Posts Tagged ‘Interviews’

Timothy Glenn Tonight on Zany Mystic!

My dear friend — astrologer, Tarot reader and all around brilliant, funny and fun guy — Timothy Glenn will be interviewed tonight on A Fireside Chat with Zany Mystic! 7:00 p.m. West Coast US Time. More details about Tim here. You can click into A Fireside Chat here. I am so excited about this conversation, which promises to sparkle with wisdom, wit, and depth.

Ann Kreilkamp on Zany Mystic (Archived Interview Now Available)

You can now listen to this archived conversation between two of my friends and favorite activists: Ann Kreilkamp of http://exopermaculture.com interviewed by Lance White on a Fireside Chat with Zany Mystic. Click here to listen to a great discussion about permaculture, communities, grounding, Earth healing, astrology, alternative living, and much more.

A Fireside Chat with Lance White (Zany Mystic) and Laura Bruno ~ Saturday, March 29

The Zany Mystic will interview me again this coming Saturday, March 29, 2014 from 7 p.m. – 7:55 p.m. West Coast US Daylight Time (10 p.m. East Coast time). We have so many topics to discuss that we haven’t selected just one. If it’s anything like last time, we’ll cover everything from organic gardening to faeries to food security to medical intuition to how to move past “divide and conquer” politics. Please join us!

http://www.bbsradio.com/afiresidechat

Laura Bruno Interview Now Available on A Fireside Chat with Zany Mystic

For those of you who missed the original interview, you can now listen to it or download the interview by clicking this link.

We talked about intuition, brain injury, talking trees, the Faery Realm, GMO’s, organic gardening, hunger in America, and more. Quite the fun discussion! Lance is great. 🙂

Zany Mystic aka Lance White Interviews Laura Bruno On BBS Radio – A Fireside Chat – Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Zany Mystic’s Affiliate Link: http://www.bbsradio.com/7264.html
Email: zanymystic59@yahoo.com
Blog: http://www.bbsradio.com/hosts/afiresidechat/
Web address for BBS home page: http://www.bbsradio.com
A Fireside Chat BIO & Archives: http://www.afiresidechat.com

Zany Mystic aka Lance White Interviews Laura Bruno On BBS Radio – A Fireside Chat – Saturday

Well, well, well … the Faery Referral Network continues. Lance White contacted me after he saw one of my posts regarding GMO’s on Lucas’ site. He gave me the enormous compliment of saying it reminded him of his recent interview with Julian Rose, which I posted here. When he asked me to be a guest on his radio show, I gave Lance the following unexpected reply:

“Hi Lance,
Thanks so much for contacting me! I loved the interview with Julian Rose, and I would be honored to be on your show. It’s always so refreshing to find others who work with the Elementals, take tangible actions in the ‘real’ world and yet also recognize the creative consciousness and ongoing evolutionary pieces. As you mentioned, so many people think they’ve already discovered all there is to know, and if that’s true, then God/dess help us! We need at least a few more levels of awakening in order to transcend our current challenges. 😉

“It’s funny, back in August or September 2012, I listened to one of your shows, and I thought, ‘Wow, he is a great interviewer! I would love to be on his show sometime.’ Then life got crazy with our move from Madison, WI to Goshen, IN to support my boyfriends’ parents, and we also housed a friend and her young child during our last five weeks in Madison. I completely forgot about that whole interview and thought process until receiving your email this morning. Nice that the Universe remembers even when life gets in the way.

I’m posting the Julian Rose interview today.

Many thanks and blessings,
Laura”

Many synchronicities later, I’ll be Lance’s guest on A Fireside Chat this Saturday, November 30 at 7 p.m. West Coast time.

lance_white

Laura Bruno Headshot 2

Zany Mystic aka Lance White Interviews Laura Bruno On BBS Radio – A Fireside Chat – Saturday

My Affiliate Link: http://www.bbsradio.com/7264.html
Email: zanymystic59@yahoo.com
Blog: http://www.bbsradio.com/hosts/afiresidechat/
Web address for BBS home page: http://www.bbsradio.com
A Fireside Chat BIO & Archives: http://www.afiresidechat.com

Laura Bruno will be a guest on my show this coming Saturday, so for those who resonate to uniting with nature, earthing, sun gazing, cleansing, purifying and caring for our Selves in all ways, inner and outer, tune in Saturday, 7:00 p.m. pst, November 30th to A Fireside Chat with Zany Mystic!

