Yerba Herba

Yerba Herba

With permission, I'm re-posting this Facebook post a good friend of mine shared while in South America.

Adopting a nice custom from Argentina and Uruguay: Yerba Mate tea in a Mate Gourd made from glass and steel and a bombilla (metal straw)!

This tea comes from the South American rainforest evergreen holly tree and is great for digestion, energy, mental alertness, and is loaded with vitamins and minerals! It can also improve immune function, aid weight loss, and has anti-cancer compounds!

Yerba Mate is said to have the strength of coffee, benefits of herbal tea, and euphoria of chocolate! It was called the "drink of the gods" by indigenous South Americans. It's a bit like green tea - just better. I'd say bring it on!

Thanks, Ina, for sharing this information! I'm familiar with this tea but have never tried it. Now, though, I will. Hope you do, too!

Terri, t-RAW

My Holiday Tradition Called Kwanzaa

My Holiday Tradition Called Kwanzaa

Would you agree we could use more Unity in our society today?

Would you agree that Self-Determination leads to creations, inventions?

Would you agree that Collective Work & Responsibility improves communities?

Would you agree that Cooperative Economics encourages prosperity?

Would you agree that having a Purpose is necessary to achieve goals?

Would you agree that Creativity is a positive force towards betterment?

Would you agree that Faith can move mountains?

If you answered “yes” to one or all of the above, then you just ascribed to the principles of Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa is a festive and meaningful holiday we celebrate each year in my household. Much to my chagrin, for most of my adult life, I never took the time to learn what Kwanzaa was, let alone celebrate it. I don’t have a good answer as to why I didn’t, other than just pure ignorance of how it related to me. That is why I now love sharing the basics of this holiday so others don’t have to remain in the dark as I was for so long.


What is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is a week-long African American cultural celebration held in the United States from December 26 through January 1. The name is derived from matunda ya kwanza, a Swahili phrase that means “first fruits.”Based on traditional African harvest festivals, combining various cultural customs, this holiday, observed by over 18 million people, has reached its 50th anniversary of existence this year.

Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, nor does it replace Christmas. Instead, it was created during the black movement of the mid 1960s to combat the commercialism of Christmas by honoring our African heritage and culture with the seven basic principles, expressed in Swahili as nguzo saba. These principles are actually applicable to everyday life, not just at Christmastime.

How is Kwanzaa observed?

Together, the family observes daily rituals which include lighting candles, making Kwanzaa gifts, planning special theme meals, dressing in traditional garb and honoring ancestors and elders. A table remains set with an array of fresh fruits. In the center of the table is a kinara, a candleholder for seven candles.

In the kinara are three green candles on the right side, three red candles on the left side and one black candle in the center. Green stands for the fertile land of Africa. Red symbolizes the bloodshed spilled in the struggle for freedom. Black is for the color of the people. The family gathers around as one candle is lit each day, beginning with the outer most candles, working inward to the center. As the candle is lit, that day’s corresponding principle is spoken of.


A great gathering of food and guests is held on December 31. It is called the karamu. Celebrants donned in vibrantly-colored traditional African attire enjoy cultural dishes, typically using ingredients brought to the United States from the motherland, such as sesame seeds (benne), peanuts (groundnuts), sweet potatoes, collard greens and spicy sauces.

New Year’s Day is the final day of the Kwanzaa holiday. Traditionally, educational and cultural gifts are given to children on this final day of celebration.

7 Principles of Kwanzaa

Day 1: Umoja! (oo–MO–jah)
Means: Unity

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race. Whether in the home or the workplace, teamwork promotes unity. It is important to the ongoing success and longevity of the family unit or company, the community that family or company serves, and the state and country in which they reside.

Day 2: Kujichagulia! (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah)
Means: Self-determination

To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves. Instead of being defined, named, created for and spoken for by others. We must plug into our self-worth. We have to be determined and stay determined to make a positive difference in our life’s journey — whether a child or adult; male or female; working at a nine-to-five job or as a self-employed entity.

