Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nourishing Your Spirit

How are you Nourishing your Spirit today?  

As a homeschooling Mama of 4, I take it where I can get it. 

My favorite nourishment, right now, when it is hard to escape entirely by myself?
A warm bath.
Preferably entirely alone, but even if it means a baby next to the tub, being sung to by older siblings,  just on the other side of the closed tub doors.  

I can take a deep breath, relax, even if for just a moment, and nourish my spirit.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

World Kindness Day

I can't even begin to express the gratitude that I have for COUNTLESS number of individuals who have supported us along our journey in so many ways.

Supported us in our FUN-raiser.
Helped to replenish our belongings when they were stolen.
Ooodles of hand-me-downs for the kids.
Brought us food when the baby was born.
Really I could go on and on.

There was one couple that really stood out, and always will.

There was a couple that helped us out when we first got to California and things weren't lining up the way we planned.

Only meeting us briefly, they gave us a place to stay, water and electricity to nourish our family.

So grateful for this moment of respite, I asked them what we could offer in return.

Their response...

When they were young and had small children someone had helped them out.
Helped them to grab a breath of air when they needed it.

"Have you ever seen the movie, Pay It Forward? That's all we ask."

This has rung in my mind ever since.  Pay it forward.

How many times has someone given given selflessly of themselves in order to brighten your day?

For me, too many times to keep track.

Pay it Forward.

Today, November13th, is World Kindness Day.

It can be as simple as a smile, or a hug,
or as gracious as giving a family of complete strangers a place to stay.

Don't think about it, just let it flow.
Today and everyday.

Friday, November 9, 2012

My Story and More

This was an article that I wrote in June of 2009.  It is my journey into nutrition, a journey that has continued to evolve and take on new forms through the years. I am always learning, always a student .  Reading it again after three plus years, I was inspired to share my story with Nourishing Yogis. I hope it inspires you on your path, whatever that may be.

At the young age of fourteen, my father decided it would be a good idea to expose me to John Robbin’s Video of “Diet for a New America”. For any of you who have ever read the book, or worse, seen the movie, you can imagine the horror I felt. I’ll never forget the nausea as I tore into a piece of steak later that weekend. That was that, for the last eighteen years the thought of eating an animal has completely revolted me.

For many years I ate a pastatarian diet, which also consisted of bagels, pizza and coffee. As I progressed through my college years I began to learn about “health food”. I ate tofu, whole wheat, stir-fry, soy substitutes, and veggie burgers. My now husband and I experimented quite a bit with a vegan diet, but really, we were far from healthy.

When my oldest daughter was born we knew that we couldn’t raise her on these foods. Through Ruth Yaron’s “Super Baby Food” and Cynthia Lair’s “Feeding the Whole Family” we began to learn the value of a whole foods diet. We switched to brown rice, steamed vegetables, beans, lentils and homemade bread. We felt much healthier than we had for the years we survived on a processed vegetarian diet. We were learning the flavors of real food and the art of food preparation.
Four years ago I started learning the amazing benefits of a raw food diet. I became serious about it when I learned I had a health issue that required medical attention. One month later that issue was almost completely resolved and I was feeling better than I ever had in my entire life. I feasted on many varieties of greens, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. What an amazing summer! I was so full of energy and was at the top of my game.

Then came the fall. Living in New England, winter is when the weather gets colder and signals the time for heavier foods. Our bodies need warmth, grounding and the raw food was making my body cold, and a bit spacey. I transitioned to a cooked foods diet. I inevitably began again with wheat, cooked oils and dairy. These were substances that my body had already proven to me to be sub-optimal. I pushed through the winter, and in the spring we started the transition to a new level of health.
Each year the cycle was the same. Spring brought a new level of health, leading into an amazing living food summer. This was followed by a fall and winter that would leave much to be desired.
A raw foods diet is a detoxifying diet. It is an amazing tool that can do WONDERS for our health. The lightness, freedom and strength that accompanies living food is beyond anything that can be described.The speed in which this live food can heal dis-ease is astonishing.

