Happy trails

Two years ago I posted my first blog on January 26, 2011. One hundred and seventeen posts later, it’s time to explore another direction. I have spent the last two months grieving, reflecting, considering options, letting go. It has been a process and one that I have yet to complete. I keep gaining clarity with each step I take that frees me from what no longer serves me. I’ve been peeling layers of my emotional onion and with each letting go, I’m finding the veneer of the past lifting and revealing a less encumbered me.

I’ve been reading, journaling, meditating, re-evaluating, re-connecting with my life partner, and re-creating some new possibilities. We still aren’t certain what some of the ‘new’ possibilities may be, but we do know what they won’t be.

The cafe was a remarkable experience and one that we will never regret. I learned so much about myself, about people, about food, about the community, and about the values that drive me. What I also learned is that running a business wore me out and no longer holds a place in my heart. A great learning.

I learned that without a place to go everyday, I found myself retreating, hibernating, and festering. Some of that was part of the healing process. Some of it was desperately needed. Some of it has placed me at a loss. And much of it confirmed for me that I am aching to be free of what was.

I began to look at what I have been trying to offer on these pages. Some of it resonated for others. I provided easy recipes to kickstart you into another plateau of food preparation. I offered some tidbits of info that confirms the benefits of live plant-based cuisine. But in truth, I really have been at a loss to keep saying the same things in new and refreshing ways. I have come to realize, you either are going to make a change or you won’t. What I write here really has no relevance unless it resonates for you personally. For many, a balance is what really has meaning, which may include both cooked and live options. What I hope my posts have introduced, are alternatives for consideration. But I no longer have any interest in reitterating the same message. One more layer of which I am letting go.

My coaching practice never took off. I believe it is because I was hesitant to charge for what I had to offer and to own my expertise in this area. I gave away much of my skills and knowledge. My focus may have been too narrow, nor something that people felt they needed to pay for, in order to make a change in their life. My attention has been multi-pronged and exploratory. Jim and I offered workshops initially, then retreats, an occasional cafe out of our home location, consultation, and products. Once we established a full blown live plant-based cafe in town, we focused entirely on what it meant to run a business. Formal coaching never entered the equation. All our interactions with the public were informal. That aspect of our connections with others will always remain. For now another professional layer has been let go.

Which leaves me with a fresh start. I enjoy writing. I enjoy sharing my observations. Jim and I will be taking a year to mostly travel. Jim wants to write a book. Perhaps we will collect our recipes and develop a more formal way to share them with you, rather than through blog posts. I hope to collect interviews with others in the countries we visit to learn of their experiences living healthily through alternative food practices within their cultural communities.

Rawsome on the Road, will become our next handle. We may write the occasional blog post. It will provide you with a way to connect with us. It will be our way to share the passions that bubble forth from us. As always, you can read or delete, remain on our distribution list or decide we no longer speak to your interests. It’s all good.

With deep gratitude, I thank you for being a loyal reader. It has been an honour and a humbling experience to reach out to you in such an intimate way. Your comments have nourished me. Your thoughtful appreciation has been illuminating. It has been a gratifying journey. I wish you all the most healthful year ahead. May you find joy in every moment. May you open your heart to possibilities and never shy away from those moments that speak to your heart. Happy trails to you, until we meet again.

For old times sake and in the spirit of the holiday season, here are four new recipes and two bonus recipes. Glad tidings and blessings to one and all.

Veggie Compote

Rough chop the following ingredients and stir in a bowl. Top your salad and use as a dressing, eat on its own, or use as a topping on a fresh pizza or with crackers.

  • 24 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 2 tsp wheat-free tamari
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 mushrooms
  • 1 avocado
  • Sprinkle Italian Spices over top to taste

Sunny Salad Dressing

Rough chop all ingredients and place in a blender. Add water if required to thin to desired texture. Adjust flavours to taste.

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds (preferably soaked and dehydrated but you can get by with unsoaked and raw)
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (to taste)
  • Water as required

Sunny Taco Filling

Rough chop all ingredients. Place in food processor and pulse chop using the S blade until the texture of ground meat. Best to first pulse chop the sunflower seeds. Then pulse chop carrots next, followed by celery, with sundried tomatoes, garlic, onion, and mushrooms added last along with the spices. Use a lettuce leaf as a taco shell. Top with sprouts and a dollop of
‘rawcamole’ (bonus recipe).

