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Do you need to eat 100% raw food for success? How much raw food is best?

Recently the New York Times ran an article in their online blog section entitled “Growing Up on Raw Foods” where the author discussed whether or not it is safe to raise children on a 100% raw food diet. I found this article to be very interesting for a number of reasons and I am so happy that it highlights some important factors to consider when transitioning to a raw food or vegan diet.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

How much raw food do you need to eat for success?

Getting Iron and B12 on Vegan or Raw Foods

First, the author points out that children who eat a vegan or raw food diet have higher risk of anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency. As many of you know, I am a huge advocate of eating dark leafy green vegetables, which in my opinion, are the most important food to add to any diet, whether it be a vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, Paleo, diabetic, heart healthy or weight loss diet. In fact, I wrote an article called My Boyfriend Followed my Raw Food Diet and Got Anemia to try and get people thinking about eating more leafy greens for a good vegan source of iron. B12 is also a valid concern (and actually meat eaters are often deficient in B12 too due to low absorption); for that I always recommend a high quality B12 supplement. Note: I do not recommend liquid B12 supplements because many people develop gum sensitivity and/or nerve pain in the teeth from B12 in liquid form.

Accepting your % of raw food

But, the highlight of this article for me was to read about how some well-known raw foodists are changing their 100% raw food status and are eating more cooked food in their diet:

“Some longtime raw-food evangelists are rethinking their devotion. Jinjee Talifero, who runs a raw-food education company with her husband, Storm, in Santa Barbara, Calif., was 100 percent raw for most of the last 20 years, until about a year ago, when financial and other considerations made it difficult to continue feeding their five children, ages 6 to 19, that way. “It was always like a borderline thing to keep enough weight on them,” she said, and getting proteins from cashews and almonds was proving too expensive.

Her children also ran up against social problems. “They were socially isolated, ostracized and simply left out,” said Ms. Talifero, who now incorporates cooked food in the family’s diet.

Sergei Boutenko, 29, a filmmaker in Ashland, Ore., ate only raw from 9 to 26, and for years his family preached the virtues of the diet. But, he said, “there was this constant hunger,” and the raw children he met seemed “underdeveloped and stunted.”

He now eats about 80 percent raw, with occasional meat and dairy. “When it takes 15 hours to make a raw food lasagna that wipes out two days of your life, it’s better to just make a vegan or vegetarian lasagna and move on with your day,” he said.”

The Daily Mail UK website had an article on raw food recently where Australian raw food advocate and follower of a fruitarian or 80-10-10 diet Freelee the Banana Girl explained that she remains ‘raw until four’ – meaning she eats no cooked or heated food until 4pm.

These articles make me so happy because finally, the raw food world seems to be letting go of the 100% perfect raw food pedestal. Even Gabriel Cousens (author of Conscious Eating) says that you can get the same results with eating an 80% raw food diet as you can with 100% raw food, but it will just take you a little longer to get there.

A high raw food diet is usually more than 2/3 or 66% raw food, and 80% is excellent

The conclusion: It’s ok to eat a high raw food diet, as long as you focus on quality of food and:

  • Choose organic fruit and veggies wherever possible
  • Prepare your food with loving intention
  • Avoiding processed foods and chemical food additives
  • Eat cooked food without guilt (because you are 100% human!)
  • Cook your food in healthy ways without heated oils, frying or charring the food

Remember, balance is the key to success. As Dr. Bernard Jensen says, “One cup of coffee won’t kill you, but one glass of orange juice won’t cure you either.”

What’s my % of RAW?

I was 100% for 2 years until I started traveling more and then I dropped down to 90% raw to accommodate my schedule, eating plain steamed veggies, an occasional plain baked potato or organic brown rice. After 8 years on the raw food path, I now sit comfortably at a high raw food diet which means I eat 85-100% raw food. My daily diet consists of green smoothies, green juices, huge salads, sprouts, nuts, seeds, fresh wheatgrass shots, homemade sauerkraut, kombucha and occasionally some organic cooked black beans, chickpeas, steamed vegetables, veggie soup with homemade broth, organic brown rice or red quinoa. I mostly follow the Hippocrates Diet or Ann Wigmore style of eating. Technically speaking, I am not a vegan because I do eat raw organic honey and other bee products like royal jelly on occasion. I made some mistakes with my raw food diet nutritionally along the way, and I’m going to reveal all my lessons learned in a new ebook, so stay tuned!

If you’re going to keep your new diet habits as a healthy way of living for life, it has to be a sustainable for life. Many experts agree that you have to eat at least 50% raw food to start seeing and feeling results (more energy, improved skin, better digestion, anti-aging & cellular repair, reversal of disease). Whether you’re eating 60 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent or 100 percent raw food, the most important thing to allow yourself to be is 100% human. As you go through the years of your life, your percentage of raw food may increase or decrease, and that’s okay! No matter what, the percentage of raw food that you are eating should feel right for you.

> Are you trying to transition to a raw food, vegan or vegetarian diet and feeling overwhelmed with all of the different opinions out there?

> Are you struggling emotionally and socially with changing your diet and feeling isolated or confused?

> Are you eating a healthy raw food or vegan diet and still feel tired, have trouble sleeping, or suffer from skin problems, hair loss, brittle nails, digestive problems, anxiety, depression, infertility, or dental problems?

> Do you want to change your diet but simply don’t know where or how to begin?

For more on how to start a raw food diet, how to do a detox at home or what minerals you may specifically be deficient in, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

To read the New York Times article in its entirety, go here: Growing Up on Raw Foods

To read the Daily Mail UK article in its entirety, go here: ‘I lost 3st eating vast “mono meals”: Controversial diet guru who consumes 5lb of potatoes in one go says single-food feasts are key to weight loss and health

More on Raw Food:

Do you need to eat 100% raw food for success? How much raw food is best?

