Archive for July, 2010
In my job as an enrollment specialist, I have the chance to hear the most inspiring stories about people’s journeys into raw food. It is amazing to hear how people have transformed their lives through eating a raw and living foods diet. My own journey into raw foods began in Koh Samui, Thailand. After turning 30, I noticed that my health was going down hill fast – I was having skin problems, weight gain, dental issues, low energy, and all this was leading to a bit of depression. I remember talking with a friend and describing myself as a wilted plant. My search to find a solution led me to a fasting and nutritional health retreat at the Dharma Healing Center.
At the end of one week of fasting and colonics, I had the most energy I’ve had in my life! I even extended the fast to 10 days because I was feeling so good! During the fast, we studied about nutrition and the benefits of eating our food raw. The woman that led the retreat said that this experience would change our lives. I thought she was being grandiose at the time, but looking back I can honestly say that I have not been the same since. It’s had a huge impact on every aspect of my life. When I returned home, it felt like the physiology of my body had changed. I was no longer at the verge of fainting if I hadn’t eaten lunch, and I was drawn toward eating healthy raw fruits and vegetables. The only problem was returning to a culture that didn’t support the idea of eating raw. Through lots of searching and twists and turns, I eventually found myself at Living Light, studying the art of preparing gourmet raw food and receiving my Associate Chef and Instructor Certification.
Tomorrow, our students graduate as Associate Chefs and Instructors. They have been working so hard for the last three weeks and have really earned their certification. I always feel so proud when the people I’ve been working with since their very first phone call – wondering if a career in raw food is for them – leave with a certificate and a lifetime’s worth of skill. And, the end of a training means a quiet day in the office for me on Saturday so I can get caught up on my filing and shredding.
Actually, I’m looking forward to the weekend for all sorts of reasons. One of them is that Inga, Living Light’s most awesome graphics designer, has an art opening happening on Saturday. She’s a partner in Studio Odd Hours and her work is being exhibited in a group show at the Odd Fellows Hall in Mendocino. All of the new American artists at Studio Odd Hours produce compelling work in an atmosphere that offers another, refreshing venue for art on the north coast. I’m super proud of Inga. Her work is beautifully powerful and I’m so looking forward to Saturday’s reception. My daughter’s also a big fan of the work at the studio and is totally excited about the opening. It makes me happy when my daughter and I have something in common besides occasionally agreeing to disagree.
So – bring on the weekend. With its happy endings and new beginnings it should be a good one. Congratulations Living Light students! Congratulations Studio Odd Hours! Congratulations Inga! Best wishes of good luck to all of you!
I followed a link to Huffington Post today, and one of the trending topics there is going green. There were a variety of different articles on the subject, including a feature on Ashton Kurcher and Demi More doing a Master Cleanse. Well, Hollywood stars have always wanted to stay in shape and look good, which is why the subtitle of Cherie’s book, The Raw Food Revolution Diet is Feast, Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Feel Younger. Who wouldn’t want that?
“Tree Life Box” designed by mycologist Paul Stamets that helps plant trees, nurtured by fungal spores implanted along with tree seeds in the recycled paper fiber box. Wow! Love Paul Stamets! He’s been consulted about solutions for restoring the Fort Bragg Mill Site, acres of beautiful coastal property here that definitely needs greening and remediation.
Environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill,
who for two years sat in the tree she named Luna, and wrote a book about it, wonders if we’ve forgotten how to co-exist with nature. Her answer is yes, and she calls the phenomenon “disposability consciousness.”
There was also an article on the crackdown in California on organic produce fraud in California farmer’s markets, and two of our favorite foods,
kale and blueberries, have been added to the “dirty dozen” most dangerous foods to buy if they are not organic. The regular list of dangerous foods includes strawberries, peaches, apples, celery, bell peppers, spinach, cherries, and imported grapes and potatoes. Which is one of the reason we always use organic produce here at Living Light.
So the world is waking up, little by little. We are lucky that we already have a head start by including more raw foods in our diets. A plant based diet helps protect the environment as well as our personal body ecology.
We have some great books and films about these subjects in our Marketplace store. More coming out everyday. It’s the raw food revolution, and it’s helping us make the changes we want to see in the world. If you want to learn how to make plant based recipes that taste amazing, don’t forget the Living Light Chef Showcase, Hot Chefs, Cool Kitchen. We’ve seen the future and it is us!
