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A dear friend and mother of three who has mastered the art of looking youthful (she doesn’t really have to try), and raising healthy (not to mention insanely talented) vegan children, Khepera Fleming is a beautiful soul residing in the Brooklyn area. If you’re wondering if her picture is airbrushed, that answer is no–that’s how stunning she is live and in the flesh. I caught up with her to find out how she stays on track with her diet and to glean advice that may be helpful for parents to hear about raising children on a vegan diet.
How long have you been a vegan? If you were a meat eater previously what made you decide to change your diet? What were some of the benefits spiritual mental or physical you received by changing your diet?I have been vegan for 18 years. As a child I suffered with constipation and poor digestion due to a diet of heavy starches and my inability to digest animal protein. In my teenage years I was very lethargic, consistently depressed and suffered painful menses. I became sick and tired of being sick and tired so I began a search which brought me to Chinese Herbalogy, I purchased and took a 14 day cleanse that shifted my paradigm. I was renewed with crystal clear understanding that I could not go back to my old eating habits. I realized my diet was killing me. For many years I felt imprisoned in a body that caused me a great deal of stress and as I removed the animal proteins, the denatured grains and introduced juicing and more living foods I emerged from the fires with joy, energy, conscious awareness of self in relationship to the plant animal kingdom and great deal of spiritual strength knowing that the power to heal myself is within me. There is wisdom in the phrase “Heal Thyself Know Thyself.”
What are staples in your diet? What are vegan dishes your kids enjoy? Greens of all sorts are a main staple, quinoa, sea vegetables. My children love lentils and beans. They love all the fabulous dishes that one can make with beans and lentils. Bean burritos or tacos with lots of veggies brown rice and plenty of guacamole. Chick pea or lentil patties, kale salad with seaweed, Tofu, whole grain pancakes with fresh fruit, power shakes with sea moss, spirulina, veg protein.
What supplements do you use regularly, if any?
Flaxseed oil, B-complex, Spirulina
What crucial advice would you give to mothers who want to raise their children vegan? Do your research and stay away from processed foods. There are a variety of vegan-packaged foods, which are quite inviting but are loaded with sodium, sugars and preservatives. You will have to put time and energy into food preparation and meals should be made from whole foods giving precedence to organic. You must keep in mind that children are growing and it is my belief that whole foods are best and if given a variety you don’t need lots of supplements. In our modern world we have come to rely on fast foods, which include packaged foods, and microwavable foods and both are deadly to the growing children as they are simply denatured. Keep it simple plenty of dark leafy vegetables, root vegetables, lots of seasonal fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts (watch out for allergic reaction to some) oils, etc. Most importantly teach your children so they carry the legacy of eating well and they do not succumb to peer pressure. Also, remember food is medicine so as a mother you’re also the healer in the family especially if you’re responsible for the meals so the healthier the meals the healthier the children.
Were you vegan during all of your pregnancies? How did your diet or supplementation change during this time? I was vegan throughout all three pregnancies with no cravings for animal protein. I always get asked that. The only difference is I ate more because my body demanded it. I ate basically the same but I included a prenatal vitamin and I increased my greens and liquid intake to increase my energy and flush my system.
Is it difficult for your kids to interact with the other children who have S.A.D. (Standard American) diets? Their interaction can be difficult because my children’s views on animal consumption involve a conscious understanding of their relationship between themselves and the plant and animal kingdom. They can become physically ill if they watch friends or family members consume animal products. Holidays can be tough, although now we are thought of and something vegan is prepared for us. I’ve come to find that many of their friends eventual try and end up truly loving vegan food. My 9-year-old daughter, Ajahee, who is a model and aspiring actress, is very vocal with her friends about her vegan lifestyle and she says she never feels indifferent about it. She loves it.
What is your beauty/skin care regimen like?For years I used products from the health food store just whatever appealed to my senses. Most recently I was introduced to a skin care line that promised definite results so I tried it and fell in love with Arbonne International, which is now my home based business; I am an independent consultant and district manager in the New York area. Arbonne’s 450 products are botanically base, pure and beneficial. I use the NutriminC re9 system, which is the best product I ever used on my skin. It gives hydration, luster and youthful skin. I love it.
