2019 IBPA Ben Franklin Awards Silver Medal in Body, Mind, & Spirit
“These chapters convey a deeply human message—that we are all works in progress, changing day to day—and drive the book’s tale of resilience to a satisfying conclusion. [An] Indie Groundbreaking book.”
“Carter’s decade-spanning quest covers countless forms of therapy and self-help. Her relentless unease is palpable throughout, deftly portrayed through effective dialogue and memorable recollections.”
“I love this book, and—as a writer/dancer/seeker who has struggled with the swing between self-doubt and grand dreams—resonated with so much of it. Bella writes with great honesty and heart, and invites the reader to share her journey in a lovely, intimate way.”
—Gayle Brandeis, author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write
“Written in spare, elegant prose, Raw guides rather than preaches, and reveals rather than moralizes. The result is a bracing look at how bodies, food, relationships, emotions, and beliefs interweave to make us who we are.”
—Jill Jepson, author of Writing as a Sacred Path
“Informative and heartwarming, Bella Mahaya Carter’s story is about what we carry inside of us, not just physically, but spiritually. I came away from this book feeling nourished in all the right ways.”
—Claire Bidwell Smith, author of After This: When Life is Over Where Do We Go?
“Bella understands internal landscapes, which she has learned to navigate with self-forgiveness and compassion. Her transformational healing memoir will speak to anyone wanting to live a healthier, happier life! A supportive and inspiring read for anyone on the path of consciousness.”
—Christine Hassler, Best-Selling author of Expectation Hangover, Master Coach, Speaker
“These chapters convey a deeply human message—that we are all works in progress, changing day to day—and drive the book’s tale of resilience to a satisfying conclusion. INDIE GROUNDBREAKING BOOK”
“Sometimes, we heal the spirit and the body follows. Sometimes, it’s the other way around. Bella’s search for health as detailed in this marvelous, uplifting memoir, reminds us that there is a rawness to the spirit that parallels the rawness of the foods we put into our bodies. I ate this book in one sitting, then went back for seconds. You will too.”
—Jack Grapes, author of The Naked Eye
“This memoir will resonate with readers seeking alternative paths to health and healing. We love how Bella complements her approach to healthy eating with an equally nourishing approach to thinking and feeling. This book is indeed a living embodiment of ‘food for thought.’”
—Ron Hulnick, Ph. D., President, University of Santa Monica, andMary R. Hulnick, Ph.D., chief educational officer, University of Santa Monica, coauthors of Remembering the Light Within: a Course in Soul-Centered Living
"In her brave and transparent book, Bella Mahaya Carter reveals how she took her healing into her own hands, overcoming obstacles we can all relate to: fear, shame, worth. Her story will inspire readers to allow themselves to be seen while bringing their gifts and voices to the world."
—Nancy Levin, bestselling author of Worthy
“Bella gracefully limns the tale of how a raw food diet launched her into understanding and coming to terms with anxiety; in a world awash with food-based memoirs, this is juicy, fresh fruit.”
—Lisa Kotin, author of My Confection
“Bella writes from a place of deep wisdom, compassion and experience. In her wonderful book, you will find a teacher, guide and friend.”
—Rod Rotundi, author of Real Food for Real People
“In this inspiring journey to liberation, the author shares the changes that she made to move from ‘I wore failure like a shawl, clutched it around my shoulders and schlepped it with me,’ to whole health and joy—body, mind, and spirit. Gift yourself with the wisdom in this beautifully written book.”
—Laurie Buchanan, PhD, holistic health practitioner, transformational life coach, and author of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth
“The way Carter takes responsibility for her health and healing is inspiring. This memoir pulled me in and gave me insight into my own journey. It will do the same for you. Excellent book!”
—Alissa Cohen, author of Living On Live Food, raw-food educator, speaker, and healer
“In Raw: A Midlife Quest for Health and Happiness, Bella Mahaya Carter captures the challenges and opportunities of being born with many gifts, including those of a dancer, a researcher, an intuitive, and a teacher. Her book radiates with her vibrant energy as she learns to listen to her body, her fears, her memories, her mentors, her muse, and her own stream of consciousness. The reader learns from and is inspired by her courage, her mastery, and her generosity of spirit.”
—Roni Beth Tower, PhD, award-winning author of Miracle at Midlife: A Transatlantic Romance and clinical psychologist
"Bella Mahaya Carter’s Raw tells the story of a women’s journey to accept herself on her own terms. Her path is filled with obstacles many women will find intimately familiar: food, eating, mental health, motherhood, anxiety, insecurity, and ambition. Carter’s struggle to heal her mind, body, and spirit reminds me of the inner wisdom that resides in all of us and the difficulty of accessing it. Her honest, unflinching, relatable, and well-told story is a modern-day search for self. Carter’s journey will, no doubt, be a salve for many."
—Robin Finn, MPH, MA, author of Restless in L.A., coach and advocate
A detailed memoir that addresses diet, therapy, and spirituality.Carter (Secrets of My Sex, 2008) begins her account in 2003 in a gastroenterologist's office. At the time, she was 43 and had endured chronic stomach pain for years. She worried she might have cancer but refused invasive procedures and instead embarked on a raw food diet. The first third of her book, "Body," details the challenges of this transition—including finding social acceptance for a diet that seemed extreme to many people, including her parents. Raw food helped Carter in some ways, but she remained unsatisfied; she yearned to be a writer and bemoaned her failure to be financially independent. Carter returned to dance, which she'd once studied at Juilliard, and explored Bikram yoga and energy-healing concepts. But she realized that her mind—particularly her anxieties—needed attention. In the second section, "Mind," Carter tells of entering a spiritual psychology program at the University of Santa Monica, devising a course in transformational creative practices for alma mater Scripps College, and becoming a life and writing coach. She also published a poetry book in 2007. Still, her fears and self-doubt remained. The final third, "Spirit," focuses on spiritual healing. After her mother's death, Carter's anxiety became "disabling," she says, but after exploring reiki, craniosacral therapy, breath work, shamanic training, meditation, holistic psychiatry, and conventional medicine, she learned self-acceptance. Carter's decade-spanning quest covers countless forms of therapy and self-help. Her relentless unease is palpable throughout, deftly portrayed through effective dialogue and memorable recollections. But it's never quite clear what was specifically wrong with her—and therefore, what her book is truly about. She admits at one point that the book started as a memoir about raw food but gravitated far beyond that topic. The title would suggest a focus on her anxiety, but she never delves fully into that subject, either. She returns to the theme of her writing practice often, but her book isn't about becoming a writer. As a result, readers may find themselves roaming through the book in search of its purpose.Not sufficiently expansive or introspective to engage a wide audience.