blog, Raw Food Adventures

A Worthy Cause in India

Anandi's Chef Day

Big blessings come in small packages and that is the truth when it comes to Anandi Vaithialing. I want to share a story about this amazing and inspiring individual that I met while I was working at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, Arizona. Anandi was part of the Spring 2008 raw foods chef training apprenticeship program. She had made her way all the way from Auroville, India on the other side of the globe. When Anandi arrived I was working in the cafe at the Tree of Life as a chef and instructor. Physically, Anandi is tiny, literally 4 foot something tall and all of 80 pounds… if that. Her presence and radiance goes beyond physical appearances though. In that regard she’s a giant. Her love and glowing smiling cannot be contained, deflected or avoided; it’s pervasive and contagious. I remember the first hug she gave me, how she wrapped her hands around my waist and squeezed the life into me. Anandi introduced me and many of the people at Tree of Life to the intentional city and community of Auroville, India. Here’s a description of Auroville take from their website:

“Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity.”

Several years have passed since I left Tree of Life and since Anandi graduated from the apprenticeship. We have stayed in touch and I was happy to hear about the fund raising project she began to bring a raw food center to Auroville. Construction began on the project back in April of 2009. At this time the grand opening is scheduled for February 21st of 2011. Though the date is set, they still need funds. Earlier in 2010 I attempted to donate to the project through Paypal but due to Homeland Security and the fear that fundraising projects may be terrorist schemes, the transaction did not go through. Anandi and Auroville did not give up and they have set up a fundraising donation page through razoo.com. I encourage you to consider donating to this noble endeavor and sharing the donation link with all your family and friends. If they are unfamiliar with raw foods please get them up to speed or refer them to this vegan raw food information link. Folks that donate $1000 or more are considered “Founders”. Being a “Founder” has its privileges…

You are invited to contribute a thousand dollars or more which qualifies you as a founder. In addition, I would also like to offer you a tasty incentive: you will be able to eat in this restaurant at any time during the rest of your life for half price. Now that is an offer which nobody would refuse! As a founder, you will never need any identification because your name will be carved in stone at the door!

I will send everyone who makes a donation a pdf copy of my raw food memoir recipe book Zen and the Art of Gadgeting – Just send me an email after you donate and I’ll hook you up! -livefoodexperience(at)live(dot)com-

Zen and the Art of Gadgeting
Over 20 Live Food Recipes!
blog, Raw Food Adventures, Recipe

Journey to the North

With summer bearing down with full force in Florida I’ve taken a trip up north to Chicago and Watervliet, Michigan for some rest and relaxation with family, friends and raw food festival goers. I was born in Chicago and much of my family still lives there. I’ve lived in Jacksonville, Florida since I was 10, but have made pilgrimages up north on a yearly basis. I even lived in Chicago for 3 years after college and remain in touch with my old roomies and friends from back in the pre-raw days. It seems like only yesterday that I was BBQ’ing meat, pan frying sausage and meatballs and microwaving hell-if-I-know all the while thinking it was nourishing food. Over 10 years later I’m a little wiser and a lot healthier than I was when I was in my mid-twenties.

Tom's Steak HouseMy arrival in Chicago had me visiting my uncle out in River Forest. He’s not a raw fooder by any stretch but it’s never too late to start. I did Saturday night dinner with the boys, which had us visiting Tom’s Steak House in Melrose Park. There’s a good chance I may have been the first raw fooder at Tom’s Steak House. I made sure I packed a homemade salad dressing to top the double salad I was going to order. I was pleasantly surprised at the Romaine, tomato and onion salad that they set me up with. I also scored a side of Greek olives which weren’t from a can. I sipped bottled water while the gang enjoyed cocktails, followed by soup or salad and then their entree of meat and starch… the undoing of the Western World – Please refer to Food Combining Rules. I had my salad delivered with the entree and poured on my home mix of living red wine vinegar, olive oil, dulse, Italian herbs and Himalayan salt. Following dinner my uncle took me to see some music at another steak house; Gibson’s in Rosemont. I’ve been bar hopping before and now I’ve officially been steak house hopping. We listened to Lenny Capp perform on piano while my uncle sipped a cocktail and I had a NA brew. I was pleasantly surprised to meet another raw fooder upon visiting the washroom at Gibson’s. It turns out the bathroom attendant, Caleeb, had just gotten into raw foods and he was trying to convince his fellow co-worker to eat a macaroon he had gotten at Whole Foods. I was more than happy to try one, seeing that I was miles away from any raw food dessert and was craving something sweet. We chatted a bit and I gave them my card and invited them to keep in touch. Raw fooders are turning up in the strangest places… it’s so cool.

