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Photo Journal of Seattle, Raw Food & Forest Fun

We are deep into late summer. Autumn sneaks just around the corner, teasing us with amber and crimson leaves that dangle from Sonoma County’s twisted old trees. Fall has come early this year, and I couldn’t be happier. I love this time of year; I love autumn and everything it embodies. But, before I cast my farewell kisses to our beloved sweet summer, I would like to share one of my highlights from the season of the sun.

In August, near Lammas, I traveled to Seattle to visit friends and family. As you may know, I used to live in Western Washington, in Seattle and in Bellingham. I love this entire area, for it brims with woodland magic, luscious gardens, deep azul waters and the mystical, tree-clad San Juan Islands. The whole area feels like the womb of Mother Earth- vibrant, abundant, beautiful and pregnant with life.

My time spent in this area was chock full of raw food gatherings, spiritual events and forest frolickings- everything I love! Here is a photo journal, a small taste, of my time in the Pacific Northwest with my spirit sister, Giacinta.

*Note: Most of these photos were taken either by me or my dear friend, Giacinta, with our iPhone cameras. Enjoy the perfect and a few not-so-perfect shots of some very perfect moments. 🙂

 

First off, I’d like to say thank you to the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) for offering raw food snacks. I found vegan raw bars and kombucha while waiting for my plane. A great way to start my travels off right!

Raw Food Snacks at SFO

Raw Food Snacks at SFO

Kombucha at SFO

Kombucha at SFO

 

On my first day in Seattle, synchronicity would have it that a recipe for a Raw Vegan Orange Chocolate Torte should fall into our laps. Of course, we went right out, bought the ingredients and got to work. This is it…

Raw Vegan Orange Chocolate Torte

Raw Vegan Orange Chocolate Torte

Garnished with Shaved Chocolate and Curled Orange Rind

Garnished with Shaved Chocolate and Curled Orange Rind

The original recipe for this torte can be found HERE. We made the exact recipe, tasted it, and decided it needed more. To this recipe we increased the raw cacao then added carob, cinnamon, cayenne and vanilla for depth of flavor. We also exchanged the agave for maple syrup. In hindsight, dates would have been the best choice for sweetener. At some point in the future, I will remake this torte and post a proper recipe. Until then, know it was delicious and made a grand appearance at a few raw food gatherings with some very happy friends.

Shana & Giacinta in Orange Chocolate Bliss

Shana & Giacinta in Orange Chocolate Bliss

 

During one of our in-state journeys, we made our way to North Bend to pick fresh organic blueberries from Bybee Farms nestled at the base of gorgeous Mount Si. (Pictured Below). If you are in the North Bend area and would like to learn more about how you can pick your own berries, click HERE.

Mount Si

A field of Blueberries at Mount Si

This day was one of my favorite days, a highlight indeed. I was surrounded by rows and rows of blueberry bushes and clear skies filled with sunbeams, bumble bees and the sweet scent of fruits and leaves all coddled by the majestic Mount Si. It was incredibly soul-filling!

Organic Blueberries

Organic Blueberries

Shana Picking Organic Blueberries

Shana Picking Organic Blueberries

If you could zoom in on my Café Gratitude shirt, you would see that it reads, “What are you grateful for?” My answer, “Blueberries!” 🙂

A Bounty of Organic Blueberries

A Bounty of Organic Blueberries

As you can imagine, we ate blueberries for days. This is one of the meals we enjoyed among friends, each one of us contributing fruits and vegetables for this shared offering of fresh picked garden greens, blueberries, mango salsa, avocado and zucchini in pesto. Delish!

Summer Foods

Summer Foods

 

We were serendipitously blessed by a full moon during my time in Seattle. I love full moon energy and love to channel this powerful force during my meditations and healing Reiki sessions. With this being said, we participated in a full moon group meditation to honor Mother Moon in the height of summer as symbolized by my favorite flower, the sunflower. This is the candlelit, celestial altar that centered the meditation.

Full August Moon Altar

Full August Moon Altar

 

Another amazing evening we shared, and one of my top highlights, was a shamanic full moon drum circle at New Earth Farm in Redmond, WA. (Click HERE to learn more about New Earth Farm) This drum circle took place on private property that held an organic garden and lots of deeply sacred energy. Snuggled in a ring of redwoods and lush ferns, surrounding a fire pit was a circle of stone seats. The fire was lit; we each took our places, called the corners, and drummed, rattled and rolled into the warm moonlit night. The energy that was generated from our primal music and our collective, harmonious presence was magical and not to be forgotten any time soon! I hold the healing vibration and memory of this evening near and dear to my heart.

