It’s a little past noon at The Latin Beet Kitchen, a new pan-Latin, health-focused eatery in NYC’s Flatiron neighborhood. Outside, it’s raining, but inside there’s a lunchtime crowd queued up for zucchini noodle bowls, organic arepas and housemade nut milks.
Fresh from a yoga class, Tabitha Holbert, the actress best known for her role on SVU Law and Order, admires the whole-grain and legume-based bowls—Holbert is a longtime vegetarian—but settles on a bottle of Kombucha to quench her thirst instead. (My pick: Salmon Ceviche over greens and brown rice, with a side of minty Yogurt Huacatay sauce; recipe below.)
Holbert slides into a booth and begins to explain why she created Boho Yogo, a brand-new app that allows you to book private yoga sessions (choose gentle, intermediate or power; $125 for an individual, $150 for couples) in your home. Currently, the service is only available in New York, but the company has plans to expand into other cities. What’s cool about the app—and the real reason Holbert, who has her yoga teacher training certification, was inspired to found the company—is that for every class a customer books, another yoga session is donated to a women’s shelter (the company works with Safe Horizon in NYC) or military rehabilitation center. “It’s one-to-one, like Tom’s shoes,” explains Holbert.
As a child growing up in the foster care system in Texas, Holbert owned one pair of pants and didn’t learn how to read until she was sixteen. Neglected, abused and sent from home to home, Holbert’s main goal in life was to “do hair” and stay out of prison. “I was a really hard kid,” she says.
But then she met a teacher who changed everything. She taught Holbert how to read, brought her a box of clothing that she said was used but Holbert realized was full of brand new tops and jeans. She also enrolled Holbert in beauty pageants as a way for her to pay for her continuing education. “I was a ghetto girl. Pageants made me well-spoken,” says Holbert, who did so well she earned enough money to pay for community college and, eventually, come to New York, where she would land every wannabe actor’s dream gig: A recurring role on a major television show.
Now Holbert, who says she healed her PTSD through restorative yoga, wants to give back. By giving women in at-risk situations access to yoga and meditation classes, she hopes to teach them how to break from the cycle of abuse and poverty and take control of their lives. Yoga, says Holbert, can help these women end the negative self-talk (“you’re a dummy,”) in their heads and come into their power. “How you practice yoga is how you go through life,” says Holbert. “You have to breathe through the uncomfortable moments. You have to forgive yourself and let go of your mistakes,” she says. “And then you have to re-up.”
For more information about Boho Yogo, go to: http://www.bohoyogo.com
Huacatay is an herb found in Peru that is a variety of peppermint and often referred to as “black mint.” You can find it in fresh form in some speciality grocery stores or online, as a paste. At The Latin Beet kitchen, they typically serve the sauce over The Andina, a bowl filled with carrots, broccoli, avocado, purple cabbage slaw, lentils and other ingredients.
3 tbsp Huacatay leaves (start with 1/2 tbsp paste)
1/3 cup water
1 cup Greek Yogurt (Fage brand)
Salt, to taste
In a blender, add water and Huacatay leaves and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and add yogurt; mix until you reach the right consistency. Season with salt to taste. If using a paste rather than fresh leaves, start with 1/2 tbsp and add more if you prefer a stronger flavor.