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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Romance in the Raw # 6: The Start of My Love Story

I have known Dhrumil Purohit through WeLikeItRaw.com for a couple of years. I really respected and admired him. I liked the way he conducted himself and I dug the content he shared on his websites and Facebook. I enjoyed our friendship even though it was rather light and we had never even met in person.

In January 2010, I had the opportunity to meet when a group of great people got together for dinner at Au Lac. Debbie Young actually wrote up a blog post on it. You can check out her photos at That's the Way Au Lac It. When we finally met, he was everything I thought he would be based on his online presence. It was a nice chance to get to hang out & get to know him in person. I knew I had a little crush on him, but of course we were both in relationships so nothing went down.

Several months later, Dhru (pronounced like DREW) had mentioned he was going to be in LA for an Indian wedding and was going to get a group together for dinner again. Of course I was down to meet up for dinner, but I was WAY more fascinated with the Indian wedding. So, somehow I blurted how cool that was & before I knew it he invited me to join along. I was BEYOND excited. I love going to events that are out of my norm and that sure fit the bill for me.

As the wedding approached, I knew that my feelings toward him had grown (even though I had never told him that I liked him). I had even tried to convince myself, my friends and everyone who asked that I DID NOT have an interest. Furthermore, I would go into detail as to how it would never work out even if he did like me. Afterall, I am 6 years older, live on the West Coast and he lived on the East Coast. I had 2 children, been divorced, etc. In addition, I didn't even think he would be interested in me since he never flirted with me. He gave no indication that he was interested and he also mentioned how women had mistaken his generosity for romance in the past. I was careful not to assume anything!

The weekend of the wedding arrived and I was beyond nervous, not so much to be hanging out, but more so because I thought I would be so obvious and give it away that I liked him. I didn't want to make him feel awkward and ruin our friendship. I made it through lunch, although eye contact was difficult for me. Garba was another story, I felt tingles with just the slightest physical contact, whether he was leaning in to tell me something in my ear because the room was loud or when our knees touched while we were sitting down. It was crazy, I felt like a school girl all over again!

On the drive back to my car, Dhrumil started asking me about lessons I had learned from past relationships. He even asked me why I wasn't dating now. I freaked out and said that there was no one I was interested in. My inner voice was SHOUTING out, "LIAR! Tell him you like him... THIS your golden opportunity!" The conversation continued, but I still didn't have the guts to admit it. Finally, I remembered the tweet I had posted earlier that morning. I knew I HAD to say something now. Finally, after several chicken hesitations I blurted out, "OK, so you know when you asked if there was anyone I would like to date? Well, I lied. If there was anyone I would like to date it would be you, but I am sure you are not interested because you deserve to date a nice young girl, get married, have lots of babies, and all that good stuff. Plus, I am 6 years older, divorced with 2 kids that are already 12 and 14. We live on opposite coasts and I don't even know if you are attracted to me." I blurted that out so fast I am not even sure if he comprehended what I had said.

He paused, it was silent. I was freaking out and preparing for rejection. I even had to turn my head and look out the window. I was sure he was put in an awkward situation, but I knew I had to get that off my chest. After the pause that felt like an ETERNITY, he responded by THANKING ME!!!! Can you believe it? I was geared up for "Thank you, but NO THANK YOU!" However, to my surprise, he said he didn't have all the answers to my questions right then and there, but he couldn't be happier. I was stunned..... SAY WHAAAA....??????

The next day, between the wedding ceremony and reception Dhru opened up to me and told me that he was not interested in dating. My heart dropped. What? As he continued, he expressed that he was not looking for something casual, but rather he wanted to build a life with someone. I wondered to myself, "Did he change his mind about dating me or is he saying he wants to just go for it?" To my pleasure it was the later. I can't even begin to tell you how that intention set the tone for relationship. Pretty powerful stuff.

Back at the wedding ceremony & reception, we felt a little silly because we had already announced the night before at Garba that we were just friends. So, we just played it cool. However, I could tell some of the other guests at the reception were onto us. I didn't know how respond due to the newness of it all.

After the wedding festivities were over, Dhrumil decided to stay in LA another day. We went for a drive and talked about all the major issues that could be potential roadblocks for us. We opened up about fears, life dreams, goals, marriage, children, career, spirituality, money, and so forth. It seemed a bit strange to be so bold about typically touchy subjects, however in reflection this is exactly how I would want things to go down BEFORE getting too emotionally wrapped up and romantically entangled in a relationship that didn't share the same views or life vision. It was such an objective interview. This was SOOOOO REFRESHING! Being bold and direct is definitely the way to go!

By the end of the day, we began to say our goodbye's. I felt such a calm sense about everything that was unfolding. I knew that everything was a bit new, but it didn't feel that way on a deeper level. I felt like I was re-connecting with someone I had known for a lifetime. As we hugged and said goodbye, I said "I would like to tell you one word that sums up everything that I am feeling about our connection.....SOUL MATES." We gazed into each others eyes. It was a beautiful close to the start of a beautiful relationship. I drove home feeling as though I had been in a dream!

Here is a quick shy candid video that we took on the fly...not thinking I would actually post it, but it is just so darn precious I GOTTA let him say hello to you!




Here are some photos from the Indian wedding. I had sooo much fun wearing these awesome clothes!

This is what I wore to Garba


Playing it cool

Rocking a sari for the first time


The lovely ladies that dressed me


Dhru & I blissed out

Diggin' the get up!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 Update



Just sharing a quick update of this past year! What's been the highlight of this past year? What are your New Years Resolutions?

Monday, August 9, 2010

How Getting "CLEAN" Helped Me to Get My INSPIRED Groove Back

In my last post, I mentioned that I had shifted my priorities. However, I completely neglected other aspects of my life such as my nutrition and fitness regime. I was becoming pretty frustrated with the way I looked and felt. The more I focused on my frustration the less I was inspired to eat right and workout, so the phase went on for a couple months leading me to gain weight. I avoided social events because I was embarrassed with the way I was letting myself go and my confidence went downhill.

Inspiration
I knew I needed something to look forward to that would make me want to make a change and to start taking care of my body. When I am excited about something it turns chores into pleasures. If I have a REASON then working out and eating right turns into something I call Effortless Effort. This is when you are so excited for the end result that you become proactive and committed. The effort is something you look forward to doing rather than dreading.

Action
I also knew I needed to reset the tone of my eating habits. I can't think of a better way than to do a detox. Luckily, I had the opportunity to do the 21 day Detox Kit from The Clean Program which consisted of a shake for breakfast and dinner and a healthy lunch (according to the dietary guidelines). Upon opening the package, I was impressed by the simplicity of the program. I didn't have to go buying all sorts of different items. Everything I needed came in one kit. I immediately got started on the detox and took notes along the way.

My Results

*Weight Loss: I lost a total of 10 lbs from the start of the pre-cleanse all the way to the end of the 21 day kit. 5 lbs came off before I even began the shakes, which was probably water retention. Then throughout the 21 day program I continued to lose another 5 lbs.


*Improved Appearance: Puffiness left my face and under my eyes, and much to my surprise the hyperpigmentation on my face started to diminish. I have heard that it was possible during a cleanse, but this was the first time I really noticed the dark patches on my face begin to fade away. This was extremely exciting because I would go through great measures to cover it with makeup, so it is an amazing feeling to feel like I look just as good with less makeup. Woo hoo!