Two of our guests this week are Jack Russells: Misty, the mother, and Daisy Mae, the daughter. Last night after dinner we watched Blind Side with our friends: such a great movie about courage, compassion, friendship, and family. Then our guests, Frank and Lynne, went “home” to their trailer parked on our property. Just as Archie and I prepared to go to bed we heard barking around our cabin. “Hmmm, that’s unusual.” Somehow Misty had gotten loose, went under our house and found a skunk! Of course she would bark to warn us, and of course, the skunk let her know that this was her home, not the dogs, so Misty got sprayed! It must have happened in front of the cabin just before Archie opened the door because when he did so – it STUNK! We have bark in front of our door and out to the garage. Misty rolled her way back home, leaving a trail in the bark!
Archie led Misty home and then went to our neighbor’s who have dogs to get some de-skunk shampoo and delivered it to Frank and Lynne. They seemed to think they had everything under control. . . OK! I wonder what their trailer smelled like this morning!
Here at Living Light, we’re gearing up for our first annual chef showcase. It’s going to be pretty exciting – a real who’s who of raw food chefs. We still have a few tickets available for the studio audience as well as virtual ones for on-line live streaming. (These two options have led to some interesting language issues. For example, Karen – student services manager and Berkeley grad – called the studio tickets “non-virtual”.) Anyhow – besides my buddy Martine, and of course our incomparable leader Cherie Soria, our own chocolatier extraordinaire will be presenting as well.
Colleen Cackowski, Living Light’s Executive Assistant by day, makes the most super fantastic raw chocolates. Not only do her treats taste divine, she uses superfoods in them to make them not just purely decadent. Some of them are even low glycemic – but not her pyramids. Her chocolate pyramids are a spiritual experience. And they won her Best in Show at Best of Raw 2010. Colleen rawks!
Speaking of bests – did you vote for your favorite hot raw chef in the video contest? What with my passion for voting and my love of deadlines, I should have been all in, but no – it didn’t work out that way. Amanda and I thought the polls closed at midnight on the 21st, but actually it was a bit earlier….anyhow – our votes went uncast. Thousands of people did vote, though, making the contest a rip-roaring success. (I think it may have been Colleen’s idea!) I really enjoyed watching the videos anyway and got some great recipe ideas! The winner will be announced on the 27th of this month – so stay tuned.
Okay – so get your showcase ticket now because it’s going to be tons of fun whether you come here to watch it live or enjoy it at home on your computer. You can purchase your ticket on-line or non-virtually from me!
Since our enrollment team (and I) have started blogging regularly, we use a set of cards, called The Observation Deck: A Toolkit for Writers, by Naomi Epel. You draw a card, and there’s a word or phrase to inspire you for that day’s post. Things like Create a Sacred Space, Feed Your Senses, Breathe, or my word for today: Rhyme. Well, that brought me to the fact that we recently had a company- wide poetry contest. We could choose to write Haiku or Limericks, and I chose both. My winning entry was about green juice:
Green drink sip slowly
Nurture body mind and soul
Plant spirit sweetness
And I had written a bunch of Limericks about my coworkers in the enrollment office, so I thought it would be fun to share these little poems about some of my favorite people!
There was a young woman named Mary
Who never could be quite contrary
She had questions galore
And we’ll always adore
That charming young woman named Mary
There was a good lady named Karen
She often appeared to be darin’
She’s crazy about Max
And never is lax
That diligent lady named Karen
Mary Elizabeth loved to drink Mila
You know that she never did spilla
Drop of that draught
You know that she’s hot
For that splendid fine sip of de Mila
Amanda the fabulous Durrigan
Works as fast as a hurrican’
She loves both her kids
And works out to vids
Amanda (no middle name) Durrigan
Inga is at her computer
Artistic and fast as a scooter
She accomplishes more in a day
Than anyone can say
Inga the whiz on computer
The name of miss H ain’t Hawaiian
Her hair is pure white-no dyein
Her name starts with Hay
She reminds us each day
Our darlin’ Hilloah ain’t lyin’
In the photo with Hilloah are friend Chelsea and Amber West, whose blogs you’ve read here. Amber is moving to the Bay Area, so she won’t be on the enrollment team anymore, but she’ll be coming back as a teacher to finish her Living Light Internship Program. These are just some the people who have been working hard to take care of all of our Living Light students. And they are also enrolling attendees in the Living Light Chef Showcase: Hot Chefs, Cool Kitchen coming up August 27-29, and streaming live online. Don’t miss it!