Our bodies need to follow the seasons in their own right. They need a cycle of detoxifying, building and maintaining. Spring has an abundance of wild and cultivated greens and liver cleansing herbs.  Summer brings its bounty of fruit, carrying vibrancy to every cell in our being. Fall is a time of rebuilding, grounding the lightness of summer for the hibernation of winter. In New England, we see this with our winter squash, roots, and autumn olives. They are crops that root us in the earth and supply us with our stores for the winter. Winter is a time for maintaining our connection to the earth and of feasting on stored grains and legumes.

The challenge that I face is that consuming starchy vegetables, legumes and grains on a daily basis keeps my body, mind and spirit feeling sluggish and puts my body in hibernation mode. Winter for me needs to be home-centered, nesting with my family. However, like many folks in this current paradigm, I cannot spend my winters following the rhythms of the sun. I am awake well after the last glimpse of sunlight and in the morning I wake while the stars are still bright in the sky. I am a mother of three wonderful and energetic children and need to be a bit on my toes during those winter months.
This winter I made new discoveries. I explored new passions. These connections made for winter months in which I felt a strength I had yet to experience. I stayed grounded and focused and accomplished more than I ever imagined. I was opened to the world of mineral rich, nutrient dense, superfoods and superherbs.

What IS a SuperFood or SuperHerb?

The buzz these days in the raw food world is superfoods. What are they? Are they the same thing as a supplement? Why would I want them in my diet?

While the word “superfood” does not actually have an official definition, the implication of a superfood is that it is a food containing many unique healthful properties. These properties may include, but are not limited to: antioxidants, EFAs, DHA, a wide range of minerals, complete proteins, blood sugar stabilizers, immune system modulators, hormone balancers. Superfoods contain an assortment of vitamins, they may be anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and the list goes on and on. Many plant and animal based products contain a couple of these traits. What puts a superfood up and above the rest? David Wolfe states in his new book Superfoods : the Food and Medicine of the Future, “ These include foods that have a dozen or so unique properties, not just one or two. For example, the goji berry is a source of complete protein, immune stimulating polysaccharides, liver cleansing betaine, anti-aging sesquiterpenes, antioxidants, over twenty trace minerals, and much, much more.”

The list of foods that I consider to be super foods are endless, and while yes, most should be used only as supplements, this does not make them any less important than the staple foods that provide to us the bulk of our diet. A supplement is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as being “ something that completes or makes an addition”. If you were to take a glass and fill it with stones you would fill the glass, but there would be many empty holes. You would need other objects to fill those holes; pebbles, sand, water. So is our body system. You can fill the bulk of your body with your staple foods. You need foods to complement your staple foods, foods that supplement the missing puzzle pieces. A different beast entirely is the “vitamin supplement” which is separated from the whole food and extracted into a pill or powder form for our consumption.  The processing of most of the superfoods is simple. Most superfoods are not processed more than how raisins are dried, nut mylks are blended, wheat grass is extracted, or seeds are ground. Something like Marine phytoplankton is simply phytoplankton grown in water and spun to separate the ocean water from the phytoplankton, in order to concentrate the phytoplankton. How is this anymore processed than wheat grass juice being extracted from the blade, since that fiber is indigestible for our human stomachs? Maca is a root, not unlike a turnip, that is dried and powdered in order to retain its nutrients. Nothing is isolated and refined. 

Taking a superfood is much different than taking a product that is isolated and concentrated. They are different than a drug that is derived to push the body beyond its natural limits. Superfoods are whole foods, and YES our bodies ARE dependent on minerals, vitamins, amino acids. These are nutrients that we cannot deny. Our body will not run optimally with out them. To provide them at the levels that we need will help our bodies to function at a superior level. There is an artificial energy that comes with stimulants such as caffeine and refined sugar. It is sustainable energy when your body has sufficient minerals, vitamins and amino acids.

