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Fashion week is over, but I’m still mourning the loss of one of my favorite designers, Alexander McQueen. His was usually the only collection I religiously checked up on. This year I started browsing other designers to prep myself for the fact that next year, there will be no Alexander McQueen genius to scope. While checking out other collections, I couldn’t help noticing Donna Karan’s post-show picture on the runway, looking like she’d gained back the majority of weight she lost in 2003.
A couple years ago, probably mostly for the vanity reasons of being thinner ( sigh-fashion), Donna adopted the raw food diet and had a raw chef on call making her delectable dishes daily. Apparently in addition to shocking the fashion world with her new figure she reported that she felt more energized and was enjoying more optimal energy and health. But…I think her “diet” was a clear example of the fact that nothing works long-term unless you are committed to changing your lifestyle. I’m sad Donna fell off the wagon, the fashion world in general has an air of toxicity on many levels—having a sexy raw foodie designer in the midst might have injected a short fizzled focus on true health in the fashion industry. Well, regardless, the collection was pretty bad ass so at least she’s bringing sexy back in that way. – XoXo Raw Girl
I just finished reading the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which I always heard about but never picked up. It is a good read, but as I was plowing through the book, I started thinking to myself: what are 7 Habits of Highly Effective Raw Foodies?
And then, the light bulb went on over my head. Below is the list I came up with. There may be more or less, but these are the points I have found myself working on consistently since starting on the raw path.
– XoXo Raw Girl
1. Embrace Moderation A.K.A. Watch the Excess. Chill on the nuts. They are heavy and hard to digest if eaten in excess, especially if not soaked. A lot of raw recipes and raw restaurants feature dishes that are nut-heavy and will leave you feeling, well, a little bloated. Get creative and substitute or indulge from time to time but mostly keep your diet plant-heavy. If you used to be a sugar addict avoid excessive amounts of raw foods with sugar. Minimize use of large amounts of salt, even if it is Celtic or Himalayan.
2. Don’t Be Full of Sh%# A.K.A. Regular Colon Cleansing. Learning this tip that should have been taught to me in grade school changed my life. Everyone should be concerned with ensuring that their body sewage system (which the colon is) is maintained and regularly cleaned out.
3. Be a DIVA A.K.A. Emphasize Quality. Drink lots of pure or energized water. Find the freshest organic produce available. If you eat non-organic fruit from time to time it won’t kill you, but if you minimize this it’ll keep your body from being loaded with yet another toxin from the pesticides.
4. Add Fuel to Yr Fire A.K.A. Practice Adequate Additional Supplementation and/or use of herbs. This means you are taking your B-12 regularly and using other supplements to provide daily optimal nutrition. Herbal bitters are wonderful, and using a range of other types of herbs in moderation and with care can really boost your overall health if it starts to lag.
5. Live La Vida Toxin-Free A.K.A. Ramp up on Detox. Mineral cleanse, parasite cleanse, shower filters, regular fasting, avoiding beauty products with chemicals… I think you get the picture.
6. Get Off The Couch A.K.A. Get Regular Exercise. General exercise is always good, but it’s also good to incorporate into your exercise regimen workouts that support detoxification: yoga, rebounding etc. Not only will you be foxy and centered if you practice either of these two exercises, but you will give your organs a nice toxin rinse in some of those yoga poses and boost your lymphatic system with the rebounding.
7. Insist on Beauty Sleep A.K.A. Rest it up! Adequate amounts of rest and relaxation always lead to a more productive, happier raw vegan. Although you may find you need less sleep, still make sure to get what you need and not eat anything too close to bedtime.
I am lucky to know several fabulous vegan mothers, but Suki Tranqille is a vegan mother who seems to master the art of staying extremely productive as a businesswoman while still being a very active parent. We met years ago, when my main focus was fashion—and so was hers. Years later, we’ve reunited and seem to still have similar interests. But now we are both in the business of staying healthy, and empowering others to do the same. Below is a transcript of our interview, in which she revealed some tips on how she keeps her kids vegan and healthy. Check out her bio and visit her website below! – XoXo Raw Girl
RG: How long have you been a vegan? If you were a meat eater previously what made you decide to change your diet?