Next I visited friends in the city. My friend Angie hosted a BBQ at her house. Mike, Cyndi and their daughter Merrit were already in grilling mode when I arrived on Sunday. I whipped up a guacamole, cut up veggies and rolled some burritos with some sun-dried tomato chia wraps I had made for traveling. It was quite a simple and delicious feast for me; no lighter fluid, no charcoal, flames or prostate cancer to worry about. I ate my fill of burritos and saved my strength for karaoke night at the Beauty Bar that evening. It was a rocking good time. Angie did a Pat Benatar song while I sang “The Weight” by The Band.

sausage and burrito
which one belongs in your mouth?

Some juice was in order the next day to recover from our late night of singing and dancing. My friend Angie has dumped dairy, started juicing and has begun to see some positive changes. I took her juicer for a test drive the other morning and made a ginger cucumber apple juice that would straighten your toe nails. Now the city is behind me and I’m enjoying the lush green landscape of Ronora Lodge in Watervliet, Michigan. With over 100 acres of land, a lake, green house, garden, stables, cabins and more I’m in heaven… aside from the mosquitoes and biting flies. The green house is loaded with tomatoes and basil, while the garden is bursting with yellow squash, cucumbers, yellow watermelon, brocolli, kale and peppers. Oh, and I can’t forget the wild blackberries and grapes. At the moment I’m just writing, foraging, feasting and enjoying the magic here at Ronora. I enjoyed a big tomato and onion salad with pecan basil pesto the night I arrived. The next evening, the owner Deej let me know where the “all raw” kitchen was and I prepared a raw feast for her and her husband that consisted of a kale salad with garden tomatoes and yellow squash noodles with walnut basil pesto. Owner and operator Deej Leggit just recently healed herself of both Type 1 and 2 diabetes after doing the 21 day detox program at Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. She and her husband Hunter have both experienced the healing benefits of a raw vegan diet. To my surprise Ronora Lodge has hosted David Wolfe, Matt Monarch and Angela Stokes, Paul Nisson and next week Victoria Boutenko will be here with other raw food folks for the Green Synergy Fest.

Here’s a Basil Pesto Recipe that’s tasty and easy:

  • 1 C walnuts – rinsed, soaked 1 hour and drained
  • 1/2 C fresh basil leaves – packed
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 T tamari
  • salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in food processor with S-blade. Spread thick pesto inside bell pepper slices. Or mix into zucchini or squash noodles. Add more oil, vinegar and tamari to make into a sauce.

Enjoy the picts and I’ll keep posting. Keep it Live!

blackberry bowl
Nature's Abundance
blog, Raw Food Adventures, Recipe

Count Down to the European Tour

LFE Euro Tour Map
LFE Euro Tour

April 8th is the big day… I board a plane for Spain, I sure hope it doesn’t rain… I could continue rhyming but I’ll refrain… oops I did it again. Enough already.

Yes, over the Christmas holidays a European tour began to manifest itself. This is an example of the power of manifestation at it’s finest. Toss your line of intention out into the universe and be prepared to land a big one. The story unfolds something like this:

On Dec. 6th I received an email from Gabrielle, an Irish woman who had been a volunteer in the cafe out at The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center back in October of 2007. The email was regarding a wellness retreat in Costa Del Sol, Spain from April 9th-13th.

