't believe it.

I started eating cleaner because I needed to think more clearly. Food has a huge effect on mood. I let go of processed food and it did benefit me. My summer was pretty shitty. Despite going to Kripalu and blessedly, seeing my family, I had a hard time. And I ate whatever made me feel better. Despite what some people think, my goal is not to make my life or anyone else's life difficult. That has never been my intent. My goal is to learn from my mistakes and make my life and my children's lives the best it can be. I already said before that if chaos is reigning, you need to look deep inside yourself. That is exactly what I have been doing.

Along with changing my food, I decided to start strength training. I know what kind of body I want. And I want to improve my cardiovascular endurance too. Women, you need to lift weights, especially if you are over 40 years old. You are not going to get bulky like a man. You are going to get leaner. The benefits of strength training are here:

For some reason, lowering the number on the scale has never motivated me. The reason for exercising has to be deeper than that. I got my reason on August 31. That was the day I was sent to the ER from my now-former full-time job. My blood pressure was 170/100. A month ago (October 12) it was 150/100. Seeing those numbers was enough for me. I got to work.

For the past month, I have done two things: work with my friend Eric who is my personal trainer, and follow fitness model Jamie Eason's LiveFit program on I have completed Phase 1, which is one month. I have two more months to go.

me and Eric

On October 12, here were my stats:
Weight: aaaaargh
Measurements: 42-40-46
Blood pressure: 150/100
Body Mass Index (BMI): 35%

On November 12, my stats are:
Weight: mmmmmh
Measurements: 41-39-44 1/2
Blood pressure: 134/84
BMI: 33.2%

My blood pressure goal was 130/90. I made it to 134/84 so I felt great about it.

My goal for December 12 is 120/80 (normal), BMI: 30%, measurements: 40-37-43. 

Asking for all of your positive thoughts...


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Good News

I am a Life Wellness Coach now. Yea! Some good news!



Monday, November 2, 2015

Body Ecology Weeks 3 and 4

My update on the Body Ecology Diet for my boys, aka The Raymond BitchFest 2015:

Wow, that boy can complain. I didn't have to do this, but I did let him know it was coming. He knew on October 1st that his diet was changing. Last night, he was hot. He let me know in no uncertain terms he hated his new diet, when was it going to end, he was mad about it, he cried, etc, etc. We came to an understanding last night.

-this is my house
-you are my son
-this is my kitchen
-I buy the food with my money
-you do what I say
-this is my decision
-this is the plan
-and we are sticking to it
-do you understand?

He understands. LOL. (Don't you love saying stuff to your kids that your parents said to you?)

Jona, on the other hand, loves writing his grocery list. (Notice I said "his.") Instead of complaining, he writes down what he wants. Today's list is:
-blueberry bars (NutriGrain bars)
-honeynut cheerios
-goldfish crackers, cheddar or parmesan

I either say, "Jona, I'm not buying any of that," "You are not getting any of those things," or I ignore the list. He does eat everything I feed him without complaint. I am happy he is open to new foods. He used to be an all-bread kind of kid. He is still a very plain eater. He doesn't like fancy food. No salad dressing, no condiments, no almond milk in his cereal, nothing. I was worried about him more than Raymond. Raymond has been an adventurous eater since he was two-years-old. Now he is the one who is unhappy about the food.

What I have noticed is processed sugar is a HUGE trigger for Raymond. He and Jona had all of ONE piece of candy for Halloween. One. I hid the bags from them. And I'll be taking them to work tomorrow. All things being the same, when I picked him up on Sunday, I saw Raymond's OCD was stronger. So that one piece of candy will stay at one piece.

All in all the kids are the same. The only other change I have noticed is sleep. Raymond is sleeping through the night, but that may be for another reason. I started something else, but I want to give it a month (it's a total of a five month protocol) before I write about it.

Althea ◦

Monday, October 26, 2015

Juicing for Autism study

Registration for Juicing for Autism study is now open at: It is a free study. I signed up Jona and Raymond. Please visit the website for more information. Steve Prussack and Karen Ranzi are running the program. I interviewed Karen when I was Blog Editor at Raw Mom. She is a lovely woman. That is one of the reasons I decided to join.

Please share with others.

Althea ◦

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Six Best Pieces of Advice I've Ever Received

Life is always teaching you something. I am finally listening....