ST: I have been a vegan for close to seven years now. I was a meat eater previously and started to progress toward the vegan lifestyle very slowly. It began when I decided that I wanted to do something about the constant fatigue I was feeling. I did not go to a doctor but if I did, I am sure I would have been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Twelve hours of sleep was not enough and I had to drink double latte just to function. Then I graduated to coffee and caffeine pills which resulted in severe migraine headaches. I found myself constantly popping pills – caffeine to stay awake, Advil to keep the headaches at bay. At first, I tried to discover the cause of my fatigue which I had come to realize was abnormal. I did know that I was anemic and noticed a positive result when I took my iron supplements. However, I was unable to take the supplements all the time because they wreaked havoc on my stomach. To make a long story short, I recognized that I had to change my diet to fix my problem. It turns out that the ibuprofen was robbing my body of iron and my iron deficiency was a direct cause of my lifestyle. I do suffer from anemia but it is a B12 anemia – something I was not aware of at the time. I started off slowly by first eliminating all red meat, then all meat. I replaced the meat with meat substitutes a lot at first, now I do not eat them as much.
RG: I completely relate as I experienced B12 anemia myself, and still regularly take liquid iron supplements. Was it an easy transition for you if you were giving up meat? What were the health benefits you gained from changing your diet?
ST: Giving up meat was an easy transition because it was a decision that my husband and I made together. The most difficult part was explaining to other people when we went to their homes why we did not eat the meat. I would need several pages to describe all the health benefits but I will limit myself to the greatest benefits. As a result of my vitamin deficiencies, I had begun to lose my hair on both sides of my head. They had reached a point where they were totally bald (and I was only 24 years old!) – that hair has grown back – not as thick as it was when I was younger but I do not have to comb my hair in a way to hide those areas. I was beginning to grow small moles all over my body and made an appointment with a skin doctor to determine whether those moles were cancerous. Before the appointment the moles began to get smaller and eventually they went away completely. I sleep on average 6 to 8 hours a day and do not walk around in a fog nor do I need anything to help me stay awake. I no longer suffer the occasional heart palpitation and enjoy the preferred rate for both my health insurance and life insurance because of my health.
RG: Wow, those are really concrete benefits. What informed your decision in raising your children vegan?
ST: I began to really look into food and how it affects both our mental and physical capacities. I also realized through my research that most if not all childhood ailments are due to diet. Behavior, allergies, and even school performance are all linked to diet. My daughter used to suffer from all types of what I call “roving” allergies. One year it was grass, the next year it was fish, the following year it was pollen. She also suffered as a child from ear infections and eczema. When we changed our diet, all of those issues miraculously disappeared. I used to be afraid to go out without Benedryl. Both of my children do very well in school and I attribute their success in part to their diet. I believe that to feed them food that is high fat, hormone filled, genetically modified, killed in inhumane conditions and/or created in a lab rather than nature is to harm them.
RG: Are your children vaccinated?
ST: The children were vaccinated when they were children but it is not something I would do again. I am against forcing parents to give their daughters the HPV vaccine and I do believe that the schedule of vaccinations is not really designed with children in mind. If I had to do it again, I would not let my children receive several shots of different vaccines in one day nor would I vaccinate as young as is recommended. I can’t say I would rule out every vaccine but I would inform myself on every vaccine before agreeing to if and when.
RG: I agree, I think information is key, most people do not realize that harmful substances like mercury are in a lot of vaccines and can lead to permanent mental and physical damage. NY State unfortunately was trying to pass a bill that would allow kids to be vaccinated without parental consent, which I think is crazy. What are staples in your diet? What are vegan dishes your kids enjoy?
ST: I don’t know that we have staples in our diet; we try to practice as much as we can eating seasonally and regionally. That means that we will make meals out of what is in season. During pumpkin season, I made a lot of pumpkin soup, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin pie. We love to eat and experiment with different dishes so for the Superbowl I made a vegetarian chili everyone loved, tonight for dinner we are having African Sweet Potato and Almond Soup. We make many dishes from our native Haiti – just without the meat. I made Haitian beef patties yesterday with soy meat alternative. We eat rice every day, just like I did when I grew up – sometimes it’s black rice, sometimes it’s brown rice, sometimes it’s rice & beans. We make a lot of Mediterranean dishes as well using eggplant as a meat alternative. The kids love the gyro’s, homemade pizza, black bean & corn salad, sweet plantain and tomato bisque. We make our own rolled oats cereal and with dried cranberry, almonds and/or raisins for breakfast or we will have tofu eggs. In the summertime we will add Chilled Cantaloupe Soup to the mix. We grow a lot of the vegetables ourselves so that adds both the flavor and nutrient content.
RG: Sounds delish. What supplements do you use regularly, if any?
ST: I supplement more during the winter when I buy my vegetables instead of growing them. We take B-complex regularly, calcium & Vitamin C. All of the supplements are from whole food sources so that we do not take the chemical version of the Vitamins. We put flax seed in the cereal for the Omega-3’s and nutritional yeast on the tofu eggs. We also also add broccoli sprouts to most meals. We drink tea at least once a day in order to aid in digestion so that we always have a wide variety of teas in the house.
RG: What crucial advice would you give to mothers who want to raise their children vegan?
