Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hangin at the TREE

Alrighty!! I have so much to share.

I'm at the Tree of Life in beautiful Patagonia. This place is truly amazing.
What I'm doing here is partaking in a 10 week Spiritual Living Foods Chef Instructor course. How cool is that!

I get to eat 100% Organic, super fresh, unprocessed, unradiated, unmicrowaved, non GMO, totally raw cuisine! My body is just loving this.

The Tree Cafe

There are 10 girls on the course and we all stay in dorms (which is so much fun..It's like I have 3 new sisters), as well as the course we can participate in all the happenings around the Tree.

There's Yoga, different dance courses, African drumming, Veganic gardening, sprouting, heaps of different spiritual ceremonies from different cultures and many many other fun activities.


The people here are wonderful, so loving, friendly and POSITIVE! As well as the staff and helpers the guests are all really cool, they're all here for different courses and reasons. When I arrived 3 guests were leaving with this amazing glow..Why? They had just CURED their diabetes!!! Isn't diabetes incurable? Hmm?

At the moment there are a number of juice fasters here. It's really cool seeing them go through all the changes as their bodies are detoxing. The first few days they look like they've been hit by a bus. They have green juices for each meal, their days are full of treatments to help the detoxification process, they're constantly being monitored my doctors. Then all of a sudden they just start gleaming!

Gabrielle Cousens, the founder of the tree of life is an amazing person and has been a holistic doctor for many many years. He is constantly reviewing and scientifically studying different foods and their effects on people & their blood.

The available foods are limited as we try to stick to a phase 1 diet (low glycemic raw vegan-so basically lots of greens, seeds and some nuts) which is Gabrielle's recommendation for people in need of healing. Although the foods are limited we play around in the kitchen all day whipping up a huge variety of super tasty dishes.

Here is what myself, Joshua & Carla prepared today for lunch...

Top row-Dill cucumber salad, butternut squash & beets soup
Pressed salad
Bottom row-3 different Pate, Dulse, Spicy & Spirulina

Joshua (Instructor) & I with our creations

The lovely Esther going for the Cheeze & Pickles

Last night we had the Inipi.

The I-ni-pi ceremony, a type of sweat lodge, is a Lakota purification ceremony, and one of the Seven Sacred Rites of the Lakota people. It is an ancient and sacred ceremony of the Lakota people and has been passed down through the generations of Lakota.
The full ceremony is not taught to non-Lakotas, it involves an I-ni-pi lodge (a small frame of saplings covered with hides or blankets). Stones are heated in a fire, then placed into a central pit in the lodge. Water is then poured on the stones to create hot steam. Traditional prayers and songs are offered in the Lakota language. Held at the time of the new moon.

We're able to participate in an I-ni-pi because Gabriel has been adopted into the Lakota Sioux Tribe and initiated as a sweat leader.

Ready for Inipi

The ceremony lasted about 2 hours, there was approx 20 people in the lodge which is about the size of a 2 man tent. We sang traditional songs and sweated it out for 2 hours. I was really worried about lasting that length of time inside but with the drums and singing time flew by. I felt super cleansed afterwards.

Some more piccies.....

The super cute Megan (Garden apprentice) & Ben (Chef Apprentice)

Playing music to the sprouts!!

Our neverending abundant supply of WHEATGRASS

The overflowing Veganic Garden

May Peace Prevail on Earth


Friday, August 8, 2008

What's the guts with Nuts?

Nuts are seeds that are covered with a hard shell, and most are the seeds of trees. Nuts in general are fairly nutritious, providing protein and vitamins, such as A and E, minerals, such as phosphorous and potassium, and fibre. So what's the problem with eating nuts?

Nuts are extremely high in fat content. When it comes to fat, the source doesn't matter so much; fat is fat. Fat travels from the lymph system directly into the blood. Too much fat and the blood with thicken causing the red cells to clump together so that they cannot deliver oxygen to the cells.

Excess fat also blocks the action of insulin in bringing sugar to the cells, which leads to diabetes and other blood-sugar problems. So it's best to eat only small amounts of nuts (1 ounce or 30 gms in a day) and not to eat them daily. Fruits, veges and leafy greens provide all the fatty acids to meet all of our needs.

Remember when buying nuts, raw/organic is always best, as toxins are stored in fats. We should always soak our nuts. Soaking nuts, seeds, grains and beans releases enzyme inhibitors, allowing the sprouting process to occur, which makes their full nutritional potential availible. The purpose of these enzyme inhibitors is to protect the nut or seed until it has what it needs for growing (ex. sunlight, water, soil, etc.). Since the soak water will contain the enzyme inhibitors, and is very acidic to the body, please be sure to rinse your nuts and seeds well after soaking. (the pic above is of almonds and walnuts I was drying in the sun, after soaking overnight). The sprouting process is said to activate the life force in the food. This is then passed on to us when we eat it. Yum.

One of the best things to do for time saving is to soak plenty of nuts and/or seeds and then dehydrate them at 105 degrees for about 18-24 hours (until dry). Then, they’re typically ready to use right away, when a recipe calls for nuts or seeds. This is especially great for crusts, cookies, pates, etc.