Drum Circle Venue

Drum Circle at New Earth Farm – Photo by Tom Armstrong

 

When we weren’t gathering for potlucks, meditation or drumming, we were out and about in Seattle, eating. Three great vegan restaurants I would recommend in Seattle are Café Flora, Chaco Canyon, and Jodee’s. Here are some of the dishes from each restaurant…

Café Flora

Café Flora

This was one of the best things I ate the entire time I was in Seattle. This is Café Flora’s Beet Gnocchi in Pesto with an Herbed Nut Cream, (pictured above) which I shared with Giacinta and my sister, Angel. This was ridiculously delicious and I couldn’t recommend it more!

Chaco Canyon

Chaco Canyon

Above is a photo of some of the offerings at Chaco Canyon in Seattle. We noshed on raw vegan enchiladas, salads and green juice. Delish!

Jodee's

Jodee’s

And lastly, the above photo is of Jodee’s raw vegan pizza. Jodee’s, in Green Lake, specializes in raw vegan deserts and smoothies but once in a while she offers up Friday night pizza. This is a yummy slice of her Mexican Pizza.

The abundance of good, healthy, vibrant food gave us energy to run around and play in the forests. Carkeek Park in Seattle is one of my favorite little spots to visit. When I lived in Seattle, I would visit this park often to commune with the nature spirits, walk among the greenlings, hug trees and meditate. When I was here with Giacinta, we came and did much of the same…

Shana Lying Over a Creekbed on a Fallen Tree, Communing with the Leaves

Shana lying across a creek bed on a fallen tree, communing with the leaves

Shana giggling with the forest

Shana giggling with the forest

Giacinta in a creekbed at Carkeek Park

Giacinta in the creek bed, dotted in light

 

For me, no trip to Seattle is complete without gathering friends for a raw vegan ice cream party and who better to host this type of a gathering than my friend Jeff Rogers, AKA the Naughty Vegan. You can read more about Jeff HERE. Jeff is an amazing ice cream artisan. If you love ice cream, I highly recommend his recipe book, Vice Cream, found HERE. Jeff whipped up a Coconut Peach Ice Cream, Giacinta and I brought frozen bananas and durian, and everyone else brought a variety of frozen summer fruits. Another friend, who, like myself, graduated as a raw chef from Living Light, brought raw vegan caramel and chocolate sauces to drizzle over all the ice cream.

Jeff passed all the frozen fruit through his Champion Juicer to create a soft-serve style ice cream. (The Champion Juicer is an excellent machine to use to turn frozen fruit into ice cream.) This is the delightful mess we made in his kitchen and the yumminess that ensued…

Raw Vegan Ice Cream Party

The makings of a raw vegan ice cream party

A swirling bowl of ice cream

A swirling bowl of fruity ice cream

 

My last day in the Pacific Northwest was spent in Bellingham, one of my favorite places in Washington. I have lived in Bellingham and have spent much time in this area. This magical, quaint town and the surrounding woodlands have crept into my veins and won’t let me go. I love it here. Giacinta and I went to one of my favorite spots, to Larrabee State Park. It was here we soaked up the grounding energy of the boulders, the vitalizing energy of the ocean and the mystical energy of the rich forest.

Shana in Larrabee State Park

Shana in Larrabee State Park

Shana sprouting out of a tree stump in bliss :)

Shana sprouting out of a tree stump in bliss 🙂

Magical Trails...

A magical trail…

I’ll close this travel journal entry with one of my favorite photos, taken by Giacinta. Here I am in my favorite place, in the forest, becoming One with everything around me. There is no place I would rather be, truly!

Shana in the emerald forest

Shana in the emerald forest

My time in Western Washington this summer was abundantly full of my favorite things. I am brimming with gratitude for everything I experienced and for everyone who shared my journey. I am deeply grateful for Giacinta who walked with me along the way. Until the next time, dear enchanted Washington, I hold you in my emerald heart. Thank you. I love you.

Spring is in the Earth: Celebration & Meditation

What a powerful and enchanting week we are in the mists of! The celestial energies started and ramped everything up with the super new moon aligning in Aquarius a few days ago on Thursday, January 30th. Yesterday was the start of the New Chinese Year, welcoming in the year of the Green Wood Horse, honoring the element of wood and its child element, fire, to kindle new possibilities and success. Sunday, February 2nd, we honor the Pagan Celtic festival of Imbolc, the mid-point between winter and spring as marked on the Wheel of the Year. Imbolc is often celebrated tonight on the eve of this festival as well as tomorrow on the day of.