ST: It would depend on when you began the process of going vegan. If you start right from the beginning, it’s not a big deal. Just be ready to pack lunch for your kids all the time. I really do mean all the time – every time you visit any relative or friend, anytime you are going to the mall or to the movies, or going on a short trip. Learn to cook recipes that will store for some time if you are going on a trip and make food for your children that sounds like and looks like what other kids are eating. Tell your kids why they are eating differently from other people. When my children were old enough, I let them watch a couple of documentaries about food and its effect on your body. I also let them watch a film about the treatment of animals in the process of procuring meat. I don’t worry about them at all when they go out without me – in fact they talk to their friends about what they are eating.
RG: Were you vegan during all of your pregnancies? How did your diet or supplementation change during this time?
ST: I was not a vegan by choice during my pregnancies. I did not eat a lot of meat because I had a difficult time digesting the meat. I hadn’t reached the level of understanding about my food that I have now. However, if I were to do it again, I would not supplement heavily because as I understand it, the baby becomes accustomed to the high amount of nutrients you ingest – vitamin C for example – and will actually be more susceptible to scurvy because the baby is so accustomed to large amounts of Vitamin C.
RG: I think you answered this sort of…But is it difficult for your kids to interact with the other children who have S.A.D. (Standard American) diets? Is it difficult for them to stick to a vegan diet during school and social functions and if so how do you handle that?
ST: I think it is more difficult for the other children because they ask why my children are vegan and they hear about things they don’t think about. They hear about the way the animals are treated, they hear about animal fats effect on diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol, etc. They then go home and ask their parents and the answers are often inadequate. I think it also helps that I do not have a television in my house – that means that my children do not watch commercials regularly so they are not bombarded with images of eating unhealthy fast food all the time. They do not ask to go to any fast food restaurant because it is just not a part of their world. During social functions, I try to anticipate what will be there, I will go to barbecue’s with soy hot dogs, bean burgers (homemade), and soy sausages and I will offer to cook at least a couple of dishes for the holidays to make sure that we all have something to eat. The meat alternatives at this point are more for the children than myself because it is still a processed food – something I try to limit. It does, however, provide for a nice transition.
RG: Yes, giving time for transition is important. Any other challenges…?
ST: The biggest challenge is to accept other people’s choices, particularly those of family members, when they eat in a way they know is unhealthy. At this point, I have gone into great detail about the effects of various foods on the body, e-mailed proven scientific conclusions and yet continue to see the same lifestyle. I have even had a family member hospitalized because of cholesterol, told by a doctor that they would have to change their diet and still buy fried chicken right after emergency surgery! Even though I am the message literally, I talk about the food choices, I grow my food, they can look in my cupboard and see Vitamin C and essential oils instead of pills, there are those who will reject the message even if it means their death. For me the greatest challenge is accepting that they have a choice, like I do, to determine the quality of their lives and their choice is just as okay as mine.
RG: It’s unfortunate that these unhealthy foods are very addictive, and a lot of people are not willing to step outside the norm even when it means saving their lives. But I do believe that when you are a raw foodie or vegan who is experiencing optimal health, your energy alone can begin to transform people–or at least shock them into the awareness that there is a better way to live. Thank you so much for your time!
Suki K. Tranqille is a founder of GOKI – The Garden of Knowledge Institute – www.gokiheals.com – an organization focused on providing the knowledge for individuals to take charge of all aspects of their health. Classes like, “Functional Foods for Better Health” and “Healing from the Kitchen Cupboard” are offered to empower all participants.
Suki is also the host of Food Healing Talk on Blog Talk Radio Online, where she covers topics like, Healing Blood Pressure with Food and Swine Flu Naturally. Suki’s mission is to remind everyone that when it comes to eating right and exercising there is no “I’ll start tomorrow.” Tomorrow is disease.
Mostly due to the fact that I heart spirulina, I created this quick raw recipe that can be used as an early morning pre or post-gym meal or dessert. For those of you who cringed at the thought of green yogurt, it’s green of course because of the spirulina, and a great way to get a nice dose of nutrition and dessert in one meal. The spirulina tends to boost my energy (even more—scary), so I try not to eat this too late in the evening.
Ingredients: (makes 2 servings)
2 ripe organic bananas, diced pineapple, 3 dates, 6 pitted & dried prunes (preservative free), purified water, 1 tablespoon of spirulina powder
Put all in high speed blender, add a little water and blend until a creamy, thick consistency. (Make sure not to add so much water that it beomes runny, unless you want to drink it as a juice, which is also good. I messed up in the video and had to add more dates) Pour into bowl and sprinkle with diced fruit and or shredded coconut. Enjoy!