Day 3: Ujima! (oo–GEE–mah)
Means: Collective Work and Responsibility

To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together. We are all fingers on a hand in this journey called life. There are so many ways we can reach out and help others; doing so is simply easier when organized through group effort.

Day 4: Ujamaa! (oo–JAH–mah)
Means: Cooperative Economics

To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together. What better way to instill pride in something than through ownership? This is important for our global economy and so very empowering to ourselves.

Day 5: Nia! (nee–YAH)
Means: Purpose

To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community to restore our people to their traditional greatness. If we don’t ever learn the truth about our history of our ancestors or kings and queens who ruled entire empires, how can we ever set clear, positive goals for our own lives that awaken the greatness within ourselves and the tremendous potential that lies therein? We then can set goals that benefit the whole community.

Day 6: Kuumba! (koo–OOM–bah)
Means: Creativity

To always do as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it. We must use our time, creativity, finances and resources to make our community out of just survival mode and into massive productivity.

Day 7: Imani! (ee–MAH–nee)
Means: Faith

To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle. We must believe that a better world can be created both now and in the future

7 Symbols of Kwanzaa

Kikombe cha umoja.
Means: the unity cup

Celebrants drink from this cup in honor of their African ancestors. Before drinking, each person says “harambee,” which means, “let’s pull together.”

Means: the candleholder that holds seven candles

This symbolizes stalks of corn that branch off to form new stalks, the same way the human family recreates and branches off.

Mishumaa saba.
Means: the seven candles that represent the seven principles

Three candles on the left are green; three on the right are red; and in the middle is a black candle. A different candle is lit each day.

Means: fruits, nuts and vegetables

This type of food reminds celebrants of the harvest fruits that nourished the people of Africa.


Means: mat

The mkeka, made of straw or African cloth, symbolizes the foundation upon which communities are built. The various symbols of Kwanzaa are arranged upon it.

Vibunzi. (plural, muhindi)
Means: ear of corn

Traditionally, one ear of corn for each child in the family is placed on the mkeka.

Means: gifts

The gifts that are shared are traditionally only educational in nature and/or handmade.

What’s the Word?

So, there you have it — your crash course in Kwanzaa! One last thing … Kwanzaa participants throughout the week greet each other with this question: “Habari gani?” That is Swahili for “What’s the word?” When asked this question, you excitedly respond with one word: the Swahili principle for that day.

Now that you know, I challenge you to greet a new person each day starting December 26, with “Habari gani?” and let the good news begin!

Magically Delicious Denim

Magically Delicious Denim

Denim skirt
MAGIC. A very appropriate name for the superbly sexy merchandised marketplace recently held in Las Vegas. As a first time attendee, mesmerizing is also an adjective I would use to describe MAGIC 2016, a well-orchestrated tradeshow whose goal is to bring together great brands and retailers twice a year. Here in Las Vegas, it required miles of space in both the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and the Las Vegas Convention Center to showcase so many categories of men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel, as well as accessories, footwear and fashion-related seminars.During my visit, I chose to narrow my focus on the world of denim only, lest I never emerge to see daylight for the entire three-day affair. Even with that single-minded approach, I encountered a sea of blue jean vendors — more than my little legs could take me to.denimI visited some of the well-known brands that grace the pages of Names such as Levi’s, Calvin Klein, Dockers, 7 For All Mankind, Paige, Tommy Bahama, Kenneth Cole, Buffalo and Joe’s Jeans have kept our customers both comfortable and trendy for years. I visited European brands, high-end brands, brands with funny names. One conclusion I came to regarding this oh-so-popular item of clothing: Blue jeans are actually their own kind of magic.Think about it. How can one article of clothing be worn so many times without washing and still maintain its freshness? Furthermore, how can it effortlessly transform from playtime attire to business casual and nightclub party scene with a few added accessories or a changing of the shoes? Magic.Magically popular, as well. In this ever-evolving — and somewhat fickle — fashion community, where trends are led by seasons and economics as much as by creativity, good ole blue jeans have remained in Americans’ closets since 1873 (before folks even had closets). They’ve enjoyed their share of trendiness throughout those years as well.