Wheel of the Year

Wheel of the Year

There is so much magic and new vitality swirling around us from above and below. As the ancient Hermetic texts state, “As above, so below.” -above with the supportive lunar cycle and the Chinese astrological shift and below as each seedling stirs in the womb of our Mother Earth during Imbolc.

A quick note: Mercury goes into retrograde for three weeks beginning February 6th. It will remain in retrograde until the 28th. For those of you who are effected by the squirrely, meddling, techno-challenging energies of mercury, you’ll want to mark these dates and be gentle with yourself and with others during this time. This is a perfect time to send out extra positive energy to encourage harmonious fluidity, healthy agreements, and compassionate grace in all dealings.

So, what does the new waxing moon, the Chinese New Year and Imbolc all have in common? They each represent newness, cleansing, staring fresh and bringing in light and life in all its glorious and goddess blessed fullness.

This is a very auspicious time to cleanse, renew and redirect efforts, intentions and your health. It is a time to clear our spaces, spirits, psyches and bodies. If you’ve been meaning to organize a closet, file away a pile of paperwork, redecorate the living room or do anything to spatially shift an area of your home or work environment, go for it. Think of this as the pre-spring cleaning and a magical way to stir up the energies of the coming spring and to call in new fresh life.

This is also a wonderful time to do a little (or a big) dietary cleanse. Juicing is an excellent way to clean our bodies and revitalize our minds. I am a huge lover of juicing fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. I find a 3 day juice feast is the most delicious and invigorating way to recalibrate the physical system, encouraging healthier food choices and promoting self-love. The following juice recipe is one of my favorites for the wintry months (or any time!). It is bright in color and flavor, reminding me of pure sunshine and of the sweetness of summer days. This truly is sunshine in a glass and will surely put a blissful spring in your step, hop or skip.

In honor of Imbolc, let’s call in the sun to warm these last 6 weeks of winter in our hearts and in our spirits. This juice should do the magical trick…

Carrot, Pineapple, Ginger Juice

Carrot, Pineapple, Ginger Juice

Sunshine in a Glass:

Carrots

Pineapple

Fresh ginger

Juice all the ingredients together in your favorite juicer and drink immediately or at least within the same day it was made. Enjoy!

I have intentionally not included measurements, because I want you to create this juice to your taste. For myself, I like A LOT of juice, so I will juice an entire 5lb bag of organic carrots along with a whole pineapple, skin and top removed. I also like to add about ½ to 1 inch nob of fresh ginger for a little extra zing. This gives me a quart or two of sunshiny juice that I can drink throughout the day.

Imbolc and Goddess Brigid

The word Imbolc comes from the old Irish word, imbolg, meaning “in the belly.” Wildlife and Mother Earth are all pregnant with new life. The energy here is of new beginnings and to invite the light in and to sprout new possibilities and to create new openings. This is a festival, marking the cyclical Goddess transformation from Crone (winter) to Maiden (spring). It is also a time to honor Goddess Brigid.

Imbolc Blessings

Imbolc Blessings

Irish blood runs through my heart. I am a lover of mythology and folklore, so naturally, I am enchanted by ancient customs and ideology especially that of the Celts. In Irish mythology, Brigid is an Irish Goddess of healing, magic and crafts, a patroness of poets and the sister of the fae (faeries). She embodies the season of birthing energies. (I wish I knew who the artist was who created the above image. I would love to give credit, and I would love to give thanks for bringing beauty and art into our lives!)

Whether you are interested in ancient Celtic traditions or not, the pregnant energy of Mother Earth swirls around us. Honoring the festering energy of this season was the way of our ancestors, and it’s an undercurrent of our shared collective human consciousness. A wonderful way to harness the essence of this time of year and that of Imbolc is to create anything, write poetry or stories, paint, sculpt, make music, or do things like redecorate to invite in spring and vibrant color. Bring in a bouquet (or better yet a living potted plant) of daffodils or tulips or any spring flowers you love. Decorate your space with colored candles or burn a floral essential oil to awaken your senses to that of the coming spring. Creating, crafting and beautifying anything your heart desires, supports you in living a more spiritual life. It awakens your connection to your Higher Self and to that of the Divine, God, Goddess.

Candlemas

Imbolc is also referred to as Candlemas, a Christian holiday of old. Many Christians see the flowers of spring as a symbol of Christ and of new hope. Candles are lit during Candlemas to symbolize Christ Consciousness as the light of the world. With both Candlemas and Imbolc, this is a celebration of fire to light up our lives with love and sunshine. A wonderful way to honor this time is with a small candle ceremony and meditation.