One of the fabulous hot raw chefs featured in our up-coming Chef Showcase is our very own Culinary Programs Manager – Martine Lussier. Her many duties here encompass so much – she’s a full time instructor and she manages the kitchen. She keeps the kitchen coordinated so that everything flows smoothly between the school and the cafe. She also loves to create yummy recipes in her spare time. She always looks amazing – not everyone can make a chef coat look so stylish. She always looks so busy too, but makes time for a smile or a hug. When I first started here, back in my Marketplace days, she was friendly and patient with me as I climbed the learning curve. She’s a lot of fun, too. She loves to dance. She was definitely one of the stars of the raw food roommates’ 80’s party. Last week we went and saw Zepparella at the Caspar Inn. We had a great time. It’s always nice to get out and do things with co-workers that’s not work related once in a while.
The recipes she’s going to feature at the showcase are yummy gluten free breakfast items like muffins and biscotti. And guess what? She uses Mila in them. Isn’t that great? Martine keeps the Living Light kitchen nice and cool – she’s super hot and a fantastic chef. And – if you haven’t voted for your favorite in our Hot Raw Chef Video Recipe Contest yet, you better hurry. The deadline is today. The videos are fun to watch and you get an e-book of all the recipes for your time. Super yay!
After a busy week at Living Light, I was ready for a couple of days off. Archie and I had a very nice weekend. Saturday we worked in the yards, weeding mostly, but Archie “swept” the forest and we had a nice bonfire. After the weeds and forest materials died down we looked at the fire: it was beautiful. Archie took some pictures hoping they would come out well. They did, what do you think?
Sunday we went to brunch with our friends Joe and Sandi to David’s Delicatessen in the Boatyard, and then nipped over to Harvest Market for some organic lemons. One of our neighbors has cherry trees and Archie picked some at their request. He will make a cherry pie using organic tapioca just in time for more company!
The vendors at this fair are professionals that come from other counties as well as our local crafts people. I fell in love with so many booths; it was hard to choose where to spend my money! One of the booths sold bears: some small and others large. I took their business card as I want to save up for them – so cute! I bought a liquid soap container that looks perfect in my bathroom and some stocking stuffers for Christmas.
After the fair we went to meet with Chriss Zaida, the owner of Toto Zaida’s, great women’s clothes and gift shop. She is moving her shop in a couple of weeks and Joe and Archie will be helping her. Her shop is so enticing and I can hardly wait until she gets a more compact website.
We then went back to Joe and Sandi’s to sample their way of eating dried corn and watch Julie & Julia.
We have a lot left over from our garden last year. One neighbor grinds his and uses it for cornmeal but Joe and Sandi make corn nuts out of it. Both uses sound good to me. Or maybe we could try Living Light’s corn chowder.
Remember to vote for your favorite chef in the Hot Raw Chef Video Recipe Contest!
Since I spend so much of my life at work, it feels important to have a sacred space in my office. Ever since coming to Living Light, I’ve kept an altar near my desk. On it, I have some inspirational things, gifts from nature, coworkers, friends, and small icons to remind me of animals that are special to me.
Some of my personal totems are the turtle,
the dragonfly, and the butterfly.
In the office, we often draw cards from inspirational decks like Louise Hay’s Power Thoughts or Wayne Dyer’s Inner Peace Cards, and we draw Hearthstones made by my friend Sister Kathryn of the Sophia Center in my hometown, Portland, Oregon.
They are little clay hearts with words on them like blessing, excellence, courage, freedom, strength, and delight (and many more). Of course, oftentimes, we get busy, and we forget to draw the cards or hearts, and then we start to notice that maybe we are not as mindful as we could be about our relationships with each other. As we are co-creating Living Light together, it feels important to remember that each of us makes a difference every day in how our company functions, and how we spread light out into the world. When we treat each other lovingly, we find that our day somehow goes better, and small miracles might even take place. It’s like magic! Speaking of magic, the contestants in the HotRawChef Video Recipe Contest are stirring up some magical recipes for you to vote on. Voting ends July 21, so be sure to choose your favorite Hot Raw Chef! xxx
One of the reasons I love working at Living Light is the opportunity to interact with incredible students from around the world! Our students come here with a wide range of experiences, skills and knowledge, but they share a common desire to embrace a healthy, vibrant and conscious lifestyle. I am inspired by the energy and creativity that emerges within a diverse group of students who share their skills and knowledge with each other.
On Saturday, July 10, our students arrived here for the FUNdamentals of Raw Living Foods, the first course of an ensuing 10 week culinary and nutritional training. Of the 34 students attending the FUNdamentals course, 50% were from other countries:
1 New Zealand
Don’t forget to vote for your favorite at www.hotrawchef.com by July 21st!! Our first ever Hot Raw Chef Video Recipe Contest is a great example of the diversity and creativity that thrive in the raw culinary world.