I was born in London, UK to Indian and African Jamaican parents in the 1950’s. My mixed racial and cultural upbringing afforded me a wonderful masala of food flavours (African Caribbean, Indian and English). My mum was seriously into healthy ‘additions’ to our family diet and lifestyle, something that has rubbed off on me and which has evolved over my own life time. In 2009 I created Raw Soul Food and Sistahintheraw, which is a natural progression of my own health journey.
As a girl child, I had always dreamed of ‘ministering’ to people, by helping and supporting them wherever I could. My life took on that quality, with people often seeking me out and ‘opening up’ their hearts.
Things changed as I grew older, the giving part of me, that always wanted to help and support people, became a stronger driving force and those around me knew that they could call on me at anytime and that for family and friends, I would drop whatever I was doing to 'be there' for them.
At this point, I mostly put others needs before my own, which is easy to do when you're a mother of three children and nurturing a family's needs. I enjoyed it though and derived a huge sense of fulfilment from it.
When I discovered in a routine blood pressure check that my BP was sky-high, my life had to eventually change. I remember the doctor telling me that I was "way too young to have a bp of that high". I didn't really understand the implications at the time. All the symptoms were there, the headaches etc. And in hindsight, I can see that my lifestyle was quite unhealthy back then. I didn't drink water, loved fizzy drinks (sodas), ate traditional cooked Caribbean and Indian food, which included meat, and I loved alcohol, chocolate and cake!
In India, I had my first experience of how the power of a shrodadara treatment could bring my BP to acceptable normal ranges within two days. I learned various forms of meditation and discovered how to tap calm and peacefulness from within. I enjoyed spiritual retreats and a series of trainings in Buddhism, African Traditional Spirituality, Hinduism, Christianity and Interfaith. I also encountered numerous ways to observe, accept and modify my mindset, how to practice self-acceptance, forgiveness and gratitude. I am still learning...
In deepening my commitment to a healthier me, I also adopted a raw food lifestyle, which has helped me tremendously. My body loves the 80/20 (raw/cooked) vegan framework. It has helped to alleviate my digestive issues and start to clean up my arteries enzymatically; (which I learned so much about in my training as a Health Educator at the Hippocrates Health Institute).
Along this path, making my wellbeing my #1 priority was initially a big decision that challenged many areas of my life. I have had to develop my self-awareness, which now guides my daily choices. My personal wellness journey has enabled me to tap into a more authentic form a giving to, not one based on sacrifice or victimhood as before, but based on love, gratitude and joy.
I love myself and life in general. The quality of my relationships reflects love - where my dreams, goals and aspirations are met.
I didn't realise that my body was being starved of essential nutrients and in particular hydration. All those years of continously consuming large amounts of fat, sugar and salt, coupled with high stress and worry, led to the my body becoming acidified, inflammatory and clogging up of my arteries,and hence leading hypertension.
One summer when the headaches were particularly troublesome, I sought out consultations from three different health practitioners and they all independently gave me the same diagnosis. I had to start on medication immediately, or I was surely going to have a stroke. As you can image, this shocked and terrified me. I was in my early forties and had been hypertensive for a while without even knowing. Thats why high blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer.
I decided to seek some inner guidance and took myself into stillness through meditation. I was eventually able to begin pinpointing my essential life priorities, one of which was to live long enough to see my grandchildren, when they came, to grow up. I was not ready to have my life cut short by a stroke or heart attack.
In the end, I decided to accept the medication and to do more research, which eventually led me to auryveda and raw food nutrition. Since then, I have followed an on-going holistic path to wellness, joy and contentment.
1. I love to dance to salsa music, it’s my best exercise
2. I love to challenge myself physically, so this year (2016) I tried out zip lining in Jamaica, it was great fun
3. I am a qualified picture researcher
4. I set up the first picture library in the UK specialising in contemporary and historic images of African and Indian communities worldwide
5. I officiated the inaugural spiritual libation ceremony for the new Black Cultural Archives (BCA) in Brixton, London (2014)
6. I am a founding member of Healthy Habits, a multi-disciplinary health organisation in London.
7. I have over 12 years experience of facilitating Inter-generational arts projects with groups of elders and young people
8. I have been practising yoga for over 30 years
9. I am inspired by travel and have visited over 29 locations around the world
10. In 2016, I decided to realise some of my raw food dreams, by undertaking the Health Educator Training Program at the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida and the completing the Sunfired Culinary Institute Certification with Dr. Aris Latham in Panama.