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My Way: Heather Haxo Phillips

Posted Oct 20 2010 3:12pm


Heather Heather Haxo Phillips is an accomplished raw food chef who teaches classes and produces raw food events primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area, and throughout California and the Western States.  Her classes are featured at premier venues such as Whole Foods Market and Cafe Gratitude. She is a certified raw food chef/instructor and graduate of the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute. Spend time with her and you will find tools and inspiration to infuse more health and fulfillment into your life. Students say Heather’s classes are inspiring, informative, well presented — and fun!

My Way: Heather

Wednesday - 6:25 am, I wake up. 6:30 am, Bashir’s alarm clock rings loudly. Bashir ignores it and falls back asleep for another hour. I lay there for about 10 minutes wishing I could do the same. Doesn’t look like it’s happening. When this girl is up, she is up!

I always ask my husband Bashir to keep his alarm clock off, because I often teach late until the evenings and I really appreciate my sleep, but he refuses. This alarm is part of his routine, even if most days it doesn’t get him out of bed. That’s OK, because Bashir is the most supportive husband a raw food chefstress could ask for. He carries my heavy boxes, allows me to stop mid-sentence to catch phone calls, and dons an apron without any hesitation. For that, he can have his rotten morning routine.

My morning routine?  Most mornings I grab my iPhone and read email in bed while waiting to see if I can fall back asleep. All this Raw Bay Area energy keeps the sleepies at bay so I head to the kitchen for a big glass of water with a few drops of dhla-nanoplex. On the way out I say good morning to the sprouts:  summer wheat, winter wheat and sunflowers (for this weekend’s class) and broccoli, radish, clover (for me). Then head upstairs to my yoga studio for pranayama.

Today I woke up wired about my most ambitious raw food project yet: a chef showcase at Thanksgiving to help our raw food community stay rawsome through the winter and thrive through the holidays. So I chose a pranayama to help balance my brain. I started with simple Ujjai breathing but the stuffed nose wouldn’t allow it. Khabalabati worked great though so I stuck with that.

By 8am, I am in my office working and drinking chai. Bashir makes the most amazing chai! Ironically, we stayed up late last night too, having a debate about whether chai was healthy. He is starting a chai business, ‘cause his chai is the bomb! He put 100% healthy on the label and I totally balked. Perhaps plain milk and sugar are not as bad for you as a Big Mac, but they are not a health food. Tasty, yes they are. Bashir’s chai is the only animal product that I put in my body with any regularity. It is love in a mug.  I have made it with all sorts of different nut milks but it doesn’t taste the same. Oh well, milky love in a mug it is.

Around 9am, I wander out to the garden to take care of chores. We have a rather large urban homestead, sharing 3 units with raw food enthusiasts, growing much of our food and hosting a menagerie of chickens, bees and even newts. Our vegetable and flower garden is a lot to take care of, but this morning we harvested a-plenty: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, fava beans and much too enormous zucchini.

I came in from the house by 11 ready for breakfast.  Breakfast is eggs for Bashir and somthin’ truly yummy and satisfying for me. Today it was a glass of fresh green juice with a spoonful of Mila in it, followed by some coconut yogurt that I made with Lisa Paris the other day. I made a parfait topped with raw granola, a gift from my friend Chef Lisa Books-Williams. You can check out how to make your own yogurt parfait here .

Powered up, I got a ton of work done this morning.  I had a great planning session with Darcy Crosman, who runs our 300-member strong Oakland Raw Food Meet-Up. I planted my sprouts, and made some hibiscus-orange kombucha.

At noon, I take a break from all the work stuff to take care of my volunteer gig.  I am on the board of the Iyengar Institute of San Francisco. Every day I take time out to do something to improve this world through Iyengar Yoga.


By 2 o’clock I am hungry again. Being in work mode, I just grabbed a small bowl of leftovers, a mash of cooked quinoa and beans with zucchini, topped with homemade raw salsa and nacho sauce. It hit the spot.

At 3 o’clock, I get a huge need for sugar.  Today it was satiated by a large glass of Grapefruit kefirade – a fermented blend of homemade coconut kefir and grapefruit juice.

Then Jeani my marketing angel came over and we worked and worked and worked on a whole bunch of cool projects. I needed another snack just before 5. After taking a huge slurp of E3 Live directly from the bottle in the fridge, out came the carrot-ginger soup made by Chef Patty Searle in her weekly to-go kit.  I topped the soup with my seasoned seeds and ate Lydia’s amazing new kale chips on the side. I lurve the new Mega Green she is carrying.

Tonight was one of the first nights in eons I didn’t have a class scheduled. So I went with Bashir to a friend’s birthday party in an awesome machine shop, in the old part of Oakland. Loved the setting, but didn’t love the food options – would you like the bisteak, tri tip, fish or cheese? Um, how about dinner at Café Gratitude? After enjoying the fire and the good company, Bashir whisked me out of the zone of the meat carnival and over to Gratitude.

I immediately feel festive from the taco salad I was eating.  We sat chatting with the manager Vanessa and ended up brainstorming about my upcoming holiday event. The line between my work and life is very thin, I suppose. Vanessa has so many ideas and we get to sample the very first night of Kombucha on tap. Lovingly made by Terces Engelhart herself. Afterwards, we walk next door to the church where I am hosting my next event and do a late night walk through. Super fun. Again, the line between my work and personal life is very thin.

