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The deeper I get into my study of nutrition the more I have come to embrace bio-individuality as the best term to sum up my personal beliefs about healthy eating. You may have heard the saying “one man’s food is another man’s poison.” Well, bio-individuality is the concept that best summarizes this because it is essentially saying there is no one perfect way of eating for everyone. Every single human being, including you and I, have unique genetic make-ups, blood types, ancestry, metabolism, and food intolerances.
Part of your job, when walking the healthy living path, is to be your own health guru and figure out what makes your stomach and your body happy and healthy. Some bodies metabolize carbs better, and some proteins. Some people cannot be optimally healthy on an animal based diet or diet that includes dairy. Some people may not thrive on a vegan or raw diet, either because of improper supplementation, eating a diverse group of foods, or because their body is simply not getting the levels of essential nutrients or fat soluble vitamins it needs to function at its best. When this happens individuals find themselves with candida imbalances, tooth decay, fatigue or other signs that something is off-balance in the body.
I am a firm believer that optimal health should always be the end goal, and sole focus. This means that rather than clinging to a diet like a religion that leads to illness and eventually disease, each of us should carefully mine the information we hear about different food choices and diets and filter out by testing on our own body, and discovering what is appropriate for us. So how do we avoid falling into the fad diet trap?
As the ancient Egyptians put it: “Know thyself.” You have to know your ancestry, learn what foods your body does and does not like, and decipher what any imbalances that arise are trying to tell you. Most doctors can’t do this for you. It takes some personal initiative and perhaps some digging with the help of non-traditional and traditional health practitioners along with a nice dose of intuition. But when you put in the work it’s well worth it. My idea of a healthy and balanced world is one is which bio-individuality is embraced fully, where all of us avoid the factory and embrace the field, and where dietary labels don’t need to exist because everyone eats whole fresh good karma foods that support their unique and incredible body. -XoXo Raw Girl
As you ground and grow in your much less wobblier vriksasana, you hear the instructor utter the words you least look forward to.
Feeling confused and alone, you’ve now lost your drishti. Your eyes wander about the class and eventually toward home girl two mats over, who has somehow managed to get her arms into some kind of contortionist style prayer fold.
With your teacher’s presence near, you make a conscious effort to reset your focus. You frantically throw your arms in the air and think to yourself, this will work for sure.
“Lovely yogis,” your teacher replies.
You feel charged as your hands make their way back to anjanayasana. You’ve made it through another class without flaking out in your expression.
When an instructor calls “fullest expression,” what is being asked of the student? Is the teacher looking for the craziest arms in tree pose? Or perhaps the straightest and highest kicked leg in one-legged wheel? It is very easy to get caught up in the aesthetic of a yoga practice when those words are said in class.
I believe that pouring self: heart, mind, and body, entirely into practice is the way to access one’s fullest expression. At times, coming into one’s fullest expression could mean staying in the in the most basic form of the posture, tapping into the sounds of the heart and the deep rhythm of inhales and exhales.
There is no need to do anything overly taxing, be gentle and allow yourself to flow freely so that you may connect with your inner guide. This is a part of the practice cannot be orchestrated and should be full of your authenticity.
Trust in your breath and be.
~ Namaste, Sihnuu
To learn more about Sihnuu, click here
When you are on the healthy living path, it can sometimes seem like everything is against you. At the beginning you may experience resistance from friends and family, feel lost in your social circle, and find it hard to find sustenance when you are traveling. It’s important to stay committed, despite the naysayers, despite the fast food on every corner, and despite the extra inconvenience of finding the freshest whole foods. Why? Because your well-being is worth it. You deserve to be energized enough to follow your purpose, look your best, and live disease-free.
As more of us commit fully, the more the world will have to adapt. When enough people get sick and tired of being sick and tired, through with obesity, or just plain over not having access to the best quality foods, the more you will see improvements in the world as a whole. Why shouldn’t healthy nutritious foods be inexpensive? Why shouldn’t salad joints replace fast food chains on every corner? Why shouldn’t there be veg options at most if not all restaurants?