Recently the New York Times ran an article in their online blog section entitled “Growing Up on Raw Foods” where the author discussed whether or not it is safe to raise children on a 100% raw food diet. I found this article to be very interesting for a number of reasons and I am so happy that it highlights some important factors to consider when transitioning to a raw food or vegan diet.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

How much raw food do you need to eat for success?

Getting Iron and B12 on Vegan or Raw Foods

First, the author points out that children who eat a vegan or raw food diet have higher risk of anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency. As many of you know, I am a huge advocate of eating dark leafy green vegetables, which in my opinion, are the most important food to add to any diet, whether it be a vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, Paleo, diabetic, heart healthy or weight loss diet. In fact, I wrote an article called My Boyfriend Followed my Raw Food Diet and Got Anemia to try and get people thinking about eating more leafy greens for a good vegan source of iron. B12 is also a valid concern (and actually meat eaters are often deficient in B12 too due to low absorption); for that I always recommend a high quality B12 supplement. Note: I do not recommend liquid B12 supplements because many people develop gum sensitivity and/or nerve pain in the teeth from B12 in liquid form.

Accepting your % of raw food

But, the highlight of this article for me was to read about how some well-known raw foodists are changing their 100% raw food status and are eating more cooked food in their diet:

“Some longtime raw-food evangelists are rethinking their devotion. Jinjee Talifero, who runs a raw-food education company with her husband, Storm, in Santa Barbara, Calif., was 100 percent raw for most of the last 20 years, until about a year ago, when financial and other considerations made it difficult to continue feeding their five children, ages 6 to 19, that way. “It was always like a borderline thing to keep enough weight on them,” she said, and getting proteins from cashews and almonds was proving too expensive.

Her children also ran up against social problems. “They were socially isolated, ostracized and simply left out,” said Ms. Talifero, who now incorporates cooked food in the family’s diet.

Sergei Boutenko, 29, a filmmaker in Ashland, Ore., ate only raw from 9 to 26, and for years his family preached the virtues of the diet. But, he said, “there was this constant hunger,” and the raw children he met seemed “underdeveloped and stunted.”

He now eats about 80 percent raw, with occasional meat and dairy. “When it takes 15 hours to make a raw food lasagna that wipes out two days of your life, it’s better to just make a vegan or vegetarian lasagna and move on with your day,” he said.”

The Daily Mail UK website had an article on raw food recently where Australian raw food advocate and follower of a fruitarian or 80-10-10 diet Freelee the Banana Girl explained that she remains ‘raw until four’ – meaning she eats no cooked or heated food until 4pm.

These articles make me so happy because finally, the raw food world seems to be letting go of the 100% perfect raw food pedestal. Even Gabriel Cousens (author of Conscious Eating) says that you can get the same results with eating an 80% raw food diet as you can with 100% raw food, but it will just take you a little longer to get there.

A high raw food diet is usually more than 2/3 or 66% raw food, and 80% is excellent

The conclusion: It’s ok to eat a high raw food diet, as long as you focus on quality of food and:

  • Choose organic fruit and veggies wherever possible
  • Prepare your food with loving intention
  • Avoiding processed foods and chemical food additives
  • Eat cooked food without guilt (because you are 100% human!)
  • Cook your food in healthy ways without heated oils, frying or charring the food

Remember, balance is the key to success. As Dr. Bernard Jensen says, “One cup of coffee won’t kill you, but one glass of orange juice won’t cure you either.”

What’s my % of RAW?

I was 100% for 2 years until I started traveling more and then I dropped down to 90% raw to accommodate my schedule, eating plain steamed veggies, an occasional plain baked potato or organic brown rice. After 8 years on the raw food path, I now sit comfortably at a high raw food diet which means I eat 85-100% raw food. My daily diet consists of green smoothies, green juices, huge salads, sprouts, nuts, seeds, fresh wheatgrass shots, homemade sauerkraut, kombucha and occasionally some organic cooked black beans, chickpeas, steamed vegetables, veggie soup with homemade broth, organic brown rice or red quinoa. I mostly follow the Hippocrates Diet or Ann Wigmore style of eating. Technically speaking, I am not a vegan because I do eat raw organic honey and other bee products like royal jelly on occasion. I made some mistakes with my raw food diet nutritionally along the way, and I’m going to reveal all my lessons learned in a new ebook, so stay tuned!

If you’re going to keep your new diet habits as a healthy way of living for life, it has to be a sustainable for life. Many experts agree that you have to eat at least 50% raw food to start seeing and feeling results (more energy, improved skin, better digestion, anti-aging & cellular repair, reversal of disease). Whether you’re eating 60 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent or 100 percent raw food, the most important thing to allow yourself to be is 100% human. As you go through the years of your life, your percentage of raw food may increase or decrease, and that’s okay! No matter what, the percentage of raw food that you are eating should feel right for you.

> Are you trying to transition to a raw food, vegan or vegetarian diet and feeling overwhelmed with all of the different opinions out there?

> Are you struggling emotionally and socially with changing your diet and feeling isolated or confused?

> Are you eating a healthy raw food or vegan diet and still feel tired, have trouble sleeping, or suffer from skin problems, hair loss, brittle nails, digestive problems, anxiety, depression, infertility, or dental problems?

> Do you want to change your diet but simply don’t know where or how to begin?

For more on how to start a raw food diet, how to do a detox at home or what minerals you may specifically be deficient in, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

To read the New York Times article in its entirety, go here: Growing Up on Raw Foods

To read the Daily Mail UK article in its entirety, go here: ‘I lost 3st eating vast “mono meals”: Controversial diet guru who consumes 5lb of potatoes in one go says single-food feasts are key to weight loss and health

More on Raw Food:

Get Affordable Organic Food with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Vegetable Home Delivery

Want to save time and money and get more affordable organic fruits and vegetables? Then check into finding a local CSA for organic home delivery in your area. Community Supported Agriculture or CSA is a way to connect consumers directly to organic farmers. With no store or “middle man” in between, you get more affordable produce that’s fresh and in season.