When my six year old daughter was presented with the idea that you don’t need to eat superfoods, her response was quite simple “You do, to keep you healthy.” There is a lot of wisdom in her response. Many of us “health conscious” New Englanders are eating so called “fresh”, “organic” produce that is trucked in from across the country. Let us consider this. Okay, yes, the west coast is much more fertile than the east coast and has a climate much more conducive to growing a variety of foods with longer growing seasons. Geologically, the east coast has been much more stable for a much longer time, giving it ample time to loose many minerals into our ocean. However, many of the companies that we are buying our “organic” produce from are large scale. How truly “organic” are these large companies, and how much have they been depleting their originally fertile soils? They are over-cultivating the soils, even though they are “organic”. Next, I must consider, when was my head of lettuce picked? Or my leaves of kale separated from the plant? Most likely at the very least it has been a week. How many nutrients have been lost in that week? Your produce starts loosing nutritional value from the moment it is picked. And for my fruit, how green was it when it was picked? How long has it been ripening off of the tree out of the sun’s energy? I am a huge advocate of fresh produce. My family survives on green smoothies, nut mylks, salads, and more fruit than you can imagine. I believe that this food is the best path to my family’s health. I also believe that this food is not as optimal as it can be and that we are missing a lot of nutrition. There are many ways for us to improve our nutritional intake from our produce. Support local farmers who are stewards of the land. These are farmers who build mineral-rich soils, farming the soil… not the crops. There are farmers who practice permaculture, letting the land remain truer to itself. There are “weeds” that can be wildcrafted; dandelion greens, wild grasses, docks, sorrels, wild berries and roots. These have all proven to be strong by recultivating a barren land. Wild foods are those that survive when people have stripped the land. These plants are remineralizing our soils just as these plants will remineralize our bodies. These plants will keep our bodies strong and healthy. Many people, including myself, consider them superfoods in their own right. Scores of these wild foods are potent herbs that we literally walk all over when we step out our door. That is, of course, unless we have doused them with chemicals to rid them from our lawns.

It is beyond the scope of this article to begin to delve into the world of herbal medicine. I do, however feel that the powerful benefits of herbs must be acknowledged. Herbal medicine has been practiced for centuries and is embraced by most cultures. There are herbs to support, stimulate or calm every system of the body. You can order Amazonian herbs such as cat’s claw or pau d’arco. If you are knowledgeable in the medicinal mushroom realm you can harvest your own immune modulating mushrooms. You can walk out into your backyard and harvest powerful medicine such as dandelion, burdock, yellow dock, red clover, thistle and SO much more. I have a friend who is harvesting his own herbs while living in New York City. These medicines are free, or very inexpensive when bought. There are many classes and local herbalists, incredible books that you can work with to educate yourself. It wasn’t until modern times that we began to shun herbs and turn towards man-made drugs, to take the place of what nature has provided to us from the beginning of time. Herbs can be taken in many forms, tinctures, capsules or tea. Whether it be an infusion (pouring hot water over leaves or flowers) or a decoction (simmering roots and barks) a tea can be amazing medicine. Used either as a preventative tonic or relief for an acute or chronic problem.

Elixirs are herbal teas turned into nut milks, and blended with superfoods. They are a wonderful modality to take herbal tonics, add to them the sustained energy from nuts or seeds and to combine it with your choice of nutrient dense superfoods, in order to maintain health and longevity. If you are unfamiliar with elixirs, I highly recommend checking out Daniel Vitalis’s Elixir Craft videos on youtube.

Holistic health is not one straight path. It is a windy road with many options. There are many choices for you to consider in determining which is right for you. A combination of many modalities is what will keep you healthy. There is no one prescribed formula that will work for everyone. The healing path can include spring water, ferments, meditation, herbs, exercise, raw foods, superfoods, reiki, other energy healing arts, acupuncture, acupressure, massage, rolfing, yoga, tai chi, among many other things. The balance that you establish will increase your energy and sustain your personal vitality. Do your research, experiment with many different modalities, try new things.  Find YOUR balance.

Live the Vibrant Life that You Deserve!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Blossoming Sprouts

Its been quite a while since I've posted last,

and quite a fulfilling time at that.

We've been nestled down, focusing on family these past few months, as we witnessed our newest sprout emerge into this earthly realm.  It has been wonderful as we have been able to connect with my family in ways that haven't been possible in my adult life.  We have been surrounded by four generations as we welcomed Bodhi Rei into our lives.

The presence of spirit has been strong in Bodhi, in his pregnancy and in his birth.  He is so aware and blissful, and we are so happy to have him with us.

Our birth was in direct flow with the source.  A beautiful and seamless transition.