Candle Meditation

Light a candle (or several) and meditate on what you would like to grow and nurture in your life. What seeds are you planting? What dreams and goals would you like to see bloom with the energy of the vibrant, youthful, lush, sunny spring season? Sit quietly and meditate on all of this. Breathe deeply and feel your heart open. Slowly fill your heart space with pure divine love and the energy of everything you wish for and everything you aspire to become. Infuse this energy with universal love and unconditional compassion for the entire world and everything and everyone in it. You can do this with your eyes closed in deep meditation or while gazing upon the lit candle(s). If you choose to watch the flame dance on the candle’s wick, visualize your love and your dreams as the fire that lights your inner flame and, therefore, lights the world around you. Breathe and give thanks for this sacred moment. Chant aloud, “Thank you. I love you.”

A magical note: As I type this, a giant black raven (about the size of my 14lb cat, Mitts) just landed on our porch only a few feet away from me. This is a significant event, for this has only happened once before. It seems Raven, my Spiritual Totem, is in great support of what I am writing and of the deeply sacred and loving energy I embrace as I share with you. I received Raven’s message with open eyes, joy and excitement. The message is not only for me but for us all: Share your magic, your light and your pure heart with the world! It always seems the more magic I invite into my life, the more supported I am by the natural world around me. The same is true for YOU, of course. By noticing the seasons, honoring our ancestors and elders, by caring for Mother Earth, becoming more natural and spiritual, the more magical your life will become. Try it, you’ll see.  : )

Raven Messenger

Raven Messenger

 

Sprout Ritual

If you are into health foods, as I am, this is a great and meaningful time to grow some indoor sprouts like that of alfalfa. Not only are these little greenlings packed with nutrition, they are also full of symbolism. Imagine as they grow and green, so do your dreams, positive intentions and wishes. And, as you sprinkle them on your soups and salads, you are physically taking in the spirit of new growth and bountiful possibilities.

Sprouts are easy to grow in jars any time of the year. Just soak a few tablespoons in a jar of water for 6-8 hours. Drain and let sit to gestate. Rinse a few times a day to keep moist and fresh. In just a few days they will grow tails and sprouts. I like to keep them covered with a cloth during this process, so they can do their magic in the dark as they would naturally in the earth’s belly. Once they have matured, place them in the light- a windowsill is a great place for this- and allow the sprouts to soak up all the chlorophyll and to green. Once fully developed, store them in the fridge.

Organic Alfalfa Seeds

Organic Alfalfa Seeds

Above are the alfalfa seeds that I set out yesterday to soak. I soaked them over night and drained them this morning. After just a half a day’s time, this is what they look like now…

Sprouting Alfalfa Seeds

Sprouting Alfalfa Seeds

These seeds already have tails and are in full sprout mode. It won’t be long before they will grow bigger and green, and I can add them to my favorite recipes. This is the magical essence of the coming spring!

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I just snapped the photo below a few moments ago. This is our sky today- a vibrant blue gift after a cleansing and much needed rain yesterday, an auspicious sign for the Chinese New Year. If you look into this photo, you will notice today’s clouds have formed into what looks like a rabbit- another magical sign of the energies that are afoot. Seems we are being carried right into the energy of spring, which is very much symbolized by the rabbit.

Blue skies with Rabbit Magic

Blue skies with Rabbit Magic

For us here in the high desert, the Pussy Willows around the lakes are blossoming and awakening from their winter slumber. Our beloved pear tree in the front of our home is filled with flower buds just waiting to open. The birds are fluttering, and the sun is sparkling with new promise of warmer days to come.

I am juicing; I have my sprouts growing, and I’ll be freshening up my sacred spaces around the home with flowers, essential oils and new color. Tonight, I’ll light a candle and meditate, drawing in the energies of new life and renewal along with that of the waxing new moon. I will light a candle for YOU, for Mother Earth and for the entire animal and plant kingdom in love, peace and for beautiful new creations.

Tomorrow, I am grateful to be offering in-person Reiki and readings at the Mountain Spirit Co-Op in downtown Prescott. I have the opportunity to fill an already magical day with energy healings and spiritual guidance for anyone who wishes to partake. I’ll keep an eye out for the ravens, the rabbits, for Goddess Brigid and for that little groundhog that will pop its head out tomorrow to hopefully find a shadow cast by the sun.