Get local organic produce delivered to your door & save money too!

How does a CSA work?

Basically, you invest in a “share” of the harvest, meaning you pay in advance for regular deliveries of organic, fresh, seasonal produce from local farmers. Every program varies in what it offers, when and where it is delivered and how much a share costs. Typically, you choose between a “small box” or a “large box” which is delivered weekly on a certain day (say every Tuesday or Thursday). The contents of the box will vary depending on what’s being harvested that week. For example, this week (in summer) in Israel I received: organic tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, dill, parsley, beets, green chives, mint, pumpkin, spinach, Swiss chard, daikon, zucchini and watermelon. Other times I will get garlic, onion, lemons, papaya, apples, melon or kohlrabi with a mix of fresh greens that also vary depending on the time of year. On average, 1 large box will last me about 4-5 days. I usually need to supplement with my own store-bought organic fresh fruit because admittedly, you usually get more veggies than fruit in a CSA box. With the CSA that I belong to, there is also the option to order additional items, including local organic eggs, tahini, honey and olive oil (I don’t order any additional items but I know a lot of people who do). The box is delivered directly from the farm to your door.

The benefits of eating organic food

Organic food is higher in minerals because the soil in which its grown is a much better quality than the over-farmed, depleted and toxic soil you find in industrial farming. Without any hazardous pesticides either, organic food can decrease your risk of allergies, rashes, inflammation and asthma and keep your immune system strong. This is especially important for growing children. Organic food is also not irradiated or genetically modified (GMO), two more processes and man-handling added to the food supply today which can be harmful to your health.

And, my favorite thing about organic food? It tastes way better!!! My fresh organic produce is never bitter or bland. And a better natural taste has to be better for you. Once you try it, you will see for yourself!

The saddest thing I find about organic food is people seem to only invest their money in it at certain times in their life: mainly, when they’re pregnant, sick or have cancer. Outside of that, it can be really hard to convince anyone to spend money on organic veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds and/or grains. Even vegan, raw food, vegetarian and gluten-free folks will often turn their head at the added cost of organic. But why wait until you are sick or pregnant to start eating the best food for your body? If you eat organic food for years before your pregnancy, don’t you think you will be higher in minerals, less toxic and therefore increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby? And perhaps if you invest in some high quality food now, you won’t ever get sick and if you do, you will recover much more quickly. If you put better fuel in your car, it will run better and last longer. Well, let’s add some extra miles to your life and keep your internal engine working great with high-quality organic food! You deserve the very best.

The benefits of using CSA delivery

1. You increase the amount of organic food in your diet.
2. It’s more affordable and fresher than buying organic produce in stores.
3. The fruit and vegetables are locally grown and in season.
4. You’re supporting small local businesses and farmers in your area.
5. You save time and hassle by enjoying home delivery.
6. You naturally get more variety in your diet.
7. You can experiment and try new veggies that you might not otherwise buy (like daikon or kohlrabi).

In fact, I can’t think of any reason not to join a local CSA! To get started, research your local community by googling “CSA organic delivery + your county, city or state” and see what you find. You can also inquire at your local health food store or Wholefoods market.

A good list of Organic Home Delivery farms in USA: Organic Consumers Directory List for USA

In Israel, there are 2 popular CSA services for Tel Aviv: Chubeza and Maggie’s Garden (I personally have tried both and now am happy with Chubeza). Find a complete list of Organic Home Delivery farms in Israel, including Jerusalem, the north to Herzilya and south to Ashkelon here: Times of Israel article on Eating Organic in Israel using local CSA

If you’re using a local CSA in your community, please list the link in the comments below with your city, state and country below and let’s share the good times of eating more natural, whole and pure food! I’m thoroughly enjoying a healthy week with yummy green smoothies, juices, raw food salads and desserts all with beautiful vibrant organic food!

For more on how to start a raw food diet, how to do a detox at home or what minerals you may specifically be deficient in, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

More on Organic Food:

Cilantro Hot Sauce Recipe! For a Spicy Dip or Salad Dressing

Check out this amazing raw hot sauce! If you’re a former tabasco and hot sauce lover but are looking for an upgrade in your ingredients and a 100% raw food version of your hot sauce, then you’ve come to the right place. In this recipe, there is NO added sugar, no monosodium glutamate (MSG), no added colors or preservatives – just an all-natural good-for-you safe food recipe. It takes only a few minutes to make, and this hot sauce will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days. We usually make it once a week as a treat to add to a salad or a a topping to a yummy vegan seed cheese or nut cheese.

Delicious recipe for homemade hot sauce using hot peppers, coriander (cilantro) olive oil, salt and fresh garlic.

This is a very popular style of hot sauce in Middle Eastern food. Traditional Middle Eastern food has a lot of raw food dishes, and since I’m living in Tel Aviv, Israel, I get to play around with local, fresh ingredients and share some healthy recipes with you. In Hebrew, this sauce is called “skhug yarok” (green skhug). The Yemen people claim that this dish brings you health and longevity. The ingredients are: 1 whole bulb of garlic, 2 large hot peppers, 1 bunch fresh cilantro, 2 tablespoons olive oil + salt.

How To Make Homemade Hot Sauce

Place the following ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth:

– 1 bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro)
– 1 whole bulb of garlic, peeled (yes, the entire bulb, not just 1 clove)
– 2 large hot peppers (you can use 3 small raw jalapeño peppers)
– dash of Himalayan salt to taste (check your sea salt for no additional additives)

The key to making this hot sauce right is to add the olive oil at the very end, after you blend the other ingredients!