1. Communication. Communication. Communication. - from my Grandma Pearl. Before I got married the first time (I've been married twice in case I never mentioned that), I asked my grandma the secret to a long marriage. She said, "Baby..." then she slapped her knee three times for each word for effect.. "it's communication, communication, communication."

This was my response: "WTF?"

I was 24 at the time. Not the brightest bulb in the box.

At 43, I get it.

Life will continue to kick you in the ass until you finally figure it out. It's like Oprah says, the lesson will come as a whisper, then a brick, until you get it. My mom says an entire brick wall fell on top of me around this one. This lesson applies to any intimate relationship and estranged family members and friends.

2. A marriage is a living breathing thing. When it dies, you must grieve the loss. - from Vivian Nichols. I met Vivian at the Yoga for Women of Color Retreat at Kripalu in May 2013. That November, she came to one of my yoga classes. I had been physically separated from Rom for four months at the time, so that advice came early on. It was the single best piece of advice I received around my divorce. It helped me move through all five stages of grief (denial, anger, depression, bargaining, acceptance) without getting stuck in one stage for too long. Which leads to:

3. Forgiveness. - every major spiritual text ever written. Prolonged anger and resentment toward people, places, and things only poisons your body, mind, and spirit. The greater the offense, the greater the pain, therefore the greater the need to forgive.

Self-forgiveness is a big one too. We all do stupid s&^$. We carry around shame and self-loathing way too long. I may have to write a long post on this one alone. I've seen it in myself and almost everyone I know. When you forgive yourself, you feel better about you. Which leads to:

4. When you love yourself, everything in your life works. - from Louise Hay. Don't sleep on this one. I have read You Can Heal Your Life like a bagazillion times. If I were stuck on an island, I'd take it and The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity by Catherine Ponder. Louise's premise is simple: most people don't love themselves. They don't think they are worthy of life's goodness. Back to what I said in #3 about forgiveness, we carry guilt, shame, anger, revenge around in our hearts and self-sabotage ourselves.

It's easy to roll your eyes around self-love. I have been working on this one, and I see the benefits. Louise advocates mirror work. Start here:

5. When you don't know what to do, love yourself. - from Gina Laverde. Piggybacking on #4...Gina just said this to me on Saturday. Today I lifted weights (back & biceps, and legs), practiced yoga nidra, and took a yoga class, all in one day. I haven't done anything like that for myself since I have had children. And Raymond is thirteen! I'm like, okay, this is cool. Lately, I haven't known what to do, so that is where the cleanse (Day 21!) came from. Do whatever you like. It can be simple. Watch a funny TV show. Massage your feet. Dance in your living room. You'll be able to think better afterward, and it will be easier to know what move to make when you feel lost.

6. Trust in Love for all your days. - my Mocha Angels. I channeled my Mocha Angels book in 2005. Every message started with "Trust in the Lord for all your days." Trust in God? Understood. But something wasn't right. It didn't click. I recently heard, "It's Trust in LOVE for all your days." THAT felt right to me. I interpret it to mean to always trust in something greater, bigger, and grander than yourself. Make Love the highest guide in your decision-making process. Love is unchanging, and it's the highest emotion we can feel for each other.

After my topsy-turvy 2015, I'm ready to listen to all of this awesome advice. Feel free to share the best advice you ever received.



Sunday, October 18, 2015

Body Ecology: Raymond and Jona, Week 1 and 2

Raymond and Jona are two weeks into the Body Ecology Diet. They are doing the BEDROK version of the diet. BEDROK stands for Body Ecology Recovering Our Kids. The website is here:
Body Ecology website is here: The philosophy in a nutshell is heal the gut, heal a multitude of other issues, both physical and psychological.

Let me tell you all at the top: I saw improvement in Raymond within 48 hours. No lie. No exaggeration. Jona is still drinking apple juice and eating gluten free bread because he is more rigid than his brother. Raymond is no sugar, no gluten, no dairy, and is eating fermented vegetables as well.

The steps in BEDROK are:
1. Remove the offending foods: sugars, gluten, casein, grains and starches, processed foods, soy, refined vegetable oils.
2. Drink Young Coconut Kefir.
3. Eat cultured vegetables.
4. Eat raw cultured butter and other good fats.
5. Add homemade broth.
6. Follow the principles of food combining. A chart is below.

A better chart is here:
Article here:

My children, at the moment, are not vegetarian. I hope that doesn't offend any of my readers. Their plate looks very simple: fish or turkey or eggs, salad with homemade dressing, a steamed vegetable, and cultured vegetables (for Raymond). Raymond is also only drinking water. Jona has apple juice with his lunch. For the rest of the day he only drinks water.