Laura Bruno: http://www.laurabruno.wordpress.com

Warm wishes in this transformation,

Lance
http://www.afiresidechat.com

ZanyMysticRadio’s Channel – YouTube

See also an article from Laura at:
http://lucas2012infos.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/laura-bruno-the-faery-referral-network-25-november-2013/

BBS Radio Station 1 – Saturdays 7:00 – 7:55 PM (PST)
10:00 – 10:55 PM (EST)

Interview on Ascension in PEA GREEN BOAT

Just a quick note that the PEA GREEN BOAT Midsummer 2012 issue is out, with the theme, “Ascend.” I had the honor to give a short interview about Ascension, and Denise Le Fay is featured in there, too. You can read the entire online issue here.

Happy Full Moon!

Interview with Daniel Aaron

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Bali-based yoga teacher trainer, astrologer, writer and raw food enthusiast Daniel Aaron. I normally offer a longer introduction, but his answers are so thoroughly intriguing that I’ll let Daniel’s words speak for themselves. I hope you enjoy this inside look as much as I did.

Daniel Aaron

Let’s set the scene. For those of us who’ve never been, please share a little bit about Bali. How and why did you come to live there? How’s the food?

A fine beginning – us writer types love setting scenes. Ironically enough, I myself knew little about Bali before moving there. I think most of us in the Western world would have trouble even picturing it, other than imagining it was exotic and different. In many ways – some subtle, some obvious – it is very different from the West.

Bali has been known as ‘the island of the Gods’. It’s a small, tropical island in the midst of 13,000 Indonesian islands, and the only Hindu populace in a sea of Islam. How I came to move here is one of those intriguing moments in life, where some greater wisdom points you in the direction of ‘where you’re supposed to go’ or ‘what you’re supposed to do’. The time had come in my life, around five years ago, when suddenly I found myself with an urge to sink roots. I’d been living a nomadic life – always moving from teacher to ashram to school… part of me had been on some mission to find the next experience or opportunity I felt would push me to expand and grow further.

Just before Bali, I’d been living in Hawaii, asking myself, asking my friends, seeking the next phase in my life, the perfect place to relocate to. I remember I was in the middle of a noni juice fast, and my friend Miracle Jay said ‘why don’t you go to Ubud’? It was a landmark moment for me – immediately I felt a tingle run from head to foot, and I knew my direction had been set.

As great as the travelling and seeking life had been, these ‘planted’ last five years have been fruitful. The Balinese people say, “We have no art, we simply do everything as beautifully as possible.” This piece of wisdom so accurately reflects the vibration and philosophy of their island, and much of my experience in Ubud, the Balinese village in which I live. Ubud itself is known as the cultural and creative heart of Bali, which, in turn, is often thought to be the heart of the planet.

It’s a sweet and powerful mix of cultures and times. In one day I meet rice farmers working the fields as they have for generations, tourists and pilgrims, expats from around the world. My daughter and I walk at sunrise and find ducks working the fields, a dozen varieties of orchids and return to drink coconut water. The community based, heart-centered people of Bali are compassionate and incredibly generous hosts to Westerners sharing the island – and even though the local culture and devotional religion is foreign to most visitors, one can’t help but be fascinated by the graceful, smiling nature and spirituality of the Balinese people.

Local cuisine tends toward simplicity, as the culture is centered around rice cultivation and consumption. Yet the rich spices for which Indonesia became famous, pervade the fusion cuisine that’s also become famous in recent years. At my house we include much of the pungent local goodness into our raw food delights, especially the amazing raw cacao (the root of all chocolate).

I love that you’re so diverse! Astrology, yoga, fiction, raw food … you obviously have many interests. So many people try to fit their gifts into one neat package. How did you begin to “find your path” and what gave you the courage to pursue multiple career trajectories at the same time?

For as long as I can remember I bucked the common advice of practicality (in some ways) by pursing what was most interesting to me regardless of whether it apparently led to a job, career or income. In college I earned degrees in philosophy, religion and English. Some years later, after life shook me up and set me onto a spiritual ‘path’ of growth and discovery, I became a ‘training’ junkie, reveling in the depth of learning that these new (to me) forms of education provided. ‘Trainings from Transformational Breathing to Yoga, raw foods to transpersonal psychology, writing to astrology (and many more), my life became a roving romp into a kind of learning that I previously hadn’t imagined.

Eventually all that training – whose initial draw had simply been as means to understand and develop myself – started making sense as means to assisting others; I realized I’d developed skills and insights that were helpful to others. Even the college degree started making sense as part of what had prepared me for the multi-faceted and blessed role of getting to help others discover new possibilities in themselves and the world. I feel incredibly lucky to spend my days, my life, passionately immersed in such a wide range of topics, continually growing and expanding, always bringing me variety, learning, satisfaction and gratification.

You have quite a list of well-known clients. What do you consider the key reasons someone would want to find a yoga instructor? What qualities should they look for in their search?