After everything is blended, add:

– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

and blend again. Store in a glass container in the fridge.

This sauce is hot! You only need to add 1 teaspoon to a salad to give it a real kick! Garlic is a powerful anti-inflammatory food and a known anti-cancer food. Cilantro is a fantastic natural chelator of heavy metals and is recommended to eat during a heavy metal detox. Hot peppers help to detox the liver, strengthen blood and boost your immune system. This recipe is vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free.

Can you see how much healing power you can get from your food?

Delicious recipe for homemade hot sauce using hot peppers, coriander (cilantro) olive oil, salt and fresh garlic.

For more on how to start a raw food diet, how to do a detox at home or what minerals you may specifically be deficient in, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet!

More Healthy Recipes:

Raw Detox Salad Recipe

Eating raw organic food can be so much fun! Check out this gorgeous salad that took only a few minutes to prepare…and it’s full of detox foods to make it a mini-cleansing meal!

Use the healing power of raw foods to create a fantastic detox salad

For the salad add: Chopped rocket leaves, grated carrot, chopped cucumber, fresh mint, parsley, sunflower seeds and top with homemade raw sauerkraut. If you can’t find rocket leaves, then just use fresh chopped spinach or romaine lettuce.

Make the dressing with: Chopped garlic, crushed papaya seeds, extra virgin olive oil, raw organic honey (optional), fresh lemon, a dash of cayenne pepper and Himalayan salt to taste. The papaya seeds should be fresh, from a ripe papaya. I usually set aside some papaya seeds after eating the papaya. Store the seeds in a small jar in the fridge for up to one week. Use a few seeds each time you make this recipe.

What makes this a DETOX salad?

  • Fresh parsley: Kidney cleanse
  • Cayenne, olive oil & lemon: Liver cleanse
  • Garlic & papaya seeds: Anti-parasitic foods (kills germs)
  • Sauerkraut: Natural probiotic (good bacteria)
  • Rocket & cucumber: Skin cleanse
  • Sunflower seeds: Good for glandular system
  • Raw honey: Immune booster
  • Fiber: Colon cleanse

Let Your Food be Your Medicine…..Wow, it’s really true!

Click here to learn how to make fermented cabbage and raw sauerkraut. In a temperate climate, it takes as little as 4 days!

What is DETOX?

The highly refined foods that you eat every day, including sugar and white flour, make you susceptible to intestinal problems, and possible diseases. The average diet today is heavily loaded with chemical additives, flavorings, coloring agents, toxic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other toxic chemicals which overburden our bodies. Add to that work and family-related stress, indigestion, illnesses, constipation and sedentary lifestyles, and you have a recipe for an unhealthy colon and an overweight and tired body. Many health conditions are caused by the combination of processed foods, low fiber diets and poor evacuation of waste.

Periods of abstinence from solid food – a ritual performed since ancient times – can allow the body to “cleanse and purify” or “detox”, that is, to remove toxins, excess fat and even parasites caused by years of ingesting processed food, excess food, refined sugar and wheat and even fast food that eventually impairs the normal functioning and our body’s elimination.

During fasting, large amounts of these accumulated metabolic wastes and poisons are eliminated through the cleansing ability of all the organs of elimination – the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs and skin.

Eating more detox foods in your regular diet is a way to have a “mini-cleanse” on a regular basis and that helps the elimination organs keep us with their daily housework. Eat a detox salad for lunch instead of pizza or Chinese food and you will have better digestion, less headaches or insomnia, improve your skin and increase energy levels, simply by choosing better fuel for your body. A raw food diet is a detox on its own. You can continue for 1, 3 or 7 days on a 100% low fat raw food diet as a way to really give the body a good natural cleanse from the inside-out.

For more on how to start a raw food diet, how to do a detox at home or what minerals you may specifically be deficient in, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet!

More on Raw Food:

How I got a Book Deal using the Law of Attraction

Have you seen the movie The Secret? By now, everyone has watched it, it’s old news and the “Law of Attraction” has already come and gone as a passing fad. But wait! It actually does work and I’m going to share an amazing story which will hopefully lift your spirits and keep you thinking about setting your goals and intentions for this life.

Power of Positive Thinking, Affirmations, Manifestation – that’s The Secret!

The Law of Attraction works like this: Focus your mind on what you want instead of what you don’t want, and watch the universe actually start to fill your mental orders. Suddenly it’s easier to meet the people you need to meet and to be at the right place at the right time to find what you were looking for and on and on it goes…creating the life that you want with the very power of your thoughts. Manifesting, setting goals and intentions, visualization and guided meditation all are ways to use the Law of Attraction. Since most people are too busy thinking about what they don’t want in life, they simply attract more of what they don’t want: bad relationships, money problems, dead-end jobs, and daily struggles. As Esther Hicks says in the film, “what you put your mind to becomes a reality.” Change the way you think, and your life will change.

The Secret DVD

How did it work for me? I first watched The Secret 7 years ago when I was living in a bungalow on the beach in Thailand. Someone brought me the original movie from the USA before it become mainstream and said, “Jennifer, you have to watch this…it’s amazing!” I looked at the cover with this special writing and I was excited to find out what was the secret! I watched the stories of creating vision boards and seeing years later as things came true, and I thought, “Wow, I want to try that!” It sounded so cool, and after all, I had nothing to lose!

The next step was to decide, well what do I want? That can be a hard question actually! Do you focus on small things, big things…where do you begin? And I remembered the story from the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy and he dreamed of getting his first big paycheck. I think he even wrote a fake check to himself just to hang on the wall. So I thought ok, I can do something like that. And this is what I did:

After watching The Secret, I created this Best Seller List for my vision board

Yes, this New York Times Bestseller list is FAKE. I made it for my vision board! I decided to put myself at the #1 spot on the chart as a way to motivate myself to write a book, and of course become a successful author too! I simply went online and found a current bestseller list, and with a quick print screen and change in photoshop, I instantly got to the top of the book charts. Well, in my mind! I have to laugh at myself because I even put a fake date on it – I decided to hit the bestseller list on the day before my birthday as a gift to myself…I gave myself a few years to complete the project and picked the year 2011.

