Posts Tagged ‘Raw Foods’

NYC allows doctors to prescribe fresh fruit and vegetables as treatment for obesity; FDA declares veggies ‘unapproved drugs’

It was the sanest of times; it was the insanest of times. I am proud to live in a county where the Sheriff stands up to the FDA, but it’s really encouraging to hear about doctors and politicians putting the Big Apple back into NYC. Here’s Mike Adams with the good, the bad, and the ridiculous:

NYC allows doctors to prescribe fresh fruit and vegetables as treatment for obesity; FDA declares veggies ‘unapproved drugs’

(NaturalNews) These days, it’s difficult to find examples of government doing anything that makes sense. That’s all the more reason why a program embraced by New York City is newsworthy. Dubbed the “Fruit and Vegetables Prescription Program,” it allows doctors to “prescribe” fresh fruit and vegetables to overweight or obese patients by giving them “Health Bucks” that are redeemable at local farmer’s markets.

See the announcement of this program at the Wholesome Wave website.

This program makes New York City the largest U.S. city to officially acknowledge that fruits and vegetables have a role to play in preventing chronic degenerative disease — an idea that the FDA insists is delusional. According to the FDA, there is no such thing as any fruit, vegetable, supplement or superfood that has any ability whatsoever to prevent, treat or cure any disease.

Sure, the FDA’s belief is ancient history in terms of present-day knowledge about nutrition and disease, but it’s still federal policy. And according to the FDA, the mere “prescribing” of a food as something to prevent obesity automatically transforms that food into a “drug.” Under current FDA regulations, then, NYC is guilty of promoting “unapproved drugs” which are really just fruits and vegetables. But that’s how FDA logic works.

NYC officials invest in nutrition to prevent disease

New York doesn’t seem to be letting the FDA’s outdated delusions stop it from pursuing the “Fruits and Vegetables Prescription Program,” however. Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley announced the program last week, and by all accounts the program has been met with widespread approval. It allows families that are prescribed the Health Bucks to redeem them for fresh produce at over 140 New York City farmer’s markets.

As WFEV reports:

Bronx resident Tammy Futch said her family has seen positive changes since starting the program.

“My son lost 40 pounds behind this program,” she said, “and also I lost weight doing it with him and also I have my other kids, I have four other kids also doing the program.”

The Prescription Program was started by Wholesome Wave in 2011 and has since been expanded to seven states.

Natural News endorses the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program

For the record, all of us here at Natural News openly endorse this program, and we think it needs to be vastly expanded. To understand why, let’s talk about the role of government and food stamps for a moment.

Right now, 100+ million Americans are on some form of federal food aid. Much of that is through the USDA’s “SNAP” program, often called “food stamps” even though that’s not the official name anymore.

The SNAP program is nothing more than a big government handout to junk food manufacturers and soda companies. That’s because food stamp money can be spent on all the processed junk foods and sodas that make people sick and diseased with conditions like diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease and more. Through SNAP, the federal government is subsidizing the foods that cause sickness! Obviously, this also drives up health care costs and deeply harms the overall U.S. economy.

What if we took the federal SNAP program and turned the entire thing into the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program?

What I mean here is to shift the SNAP program so that all processed junk foods are disallowed. Update the rules so that SNAP funds can only be used to buy fresh produce and a few basic staples such as rice, oats, beans, salt and so on.

All of a sudden, you’d see a nationwide shift away from disease and toward vastly improved health. Disease rates would plummet, but so would the share prices of junk food companies like PepsiCo, Kraft and Coca-Cola. You’d also see lower rates of chronic degenerative disease, and this would hurt the profits of the all-powerful drug companies, hospitals and cancer industry profiteers. For these reasons, the food and medicine lobby will incessantly pressure the USDA to make sure SNAP continues to keep Americans sick and diseased. After all, billions of dollars in profits are at stake here, and the drug companies have a powerful lobby.

So don’t expect the feds to do anything other than keep poisoning America through SNAP. That’s the purpose of the program, it seems: to sicken the population and trap Americans in a never-ending cycle of medical dependence while enriching the drug companies.

Cities can succeed where the federal government fails

But on a city-by-city basis, forward-thinking people are starting to fight back against the “industry of death” offered by the USDA and its junk food subsidy programs. That’s why New York City deserves a lot of credit for this particular program: it’s investing taxpayer money directly into the health of people who are on the verge of becoming huge financial burdens on the health care system.

See, for every dollar you spend subsidizing real nutrition in the population — fresh fruits, vegetables or superfoods — you’ll probably save $10 or more in averted health care costs over the long term. Healthy foods are a fantastic investment because they’re cheap to buy but extremely valuable in terms of the lifesaving medicines they provide.

Blueberries, for example, contain natural medicines that help prevent heart disease:

Broccoli contains natural medicines that help prevent cancer:

Tomatoes are very well documented to help prevent prostate cancer:

And turmeric root, often used in curries, is well known to be a powerful treatment for breast cancer:

See the entire list of foods and their health benefits at the new website:

Because of all the astounding health benefits of foods, a typical farmer’s market is a treasure chest of natural medicines that can prevent and reverse cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and much more. It is only because of monopolistic, oppressive FDA policies that the entire medical profession isn’t already “prescribing” fresh produce to prevent degenerative disease.

This is how we beat the federal death sentence: City by city, state by state, prescribing nutrition to prevent disease

Personally, I find it fascinating that NYC is the place where this is happening right now. NYC is normally a pro-big-government city, meaning they should worship the FDA-endorsed idea of feeding everybody chemical medications and junk foods while attacking nutrition and outlawing health claims.