It’s an exciting time for those of us passionate about sharing yoga; the popularity of – and really the global need for – yoga keeps rising. Even in the last 15 years that I’ve been immersed in it, popularity of yoga has continued to exponentially rise – and I think this is a reflection of the shift of the global culture – that so many of us are beginning to wake up, to realize that the potential for us to truly experience the life we wish to create is so possible, so close. That who we REALLY are, what we are REALLY capable of, is actually far beyond what society has presented, to all of us, as normal. Most people find yoga as a way to either to move away from some sort of pain, or to move toward some form of enhanced living. People find yoga to relieve stress, get more flexible, because it’s become trendy… or find enlightenment. And often regardless of their initial interest, they find more and different components as their involvement continues to feed them.

It’s inspiring to be part of the yoga world these days – there are plenty of styles and teachers sharing all over the world. Part of what I offer in the spectrum of yoga, what’s important for me to share, is the holistic approach to practice, that ‘practicing yoga’ is really a life style that leads us to ever greater vibrancy.

This broad view of what yoga can be led me create a revolutionary yoga teacher training, and – luckily – to bring together an amazing team of people with whom we create many different events and resources, from 2-4 week trainings to retreats to workshops. We’re inspired to provide people opportunities and tools to be more radiantly alive.

We aim to create opportunities that emphasize this philosophy by bringing humor, challenge and spiritual insight into every yoga class as well as every event we produce.

What to look for in a yoga teacher? What a great question! It’s one we explore often. Probably the best advice I’d give someone looking for a teacher, is to find someone with whom you resonate. So that after taking a class, and spending time with them, you walk away feeling uplifted, inspired and energized.

I’m a fan of ‘whatever works.’ I highly recommend exploring many teachers, styles and methods, to continually find what works for you. And then periodically asking yourself again: ‘is this working?’ ‘What would be even better, be more effective, to lead me more and more in the direction I want to go in my life?’

On your website you share that you’ve “gone far beyond asana.” How has your personal practice grown with mantras, meditation and reading sacred scriptures?

I’m incredibly grateful for the rich opportunities I’ve had to study with and be around phenomenal teachers. From yoga asana (postures) to satsang (meetings) to nutrition gurus, many wise and generous beings have shared their wisdom and their experience with me. For years I lived at ‘consciousness centers,’ and dived into courses, teachers, knowledge and learning. I’ve loved combining time-honored scripture with modern psychology, all embedded within my own experiences and insights. I revel in finding the sacred in the ordinary, and the ordinary in the sacred. The yoga classes I lead might include a reading from the Vedas, hip-hop music, a joke I heard last week, a story from my own life. Again: whatever works. Whatever is authentic and uplifting to all of us.

What sort of Astrology services do you offer? For someone who has never explored this area, what benefits might he or she expect from a reading?

One client with whom I consulted, the director of a psychology clinic, summed it up well: “One session brought me a clarity in understanding myself that took me two years of weekly therapy to find.” What I love about astrology – and I’m a fan of many systems of self-understanding – is that it’s as complex, rich and individual as each of us. And it works. How and why it works may be debatable, yet the evidence is clear that it does.

My main interest and specialty with astrology is looking into people’s evolutionary path – meaning, exploring the biggest reason for them being here. Once we’re more clear on what our soul wants for our learning and growth in life, many of the other important and pressing matters – work, love, health – fall more easily into place. I love astrology’s natural complexity, its ability to illuminate so many different parts of ourselves and to help us balance, harmonize and optimize those components into ever more radiant lives.

Once I’ve looked into the most essential parts of someone’s astrological make-up, its then possible to delve deeper into cycles that indicate more of what’s happening now and in the future – less to predict it, more to simply become more aware of planetary ‘weather patterns’ that help us both take better advantage of opportunities, and avert the less desirable aspects of challenges. Astrology is also useful for better understanding relationships – why they exist and how to get the best out of them.

Raw food diets are so diverse, and some Eastern philosophies really emphasize cooking foods. As a yoga teacher and for you personally, what tips can you share for balancing raw foods and yoga?

I’m glad you asked this. In my years of working with people in the raw food world, I’ve seen many people succeed and some have more trouble with raw food. I’ve grown into the understanding that eating living foods can work beautifully for everyone, if we approach it intelligently and find what is right for us individually. This is one of the greatest teachings of many of the Eastern medical systems – in both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda: that we are all unique, and have specific dietary (and lifestyle) needs that will keep us in balance and healthy. We can call it biochemical individuality.

Success on a living food diet – meaning that we feel great, healthy, rich in energy – as with any aspect of life requires us to experiment, to find out what really works for us. Whether one chooses a macrobiotic, vegeterian, pescatarian, or breatharian diet, no two people will be (nor would benefit from) eating the same way.