What changed in both boys is that they lost weight. I don't know how much, but it's obvious that they have. Raymond said to me today, "I'm losing weight." I asked how could he tell. He said, "My belly is shrinking."

The other three things are Raymond's OCD symptoms alleviated. His major symptom is touching objects. If he was at 100 before the diet, on a scale from 0 to 100, then he is at a 40 now. The difference was obvious to his father and his teachers as well. The other thing was farting. He farted all of the time. I mean ALL THE TIME. I have heard my child fart all of twice in two weeks. He went from 100 to 2 on a 0 to 100 scale. And his constipation is easing. He told me on Friday, "I pooped twice today." For him, that is an achievement. The only change I see in Jona is that he is pooping more often as well.

Yesterday, I had a medical intuitive reading about my children and me with Gina Laverde.
( I am a professional intuitive myself, and I would absolutely recommend her to anyone. It's hard to do a reading on my children because they are my strongest emotional connection. The hallmark of a good reading is objectivity, neutrality, and detachment. It's hard to be any of those things with my boys. So I went to someone else. She is worth every penny. It's too much information to go into here. In short, her food recommendations were simple for the boys:

"Homemade broth, slow cooking, high mineral, high nutrition food that has a grounding nature (lots of root vegetables), plus the Body Ecology steps already being taken. Liver support for Jona with beets (which I am going to put in his smoothies)."

Jona is easing his way into the diet. Once I get them both solidly there, they will be on it strictly through the winter, at least. The goal is to heal their digestive system so they can slowly add other foods successfully.

And I am on Day 18 on my own gluten/dairy/sugar free lifestyle. Even though I still have the sniffles, I am back at the gym tomorrow.

Healing is holistic. It's not just food. As we heal with other modalities, I will share them here.

Althea ◦

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Day 11 No gluten, no sugar, no dairy

What fast? What happened to Days 1-10? I wanted to see if I could do this first! And doing it I am! Even though I am on the tail end (I hope) of what I think are detox symptoms, I really want to get this written.

Me and my personal trainer, Eric, swinging those kettlebells. Never thought I'd do such a thing!

When chaos reigns, you need to look at yourself. Not your partner, kids, parents, boss, family, only you. Too many things happened in a short period of time that forced me to question myself.

July 18: I lost someone near and dear to me.
August 17: Interviewed for full time job.
August 19: I didn't get the job as paraeducator, but was offered a position as Inclusion Helper.
August 21: Was let go from a yoga teacher job before I even started, two days after I signed a contract.
August 25: Started full-time job.
August 31/Sept 1: Was sent to the ER from full-time job, with high blood pressure, dizziness, and left side heaviness. What does that sound like? I didn't have a stroke. But I was in the hospital overnight in the stroke ward. Diagnosis: complex migraine.  Nothing like being unexpectedly in the hospital to make you think about your life. And think I did...
September 3: I resigned from full-time job. They were nice enough to ask if I still wanted to be a substitute teacher. I was very grateful. And I still had kept my other job, so I was never unemployed.
September 5: Watched the movie version of the book Wild.
September 18: My last day at the full-time job.

Two things struck me. One, the movie is based on the real story of Cheryl Strayed, who hiked 2600 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail alone. She was going through major chaos like divorce and drug addiction and the loss of a parent. I could relate, even though my chaos was different than hers. Pain is pain. The second thing that stuck me was a line Cheryl's mom Bobbie said. It was, "When you find your best self, do everything possible to hold on to it."

I was my best self when I was raw vegan. The problem has been sticking to it, even with my culinary training. After watching the movie, I decided to drop the gluten, dairy, and sugar. Sugar is my real problem. When I am stressed, all I want is chocolate. And pre-menstrual, forgettaboutit. Chocolate is all I want. With all that was swirling around me, I was in the midst of the dark night of the soul. I had to do something.

My fridge on Day 1

October 1 was my first day. I am going at least 45 days, and truthfully, I see no reason to turn back. From Day 1 to Day 9, mentally I felt great. And no cravings. I was, and still am, on an emotional even keel. But Friday night, standing in my kitchen, my head was congested in an instant, and I couldn't stop the illness. It descended on me quickly. Friday night and Saturday morning, all I wanted was my mother. My ears, teeth, gums, nose, sinuses, and head were on fire. I felt better when I had the flu. This was horrible. Now it's Sunday night, and I am better, but very weak.