The vendors, with whom I spoke, enthusiastically informed me of the latest sought-after styles. They included designs like raw selvedge, cuffed, stretched, leggings, naturally died, destroyed, pure indigo, washed, frayed,distressed, baggy, skinny and the list goes on.As another successful fashion tradeshow drew to a close, I exited the convention center with deeper knowledge and greater respect for all the styles, types and shades of denim surrounding us every day. Funny, I just happened to be sporting denim myself that first day — a blue jean shift dress.Denim is all the craze! However, can it really be considered that if this so-called craze has lasted for almost 150 years? Magically, yes.


Love & RAWspect,

Terri, aka t-RAW

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Mama’s Morning, Mama’s Watermelon

Mama’s Morning, Mama’s Watermelon

I typically go to bed super early, sometimes as early as 7:30pm. So, I have no idea what goes on in the household during the evening hours. Nothing incenses me more than to go to bed with something in the fridge that I put there expecting to eat or drink it in the morning and when morning comes…

Well, this morning, I woke up mouth all watering for MY watermelon, the watermelon I enjoy as MY super-early morning routine. So, I skipped to the fridge all happy and $h!t and then…


Now, my creative brain is all messed up and interrupted and I start eating some peanuts instead because they’re nearby and I have this book deadline but I can’t think straight and now my bowels are probably not going to cooperate (do you guys know how great of a natural laxative watermelon is?) and I’m scheduled to be on a health forum panel later this morning and I’m not feeling healthy right now. Ugh!

There’s a grapefruit. I don’t want a grapefruit. There’s a persimmon. I don’t want a persimmon. There’s a very dried up pomegranate that’s been in the fruit bowl for months. I don’t feel like dealing with all those little seeds, which is why the thing is all dried up–I don’t ever feel like dealing with those seeds. I just need my watermelon, but someone decided they needed it more than me.

Now, I know how my dad felt back in the day when he’d come home from work at the end of the night (11pm), all ready to unwind with Johnny Carson, his pretzels and a tall glass of Pepsi, and there was not a drop of Pepsi left in the house. He would pitch a fit and one of us kids would be heading out to the convenient store (even if it was midnight) to buy him some Pepsi. I feel ya. Dad.

There’s no one to send to the store but me since everyone else is sleep. I’ve been known to wake a person. But it’s 3am and no stores are open. Sigh.

I remember a time when my children were in high school and wanted to go out Fri night. I was heading to bed early and told them to finish the laundry before they go. I woke up to damp towels not finished drying. It was 4am on a Sat and I woke their butts up to re-do the entire laundry process on those towels. Who cares they probably just got to sleep two hrs earlier. smh

Don’t mess with Mama’s mornings.

Love & RAWspect,

Terri, aka t-RAW

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

When a vegan is invited to a tailgating party

When a vegan is invited to a tailgating party

It’s almost football season! Yay!  Came across this blog and thought I’d repurpose it. I wrote it earlier this year leading up to the Super Bowl, but the recipes shared in this blog are great for any food gathering. Now that tailgating season is fast approaching, why not make the recipes here? Add a little healthiness, but tastiness,  to the party!

Although SuperBowl Sunday is not technically a holiday — and I cannot understand why it’s not — it is one of America’s most popular crowd-gathering days of the year. If you’ve been to any of these shindigs, you’d have to agree that more often than not, people host and attend Super Bowl parties as much for the camaraderie as for the game.

And what’s the most popular thing people do when they get together? You guessed it. Eat, eat and eat some more! Therefore, if you’re hosting a party on this big game day, your food must live up to the hype of Lady GaGa’s halftime performance!

So, go for the gusto and tackle a healthier spread of snacks without sacrificing the taste. Push the beef and chicken out of bounds, which contain toxins, parasites and cholesterol, and instead, sneak in some great vegan options and watch your guests rush to the table.