Confusion often comes in when principles devolve into dogma. Some people need the fire element more than others. Some have weaker or stronger digestive tendencies. Principles often get reduced when people don’t understand them and want someone to simply tell them what to do. Dogmatic thinking can turn wise Eastern nutritional wisdom into saying people need to eat cooked food. Yet a higher perspective on it shows us that we can work with those principles while still taking advantage of the benefits of living foods. For instance, I’m visiting upstate New York right now, and the weather just turned cold. Last night I felt a craving for cayenne pepper, and so I included some in my hot (warm) chocolate drink, which quickly brought my body an internal sense of warmth.

The wide variety of approaches to living foods these days is a result of 1. its increased popularity and 2. the fact that many people need different approaches. It works differently for different people. Many of the raw food leaders simply prescribe their way of eating, which will work perfectly for some and not so perfectly for others.
Pardon my repetition, and it does bear repeating – success comes from learning what works for us individually. Education helps. Experience is key.

What sort of retreats do you offer?

Every retreat – every event of any sort, actually, whether it’s a 1 hour yoga class or a 4 week training – is aimed at creating opportunities, experiences and education that helps people create more and more of the life they want. Of course most everyone wants more energy, vitality, health and excitement. We want to be fully alive, to experience our potential as vibrant beings.

Our retreats vary in length and intensity. They almost all include Vibrant Living Yoga classes. All of our residential retreats include gourmet, organic living foods. We like to be in amazing beautiful places, so often our retreats take advantage of that with excursions into the nature and culture of those places, whether in Bali or elsewhere. Because I love creating experiences for people together with great teachers and presenters, and because collobating is both more fun for us and creates powerful events, we include amazing people on our ‘faculty’ from all over the world. Yoga teachers, nutrition gurus, musicians, body workers and healers.
The more I respond to that question, the more grateful I become. It’s a truly divine life where I get to play with such phenomenal people in the creation of our maximum delight in life.

Please tell us a little about your novel.

It’s been an educational and growthful process to write this novel. I’m now in the midst of the 3rd draft of it and still don’t like to speak too much about it, lest I dilute some of the alchemical energy I prefer to focus on recreating and finishing it. However, a writer friend did encourage me to write a ‘teaser’ for it recently. Though teasers – the little blurbs found on the back of a book to get people to buy them – generally aren’t so appealing to the authors themselves, I will share it here:

Locked against his will in a psych ward, on the heels of spiritual awakening tainted by well-meaning if misunderstanding friends and health-care professionals, Samuel confronts the ghost of his paranoid schizophrenic sister 8 years after her suicide (and reads to her), tracing his mind’s plummet along-side a rise in heart and spirit, while healing and rewriting their family history backwards from the ward, and potentially forward to new world of freedom.

What’s next?

Wow. A delightful question that one. I love imagining and creating the future. And then seeing it unfold in myriad ways even better than my imaginations. I’m at a wildly exciting time in my life, right in the middle of some fantastic creative projects. Aside from the novel and our trainings and retreats, we’ve just launched a line of raw chocolates. After years of playing around with making chocolate for myself and my friends, the combination of how good it makes us feel and how much people love the taste inspired me to take it public. In parallel with that, another long time love – the alchemical blending of essential oils (and specifically for use in yoga) – just turned into a line of products that went public in this last year. Both of those new ventures will be leaping to their next phase of evolution soon and be available around the world (right now just in Bali).

As if that all weren’t more than enough, we’re excited to be building spaces to house all this and more. We’re creating both physical and virtual space right now. Before long those who come to see us in Bali will be able to do so at our retreat center, and those who would like to connect with us more without coming to Bali, will be able to do so through our Radiantly Alive membership community online. I’m so excited in that both of these spaces will give the opportunity to reach more of the people who are motivated to increase their vibrancy. I love the image of our Radiantly Alive family growing and expanding, each of us sparkling more radiance into the world.

Thanks, so much for sharing your wisdom and a slice of your life with us, Daniel!

If you’d like to read more about Daniel Aaron, please visit his website. And now for a little trivia in case you’re wondering how I encountered Mr. Aaron all the way in Bali: we were introduced online by the lovely Shazzie when she learned about my novel Schizandra and the Gates of Mu. Daniel’s daughter’s middle name is a variant of Schizandra! What a small, interconnected world …

interviewed by Laura Bruno, author of The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide and Schizandra and the Gates of Mu (the world’s first raw cacao-yoga-astrology-novel).

Blessings and Synchronicity!

Writing, Writer’s Block & Editing

Traci Moore, my editor for Schizandra and the Gates of Mu just interviewed me for her website. We cover a bit about my writing process, along with how I knew when to hire an editor, and what inspired the Schizandra Series. If you know me primarily as a Medical Intuitive and Life Coach, my nerdy English major side might surprise and/or amuse you. Enjoy!