Remember: According to The Secret, you don’t have to know how you are going to do something or when you are going to get something, you just have to know that it will happen.

So here’s the amazing thing. I printed this bestseller jpg and I hung it on my wall in my office/bungalow/house. Every day when I sat at my desk I would see my name and my book with the red circle around it and take a minute to visualize my success. Clients and friends who came to my house would sometimes notice it and say, “Wow, Jennifer I didn’t know you wrote a book!” I used to laugh and say, “Well…not yet. That’s part of my vision board.”

Over time, the paper started to get dirty and worn. I lived right on the beach so it was hard to keep things looking clean. About 2 years later I took the picture down, but I kept it in my files. And honestly, I totally and completely forgot about it.

Fast-forward to present day, another 5 years later, and my best friend is now totally into The Secret, watching it all the time. She’s putting signs in her house that say “We got another check!” and “We made another sale!” and her online sales have been going through the roof (she sells stuff on ebay and amazon). Every few days, she tells me another success story from her positive affirmations. And I laugh.. It’s fun! But still, I had totally forgotten my little vision board that I created years before.

Then, the unexpected happened. Or the expected…depending on which camp you are in! I arrived to Israel after many months of traveling through Central and South America with no real plan for work besides my Skype consultations and eBook sales, moving to one of the most expensive cities in the world – Tel Aviv – thinking “what am I going to do here?” Yeah, I know…I am an existential stream-of-consciousness type of being. Not many people can live like me!

Within 5 days of arriving to Israel, I received an email from a publisher in New York, USA. Out of the blue! The email said: “We want to talk to you about writing a book on Green Smoothies. Let’s meet ASAP.” Well, Ok! We had a phone meeting and several emails went back and forth, then I proposed a Table of Contents and a Partial Sample Chapter, and 3 months later I received the contracts in the mail to sign with Wiley Publishers for my first book deal ever, with an advance!

A book on the same exact subject I entered in that New Your Times Bestseller list: Green Smoothies!!!!

What you focus your mind on becomes reality…that’s the power of the Secret!

Even at that point, I still had forgotten about my old vision board. It wasn’t until I was in the middle of a conversation with my friend about all of her manifested ebay sales when I thought, “WAIT!” I think I made something about writing a book! I had to dig through my old computer backup files since the computer I used had long since passed away, but sure enough, I found the New York Times jpg! What you see is exactly what I made 7 years ago.

I hadn’t seen that jpg in years, but there it was….and I really had to say “Thank You!” to myself for creating such a clear and strong vision and for having the faith to take a leap and put the power of creating in my mind. Wow!

So, do I fail if I do not make it to #1 on the NYT bestseller list? I don’t think so and I hope you don’t think so either! It’s like the Chicken Soup guy…I think his first check was a few thousand below what he visualized, but was he upset? No way! He was over the moon to see his dreams realized! And I am too! The only way to explain what and why this happened is from that original seed that I planted in my mind. And if not, well, it’s a good story to tell and share!

I’ve now gotta write a 288 page book and I’m nervous and excited but I know that my mind is the key to get this job completed on time and to write something that will help others in their journey to enjoying Green Smoothies and better health and well-being as a result.

And yes, I am now working on a new vision board to create some new and exciting manifestations ahead!!

You can create your own vision board at home. First, think about what you want to achieve or how you want to feel. Really allow yourself to feel that you have already achieved that goal. Start by cutting out pictures or printing out sayings and add them to your board. Put the board in a place that you can see it for at least a few minutes every day. When you look at your board, align your thoughts with the images or words and allow yourself to feel the feeling of accomplishment. Soon, you will be celebrating your success too!

And here’s the book: Green Smoothie for Dummies

Literally, I "wrote the book" on Green Smoothies!

I “wrote the book” on Green Smoothies, literally!

Sip your way to ultimate nutrition and feel better than ever!

Whether you’re looking to detox, lose weight, or just add more veggies to your diet, green smoothies are the way to go. Easy to prepare, portable, and endlessly customizable, green smoothies are the trendy new beverage in everyone’s cup. Green smoothies are the easiest, most painless way to add more nutrients to your diet, so you can feel better than ever before.

Green Smoothies For Dummies is your beginner’s guide to the world of drinkable greens. Author and international smoothie guru Jennifer Thompson explains the benefits of green smoothies, and provides over 100 recipes that will make you start craving your vegetables. You’ll get to know the flavors and properties of each ingredient, and how to combine ingredients for complete nutrition. Available on amazon.com or the iTunes store.

Other good books on the Law of Attraction are by Napoleon Hill, Wallace Wattles and Esther Hicks:

Do you have a good Law of Attraction success story? I look forward to reading your comments below!

More on Manifestation:

Loni Jane Anthony pregnant and eating 10 bananas a day: She says “80:10:10 diet saved my life”

A pregnant woman eating 10 bananas a day in Australia is making world-wide news and stirring a lot more than raw cacao and acai bowls… Loni Jane Anthony is a 25-year old pregnant blogger and instagram sensation, famously known as “10-bananas-a-day” Loni Jane.

Loni Jane was recently featured on news.com.au in Australia where she discussed her the details of her “extreme diet,” considered even more extreme to many because she is now 26 weeks pregnant.

“It all started about three years ago. I started getting skin infections, acne and putting on weight which was weird because I’d always been so slim. I wanted to sleep all the time and ended up with a whole range of health problems including candida overgrowth, hormone imbalance, irregular periods and hair loss,” she said.