Seconds. Go to your farmer's market and ask for them. Seconds is the name for overripe fruit. That whole bag was $4.00.

My first day.

At first I was going all liquid. My main job is too physical for that. I did juice and smoothies for lunch and dinner. Soup and salad for lunch. I did that for seven days. On Day 8, I started eating again, still keeping the no gluten, dairy, or sugar. And you know what happened on Day 9. Hopefully, it's just detox symptoms and nothing more serious.

I also started my sons on their own cleanse. Jona has been dairy free for a week. I am transitioning him slowly because his eating habits are quite rigid. Raymond has been on no sugar, dairy, and gluten since October 6. The results for him are nothing short of remarkable. What is happening with him is my next post.

Althea ◦

Monday, September 28, 2015

Kripalu and Mr. Notes from the Universe!

My boys with their workshop teachers.

A bucket list item achieved: to bring my boys to Kripalu Yoga & Retreat Center and have them experience the same joy I feel when I am there.


I registered them for a workshop called Deep Play for Kids, a mindfulness and yoga class for children led by Missy Brown. It was about fifteen children in the workshop. They did some of the following:

  • created an obstacle course outside
  • walked the labyrinth outside
  • created journals
  • practiced yoga asanas and pranayama
  • played mindfulness games
  • experienced sensory games as well.

Jona on Day 2

They had the best time. And as a mom, I felt completely comfortable leaving them in the workshop over the weekend, while I did my thing. 

Missy's website is here:

The boys with workshop leader and creator Missy Brown

And what did I do over the weekend? Glad you asked! I signed up for Relax and Renew, which means I could do whatever I wanted! But let's get to the superduperestcoolest part of the trip. I got to meet, live and in person, Mike Dooley, aka Mr. Notes from the Universe!!! If you don't know who he is, go to and sign up for your daily Notes from the Universe. If you do know who he is, then you know how ultracool I was feeling at that moment.

Despite a long line at his booksigning, this man took the time to not only sign my copy of Leveraging the Universe, but talked to me about my future. In short, he gave me publishing advice and told me I'm destined for the same course he took as a channeler, author, and lecturer. I really appreciated his time, generosity, and energy.

I also enjoyed alone time at Kripalu Beach, which is a mile from the main campus. I should have kayaked too. I will do that next time.

I watched a teacher training class enjoy partner yoga. I have no idea who these people are, I just thought the partner yoga was cool.

 Of course, there was the food. Always off the hook. There's such a variety and selection for everyone. Even superpicky Jona found food to each. And he liked he could make his own panini.

This is the view I woke up to every morning. This place is so beautiful. I love the no phone, no radio, no tv, no internet policy. You can decompress, get away from your stressors, relax, and simply be.
As always, I encourage everyone to go to Kripalu at least once in your lifetime.

A. ◦

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Be Kind

I went back to Kripalu Yoga & Retreat Center this month. As usual, it was an amazing experience. If you follow me on Facebook, then you may have already seen the pictures. I will write about it on here too.

The last time I was there was May 2013. In one of the stairways, was a poster-size version of the above refrigerator magnet. It reads, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle" by Anonymous.

The first time I read that, I said, "TRUE THAT!" When the saw the magnet for sale in the Kripalu store, I didn't hesitate to buy it. I have looked at that magnet every day for the past two years. It became a mantra of sorts. I can't say I always followed it but I did my best.

And in a moment in time when kindness should have been in the forefront of my mind, it was not.
I lost the dearest of friendships because I had a self-centered, angry reaction upon hearing personal and painful news from this friend.

Everyone makes mistakes, yes. Mistakes, however, come with consequences. So be kind. Some folks must be loved from a distance because their issues are too toxic to bear. And some folks are meant to be loved up close  - friends, lovers, and family - deeply and profoundly, flaws and all, simply because you cannot imagine your life without them. And why would you want to imagine life without them?

Love is who we are. Love is the glue that holds us all together. Love is part of our final thoughts as we leave this earth. Love is what we are greeted with when we enter this world. Time is short. Love yourself and your peoples is my message :-).

Avocado Cayenne Salad, Almond Thins, and Cucumber Dill Soup

I keep coming back to food as healing. In the midst of grief, it's been a struggle. Raw food is a like an old pair of jeans. You swear all out you are going to fit those Size 8's day. You felt sexy as hell when you were wearing them, and now....not so much. That's raw food.

