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Posts tagged ‘Cafe Gratitude’

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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Happy All Hallows Day

I love fall. I don’t know if it’s because my birthday lands on the autumn equinox, appointing me the autumn ambassador, but I simply love fall. Come October, Sonoma County is graced with wispy, low, early morning fog, headless horseman weather. Through the feathered haze, one can see orange globes, the jewels of the pumpkin patches, dotted across the earth, waiting to be plucked and carved. Clear, blue skies adorn the afternoons, crisply kissing my cheeks. I am reminded winter is around the corner, for the temperature sinks, inspiring me to cuddle up, seeking warmth. The trees shimmer in amber, gold and crimson. They shutter, and it snows dried leaves, littering lawns and streets. Fireplaces are filled; wood is lit, infusing night air with a forest spice. I inhale the nostalgia. The promise of the nearing holidays sooth my soul on a primitive level. I am still that child that loves to dress up for Hallows Eve. I want to be thrilled, chilled and tempted by mystery and sweet treats.

Halloween crept up and rested on a Saturday this year. I spent the day puttering around the house, allowing my domestic whims and the day’s hours to sweep me into early evening.

There is something so pure about a woman who toils in the home, polishing and primping her sanctuary, her nest. She is considered plain to the metropolitan eye. No make-up, hair pulled back, barefoot, wearing jeans and a thin t-shirt, she is dressed perfectly for the occasion. If she finds her work fulfilling, as I do, she glows. She is beautiful in her simplicity, hiding nothing, fanning her true colors like a rainbow across the sky. Her spirit is expansive, and her home fills with her heart. Anyone who walks in will feel it, smell it and be nurtured by it. This was me on Hallows Eve before my witching hour.

Before Picture on Hallow's Eve

Before Picture on Hallow’s Eve

This is me on any given homey afternoon. But, Saturday, October 31, was no ordinary afternoon. Knowing I would go out to see what haunts the holiday had in store, I began my meticulous transformation. I love dressing up, impersonating a fantasy. This year I pieced my costume together partly from my own closet and partly from my Halloween costume collection. I was unsure the outcome; but, I was sure if I followed my soul’s desires, I would create a look that I would find enchanting. I was inspired by a black Parisian gown, my new bindi and a recent interest to decorate myself in henna. The result- I evolved into a French fortune teller named Madame Crystal.

Madame Crystal

Madame Crystal

The evening was visited by many characters. Tricksters and players wandered the darkness, giggling, admiring and delighting. I, myself, sunk deep into the night. The hours clicked by without notice. Before I realized, 3am snuck up and nipped at my ankles. It was time to wash off the evening energies, the thick, black eyeliner and crawl snuggly between my sheets. This little pumpkin head needed to rest.

7am rolled by and parked its carriage next to my bed, waiting to carry me away from slumber. I awoke, thinking how grateful I am that I am RAW. I imagined most of the witches and goblins of Hallows Eve arose to sugar or alcohol induced headaches and sleep filled eyes, but not I. I popped up and met All Saints Day as it greeted me in return with that early morning, low lingering fog I adore. The morning was quiet, for many of the city’s inhabitants were sleeping off the witchy spells of the preceding night. I rolled out of bed and up to my laptop, checking my email first thing. I received a message from We Like it Raw. In it was a link to a Youtube video of Tim Van Orden and Courtney Pool. I watched the 3 minute video titled Spirulina Salad with Courtney Pool. I was immediately motivated to spend my morning gobbling up greens, staining my teeth in an emerald brilliance. How ghoulish, I thought as I chuckled to myself, knowing that I would be one of the few in town who would awake on the morning after Halloween craving sprouts and algae.

The early hours ticked on. I never did get to that salad; though, it is on my list of recipes to make this week. Instead, I filled my morning with errands that kept me out of the kitchen. By 10am, hunger tugged at my stomach. My green salad craving needed attention, calling me into action. Remembering that Café Gratitude opens at 10am on Sundays, I pointed my car towards Healdsburg.