This week again, I challenge you to be the change you want to see. Without dogma, without making your choices a religion and preaching to anyone, just fully commit to your health and you’ll see how quickly others will be running behind you trying to get your secrets. -XoXo Raw Girl
Welcome to the all new Raw Girl site! Huge thank you and much love to all of you who supported the campaign to upgrade the site, will be contacting you soon about perks. I am ecstatic about this new phase and all of the wonderful contributors on board to add some additional flavor to the content. To celebrate I’ve taken my juice photo shoots to the next level and partnered with Puree Juice Bar. They are based in Bethesda and also just opened up a new location in DC inside of Mint Health Club at 1724 California Street NW. If you are local to the area, go support them and try their delicious juices or one of their amazing cleanse packages and tell them Raw Girl sent you!
The theme of the shoot is “Make Your Health Your Best Accessory.” So often these days we rely on “stuff” to make us look and feel good. Whether it’s the latest fashion trend or smart phone gadget we are programmed to find the next best thing we must have. This can become a vicious cycle of insatiable consumption unless we learn to stand in a centered and grounded space within ourselves knowing that who we truly are is powerful, whole, spirits, who have everything within us that we truly need to thrive.
I used to be a fashion designer and while I was studying I came to the conclusion that for me, fashion was more than dress. It encompasses your world view, self concept, and goes beyond clothing. Health is an accessory that many people do not have the luxury of flaunting these days. The media has taught us to make things like alcohol and cigarettes our accessories, to up our cool factor. Well, it’s a new day, and the cool kids are wearing their vegan glow and toting their juices on the way to yoga proudly. I hope that this site will inspire you to join the club, and start focusing on creating the healthiest, most gorgeous version of you, starting from the inside out: mind, body, and soul. If true health is wealth, I want to be a billionaire. Who’s with me? -XoXo Raw Girl
Hope is what fuels us, it can serve as our life support when we are at our lowest low and keep us charged and focused when we want to achieve our goals. Hope is the root of our passion and the end of our pain. Hope is as necessary as the air we breathe. It is reflective of our drive and desire to live. With hope, our life has purpose.
Facts About Hope
*Hopeful people have stronger immune systems than those who lack hope.
*Hopeful people do well in a variety of social environments.
*Hopeful people are able to achieve their goals more easily. According to universal law your thoughts are your truth. If your thoughts are life is wonderful, your life is well…WONDERFUL!
*Hopeful people are contagious. When you are surrounded by hope you have no other choice but to allow it to rub off on you.
Things to Ask Yourself:
What is the root of my hope? Is it for temporary gratification?
How can I be hopeful and achieve my goals while remaining detached?
Do I have consistent attitude of hope in my life, or is my hope based on a certain outcome?
How to Be Hopeful
- Quiet the chatter in your mind through meditation – While it is good to be with your thoughts, they can sometimes be distracting. Do not allow negative thinking to take over. If you have a negative thought acknowledge it, honor it, release it.
- Know that expectation is a four letter word – Ok, ok, it’s more like 11 letters, but treat it like it’s a curse word as it relates to hope. When expectations are the seed of hope we set ourselves up for potential disappointment. Be happy regardless.
- Practice Positivity – Think of all of the amazing things that are happening in your life right now and drown yourself in all of the greatness that you encapsulate!!
A lot of people on the raw path have mentioned to me the pressure they feel to be 100% raw. My philosophy after being 100% for a long while and then shifting to around 90% or more on a given day depending on how I feel and where I am is that YOU should do YOU. Follow your bliss. Healthy living shouldn’t ever be strained or stressful. If you find yourself focused on trying to maintain dietary restrictions and it’s causing you drama, by all means necessary allow yourself more freedom. A lot of people can attest to the fact that there is something wonderful and even somewhat magical about being in the 100% raw zone, but anyone can get massive benefits just by incorporating more raw foods into their diet. The only way you can know it for sure, is to go for it! Check out below an inspirational post from my buddy Aiya, creator of Black Vegan Love who is currently on a 100% raw fast. -XoXo Raw Girl
When I first learned about a raw food diet in 2007 I was reluctant to try it. Being vegan with so many dietary exclusions (due to many many food allergies) was already difficult at the time, but to limit my diet even more?? I didn’t think I could do it. But nonetheless, my BFF Olayinka and I aimed to try it for at least a month. We had such an amazing healing experience, we ended up doing 100% rawfor 8 months. I even stayed raw during a trip to Paris (that ish was definitely a test of my will, with all their amazing culinary preparations lol).