She says that years of a party-hard lifestyle with excessive partying, drinking and alcohol left her sick and desperate for a solution. She turned to the 80-10-10 diet, a diet created by Dr. Doug Graham consisting of low-fat, whole, fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables after her health hit rock bottom.

“It wasn’t for weight loss or for a quick fix. I was internally really sick; I was killing myself slowly. If I’d kept living that lifestyle I would’ve ended up with a disease like cancer or early ageing. So giving up that food was really quite simple for me,” Loni said.

“I came across the 80:10:10 Diet from an extreme fruitarian. She really taught me that you can live and thrive on this lifestyle by just eating higher carbohydrate vegetables, fruits and juices, and keeping your diet low fat. You even keep good fats low to keep your blood sugar stable. It’s been amazing.”

Loni also tried the Paleo Diet and Gerson Therapy before converting to 80-10-10 or “811,” a low-fat, plant-based diet – which is 80% carbs, 10% fat and 10% protein.

Now 26 weeks pregnant with her first child, Loni Jane says The 80:10:10 Diet ‘saved her life.’

“I usually wake up about 4.30am-5am and have up to two litres of warm water with lemon. I let that go down for two or three hours. In summer I like to eat half a watermelon to get hydrated,” she said.

“If I don’t have watermelon I’ll have a big smoothie with at least five bananas, but usually more than five because organic bananas are smaller, and about a litre of filtered water. I also always have oranges in the morning being pregnant. I’m obsessed with eating oranges.

“At lunch I usually like to have a mono meal, meaning one type of fruit, which is really good for digestion and goes straight through you. At the moment it’s mangoes I’m hooked on so my meal for lunch will be at least five or six mangoes. I might then have a salad later depending on how active I am that day.

“Dinner is always a huge salad with a tahini dressing. If I decide to have something cooked I’ll have it on the side like at the moment my crispy no-fat potatoes are divine.”

“I feel like now I can share who I really am and I’m not trying to hide behind alcohol and partying. I don’t need to alter my state and get drunk to feel like myself or to have fun. I didn’t quit alcohol altogether but it’s no longer five days a week, it’s more like once every five months.”

“If you live your passion people will see that. I’m just living it, and living exactly what you see, and that’s what inspires people I think. Because I’m at an age where most people are out getting super-drunk and taking heaps of drugs and having no self-respect, so I like to inspire girls because I was once in that position as well.”

So, the big question… is this ok? Is it safe for a woman to be eating 10 bananas a day while pregnant? First I should say that I’m happy to hear of any story that gets us talking more about fruits and vegetables! Loni Jane is a very pretty girl. It sounds like she’s feeling great during her pregnancy and I hope she’s getting her iron levels tested and regular health check-ups to make sure the baby is ok.

From my own point of view, I personally think Loni Jane is a bit too thin and she looks very thin in her pregnancy photos, but just that’s my opinion. Of course, some woman can be very thin and healthy while pregnant. The most important thing to do while pregnant is have regular doctor visits and make sure the baby is developing at the right rate, that the heart rate is ok and that the mother is not anemic or mineral deficient.

When I see photos like this, I worry more about the implications of what kind of image this puts out to young girls and women. I’ve worked with many women with eating disorders and I’ve seen the obsession with flat-belly “selfie photos” all too often… I’ve also worked with many women who had drug and alcohol addictions, and went straight from that addiction into a strict and regimented 100% raw food diet. Replacing one addiction for another keeps an obsessive-like behavior, it isolates a person from family and friends, and keeps them locked into a “perfection-seeking” lifestyle. Often these women will binge and purge between raw food and junk food, desperately trying to find a stable middle-ground. Underneath that can be a real lack of self-value, self-worth and self-love. Some women will even combine their 100% fruitarian diet with getting breast implants, cheek fillers, lip fillers and botox but then profess their love of raw food and living a “natural life.” When young girls see an image of a size 0 women with size D silicon gravity-defying breasts drinking a green juice or holding a handful of bananas, it just doesn’t give plant-based diets or raw food a good name. How do we find a balance, when it’s clear that sex and beauty sell? In truth, there is no easy solution.

It’s definitely important for pregnant and breast-feeding mothers to get enough fat, protein and calcium in their diet. If a pregnant women is vegan, vegetarian, fruitarian or raw foodist, she should be extra attentive to her nutritional needs. Eating 10 bananas a day while pregnant is perfectly fine. (How many women eat 2 bagels, a bag of cookies, ice cream and cake while pregnant…and no one bats an eye?) However, in the early stages of pregnancy, it’s especially important to avoid too many high Vitamin C foods. High doses of Vitamin C can stop the body from making progesterone, the main pregnancy hormone. It could be dangerous for young pregnant women to follow Loni’s diet if they eat too many mangoes and oranges thinking they are doing the right thing, when in fact the high amounts of Vitamin C could trigger a miscarriage. It’s also not a good idea to go straight from a SAD or meat-eating diet into a 100% raw food diet at the onset of pregnancy and this can stir up a lot of toxins from the natural detox effect and that’s not good for a growing baby.

In Loni’s case, she seems to be doing well at 26 weeks and I wish her all the best. She’s got a creative eye and her photos of raw food are great! I’m happy that she is bringing a lot of attention to eating a more plant-based diet and she sounds like she’s pretty grounded in her approach to dealing with her new-found fame.

What do you think? I look forward to reading your comments below!

