Thursday, May 31, 2012


As I have walked this journey, many have often expressed how difficult it is to transition to a raw vegan lifestyle and marvel at how I seem to have adapted with ease.  My response is honest, it is not difficult.  It is about making simple choices.  Right now, I am 99% raw.  I occasionally have eaten a prepared hummus while dining out or consumed a few nuts that were not raw.  I do not concern myself with this overall percentage as each day, I am on target.  This because I start daily with a focused simplicity to eat whole foods.  Throughout these postings, I have previously referenced keeping it simple and short, sweet, or satisfying. (KISS).  "Kissing" yourself if the best approach to not only raw vegan transition, but to anything you face in life.  Of course, there will always be fancy, decadent, complex dishes that mimic cooked or animal based meals which requires some form of talent to create, however, just a piece of fruit or whole vegetable will suffice.  Worrying about converting exquisite, complex works of art with way too many ingredients can lead to failure as one can easily begin to walk the path of procrastination while attempting to obtain everything they think they "need" to create mini masterpieces that will just be eaten in less time than it took to construct.    Save the fancy for every now and then.  Treat it no differently than consumption of a special dinner during an
evening out.  Realistically, how many of us, raw or not, eat fancy gourmet meals every day?  That being said, let's get back to kissing.  Make an honest effort to keep things easy.  Focus on just one simplicity and expand as you master it, one at a time. As simple as life seems to be, we've all somehow managed to bog and burden ourselves with materialistic, unnecessary objects and artificial deadlines.  It is important we learn to un-complicate our lives. Apply the Kiss to every aspect of your life -  keeping each component simple will relieve your stresses.  Kissing your life is loving yourself.  A peace-filled, zen based life will calm your soul and quiet your being.  I believe we were intended for simplicity.  Yes, I enjoy some technology as much as the next person, however, everything should be placed properly in its place and not take precedence over the simplistic way of life.

Fast Food for Real

In our modern world, fast is the way, steadily increasing its pace.  We want everything quick, we want it fast and we want it convenient.  I find it perplexing that the very people who obsess with the fast life do not consider fresh whole fruit and vegetables "fast food".  How is it not?  Live food is the same as the "value menu" cholesterol
 increasing, artery clogging, fat filled burgers and fries when it comes to convenience:  no prep time, easy to pick up and take on the go, relatively cheap and you can feed your entire family for less than $10. The crucial difference is that whole, live, raw foods are actually GOOD for you, free of fats, sugars, increasing instead of decreasing energy.  When eating real fast food, you don't have to worry about triggers, dis-ease, and illness.  The first stumbling block when converting to veganism is always trying to figure out what to eat.  My suggestion is simple:  stop worrying. Nothing complex to determine.  Pick up some real fast food - an apple, bananas, celery, cucumbers, dark green leafy plants, etc.  

Life Uncomplicated

As you simplify when, how, and why you eat, begin to apply these techniques to the other aspects of your life.  It doesn't make you different, it just makes you uncomplicated.

"Instead of thinking outside of the box, get rid of the box" ~Deepak Chopra

Uncomplicate your life, remove your boxes, get off the grid and make your life as easy as you can.  Reduce your stress and any object that you associate with it.  For example, people find it strange that I do not own a cell phone.   It was the first thing I got rid of when I began to simplify my life. I understand the practicality of a cell phone, however for me, it represented the stress of always being on call. I admit, when I first let it go, I felt I had made a mistake, yet I felt compelled to stick with it.  Quickly, as I re-educated and re-programmed my needs versus my wants, I discovered I no longer needed it.   I haven't had one for nine years now and enjoy the freedom of not being attached to it. Except for the younger generation, most of us grew up without a portable phone and life was grand.  This simple exercise led me to begin to align my thought processes in tune with needs and wants.  The stress and complications come with forcing wants into needs.  Mastering the ability to distinguish between the two is empowering.