But that’s not what we’re seeing here. With this program, NYC is actually taking a stand against FDA tyranny and the federal government’s “death subsidy” program called SNAP. Perhaps NYC realizes it’s headed the way of Detroit if doesn’t get its long-term health care costs under control. After all, a city that lives on processed food and prescription medications is a city that will inevitably collapse from “disease care” bankruptcy. And right now across America’s largest 61 cities, future health care entitlements are only funded at 6 cents on the dollar.

Perhaps there are enough smart New Yorkers still in charge to realize the only way to have a healthy city is to have healthy people. And that means finding creative ways to get people to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables rather than pigging out on nutrient-depleted junk foods. The easiest solution to all this is to just hand out vouchers for fresh produce, effectively giving them to the population for free.

The two areas where government has a legitimate role in handing out benefits

That’s why I think every city in the nation would be smart to implement this program. Although I don’t like the overall idea of any government running around hanging money out to people, this is one exception where it actually makes sense.

In fact, I’ve always believed there are TWO areas where the government has a legitimate role in subsidizing the public:

1) NUTRITION – Fresh produce, superfoods and food-based supplements and non-pasteurized concentrates. Government handouts of nutrition actually save the taxpayers money in long-term health care costs.

2) EDUCATION – A college degree should be a “pay it forward” agreement from one generation to the next. No student who qualifies for a college or university should be denied that education simply because they cannot afford it.

These are smart investments that create a healthier, more prosperous society. But instead of subsidizing these two things, we have exactly the opposite at the federal level: a government that subsidizes junk foods while attacking nutrition. Remember: it is the official position of the FDA that anyone who sells a lemon while claiming that lemon can help prevent scurvy is a dangerous criminal engaged in “drug crimes.”

The FDA’s war on fruits, vegetables and nutrition

The FDA warning letters website is full of examples of this, where the agency accuses nutrition companies of selling “unapproved new drugs” simply because they attempt to describe the health benefits of those supplements.

For example, on this warning letter page, the FDA accuses a company called Naturecast Products of selling “unapproved new drugs” because their website described the benefits of chromium on blood sugar:

Chromium helps regulate blood sugar levels by collaborating with insulin in facilitating the uptake of glucose into the cells. If chromium is not present, insulin’s action is blocked and blood sugar levels are elevated. Insulin is secreted in response to the rise in blood glucose levels after the consumption of a meal. Insulin functions by increasing the rate that glucose is taken up by the cells and the [sic] lowers blood glucose levels.

The fact that chromium really does help regulate blood sugar levels is well established in the scientific literature, including in this study:

But the FDA pays no attention to scientific facts. Instead, the agency says that ANY claim, validated or otherwise, automatically transforms a food or supplement into an “unapproved new drug.” And for this reason, Americans are kept in the dark about the scientifically-verified health benefits of nutrients, foods, phytochemicals and dietary supplements.

This is by design. The FDA wants to keep the American people ignorant and sick so that Big Pharma can sell them more drugs and vaccines. The FDA is, in effect, the marketing branch of Big Pharma. It uses its regulatory power not to serve America’s interests, but to crush America’s knowledge of nutrition and health. This is a Dark Ages policy that’s causing untold harm to America.

More cities need to stand up to the FDA’s tyranny

Today even NYC has run afoul of the FDA’s absurd position that foods have no role in human health, but this is precisely what America needs today: a local revolt against federal ignorance about the relationship between food and health.

While the federal SNAP program drives Americans into disease, cities and states need to embrace fruit-and-vegetable programs that can help pull Americans out of the death spiral of junk foods and medications.

And that’s why NYC sets a shining example in this particular case, demonstrating what other cities need to follow if they hope to survive the disastrous collapse of health now emerging across America.

We here at Natural News applaud the efforts by NYC officials to prescribe fruits and vegetables as treatments for disease, and we encourage other cities to join in this effort that pays huge dividends in terms of public health and “sick care” cost savings.

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Raw Vegan Pizza and Italian Feast

Lazy Raw Foodist Disclaimer here: although yesterday’s post about Squash Blossoms was actual Lazy Raw Foodist fare, today’s post is not. It’s too pretty not to share, though. 🙂

We had this feast quite awhile ago, but I’m just now getting around to posting photos. It began with a desire to share the joys of Cafe Gratitude with people who had never been there. When I lived in Northern California, I always used to order the pizza there because I would “never take the time to make all those ingredients and the final product myself.” Well, that was almost true. It took four years anyway.

As you can see from the pizza recipe, it actually involves many more recipes:

I worked on this feast off and on throughout the week, texting my friend, Ingrid, status updates along the way. “Today is buckwheat pizza crust day.” “Today is olive tapenade and Brazil nut parmesan day.” Since my intended menu involved several different types of dehydrated goodies, plus juice and pulp, I needed to plan things in advance, both for dehydrator space and to spread the work out for myself. I used recipes from I Am Grateful (the Cafe Gratitude un-cookbook) and The World Goes Raw by Lisa Mann. I also invented some of my own dishes, highlighting fresh produce from our garden. Here are some of the components lined up on the day of the feast:

For an appetizer, I marinated portobello mushroom caps for two days in wheat free tamari, olive oil and garlic, then dehydrated them for three hours to intensify the flavors. I then topped them with a homemade, freshly harvested basil, nettle and purslane pesto and some of the Brazil nut “cheese.”

Pesto stuffed portobellos with Brazil nut parmesan and fresh parsley garnish

I followed the appetizer with Cafe Gratitude’s signature pizza dish, fresh greens and a homemade Italian salad dressing, compliments of olive oil, lemon and herbs from our garden. Sometimes presentation is everything. In this case, it helps, but I just love all the flavor combinations!

I Am Passionate, with salad and Italian dressing in between slices

We set the table with faery candlesticks David had procured on his many faery garden expeditions for yours truly:

And then filled it all with food:

Knowing that our friend Ingrid often sneaks in an inspired dessert that might take center stage, I opted for an Italian dessert that I could send home with our friends, just in case. I made chocolate-pistachio-cherry biscotti, adapted from Lisa Mann’s The World Goes Raw. It turns out the biscotti went well with Ingrid’s masterpiece:

Ingrid’s Chocolate Raspberry (all raw and vegan) Torte

Happy dessert companions with fresh peppermint garnish

I have to admit that I don’t normally eat this way. I’m a double smoothie a day plus a salad gal, and this meal was beyond rich. That didn’t stop us all from joining the clean plate club during each course. Ingrid doesn’t remember where she first saw this recipe, so if it looks familiar to someone, please let me know whom to credit. She found it somewhere online a long time ago, and this was her first attempt, with some tweaking to make it lower glycemic than the original:

Cacao Ganache and Raspberry Tart


1 Pint of Raspberries


1/2 C Almonds, ground fine
2 T Cacao
1 T Coconut Butter or Coconut Oil
1 Tsp of Yacon Syrup (optional)
1 Tsp of Vanilla Powder
A dash of Sea Salt


1/2 C Cacao Powder
1/4 C Sweetener such as Agave, but I use Grade B Maple Syrup
1/4 C Coconut Butter, softened
1/4 C Filtered Water

Oil ring mold with coconut oil and sprinkle with cacao powder. Combine all crust ingredients and pat 1/4 inch layer into the bottom of ring mold (I used a cylinder mold of 3 inches).

Then I make my Ganache and pour half of it into the mold and top with a layer of raspberries. Then I pour the rest of the Ganache on top and put on another layer of raspberries, and refrigerate!

The other recipes from this feast are either in Cafe Gratitude’s I Am Grateful book, Lisa Mann’s The World Goes Raw, or are a Lazy Raw Foodist hodge-podge of fresh ingredients from someone too lazy to measure or write things down. I hope you’ve enjoyed the virtual tour. It was a labor of love, not soon to be repeated, but definitely worth every ounce of effort!

Nettles and Chives

Nettles and Chives

Spring has sprung in Madison, and I’ve got the garden goodies to prove it! Well, as you can see from the photo, I’m a Lazy Gardener as well as a Lazy Raw Foodist. I go for the perennials and not so much for the raking of leaves. Weeding? Um, since I actually prefer to eat wild things, I planted those nettles myself last year, having invited them to me energetically. One batch arrived from a potluck/foraging friend of mine via an unknown neighbor who dropped them off during a 2011 Reiki 1 class — just as I had mentioned how Reiki hones your manifestation skills. Touché! The other batch came as a gift from the same potluck friend after their own patch had grown beyond the capacity of nonstop nettle infusions and mortar-and-pestle’d salads. Here they are again, tender little leaves, spiking their way vigilantly through the ground as some of the first signs of spring.

I love nettles! And yes, that’s stinging nettles to you. 😉 These little ladies do leave quite a burn if you ignore them. David and I took a foraging walk in April 2011 with Kathleen Wildwood of Wildwood Institute, and she described it like this: “Nettles like to be noticed.” If you can remember that, you’ll be fine, but if you ignore them, or walk carelessly through their territory, they’ll hurt instead of heal. Fortunately, if you take the time to know nettles, then you’ll find that they contain their own antidote. Softening the leaves and rubbing nettle juice on the stung spots removes an otherwise lasting pain. I find this process so symbolic of life! How many people do you know whose seemingly sharp tongue belies a deeper character of total softie and powerful ally? When you go deeper than the sting, you discover all sorts of gifts and blessings.

Nettles nourish the blood, especially when boiled and allowed to sit in an infusion overnight. In this form, they contain high amounts of iron and other nutrients particularly strengthening for women. They improve skin texture and tone and can enrich just about any kind of cooked dish, if you prefer cooked food. Heat softens the stingers, so you can safely eat them. Last year, we attended a wild foraging dinner, and nettles appeared in everything from pasta to ice cream! I love wild foods because they’re beyond organic. Nothing messes with these superstars, and they help us to become stronger, wilder and free.

Fresh, freeze-dried, in a tea, or juiced, they alleviate allergy symptoms, and Kathleen Wildwood even uses them to help arthritis. On that same wild foraging walk, she shared how one troubled knuckle gets a purposeful early Spring nettle sting (without the juice), and that seems to numb the pain for the rest of the Spring and Summer seasons. She provided me with the herbal maxim, “When in doubt, use nettles,” and I do! I enjoy nettle tea all winter, sometimes plain and sometimes cooled and mixed with a bit of raw cacao powder and vanilla stevia. In the summer, we blend fresh ones in smoothies, and if we ever get out David’s Greenstar juicer instead of always buying fresh juice at the co-op, we might even juice some nettles this year! I like them so much, I gave them raised bed status and planted another patch on the other side of the house:

Backyard Nettles

And what about those chives?! They’re just fresh. We love them. I had been growing some inside the house, but our December and January travels took a toll on them. The batch in the first photo came from a starter plant last year, and it took off in the backyard garden, where only certain things agree to grow. We love them on salads, and I enjoyed reading about their magical and medicinal uses here. Grown outside they take very little care, and again, perennial gardening makes this Lazy Gardener very happy.

I do have plans for the sunny side of our house, armed with knowledge gleaned from last year’s many experiments. We will be building up the soil with compost and worm castings; shifting our garbage and recycling bins to the North side for the summer; and not allowing an accidental pumpkin patch to take over the top sunshine real estate this year. I’ve already started various kales, ruby red chard, oakleaf lettuce and, hopefully, some fairytale blend sweet peas to mix in with greens in the front window boxes. Coming soon to a mini-pot near me: more greens, heirloom tomato plants, a red pepper plant, and as soon as the frost leaves for good, I’ll get some cucumbers and the moon and stars watermelons planted in the ground. We started those melons too late last year, so they never fruited. This year, I’m determined to have not only a wild edibles yard, but also add some more magical elements to our evolving, 3-side of the house garden. My indoor herbs have done well, except for the chives. When it warms up a bit more, I’ll let the parsley, sage, basil, rosemary, thyme and oregano outside — probably right around the time our wild violets start blooming.

Mmmmmmhmmmm! It’s almost super yummy, just picked from the lawn salad time. Cheers!

Raw Food FAQ’s

People always ask me what I eat, how I cleanse and how my diet changes with the seasons. Not that my own body necessarily has anything to do with others’ individual processes, but I thought I’d share answers to some FAQ’s.

I came across your ebook today. I’ve been a vegan for 2 years and am considering going raw. I was hoping you could give me some benefits of raw vegan vs vegan. I know your time is precious but if you have any beneficial information I would appreciate it ever so much (The ebook she mentions is The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide.)

Thanks for contacting me. I do get into more of the benefits within the actual book. The biggest difference is that a vegan diet can remain a totally unhealthy diet of processed foods, in some cases far more processed than a traditional diet. Things like soy and all its derivatives are often GMO and can interfere with endocrine function and digestion, two of the biggest factors in health. A raw vegan diet can be very heavy on fat and sweets and needs some knowledge about supplementation and pitfalls (which I also cover in my ebook), but in general, raw diets offer far better nutrient absorption than cooked counterparts. For me personally, I need an average of 3-4 hours less sleep per night on a raw vs. a cooked diet. I also notice far clearer, more radiant skin, better mood and clearer thought patterns on higher raw.

I’ve heard you mention using raw dairy to heal tooth decay. Can you please share your protocol?

I actually include a chapter in The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide called “Raw Foodists and Rotten Teeth,” with contributing vegan information from Tera Warner. Despite all the amazing benefits of going raw, teeth can remain a weak link, especially for people eating lots of gourmet raw vegan food. Eating tons of greens and green powders, avoiding sticky, sugary dried fruits, and adding highly mineralized medicinal mushrooms and superfoods can definitely help. A dentist also confirmed tooth remineralization in me when I added VEGA protein powder (green flavor) and started brushing with Ascended Health oral care products. These oral products include Lemurian crystals, clay and green powder in a toothpaste you can actually swallow.

After hearing from multiple dentists that I “have perfect oral hygiene,” I made an agreement with myself in 2009 that if my tooth decay returned, I would reconsider diet. I’d been receiving intuitive hits since 2005 that I needed to add raw dairy and some fish, but as a committed vegan and animal communicator, I reallllllly didn’t want to go down that path. Plus, I had always reacted terribly to cooked dairy and cooked fish — breakouts, allergic reactions. I didn’t see how either could possibly enhance my health, but the nudges continued.

In January 2011, my teeth began to hurt big time. Although they look perfect on the outside, I have polymer fillings down to the roots of most of my molars. No wiggle room for ideology. If decay begins again, I feel it as excruciating pain right at the roots. I already had a nighttime mouthguard, which helps with grinding pain and any risk of cracking, but by January 2011, I could barely sleep. Tooth pain in pretty much every single molar kept me awake all night and distracted me all day. As loud as my teeth screamed, my intuition screamed louder, “Just eat the raw dairy!”

Stubborn I am, though. Discussing the situation with my then-housemate, now-boyfriend, David, I began to consider the compassionate roots of my veganism. Might that compassion also appropriately extend to me? I had already tried supplementing with Grow Bone and a variety of green powders, algaes, etc. I’d experienced momentary relief but felt like I was eating more processed, fake stuff than actual whole, raw foods. David is trained in hypnosis and I asked him to “hypnotize me so I can do for myself what I do for others in Medical Intuitive readings.” I wanted objective information, not filtered through my own prejudices or blocks. Sure enough, raw dairy came through, as did a raw, unfermented fish oil by Green Pastures. I synchronously stumbled upon a book by Ramiel Nagel called, “Cure Tooth Decay,” which recommended a program quite similar to my own trance-induced advice to myself.

Long story short, after a few more internal battles, I decided to try a modified protocol. I don’t use bone broth, and I still eat a predominantly raw vegan diet. I added raw dairy, mostly in cheese form, but also sometimes as raw kefir. I also supplement with the raw, fermented cod liver oil capsules from Green Pastures, which also include Active X butter from grass fed cows. I’ve found that my teeth and brain feel much better with this diet, as long as I avoid dried fruit and whole grains. I have a weakness for dried papaya and brown rice. Both are no-no’s on the Cure Tooth Decay diet, especially if I’m avoiding things like liver, fish brains and bone broth. Um, sorry! I would rather avoid some tasty sweets than go that far into animal consumption. It’s just a personal preference, although I know people for whom more of a paleo diet has worked well. I prefer to get most of my calories from greens, not-too-sweet fruits, seeds, raw dairy and some occasional steamed or lightly sauteed veggies. Every once in awhile, we bake root veggies.

In terms of results, this diet feels more balanced, and I feel much more grounded. I did learn from my chiropractor that my back had received such massive damage from my 1998 car accident that the digestive nerves had been severely compromised for nearly 14 years. I don’t know to what degree that has impaired my mineral absorption of purely plant sourced calcium and other minerals, but I do know that vitamin D revolutionized my winters. With the raw, fermented fish oil capsules and some raw dairy, I not only remineralized my teeth, but also managed to completely avoid any kind of seasonal slump. I also know several friends and clients who have had “miraculous” results with their own adaptation of the Cure Tooth Decay diet.

What about cleansing?

I still like to do a general detox at least twice per year. In the past, I liked the Dr. Natura Colonix system, but it now contains Maltodextrin, which I don’t find, er, the most cleansing ingredient. It does get the junk out for a reasonable price and not too much inconvenience, though!

I’m currently doing a bit of a pre-Spring reboot, drinking chaga tea each day, dandelion and/or nettle tea for my liver and kidneys, as well as lots of Fizzeology (a local brand) fermented veggies. I’ve opted for more Omega-3 rich seeds like hemp and chia, rather than nuts, which feel very heavy to me right now. I drink a fresh green juice about 5 times per week, and I alternate green smoothies with a tasty chaga superfood drink. For whatever reason, sometimes my body just doesn’t do so well with green smoothies. I listen to that guidance and shift to steamed or lightly sauteed greens, more green juices and more salads.

David and I have also started rebounding for the past couple weeks to get our lymph moving around more fluidly. In addition, I’ve continued my sea salt detox baths once or twice per week, and I’m getting ready to use the Morrocco Method Zen Detox for Hair and Scalp. I’ve had the box for years, but now feels like a good time to get any remaining heavy metals and chemicals out of my scalp and brain. When it’s not so cold, I love a good skin brushing, but in the Wisconsin Winter, I much prefer bouncing and/or baths.

What kind of diet to you recommend as the best diet for everyone?

In my own experience, that of friends and colleagues as well as observations in ten years as a Medical Intuitive, I’ve found that no single diet works for everyone (or even an individual) all the time. Changes in climate, stress level, subtle ingredient shifts, life obligations, creative and health goals, perceived need for cleansing, and lifestyle shifts can and really “should” influence dietary decisions. I wrote The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide as a compilation of information, including ways to determine your own best dietary path at any given time.

My work as a Medical Intuitive has revealed so many other factors than diet as major influences on health and well-being. Certainly, diet can play a tremendous supportive or sabotaging role. Pay attention to what you eat and how you feel! I just recommend that people aim for balance in mental, emotional, physical and spiritual areas. Anytime we place an ideology above deep needs, we create imbalances, compensations and judgments within ourselves. Such things do eventually take a toll on overall health. Conversely, a positive attitude and positive affirmations to the subconscious can do more for you than most people believe possible. If you feel good about what and how you eat, you’ll find that your body usually agrees with you. Love yourself, to the best of your ability, and offer little tokens of love to your body, mind, emotions and spirit every day. You may find, like me and so many other people, that raw and living foods up your vibe and give you energy. Have fun with it! Life’s a journey, and the more you enjoy it, the better you’ll feel.

Raw Food Holiday Fun

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday time as much as I did. Yes, I know it’s not over yet! We’ve all still got a New Year to ring in, and in January I have one grandmother turning 100 and the other celebrating 90 years around the Sun. My holiday season began on Thanksgiving and continues through the third week of January. So many people ask me what I eat during the holidays that I thought I’d post another round of raw vegan holiday photos. Here’s what I had on Thanksgiving, and below you’ll find two feasts’ worth of food: one from a Christmas Eve dinner with local raw food friends and the second with my boyfriend’s non-raw, non-vegan family when we could be together two days after Christmas.

As I mentioned in my Raw Vegan Thanksgiving Post, I am no longer 100% raw or 100% vegan. I did spend about 8 1/2 years as a strict vegan, and I still find the bulk of my diet consists of raw vegan foods like green smoothies, salads, seed pâté’s, blended soups and occasional raw desserts. Given the cold winters of Madison, Wisconsin (as opposed to my warmer sojourns in Sonoma County and Sedona), I sometimes add lightly steamed veggies, kombu soaked beans, and grains like brown rice. In February 2011, I also added some organic, grass-fed, free range, raw cultured dairy to keep my teeth mineralized, as they remained a major weak link, regardless of vegan supplements and any version of a totally vegan diet. I may write on my tooth protocol another time, but today’s post is meant to celebrate the vast array of raw vegan dishes that even “regular” folks enjoy. Especially on holidays, I love to feature the gorgeous, delicious and joyful bounty of Mother Earth.

I’ve got lots of photos, so I will mostly let them speak for themselves:

Raw Vegan Christmas Eve Feast

This one came from my local raw vegan Christmas Eve Feast. It features clockwise from left: zucchini pasta with marinara sauce, Eden Organic Brown Mustard (made with raw apple cider vinegar), Fennel Seed Sausage (from Raw Fusion Recipes), Buckwheat Crusted “Fried” Onion Rings, Celery Wakame Soup, Simple Caesar Salad (also from Raw Fusion) and napa cabbage leaves as a substrate for the sausage and mustard.

More Raw Vegan Feasting

At the same gathering, we also had a cashew based hummus, chopped veggies, extra garlicy marinara sauce and nori sheets for building some seriously flavorful wraps. For dessert, we had a vegan nut-nog, which I made by blending almond butter, water, lucuma powder, vanilla stevia, 1 soaked date (and soak water), 1 banana, nutmeg, and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt. My boyfriend makes his nut-nog with more dates and no lucuma, but I knew that Christmas Eve’s crowd would appreciate low glycemic. 🙂

Once that feast ended, I spent much of Christmas day prepping food for our post-Christmas road trip to Goshen, Indiana, where David’s parents live. For some reason, I have been seriously craving sourdough rye bread, and my local friend turned me onto this amazing grain-free, raw Rye Flatbread recipe from Ani’s Raw Food Essentials. (Ani Phyo, that is.) OMG! This totally hit the spot. It uses celery, caraway seeds, cacao, and ground flax to make a convincing texture and taste. When we arrived to a homemade (cooked) vegan soup, this Rye Flatbread allowed us to have soup and bread like the rest of the family. David’s mom tried the bread and couldn’t believe a) I made it, b) it had no grains, and c) how flavorful it was.

Rye Flatbread

Truth be told, I was quite the kitchen witch, preparing foods that David and I would love, which we also thought the rest of the family might like, too. The bottom shelf of our fridge could barely hold all the travel food, including some green smoothies for breakfast:

Stocked Travel Fridge

(By the way, those Hail Merry macaroons are incredible! They do have maple syrup in them, but wow! Totally tasty.)

In the fridge you can see our smoothies; an Asian cabbage slaw made from the rest of the Christmas Eve napa cabbage; marinating Italian mushrooms that included my own homegrown basil; a lemon stevia and mustard dressing to be added to a pound of spinach with pinenuts before serving (this was a non-gycemic version of Cherie Soria‘s “Braised Spinach” from her book, The Raw Revolution Diet); sweet potato soup with shallots, pumpkin seed oil, and homegrown rosemary; and some root veggies for our (cooked) roasted root veggie dish (parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets, yellow carrots, turnips, shallots, olive oil, wheat free tamari and balsamic vinegar), which we prepared on site and shared with everyone. I made extra Fennel Seed Sausage for the Christmas Eve feast, and this became David’s and my roast beef counterpart on our plates:

Christmas Plate

As you can see, we feasted well! Clockwise from upper left: ACV-marinated cucumbers with shallots, “Braised Spinach,” Italian Marinated Mushrooms (with basil, garlic, sun dried tomato and a hint of wheat free tamari), roasted root veggies, and the Fennel Seed Sausage from Raw Fusion. Again, David’s mom gave a surprised thumbs up to the Fennel Seed Sausage. Everyone loved the mushrooms, cukes, and roasted root veggies, and the spinach got rave reviews from those who eat spinach. We had so much food that David and I saved the cabbage salad for another meal, which I enjoyed with the soup and more of that amazing bread.

The only non-universal winner was the lowly swamp water pie. LOL! David and I love Spirulina Pie with goji berries as a special Christmas festivity. After sampling twelve baked pies, my non-vegan friend Matthew voted it his all time favorite pie last holiday season. Alas, the concept of algae and green in a pie is just too much for some people. I promised to bring Violet’s Violent End next holiday season. That’s a blueberry chocolate pie from Shazzie and David Wolfe’s book, Naked Chocolate. Always a consistent winner, but it’s purple. Who wants a purple pie for Christmas when you can have a green one?! We will all have some giggles for years to come, though, so it was worth making the pie. David’s sister’s family all wanted to try it, despite warnings that it might not be to their usual liking. Seeing all those green tongues stick out in disgust actually made our first night there hilarious — and David and I got to eat everyone else’s pie. We wisely offered it the night before the feast, so as not to interfere with what we knew would be a lovely gathering. 🙂

For raw foodies or anyone who’s developed a taste for spirulina, this variation of Matt Amsden’s Spirulina Pie, is really quite a treat. I find Matt’s too sweet, so I usually skip the crust and back down the agave, but the carob, spirulina, coconut and cashews are the same. Then I top it with goji berries to up the festivity factor. Here it is in all its spiral swamp water glory:

Spirulina Pie with Goji Berries

We ate well, and all our dishes blended with the more traditional mashed potatoes, roast beef and corn. It was one of the best Christmas celebrations I remember having. Ever. Lots of fun, and no one felt out of place or went hungry. In fact, we had enough leftovers to feast at a rest stop on the way back to Madison, even after over two days of eating well.

Wishing you all good health in the New Year! If you’re looking to up your raw food goodies, I highly recommend Raw Fusion, as well as my own ebook, The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide. Both offer laid back approaches to tasty eating and high vibe foods.

Serenity, Courage and Wisdom in the New Year

Happy Twenty-Ten! May we all shine!

Personally, I cannot remember a greater feeling of freedom passing from one year to the next, or one decade to the next. It seems like this planet just released a collective sigh of relief as we waved goodbye to 2009 under a Blue Moon with a Partial Lunar Eclipse. The thirteenth Full Moon of the year, this one had such potent energies, and it was exciting to know so many people opting for a spiritual New Year’s Eve.

In light of the New Year and the fact that we’re still under some challenging influences for a couple more weeks, I thought I’d write on something that keeps coming my way, The Serenity Prayer:

“God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And the Wisdom to know the difference.”

Reinhold Neibuhr wrote the original version of this little piece in a stone cottage in Massachusettes. It’s a simple prayer said by people all over the world every day. Although I’ve known it since childhood, for the past few months, the Serenity Prayer has become one of my biggest synchronicities. Because of the title, most people use this prayer to feel OK about their present circumstances. They ask for Serenity when life becomes too challenging and confusing to handle on their own. Courage and Wisdom often seem to take a back seat. I know they always did for me when I recited this prayer going through the Workers Comp and Personal Injury trials for my brain injury. I didn’t care so much about Courage or Wisdom. I just wanted the stress to go away!

Synchronicities with the Serenity Prayer during late 2009 have given me a different perspective, though. In November, I bought a bag of Runes and a “Healing Runes” book to go with them. I had started studying the original Runic Code after my trip to Mendocino, and this bag of mini “stones” seemed like a fun adjunct. I didn’t really expect to use the book. I just wanted the Runes. The Healing Runes, though similar, did not exactly match the Runic Code I’d been working with, so I started drawing Runes and reading the names and descriptions. I set an intention/question and pulled one whose explanation included the Serenity Prayer. I said it, expecting the issue to begin to melt into quietude. I did feel more peaceful but found the issue did not go away. Rather, it grew stronger. The more I said the Serenity Prayer the more the feelings took root with calm insistence. I had so not expected this that I drew several more Runes only to find several more variants of the Serenity Prayer expressed in the book’s explantions.

Quasi-skeptic that I am (yes, I actually do put intuitions and synchronicities to the test!) I read through the entire book to see if every Rune included the Serenity Prayer. Nope. Just the ones I happened to draw. Later that afternoon, I spoke to an old friend who just happened to say, “This just came to me for you. What’s that prayer called? You know, the one about Serenity and Courage?” When I got home, I opened a Life Recovery Bible to a “random” page: it featured the Serenity Prayer in big calligraphy as an explanation of some verses. “OK,” I thought, “Runes, an old friend who never talks this way, the Bible … all telling me to embrace the exact same prayer!”

I have continued to deepen my experience with this prayer and found not only Serenity growing, but a quiet sense of Courage and a stronger sense of how to choose a path that formerly seemed unwise. I always pray. This part was nothing new; however, the influx of Courage to take action surprised me. I really had expected Serenity and a faith that even things that felt too slow or like a compromise would suddenly reveal their “rightness” because, of course, they must be right, right? I mean, they had always seemed right before! Why the sudden upsurge of feelings around them? It must just be a letting go, right? Right?

Not necessarily. As a Life Coach and Intuitive who speaks with people from around the world, I enjoy the advantage of taking a kind of world pulse. Especially since 2008, and increasing through 2009, continuing even now, it seems the majority of people are experiencing cyclic shifts. “The Road Not Taken” has reappeared for many as a viable option. As we cocreate our universe and approach whatever shift will or will not happen between now and 2012, we’re getting a chance to use all our tools, all our skills and to explore all our possible realities. Courage and Wisdom have come up in sessions more often lately than ever before as people realize that the status quo probably won’t get them where they want to be. Radical shifts sometimes require radical actions and time, space and energy seem to compress and expand as needed before finding the desired fit.

If you do not yet have Serenity, take heart: we’re all in an intense phase of the journey. However things play out, your heart wants to lead the way. Courage comes from the heart. From Love grow the roots of Courage –sometimes requiring immediate action; other times asking us to wait. And wait.

Many people continue to express their impatience with life transitions. Glimmers of change peek through, yet I receive so many new calls from people just wanting a tiny affirmation that they’re on the right track. Oftentimes, they are. The timing just moves slower or faster than they would have preferred.

Wisdom arrives when people learn to ride the ebb and flow of time. Whether we recognize it or not, the universe shares its quiet and compassionate order with us in the form of synchronicities and answered prayers. When we learn to trust in this fluid nature of reality, we can stop trying to force our way through life. We can “go with the flow,” understanding when to coast and when to swim. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, though 😉 , so I’ve listed below some of the quickest ways to cultivate a Serene, Courageous and Wise Heart in the midst of “out of control” change:

1 ) This one’s probably obvious, but take a moment to say the Serenity Prayer, either silently or out loud. It seriously works!

2 ) Get out in nature. Let those negative ions rejuvenate you and reconnect you to the rhythms of the Earth. The more trees you can stand among, the better. Trees hold Wisdom; they dig deep and reach high.

3 ) Get creative. Painting works best for me because writing still keeps my chattering left brain involved in thought. When I pick up a paintbrush, the rest of world momentarily disappears. Other people love to sing, chant, knit, prepare food, or create poetry.

4 ) Allow yourself to dream. Naps and daydreams can provide insights and inspiration otherwise crowded out by thoughts or other responsibilities. Sometimes even meditation becomes a chore during major stress. If you feel like checking out under the covers for an hour, let yourself go. You might find your problems begin to resolve themselves. At the very least, you’ll feel more relaxed and able to face them in their proper time.

5 ) Change your routine or take a trip. Shake things up a bit. When we get in a rut, everything looks monumental. Shifting out of the ordinary encourages us to tap into the extraordinary. We also return with fresh perspective on the same-old same-old.

6 ) Eat well. Raw foods tend to provide extra clarity and elevated mood. Sometimes a little comfort food helps, too, though. Monitor your moods so that you can use food to nurture rather than sabotage. If you feel extremely tense, that’s a sure sign to opt for more alkaline foods like leafy greens, umeboshi plum, lemon juice and fresh fruits and veggies. If you find you have so much clarity that you can’t stand not taking action, a little brown rice might just take the edge off. While going through a major shift, try to honor the needs of your soul as well as your body, finding and tweaking the balance as needed.

7 ) When in doubt, remind yourself, “This too shall pass.” Because it will. It really will. And if you need some extra encouragement or affirmation, I would feel honored to join you for this leg of the journey.

Blessings and Love,

Laura Bruno

Cozy Takes on Green Smoothies

Brrrr … Autumn’s chill has crept into the morning air, sometimes lasting into afternoon and getting downright cold at night. What’s an aspiring raw foodie to do? If you’re like me, you probably don’t feel wild about tepid green smoothies. I like them very cold and refreshing — except on chilly mornings. Then, I just want something warm and cozy in my belly. Warm, cozy and filling, that is. When the temperature drops, my metabolism goes into higher gear working to keep me warm.

Enter some fun variations on the traditional green smoothie. Raw fooders and health-conscious folks alike can try these ideas to start the day with a nutritional kick and a cozy belly.

The (Now-Famous) Dandelion-Chai Smoothie:

dandelion greens (I used 1/2 bunch)
some leftover chai tea (I like red roobois chai for extra anti-oxidants)
about 9 figs
1 small apple
1 tbsp chia seeds
a little extra water if you don’t have much tea

Blend. This tastes like a thick apple cider!

You can serve warm, but let the tea cool slightly before blending so that you preserve the enzymes in the fruit and greens.

***Please be VERY careful when blending warm or hot liquids. Make sure to tighten the blender lid before starting. Also, if your blender is very cold, please let the tea cool a bit before pouring into glass, so that your carafe doesn’t crack.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Herbs “count” as greens, and cacao and mint go well together. This also works well as a cold drink, especially if you freeze the bananas and use chilled nutmilk.

1/2 bunch mint
1-3 TBSP raw cacao (depending on desired kick; also good with carob)
2 bananas
1 cup water or favorite nutmilk
1 cup warm peppermint or other herbal tea (cinnamon flavors work nice, too)
1 dropperful of vanilla stevia (or one xylitol packet + vanilla bean or vanilla extract or 1 TBSP raw honey)

Blend and enjoy. For extra heat, you can also add up to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper before you blend.

Yerba Mate Latte

You can sometimes find unroasted Yerba Mate, but the traditional Mate still packs some nutritional punch with lots of b-vitamins and mateine for energy. Brewed Yerba Mate is naturally a bit green. I like it brewed and then slightly sweetened with xylitol or stevia and mixed with my favorite nutmilk. Being a Lazy Raw Foodist, though, I sometimes just mix it with a little boxed Hemp Milk or Oat Milk fortified with vitamin D — an important winter nutrient for vegans.

For a special treat, I’ll add 2 drops of peppermint essential oil + 1 tsp raw cacao powder before mixing in the milk. Choco-minty-madness in a cup!

Lovely Licorice

I’ve also found licorice tea a nice base for superfood smoothies. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, licorice is added to most herbal remedies. It nourishes the adrenals, helps with diabetes and has also been shown to block one of the main toxins released by the Lyme Disease bacteria.

I like this one:

warm licorice tea
5-15 leaves dinosaur kale (fewer if it’s old and bitter)
1 TBSP spirulina (very optional)
2 bananas
1/2 – 1 cucumber
3 schizandra berries (more will make it too tart, but 3 imparts a complex flavor)
tinctures of:
St. John’s Wort (which, in addition to fighting winter blues has the happy effect of soothing frazzled nerves).

I usually add some chia seeds and lucuma powder and/or honey to thicken and sweeten. Licorice imparts a slightly sweet taste, so you don’t need too much lucuma.

For a variant, you could add goji berries instead of the bananas. I don’t eat bananas with gojis as it makes my stomach hurt, but you might fare better.


This morning, I’m going to experiment with some Numi Rooibos, beet greens, pears and pumpkin pie spice. I’ll post the recipe if it turns out well.

In general, think warm, think winter herbs and spices, think drink by the cozy fire … and see what you invent!

For more sneaky ways to get your greens, you might enjoy The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide … and if you’d like to curl up with a book by that cozy fire, might I recommend Schizandra and the Gates of Mu? 😉

“Fasten Your Seat Belts” … Reader Views Reviews Schizandra

Schizandra and the Gates of Mu
Laura Bruno
International Renaissance Press (2009)
ISBN 9780615301334

Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (8/09)

There are books that should come with a warning label. If I think of some of the books I’ve read recently, there was definitely at least one that should have had an “Attention! Might put you to sleep!” sticker. “Handle with care! Incendiary!” would have been the right one for another recently read book. “Schizandra and the Gates of Mu” by Laura Bruno should come with a brightly colored label saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seat belts…”

The story of a 13-year-old named Schizandra starts with a bang. She’s recently orphaned and has to move to Sedona, where her grandmother lives. On a seemingly ordinary school day she faints during a biology class and enters a coma-like state. And so the wild ride begins. While they are trying to take her out of Sedona, it seems that Sedona does not want to let her go. Two helicopters malfunction, and so does an ambulance. It looks as if Schizandra is meant to stay. An incredible cast of wonderfully colorful characters gathers around Schizandra, all trying to help her wake up, since the future of the entire human race depends on that — her grandmother, the midwife; twin maiden aunts, whose chosen profession is reflexology; a handsome, brave and intuitive pilot; a Navajo, speaking of curses; a Japanese-Native American schoolboy. While they are trying to bring her back, Schizandra is in a different world, meeting and encountering some really vibrant creatures — shape-shifting strange frogs, drinking chocolate and munching on cocoa pods; talking crystals; a healer rabbit; a yellow, dancing hummingbird. And there’s talk about all kinds of extraordinary matters — Lemuria, also known as Mu; evolution of human race; people as portals; the true meaning of 2012. The list is never ending…

I’ve enormously enjoyed this book. The characters were unique, quirky and likeable. The dialogue was fresh, fluid and captivating. The storyline was compelling and moved at a fast, yet not frenetic pace. The subjects discussed in the book were diverse, and several made me interested in learning more about them, particularly the “end of the world” according to the Mayan calendar and the true meaning of it.

Mystical, magical and totally enchanting, this story opened up a world that I was not ready to leave behind yet. I am truly looking forward to the sequel, and hoping there will be several of those coming out shortly. I highly recommend “Schizandra and the Gates of Mu” to readers of all ages who are interested in true mysteries, New Age, astrology, fantasy worlds and prophesies, as well as to anybody who simply enjoys a well-written story. Laura Bruno will not disappoint you.

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