Hello beautiful people! Thank you for your comments on my western medicine rant and your emails. I was thrilled to receive an email from my friend Betty at PCRM.org who let me know they are working hard to educate medical professionals on nutrition. They also reach out to medical students (future physicians) to show them the glorious affects that diet can have on disease. I’m so happy that organizations like this exist, because western doctors can use all the help they can get when it comes to nutritional education.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. As you may know I took a much needed getaway to Arizona where I visited the Tree of Life center, ran by Dr. Gabriel Cousens. I was so disappointed that he was in Thailand and I wasn’t able to meet him in person. His retreat is known for it’s fasting programs and reversing diabetes programs. It is nestled in the desert of Patagonia, Arizona a hour or so from Tuscon. I drove the whole way there (15 hours!) stopping on the way in El Paso for a book signing.
I bought some books on CD at Half Price Books, borrowed a tent from a friend, packed up snacks, food, my portable stove, sleeping bag and the like and hit the road Monday morning. I listened to Liz Gilbert’s (Eat, Pray, Love) new book Committed on the way there. It is a brilliant book and a much needed read for any modern woman, married or not. Let’s just say it was enlightening. Having this book on CD made the 9 hour drive zoom by and kept me awake.
I really love getting away by myself to collect my thoughts, reflect, refresh, breathe in fresh air, etc. I often wonder why this is, why I like spending time alone in far off places, and why I chose to go to the desert on one of my favorite food holidays where normally I would be cooking for days and sharing food (i.e. stuffing my face) with all my friends (gaining a few pounds in the process). Well, one reason is I broke it off with my boyfriend. I realized it wasn’t working many weeks ago and finally did the deed. We are such great friends, so it ended amicably. Another reason is I must step out of my busy life, my bubble, to see the big picture, to see my life more clearly, to see what my heart desires. In the big city there is so much noise, the internet, things which strain your eyes from seeing what’s real. Maybe I’m just a wanderer by nature. I find it really hard to settle down, grow roots in one place, stay put. Nothing wrong with that I guess. Parts of me long for being grounded, it just never seems to happen that way.
So after spending two days in El Paso I arrived at Tree of Life just before lunch. Everything is raw here and low glycemic. I was in the mood for cleansing and refreshing my body as well as my mind so I was happy for the buffet of fresh foods.
I chowed on two plates of salad with kale, fresh lettuce greens, all kinds of fresh veggies, sprouts made at the center, and a mix of seasoned sprouted nuts. Their house tahini dressing was divine. I was joined by two of my Twitter friends, Sarah and Courtney, who happen to work at Tree of Life. I love tweetups with nice vegan girls!
Then I went to a Sprouting 101 class. I have never really sprouted because it seemed like hard work, but Matt made it seem like a breeze. I only wish I could have the set up they had! Their wheatgrass was the sweetest most delicious wheatgrass I have ever tasted. They also had the most awesome juicer ever. I think it’s time to start sprouting at home on a small scale.
That evening I got to participate in a sweat lodge. This is a traditional native American ceremony of cleansing and purification. You get inside a small dome and hot rocks are brought inside for 4 rounds and people say prays and sing. I hate being hot and sweaty but gave it a try. The third round I took a break outside the lodge and went back in for round 4. There was a surprise round 5 which was the hottest the lodge got because they poured gallons of water over the rocks. I thought I was going to pass out. Once out of the lodge and relaxing under the star lit sky I felt pretty amazing and clear. Just like after Bikram yoga.
The next day was Thanksgiving and everyone was bustling about getting ready for all the guests to arrive. They made raw stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce and other people brought a delightful spread of side dishes. Some of my favorites were a cauliflower quiche, a raw butternut squash dish, and all the desserts. I ate well though I really missed the traditional cooked food I was missing back home. I hit it off with a very nice woman from LA and we spent time chatting and drinking tea.
Before the sun went down I headed to the state park where I would sleep for the next two days. I set up my tent, starting making some dinner, and the sun went down so early I ate in the dark. Needless to say I was very bored. I called up my new friend and asked if I could come back to the center to hang out with her. We had a great evening, then I went to my tent to sleep. It rained and it was pretty cold. I was just so alone and bored I decided to go home that morning. I said goodbye to my new friends, bought some snacks from the store there, and headed out. Another book on CD kept me company as I drove the 15 hours back home I decided to go to Austin instead to visit a friend that was in town from LA.
I was very happy to be driving across many states during “Black Friday”. This concept, the holiday shopping frenzy, lining up and sleeping in tents outside a store to be the first few in line doesn’t make any sense to me! How do people get so wrapped up in consumerism? Over the years I’ve started to despise the holiday season more and more. Is anyone with me here? Does Christmas music drive anyone else up a wall? I sound like such a scrooge lol! This used to be my favorite time of the year. I guess it goes back to bring a wanderer that makes it hard to get excited. I have close friends in many parts of the world whom I can’t spend time with over the holidays. I yearn to be closer to them all.
Last Christmas my dad told me he had cancer. I can’t believe it has been almost a year since I received that news and here he is doing better than ever after going plant-based. That is something to be thankful for. I don’t like the idea of being thankful once or twice a year and showering people with gifts just because you have to. I like buying gifts for others when the gift calls to me at anytime of the year. Or making a hand-made gift usually involving food like cookies, biscotti, spiced nuts, etc. I don’t feel the need to buy buy buy, ever really. And if I am going to buy I would like to buy something unique, handmade, something from a green store, a thing that someone really needs and will be useful to them.
What will you be buying this year for holiday gifts? Or will you had make presents?