More than 20 vendors welcomed visitors to the Soboba Sports Complex on Oct. 25 for a Body, Mind and Spirit Wellness Fair sponsored by Let’s Get Moving Mondays and its founder, Kelli Hurtado. She began planning the event a while ago but for the past three weeks really focused on the logistics.
“I already knew most of the vendors, such as Michelle’s Place, through my own cancer journey and they helped my mom through her journey as well,” Hurtado said.
Many healthy foods were on tap as vendors shared their personal reasons for making lifestyle changes that led to better eating habits. Now sharing their knowledge at events such as this, they hope to help others get on the path to a healthier life.
Bitchin’ Salads was founded by Antoinette Modesto as a result of a weight-loss challenge at her workplace (Walmart) in February. She lost 40 pounds during the two-month challenge and won the $5,000 prize which she used to launch her business.
“I won the challenge and now I have my own business,” she said. “I took my meal prep salads to work during the challenge and started bringing them in for co-workers who loved them.”
Modesto started with selling her salads and got 9 on her first order; she is now selling up to 50 per day. With 25 different varieties, such as Buffalo Chicken, Salmon, Caprese and many more to choose from customers can eat a different salad every day of the week. She also sells homemade salad dressings by the jar. Utilizing fresh ingredients from Sprouts and local farmer’s markets, Modesto said she has been grateful to also be gifted fresh vegetables from the Soboba Cultural Garden.
All her salads are under 450 calories with dressing and the generous portion size is usually enough for two meals, or to share. “I just want to keep it as healthy and tasty as possible,” she said. To view her menu and place an order, please visit Instagram @ANTOINETTESSHRINKING.
Vegan baked goods were available by The Flour Alchemist, founded by Martiana Browning. She said after her brother started a vegan eating plan, she learned that there was no cholesterol in this type of diet and it also can reduce the risk of cancer. She said she dropped 30 pounds in the first month of eating this way and just kept going.
“I use no animal products whatsoever but there’s extra love baked in there,” Browning said. “Four years ago, I went vegan for health reasons but I’ve always had a sweet tooth so I started making my own sweet treats. People are always blown away when they taste them.” More can be found on Instagram @the.flour.alchemist.
Semihomemade Mama offers a twist on traditional charcuterie boards that usually consist of processed meats and cheeses. She makes and packages fresh fruits and vegetables with hummus dip as a healthy alternative to offer at parties or to keep on hand for nutritious snacking.
Frybread Kitchen owners and operators Aurelia Mendoza and Antonia Briones-Venegas offered up a healthy lunch of low-carb spaghetti with turkey meat sauce or mushroom sauce.
As guests made their way around the perimeter of the Sports Complex gymnasium, they were also given the opportunity to learn about available programs and products that can help them get or stay as healthy as possible.
Prevention was the goal of many of the products but solutions to ailments were also shared. Victor Dominguez from Outcast had a variety of CBD-related health items designed to relieve aches and pains.
Certified Massage Therapist Eric Urias offered information on his Endogenous Medicine business that encourages others to “Heal Yourself, Heal Your People.” He has two physical locations as well as a home studio in San Jacinto where clients are offered a variety of services to help provide relaxation, sports massage, injury rehab, holistic health and much more. He offers body and energy work. He also has a clothing business.
After an off-road vehicle accident that resulted in a back injury, Urias had one massage that he said was more helpful than 10 physical therapy sessions.
“Nobody really taught my people how to take care of ourselves, so I had to figure out a lot of this myself through research. Once you start to align everything and bring people back to balance, they feel better,” Urias said. He said his Southern California area clientele includes pro athletes, MMA fighters and young people who all get customized treatments to address their needs. More details can be found on Instagram @endogenousmedicine.
Karinna Zarate opened Karinna’s Secret Garden in Old Town Temecula earlier this year as her “COVID recovery business.” Her plant shop is open Thursday through Monday. “I’m bringing nature indoors,” she said. “You can come into the store for plants that will beautify a space. When you create an indoor garden, you are increasing the humidity and oxygen and helping to purify the air.”
Geneva Mojado, an Arbonne representative, offered information on healthier alternatives to healing with products such as Green Shots, which contain 30 different fruits and vegetables. She’s been using the products, including its all-natural fizzes for about two years and has found them to be very nutritional and beneficial. Products and ordering information can be found at www.arbonne.com or by calling Mojado at 909-731-1014.
“We have a 30-day kickstart to healthy living,” she said. “I start off my day with a green drink for protein and then drink fizzes throughout the day.”
Shevon Torres started Crazy Beautiful with her elderberry syrup. The popularity of that nature-based item led to her developing more products that include beeswax candles, loose-leaf teas, herbal bath salts, essential oils and Coseva heavy metal detox. Her company can be found on Instagram @crazybeautifulshop.
“I started making elderberry syrup with my great grandmother when we would pick the berries in May,” Torres said. “We’ve always been committed to the earth.”
Revive was founded by Matthew Castellanos while he was looking for natural medicines that he could take back to his reservation (Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians). He discovered the benefits of Sea Moss (also known as Irish Moss) that contains 92 of the 102 minerals our bodies need. The benefits include boosting energy and immunity, aiding in digestion and helping to build stronger joints and bones. “It helps different people in different ways,” he said. “For me it produced a lot of mental clarity.” More information and how to order items can be found on Instagram @revive_moss.
Michelle’s Place Cancer Resource Center in Temecula provided handouts and had two Reiki therapists giving complimentary treatments. Reiki originated in Japan with the meaning of universal life energy. The technique is based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of light touch or sort of hovering of the hands to then activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being. Reiki helps the body and mind return to a balanced state so that natural self-healing can take place. For more information on Reiki and other resources available, please visit www.michellesplace.org.
Representatives from Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health Inc.’s departments shared information on mental health, suicide prevention and drug intervention. RN Case Manager Jacquelin Tejeda, with its Behavioral Health Services, gave demonstrations on how to administer Narcan nasal spray to someone who has overdosed on opioids and gave out portable kits to all visitors. Tejeda said Narcan has been around for a while, but it was hospital-based and now it is available to everyone.
RSBCIHI Peer Specialist Wayne Cortez focused on the spiritual component of the event. “Culture is a big part of sobriety,” he said. “We offer educational awareness and community education.”
Robert Burns, grant coordinator and substance abuse counselor, said his department goes into schools to share information. It also offers training programs and workshops such as safeTALK, QPR, Adult Mental Health First Aid, START and ASIST. “There are more drug addicts and alcoholics and suicidal ideations since COVID,” he said.
Suicide rates for American Indians and Alaska Natives are four times higher than the national average and it is the second leading cause of death for Native youth aged 15 to 24. A free online suicide prevention training is available at https://tinyurl.com/StartBHS with registration code of RSBCIHI Community.
Soboba tribal member Damon Miranda II helps facilitate Narcotics Anonymous meetings each Monday at St. Joseph’s Church on the Soboba Reservation.
RSBCIHI Prevention Educator Lila Vicente offered many handouts from the Community Mental Health Promotion Program that works to “promote awareness of mental health topics and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health within the Native American community.” The department collaborates with the Riverside University Health System’s Behavioral Health department. Having community partners allows them to “bring awareness to at-risk youth and their families through education and culturally specific activities.”
Hurtado was pleased with the turnout and attributes it to the fact that people like seeing something new. “I wanted everyone to try something new,” she said. “Times are changing, and we need to change.”
Photos courtesy of Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians