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My Way: Melissa Mango

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Melissa Mango is a Live Foods Chef and Author based in Santa Cruz California. Melissa has owned her own Café, consulted other raw food related businesses and continues to Chef for David Wolfe events, and Epic Eden Retreats. Melissa owns her own Raw Food Delivery service Green Cuisine and offers catering, classes and workshops nationwide.

My Way: Melissa 

Thursday - My eyes open and first thing I see is my son peacefully cuddled up next to me, sprawled out over more than half of our nest. Seriously, this is a gift! I flip onto my back for a stretch and peer out of our netted skylight to the clear blue. I can hear the sweet sound of metal zippers, the crinkle of packages opening, and the footsteps of those heading to the showers to beat the lines that gather in the mornings’ rush.

Zavi and I are right next my mother’s tent which is amongst a few other campers on the property. A night at Jackson Well Springs was only $8.00 to include use of the natural spring water showers and soaking tubs. Even though I only got to soak for a total of 6.8 minutes before Zavi started to shriek, it was worth the barefoot trek from our camp spot.

We have been on the road nearly a week now exploring Ashland, Oregon and Mount Shasta, visiting family and hearing about my mother’s roots. My ancestors are Karuk (kah-rook) Indians who settled on the Klamath River in Northern California. The women tattooed their chins which is where I like to say I get the desire to decorate my skin with colorful ink!

Before heading back home to Santa Cruz, Zavi and I make a pit stop at the Ashland Co-op for road snacks and breakfast. I place my order for a green juice then grab a Pure Heart mate’, a vanilla coconut yogurt, and a pack of berries grown just 5 steps from my home in Santa Cruz.

Just 45 minutes from Ashland, Oregon is Mount Shasta. Zavi and I went to the head waters and filled up our of our 1 gallon glass Kombucha bottles with fresh mountain water to schlep home and savor. 

Driving back thru Sacramento and San Fran was a bit crazy. Every time I drive in these heavy frantic- traffic areas I am inspired to come up with bumper stickers that will give people a clue: “Can get there any faster on my bumper,” “Are we racing to the red light,” and “I brake for animals & fruit trees” are some of my favorites.

After a few stops for Zavi to breastfeed, we made it home safely in time to return the rental car. Dahveed picked us up and treated me to a delicious meal at at Dharmas, a local organic restaurant.

Friday - I hear the chirp of my phone’s alarm coaxing me to rise and start my day. Before I left for Oregon I had been consistently doing INSANITY, a Beach Body dvd set each morning to get my body going. Let me tell you something folks, this workout is no joke! For my body type, a good sweat does my body good. I meant to keep up with it while I was on the road with Zavi, but I felt silly whipping out my laptop to get the brutal boot-camp cues from Sean T, the dvd trainer, so I just took the time off and did other activities.

After a week of no INSANITY, I was ready to get it on and sweat. I had a glass of Shasta spring water with some fresh orange juice and was ready to rock it.

Around 9 am I gather a few wild greens from the back yard for my post workout shake. Our morning shake consists of dandelion, lambs quarters, mulva, mint and some other crazy looking prehistoric edible weeds. We also add 2 peeled oranges, add our garden strawberries, pure synergy, nopal cactus, 1 ½ c spring water and 2 TB Vega Protein Powder from Brendan Brazier’s line. 

Baby

After a quick rinse off in my amazing shower, and my smoothie, I am feeling energized and ready for the day. I hope online to check emails, book sales and of course get my daily horoscope. Zavi usually rises around 9:30 or 10 am, and by the time I am done working out, he is ready for breakfast. He is solely breastfed, so he is easy to please. Did I mention what an amazing Djembe player her is? That’s my boy!

We cuddle on the couch, nurse and smile at one another while listening to Dr. Jameth Shereden and a few episodes of Renegade Health Show. I just love Kevin and his approach to health and life. Go Kev!

My friend Jason Wrobel, a talented LA Celebrity Chef calls me up and is heading over with his girlfriend Stephanie who is a previous employee of mine from Terra Bella Cafe. We make plans to meet at my house for dinner and a slumber party and chat it up. I grab a few strawberries from our garden and a raw thumbprint cookie I made to snack on, while listening to Jason catch me up with his new adventures.