There is something so wonderful about having delicious raw foods made for me. Often, I am the one creating such dishes. When I have the opportunity to relish in such wholesome culinary offerings, I do so with pure graciousness and love. I ordered an entrée called, “I am Fulfilled,” a large salad chock full of greens, sprouts, tomato, cucumber, carrots, beets and avocado, tossed in a creamy, raw, vegan caesar dressing and garnished with a flax cracker.

I am Fulfilled

I am Fulfilled

I felt so at peace while I dined. I gave thanks for my life and the treasures within it. I blessed the season. I blessed the day, World Vegan Day. I blessed my food, and I blessed myself as I slowly ate. I giggled to myself as I enjoyed my abundant salad, thinking it was an odd breakfast choice for the average person. It was a breakfast of champions, a breakfast of raw girls like me. And, what do raw girls like me do after nibbling up a robust salad? Well, they order dessert, of course!

raw cacao hazelnut pie

raw cacao hazelnut pie

Featured here is Café Gratitude’s raw cacao hazelnut pie. It was divine. I can happily report, I have embraced autumn and the first festive holiday of the season without a single piece of commercial candy. Fresh raw desserts are my treat of choice. I sat in the restaurant, delighting in the raw chocolate goodness, grateful for its availability. Pure bliss was gobbed on the end of my fork; and as I slipped each bite of the rich chocolate between my lips, I could think of little more than how wonderful is life.

I love fall and everything it represents.

Cherish your life. Everything is a gift. Treasure it all. Honor your inner child. Play. Love. Celebrate.

What the Top Raw Chefs Really Eat

Monday Night Live

Monday Night Live

Monday Night Live at Café Gratitude in Healdsburg, California is a fun and informative forum for like-minded, health-conscious people to gather, dine and learn. One can enjoy a cooked or raw vegan meal while listening to the speaker of the night. Industry leaders like raw chefs, athletes, doctors, energy workers and motivational speakers have been enlisted to lecture. There is no cost; simply order a delicious, healthy meal, sit back, relax and allow the theme of the night to capture your attention and inspire your actions.

There is a new lecture series offered at Café Gratitude. Shea Lynn Baird, the brilliant mind behind Monday Night Live, has organized a series of panel discussions. Shea invited me to be a part of the first panel discussion, a raw chef panel, launching her series into high gear. The topic was ‘What the Top Raw Chefs Really Eat.’ I was on a panel with Cherie Soria, Gabrielle Brick, Kathryn Ackland, Cecilia Benjumea-Kinzie and Andrea Primm, what a powerhouse of speakers, all beautiful and influential leaders making big splashes in the raw food industry.

As raw chefs, we often create cuisine that caters to the mainstream market. The foods can be dense and highly seasoned. Pick up a raw cookbook, and one will find a variety of recipes to entice any palate. These recipes serve their purpose. They are perfect for transitional foods, offering meals to ease one away from cooked foods and into a raw diet; they are great fun for entertaining, because they showcase beautiful dishes layered in flavor, color and texture, and they are delicious tempters used to lure a cooked foodie into the utopia of a raw lifestyle. What they are not is a way of eating on a regular basis. Most long term raw foodies eat very simply. The recipes created by raw gourmet chefs should be used occasionally, not daily. Many people, first discovering raw food, buy raw cookbooks, hoping to dive right into the cuisine and experience all the benefits this revolutionary diet has to offer. The recipes in these cookbooks create a challenge for many, because eating heavy, complex raw foods will cause imbalance in the body, rendering a raw lifestyle physically unsustainable. So the question begs to be answered, what do the top raw chefs really eat? How should a raw foodie eat to support vibrant health, mental clarity, top performance and emotional/spiritual/physical equilibrium?