  • 2 cups of sunflower seeds (preferably soaked and dehydrated but you can get by with unsoaked and raw)
  • 1 large carrots
  • 1 large celery stalk
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp wheat-free tamari

Rawcamole – Bonus
Mash the avocados in a large bowl with a potato masher or fork. Stir in lemon juice, tomatoes, and spices.

    • 2 avocados
    • 1 tomato chopped finely
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon – garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder (adjust to taste)
    • Salt to taste

Banana Almond Chews
With thanks to Lulu and Paisley for the inspiration

Place ingredients in a food processor using the S blade. You will be adding the bananas and dates first to provide you with the liquid. The remaining ingredients can be added one at a time and pulse chopped until you start to achieve a smooth or lumpy texture – depending on what you prefer. Once all mixed to your desired texture, roll into one inch balls, roll in flaked coconut, and freeze. Will last up to 3 months in the freezer.

    • 2 ripe bananas
    • 6-8 pitted Medjool dates
    • 1 cup almond pulp (bonus recipe for almond milk which will provide you with the required pulp)
    • 1/3 cup cacao powder
    • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
    • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/3 sunflower seeds (preferably soaked and dehydrated but you can get by with unsoaked and raw)
    • 1/3 pumpkin seeds (preferably soaked and dehydrated but you can get by with unsoaked and raw)
    • 1/3 cup flaked coconut
    • 1/3 cup gogi berries
    • 1/3 cup raisins

Almond Milk – Bonus
Makes 3 cups milk

  • 1 cup whole, raw almonds, soaked overnight (8-12 hours)
  • Next morning rinse and drain
  • 3 cups water

Blend rinsed and drained almonds with 3 cups of water until they are smooth and creamy. To separate the’milk from the almond skins and pulp, squeeze the blended mixture through a mesh nut milk bag or clean un-used paint strainer bag, catching the milk in a large container. What is left in the bag is the pulp, which you can use in cookies (see recipe above).

Detoxifying ourselves

There are many toxic layers we add on and peel off daily, depending on our particular journey in the moment. If we go back to the last post where I spoke of the cancer cells each and everyone of us has within our cellular structure, there are contributing factors that go far beyond environmental ones, which may provoke those cells. Currently I’m more interested in the emotional toxins I have whirling around my psyche and beyond and how they affect health and well-being.

When you give up something that has provided a lifeforce within you, you are suddenly stripped of a buffer zone between your desires and your demons. And if that lifeforce was in fact one of your life long desires, then all you may be left with are your demons. Emotional demons are cancerous in their own right. They live in your cells waiting for opportunities to poke holes into your vulnerabilities. If you don’t have positive antidotes in place to protect you from yourself, your most base and raw emotions will rise to the surface. How you deal with those emotions depends on your emotional immune system.

A fellow blogger – Marcia Mundel recently wrote about the book Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser. This book contains a blend of moving stories, humorous insights, practical guidance, and personal memoir. During times of emotional turmoil we need to consider if we will be broken down and defeated, or broken open and transformed. Elizabeth Lesser shares tales of ordinary people who have risen from the ashes of illness, divorce, loss of a job or a loved one – both stronger and wiser in their emotional intelligence.

In Broken Open, the stories that are shared are of people who have hit their lowest ebb. Arriving at their end point may have been the result of an illness, circumstance, or an emotional breakdown. How they rise up from their depths differs depending on each situation and each individuals survival mechanisms.

How odd that if we reject what is painful, we find only more pain, but if we embrace what is within us – if we peer fearlessly into the shadows – we stumble upon the light. – Page 50 – Broken Open – Elizabeth Lesser

Not everyone reaches such an emotional turning point in their life. And if you don’t doesn’t mean you are less rich and self actualized. Nor if you do hit those emotional crises are you weaker and more vulnerable. In some situations, there is no predicting what may befall you in your life (e.g. a sudden unexpected death of a loved one). For those who find themselves confronted by their emotional demons there is an opportunity.