Related Article: Is it safe to detox while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Raw Food Diet Articles:

How to Ferment Cabbage and Make Raw Sauerkraut

If you think that eating more fresh, natural raw food in your diet is too expensive, then this recipe is definitely for you! Making fermented foods at home is one of the most inexpensive ways to enjoy raw food. For optimal digestive health, we need to get good bacteria in gut on a regular basis. Antibiotics destroy all the bacteria in our system, both good and bad. Over time, this can lead to more imbalance in digestion function, absorption and elimination. Some experts even say that food allergies, autism and ADHD may be related to an imbalance of bacteria in the colon. Certainly many digestive diseases like colitis, diverticulitis and Crohn’s disease are caused in part by lack of good bacteria in the gut. Having the right balance of good bacteria helps to strengthen immune system, improve digestive health and long-term, can even prevent dis-ease. Probiotic, or good bacteria, literally means “for life.”

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

How to Make Raw Sauerkraut at home, a healthy naturally fermented food

How can we get good bacteria or “probiotics” back in the gut? The Western diet has virtually eliminated all traditionally fermented foods out of the diet, with the exception of yogurt. Store-bought yogurt is pasteurized, and usually contains added sugar, flavor and colorings. It’s also not a suitable option for vegans, and it’s expensive! Nowadays you will see Kombucha drink as a fermented raw food vegan option. Kombucha is fantastic, but it is also expensive at $6.00 per bottle. You may see sauerkraut for sale in supermarkets, but it’s already been pasteurized, so virtually all of the good bacteria has already been destroyed.

Not to worry! If you have just a few heads of cabbage, some salt and a few jars, you can easily make your own raw sauerkraut at home! It’s so easy to make that you will be wondering why you didn’t make it sooner! Cabbage is not expensive, and once the sauerkraut is made, you only need to add about 2 Tbsp. per day to your salad or veggies to get the good bacteria that your body needs. At that rate, 2 heads of cabbage could easily last up to 2 weeks for a family of 4. That’s some healthy savings!

What You Need: Raw cabbage, salt, a grater and jars

How to Make Homemade Raw Sauerkraut

Raw Sauerkraut: Ingredients

  • 2 medium-large organic green cabbage heads (or purple cabbage)
  • 1-1.5 Tablespoons Himalayan Salt or Pure Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon caraway and/or mustard seeds (optional)
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh dill (optional)
  • 2 organic carrots (optional)

Raw Sauerkraut: Equipment

  • Grater or Mandolin
  • Cutting Board and Knife
  • Large Mixing bowl
  • Wooden Mallet (optional)
  • Large widemouth canning jar (or extra large mason jars)
  • Small glass baby-food jar or small glass cup to fit inside the larger jar
  • Clean rock or other weights to fit inside the small jar (to weigh down the cabbage)
  • Old t-shirt or towel for covering the jar
  • Large plate to catch any overspill

Instructions

Clean all materials before starting. Fermentation can be a sensitive process, and if there is any soap residue in your jars or hand cream chemicals on your hands, the fermenting might not work. I prefer to wash everything with a 50/50 mix of tap water and boiled water. For safety reasons, I do not recommend using 100% boiled water. Be careful not to rinse your jars with only boiling water because the glass can crack. Add tap water first, then some boiled water. Swish everything around and rinse. Wash your hands well with clean water and no soap.

Shred the Cabbage. Peel off the leaves of the cabbage and set them aside for later. Grate the cabbage on the large grate side of the grater or use a mandolin to shred the cabbage. Be sure to use the safety mechanism on the mandolin!

Combine Cabbage and Salt. Place the shredded cabbage to a large bowl and sprinkle some of the salt over top. If you have a wooden mallet, then start pounding the cabbage. If using only hands, then begin massaging and squeezing the cabbage with your hands. In just a few minutes, you should start to see the cabbage becoming watery and limp – this is a good sign! You can add some shredded carrot at this stage too (optional).

Making Raw Sauerkraut: Use a wooden mallet and pound away!

Add the salt. Then start squeezing by hand…

As you squeeze the cabbage, it will start to soften and you should see liquid/water. Put the liquid and cabbage in a glass jar for fermenting, pushing out any air bubbles. You can also add fresh dill, whole mustard seeds or caraway seeds for flavor.

Pack Cabbage and Liquid into Jar. Use your hands to pack the cabbage into the jar, pressing out any air bubbles each time you add more. At this stage, you can add some fresh dill, caraway seeds or mustard seeds for flavor. Pour any excess liquid from the cabbage into the jar. When the jar is nearly full, place a few of the larger outer leaves to cover the surface of the sauerkraut. This helps keep the cabbage submerged.

Gently press out air bubbles. Place some large cabbage leaves on top and be sure that your cabbage is all covered by the liquid. If necessary, add a small amount of water to cover the cabbage.

Cover the Jar. Place your filled jar on a dish, cover it with an old t-shirt or towel and put it in a quiet place to happily start fermenting. Ideally, your jar will be on top on a cabinet or on a table where it will not be disturbed. The best place is away from direct sunlight and at a cool room temperature — ideally 65°F to 75°F.

Place your sauerkraut on a dish or in a large bowl. Usually there will be liquid coming out of the jar as it ferments; this way any liquid escaping is caught and will not make a mess.

Finally, cover your sauerkraut with a towel or old t-shirt and keep it undisturbed. Check once a day, pushing out air bubbles and adding more water if needed. It should be ready in about 4 days.

Check Daily. Once a day, be sure to check your cabbage. Open the lid and push down the cabbage to release any air bubbles. If necessary, add a small amount of additional water and salt. By the 2nd day, the cabbage has usually been pressed down enough that there is some extra space in the jar. At that point, add the small baby-food jar or glass cup with rock inside to keep the cabbage submerged under water.

Taste after 4 days. Small batches of sauerkraut like this can be finished in as little as 4 days. On the 4th day, taste your cabbage. If you’re happy with the results, you can transfer your sauerkraut to the fridge where it will continue to ferment, although much more slowly. You can also keep it out to ferment for up to another 10 days, but you must check it every day, press out any air bubbles and add additional water and salt if necessary.