Make fans of your food from the first bite to the very last morsel. And when regulation time runs out, and overtime ensues, don’t break a sweat! There are enough vegan recipes across the internet to have you preparing meals for a lifetime.

Just like no one enjoys watching a boring, lopsided Super Bowl game, no one wants to relish the thought of ingesting boring, bland foods. In fact, bland vegan food is a major foul that could get you thrown out of the league of healthy eaters.

These recipes are sure to put you in the right field position for scoring extra points among your friends and family. Not only are they vegan, but they contain superfoods as well. Superfoods, a couple of notches above vegan on the hierarchy of eating styles, are nutrient-rich foods, primarily plant-based, that are considered to be especially beneficial for one’s overall health and well-being.

Without further delay, here are a few recipes to get you started and the traditional dishes they replace. So come on, man. It’s crunch time. Let’s get these dishes going and prepare for an all-out blitz!


Traditional Dish: Buffalo Wings

Nothing says football party like the taste, smell and slight burn on the tongue of buffalo sauce. Here’s how you can bench the unhealthy wings, and allow your guests to still get a kick out of this snack.

Here’s what you need:

  • 15-ounce can garbanzo beans
    • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
    • ¼ cup hot sauce (Cholula, Frank’s RedHot, Sriracha, Tabasco, and Tapatío are all vegan brands!)

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat oven to 450F.
    • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (optional).
    • Drain and rinse garbanzo beans. Pat dry with a towel.
    • Spread garbanzo beans onto a baking sheet.
    • In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat melt the vegan butter.
    • Add hot sauce and stir until combined.
    • Pour the hot sauce mixture over the beans.
    • Toss to coat evenly.
    • Bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, until browned.

Garbanzo beans are rich in protein, fiber, and antioxidants and are classified as a super food. Buffalo roasted chickpeas make a great addition to salads or eaten as a snack all on their own.


Traditional Dish: Nacho Cheese Sauce

Watch the forward motion toward this delicious addition to every party, not just when watching sporting events.

Here’s what you need:

• 1 cup soaked cashews, drained
• 1 large red pepper
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
• 1/4 cup lemon juice
• 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
• 1 tablespoon crushed Thai chili pepper
• 4 cloves of fresh garlic
• 1 tablespoon onion powder
• 1 teaspoon sea salt

Here’s what you do:

• Set aside a few slivers of red bell pepper for garnish
• Add all ingredients to a Vita mix or high-speed blender 
• Mix until perfectly smooth.
• Garnish with the bell pepper slivers.

Drizzle over organic blue corn chips or a salad. Use as a dip for veggies.


Traditional Dish: Ground Beef Tacos

Serving great tasting tacos is an easy way to defend your title of Most Valuable Party Planner. Now you can make the healthy way and watch the crowd cheer in your favor.

 Here’s what you need:

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 white onion
• 2 cloves garlic
• 2 cans of jackfruit
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 1 tablespoon chili powder
• 1/2 tablespoon paprika
• 1/8 teaspoon red pepper
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
• 8 small corn tortillas

Here’s what you do:

• Sauté onions and garlic using the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until they start to brown on the edges.
• While the onions cook, rinse and drain the jackfruit. Cut the core off the chunks. Shred it with a fork, removing the seedpods.
• Add the shredded jackfruit and all the spices to the pan with the vegetable broth or water. You want enough liquid so the spices evenly distribute throughout the jackfruit.
• Simmer (without burning) for about 10-15 minutes. Not so much that it turns into soup
• Heat the corn tortillas briefly in the oven. Tortillas can also be doubled up to help prevent them from breaking.

Serve tacos with stewed black beans, cashew queso and cilantro. Optional toppings include: cashew, nacho cheese, guacamole, black beans or vegetarian chili and pico de gallo


Traditional Dish: Candy Bars

A guest’s sweet tooth not conquered could easily sideline your ability to make a big hit with your party. Here’s how you can provide a delicious, healthy treat.