Post-raw chef school I know for a fact that my culinary point of view is easy and quick vegetarian/vegan/raw vegan. What I learned through Matthew Kenney Culinary was how to be a raw chef in a restaurant. What I must be is a home chef and cook. I unofficially have a full-time job (I get an official offer next week...cross your fingers). I am divorced mother to two special needs boys. All that food you all saw me make in school is not what I do at home. It's not practical. But raw food is the one and only thing that has EVER made me feel spectacular. And that is what I want for my children. I don't have it all figured out, but I'm on my way.

Oatmeal with raspberries, apple, banana

I have figured out this much:
- 32 oz of water with lemon or lime juice first thing in the morning
-Breakfast is soaked oatmeal with 3 fruits. Today's fruits are blackberries, apple and banana. Also includes unsweetened almond milk, dash of cinnamon, very little maple syrup.
-Lunch, a big ol' salad with lots of veggies

Still working on the rest of it.

I even made my first all-raw meal in a very long time. The salad is from Brendan Brazier's Thrive book. Almond Crackers is a Russell James recipe. They are the best raw crackers I've made hands down. The soup is from Victoria Boutenko's Green Smoothie Revolution

I also figured out that I HAVE TO write. It's a calling. I can't explain it. My blogging has been hit or miss since 2013. I have to write about everything. If it helps me and helps other people, then I'll write about it.

See you soon.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Matthew Kenney Culinary Online Level 2, part 2

My "Shop Project:" Mocha Angels Chocolates

I continued on to Level 2 for one reason: to learn the business end of raw food. I wanted to understand costing and how to charge for my services. I am so glad I did it. I learned the business stuff the last two weeks of school. I chose to make, price, and package chocolate for my final project.

Mocha Angel, White Mocha Angel, Strawberry Mocha Angel unwrapped.

Except for the strawberry chocolate, my chocolates came out great. I dehydrated then ground the strawberries. Rather than turn the melted cacao butter (which is simply edible grade cocoa butter) pink, the strawberries sank to bottom...and sat there. So much for pink chocolate! 

I had never made white chocolate before. That was a fortunate success. 

The project had to be "in the store ready to market." So this is the back of the box. It includes ingredients, price, weight, and an ISSN bar code. I am really proud of this project.

I've been asked what am I going to do now. First...take the summer to change me and the boys over to raw food. For me, that means 100%. For the kids, it means more whole food. It doesn't mean I'll be fully raw forever. I am at a point in my life where I need to be fully raw and now I have the knowledge to do it properly. There will be lots of posts about what we are eating.

Second, I am working on a smoothie book. (That's my next post.)

Third, teach people how to make simple vegan food. I have one client (I haven't forgotten about our date this summer!) Everyone would eat better if they knew how. That is where I come in! If you live in DC. MD, or PA, and interested in having me help you, let me know!

Althea ◦

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Matthew Kenney Culinary Online Level 2, part 1

Guacamole, Cacao Chips, Mole Sauce

My journey through raw vegan culinary school is complete. It has taken me a while to recover from the intensity. A friend of mine, who graduated from a traditional in-person culinary school, said to me, "You didn't think it would be that intense, did you?"

"Uh, no....."

And it was. I as SO HAPPY I did this. I have wanted to study at/with/through Matthew Kenney for YEARS. Going to MK Culinary was on my vision board from the moment his first restaurant opened in Oklahoma City years ago. I even completed this ahead of schedule. I found a list of goals I wanted to achieve after I finished. I had written "2017" as the year I wanted to do culinary school.

But absolutely so intense. YES. I tore through school because I have two kids and I work three jobs. I dropped two of the jobs temporarily for sanity's sake. I spent six to seven days a week, 6-7 hours a day on school, no lie, no exaggeration. When I finished, I was burnt to a crisp. My personal food for me and the kids became sandwiches because a sista was not trying to spend more than 15 minutes making any meal.

Chocolate Cake, Walnut Sauce, Anise Scented Pears, Chai Ice Cream, Fennel Sauce

But what I learned will serve me for the rest of my life. That is an awesome feeling. Was everything I made perfect? No. For instance, take the first photo of the guacamole and chips. The guacamole was something I could eat everyday. The chips, not so much.

The chocolate cake was a revelation. We made flour from scratch. I was in a daze at what I was making. The cake was yummy. It tasted like a rich fudge brownie. The other ingredients elevated it. I learned that anise is my new favorite spice. The ice cream and fennel sauce weren't necessary because the cake alone is extremely rich.