I gotta be real with you though…
The first few weeks were a nightmare for me. I went through a detox to end all detoxes. I was tired all the time and had to virtually camp out beside the toilet. This lasted 3 full weeks. But after that first month passed something started to happen. I actually started to feel good. Not just kinda good, really really good! Like the best I’d ever felt in my life!
I felt blissful and light, my nose finally stopped running (was a problem since I was a child), I stopped needing to take asthma medicine. The occasional headaches I had disappeared. Menstrual cycles no longer were a problem. My overall energy increased. My stomach aches went away. Skin cleared up. My indoor and outdoor allergies became a thing of the past. And I became regular like nobody’s business (lmao, sorry had to go there lol).
Here’s a list of the foods that I couldn’t eat (since childhood) before going raw. All of which I could eat (and still can eat) afterwards.
Walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, split peas, lentils, chickpeas, pineapple, and a gagillion more!
To me it was nothing short of a miracle. I started tripping out over the prospect. Food can do this!?! Why didn’t anyone tell me this before!?! Who else knows about this? Lol.
This is why I have maintained an 80% raw diet since then, while always aiming for 100%.
But don’t take my word for it. Nothing to it but to do it!!
To learn more about Aiya, check out and like her page on Facebook: Black Vegan Love.
“Have you ever thought about what you are doing, in each moment, and asked yourself what is the value of it? If you think a bit further perhaps there truly isn’t a value to anything, just the vibrations that extend from it. So, in essence there is no waste of time, no waste, no time, just vibrations flowing at the speed of thought and intentions. Which means where you are right now is — right! Now!” ~ Wanakhavi Wakhisi
It’s incredibly easy when going through experiences that are difficult and challenging to rail against the Divine. Why me? We lament. Why is this happening to me, and why am I meant to go through this experience? It is only after the storm when the rain and thunder cease, and the sun begins to peak brilliantly through the clouds, that we realize that the storm was a necessary part of our experience. It was a moment in time that had to happen, and was right on time to take us to the next, or even perhaps to allow us the priviledge of truly treasuring the sunny days once they’ve arrived.
I just recently went through an experience that to me in that moment seemed like a “storm.” Now in hindsight, I can see that all the emotions I was caught up in and the negative feelings were a part of my preparation. The experience of being in a situation where my talents and energy were devalued came to help me to shed old habits that were hindering my progress, to give me confidence in my own abilties, and to spur me to action on my own projects.
Are you in a place you don’t want to be? Are you moving through something difficult and can’t seem to understand why this is happening to you? Take a deep breath, and just embrace that moment, the feelings and sensations. Sit with it and look for the good. Find something to be grateful for right then and NOW. Our job is solely to be there in the NOW, and embrace it. Our job is not to question it, to lament it, or to worry about it. Look for the blessing in that moment, and as they say, “This too shall pass.” Perhaps sooner than you think you’ll see sunshine through the rain. -XoXo Raw Girl
Raw Food 4 Thought Quote by: Wanakhavi Wakhisi, a lightworker doing his part to simply help spread more light. You can reach him professionally at wanaimage.com or at thelighthousedc.com or 202.270.9058.
I was listening to the radio last night, and the announcer was talking about people in your life that are “frenemies,” (enemies masquerading as friends). You know the energy vampires, the backstabbers, or even the cheerleaders who deep down don’t really mean the praises they shout in your direction. I think we all know some of those. He was saying that letting go of people or situations in your life that no longer serve you can take you in new more fabulous directions. In addition to that, I believe letting go by learning to surrender is one of the fastest way to move forward and reach your goals.
To emphasize the first point, I will share some tidbits from my new read for this month is Focal Point by Brian Tracy. As I began to delve into the book, one of the first things he emphasizes to become more powerful in all aspects of your life is letting go of habits, activities, and situations that are not giving you the most bang for your buck. Businesses have quadrupled their revenue and productivity by focusing in on their most lucrative clients or services instead of catering to all. I’m also sure that many families and relationships have been saved with readjustment of habits and commitment to real communication. All successful people establish a goal with laser focus and work towards them. The thing that I personally am working on, and this book is assisting, is prioritizing what it is exactly I want and what actions are most important for me to focus on in this moment. Just like you do when your on a “diet.” I have been cutting out the excess and noticed that as soon as I have let go of the old activities that sap my time and give little return for my energy investment, I have become doubly productive and had more impact. All that said, letting go sometimes isn’t easy. We all love comfort and familiarity and can get trapped into habits, situations, and with people who are hampering our full potential because we don’t have the courage to let go.