Cherie Soria & Dan Ladermann: An Interview

This interview ran last year in VegFamily Magazine, but with the fifth annual Vibrant Living Expo happening August 21-23, 2009, I thought I’d run it again here.

Cherie Soria and Dan Ladermann: Founder and Director of the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in Fort Bragg, CA

Interviewed by Laura Bruno:

Dan and Cherie

On May 22, 2008, I enjoyed sitting down with Cherie Soria and Dan Ladermann at the Living Light Culinary Institute on Northern California’s Mendocino Coast. With graduates from 35 countries, this Fort Bragg-based school attracts 350 students per year for classes ranging from a weekend FUNdamentals of Raw Living Foods course for beginners to the year-long Professional Chef Training program. In addition to the culinary school, Living Light also offers:

* a shop with books, kitchen gadgets and top-of-the-line organic foods and seasonings

* a Café recognized by VegNews as one of the top twenty vegan restaurants in the world

*an eco-travel Inn with organic shower supplies, bedding, and filtered shower and tap water.

They also host the educational Vibrant Living Expo, which attracts national speakers and visitors each August.

Cherie, who has been a raw vegan for nearly 16 years, began her career 38 years ago as a teacher of vegetarian cooking. “Making the switch to vegan was difficult,” she admits. “I really missed my eggs and dairy!” When she discovered the concept of raw vegan foods, though, something shifted. “I changed my tastes!” giggles the petite 61-year-old, whose looks and energy rival those of people 25 years younger.

“Raw food is about abundance. You can eat all the raw fruits and vegetables you want and our job is to show you how to make them taste so good you’ll prefer them over foods that are high in fat or lacking in nutrition. We know your comfort foods are important and we’re not trying to take them away. In fact, we tell people if they just add more raw fruits and vegetables to their diet each day, they will most likely start feeling more energetic right away and the more you eat, the better you feel.”

“Antioxidants and phytonutrients are heat sensitive,” Cherie says. “You kill ’em when you cook ’em and these are our first defense against cancer and premature aging. No one argues that, but people don’t want to be ‘should’ on.”

She adds with a mischievous smile, “The thing is, most people eat for flavor, not for heath and we know that. Our belief is that once you’ve tasted the freshness of gourmet raw vegan foods, you’ll want more and more. That’s why we have the slogan ‘Making Healthy Living Delicious.’ We don’t just want to create food that’s as good. We want to make raw foods taste better than cooked.” (Having spent two days sampling treats at the Living Light Café, I’d say they’ve succeeded!)

Dan, now a 13-year raw vegan, began as an engineer in internet technology and gradually developed a professional interest in the vegan lifestyle. After attending the Hippocrates Institute’s Health Educator Program, in 1998 he created the non-profit Institute for Vibrant Living, whose 1999 health expo in San Francisco had 1000 attendees. From there, Dan began attending health retreats in places like Hawaii, Bali, and Jamaica. “I even participated in a raw vegan kayak trip in Alaska!” says Dan. “I began to notice that events coordinated by Living Light really stood out. They were consistently well-organized, had great people, and they offered delicious food! I thought this is the kind of place I’d like to be involved with, so I set my intention to get involved.”

At this point, Cherie chimes in: “So, as you can see, Dan’s quite effective with his intentions. Now he’s the Director of Living Light, we’re married, and we have four businesses together!”

They enjoy my jaw-dropping surprise. Cherie and Dan are such dynamic individuals and their skills, experience and interests seem so perfect for business partnership that prior to the interview I had no idea they were married! Indeed, these passionate health advocates actually met through their work. As Dan notes, “We shared our first kiss on camera. It was my first collaboration with Living Light, and at the end of the event, it was my job to deliver flowers to the chef. As I handed Cherie the flowers, I kissed her cheek. Years later we were watching that video at my mother’s house and we just looked at each other. Who has their first kiss on videotape? We suddenly realized, ‘Wow, that’s where it all began!'”

Cherie just released a new book with two other long-term vegetarian activists, the registered dieticians and co-authors, Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina (The New Becoming Vegetarian and Becoming Vegetarian). In The Raw Revolution Diet, Cherie wanted to offer a raw vegan cookbook with scientifically proven nutrition. “The book is groundbreaking in that it only draws upon peer-reviewed studies. When I initially contacted these dieticians, they were a little skeptical,” she admits. “They warned me they couldn’t guarantee that what they’d find would support a raw vegan diet. I believed in the diet, and the official results were amazing!” Her eyes sparkle as she grins: “Now both dieticians follow a high raw diet!”