Blessings to all in light, love, abundance and new fresh beginnings! ♥

Herbal Garden Dressing with Tender Green Beans

Herbal Garden Dressing with Tender Green Beans

Herbal Garden Dressing with Tender Green Beans 

 

For the Herbal Garden Dressing:

1 oz. apple cider vinegar

2/3 c. cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon

1 t. Celtic salt

½ t. pepper

1 scallion, diced

1 t. parsley, minced

1 t. chives, diced

1 t. tarragon, minced

1 t. prepared Dijon mustard or powdered mustard

Place all the ingredients in a jar then secure closed with a tightly fitted lid.  Shake vigorously until blended.

This herbal dressing is delicious with raw, freshly picked summer green beans. Can’t wait until summer or if the green beans available now are not tender enough to eat RAW, simply steam them gently until they gleam in emerald brilliance. Drizzle the Herbal Garden Dressing over the green beans and toss to completely coat.

This dressing is also delicious massaged into hearty greens like kale and chard.

Store any unused portions in the refrigerator.

Note: The fresh herbs are what make this dressing special. Experiment with different types. Try fresh rosemary, oregano, thyme or dill. Have fun with it and enjoy!

Love and delicious delight, Shana  ♥

 “I know that if odour were visible, as colour is, I’d see the summer garden in rainbow clouds.” ~Robert Bridges, ‘Testament of Beauty’

Being the Light of Winter

Winter Solstice Blessings

Winter Solstice Blessings

Winter has kissed us crisply on our cheeks. December 21st  marked the winter solstice. As the sun sunk into the sky that brisk day, daylight reached its minimum. For three days, the sun lingered along the horizon, coddling us with the longest nights of the year. Now, the sun begins its ascent into the northern sky. The days grow incrementally longer, slowly tempting us with the promise of sweet spring as each day passes. This time of year invites emotional comfort, new beginnings and cleansing traditions.

Consider transitioning from holiday feasts to that of a gentle cleanse. I am a proponent of cleansing by way of nutrient dense juicing. Vegetable juice offers a high concentration of nutrients that your body can readily assimilate. Incorporating daily juices will help fend off illness during the cold months ahead. Juicing is also an affective platform to launch better eating habits. Often, a short three-day juice feast will encourage your body to crave healthier foods. Many times a cleanse of this nature is exactly what your body needs to purify from the rich holiday menus, gently guiding your diet towards fresher, lighter meals and wholesome raw foods. You may drink four to six quarts of juices during a proper juice feast. Hunger should not be an issue, for your body is flooded with pure nutrition. If you choose to undergo a juice feast, please click HERE to learn more. Whether you are inspired by a full juice cleanse or simply want to add a juice or two to your current daily diet, the following green juice recipe will be a wonderful staple in your regimen.

Green Juice

2 apples

1 bunch celery

½ inch fresh ginger

1 lemon

1 cucumber

1 bunch greens of choice (try kale, spinach, chard, parsley, etc.)

Wash then cut all the ingredients into a size and shape that will fit through your juicer. Push the vegetables through the juicer. Collect all the juice in a bowl, cup or jar and drink immediately. Refrigerate any remaining juice in an airtight container, and be sure to drink it within the day.

Yields approximately one quart of juice.

The Green Star GS1000 is the juicer I personally and professionally use. It is a twin gear juicer designed to press the juice out of vegetables. In doing so, the nutritional integrity of juice stays intact. Juice pressed from this machine oxidizes at a slow rate. Because of this, you can make your juices in the morning, store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator, and they will stay fresh and nutritious throughout the day. The Green Star is ideal for juicing green leafy vegetables like kale, herbs and spinach. It produces the highest yield of juice from fruits and vegetables, giving you the most out of your produce in both quantity and quality. I love my Green Star! It is, by far, the best juicer I have used. It is the juicer of choice for many raw food restaurants, schools and chefs.

Winter Shana

Winter Shana

You are all wrapped up, cloaked from head to toe, snuggled warmly from Winter’s chill. Realize your body lives, it breathes, under all those threads and layers. Don’t neglect what you can’t see. There are many things you can do to keep your body vibrant during these cold months. Juicing is clearly one of the best habits to embrace, keeping you healthy and beautiful from the inside out. However, you should also nurture yourself topically, because caring for your skin will keep you looking and feeling young. Staying hydrated with supple skin in the winter can be easy.