I love the Arbonne natural foundation I bought from you! It’s so light and enhances natural glow. How do you define natural beauty? I feel natural beauty comes from ones soul. It’s a great feeling when you meet a pure soul I always walk away saying he/she is beautiful. Usually that person’s lifestyle explains their inner beauty; maybe they’re truly growing their souls through conscious eating, meditation, yoga, giving, loving but whatever it is it shows. Natural beauty defines itself there’s a certainty that whatever is good comes from nature (Neter) God/Goddess.
How long ago did you do a parasite cleanse and what did you do to cleanse? I contracted a severe parasitic infection upon moving to NYC and working long hours in Manhattan eating most of meals out even though I chose healthy meals. I did a parasite cleanse over 10 years ago. I was referred to a Naturopath in my area who put me a series of herbal flushes, a kidney liver flush every morning, followed by herbal tea concoction three times a day, followed by weekly colonic irrigation. I followed a strict diet of fresh squeezed green veg juices, whole grains, steamed vegetables and salads. I stuck it out for 30 days and was healed. I now maintain my body system with herbal bitters so I am not so susceptible.
What were your symptoms prior to cleansing?If you have never had one pray you never get one. Parasites rob your life force. I became lethargic, my skin broke out severely, I craved sugar, probably to increase my energy, my thinking was cloudy and I had itching in personal body parts. Not a pretty sight. I was IRRITABLE all the time.
I agree, it really is not pretty! How long did it take you to see improvements in your health?Following the protocol I saw results in two weeks and by months end I was completely healed. It’s not easy I had a great supportive friend at the time that helped through the rough periods. I remember taking relaxing baths and just seeing myself healed.
One of Khepera’s daughters: Ajahee, an insanely talented nine-year old who acts, models, dances, sings, and writes her own music and screenplays! Watch out world, this little vegan-in-training is going to be fabulous when she grows up.
Ajahee is currently represented by Product Model Management in New York.
Interested in finding out more about Arbonne? You can email Khepera at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taking a raw girl vacay to start work on another film. Back on Monday with videos on sprouting, raw pancakes (yum!), and other goodies. Stay tuned!
– XoXo Raw Girl
Tonya Zavasta is an incredibly vibrant woman, fifty something years young, who went from almost permanently disabled to thriving on raw foods. Searching for a way to optimal health and beauty, she discovered raw in 1997 and never turned back. Since then she has authored numerous books including: The Right to Be Beautiful and 100 Days to 100% Raw and now sells products, books, and information via her website Beautiful on Raw. In the bio posted on her site she stresses that she believes that everyone has the right, and the means to become uniquely beautiful via the raw diet and she is dedicated to working towards transforming the lives of women. In addition to her diet, she also regularly practices hot yoga and advocates that practice in combination with a living foods diet for optimal health. All I can say is you go girl!
The best part of her site are before and after images of herself and other people who transformed themselves on the raw diet:
I actually don’t know exactly how old Lillian Butler is, but I know for a fact that for her age she looks incredible. The first photo on the left is of her at the age of 46, after adopting a raw diet! Below is a recent image of her and her husband.
When I first embarked on the idea of going raw, I took Lillian’s intro to raw crash course, which was extremely informative and gave me the tools to dive in.
Apparently, Lillian was a vegetarian for 10 years, but was not experiencing optimal health. After some time of incorporating more into her diet she decided to go raw, and sweetly enough, her husband Eddie Robinson (whose skin also glows like a light bulb!) joined her in beginning a new lifestyle. Together they opened a really lovely raw restaurant in the Bronx, Raw Soul, which also offers catering, meal delivery, and chef training. They have a wide range of INCREDIBLE desserts, and the regular courses are yummy as well.
For more info about Raw Soul, visit www.rawsoul.com
True appreciation of beauty, whether in the form of self-acceptance or celebrating the incredible traits of others, can be hard to come by. All too often, women have an issue with other women that are attractive, but at the end of the day the solution and the problem begins with the person you look at everyday in the mirror when you wake up. There will always be playa-haters, naysayers, and drama queens, but thankfully, there will also always be goddesses, princesses, and true Queens who know their worth and have no problem celebrating yours. I decided to start a highlight of truly beautiful women who are attractive on the outside, but their character, spiritual life, or just personalities put them in the realm of radiating true beauty. California-based actress, writer, and producer Dele Ogundiran was one of the first women that came to mind, and she was gracious enough to let me interview her.