Here is a pic of my nut mix or almonds, walnuts and black sesame seeds. I use this in my smoothies after the gym or as a garnish for a raw pasta or salad like the one below which I had for lunch today. Raw Zucchini salad.

When storing our nuts make sure they are in cool, dry conditions in airtight containers away from the light. Because of their high fat content, many of them benefit from storage in the fridge or freezer to deter rancidity. If left in plastic bags, cracked nuts are susceptible to mold growth.
Considerable evidence shows thats peanuts often are contaminated with a fungus-produced toxin called alflatoxin. It is a big problem as alflatoxin was being shown to cause liver cancer in rats. It was said to be the most potent chemical carcinogen ever discovered. (The China Study)
The sad thing is that this carcinogen is in all peanut butters that are mostly consumed by our kids. All 29 jars of peanut butter they had purchased to do the study on were contaminated with 300 times the amount of alflatoxin judged to be acceptable in U.S. food. The best peanuts at the factory end up in "cocktail" jars, leaving the worst, moldiest nuts to be delivered to the end of the belt for peanut butter.
Take care out there because you deserve better.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A little bit different - My first post

Hi there,

I thought I would get myself started here and contribute to this great idea Sarah has of sharing some pretty important information with our friends and family. As she discussed in her last blog, she is in Arizona doing it raw for the next 10 weeks. It was a big call going but it's going to be such a great experience for her. Very unique indeed.

So what I want to talk about is getting a few more people thinking about giving up the flesh and dairy.

It's not an easy task having all this information and wanting to share it without being the annoying guy or making people feel guilty about the way they are living their lives. Its not what this is about, in fact its the total opposite. This is just a way people can have a look at what other options are out there besides the way we are currently living our lives.

The thing is 99% of people eat a diet which involves animal protein and about 1% eat a plant based diet. Looking at those sorts of figures of course you are going to think "how can the 1% be right?". However the science is clear and the results are unmistakable. There is no time like right now to take control of our health.

I know it may seem impractical to change our lifestyle, to give up meat and high-fat foods, but I wonder how practical it is to have prostate cancer, breast cancer or Type 2 diabetes. Radically changing our diets may be "impractical", but it might also be worth it. The enjoyment of life, especially the second half of life, is greatly compromised if we can't see, if we can't think, if our kidney's don't work or if our bones are broken or fragile. All I hope is that I am able to enjoy not only the time in the present, but also the time in the future, with good health and independence.

Now for those of you that are thinking the idea of giving up all meat products including beef, chicken, fish, cheese, milk and eggs - seems impossible, no amount of talking is going to convince you. You need to try it.

Give it one month. You've been eating hamburgers most of your life so one month isn't going to kill you. A month isn't enough time to give you any long term benefits, but it is enough for you to discover four thing's.

1. There are some great foods you can eat on a plant-based diet that otherwise you may have never discovered. You may not be eating everything you want to eat but you will be eating lots of delicious food.

2. It's not as bad as you thought it would be. Some people love it and others take a few months but everyone finds it's a lot easier than they thought.

3. You will feel better. Most people even after a month feel better and lose some weight as well.

4. Most importantly, you will discover that it's possible. you may love it, you may not, but at least you will come away from your one month trial knowing that it is possible. You can do it if you choose. All the health benefits that come from a plant based diet are not just for hippies and monks, you can have them too.

Where do you start? As soon as you start to look for information on a plant based diet you will discover that there is a huge amount of information available and best of all you will discover you are not alone. Who'd of thought there were so many people out there just eating plants?

I know it's hard to believe all this until you experience it for yourself. Do it because you deserve better.

Recommended Reading : Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine by Gabriel Cousens M.D.

The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PHD

NZ pics

While I'm waiting for the sun to rise thought I might share some pics we took from NZ..


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Arrived in the U S of A

So, it's all happening! Much faster than I seem to be blogging! Oops.

As i mentioned in my last post I am on my way to the Tree of Life in Patagonia. Where I'll be participating in the 10 week 'Spiriual Live-food Instructors' course. Learning to prepare & create fresh, unprocessed, organic, healthy cuising. As well as taking part in all the other amazing programmes they have on offer.
I can't wait to share all my experiences!

Meanwhile I'm in transit to TOL.
After just a short (thankfully) 2 hour stop in LAX , I arrived in Tucson, Arizona.

I've never been to an actual desert before so flying into Tucson was amazing. Dry parched land with no water in sight, yet there is a thriving city in amongst it! How does that work?

With only one day to spend in Tucson and jet lag to recover from I took it easy by taking a wee stroll around town. To be honest big cities don't do anything for me so I skipped the CBD and made a bee line to 4th Avenue. This little street rocked! It was so homely, made up of cute boutiques and an amazing organic food co-op (I started my 100 day raw food challenge today so this place was my saving grace! Trying to find a healthy raw breakfast and lunch from service stations & mini marts was impossible, I seriously thought I was going to have to starve!). I didn't want to leave.

An early night had, my body clock woke me up at 2am this morning. Will do a spot of Yoga, head out for a walk, try to locate a supermarket then at 1pm my shuttle is taking me out to Patagonia! The next adventure begins...

ooh i forgot to post a picture of our beautiful slice of paradise. (11 acres North of Christchurch, NZ). So here she is...