*Improved Workout Recovery: I actually kicked up my workout regime during my detox, which normally is not recommended, but I felt so much energy that I wanted to maximize the results. I noticed I would get sore after some intense workouts, but it didn't last long. It felt like my body was so fluid that there was no space for the stagnation of lactic acid. In addition, I felt that any microtearing of the tissues healed very rapidly due to the energy being freed up by the detox. My body was able to go heal the places it needed to recover quickly, which allowed me to complete 2 hours a daily exercise on this program.

*Stamina & Energy: I definitely noticed I was sleeping much less and lighter at the same time. I felt like tackling projects that I had been procrastinating on. Plus, in the gym when I would normally start to hit a plateau during my workout, I felt a burst of energy that allowed me to go further with my workout. I was really seeing rapid results in my workout stamina.

*Quieting of the Mind/ Sense of Peace/ Focus: I tend to have a mind that runs like a hampster running in a wheel which can be very distracting, but during the cleansing process I noticed a significant decrease in mental chatter. I am not too sure what it is about a cleanse that does this, but it feels like the mind went on vacation or to the spa. I just felt a sense of peace and the ability to focus.

*Appreciation for my body and for healthy food: I gained an appreciation for my body during the program. I felt gratitude to have a strong able body that is free of disease and pain. I also gained an appreciation for the flavors and textures of food. When you complete a cleanse, it really heightens your taste buds and even very simple dishes seem to have much more depth to them.

My Modifications

Bigger Shakes: I made my shakes with either frozen blueberries or raspberries, water, 2 packets of stevia, along with the formulas MOVE and NOURISH. Since I worked out most days I noticed I wouldn't feel quite a satiated as I would normally feel if I wasn't working out so intensely. To curb the appetite a bit I would drink a glass of water beforehand and I would add more frozen berries and powder to the shake so that it felt more dense. This really seemed to do the trick so I wasn't tempted to break from the plan. I wouldn't suggest others to do this, but this is something I did so that I could maintain a workout regime.

Lunch Suggestion: Make your lunch the night before or while you are sipping on your shake. If you wait until you are hungry to eat lunch and still have to take the time to prepare the meal, chances are you may make a poor choice.

Side Notes

Pre- Cleanse Diet: For 4 days, I basically followed a very simple eating regime of just plain fruits and veggies in their raw state. Nothing fancy. I thought I might struggle with the cleanse so to prepare for it I went as basic as I could with the diet.

Menstrual Cycle Revelation: Normally, I will experience an increase in appetite and cravings, a decrease in energy, and some bloating. On the rare occassion I would get some cramping as well as low back pain. However, my cycle came and went without much notice. I am really feeling that if we cleansed during our pre-cycle and even during our cycle that suffering women would be relieved from PMS and cramps. I am going to experiement a bit more with this myself and I encourage you to do the same. That is if you are a woman reading this post. ;)

Who This Is Best Suited For
Perhaps by this point you may be wondering if this is something that you would benefit from. Here are a few "types" of people who may really dig The Clean Program.

* Newbies: People who are new to the detoxification experience. Some programs can be pretty intense for the average person. If detoxification happens too fast a person can feel like they are weak, tired, or coming down with flu-like symptoms. This cleanse is very gentle and because food is allowed on this cleanse it makes the process very doable. This program will provide enough fuel to keep going with your normal activities and still get great results of a cleanse.

*Fast Paced Peeps: Some people are have pretty complicated schedules and the last thing they need is a detox that requires a lot of prep work. This program comes with everything you need and requires VERY little to perform on a daily basis. The work is all done for you so that you are not slowed down or boggled with a plethora of steps and a rigid schedule.

*Schlumpers: These are people who are in a rut (mentally, emotionally and/or physically), who are feeling a lack of passion, motivation or inspiration in their lives and they just need some sort of jump start to get them back on track. Since burdens are being removed from the body, it frees up energy within. The mind, body, and spirit are all intertwined. The changes in the body affects everything. The mind becomes clearer and we begin to view the world and our capabilities on a whole new level. It's the catalyst that starts the road back to inspiration.

*In need of Healing: Detoxification is really great for people who are recovering from injuries or trying to get a handle on health ailments. The best way to heal the body is to give it a rest so that it can do it's job of healing itself. When the body is not busy digesting complicated meals, the energy is freed up and goes to work where it is needed. Injuries or post surgeries often recover much faster when a detox is in place.

*Chunky Monkies: I have to giggle when I write this because I was in this category a bit. These peeps are in need of shedding some poundage. Water retention and sludge that is weighing the body and digestive track down is whisked out of the body with a great detox. This program really resets the appetite, taste buds and heightens the appreciation for healthy food. The 21 days really gives momentum to break bad habits and you can become a more refreshed version of yourself.

Conclusion
Truth be told, I didn't follow the plan to perfection, I didn't always have a shake for dinner and sometimes I would snack in between, but I still experienced great results. I feel like I am out of my slump. I feel like I have awakened. I feel passionate, excited, and the momentum to keep going on my health journey has been reinforced. I feel inspired about my life and have the desire to improve the quality of the lives around me. I feel like I've got my groove back and that to me is PRICELESS!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Summer Update

Many of you have noticed I have not posted a video or blog in some time and have expressed concern and wanted to know what I have been up to. First of all, I would like to thank you for coming to my blog and taking an interest in me and my video or blog posts. My blog started as an online journal for myself, then evolved into a way I can share my perspective, thoughts, and inspiration. Thank you for being a part of that.

My Online Absence
Although I absolutely love and adore the Internet and all the wonderful people I have connected with, I found that gradually I was spending more time online and less time being present in my physical environment and the relationships right in front of me. I enjoyed all the feedback on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and here on my blog. I felt like I needed to respond to everyone and I just couldn't keep up with all that and manage my physical life. I became very behind in corresponding to comments, emails, messages, and questions. The more behind I became the more of a burden my online presence became for me. It shifted from fun and exciting to an obligation. Needless to say, this is hardly an "inspired" state.

An Internal Struggle
In addition to taking a break from blogging, I had to take a break from romance and dating. I had the pleasure of dating men however, it seemed things moved faster and more intense than I was wanting so instead of slowing things down I went MIA. I struggle with the idea of romance and where that fits in my life. I had to do some soul searching and really figure things out before I stepped back out in the social world.

Health
This is an area that directly relates to my internal state. In the beginning of the year I was clocking in about 60 hours of exercise a month & eating very high raw. However, when I freaked out and went MIA with dating I dropped down to a very minimal amount of exercise and kept eating the same amount if not MORE food. NOT A GOOD IDEA! Weight crept back on and I felt ashamed of myself. However I felt I was justified going MIA because I was beginning to look bloated and feeling uncomfortable being social. However, we are far more transparent than we think we are and situations like this just show me that I was experiencing an internal struggle. I have found through food a way to dampen the rawness of emotions I was experiencing.

Romance
I love romance and I am a sucker for a beautiful love story. However, when it comes my way I really haven't mastered that aspect of my life. It seems when I crave romance the options and opportunities flow into my life, yet when it becomes so serious so quick I tend to get cold feet and back off. I have a few ideas that could be the source:

Overall, I am content being single. I no longer have the idea that I have to be married or be in a romantic relationship to be complete. However at times I do crave the experience(or it could be hormones). I just want it to happen more slowly and balanced rather than a big surge that happens too fast. I don't feel a need to hurry or put a label on it, and when I date someone who seems to come on quick I tend to run and hide. To me it appeared a bit desperate and co-dependant....which is what I used to be and I am afraid of being that again.

