Archive for July, 2010

My Journey, Part I by mary s.

Map of Koh SamuiIn 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.

Dharma Healing Center

Dharma Healing Center in Koh Samui, Thailand

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.

To be continued….


July 30, 2010 at 4:51 pm 2 comments

Happy Endings and Openings by mary elizabeth

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!

July 29, 2010 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

Green Goes Mainstream by kristin

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?

One of the articles I ran across on HuffPost’s green pages is about a special

Tree of Life Box

Tree of Life Box and fungi

“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,


Julia Butterfly Hill and Luna

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,


Yummy organic blueberries

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.

organic vegetable pastas

Four kinds of organic vegetable pasta

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!

July 28, 2010 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

We’ve Been Skunked! by hilloah

Our Skunk

Blind Side

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!

Did you vote in the Hot Raw ChefVideo Recipe Contest last week??  We have our winners! The Grand prize and People’s choice winner is Sheree Clark. She’ll now be featured at our Chef Showcase next month and she gets to attend our Raw Food Styling for Photography class. Second place goes to Heather Pace who may also attend the photography class. And an honorable mention goes to Louis Bush for being a people’s favorite and our youngest contestant. Thanks so much to all of you who participated – this contest was a lot of FUN!

July 28, 2010 at 9:04 am Leave a comment

Raw Chefs, Real Chocolate by mary elizabeth

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!

July 24, 2010 at 4:32 pm 3 comments

A Reason to Rhyme by kristin

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!

Mary Sandkamp

Our charming Mary

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


Student Services Manager

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 eliz

Mila Queen Mary Elizabeth

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 Durrigan

"The Hurrican" Durrigan

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 awesome!

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

Hilloah and friends
Hilloah and Friends

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!

July 23, 2010 at 10:33 am 1 comment

Hot Chef and a Cool Kitchen by mary elizabeth

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!

July 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm 5 comments

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