Davis and Melina studied the nutrients and helped Cherie create a raw book specifically tailored to those wanting to lose weight through vegan foods. The book includes over 150 recipes, as well as a “21-day fast track with real guidelines. “It offers lots of nutritional tables in a user-friendly format. As Cherie says, “It’s easy to have an unhealthy vegan diet. Even raw recipes often contain lots of fat. In writing this book, I had ‘the sugar police’ on one side and ‘the fat police’ on the other. “Cherie notes that even a raw diet too high in fat can eventually sap one’s energy and mental clarity. “I need my energy and clarity! She says, motioning to the nearby classroom, café and store.

According to Cherie, “The book’s subtitle says it all, Feast, Lose Weight, Gain Energy, Feel Younger. That’s what it’s all about. The weight loss is safe and scientifically backed, but this book is really for everyone. Who doesn’t want to gain energy and feel and look younger while feasting? Even though the recipes contain only set amounts of ‘fractional fat per serving,'” says Cherie, “with our guidelines, we could still create really beautiful satisfying meals. The result is a program that’s appropriate for weight loss but also sustainable. The sustainable part is really important, because it’s not just about losing the initial weight. It’s about finding a lifestyle you can maintain.”

When I ask what comes next, Cherie and Dan both share their excitement about this year’s Vibrant Living Expo, held August 22-24, 2008 [August 21-23, 2009] in downtown Fort Bragg. “The Expo is close to both our hearts, “says Dan. “A labor of love,” adds Cherie. They envision this fourth annual event as a gathering and a “bridge for different thoughts around raw foods. Raw food diets are not all the same, but this Expo focuses on the similarities. It’s a venue to hear them all.”

Both Dan and Cherie serve on the Advisory Committee of Sedona’s larger Raw Spirit Festival, but they emphasize the educational aspects of the Expo. “It’s all about education, with three lecture venues and one culinary venue every hour on the hour. “The event features raw stalwarts like Gabriel Cousens and Victoria Boutenko, as well as “rising stars” graduates of Living Light who feel ready to teach their very first raw food preparation class.

I leave the interview with a copy of The Raw Revolution Diet and hugs all around. Spending an hour with Dan and Cherie, one can easily understand why Living Light has become such a shining example of what’s possible in the ever-changing world of raw foods. Their experience and enthusiasm raise the energy in any room, and their love pulses through my entire two-day stay. From students to employees, everyone seems genuinely kind. Excited about biodegradable utensils, organic produce, and compostable containers, the employees I meet clearly feel thrilled to help people heal themselves and the planet, yet they each share a message of acceptance. They welcome everyone from the local omnivore whose health aide suggested an anti-cancer field trip, to the VegFamily writer enjoying raw vegan ice cream on her birthday. As Cherie says, “We begin with appreciation. That sets the tone.” And so it does!

[For more information on the facilities, food and program at Living Light, you might also enjoy this profile.]

Interviewed by Laura Bruno, an Intuitive Life Coach and Reiki Master Teacher who wrote The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide: http://www.lazyrawfoodist.com and If I Only Had a Brain Injury. Her first novel features some vegan and raw foodist characters!

Interview with Sarma Melngailis

I have long wanted to interview Sarma for this blog, because she’s a woman of fascinating contradictions, multi-talents and beauty. Plus, she makes some seriously awesome raw food! Really, those Rosemary Quackers are unbelievable. 🙂 Sarma has received quite a bit of press for her restaurant, online shop and books, but I wanted this interview to show a side of her that not everyone gets to see. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did!

Sarma Photo

1. You’ve got a new book that just came out. For those of us who loved Raw Food, Real World, please share a bit about how your new one’s similar and how it differs.

It’s called Living Raw Food and like the first book it’s full of recipes from my restaurant Pure Food and Wine, but this time they’re divided in two sections: easier recipes that don’t require much soaking time or dehydration, and more ambitious recipes that require a bit more planning. The text around the recipes in Raw Food Real World was from a beginner’s perspective. My co-author and I described how we felt after our overnight transition from eating absolutely everything to eating only (or, mostly only) raw plant foods. Now this book is written just by me, and it’s more about what it’s been like for me after five years on mostly raw. I also really wanted to address some of the more common questions I’ve been asked over the years, which includes issues related to emotional detox and people’s struggle to “stick with it”. There are also lots of short essays about various ingredients and an essay on feeding your pets raw.

2. Your restaurant gets rave reviews from around the world. Please share some of your favorite moments of recognition.

Hmmm. It’s not that often that I get asked to gloat but this is fun! Domestically, I’ve always been really proud of our listing as a three-star restaurant in Forbes magazine’s list of All Star New York Eateries, every year since we’ve opened. It always makes me really happy when we’re recognized for our food and not just in a vegetarian category.

Internationally, we’ve always gotten tons of coverage from Japan more than anywhere else. I think they are very in tune with what’s new and perceived as “cutting edge” over here, and also experiencing a big movement towards organic and healthy living. Also, Japanese food has similarities with our food in that it’s very much about aesthetics, natural flavors, and respect for the ingredients. Japanese food (like raw food) is very restrained in comparison to often heavy or sloppy American or other foods.