With that in mind, I came to the conclusion that I was being given the opportunity to see if I had overcome some of my past relationship bad habits. I used to be the girl that fell head over heels fast. I overly romanticized the person and the experience and lived in a fantasy in my head. I wasn't present and had expectations.

Another factor that presented itself was how it affected my relationship with my kids. When I was a teen and my newly divorced parents started dating I felt like I was second rate, competing for their affection and time. From my view, my parents were more interested in romance than being a parent. I had some resentments and I lashed out towards my parents and their romantic interests. I felt my teen years went from being "normal" to being a stay at home mom for my younger brothers while I saw my parents out dating. I carry that memory today. Perhaps I am hyper-sensitive to my children and would never want them to feel like I preferred the company of a man over theirs. At the same time, I realize that this may just be my own limiting belief that romance would pull me away from my kids. I just never wanted my kids to feel second rate. In conversations with my kids, they have expressed that they are happy with the idea of me dating and would enjoy meeting the people I bring into my life. It just seemed to be a fear that I would get too wrapped up in my romance that I compromised my relationship with my kids as well as other aspects of my life.

Family Life
With all that in mind I went off the dating scene and started spending more time with my children (which inspired my blog in May "10 Wise Lessons for my Children"). Being a mother is a priority and a pleasure and I know my time with them is precious. They are growing up so fast. I want to make the most of it. So, we went camping in Yosemite and Idyllwild. We have been spending so much time outdoors, at the beach, hiking, biking, swimming and playing.

Alex is training for football, which I think is NUTS, because of his frame and body type. I really feel his strengths are with speed and agility. However, I must step aside and let my son make decisions for himself. We both feel that this may very well be his last opportunity to play this sport on a team. We plan to make the most of it and perhaps move on to soccer or baseball when the season ends.

At the same time, Mehgan is in cheer leading. It makes life so much easier having practices and games at the same location and time as football. Although Meg prefers to be in independent activities I encouraged her to give this sport a shot. This also plays up her gymnastics background as well as learning to work on a team. I felt it was a nice transition while building new friendships since many of her friends moved this summer. Meg also had the opportunity to model for Anchor Blue in a Back to School Fashion Show at a local mall. She loved it and it's right up her alley since she says she wants to create her own fashion line and model it herself one day.

School Changes
I also made the decision with my kids that this was the last year of homeschooling for us. My son is starting high school and the kids were expressing a desire to do something different. Alex and Mehgan are now enrolled to attend a charter school and we all look forward to the new experience. I am so thankful that I took the past 3 years with my kids and home schooled them. I really felt the experience allowed us to grow together in a common direction. Our bond is so close and I will forever cherish the memories we had. My family life wouldn't be what it is today if we didn't take that time.

Garden
I didn't put alot of effort into gardening or any home improvements. However, scattered seeds sprouted up on their own and I have been enjoying the ease of letting the plants do their thing rather than babying them. I also just became curious and would stick things in the ground just to see how they grew for example a sprouting potato or onion. I have been more of an observer of plant cycles than anything else. I do love gardens, but if I continue with growing an edible landscape I seriously need a landscape designer that could help me make it look more aesthetic.

Career
Obviously, once the kids start school that opens up time for me to recommit to an online presence and contribute more to the community. I enjoy sharing my journey. I enjoy having a voice. I enjoy feeling inspired and on purpose.

In Conclusion
Overall, I feel I have been looking to balance my life. I went up and I went down and now I am leveling out. I may have over compensated in some ways, but I really am just relaxing with where I am now and I am making sure I get a little taste of everything rather than bingeing on one thing. I am happy to say I feel that I am getting back on track.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

10 Wise Life Lessons for My Children

Being a mother is an honor. Even though motherhood came sooner than I expected, the impact of being a mother has forever changed my life. However, if I were to die today and no longer be around for my children, there are things I feel strongly that I would want my children to remember and know about life. As life unfolds we tend to forget and become distracted. Here are the principles I would want to remind my children of and stay connected to.

You are a Spiritual Being in Physical World
Honor your intuition
Have integrity
You are here to enjoy and appreciate this life
You are a genius
You deserve the best that life has to offer
The opposite of fear is love inspired by Marianne Williamson
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Give with Love and Gratitude
Feel good no matter what
Never put your happiness in something outside of yourself
See the good in everything and learn from your life lessons
Show compassion and the world will be compassionate towards you
This world is a reflection- give away what you want and it will come back tenfold

Don’t Listen to Outside Influences
Marketing : commercials, ads, etc. that distract you from your inner voice
Advice from the good opinions of others
Think your own thoughts
Be the solution not the problem

You are Your Own Leader & Lead With Your Heart
Let your passion guide you
Have a Vision
Stay committed and focused on what you want
Share your perspective publicly
You will advance further in this life when you focus on being kind rather than right
Do it Anyway inspired by Mother Teresa's Anyway Poem

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Employ and Invest in Yourself
Be in charge of your life and career.
Let it be the thing you most love and are most passionate about sharing and would do for free just because you love it.
Never choose anything you clock in and out from. Do what is built into you to do that never turns off after 40 hours.
"The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy." - Malcolm Forbes

Take Care of Your Body, it is Your Transmitter to the Divine
Rest
Get sun
Breathe fresh clean air
Exercise and sweat
Stay properly hydrated and drink pure water from natural springs and produce
Nourish your body with plenty of dark leafy greens and fresh fruit
Be your own preventative health doctor, do not expect someone else to care more for your body than you do.

Choose a Sustainable Living Environment
Locate your home in a place that sustains life without the need of human intervention. The more you do this the less you will need from outside resources. This will encourage freedom for it will provide fresh natural resources such as clean air, plenty of water or rain, sunshine, temperate climate. Honor this place and leave it in better condition than when you came.

Your Home is Your Private Sanctuary
Be Prepared
Grow your own food for quality and purity, for love and variety, for freshness and nutrient density, for preparedness and health, for freedom and a healthy planet
Prepare your home for Natural Disasters with medical aid, water and food supply and alternative shelter and protection from heat and chill
Know how to treat emergency situations: first aid, CPR, etc..

Live Lightly and Simply
Let greed be for the fools

Experience True Wealth
Money is not true wealth, but love, time, health, pleasure, wisdom, and peace are!

Alex and Mehgan this is written for and dedicated to you. I am so thankful to be your mother and may your life be filled with true wealth. If you are a mother, please take the time to make sure your children know what is important, leave them your legacy now. Do not wait until it is too late. Who knows, maybe you'll start blogging and leave that as your legacy for your children. Pay your wisdom forward.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What is Your Plan B? A Self Reliance Challenge

What would you do if you experienced a natural disaster today? Would you be prepared? Could you tend to medical emergencies? We have seen the life threatening effects from hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and floods yet I don't see very many people taking action to prepare themselves in case of an emergency.... including myself.

Recently, I needed to get something out of my first aid kit for my son and I noticed how depleted of medical supplies my kit has become. I went into a mini panic. I started to think, "What if I was in a life threatening situation right now? I would be screwed!" That feeling gave me a sick pit in my stomach that hasn't really left. As a matter of fact, I keep experiencing things that are reminding me that I need to be more prepared. I need to be able to take care of myself and my kids in times of a natural disaster or medical emergency.

I started taking a look around my home. Questions began to overwhelm me like:

Water
How much fresh water do I have and how long would it last if the water was shut off right now? Where would I get water if stores were closed and roads were closed?