Spain Retreat Flier

I was like, “cool, I want to go to Spain”. Then I was like, “how the heck can I go to Spain?” So here’s my take on the power of manifestation, for it to work you have to offer yourself up to the universe. So in regards to the fishing analogy I started above, I riggled myself around the hook and tossed myself out into the great unknown as bait. I contacted Gabrielle and I volunteered to work the retreat, knowing well and good that I’d have to fund my way over to Spain and back.

Now another trick with the power of manifesting is letting the universe sort out the worrisome details. These are the details that keep you from taking a leap of faith.

With my line cast I received a brief reply the next day on Dec. 7th from Gabrielle welcoming my offer and putting me on hold until she had more details. This was promising yet there were some blanks that needed to be filled in… the universe fills in the blanks if you allow it to. In the meantime I was preparing for my visit to Canada, so I quickly put the prospect of sunning myself in the South of Spain on the back burner. I was on a plane to Canada on Dec. 20th and was greeted with another email from Gabrielle  on Dec. 21st. As she promised she had

Paris Class Flier
Paris Class

more details regarding a work exchange and she also had a pleasant surprise… she suggested I teach a class in Ireland that could offset my travel expenses. The date she had in mind was Sat. April 24th…. nibble, nibble, bite. That’s another fishing reference.

Things kinda snowballed from this point on. There were details regarding dates that needed to be worked out, specifically what I would be doing for the 11 days between the end of the retreat and the class in Ireland. Time to bait the hook again and see what the universe has to offer. This time I contacted another friend from Tree of Life, Arletty. I had been keeping up with her posts on Facebook and knew she had been teaching rawfoods in Europe. After a bit of research I found out she was in Paris, France. I let her know my travel plans and we were able to schedule both a dinner and a class in Paris… Nice! In the meantime Gabrielle had contacted me about teaching another group in Galway after the first class in Wicklow… double nice.

So that’s how the schedule looks at this point. The question marks on the map represent just that… unanswered questions. I have contacted family in Italy, a cousin teaching English in Switzerland and friends living Germany; all of which I’d like to visit… I’m just waiting for the universe to sort out the details. The one detail that is sorted out is my return date, May 13th. Keep your dial tuned to The Live Food Experience for pictures, posts and updates from the European Tour.

In the meantime I’d like to share a quick and easy recipe for making a delicious spread for veggies and firm fruit like apples and pears. I call it Almond Miso Spread… yes, you guessed it. It has almond butter and miso in it.

Almond Miso Spread 2 T Raw Almond Butter

2 t unpasteurized miso

1 t hemp oil or olive oil

1/2 t apple cider vinegar

1/2 t maca

Mix ingredients by hand in a bowl and use as a spread on veggies or use in wraps.

blog, How To, Raw Food Adventures, Recipe

Goji Beer-y in da House!

nice brew
nice brew

This weeks installment is a festive fermented beverage I lovingly refer to as Goji Beer-y. This is the second time I’ve made this drink since returning to Florida. The fermentation is done with vegan kefir grains called Kefir d’ Acqua. I came accross this treat while working out at the Tree of Life in Patagonia, Arizona. Props to Joshua who scored us the first batch of water kefir goodness. Goji Beer-y was almost a reality while out in Arizona but unfortunately Joshua placed his experimental goji berry batch in the oven to ferment assuming that would be a safe enough place in a house full of raw foodists. Unfortunately he didn’t take into account that using the stove top to heat water would raise the temp in oven thus increasing the pressure inside the goji berry brew. Long story short… there was an explosion, goji ferment juice all over the floor and inside the oven. The upside of this story is the RAWthrock house got their oven cleaned to a level beyond all expectations.  Once again, thanks to Joshua.

This friendly ferment is great because the process is relatively simple and can be completed with in 72 hours. I made the batch in the video using filtered water, kefir crystals, 1/2 C of raisins and a 3 oz of home made grape preserves. I figured I wasn’t going to use the jelly, I might as well feed it to the kefir. Goji Beer-y is bubbly, slightly bitter with a little goji sweetness.  These days it’s my non-alcoholic beer of choice. Details and direction for creating your own kefir ferments can be found at the link above.