What do you believe defines true beauty? Natural beauty is innate. It can’t be bought, it can’t be plastered on, nipped or tucked on or in. Natural beauty just is. Like God. It just is. It comes from inside a person.
What kind of skin care regimen do you have? I don’t necessarily have a regimen, but when I wear makeup I remove it with a cleanser. Cleanser of choice: Revita Lift Cream Cleaser. I wash my face (as with the rest of me) with ivory soap. Its my absolute favorite soap to bathe with. I use a loofa sponge. That is the extend of my skin care regimen… oh… when I get a pimple… I always squeeze it to remove the oily buildup and then wash the area and apply peroxide. Peroxide tends to seal my skin, like a small wound. In about a week or so my skin us usually back to a pre-pimple state.
What are staples in your diet? If you are a vegan or have any other dietary constraint, how did you transition into that? I am not a vegan. Growing up I ate all kinds of meat except pork. Then again, there was a period of time in junior high school when I used to get a hero sandwich, made with ham. Outside of this period, I ate all types of meat. Thankfully, 99% of the time I ate a nutritiously balanced home cooked meal. I didn’t have a lot of sweets (cookies, candy, etc.) in my diet as I grew up. I went about 5-6 years without eating any meat or chicken. I only ate fish. I started adding meat/chicken back into my diet about 2 years ago. Presently, staples in my diet: pineapples, steel-cut oatmeal, almond milk, plantains (usually boiled with black eye peas), collard greens, a tomato based peppered stew (a Nigerian dish), okra (had lots of in growing up), yucca, mixed vegetables, sweet potato, blue potatoes, whole grain rice, black eye peas, zucchini, squash, chicken (for about a week and a half a month), salmon (for about a week during the month. I usually take a week off eating any type of flesh during the month.
What kind of exercise regimen do you have? (laughing) I don’t exercise. Okay that’s not funny, because I should. But I don’t.
How important is your spiritual life & do you think that has anything to do with your natural beauty? My spiritual life, my relationship with God is very important to me. I think it has everything to do with my natural beauty. Prayerfully, that which radiates from within me (from the way I think of myself, my perspective on God, my relationship with him, and his gifts (which includes other people and things) manifests as “natural beauty”.
What is your favorite physical or character trait about yourself that you appreciate most?
Favorite Physical Quality: My skin color
Favorite Character Trait: I am industrious
For more information about Dele and her work as an actress, visit her website: www.dele.biz
I had the pleasure of meeting this talented makeup and hair artist/ celebrity stylist, when he did my makeup for a film. Not only did he turn the makeup out, he fashioned my locs in styles that were incredible, and gave me some tips on making a natural exfoliator that leaves my skin glowing every time I use it. I modified it a bit, to work with what I had available and onhand in the kitchen.
Ingredients: honey, lemon, sugar, oats
Pour honey into container, squeeze in lemon, and mix in sugar and oats until thick consistency. Apply to face as a scrub and rinse with lukewarm water. Followup with your personal moisturizer. You skin will glow and feel softer than a baby’s bottom!
For more info or to contact him, visit Ryan’s blog: http://ryanbanthony.blogspot.com/
Well, if I have to die, I better look fabulous on my way out. If I were Iman, this would be a given, being that her name alone is synonymous with grace, elegance, style, and striking beauty. I personally believe her name should be written in Webster’s Dictionary as a noun interchangeable with Goddess. When I was younger the best compliment, regardless of if it holds water, I ever received was someone saying I reminded them of Iman. Years later, I had the opportunity to see her in person, and the sight of her took my breath away. Literally, I stood there, dumbfounded. The most beautiful thing about her is that slightly intangible something, call it self-confidence or self acceptance, that lies within and radiates from her. In a 2005 interview on The Paul Gordon show titled The Politics of Beauty, She said in reference to her makeup line: “This country has really moved on to a more multicultural way of thinking… I just want to celebrate the women. Sure this is all about makeup, but it’s also about some other things that are more deeply rooted. I just want to open a dialogue where we can talk about these things, where we can define our own beauty and approve of ourselves. We have to approve of ourselves before anyone else will. Women need to celebrate their God-given beauty instead of always trying to be something else.”