After I hang up with Jason, I realize that Zavi is out of cloth diapers so I put a load into the wash, meanwhile wrappin his bum in a dish towel for now. What’s the difference between Zavi’s cloth diapers and our dishtowels? Nothin’! We just paid more for the cloth diapers, and they are quite soft on one side. I love using cloth because there is less nasty diapers in the landfill.

It's lunch time and we are down to the niddy gritty since I have been gone all week in Oregon. I spot some live sunflower bread and some spinach & cheese sauce Dahveed made for my clients who signed up for our delivery service. I lay a few pieces of bread out, top it with the cheese and spice it up with cayenne.  Add a few homemade crackers and some avos from a friend’s tree atop some salad greens and we are feasting. I am so hungry by this point I am literally eating while standing in the kitchen. Catching me sitting up on the counters or eating over the sink is common I admit. I am an on-the go momma.

Knowing that Jason and Stef are on their way soon, I begin to prep dinner for their arrival. I make them a sea weed soup with Gynostemma tea as the base, and kombu sea weed. This soup has been perfected by Dahveed and I had it almost every night of my 3rd trimester. I steamed a little quinoa to serve on the side and get the table set. Just before they arrive I am upstairs fluffing their room for their overnight stay. I love having guests over.

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Saturday - My phone alarm wakes me out of a deep sleep. The kind of sleep you drool for, I drift off. I begin to stir under the covers when I hear the phone ring. I let it go to voice mail and gently stretch out. Wow, my bootie is sore. Oh how I love getting a good butt kicken work out in. I roll over and feel that a wooden toy has found its way under my pillow. Just then I remember the load of diapers I started in the wash yesterday and make it a point to remember to dry them. Laying in bed I begin to plan out my day, the types of food I need to make for my Monday delivery and so forth.

I make it out to the kitchen just in time to see Jason making his way down from the shanti guest room. I offer him some Shasta spring water and we go onto the back patio for some sun. Dahveed, Zavi and Stef make it out shortly after and Dahveed gathers the troops for a morning blackberry harvest. We pop on our shoes and zavi has his sun hat and we head down the closed off road to forage. The black berries are barely ripe so we continue down the road another half mile to check on the passion fruit vine, only to discover they too still need more time to ripen. On our way back home we spotted a mini plum tree tempting us with dark burgundy bliss balls. Stef and I point to the plump ones while Jason (the tallest in the bunch) jumps up and gently tugs on branches to get the ripest ones. Zavi is strapped to Dahveed and he loves the excitement and laughter. Our bowl over- filleth!

As we head back, I skip along like a kid and stretch out my limbs since I didn’t do my INSANITY dvd first thing. I always feel so good moving my body in the morning. On our way, Dahveed spots a wild carrot plant. He pulls it out of the ground and we take a big wiff. It smells amazing, better than any carrot in the store. We later found out it was in fact Daucus, a similar plant.

Back at the house we make our morning smoothie with wild greens, local fresh plums and the rest of our “usual.” Stef and Jason are inspired to start doing wild green smoothies too. The smoothie made us feel like super heros, we were jumping and leaping around like kids.

Around noon we all headed into Santa Crus to a local tea house. The place was hoppin’ and we were enjoying an energizing pot of mango herbal tea, and of course Pu Erh. After a glass of Pu Erh and some raw chocolate pyramids, lets just say I was fully activated and charged. Who needs coffee, or any “uppers,” seriously?

We give our love to Stef and Jason and they are headed back to LA. In their gas efficient car. Then we buzz over to the local health food store for ingredients for the delivery then head home. I finish up laundry and some light house cleaning. I then got started making some crackers and Chili Rellenos for my Mondays delivery of Green Cuisine.

I get caught up in more emails, and some momma-mango blog as well, as I continue the editing to my recipe book, that I am having re-designed by lovely Nora.

Where does time go? It is 9:30pm. Zavi Bear is rubbin his eyes and curling his lips so we curl up on the couch to wind down before bed time. What a great day... every day is such an adventure!

My name's Melissa and this is My Way.

Melissa currently lives in Santa Cruz, CA with her boyfriend Dahveed, and son Zavi. Melissa runs Green Cuisine, a local live food delivery service, and offers her Live Food Recipe Book for sale as well. Friend her up on Facebook.

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