For a silky, soft body, lavish yourself in moisture. Your skin is the body’s largest organ. It has the ability to absorb nutrients, filtering it directly into your bloodstream. Be aware of how you choose to moisturize yourself. Are you buttering yourself up with seductively scented toxins (from name-brand lotions) or nature’s purest ingredients? Where your skin is concerned, it makes a difference. Though you are not slathering your favorite lotions on your morning toast, if you apply it to your skin or lips, you are indeed consuming it. Try using edible oils on your body. Coconut oil is a simple and deliciously refreshing alternative to manufactured moisturizers. Coconut oil is one of the most moisturizing oils while not leaving a greasy feeling. It is pure and smells like sweet dreamy summers. Avocado oil is another luxurious oil. It’s said to be excellent for problem skin such as extreme dryness and eczema. It softens, increases elasticity and leaves no greasy residue while moisturizing the skin. Experiment with various oils of your liking, gifting your body a healthy, NATURAL luster.

Be Light & Play

Be Light & Play

As you settle into this darkened season, it is important to kindle the LIGHT within yourself. Learn to see the magic and beauty in everything around you. As merry as the holiday season was, don’t rely on it solely for positivism and joy. Reach within for true solace and enchantment. By doing so, you will begin to see your world through sparkling fresh eyes. Embrace the gifts of the winter. Allow yourself to love what you may have resisted in the past. Shed preconceived thought patterns. Begin anew. Renew and awaken right this very moment.

Never underestimate the power of positive thinking, and learn to live in the world like a lighthearted child. The next time it rains, get wet. Few things are more memorable then hiking in the rain, smelling the pine filtered air, sensing the dense quite of the landscape, knowing you are alone but amidst everything at once. Play. Jump in a puddle to see how big of a splash you can make. Laugh. Forget your umbrella. Or, on a thick foggy morning, walk along the ocean, listening to the unseen waves, feeling the sting of mist on your cheeks. Or, simply stay home, safe and cozy. Build a fire and light candles. Be grateful for weather that promotes snuggles, rest and quiet moments. If you are bright within, you will create a brilliant world around you. Practice seeing, feeling and expressing joyous light in every moment.

Raw Vegan Mango Torte

Raw Vegan Mango Torte

Season’s greetings, or rather, season’s eatings. As those around you invest in their favorite weight gain strategies, take a moment to consider the bigger picture. Is it health and vitality that will greet you on the other side of 2010 or will you face the promise of a renewed gym membership and dietary angst? If weight management and health often grace the top of your resolution list, take heed of your deepest wishes. Do this now and every day. Live in the moment. Desire better for yourself, and provide yourself the same attention, nurturing and support you would give a dear friend or loved one. You are important. Treat yourself like it, and honor yourself with compassionate LOVE and deep RESPECT.

Blessings in radiant health, renewal and peace!

Blending the Natural You

Autumn Sunset

Autumn Sunset

As the air invites a slight chill and the trees blush in brilliance, we are enchanted by autumn spices, lit fireplaces and the promise of a festive holiday season. School is back in session and summer travels have weaned as we revisit routine and tradition.  This is a time for renewal and re-forecasting.  What are your goals for the season to come? How do you want to look?  How do you want to feel?  How do you want to live your life?  The turn of the season is the optimal time to cleanse and refresh.  Increasing the amount of fresh raw organic foods in your diet is a simple and delicious way to embrace this new chapter in life.  However, raw foods alone are not the only answer to complete health and well-being.  Creating the life and body of your dreams requires a holistic approach.  Nurturing the mind, body, and spirit together will beautify and rejuvenate the total Self.

Nurture the Total Self

Nurture the Total Self

MIND

As daily routines are reformed, take time to revisit goals.  Return to yourself. Make yourself a priority.  How do you want to look, feel and live?  Create and practice motivating affirmations.  Harness a positive mindset.  Fill your heart with deep gratitude for what you already have in life. Say to yourself, “I am successful.  I am healthy.  I am attractive.” Fill in the blank with your own aspirations.  You are what you think.  You can rise up from the mundane and create a fresh start.  You can do and create anything you put your thoughts and your heart towards.  Be mindful; sincerely feel what you want and make it happen.

BODY

Take advantage of the tepid autumn weather while it is here. Get outside and move your body!  The best exercise is that in which you enjoy. Relish in the movement and honor the body as a fluid and powerful system.  Walk, swim, cycle, jog, surf, row, hike, garden- be creative, pick an activity and have fun. Breathe in the fresh outdoor air, and soak up the sun’s natural vitamin D.  Wake up and refresh the body.

SPIRIT

Take a moment during this special month to just be.  This enchanting time of year gifts us a tranquil lull before the holidays arrive.  Take advantage of it, and cherish these few peaceful weeks.  Notice the leaves turn, smell the air, sit in silence, watch the afternoon sun turn gold. Unplug from techno-culture. Be quiet.  Be alone if only for a moment.  A few minutes a day amidst your busy schedule will help center and refresh you.