The other meaning of letting go related to surrender, is learning to go with the flow; finding a balance between trusting that your visions will come to pass without working yourself into a frenzy to accomplish them. In the past, because I am a go-getter who loves to accomplish my goals, I would create task lists and dream up new things to do to get me where I wanted to be. Living like this, left me drained, seemingly “productive”—but worn thin emotionally and physically. After a major adjustment, I learned to hold onto the goal or vision, but to trust that unexpected divine ways to accomplish it would fall right into my path. Julia Cameron, an author who I love, says in many of her books on creativity that we can rely on synchronicity. It’s not that you don’t do anything at all, or that you neglect to plan, but rather you aren’t trying to force moments or make anything happen. Its almost like active listening—but more like active being— you know what you want, so you are ready and alert to it when it arrives. When the right opportunity or idea falls into your path, and it will, you are there with your energy conserved ready to take efficient action.
There is something about surrender in this way that allows us to be a magnet for what we want. If you believe that like attracts like, then consider that when we are worked up and working hard to invent ways to get something or somewhere we are inhabiting an energy of lack. We need this thing bad, and the universe responds by showing us, that yes, indeed we do need it. In this space, there is no room for what we want to show up. But when we give in to the act of surrender and we are no longer desperate or worried, our energy shifts to that of receptivity. It is right there, that I have experienced that the tide begins to turn.
Take a look at your life today. What are your main priorities? Are you focusing on them? What can you let go of or improve so you can use more of your energy to get you closer to where you want to be? Are you trying to control how a certain goal will be accomplished? Perhaps you can make sure your goal is clear, and give yourself permission to let go and hand the dream over to the divine.
Taking a Raw Girl Vacay this weekend to shoot a film. Be back on Monday will more fuel for your raw fire.
-XoXo Raw Girl
At Lululemon Athletica, the yoga/athletic apparel store, this is one of the many quotes on their very cute totes covered with inspirations and advice for healthy living. Yes, jealousy really is a sickness. I have known jealous people, been hated on frequently by jealous people in passing, dated jealous people, and befriended them. Now, I just smile and sashay the other way when I see them coming (and I can sense them a mile away). I learned by associating with these green-faced folks that like any sickness or virus, jealousy looks for way to spread. If it can’t convert you into being envious yourself, you may just find your endeavors, dreams, or self-esteem being marred by the jealous people around you. So choose the company you keep wisely.
To those still green with envy: the only damage you are doing by being jealous is to yourself. Rather than deeply indulging in that feeling, why not use it as a helpful sign post for needed change? Either decide to delve deeper into self-acceptance, or take on new skills that will take you one step closer to the career, status, or energy that you are envious of. Try to keep the greens in your smoothie or daily juice, and you may also feel your “green with envy” syndrome dissipate. Or continue to wallow and wail about so and so and what they are and aren’t doing, but just know that your only adding fuel to their fabulous fire.
– XoXo Raw Girl
I’m not sure exactly when it started, but I have always had an extreme fear of heights. I couldn’t handle walking to the top of the bleachers in the high school gym or auditorium, and even to this day when I am on a roof top I stay several arms lengths away from the edge, just in case. Now that I am regularly in Georgetown, every other day I have to climb a very steep and long escalator, that rises from the Rosslyn metro out to the street level. To the other commuters, it was an escalator, but when I looked up, I saw a mountain. I remember the first climb, I was clutching the railing, half praying and holding my breath as I took cautious steps up the moving escalator, sure that any moment might be my last.
Fast forward to the other day…I was astounded as I effortlessly climbed up the escalator at a brisk pace, and reached the top with not even a glimmer of my past fears. Where did the fear go? Day by day, taking each step, moving a little faster, somehow, I had conquered it. This experience reminded me that all too often we can look at our personal “mountain top” or goals and feel paralyzed with fear. The dream may seem too big, too ambitious, almost impossible. That’s why our daily steps towards our goals cannot falter. Each day, moving through our fear, taking a step a little quicker, a little slower, we inch our way towards the top. It’s important that as we climb, we give ourselves permission to go at a steady pace, maybe to stand still for a moment and regroup when setbacks arise, and to allow sudden bursts of courage to cause us to take a leap. However we make it to the top really doesn’t matter, as long as we don’t get off our path.
What tasks can you do today, to work towards your “mountain top”?