If we are not willing to confront the truth about ourselves that a loss unearths, we squander a rare and precious opportunity for transformation. – Page 100 – Broken Open – Elizabeth Lesser

Many people speak of receiving a health diagnosis which has served as a catalyst for change. In Broken Open there is a similar message. As the cracks appear in your heart, let the light shine through and you will be reacquainted with your soul. You may still cry everyday for two years, but you will be guaranteed that your heart will no longer be frozen.

There are three major hurdles to overcome in crisis: dealing with pain; working with your attitude; and using the crisis as a wake-up and a clean-up call. – Page 90 – Broken Open – Elizabeth Lesser

Overcoming hurdles exists whether you are confronted by a physical or emotional crisis. There is pain. That is usually what alerts us to the crisis in the first place. Whether you hurt when you move, or you gain too much weight and find you have high blood pressure or symptoms of diabetes, or an auto-immune ailment, or depression. There is the manifestation of physical pain. How you deal with that pain is dependent on your personal resolve and desire to change. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross states:

You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful flower garden, but you will grow if you are sick, if you are in pain, if you experience losses, and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain as a gift to you with a very, very specific purpose.

When we reach such moments of profound sadness and seemingly impossible consequences, the most challenging outcome, is that there is no one to blame. We are our own sherpa guide. We took ourselves down into the chasm and we can rise above the clouds. We have a choice.

My only hope was to give up a life that had been, in order to make room for a life that is. – Elizabeth Lesser – Broken Open

Lesser provides tools to help cope with the pain – meditation, possibly psychotherapy, and prayer. Recently, I was introduced to the Isha System by a former work colleague. He shared, “It has been an interesting journey over the last few years and many changes in my life. The system has changed my life completely.”

The Isha System proclaims on their website:

In a world thirsting for change, The Isha System offers a solution, by guiding us towards the only place where true change can take place: within ourselves.

The Isha System© consists of the practice of seven components: 1. The Facets 2. Focusing on Love-Consciousness 3. Feeling your emotions 4. Physical exercise 5. Drinking water 6. Being real and completely human (made clearer in advanced meetings and intensives) 7. Always speaking your truth (made clearer in advanced meetings and intensives)

I was struck by components 4 and 5 – physical exercise and drinking water. Both are explained as ways to clear the body of emotional toxins and by flushing the system and energetically ridding the body of these toxins, the easier it will become to reach love consciousness. I also appreciate the linkage between the psyche and the physical. There is truly no separation and what we consume or experience on one level will impact the other.

There is no one cure or solution for what may ail you physically or emotionally. There is a connective fiber of solutions, some of which rely on physical changes and others suggesting a psychological metamorphosis, some of which happen in tandem. Just keep in mind, that we can only fool ourselves some of the time. Eventually, we need to face our reflection and meet ourselves head on, through the heart, lightening our way to the soul, clearly, by breaking open.

I love finding recipes for cooked food and coming up with a comparable live version. Chopping up the cabbage and lightly heating in a dehydrator softens the cabbage and provides a more palatable texture. Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene which is released more effectively when cooked slightly. You can combine these 2 recipes by making a bed of salad, topping with the autumn cabbage and placing some tender tomatoes on top. No need for a salad dressing, as the salad is all dressed up as is.

Autumn Cabbage

1/2 cabbage (red or green)
1 clove garlic grated
1 cup peas (frozen and defrosted) or fresh
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp salt and pepper (or to taste)

Rough chop cabbage and place in food processor with the S Blade. In addition, add the grated garlic clove, cumin, oil, and salt and pepper. Pulse chop until bite size pieces. Place in a casserole dish and stir in the peas. Dehydrate for up to 2 hours at 105 degrees. If using an oven, place in oven at the lowest heat for 30 minutes.

Tender Tomatoes

2 tomatoes
Italian spices to taste

Slice tomatoes to 1/4″ width. Place on a dehydrator tray using a teflex sheet. Sprinkle Italian spices on each tomato slice. Dehydrate for up to 2 hours at 105 degrees. If using an oven, place in oven on a cookie sheet at the lowest heat for 30 minutes.