The copyright of this recipe is owned by Esosa Edosomwan (AKA Chef Eazy E.) Permission to republish this recipe in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.
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
Recently, I began consuming spirulina in the powder form regularly, mostly because of its incredible nutritional content which makes it superior to heavy vitamin supplementation. For those who have never heard of it, spirulina is a microscopic blue-green algae, that got its name because it has a spiral coil shape. I was in the middle of writing an article on the benefits of spirulina, when I came upon several reports and articles discussing a Harvard scientific study proving that spirulina extract prevented replication of the AIDS virus, even in low concentrations! Why this information is not more readily discussed or available, I do not know. This brief article was published in 1996 on Business Wire, and at the time further study was supposed to be conducted with the extract on AIDS patients…
To read more:
More on spirulina coming soon…
My favorite thing in the world next to green juice, is dessert, so I made it a mission to master the art of creating simple, healthy, raw and vegan desserts in record time. Here is another twenty-minute pie, suitable for vegans or anyone who would like to not sacrifice the taste of their pecan pie, but are okay with letting go of the belly bulge that occurs after eating the conventional version. I made this for family, vowing to give them a healthier version that they would still enjoy. The pie disappeared quickly, and the general consensus was that this version tasted better!
2 cups pecans (soaked) , 6-7 cups dates (soaked briefly), 1 pre-made crust ( I used Whole Foods 365 Whole Wheat pre-made crust), 1/2 cup organic oats, and grade B maple syrup
Put the dates in a bowl and let soak in hot water. While the dates are soaking, put your crust in the oven. During the 15 minutes or so it will take to brown your crust you are going to make your filling and topping for the pie.
Pour soft dates into high-speed blender, with some of the water. Make sure not to add too much water. Blend until a creamy, thick consistency, continuing to add water if needed.
Strain the water from your soaked pecans. Use a frying pan, and with low to medium heat, brown the oats in the pan. When the oats begin to brown, add in pecans and drizzle agave nectar on the mixture. This will be the topping for your pie.
Take our your pie crust from the oven, and pour in date filling. Spread the pecan an oat mixture evenly on the top of the pie. Let it cool, and then serve & enjoy !!!
To make a raw crust as a substitute, use the crust recipe explained in the post for the 20 minute sweet potato pie.
The copyright of this recipe is owned by Esosa Edosomwan (AKA Chef Eazy E.) Permission to republish this recipe in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.
Just in case you missed it, in the last post I included the necessary ingredients and step-by-step process of how to make the crust and sauce for the raw pizza featured in the photograph. Now we’ll focus on making the cheese and adding toppings.
2 cups cashews ( soak a couple hours or soak night before), miso paste (white), 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup water
Dice a variety of vegetables that you like. I used: yellow zucchini, mushrooms, shalots, orange bell pepper, black olives, tomatoes, & basil. Then, I seasoned with thyme and hot red pepper.
Again, here is Raw Chef Elaina Love’s video demonstration of the process:
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/
Last year, I began the ritual of juice fasting into the new year. The aim of the fast was to give my body a rest, clean out my system, affirm release of old habits or blocks of the past year, and renew a spiritual and physical connection. Last year the fast was 10 days. This year, I made it to day 7 and then on day 8 had a strange burning desire for vegetable broth that I couldn’t shake, so I used the last three days to come down off the fast. If your looking for a way to jump start the year, amplify new positive resolutions, or renew yourself spiritually, physically, or mentally, you may want to give fasting a try. Just make sure to consult your doc if you have a special condition and to give your body adequate time to come down off the fast.
If you aren’t a fan of fasting cold turkey on vegetable juice, or would like to ease into it, here are some modifications that may allow you do some form of cleansing in this New Year:
- Try starting and ending the day with vegetable juice or master cleanse, and eating a meal mid-day.
- Eliminate meat for a specified period (3 days to a week) If you are transitioning into the vegan world, and still eating all kinds of meat, you can use your fast to eliminate red meat and still eat fish.
- Go raw for a couple days: meaning you consume only fruits and vegetables and/or juices for a specified period of time.
- Try to go for 3 days to a week not eating any packaged, heavily processed, unnatural foods. Read the labels on everything you consume and try to understand what the ingredients actually are in the food you are eating. It’s harder than you think… as they say, ignorance is bliss!
- Substitute morning meals for fruit smoothies with flaxseed or pysilium husk.
For a refresher on the benefits of fasting feel free to revisit this article: Juice Fasting: The Ultimate Tool for Anti-Aging & Spiritual Awakening
** Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Listen to your body, consult w/ yr doc if need be, and take my advice at your own risk. Side effects may include general joie de vire, a spiritual awakening, or an increase in magnetism & overall sexiness.