The Power of Simplicity

John Lewis, the Bad Ass Vegan, first introduced me to the concept of active simplicity during the Rawgust raw food celebration in the summer of 2011. He created a mental challenge to eat simple.  It spoke to me.
Appreciate simple life....
It fell in sync with my walk.  It became my mantra.  This past month, another friend, raw vegan super athlete,  Jeff Sekerak, launched a new initiative, Power of Simplicity in which he highlights how empowering it is to live, eat and be simple. When you live simply, you gain a power.  It allows you to "see" for as you stand present in your moment, you are able to observe all around you and make conscious decisions with wisdom instead of in haste or in stress which most often leads to more stress and waste of valuable time.  A simple life is a powerful life.  It  gives you appreciation of the gifts provided to us through nature - grass, trees, water, air, love, life. Use this power to make choices to transition from complication into simplistic hedonism.  Enjoy the taste and smells of sweet succulent fruit, the burst of energy from pure nutrients, the feel of  natural clothing, the quiet from unplugging the television, the sound of crickets at night, birds in the morning, the satisfaction  water provides,  the tranquility of release.  Taking one step toward simplicity will envelope and cleanse every other aspect of your life.  Give yourself a kiss...think about what you can do right at this moment to simplify your life, it can start with eating an apple and instead of a bag of chips.  

"The journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step" ~Lao Tzu

Yoga:  Pranayama - Breathing Techniques
The simple act of breathing is one of the most crucial components in any yogic practice. Breath is the key to life.  Without it, we cease to exist.  Breathing is one of the most simplistic things we can do effectively.  Pranayama literally means control of lifeforce.  Yogic breathing techniques balance the mind and the body.  Control of breath oxygenates, creating greater levels of consciousness as well as reduces stress, improves mental clarity and aids digestion. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Essence, by definition is the basic, real, invariable inward nature, substance or constitution of any "thing". In elementary terms, it means, what are you made of?  The more I learn about living clean, the more I pondered the word "essence" and its meaning which has led to an increased desire to continue learning.  When I started this journey, my intention all along has been to live with a clean mind, body and soul.  I now am at the place where I ponder what is my essence, what am I made of?  This has become a walk not just about eating.

All the Way
It is now about going all the way.  It is about discovering who and what you are and finding balance within.  I have found true balance through yoga, meditation, and veganism.  It swirls within me:
My Essence and formula for success. What is yours?                

Yoga.........body & mind
Meditation........mind soul
Veganism...................soul & body

I have found my essence which feeds my mind and soul and ultimately my body.  It is my formula for success.    It is my grounding and a happy cycle that overlaps each continuously as I work steadily towards going all the way. Looking at the word essence again, I found it also has a second meaning:  a substance obtained from a plant.  Ah-ha!  That is the answer I was seeking.  In order to go all the way, the logical next step is to begin looking, from a plant-based perspective, not only at what put in my body,  but also about what I put on it and what it is surrounded by.

After my ah-ha moment, I began researching natural, plant-based alternatives for everyday products such as toothpaste, deordorant, soaps, detergents, and remedies.  Within two weeks of this decision, an opportunity to conduct a product review for a natural, raw vegan company flowed across my path.  I found this to be no accident.  I had previously received solicitation to look a products that did not align with my objectives and I had respectfully turned each down.  This time was different.  The facilitator did not contact me directly.  She made a simple, humble request available to anyone who wished to participate freely.  This time, with no prior knowledge of her products, I felt an urging to try it out.  As I began to research the company she represented, everything began to align.  Once I spoke with her,  Lacey Swartz, I found a sincerity in her desire to provide natural products for her family which led her to become a representative for the company Miessence

I discovered that the company Miessence (pronounced "my-essence") proudly touts itself as the "world's first certified 100% organic company with products ranging from skin, hair, body, nutritional, and cosmetic  products."  It's logo is the "heart-shaped leaf of the bodhi tree, symbolizing wisdom, unity, prosperity and longevity".  This information felt good.  I felt comfortable to delve a little further.