I will take the questions posed during this Monday Night Live panel discussion, and over the next few days, I will elaborate on my own answers. (To watch this discussion in its entirety, sign up for Shea Lynn Baird’s Monday Night Live newsletter, and gain access to the video.) Since there were five chefs on this panel, we each only had 2-5 minutes to answer each question, limiting the amount of information we could provide. Watch the video to get a broad view of how different raw foodies eat. But, allow me to share here, in more detail, my own diet and my personal journey with raw foods as I expand on each of the presented questions. Stay tuned as I post the Q&A from the panel discussion over the days to come…

Blessings in vibrant health!

Birthday Blessings

Birthday Blessings!

Birthday Blessings!

Life is beautiful, and I am in love with it. Today is my birthday. As I wake up and settle into this new day, I look back and realize, with deep gratitude, that I have been living every day like it’s my birthday. And why not?! You should do this as well, living life completely with a receptive heart, open and clear. Nurture yourself. Love yourself. Did you know that the simple words, thank you, will raise your vibration, for it is one of the purest prayers you could utter? Say, “thank you,” feeling the words reverberate within you. Thank you. I love you.

What are you grateful for? This is an inspiring question and the mantra of Café Gratitude. Last night, on the eve of my birthday, Laura and I went to the Café Gratitude in Healdsburg to listen to raw chef Melissa Mango speak for the Monday Night Live series. Melissa, I might add, is a wonderful spirit. She is absolutely vibrant.  Laura and I had a fantastic time, and I love the photo above of us- two friends mingled with deliciousness. Thank you.

I am grateful for the growing raw community in my area. It is such a blessing to walk into an establishment, as I did last night, and know so many sweet souls. We shared smiles, conversation and delicious foods. I sipped on an ‘I Am Succulent,’ a grapefruit apple celery mint juice, which was divine, sweet and refreshing. I dined on my favorite entree, ‘I Am Sensational,’ the pesto pizza with hemp seed basil pesto & olive tapenade- oh so good! And for dessert, the entire staff of Café Gratitude crowed around my table hopping around, dancing, and clapping while joyously singing, They Say it’s Your Birthday, by the Beatles. My cheeks blushed through big grins. The cake that was delivered, garnished with a single red lit candle, was amazing. It was a layered strawberry shortcake made of nut flour called ‘I Am Rapture.’ How appropriate; need I say more?! Thank you.

As memorable as this evening was, the true blessing was gifted to me much earlier in the day. Laura hosted a Reiki class, and I joined her for it. I love Reiki. The energy flow is soothing and enlightening. Though I have been healing and attuning others with Reiki for many moons now, I am still caught in the wonderment of it. There is so much that cannot be seen that exists. Reiki energy is powerful, no doubt. It heals the body and sharpens the ethereal body and intuition. Every time I work with this energy, I feel spiritually empowered. I received a healing attunement for my birthday. Though my birthday presents have yet to roll in, I am certain that the attunement will dwarf all other tangible gifts.  I felt intense energy all around me, hitting me in waves, rolling over and around me like a gentle warm ocean. I sank into a deep meditation, my ankle twitched, my third eye ignited. Thank you.

The third eye, often referred to as the inner eye, is the portal that leads to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. Lately, during my meditations, I feel intense pressure in my forehead at my third eye. Yesterday, my forehead was on fire, intensely pulsating with the Reiki. I felt an energy shift as “something” left me. Reiki attunements amplify healing energies, clearing blocks and aligning the Self to higher purpose. Since the healing works energetically, it deeply nurtures the body as well as the soul. This treatment enveloped me, and I glowed for hours afterwards, basking in my heightened lightness. I am curious to see how I unfold as the days drift by. I wonder what blocks left me during this session, what energetic resistances were whisked away by the Reiki healing. I am blessed. I see this. I truly know this. Thank you.

You, too, are deeply blessed. I want you to see and know this for yourself. Take the time to count your gifts, your blessings. What are you grateful for today? What treasures lie within your life that need to be picked up and polished, acknowledged and showcased? Smile for no reason. Enjoy the people around you with fresh eyes. Appreciate and earnestly love your Self. Give and receive without expectation. Open your heart. Live in abundance. Honor your truth and cherish your precious life.

Thank you. I love you.

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