Farmers Market

Farmers Market

NOURISHMENT

Feed your body well with pure foods.  There is no denying it, increasing your fruit and vegetable intake is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself.  Transitioning into a high raw diet is simple.  If you have a blender, you can start by adding green smoothies to your daily meal plan.  A high-powered blender like a Vitamix is ideal for whipping up silky smooth drinks, for it breaks down fiber to the molecular level.  Adding one or more smoothies a day offers extra vitamins and minerals, fortifying your physical constitution.  Green smoothies are an excellent meal replacement or can be used as an in-between snack.  With approximately 100-250 calories per quart, these green drinks are great for attaining or maintaining your perfect weight.  Take advantage of the late summer and autumn fruits that are still available like peaches and pears.

Making green smoothies is easy. Simply add the following to a high-powered blender:

2 whole fruits

2 handfuls of green leafy vegetables

1 cup of ice

2 cups of filtered water

Blend until smooth.

The flavor of the fruit outshines over the greens, making these smoothies delicious to drink.  Try the following recipe ideas.

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Peachy Green

2 peaches

2 handfuls of spinach

2 c. filtered water

1 c. ice

Blend until smooth.

*Nutritional Info:

Calories… 116

Cholesterol… 0

Dietary Fiber…7g

Protein…7g

Vitamin A…332%

Vitamin C…101%

Calcium…18%

Iron…28%

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Perfect Pair

2 pears

2 handfuls of dinosaur kale

2 c. filtered water

1 c. ice

Blend until smooth.

*Nutritional Info:

Calories… 260

Cholesterol… 0

Dietary Fiber…13g

Protein…6g

Vitamin A…414%

Vitamin C…291%

Calcium…21%

Iron…16%

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Mango Melody

1 ripe mango

2 handfuls of parsley

2 c. filtered water

1 c. ice

Blend until smooth.

*Nutritional Info:

Calories… 116

Cholesterol… 0

Dietary Fiber…7g

Protein…7g

Vitamin A…332%

Vitamin C…101%

Calcium…18%

Iron…28%

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Notice all the Vitamin A, C, iron, protein and, most notably, calcium in these fruited green yummies.  Are you surprised to see that a serving of green smoothie has as much calcium and protein as a glass of milk? Don’t be fooled by the milk industry’s ardent marketing efforts.  Greens have more of what your body needs! Dark green leafy vegetables are nutritional powerhouses loaded with chlorophyll, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. Calorie for calorie, they are the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food.

Greens make your eyes sparkle; they clear your skin and promote hair and nail growth. The carbohydrates in greens are packed in layers of fiber, which make them very slow to digest, balancing blood glucose levels. Greens are very alkalizing and balancing for the body and are wonderful mood enhancers.  They also protect bones from osteoporosis. The best food you can add to your diet are green leafy vegetables.  Any way you can sneak more into your menu plan, the better you will look and feel.

Organic Garden Greens

Organic Garden Greens

There are many benefits to eating a raw or a high raw diet. It is common to have an increase in energy. Sleep requirements are typically minimized, the immune system is strengthened, mood is elevated and a general sense of well-being is often experienced. Some raw fooders diligently eat 100% raw, avoiding all processed and cooked foods. This may be your lifestyle or goal, or you may simply wish to increase your organic fruit and vegetable intake. It does not matter where you are on the path towards health and vitality, just eat better. All your little efforts will add up to big results. Be food conscious. Learn to be aware of how certain foods make you feel. Eat high energy, health promoting foods, and fuel your body with pure nutrition that will help you bounce out of bed each morning and shine all day!

Nourish Your Mind, Body and Spirit!

Nourish Your Mind, Body and Spirit!

Spiced Peach Cobbler

Sweet Summer Peaches

Sweet Summer Peaches

Spiced Peach Cobbler
By Chef Shana

For the crust:
2 cups walnuts
½ cup raisins
½ cup dates, pitted

• Place all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Be sure to evenly distribute the dates and raisins. Separating the dates will keep them from clumping together while being processed.
• Process until coarsely chopped.
• Remove ¾ cup of the mixture and set aside. This reserved mixture will be used for the crumbled topping later.
• Continue to process the remaining mixture, the crust, until finely chopped.

Walnut Crust

Walnut Crust

• Pour this crust mixture into an 8×8 baking dish. Evenly distribute along the bottom of the pan then press firmly in place, forming a bottom crust.