Trying it Out
Of the choices, I  immediately decided try out the Deep Green Alkalising Superfood because it is a 100% raw, vegan, certified organic and an alkalizing product. Alkalization of the body fights dis-ease and wards off illness from a cellular level.  This product turned out to be my favorite of the two I tried.  I am sure my love of dark green leafy vegetables biased this opinion.  The product is as its name suggests - it is a deep rich green powder comprised of 12 ingredients including blue-green algae (spirulina), spinach, kale, and parsley.  The powder can be used by the teaspoon to make super juice or smoothie as well as a "seasoning" to boost dishes.
I first used it with a kale juice, adding one teaspoon.  The powder thickened the juice yet its earthy taste softened the strong flavor of the kale.  I found it to be tasty.  Lacey provided a cleansing recipe in which you juice 1 lemon and add 3 teaspoons of Deep Green to 4 cups (or 1 liter) of water three times per day for three days.
* Ideal for those who do not eat deep green leafy vegetables
* Algae is a source of B12  and iron
* Has sources of Vitamin E, K, and beta-carotene
* Product is versatile, can be used in many ways 
* Contains grasses including oat and wheat
* Price is a little costly, however, see it as an investment
* Be aware that this is a supplement, not meal replacement

This aside, I recommend the product.  For those interested in the grass aspect, the company states that they use "only grass juice powders, not the pulverized grass powders that are completely useless for humans!"  Just making a quick juice is ideal for those who find it difficult to eat at least 5-7 servings of vegetables per day on a regular basis.  I also used the product to make a salad dressing (1 teaspoon Deep Green, 1 pureed zucchini and 1 pureed cucumber) and a tasty dish consisting of  1 cup shredded carrots or pulp, 1 diced avocado.

The other product I sampled was the Berry Radical Antioxidant Superfood.  Initially, I was a little skeptical after I immediately noticed it contained raw cacao.  While true raw cacao
can be consumed on a raw vegan diet, generally is not found in its true state.  Most companies which claim naturalness usually offer a processed version.  Lacey checked with the Miessence creator to confirm the true 100% raw vegan nature of the cacao used in this product.  So, with that in mind, I tried it on faith of her word.  I made a chocolate mousse and ice cream.  It was delicious!

Mousse                                  Ice Cream                
3 plantains                             6 bananas                
2 bananas                              2 teaspoons Berry Radical
3 tsp Berry Radicals              1/4 cup pureed strawberries
For each:  Freeze bananas and plaintains overnight.  In a food processor or blender, whip bananas and plantains.  Mix in additional ingredients according to recipe.  For Ice Cream: serve immediately;  For Mousse:  prior to serving, let sit 20 - 30 minutes allowing it to thicken to "mousse" consistency cording to recipe.  
* includes superfoods such as pomegranate, acai, goji, and blueberries
* antioxidants neutralize free radicals which damage cells
* raw cacao
* coffee fruit (fruit of coffee plant which in raw form has potential to go rancid)

The cons are more of a personal taste and objective as these are things I do not normally consume.  That aside, I found the overall taste of the product to be more "chocolate" than "berry" which makes it, in my opinion, more feasible to use or blend into dessert recipes or smoothies.

Next Steps
This exercise has rewardingly reinforced my path. I am excited to discover who I am by trying new things. I have found that there are products, companies, and organizations which strive to feel, see, and just "are" the way I "am".  I started with internal consumption.  These next steps, however, will facilitate going all the way with external products as well. In time, and through research,  I will continue to meet more and more Laceys* of the world.  As I evolve, I work grounded with confidence, knowing what I'm about is in tune, with my essence.  For this, I am grateful.  Namaste.

* If you have questions or are interested in more information regarding Miessence products, please contact:   
                    Lacey Swartz
                    Independent Representative, Miessence

Yoga - Muladhara,  Root Chakra

Janu Sirsasana (head to knee) pose
one of many to open the Mulahara
The Muladhara is the base, first,  or root of the seven chakras recognized in the western world.  This chakra sits at the base of the spine and is the root of the physical body. It houses personal energy.  According to, the muladhara "bestows breath and mind control, knowledge of the past, present and future." Practicing poses which open the Muladhara will stimulate alignment of body, mind and soul facilitating grounding, stability, and security which provides the ability to go all the way.  It represents awakening and essence.