Dark, White, and Strawberry Chocolates

I learned how to make tempered chocolate. All chocolate you buy is tempered. It's a method of heating chocolate that keeps it from melting at room temperature. The photo above is an example.

Linzer Christmas Cookies with Berry Jam

I am showing off the best of what I made. These cookies are a winner. I'd be happy to bring them to anyone's holiday party.


The Baklava was rich rich rich rich rich rich rich rich. Did I mention it was rich? Full of flavor yummy.

Vietnamese Pho

This was crazy complex. I enjoyed it though.

Vanilla Panna Cotta

My favorite dish I made, hands down. LOVED LOVED LOVED it. I made this take on an Italian dessert with a raspberry sauce. It was simple, elegant, and not too sweet. It's great for an intimate dinner for two. 

What am I going to do next? I will show my "Shop Project" and share where I am going.



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Other Pretty Plates

Raspberry Cheesecake Tart. We had a "Produce Challenge" where we were create an original dish made only with food in our fridge. I came up with a cranberry-walnut crust. Filling is macadamia nuts, raspberries, and agave. Gotta say it came out tasty.

Chocolate Truffles rolled in (from front to back) sea salt, maca, pistachios, sesame seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, and coconut flakes. These are a winner just plain with nothing extra. Good stuff.

These chocolate chip cookies made me go, "Whaaaaaaaaaaat? I made cookies in my dehydrator that taste like baked cookies? For real, for real?"  I mean like, "for real, for real?" I was stunned for two days. And I made the chips!! I would be happy to make these for anyone.

Pancakes. No syrup needed because maple syrup is in the pancakes. This tastes as good as it looks.

Sliders with Ranch Dressing, Corn Salsa, Barbecue Sauce, Swiss Cheese, and Caramelized Onions. This is what you make to impress a crowd.

Banana Chai Chia Pudding. When Oprah comes over, I am making her this. She loves chai tea and so do I. So a chai flavored pudding would be right up her alley :-) This makes a terrific breakfast. I loved it.



Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pretty Plates from Days Seven, Eight, Nine

Cashew Kimchi inside Cilantro Coconut Wrappers with Sesame Foam. Emulating wonton dumplings. If these weren't so labor intensive, I'd make them everyday. Insane.

Cashew Ice Cream. My ice cream looks like mashed potatoes to me. Tasted great though.

Tostadas with cacao mole, pico de gallo, cabbage slaw, gaucamole, and sour cream. The single best entree I made was this. Again, if it weren't so many pieces to this puzzle, I'd eat it every day. When the tostadas were gone, I ate the rest of plate with store-bought nacho chips. Yum-to-the-ee!

Flatbread Pizza topped with avocado, tomato sauce, cilantro and capers. Very rich, crunchy, and crispy. Super good. I want to make more flatbreads once I'm finished with school. They do not have to be complicated. Maybe I'll do a book only on flatbreads :-) They add that taste of bread that people need when they eat raw.

Coconut Parfait with buckwheat, raspberries, and blackberries. I don't love yogurt. so I gave this to Raymond and one of my roommates. They loved it. I was happy my yogurt was smooth, and came out pretty.

Butter Lettuce, avocado, radish with Honey Mustard Dressing. I would take a bath in the dressing. I didn't know how much I liked the crunchiness of butter lettuce (also known as Boston Lettuce or Bibb Lettuce).

A. ◦

Friday, April 3, 2015

Pretty Plates from Days Five and Six

Kale Caesar Salad, with Anchovies, Rosemary Croutons, and Parmesan Cheese. I found this to be a rich salad with many complex flavors. It's tangy, crunchy, and salty.

Tuber Hand Roll with Mango Chutney. Not the prettiest plate. I had a very hard time rolling the nori.

Sesame Noodles with Tamari Almonds. The two things I do not like to eat are yogurt and zucchini noodles. I loved the sauce, but I can't get past the texture of zucchini. I gave this one to one of roommates who ate all of it.

Pineapple-mango smoothie with Cashew Milk. This was my first original recipe. I had no idea there was a science to smoothies. Based on that science, I made a smoothie I was happy with. Since it's an original, I can share it with you all.

Tropical Colada Smoothie

1 cup cashew milk (made from scratch, but you can buy it from the store)
2 frozen bananas
1 cup diced pineapple
1 diced mango
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon agave
pinch o salt

Blend, and enjoy!




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