Food
What about food supply? How much do I have and how long will it last?

Medical Aid
If my kids or myself were bit by a rattlesnake or black widow spider (very common where I live) would I be able to treat it? What about a gash or CPR?

Questions kept flowing in reminding me of how foolish I have been and how ill prepared I am to provide for myself and my children in times of an emergency despite current events and disasters that have devastated many.

But these extreme situations are not the only thoughts I have been having. I also recently watched a program on the indigenous tribes of the Amazon and how over the past 15 years they have gone from being self reliant to totally dependant on outside sources to provide for their families. I was saddened to put it mildly. I went on a rant explaining how weak of a species we have become. Many of us ignore our human instincts and our innate ability to be self reliant.

We have got to stop expecting outside sources to take care of us and learn how to be self reliant. It seems we are a society full of co-dependant people and what we really need is interdependence (people who can take care of themselves and can contribute). People need to be able to take care of themselves and their families and sadly we are moving further and further away from that. Overall, we are no longer able to provide the basic needs if our life depended on it.

This post is a wake up call. A reminder to get back in touch with life sustaining methods, to be prepared (not paranoid, or frightened) in any situation. There is such a sense of peace and freedom when you can take matters into your own hands.

I want the peace of mind that if anything was to happen I could handle the situation well. I could experience it the hard and unprepared way or I can take the proper actions to where it really doesn't devastate my family because I am not dependant on outside sources and I am self reliant. Here is what I am working on right now:

Teaching my children protocols for natural disasters (such as earthquakes and fires)
Obtaining plenty fresh water to store at my home that will last about a week (about 30 gallons)
Learning about the native wild foods in my area
Creating a diverse seed bank and swap seeds
Learning where to obtain fresh water by bike (findaspring.com)
Eating a diet that is not dependant on cooking (Thank you Raw Food Diet!)
Growing an edible landscape that would provide year round food and medicine for my family that could grow even without watering for a month (lots of fruit and nut trees and avocados)
Refreshing CPR and First Aid skills
Restocking the first aid kit with the following:
Burn kit
Poisonous bites and stings
Rashes, hives, and allergies
Cuts, Scrapes, Deep Gashes
Inflammation, bruising, sprains, strains, broken bones, dislocations
Food poisoning
Heat stroke, shock
Eye, ear, throat, & nasal canal care
Fever and cold kit
Camping kit
A quick evacuation kit in a backpack for everyone in my home that would sustain us for 3 days

A goal I have for my family is to be as self reliant as possible. We have decided to start making the proper actions and prepare for a self reliance challenge. Rather than wait for a disaster to force us to live without outside sources I think it would be fun and reassuring to see how a trial run would go. So here is brief rundown of the self reliance challenge:

Self Reliance Challenge
How long and well could you live if you:
Shut off gas, water, electricity to your home
Did not use trash service, sewage, heating, cooling
Were unable to use your car, cell phone, Internet
What if outside help was unavailable such as: police, fire, paramedics, overcrowded emergency rooms/hospitals, grocery stores, etc
What if you were unable to access your money and banks were closed?
How would you feed yourself and your family?
How would you bathe?

What about you? What if you needed to evacuate your home in 10 minutes? Would the important supplies be available quickly? What if you were forced out of your home due to flood, or fire? Where would you live? How would you stay warm or cool? I know it can sound silly to some, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and there is wisdom in learning from those who have experienced such hardships.

So, what about you.....tell me your plan B! How long can you go on the self reliance challenge?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

10 Simple Yet Powerful Ways to Heal the Planet

By now, most people know how destructive our actions have been to this planet. If you need a refresher, please check out this blog I wrote a while back, Learning to Live With Less . There is a video from National Geographic that will really give you a graphic image of what's really going on. Watching that video totally changed my life. I am happy to share with you some simple ways that make a HUGE difference and it starts in your own body and home. I think of my own body and home environment as eco-systems in themselves and to heal them as well. The tips I share below will improve your body ecology, the hygiene of your home and the planet. Here are my top 10 favorite and most powerful ways to heal the planet.

Consume Less
People are in the automatic habit of just buying what they want right then and there without any thought of how their mindless actions are affecting the state of our planets health, not to mention our financial health (see this funny SNL skit). Watch this video on "The Story of Stuff" before you make another purchase. Find out if the items you are wanting are available for rent or can be bought used before you make a new purchase. Of course, make sure this is something you really need and will use and won’t and up in the back of a closet or garage somewhere. Most of the time, if I see something I want to buy I don't impulse buy it. I will go home and if I really want it I will go back another day and get it. However, I find that 90% of the things I thought I wanted were not really necessary or I didn't passionately want the item. My home is my haven, I only want the best in it so I will keep space for things I love. I also find that owning less gives me more free time and I feel a sense of peace.

Reduce or Eliminate Disposables
Stop purchasing plasticware like water bottles, bags, plastic wrap. Don't forget paper products like plates, napkins, newspapers, get removed from the junk mail listings. This is all unnecessary waste. If you use these items then wash and reuse them. I prefer to re-use glass in my home, but I do have a few plastic items I reuse for example, my compost container.

Recycle
Aim to have more in your recycle bin than in your trash bin. Know what is able to be recycled and what is not. Try to only use your recycle bin and not your trash bin and see how long you can go before needing trash service. My kids and I are doing an experiment to see how long we can go without using trash service and see how little we are dumping into the planet. It's exciting to see where we once had our trash bins full each week for trash service and now we are able to miss a couple of weeks and still not be overflowing with trash. Maybe I could start some sort of challenge to see how long a family household can go without needing trash service because they simply aren't wasting. Hmmm.....

Change Your Diet- Go Raw Vegan
If you have been following me for some time now this just seems like a no brainer. However, if you are new to my blogs PLEASE research how destructive consuming commercially raised animal products is to our planet! It is appauling what the practice of consuming these foods are doing! It is the NUMBER ONE way to really make a difference in the healing of our planet! If you are going to eat meat, find a local farmer who raises grass fed livestock and will sell to you. However, I just bypass that step all together! If you are a MAJOR RAWK STAR then take the next step and say NO to packages, boxes, & cans and say YES to fresh produce! Your body will be cleaner, your home will not need harsh chemicals to clean it after using animal products and your planet will thank you.

Compost
This is so easy to do and you’ll have lots of scraps if you are eating raw. It drives me nuts to see people tossing fruit and veggie scraps into the trash! I have 2 growing kids and we go through a lot of produce everyday. I use a simple large storage container with a lid that I keep in my kitchen to collect scraps. At the end of the day I take it out to the compost bin outside at night and wash out the container. The lid eliminates gnats or smells. If you don't have space for a compost bin in your yard, blend and bury the kitchen scraps... the worms will thank you!

Grow Your Own Edible Landscape
Check out the video "The Future of Food". This will inspire you to grow your own food. Put your water to good use rather than watering a toxic lawn. Great role models are the Dervae's in Pasadena, CA. I really enjoy GrowingYourGreens channel on YouTube. Not only will you get higher quality foods, you'll enjoy many varieties never found in grocery stores. I have found edible landscaping to be the ultimate for food connoisseurs.