Amen to that. She continues on: “It’s time for grown ups to act like adults. Stop obsessing over what you don’t like about the body you have. Start paying attention to things that really matter. Get educated. Find out what’s going on in the world. Teach your children empathy for the poor instead of feeding them the latest fashion frenzy…And stop blaming the fashion industry for what you don’t like about the false values and over-sexed outfits confusing little and not-so-little girls and boys. Consumers hold the power in the world of fashion, she says, not the advertisers or magazine editors. Use that power.”
Iman defines the true meaning of the label, supermodel, is CEO of IMAN Cosmetics, Fragrances & Skincare, and just recently launched the IMAN GLOBAL CHIC Collection, an affordable accessories line done exclusively for HSN. Author of The Beauty of Color and I am Iman, Iman’s meteoric rise to the top echelon of the fashion world began in 1975 when she left university in Nairobi for New York City. There she began her remarkable 14 year modeling career. In 1994, she launched her business, the IMAN brand now sold around the world. Actively involved in Children’s Defense Fund, For All Kids Foundation, and Action Against Hunger, she has received numerous awards for her humanitarian work. Somalian by birth, Iman is the mother of two and married to musician David Bowie. http://imancosmetics.com/
They say “black don’t crack,” so Christy Turlington has a lot of explaining to do. Of course she is a supermodel, but she is still managing to age with grace and still make the hottest new models look like amateurs. It must be all that yoga. Whatever it is, I am definitely taking notes.
In a TIME Magazine article in 2001, Turlington said that she practices at home three mornings a week, and tries to take at least two classes a week. As far as the benefits of yoga, she says: “I was interested in cleaning my body on a deeper level. Yoga really purifies your organs and blood. You feel that. You feel that circulation of energy. But the real lesson yoga gives you is learning how to be present.
Imagine being a grandmother and still looking this fly?
My anti-aging She-ro #1, Karyn Calabrese is a former actress and model, and now grandmother with two grandchildren. And she might be able to drop it like its hot better than I can…
In an interview in 2005 with ABC, (meaning she is now 62!), Karyn said:
“I’m 58 years old. I don’t know what illness is. I have more energy then I know what to do with. I truly believe it is the life style I lead…I had every allergy known to man. I was a mess — terrible skin, so I became vegetarian first, then I became a vegan, then I met Dr. Ann Wigmore after reading her book. It was the next thing for me to move forward to becoming a raw foodist.”
Karyn owns and operates her own restaurant, Karyn’s Fresh Corner in Chicago. For more info visit: http://www.karynraw.com/
In this world full of toxins, and chemicals, STDs, and countless other terrors that can shorten our life spans, the question I asked myself was, why not? After holding my ground amidst naysayers who foamed at the mouth as they tried to convince me I NEEDED MEAT & processed foods, or that just a little bit of chicken or fish every now and again wouldn’t hurt…I managed to kick the crack habit of processed foods and begin the liberating and joyfully sober journey of eating a diet that integrated a large portion of raw fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds in 2003. In 2007, after running into too many completely raw foodies who were twice as old as me, looked my age, and could drop it like its hot better than I could, I was ready to make the full fledged leap.
What started out as a one night stand, turned into a very hot, thriving, passionate relationship with consuming foods full of life force. I woke up one morning after and realized I got my groove back like Stella. My acne cleared up, I stopped feeling tired all the time, stopped getting sick, and all of a sudden began to expand my creative and spiritual horizons and cross bridges I would have run scared and sobbing from previously. As I continue along the path, I remain committed to remaining AGE-LESS, in-tune with my body, mind, spirit and sharing that inspiration. I know you may NEED meat, or that you may love the way that processed food smells and tastes, and I know you don’t care about the industrial materials and chemicals your eating as long as it comes with ketchup and a Coke. But if you wake up one morning and look in the mirror and decide the gut has to go, the acne has to go, general dis-ease has to go; if your creativity is blocked, or maybe you can’t even get out of the bed because your just too dag on tired, again. Eat an apple. Grab some greens. Or my favorite: get hooked on the natural high from fresh juice. Your one night stand may turn into a long term love affair.