What other favorite moments… OKAY, since my father is from Latvia, I was totally excited when the magazine with the biggest circulation in Latvia, Sestdiena (which translates as “Saturday”) put me on their cover. That was pretty cool. International press is great because so many people from all over the world are always traveling through New York, and we also ship One Lucky Duck orders internationally now.

3. So many people know you as the author of Raw Food, Real World and the owner of Pure Food and Wine, but you also have an online store called One Lucky Duck. I haven’t made it out to NYC yet, but I sure love the Duck. For those readers not aware of your company, please share some of the vision behind this little gem.

One Lucky Duck is a brand I created for our packaged snack line and ingredients and also for our online store (http://oneluckyduck.com). Launched in 2005, it’s a source for the best of everything raw and organic. I felt like there was a need for a fun, colorful, reliable source that didn’t carry an overwhelming selection of products, only the very best that we find in every category. We carry a whole line of our own packaged cookies and snacks, ingredients and supplements in a section called “eat”.

Then we also have “glow” for skincare and cosmetics, “read” for books and magazines, “wear” for apparel, and “nest” for kitchen tools, home products, exercise tools, and pet products. The website is a lot of fun—we just updated it to add more informational sections and my blog.

4. You have an unusual tattoo. Is there an interesting story behind that?

Thanks. It’s the One Lucky Duck logo (registered and trademarked, by the way!) I got it just before the online business launched in the summer of 2005. As soon as the logo was completed and confirmed, I realized it was the tattoo I’d been waiting for. For years and years I’d wanted to get a tattoo but really didn’t want to get just anything. So I was waiting for the right image and this was it. I like the idea of branding myself with the brand of the company.

5. Tell me about your famous sneaker collection.

Oh dear. This is a bit embarrassing. Over the years I’ve collected a lot of sneakers. I purposely avoid going into or looking in windows of sneaker shops, but sometimes I can’t avoid it and see something new or a color I don’t have. Right now, I have 39 pairs of Pumas. I don’t know how they all fit in my apartment b/c it’s not very big but they’re stashed in the backs of closets and up on shelves. I also have 3 pairs of Pro-Keds, 2 Adidas, 3 pairs of Vans, a few Converse, and a few boring old running sneakers. I just have a thing for old-school style sneakers (and all of these collected over many years! I haven’t bought any new sneakers in at least a year… I think.) I only have a few pairs of high heeled shoes and I wear high heels maybe two or three times a year.

6. You’re widely recognized as one of the most gorgeous raw foodists. What are your favorite beauty products?

Oh… thanks! Well, I love coconut butter. That’s one of my all time favorites because it has so many uses – body oil, face oil, make-up remover, shaving, lip balm, and then you can put some in shakes too because it’s so yummy. Speaking of yummy, Bee Yummy Skin Food is another favorite product. It’s amazing for everyone and really healing for burns and any irritated condition. I think it’s also great to keep skin clear—it’s not a heavy cream. And for cosmetics, RMS Beauty is made by my good friend and is outstanding. The concealer is the best, and I love the luminizer too—it’s shimmery and makes you glowy. Those are my all time favorites. And lately I’ve been using Dr. Alkaitis products (cleanser, eye cream, etc)—they’re amazing.

7. You once sported a blue Mohawk. Care to share anything about those days? What has inspired your various style shifts?

Oh yes. Well, when I was 12 years old I started cutting my hair shorter and shorter. Then coloring it orange, then it got brighter—like Ronald McDonald bright—then it went to blue, then green, and back to mostly blue and so it went until I was 15 when I finally grew it out and dyed it brown (which then shifted to my current blonde over the years). I think I just liked being different, and at that age I could get away with it. During that time I worked at a quirky frame store and art gallery, where I could also get away with it.

8. You receive a lot of emails from young women with eating disorders. What tips can you share here for anyone struggling with body image issues?

I always say to them, go easy on yourself! Better yet, forgive yourself! It’s okay. It’s funny? Okay, it’s not always funny, not at all. But I think if you can try to see it that way, then at least some of the pressure is lifted, and it’s the pressure that’s causing all the trouble. The saddest thing is to feel terrible, guilty, and alone over those sorts of issues. And I think feeling really bad about these sorts of struggles only exacerbates the whole thing.

Breathing in and out and focusing on being compassionate with your self no matter what’s going on is helpful. Also, trying to shift thinking towards being optimally healthy (vs. optimally skinny, etc.) can provide the right kind of inspiration, and that’s how raw food can help because it shifts your focus onto food as nourishment and fuel and eating optimally healthy foods (which are also optimally healthy for the planet).