Use Non-Toxic Gardening & Landscape Methods
Ditch the miracle grow and round up products!
Instead of round up use mulch to keep weeds down
Use compost instead of synthetic fertilizers
Ditch the toxic pest control and....
Use orange essential oils to deter ants
Use spearmint essential oils to deter flies

Use Non- Toxic Cleaning Supplies
For dishes and laundry I use Seventh Generation products.I also like to clean my produce with food grade H202. For an all purpose cleaner I use GSE & essential oils mixed with water and use a microfiber cloth. I polish wood with coconut oil.

Use Non- Toxic Hygiene Products
Instead of toxic toothpaste, make your own like shown in this video HERE
Instead of toxic mouthwash use, rinse with diluted food grade H202 and follow up with mint essential oils
Skin: FRICTION is the BEST cleanser! Use a skin brush, shower gloves and a microfiber cloth.
Instead of typical body wash, use Dr Bronner's Castile Soap or Tate's Miracle Wash.
Instead of typical lotion, use coconut oil or Shea butter.
Instead of perfume, use essential oils.
Instead of toxic deodorant, use salt deodorant.
Shampoo less and "dry poo" more with corn starch & good ol' friction again.

Reconnect & Spend More Time in Nature
This will give you a healthy respect for our planet and remind you to make honorable decisions
Go on nature walks & pick up trash.
Ride Your Bike-especially if the weather is nice and you are only traveling a short distance. Take eco-vacations and volunteer to preserve a beautiful location or organic farm with WWOOF.

I really hope you take the time to watch the video links and really see what we can do to make a difference. I am thrilled and honored to say that I am living very green. However, it seems I can always find more ways to go greener. So, please post a comment down below and share how you care for our planet.










Friday, April 16, 2010

Simple Ways to Improve Your Financial Life

Last year I wrote a blog titled, "Financial Slavery and Financial Freedom". Then, in my last blog post I shared with you that I had been doing a "Life Detox". One thing I did not mention was my financial life. In February I experienced a little taste of financial freedom when I paid my last car payment. That feeling of wanting MORE financial freedom inspired me to delve into my finances and see where I could make more improvements......and I did!

I pulled out my cell phone bill, my car insurance, home phone, cable, Internet connection and my last 2 remaining credit cards and went into research mode. Not only did I find errors, I was able to make corrections that will save me almost $5000 this year! This was shocking, and I got an adrenalin rush. How many other people are depleting their funds unnecessarily? When I realized it was about $5000 I began to realize how the pennies that were slipping through my bank account could add up to pay for a simple family vacation in Hawaii. Imagine receiving a family trip to Hawaii just for doing a little personal research on your finances...would you do it?

Here is where my $5000 was hidden.

Car Insurance
First I called my car insurance company. Since I now owned my car I wanted to change my policy from full coverage to liability, but in the process I had asked if they showed any driving violations on my driving record. I was glad I asked that simple question because they were charging me according to having 2 traffic violations on my record. So, they did a little research and found that I did not have any violations and that I had over paid by $620. By switching from full coverage to liability I would save another $427 a year. That comes out to $1047 just from my car insurance company.

Cell Phone
I looked into my plan and found that there was an error on my bill here too! I was being charged $50 more a month. It seems that someone entered things wrong in their computer system and they would have never corrected it if I hadn't called. By checking in and reviewing my plan I am saving $600 a month on my cell phone bill.

Internet, Cable, Home Phone
Originally I was calling on my home phone because I needed to change my long distance plan. Then the operator informed me of a promotion they were running to bundle my Internet, cable and home phone into one package deal. I have been paying for Internet and cable in one bill and my home phone on another. I currently was paying $110 for cable and Internet and $65 for my home phone. The bundle is a 2 year contract, but it comes out to $124 a month. This saves me $51 a month which in one year is $612.

Credit Card Interest Rates
I decided I had gone this far in researching my expenses, I might as well see what interest rates I was paying and if I could decrease the rate. Of course somewhere along the road my interest rate of 9% had been increased to 20%. I was paying almost $120 in finance charges on one account alone. This was very frustrating to realize. I'd much rather have that money in my pocket than just spent on my poor financial decisions and now in finance charges. I asked my credit card company if they would reduce the interest rate and they said very kindly, "NO". So, I looked into a balance transfer that offered a better interest rate. I found an offer for 10% that not only would I be saving $2367, but all the other saved money from the above accounts would allow me to pay off both credit cards (that total about $10,000) in one year as opposed to the typical 3 years one might pay off a credit card.

All these inquiries led up to a savings of $4626 over one year. All it took was a few phone calls and some curiosity. The scent of financial freedom has me hungry for more. I am now going back to a financial habit that I once was very dedicated with which was to write down my spending everyday. I always find that the pennies here and there add up and I tend to sacrifice the things I really want because I am blowing my money little by little on things that don't even benefit my life in a great way.

I really hope this blog post inspires you to take a look at your expenses and to check for errors and find ways that you can improve your financial life. Who knows, maybe one day we will meet on the beaches of Hawaii and toast to the mantra, "A penny saved is a penny earned."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Detox Your Life

I can hardly believe that I have not posted a blog in over 8 weeks. Trust me, I did go through withdrawals and there were times I had things I really wanted to share with you. I apologize for the silence and I am happy to check in with you now.

My absence has been intentional. I have been going through what I call a "Life Detox". It is something I like to do at least once a year. I take time to re-evaluate EVERY aspect of my life. It helps me address and eliminate the things in my life that are distracting me from my life direction. In my last post I talked about conquering low self esteem. When I am feeling less than stellar over a period of time I know it is time to clear the slate and get a fresh perspective. I do that with a Life Detox.

From my last post, the main reason my self esteem dropped was because I was not doing what I know to be right. This is the fastest way to crush ones self image. In addition, I was not being intentional and I was filling my time with distraction and procrastination. That combo will get your spirit screaming and leaving you feeling frustrated. Think of it as a neglected baby who won't stop crying until you give them some love and attention. I really feel that anger and frustration are just symptoms of a neglected spirit. Denying your spirit is the fastest way to crush your soul.

When you ignore your truths...prepare to feel a slump. When you don't act according to what you feel is right then you have just denied yourself. We dull our light and want to hide in shadows. Shadows are OK because they give us the contrast in our life and we all go through times of ignoring our inner voice. However, you cannot sustain hiding and still feel amazing about this gift of life.

We Are Transparent
As much as we'd like to believe that we can fool others and hide how we really feel, we are only fooling ourselves. Everything in your physical environment is a mirror of your internal state. If you look around and see a cluttered car, home, room, garage, closet, kitchen, bathroom, etc., it is a good indicator that you are mentally cluttered and distracting yourself from your life calling. If you are shopping and buying unnecessary items or eating excessively, it is an indicator that you are stuffing your emotions. If we are complaining about someone else we are really just affirming how we feel about ourselves inside. We really are far more transparent than we think we are. With a quick observation of ones living environment, listening to the words spoken, the way one presents themselves, cares for their health, home, relationships or career is a huge indicator of ones self esteem and how much they are connected to their spirit.

I know this can sound like a blow, it is the truth. I have lived this myself. When you recognize you are off track and disconnected it is easy to do a Life Detox. This is a great way to steer your life into the direction you want to go without as many obstacles to remind you of who you were, so you can see who you truly are. We are all spiritual beings having a human experience. Our spirit is so powerful and yet when we ignore our spirit we start behaving like a crying baby.