Here’s what you need: 


• 1/2 cup Medjool dates
• 1 ½ cups almonds
• 1 tsp vanilla essence


• 1/2 cup tahini
• 1/2 cup maple syrup
• 1/4 cup coconut oil
• 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
• Large pinch Himalayan salt

Chocolate topping

• 3-4 tablespoons raw cacao
• 1 teaspoon carob powder
• 3-4 tablespoons coconut sugar or agave syrup
• 1/2 cup coconut oil

Here’s what you do:

• Grind dates and almonds in a blender. 
• Add vanilla until sticky and then press into a rectangular dish greased with coconut oil. 
• Blend caramel ingredients together and pour over biscuit base.
• Set in the freezer for 20 minutes. 
• While slice is setting, melt coconut oil for chocolate crunch topping.
• Add all other ingredients and stir well. 
• Let cool for 5 minutes and then pour topping over slice.
• Place back in freezer to set again.

Cut into small squares to serve. Makes 15.


You certainly don’t want to create all these wonderful snacks then intercept their benefit by smothering them with unhealthy condiments. Here is a list of common toppings that contain no animal ingredients. Of course, specific ingredients vary depending on the brand, but these brands are usually safe for a plant-based diet.

A.1. Original Sauce
Barbecue sauce
Hoisin sauce
Hot sauce (Cholula, Frank’s RedHot, Sriracha, Tabasco, and Tapatío)
Maple syrup
Peanut butter
Soy sauce

Now you see how easy it is for anyone to be an eligible receiver of tasty, healthy party dishes. At the end of the evening, as your peeps are heading home, they’ll high-five you as you delight in your great use of home field advantage. Your post-game activity? Tackling a mile high stack of empty dirty dishes.

By the way, can you pick out all the football terms and references that I used?


Love & RAWspect,

Terri, aka t-RAW

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Women are the warriors our times call for

Women are the warriors our times call for

There’s a movie recently released called Wonder Woman. It’s about a young woman raised in paradise but trained to be an amazingly unconquerable warrior. Finally, the time comes for her to fight in a war of all wars. It was there her true power and destiny was revealed to the world but probably most importantly to herself.

Do we have to wait until we go into battle over the trials in this world before we really discover and appreciate our true inner strength and power? How can we best be super and powerful just because we woke up in the morning? Just because we were born into this world? Just because I am me, you are you, we are we? Well, for starters we can start declaring it so. Starting today, this moment, make knowledge of your powerfulness a daily affirmation. I will do the same.

With the permission of author, Aaron Paquette, here is his superbly written rendition of why we truly are powerful warriors. He’s reminding you and me to recognize it. Own it. Step into our warrior-ship role and rule our domain! Ase.

Yes, I realize there are no well-developed bicep muscles but just let me imagine, okay?


Please read and enjoy.


Some people make the mistake of thinking women are only gatherers … gardeners … that they can only dig and pick and cultivate and hide.


I tell you that women are the strongest, smartest and most dangerous hunters the world has ever seen.


Individually, they may be physically overpowered, but in planning, in vision, in purpose and explosive action, they can’t be beat.


Any honest man will admit there is nothing that fills them with awe so much as their partner when she has made up her mind. She has become an unstoppable, indomitable will. If it’s against him, he’d better start running!


There’s a narrative that women are weak, that they’re vulnerable, that they are somehow less intelligent or capable than a man.


Well, they said that about serfs, about slaves, about people from other races. They say it about anyone they want to control.


You see, it’s the storytellers that rule the world.


And we repeat their stories.


It’s time for a new chapter.


It’s time to write a new reality.


It’s time to stand up and tell your story.


You are only vulnerable when you let others define you as vulnerable.


You are only weak if you let them convince you it’s true.


You are only ‘less than’ if you believe it.


Women are warriors. They are the ones who run with wolves, the ones who follow the moon. They are the ones who give life and they are the first story tellers their children will hear.


Women have all the power of humanity. All the power to shape the world.