I read an excerpt from Frank Bruni’s upcoming book—he’s been the New York Times restaurant critic for over five years, and turns out he was bulimic throughout high school and college. You don’t often hear about men having these sorts of struggles. So, it’s not as unusual as people think. Overall the issue of body image is a tough one. Everyone’s their own worst critic, and feeling crappy about that stuff doesn’t do anything to help at all.

9. In addition to being One Lucky Duck, you’re also “One Smart Cookie” with a surprising history in … investment banking? How did you know it was time to take a leap of faith into something different?

After college I came to New York and worked for Bear, Stearns. After two years of many 100-hour plus weeks of working, I moved to private equity. I still worked my ass off there, but it was more interesting. Finally, I wanted more of a life and more control and figured at a hedge fund I could have that—where the work is not deal-oriented but rather market-oriented and so didn’t require late nights and weekends. I thought I’d be happy then.

Instead, having more time only made it really obvious to me that I simply didn’t love what I was doing and very often felt out of place in that environment. I didn’t get excited about reading The Wall Street Journal and talking about deals. But I loved reading Gourmet and Food and Wine and loved talking about restaurants and food. When I was leaving private equity to go look for work at a hedge fund, one of my colleagues pointed out to me that I didn’t seem to love what I do, since I always talked about food and restaurants. I think that’s when I realized inside that I needed to leave finance, though it didn’t happen until almost a year into my next job.

10. You run a busy restaurant and online store with over 70 employees in total, have written two books, you represent your own brand to the press and public, you’re in a relationship, and you’re doing all of this under some challenging circumstances. I also know you’ve got a huge heart. How do you manage to keep it all together?

I don’t always keep it all together! Or, I just haven’t figured it out yet. The restaurant and oneluckyduck.com stay together and running because so many amazing people work there and I’m lucky that they’re so dedicated. I’m usually able to keep myself together because I’m inspired by them and inspired by all the people who come to the restaurant and juice bar, and visit the website and read the books.

Still, sometimes I let myself fall apart. Or, I hit some kind of burnout threshold and then just really don’t want to get out from under the covers. I used to beat myself up over this, or try to avoid it. Now it’s much better if I can accept that it doesn’t mean I’m a total failure if I feel that way now and then, and just go with it!

11. What’s your very favorite “New York Moment”?

I think it was actually the very first day I lived in New York in the summer of 1994. I’ll never forget the feeling standing on the street on Second Avenue and 10th street holding the keys to the little studio apartment I was renting. I was out of college and my father just rode off after having helped move me in. I felt this incredibly exhilarated feeling, all on my own, in New York City, where I’d barely spent any time before, living alone in my own place for the first time—completely independent. So I’m in this euphoric mood, and I turn to walk down the block and there’s Robert DeNiro, just standing there talking to someone. And he looks right at me and I look right back. Of all the people to see in New York City on your first day there… !

12) Please tell us a bit about your furry friends, Dallas and Sydney.

Sarma's Feline Friends

Sarma's Feline Friends

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I have two cats, Sydney and her brother Dallas. They’re from the same litter even though they look very different. I got them from someone’s house near where my mother lives in New Hampshire, so I met their mom and other siblings. They’re over eleven years old now.

After I switched to raw food six years ago I started thinking more about what I was feeding them and what their ideal and natural diet should be. After looking into it I started feeding them raw food and they’re amazing on it. I haven’t brought them to the vet since and they’re beautiful, energetic companions. The food I get them is raw organic chicken and vegetables and it comes frozen. I also give them dehydrated wild salmon treats which they go totally bonkers over. We carry them at oneluckyduck.com. They come for dogs too but they’re the same thing, just a bigger size. I’m working on spinning off the pets section of oneluckyduck into its own site, shinyhappypets.com, so that’s one of the projects in the works.

Too Cute!

13. I’m so excited by your work! If Sarma had Sarma’s way, what else would we see from you in the near future?

A LOT! There’s a lot I want to do. Feeling held back from being able to charge forward to make it happen has been really challenging. I’m looking for the right partnerships and funding, which takes time. It’s like finding the right person to father your children… you don’t want to do that with just anyone. It’s been a long and very interesting road, but I really want to do it all the right way. Bringing raw food (and natural living) into the mainstream in a very big (and fun) way is the goal, and there are a lot of really great and different ways I want to do that, and in different parts of the world. And one of these days, I want to take a real vacation!

Thanks so much, Sarma! Wishing you the grandest of blessings and synchronicities and that all-elusive vacation.

You can visit Sarma at http://oneluckyduck.com or Pure Food & Wine.

Interviewed by Laura Bruno of www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com. If you liked this interview, you might also enjoy ones with Cassie Margraf and Tania Marie.