Pressed Walnut Crust

Pressed Walnut Crust

 

For the filling:
6 ripe sweet peaches, thinly sliced

Ripe Organic Peaches

Ripe Organic Peaches

Sweet and Juicy

Sweet and Juicy

Sliced Peaches

Sliced Peaches

 

Ground Cinnamon

Ground Cinnamon

½ tsp cinnamon

A dash, a pinch, a smidgen of nutmeg...

A dash, a pinch, a smidgen of nutmeg…

1 smidgen nutmeg

Psyllium

Psyllium

1 Tbl psyllium
¼ tsp lemon zest
½ cup dates, pitted

• Place half of the sliced peaches into a food processor fitted with the “S” blade.
• Add the remaining 5 ingredients: dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, psyllium and lemon zest.
• Process into a smooth sauce.

Spiced Peach Sauce

Spiced Peach Sauce

• Pour the sauce over the reserved sliced peaches and toss until completely incorporated, coating all the peaches evenly.
• Pour this mixture onto the prepared crust in the baking dish.

Sliced Peaches with Spiced Sauce

Sliced Peaches with Spiced Sauce

• Sprinkle the reserved crust topping evenly over the top of the mixed peaches and serve.

Cobbler Crumble

Cobbler Crumble

Note: As with all raw fruit desserts, this peach cobbler is fresh and full of enzymes, so it oxidizes quickly. It will last one to two days refrigerated, but it is best when served immediately.

Spiced Peach Cobbler

Spiced Peach Cobbler

“A Georgia peach, a real Georgia peach, a backyard great-grandmother’s orchard peach, is as thickly furred as a sweater, and so fluent and sweet that once you bite through the flannel, it brings tears to your eyes.”
~Melissa Fay Greene, ‘Praying for Sheetrock’

Raw Chef Panel Q3: Emotional Eating

Q. Do you emotionally eat? If so, what do you eat? How do you overcome emotional eating?

A. I have been an emotional eater my entire life. This is partly the cause for my swinging introduction into the raw food diet. Like I mentioned before, I am an all-or-nothing girl. This is a mental state; I am aware of this. Few eat out of sheer hunger. Most eat for social or emotional reasons. I am no different. I have found, though, that the more I am able to quiet my mind, the more stable my diet becomes.

Over the years, I have self-medicated and soothed myself with foods. It is what I turn to when feeling stressed, sad, overwhelmed or fearful. Heavy foods, particularly, dampen my anxieties by forcing me to feel the physical discomfort of a full belly rather than my mental or spiritual upheaval. As a raw foodie, I tend to go for the heavy nut or seed laden foods when feeling negative emotions. I rarely dehydrate foods at home, for I prefer to eat juicy, high vibrancy foods. So, when I am having a challenging day, I will seek out a store-bought raw granola. My favorite is Hemp & Greens by Living Intentions. This gives me exactly what I am looking for- a sweet treat, that heavy feeling I crave and a quick fix. If I need to eat emotionally, I am certainly not in the mood to create something in my kitchen. This is why the premade raw granolas are so perfect. Because it is raw, I can eat this without any guilt, which is also a huge bonus. Though, powering through an entire bag of granola is not the best thing for my body, it certainly is not the worst either. When I do this, my body usually balances itself the next day by craving more water dense fruits and vegetables. I find, in this way, I can manage my weight by staying raw if going through tough challenges. I would also like to add that the more raw foods I eat the less negativity I feel in general. I have far fewer emotionally turbulent days as a raw foodie.

In addition to my raw food diet, a daily meditation practice is one of the best ways for me to maintain an emotional equilibrium. My ever expanding spirituality keeps me in a state of gratitude and abundance. The more I honestly love myself and recognize myself as source energy, the more grounded I feel, the more joy I have and the lighter life appears. Because of this, I rarely feel so emotionally charged that I need to grab that bag of granola. Often one can find me nibbling on Hemp & Greens granola not because I need it, but because I simply like it. There is a difference here between the two mind-sets.

For me, meditation is a necessity. It is something I need to do every day like an exercise routine. It aligns me and centers me. As I mentioned above, emotional distress is a mental state. It is self-created. By meditating, I am able to train my mind. I can quiet it when needed. I can look at it and see that it is little more than a part of my ego. It is separate from what I truly am on a soul level. Realizing this through my spiritual practice keeps the strife of daily life in perspective. There is so much more going on than my insignificant earthly, society based stressors. I am so much more than I have been raised to believe. When I meditate, I know this, for I can feel what I truly am. I see that I am light; I am divinely perfect. This soothes me on a level that dissipates any angst I may have with my physical life.

I remain balanced and manage emotional eating by synergizing my clean diet with meditation. Doing this, I feel liberated, inspired, empowered, lighthearted and grounded.

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