Are you waiting for permission? Give it to yourself.


Are you waiting for your time? It’s now.


Are you waiting for a sign? Look around.


You are the linch-pin, the tipping of the scales.


The moment you say you’ve had enough. The moment you rise …


Everything changes.


We are in a battle for a future that our children, grandchildren and theirs can grow in, be safe in, be challenged in.


Part of it means taking time for yourself, for silence, to breathe and renew. Part of it means to let go for a while. You’ve been carrying heavy burdens.


There will be men who cling desperately to the idea that they have power over you. Outsmart them. Outmaneuver them. Out plan and out-strategize.


There are so many more good men willing to be your allies, willing to be your support, willing to be your partners. We are your sons, after all.


We are in a battle for the soul of the planet.


And you are that soul.


You are the warriors.


And this is your time.


hiy hiy.




Feel free to print this out, to share it, to hang it where you can see it.


-Aaron Paquette




Aaron Paquette is a First Nations Metis artist, author and speaker. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, his Bestselling Novel ‘Lightfinder’ was published 2014 through Kegedonce Press and is now in 2nd printing.

To order Lightfinder:




Like the Page!

The Eyes Have It

The Eyes Have It

Me at age 21

Me at age 56











Can your health really affect your eye color? Most health experts you ask may say no. I’m living proof that my eye color has changed pretty significantly since becoming a rawtarian. So much so, that about 90% of the people I meet for the first time, or encounter for even just a few seconds, say, “Wow! Your eyes are beautiful!”

No matter how many times I hear those comments, they still catch me off guard. I’m always flattered, sometimes embarrassed. My eye color is called hazel, a reflective pigmentation which changes according to the lighting I’m in or the colors I’m wearing. While they’ve been shifting colors my whole life, I don’t recall them being quite this light–especially to the point where so many people make mention of them.

The iris is the colored component of the eye. It is determined by the pigment called melanin. As we grow, the iris is subject to change because the melanin concentration in it keeps changing. The iris also controls the pupil size according to the light intensity in a given environment. When the pupil changes; the pigments of the iris are forced to readjust to the new space, slightly changing the color of the eye.

Some health experts, though, do believe if you want to change your eye color exceptionally and in a small amount of time, all you need to do is introduce a few changes to your diet. Here are few of the foods they suggest–ones that have many other attributes as well. I’ve been including in my raw lifestyle on a regular basis over the past five years…

  • Ginger

Ginger is a rhizome, a modified subterranean stem of a plant usually found underground. It is responsible for curing and preventing a whole host of conditions like inflammation and diseases like colon cancer.

  • Nuts

Nuts are high in protein. As an agent for heart healthiness, they contain omega 3 fatty acids and L-arginine.

  • Spinach

Spinach has a high content of iron. Like other dark leafy greens, it’s also rich in protein, vitamins and minerals all important for healthy skin, hair and bones.

  • Organic honey

Organic honey is a rich source (about 69%) of glucose and fructose, allowing it to be a healthy sweetener substitute for normal white sugar. Its attributes include calming acid reflux and digesting the fat stored in your body, among many other attributes.

  • Olive oil

Olive oil contains linolenic acid that renders a soft hue to the color of the iris. It helps prevent strokes and diabetes, could improve the arterial function and fights osteoporosis, to name just a few benefits.

  • Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea lowers a number of stress hormones in the bloodstream. A long list of its other benefits include: Fighting anxiety and depression, natural allergy fighter, anti-inflammatory, muscle spasms treatment, PMS natural remedy and other menstrual disorders, as well as a cure for insomnia, skin disorders and ulcers.

  • Onions

Onions main constituent is folic acid which promotes cell and tissue growth. They are also rich in sulfur and chromium, which assists in regulating blood sugar. For centuries, onions have been used to reduce inflammation and heal infections.


So, if you want overall good health, and pretty eyes to boot, pay attention to what you digest!

Love & RAWspect,

Terri, aka t-RAW


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Pin It on Pinterest