A Neglected Spirit is like a Crying Baby
The fastest way I know how to "get the baby to stop crying" is to give some love and attention. I have to acknowledge "the crying baby" and in this case the crying baby is my spirit. Once you acknowledge your spirit, see yourself as you truly are, and what you deserve your behaviors follow in alignment. I reviewed my post "Walking Into Knowingness"

Align Your Behaviors with Truth
If you try to change your or behaviors without the shift in your paradigm you may see your behaviors as torture rather than TLC. For example, the raw food diet. When I tell people I am into raw foods they freak out and think I am missing out on all the "good stuff" and start naming their favorite junk foods. At times I would forget why I ate raw (which is to fuel my body with the foods that are species specific for optimal life performance) and would eat something that not only left me feeling digestively upset, but emotionally upset as well. It wasn't that I had a "weak" moment. It was merely that I forgot my intention and who I was. Once I saw myself as a magnificent human being here to do great things then I only desired to give myself the best of life. For me, eating raw feels like a feast for royalty rather than a form of torture.

Who We Are
The best way for me to shift my paradigm to remind myself of who I am is to read "Our Deepest Fear" by Marianne Williamson (which I refer to often). It really puts me back into perspective. I have shared it before, but because I feel this is a theme for so many of us I will share it again (and again). :)

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

With that in mind, how could we not see ourselves as brilliant and create an environment that allows us freedom to shine?

People tend to feel a false sense of security with holding their belongings, but truthfully, the more you own the more you must manage and that can be a time zapper and you can end up feeling like a slave to your stuff.

Over the past 6 weeks, I went though all my cobwebs and cleaned them out. I happily eliminated over 50% of my belongings and donated them to charity. I involved my children and taught them how much fun it is to give your unused things to someone who will love . I feel so much lighter without excess baggage to hold me down. I freed myself, my time, and my environment to that I could re-evaluate, prioritize, and re-connect with my spirit.

How to Do A Life Detox
Go through every nook and cranny of every thing you own, activities and actions you do, and relationships you have. Either remove or repair anything uninspiring, and address anything needing physical or emotional mending. Sometimes, just going through and detoxing your home spurs emotional healing.

Qualify Your Stuff
To determine what stays, put each item through a qualification process, much like one goes through to qualify for a home or car. However, instead of qualifying yourself, you are qualifying the item, relationship or experience.

Does it Reflect the Best Version of Yourself?
Most of the stuff we have does not reflect the highest version of ourselves. It's just the trail of our past experiences. It's time to thank those things in our lives for the purpose it served us at that time. It is now time to offer those things to someone else who will use them.

How Do You Feel When You See It?
Do you look at old clothes you once fit and feel frustrated?
Do you have a negative or painful past memory associated with it?
If you look at any item you own you must feel thrilled and honored to own it. If you do not, say goodbye. If you don't LOVE it, then it has got to go. You may start to feel like you won't have anything if you follow these guidelines. Know that you are creating space for a temple or private retreat and only the best can come into your space.

Kitchen Pantry, Refrigerator, and Freezer
Eliminate anything that do not fuel your body in the most honorable way.

Dining Room
Kitchen disposables such as, Paper plates, napkins, utensils. Start using reusable goods that inspire you to only eat foods that are worthy of you.

Bathroom & Cleaning Supplies
Eliminate toxic cleaning supplies and hygiene products. Start using items that are good for the health of your body, home and planet.

Media/Living room
Eliminate any music, books, magazine subscriptions, video games or movies portraying violence or any negative behaviors. Discontinue from watching TV shows that dampen your spirit. These things harden your spirit and distract you from seeing the beauty in life.

Electronic & Paper Clutter
Go through and clear out your paperwork, email, and voicemail.

Body Detox
Clear your body of anything that is holding onto unnecessary baggage with sweating, colonics, & fasting.

Activities/ Time Management
If you don't love it, don't do it. I am talking END RESULT here. Sometimes we confuse this, but we have to think about the end result of the activity.

Relationships
If you feel like any relationship is burdensome or depleting you rather than fueling you, you may want to reevaluate the people you surround yourself with. You are the average sum of the 5 people you spend most of your time with. This includes your weight, diet, religious views, income, etc. If you don't like what you see you may want to find people that inspire you to make the most of yourself.

Once you clear your life you can take a good self examination and see where you can improve your life. I promise you will feel a sense of relief and feel a renewed sense of purpose from honoring your life and your spirit.

Stay on Track with Silence & Stillness
Without sounding too much like Yoda or Confucius, it is true that in order to go forward...do nothing. In order to do more....do less, especially when it comes to mental chatter and environmental noise. When was the last time you were in silence? What about not talking, turning off the Internet, TV, music, movies, books, etc. When was the last time you did nothing?

Doing a day of silence on a weekly basis is so nourishing. It was amazing what inspiration flows in when noise and distraction is eliminated. Remember our spirit whispers secrets. :) If an entire day seems like a leap, start with an hour of silence a day. Spend your time alone with yourself, start by journaling your rampages of appreciation, write out any concerns or roadblocks you feel you are experiencing. reading, resting, sunbathing, contemplating, cleaning, gardening, walking, doing yoga. In time you will be able to increase the silence. Soon you'll really look forward this time to listen to your inner genius awakening

Use Holidays as Reminders to Renew
Sometimes we can find ourselves back into old patterns and holidays can help us
refocus and remind us of what is important.

The Sunrise & New Year's Day
It's an opportunity to refresh and refocus on what we really want. I prefer happy new day when the sun rises rather than waiting for a new year! It's such a smaller bite to take and we should feel that EVERYDAY is a celebration! Are you waking up and feeling thankful that you have another day on this Earth to experience life? To live with meaning and love. To appreciate what we have. To appreciate the day as an opportunity.

Valentines Day
A reminder to show your love, appreciation, & admiration to those in your life.

Easter/ Spring
New life new beginnings, renewal, forgiveness

Independence Day
A reminder to release ourselves of our burdens and experience freedom in all forms including emotional and financial freedom.

Thanksgiving
An opportunity to share your gratitude

Christmas
A reminder to give, share your gifts, shine your light with the world & contribute to the betterment of life.

May this inspire you to take time to align your life with what really matters and to create an environment that brings out the best in you. Cheers to Life!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Conquering Low Self Esteem

My Story
Recently, I was romantically involved with a man I enjoyed immensely. Little by little, I began to fear FEELING GOOD. I started to wonder, "This relationship feels amazing, what will I do when this ends?" So, as a way to control the issue I found a way that I would self sabotage the experience by rejecting him before he could reject me. He would tell me that he was falling in love with me and I would just blow it off and say to myself, "He can't be serious, this is just something he is saying to play me. Once I let my guard down and believe him then I will be vulnerable and he can hurt me. So, it's better that I just keep a little emotional distance so it won't hurt as much when it happens."

Later, in one of our conversations I told him that I was intentionally blocking myself from feeling his love and he was saddened. See, I have NO problem attracting a man into my life, but I have not yet sustained a healthy relationship. Shortly after, we had a discussion on self worth. He happens to be one of the most well read and practiced people in psychology. Once he realised that I was suffering from low self esteem he gave me a protocol to follow. It was funny, he was so matter of factly it reminded me of how a doctor would prescribe medication.

My Homework
Do the following exercises daily:

Morning and night I am to write out and complete the following with 10 replies to each:
"If I trusted myself 5% more..."
"If I accepted myself 5% more..."

In addition, I am to attend The Landmark Forum and read The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field by Nathaniel Branden.