For several days I felt surges wash over me, in and around our daily lives.  As the surges came closer, I climbed into our birthing pool on our back porch and tapped into  my hypnobirthing meditation. With the support of my most magnificent husband continuously guiding my focus back into the present moment, Bodhi's emergence into this world was one of peace and clarity and beauty.  His brother, sisters and Nonni were able to be present, followed shortly by Great Grandpa, Grandpa and Uncle and Great Grammie was there surrounding us.

He was born outside on our deck in a pool, at our home on a beautiful August morning with our amazing midwives.  It was a birth that could only be dreamed of, a dream in my reality.  And I experienced a high like I've never felt before.

As I emerge from my baby fog, it is becoming increasingly clear that I need to feed my flame.  Staying rooted in my motherhood, I need to nourish that part of me that has been hidden for so many years as I took on Mama as my identity.  And I hope that you are able to join me on this next journey.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Taking Control

Our lives are precious, every moment defines who we are.
What we choose to say,                 
                           to eat,
                           to think.
Where we choose to express our talents,
                             to give our love,
                             to shine our light.
How we choose to move our body,
                           to express our emotions,
                           to fuel our being.
In each and every moment we define who we are.
This body is our temple, feed it with light, movement and love.

Soul sings to spirit, make it a song of peace, of joy, of compassion.

Our heart contains our happiness, connect with your passion.  Follow your dreams.

It is time to take control of who we are. 
Take responsibility for who we are. 
Consciously co-create who we are.

Enjoy every precious moment of your life now.
Right now.
What ever would you be waiting for?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Metta Movement

Friends of ours are hosting this heart opening event.  The first in a series of events, be sure to connect with the groups facebook page to stay abreast of what’s happening.
At this kickoff event, Nourishing Yogis will be presenting a demo including raw Irish Moss and Cacao treats, and offering energy healing sessions.
Hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Palm Sunday

A day that usually sneaks quietly past, 
turned into a wonderful family day.

It started out with one of our favorite local communities, 
St. Andrew's Church.  
A beautiful perspective and wonderful music.
Then back at home, trying our hand at palm crosses.
 A spiritual origami of sorts.

Then kool-aide dyed easter eggs. 
 With a follow-up of acrylic and glitter embellishments, even Dad got in on the action!


We made these dogwood and cherry blossom branches earlier in the week, 
but they were so lovely I had to share!

 Willow having a private fireside chat with herself.

Tie Dye tees with the leftover kool-aide.

Lunch at our favorite local eatery.
And a quick trip to an old favorite beach spot.

Can Palm Sunday get much better??

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Over the last few years my family has been on a search of sorts.  An adventure really.  Not quite ready to settle down and root into a "permanent" spot (whatever THAT might mean.) We've decided to explore bits of our country, meet new folks, learn new tricks, and open ourselves up to new ideas and new experiences.  And oh how this has rung true.  We begun our journey right at our doorstep, learning and growing from all of the marvelous people around us.  Since then, we've had the very fine pleasure of becoming part of several very amazing and wonderful communities, literally from coast to coast.  My family and I have lived within and visited ecosystems that were vastly different, yet all completely breathtaking.  We've begun to define and refine what is really and truly important to us as a family.

The places that we have fallen in love with have had two common threads:
Beauty.  Sheer and utter beauty.  Blankets of magic drawing you in.
Community.  Loving, nurturing, sweet, happy, welcoming community.

I've noticed a sadness, almost a heartbreak, every time that we move on from one of these communities.  I thought maybe it was the job that I loved, or the kitchen that I have dreamed about forever.  Maybe the mountains or the golden, glowing river.

Back on the road, we were able to visit one of our favorite places, just for a short visit.  While there, I tried to come up with a feasible way for us to stay, I really did.  I forgot how much I missed it.  The desert, being in a kitchen, the mountains, the magic.  But we just left another amazing place.  Foothills, a river of magic, miles and miles of open space, and I already miss that too.  And we are headed to another wonderful place.  Ocean, four seasons, forest.  What is it??  What is it really that has my heart torn in so many different directions?

I realize, after spending a measly few hours with, specifically, three girl friends, that it is them, and the family we were taken in to.  And the community that welcomed us on the west coast, and those back home in the east.  Something that I wasn't expecting, I guess.  Finding family. We now have this amazing extended family.