Back home, spent a few hours on the computer and here it is 11:30pm. Time to go bed. I made the mistake of going to the kitchen and wound up playing with Bashir’s new industrial spice grinder. Another example of my idea of fun. I ground up my sprouted wheat berries a little bit to make them ferment more quickly, and then slipped them into water. In a few days my Rejevelac will be ready so that I can drink healthy probiotics and make some CHEESE.

Thursday -  I had the same morning routine with the alarm clock, but I did manage to get back to sleep.  Then I stayed in bed reading, so my day really didn’t begin till about 9:30. After my water, pranayama, and a cup of tea, Bashir and I got into a big discussion about the politics of humor on facebook, and the science of labeling on packaged goods such as P for parve and V for vegan. I tend to not ever pay attention to labeling on packages, cause I cannot remember that last time I bought anything packaged that I didn’t already know was raw vegan. But Bashir had a lot of opinions, and talking with him is always eye opening.

Its 11 am and I am thinkin’ about what else, food. I made Bashir some grapefruit juice ‘cause it makes him so happy.  I poured mine into a jar with kefir. Call it a mimosa or whatever you like, cause its good!  I chased it with a big gulp of E3 Live.

Before I could eat a real meal, I got distracted with other projects. Jennifer Cornbleet called and we had a planning meeting for the raw food intensives will are going to co-teach this winter. Jenny just moved to Oakland. Yipee! It is great to have a raw food pioneer and partner in crime in the East Bay. 


After the call, I was so hungry, so I went into the garden searching for a snack. My strawberry sugar bombs fit the bill. Bashir caught up with me there and we took some pictures together. I teach for the Institute for Urban Homesteading and Ruby the founder of the organization is writing a book on the subject. Ruby needed some before and after pictures from us. I took pictures with the chickens, which was totally weird for me. After two years of having the chickens I had never even touched them, much less modeled with them. I sorta felt like Brittany Spears and her snake, but not really. This is the thing about me and animals. I stopped eating red meat when I was 15. I went veg about 10 years ago. My raw vegan tendencies started 4 years ago. I just have no relationship with animals in that way anymore. I am not really interested in animals as pets or food. I can understand logically why some people want to have a different kind of relationship with animals. But my heart just really doesn’t get it anymore.

Ok now its 1 o’clock and I am really hungry. The beans and quinoa from our meal a few days ago is still in the fridge, so I warmed them up and put them in a bowl with huge pile of kale and topped it with a raw tahini green goddess style dressing.

The problem now is I need to go practice my yoga. I tried to practice several hours every day, but it takes a lot of discipline to make it happen. I suppose that is one of the main reasons I do yoga; to create and maintain a sense of discipline and order both inside and out. Anyhow, I did practice and felt great.

Tonight I was teaching – Green Juices and Smoothies at Café Gratitude – so I spent some time preparing the materials for that, and then off I went to the Café. It was a great class – well attended and folks were super enthusiastic about improving their own health. I stayed afterward to have dinner with Uma, my friend starting a raw food coop. He is raising bees on our property, and other gardens around the East Bay.

On my way home I did follow up work from the event I just hosted with Matt Monarch and Angela Stokes. You can check out Matt’s interview of me and Bashir from that event right here . In the video we share some tips on relationships when one person is raw and the other is not. 

Anyhow, by 8 pm I was kissing Bashir hello and then back in my kitchen. Bashir brought home a ton of foraged fruit including plums and white peaches. Super yum! I made a bunch of fruit leather and a huge vat of almond milk. I also worked on my new crustini recipe that I recently used for the Hot Chefs, Cool kitchen showcase. Bashir opened a bunch of coconuts for me, so I made some more coconut kefir and yogurt for Saturday’s class. By 11 pm I was in bed.


Friday - Today is a yoga day. Taught several classes, practiced and then helped Bashir get ready for his debut performance as a Chai Walla. My friend Elwyn Crawford makes the most amazing hats, and she invited us to her art opening where Bashir sold his famous brew, and I dished up the raw version.

 It made for a late night, and an early morning cause at 6 am we were at Café Gratitude in San Francisco to teach “Focus on Fermentation” an introduction to yummy foods like kefir, sauerkraut and komboucha. Despite the early hour, it was a ton of fun.

My work and my play are one and the same right now, and I couldn’t be happier. I used to work a day job where my schedule and projects were not my own. I was surrounded by donuts and pizzas and all sorts of foods and people that did not always make me feel very good.

Three years into my business, nearly 5 years into my raw food journey, I cannot imagine a better life. I work with people I love, and who love me back. I enjoy the projects I engage with. Mine is a world of abundance and opportunity, rather than obstacles and “I cannots.” I wake up most mornings feeling awesome and go to bed with peace in my heart. Raw food has simplified my life, helping me to appreciate the most important things. I am so grateful.

My name is Heather and this is My Way

Interested in trying some Iyenger Yoga? Check out Heather at . Or if you are in the Bay area and looking for her upcoming events, check out , or catch up with her via Facebook .

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