I wasn't more than a page or so into the book before I started taking notes for my journal. By page 13 I was in tears. This book is EXACTLY what I needed. My self worth has been the ELEPHANT in the room that I was ignoring. I knew I was having issues with self esteem but I didn't realize how clearly I was sabotaging my efforts in health, career advancements, and romantic relationships.

The fact that I had an automatic expectation of rejection in my romantic endeavors is a huge red flag of self esteem.

Immediately, I identified with many of the signs of low self esteem such as:

Health

  • ignoring my intuition, and rationalizing poor habits
  • being extreme and being hard on myself
  • having a hard time admitting
  • as soon as I made progress I would stop and act against the thing I know to be true
Romance
  • having an automatic expectation of rejection
  • seeing people as a source of approval or disapproval
  • finding ways to end the relationship before my partner could reject me
Career
  • giving up, not following through to completion
  • getting distracted or frustrated
  • telling myself I didn't need to put out any content (value) since others were already doing it and talking about it. Who am I to do this? I am not inventing anything new, the information is out there for those who want it.
I am still in the early phases of reading this book and doing the exercises. However, I can already feel the enthusiasm bubbling within me because I KNOW that this is my obstacle to tackle. This is what is keeping me from attaining what I know deep down I deserve to have. This is what I need within me to have quality of life.

I look forward to giving a full review of The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field and the Landmark Forum in the near future (before May) as well as sharing my results. If you have already attended the Landmark Forum or read this book I would love to hear how it has impacted you! In the meantime, I wanted to give you a heads up if you identified with anything I have mentioned above. No one deserves to feel this way, not even me! I would feel terrible if I withheld any information that empowered me in my life to anyone of my readers. We all deserve to feel good now and realize our dreams. I suggest that if you are not getting the results in your life that your truly want that you check out this book or follow the protocol that I currently am following.

I love you guys! :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Macrobiotic Restaurant Review: M Cafe


Dhrumil, myself, Anita, and Ben all enjoyed our experience at M Cafe in Culver City, CA.


Restaurant: M Cafe
Type of Cuisine: Macrobiotic w/ vegan options
Location: 9343 Culver Blvd. Culver City, CA (map)
Contact: (310) 838-4300
Hours: Sun- Thur: 9am - 9pm, Fri & Sat: 9am- 10pm

Parking
There is parking available behind the building as well as metered parking on the street. I parked across the street with a strip of metered parking which was not required to pay parking after 6pm.

Ambiance
This was a bright, open, clean cafe where you walk up to the counter and place your order. Some of the dishes are already prepared and displayed in the front. You can choose to eat indoors or outdoors. We sat at the big picnic style table indoors since it was drizzly and cold outside.

Menu
There is not really a raw selection minus the salads which need to be special ordered to make totally raw. In the winter months I will eat more cooked food and if I am going to eat it this place was the right place to enjoy it. This menu is not vegan since fish is served, but there are several vegan dishes.

Service/Staffing
The staff behind the counter was very friendly. They even took our photo pictured above. The server joked about posing for the prom which we did, but there was no way I was going to post it! We stayed beyond the cafe hours, and the staff was really cool about it.

Our Order
Chai Mate Latte (w/ rice milk)
This was an interesting beverage, especially since I love chai, but it tasted far too dilluted for my tastes. I would have preferred a stronger chai flavor, but I love the mate latte concept. If I have it again I will definitely ask for more chai.


Scarlet Quinoa
The quinoa is red because of beet juice. It came out family style and we all took turns scooping a spoonful of the quinoa and then dipping it into the butternut squash soup. I tend to stay away from grains for the most part, but on occassion I will have them. This was a great way to have quinoa. I liked the veggies in it as well.

Spiced Butternut Bisque
I am really glad we had the soup considering butternut is my all time favorite soup. It was delicious, creamy and warm. It was served with pumpkin seeds on the top which gave a nice crunch, and as I mentioned before we all liked mixing this with the quinoa.


M Chopped Salad
This was suggested by the staff. It was made with organic hearts of romaine & mixed greens, avocado, cucumber, chickpeas herb-baked tofu, scallions, ume-pickled radishes, carrots, beets, tamari-roasted almonds, crumbled tempeh “bacon” , tofu-peppercorn ranch. I made some modifications to my salad. I changed the dressing to an avocado lemon viniagrette and passed on the tofu to make it a bit more appropriate for my needs since I prefer no soy.

Portions
The salad was huge and very filling. I could have easily shared it with someone. The large quinoa was enough for 4 people to share. The soup was an average sized portion.

Price
Um, it is bad I really didn't pay much attention to this detail? BTW, thanks again Dhru for your generosity.

Overall
This is a place I would go to on a cold day or if I was with non raw friends. There are several vegan dishes so it helps keep things healthy without weirding out the raw-phobic people.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Family Memories on Ice

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Raw Restaurant Review: Euphoria Loves RAWvolution



Type of cuisine served: raw vegan
Location: 2301 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA (map)
This place is located right down the street from the Farmers Market. Main street is a busy little strip with lots of cool little shops to check out. You'll find lots of people walking and riding their bikes around.
Contact: (310) 392-9501
Hours: 11:00am-2:30pm, 5:00pm-8:30pm.

Ambiance
In the morning this is a place where you walk up to the counter, place your order, seat yourself and they will bring your food out to you. It is very casual. There are books and products conveniently placed for you to check out. It has lots of private seating and communal areas to mingle. In the evening, you are seated by a host and the lighting is dim and sexy. I sat on a couch that reminded me of a comfy day bed that had a coffee table in front of it next to an open window. It was set up in a way that invited people to come, sit nearby and strike up a conversation which is exactly what happened.

Parking
This can be a bit of a pain if you are not familiar with where to park. Make sure you know all the parking rules. Some places in Santa Monica on Sundays you can park for free, but evidently this was not one of those places. Keep your change on hand if you want to park nearby. While I was inside the restaurant I enjoyed sitting and looking out the window, however not so much when I saw someone giving me a parking ticket...yikes! Better believe I won't make that mistake again.

Staffing/Service
The restaurant had just opened a few minutes before I arrived since I went just after yoga class and I was looking for a new yummy healthy breakfast spot. I was greeted as soon as I walked in by a young woman who was straightening up the books and retail items. I asked her what to order since it was my first visit. She was friendly and took the time to share her favorites on the menu. I then walked up to the counter where another lovely woman took my order. I was a little confused by the set up since there was a jar for tipping on the counter, but then they brought my food to me. What am I supposed to do? Do I leave a tip in the jar or on the table? I guess it doesn't matter as long as you just tip.

Menu
The menu was very simple, black and white. I didn't look over it much since I merely asked what was good. I like trying the popular dishes recommended by the staff whenever I am new to a place.

My Order
Reishi- Shilajit Ormus Tea
I tried the tea according the the recommendations of the two girls working. The tea was served in an over sized mug and had a strong healing flavor, not very sweet at all which is just what you would expect from a medicinal drink. I was fascinated by the tea and went home to look up more information about it's health benefits, especially with ormus in it. Here is what I found about Reishi-Shilajit Ormus Tea. I like knowing why I am drinking or eating a particular meal and what kind of effect will it have on me.