I guess that what I am getting at is this.  Its all the same.  We can live our dream here, there or anywhere really.  What we desire as a family can be done virtually anywhere if we set our intentions.  But what is TRULY important?

To be surrounded, engulfed and completely embraced by our Mother's infinite gifts of nature.  To be in a home where we are in awe, for months and years by our Earth Mother's beauty and majesty .

And very importantly, to be welcomed into a community that is easy to reach out to and be surrounded by.  To be within a loving, like-minded, aware, open-minded, community.  And to gather with this community.

I just want to send out my love.  My open arms and my open heart.  I have SO much gratitude for my sisters and brothers, blood and spirit family, East, West, and all of those in between.  I am so lucky to have connected with this circle.  I feel completely loved and send out so much love.

My gratitude to you ALL.
Love and Blessings, Bliss and Gratitude,

Friday, February 17, 2012

Matcha Milkshakes

One of my favorite memories of my time in Patagonia, AZ, was when I would sit in the shade with my Cafe Sisters on a hot Arizona day, and sip on a tall glass of Matcha Milkshake.  It was always wonderful, and by midway through our drink we would all have smiles spreading  from ear to ear.  If you can get your hands on some of the scrumptious DoMatcha brand Matcha, I can't recommend it enough. 

For those of you new to the concept of Matcha, Matcha is a powdered green tea originating in China by Zen Buddhists, and brought to Japan in the year 1191 where it continued to be important within the Zen monasteries.  Matcha is prepared in a different manner than traditional green tea.  Weeks before the plant is harvested, the plant is placed under shade, removing it from direct sunlight and forcing the it to take up more nutrients and minerals from the soil, resulting in the formation of amino acids.  The finest buds are hand-picked, laid flat to dry and then ground into a fine powder.  When consuming Matcha, the powder is added directly to the drink, where all of the nutrients are taken into the body, verses steeping the leaves and discarding the leaf.  The resulting product leading to a blissful, peaceful, awakened state.  

Traditionally, Matcha is consumed in a ceremony, however, living in the west, and not being exposed to the sacredness of this tea, I learned to drink Matcha as a blissful, summertime drink.  All of my ladies have their own rendition of the drink, I will provide you with my favorite recipe, but please, the fun is in experimenting and finding the combination that most tickles YOUR taste buds.

And if my Cafe Sisters are reading this, I love you and can't wait for our next Matcha break!!!
Matcha Milkshake




2C Nutmilk

6 dates, pitted

1/2 tsp vanilla powder

3/4 tsp matcha powder (or substitute in cacao, lucuma, mesquite or other superfood powder of choice)

twist of himalayan pink salt

1 tray ice cubes

Blend nutmilk, dates, vanilla, matcha and salt until smooth.

Add ice and continue blending.

Pour into two pint glasses and share with someone you love.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rain in the Desert

 Remembering today 
one of my favorite things about the Desert...

Watching the storm clouds roll in 
Over the mountains and across the valley.  
So magnificent.

On the Road Again

 Pulling out of the Drive way, leaving the San Juan Ridge and our beautifully sweet yurt.
 Orange Trees in the Suburbs in Davis, Ca

 Of course Eli grabbed a few fresh oranges for the Family.
(He asked first!)
 On the 5, heading out of the Valley and over the pass into LA

 After a long 7 hr drive, where else would I find the kids besides together, on the bed, 
"Look Mom, we made a heart!"
After selling our RV, the kids were, of course, a bit bummed.  Steve and I granted to each child one wish, be it material or a fun experience.  What did our little foodies decide on???

Lunch at Mr. Chow's Noodle House in Beverly Hills.
On the extras of Kung-Fu Panda, they had seen the chef perform the magic of creating authentic noodles with two hands and nothing else.  They had to have those noodles, and we had to oblige.

Farewell, California.  You have been a wonderful friend.
We connected with amazing folks.
Nourished our bodies with fresh local food.
Doused our bodies in your sunshine, open land and rolling foothills.
You have made an impression, opened us a bit more.
And provided us with the luxury of family time.
Thank you, California, you are in our hearts forever.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Trip to Lake Tahoe

Giant Pine Cones 


Ice Skating Break :-)