Raquel (RaqC) Cordova is on a mission. During 10 years as a DJ on Spanish radio she developed a huge fan base. Now she uses that popularity to fuel a thriving healthy-living campaign via social media. She was inspired by her mother, Cecilia Alvarado, who, at 36, had a stroke that caused her to drastically change her lifestyle. RaqC uses her mother’s principles to encourage followers to adopt healthy lifestyles to prevent damage to their health.
“We were a Latino family and my mother was a typical Latina mother,” RaqC noted, recalling her childhood. “My mom worked full-time and took care of her husband and her family. She didn’t read labels — she bought the foods that she could afford.” And, like a traditional family, they ate dinners together. This ritual may have been what saved Cecilia’s life: she collapsed one evening during the family meal. Her right side was paralyzed and the right side of her face was drooping – the tell-tale signs of a stroke. The family called 9-1-1 and Cecilia was rushed to the hospital. It took a month for her to fully recover and the experience drove her to educate herself about healthy living. Since her stroke Cecilia’s motto is, “Your health is your responsibility.”
Witnessing the stroke and the profound change it had on her mother left quite an impression on RaqC. “In the Latino community, we tend to learn things the hard way,” she says. “But I don’t believe we should have to have a heart attack or stroke to start being healthy. We can be proactive.”
One of RaqC's passions now includes encouraging her fellow Latinos to think out of the box regarding their health via Twitter and Facebook posts, and through cooking segments on her Youtube channel(link opens in new window) and on her website. One of her favorite challenges is to take followers’ suggestions to make healthier versions of high-fat, high-calorie favorites like a cheeseburger or pizza. “Healthy alternatives do not have to be boring or expensive,” she says. “You just need to go back to the basics: lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains and healthy oils.” She recently made herself some zucchini shrimp scampi!