Buckwheat Granola with Tangy Probiotic Coconut Yogurt
Tangy is right, and oh-so creamy. I have never had coconut yogurt and I am inspired to make some at home one of these days. It seemed like a richer version of a dairy based yogurt, or maybe my memory of it since it has been years since I have had dairy based yogurt. I loved the crunchy buckwheat granola, chewy bits of sweet raisins and freshly sliced strawberries which was just enough to slightly sweeten this dish. I probably would have preferred it sweeter, but I enjoyed it tremendously. I even wondered what it would taste like if I had taken miracle fruit beforehand since miracle fruit blocks our sour taste bud sensors temporarily. Just for fun I'll have to go and try it again after sucking on miracle fruit. I bet it would taste like the sweetest yogurt ever.

Portion
This was just enough to satisfy my hunger, yet not enough to share.

Price
My order was under $15

Recommendation
I would totally suggest people check this place out and have the items I ordered. I loved that I was getting a healthy dose of probiotics in my yogurt since it is not something I have regularly, nor do I have tea like this. This meal definitely had the intention of health. It was filling without having a sluggish effect on me. I noticed that my digestion was not irritated by the meal which is one of the things I am paying attention to these days. The cleaner my diet becomes I want foods that do not leave me feeling weird afterwards. I like feeling good after I eat and this place definitely did the trick. Again, this is another place I am going to love becoming familiar with as I try all the items on the menu.

Support
I feel good knowing that I am supporting great places that have ethics and health behind it. I prefer to dine in places that are not large chain restaurants that have a ton of ingredients and preservatives that are not focused on feeding me optimal fuel for my body. When you find places that have your best interest and health in mind it is worth supporting them.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Raw Food Restaurant Review: Cru

Restaurant: Cru
Type of cuisine served: organic, raw & cooked gluten free vegan (menu)
Location: 1521 Griffith Park Blvd, Los Angeles, CA (map)
Contact: 323-667-1551
Hours:
Mon-Sat open for lunch 11am-4pm, and dinner 5:30pm-10pm
Sunday brunch 11am-2:30pm, and dinner 5:30pm-10pm.

Ambiance
Cru is a casual restaurant with a nice intimate low key vibe. It's decorated with warm cozy colors and a stained polished concrete floor. The lighting is dim, soft, warm and inviting which had me feeling very comfortable. The seating was simple with a long cushioned bench along the wall with simple sleek chairs across the tables. Each table had a candle votive and simple vase with charming Gerber daisies that my friend couldn't resist putting behind his ear! The restaurant was fresh, clean, and well maintained. Even the bathroom was clean, which always gives me creepy vibes if I go into a restaurant bathroom and it is a wreck. It always leaves me wondering how the kitchen must look behind closed doors. It can be very unsettling, but in this case I was happy to see it was tidy and clean.

Service/Staff
We were greeted and seated right away. There are some raw restaurants where the service is less than stellar or the restaurant seems understaffed. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the attentiveness as well as the prompt service. Not only was the food served in a timely manner, but the servers were very approachable and friendly. They really took the time to go over any questions that we had. It was so refreshing.

Menu
While overlooking the menu I enjoyed a warm cup of chamomile tea. The menu was easy to read without having too many complicated choices. They keep their menu simple and sweet. My friend and I weren't really hungry at the time, but since we were in the area we decided to get the order to go. We shared the following:

Kale Apple Lime Juice
This approx 12 oz. nourishing juice was very refreshing with a nice subtle sweet, crisp, clean flavor. The ingredient ratios were perfect, not too strong, not too sweet, not too tart, just right.


Deep Green Salad (pictured above)
We ordered the large to share which was a very generous & filling portion. The salad consisted of kale, tomato, avocado, sprouts and sunflower seeds. The chili lime dressing was outstanding. The menu showed that this dish came with sunflower seeds, however ours came with pine nuts which I prefer anyway. I loved the different textures and all the flavors mixed well together.

Asian Noodle Bowl
Kelp noodles topped with sprouts, chopped almonds, radishes, cucumbers and drizzled in the prefect amount of almond, chili sauce. This dish was so good! I really like spicy food so I might have asked for a side of minced jalapeno or some more chili, but to the regular guest it was perfect as it is. I will definitely be back to have this one again and again. No joke I am still thinking about this dish days later!

Pesto Ravioli
I wish I had a photo of this dish, it was truly beautiful. The wrap was made of white, thinly sliced root veggie (I wish I knew what it was, perhaps jicama) stuffed with herbed cashew cheese and topped with a pumpkin seed pesto sauce. It was wonderfully accompanied with a spicy arugula salad. I really savored the flavors in this dish. I suggest you eat this dish really slowly to get the full effect of the herbed cashew cheese!

Portions
The portions were so generous that we were able to share all the dishes and even save half of it to enjoy the next day. All the dishes were very filling.

Price
Organic raw food is always going to be a bit pricier than a standard cooked restaurant considering the labor and quality that goes into the food, however the value matched the prices.

Overall
One thing this restaurant seems to do well is to let the flavors merry together so that the dishes are full of flavor without seeming like the dishes were rushed. You could tell each dish was made with love and care and isn't that what you want when you go out to eat? BTW, I tend to eat very simple fare (mostly mono foods) most of the time and my tummy can get a bit upset with all the complicated food combinations however I did not experience any "weirdness" with the combinations. Perhaps because we passed on the desserts.

Recommendation
I highly recommend checking Cru out. The only drawback I experienced was parking. We had to walk a short distance to the restaurant, passing a small pack of gated in yapping Chiwawas. ;) but I know that I will definitely be back to try other menu selections. I will definitely have to munch on those amazing Asian noodles again too! This is a place that you can bring raw curious people to as well especially since there are gluten free cooked dishes on the menu as well.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

Raw Food Recipe: Broccoli Coleslaw Salad w/ Raspberry Vinaigrette

I spent the day recently at Glen Ivy Hot Springs and while I was in the steam room the conversation got onto raw food. (gee, imagine that...) As the group was talking about their different experiences or lack of knowledge on the subject completely, someone shared one of their favorite raw recipes. It was so simple I didn't even need to write it down. I decided to make it and see how I liked it. It was a broccoli salad. Now, I am not a huge fan of raw broccoli, but I knew I had a ton of it in my fridge from last weeks share from my wholesale organic produce buying club. It turned out pretty good so I thought I'd pay it forward. I have no idea what the ratios were so I will post my approximates, and feel free to modify it to your liking.



BTW, I am not a culinary artist or a great photographer, but I thought you'd like to get an idea of what this looks like.

Broccoli Salad
Broccoli (chopped small or food processed) -I used 1 bunch
Dried cranberries -I used one handful
Sunflower seeds- I used 1 handful of walnuts since I was out of sunflower seeds
Apple (chopped or food processed)- I used 2 small apples (one granny smith, one fuji)

Toss with the following dressing

Raspberry Vinaigrette
A couple handfuls of raspberries (mine were frozen from late summer)
2 T lemon juice (I prefer to use lemon or lime rather than vinegar)
1/2 C water
A handful of walnuts (I prefer to use whole foods rather than oil for my fat in dressings)

Blend in the Vita-mix till smooth, toss all ingredients together.

This recipe has a holiday vibe to it with the walnuts, apples, and cranberries. It's crisp, sweet, tart, crunchy and creamy. Plus the broccoli is in season right now so this makes a perfect winter broccoli coleslaw salad.

This recipe is also in alignment with the 80/10/10 diet if you keep your nuts down to a very small quantity, but there is no salt or vinegar or spices that 811'ers tend to steer clear from.

BTW, this keeps really well in a glass storage container if you are traveling, out working or running errands. There is no mixing or messing with putting things together, just a fork and voila!

If you have any variations of this recipe or if you try it, please let me know how you enjoyed it.