Note: It’s normal to see air bubbles coming through the cabbage during fermentation. When you press them down daily, you are eliminating the air space between the cabbage. In some cases if you forget a day, you may start to see mold, dark scum or smell a bad odor from the cabbage. If the scum can be skimmed off, then it’s ok to do so. If there is a bad smell or visible mold, I recommend to throw out the batch and start over.

When your sauerkraut is ready, put the large container in the fridge or transfer the sauerkraut to smaller jars and then refrigerate. Raw sauerkraut is a fermented product and will stay fresh for a few months. Once you open a jar and start eating it, it’s best to consume the sauerkraut within 30 days.

After 4 days, start tasting your batch. When you like the taste, you can transfer to smaller jars to put in fridge…or share with family and friends!

Making Large Batches of Sauerkraut

You can make much larger batches of sauerkraut in a ceramic fermentation crock, but the crocks are very expensive. It’s probably a good idea to try fermenting in glass mason jars first and see if you actually enjoy eating sauerkraut before making the investment in a crock. (One benefit of the large crock is that you don’t have to check it daily. The weights in the crock keep the air bubbles out.) Over time, if you find you want to make larger batches, then definitely consider making the leap.

How is Sauerkraut Fermented?

Raw sauerkraut is made by a process called lacto-fermentation. We can ferment cabbage thanks to the good bacteria that naturally exist on the surface of the cabbage leaves (and many other veggies too). Food becomes fermented when the “good” lactobacilli bacteria convert their sugars and starches into lactic acid. This is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. The lactic acid also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine. Sauerkraut contains high levels of glucosinolates. These compounds have been shown to have anti-cancer activity.

The diets of every traditional culture have included some kind of lacto-fermented food. Kimchi from Korea and cortido from Latin America are 2 examples of traditionally fermented vegetables made from lacto-fermentation. In Europe, people fermented sauerkraut, grape leaves, herbs, and root vegetables. Lacto-fermented veggies are nutrient-dense, enzyme rich, a raw food, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free. And they taste yummy too! Fermented cabbage is one of my favorite foods for a mini-daily detox and a balanced raw food diet!

More on Fermented Foods:

Vilcabamba, Ecuador: The Raw Food Valley of Longevity… or Just Hype?

Ecuador is known as a top retirement destination for Americans due to the low cost of living and ease of getting residency, but did you know that it’s also a place for raw foodists and young international families interested in a more simple, natural way of living? Some raw food friends of mine recently moved to Vilcabamba, known to many as the “Valley of Longevity,” and after years of hearing about the place (especially after Mike Adams, Matt Monarch and Angela Stokes moved there), I decided to finally go for a visit and check it out for myself.

The main road entering Vilcabamba, Ecuador aka The Valley of Longevity

My boyfriend and I spent 2.5 months in Vilcabamba. We stayed at the Meditation Center in town for the first 2 weeks until we found a furnished house available for short-term rent. We found a place with gorgeous mountain views and a lot of space (2 bedrooms, an office loft, 2 full bathrooms, a large living area and kitchen) for $900 USD per month. It was less than a 10-minute walk from the center of town. This was perfect for us because we didn’t want a car and we could easily walk to town and buy whatever we needed.

Our home for 2 months…a gorgeous mountain retreat!

Shared pool for the small gated community…it was right next to our house

Open doors in the morning for an absolutely fantastic view of the mountains…close doors 4pm to minimize mosquitos!

Most of our time in Vilcabamba was spent preparing and focusing on the 21-day water fast that we did while there. This was our main goal in renting a house for 2 months – to take a break from all the traveling we’d done through Costa Rica, Guatemala and South America, and to have some quiet time surrounded by nature to fast and rest. What better place to do a detox than in the Valley of Longevity itself?

My first meal (pureed cucumber) after water fasting for 21 days…and NO worms! 🙂

Not to start things on the wrong side, but it has to be said: there are a lot of strange expats in Vilcabamba. You will definitely notice a weird vibe when you arrive to town. It’s a small place, everyone knows each other, and clearly you are the newcomer when you get there. We experienced a lot of long uncomfortable stares from the local “gringos”, to the point where we even googled something like “why is everyone so weird in Vilcabamba” and we actually had a good laugh when we read several travel blogs that reported having the same experience as us. There is definitely a lot of conspiracy theory talk going around about…well, just about everything. It’s almost impossible not to overhear at least one major conspiracy theory conversation per day, especially if you go the the Juice Factory, the main hang-out in the town square where all the gringos converge for a juice, smoothie, salad or the ongoing end-of-the-word discussion. I even heard a story about how the Jesus on the cross was fake, and that the real Jesus was hiding under a pyramid in Egypt… Well, who knows? It could be true!

Odd conversations aside, the Juice Factory has an awesome juice, wheatgrass and smoothie menu!

Admittedly we were a bit disappointed over the lack of normalcy in the people we met. It didn’t take us long to start keeping to ourselves, putting our energy into our preparations for fasting and trying to be friendly as much as we could. Over the course of 2.5 months, we slowly started to meet more gringos who lived further outside of town or who simply kept more to themselves as well, and by the time we were ready to leave, we did actually make some really nice and interesting friends. My best advice in experiencing Vilca is to have an open mind and be patient. There are some really cool people living there; it just might take a bit of time to find them.

People aside, there are a few key practical things that bring expats to Vilcabamba to live. One is the cheap cost of living. Most people are renting houses for about $300 per month. Our house was considered to be very expensive, but we wanted to be in a gated community for safety and security. The other main attraction is the ability to grow your own organic food because there is plenty of land and plenty of water. There are also some people looking to live in a healthy and natural healing environment with a strong sense of community, and although it’s not fully there yet, this movement in Vilcabamba is definitely growing. And many people just want to be “away from it all,” living as far away as possible from the television, media, and “Big Brother” feeling in the Western world.

A 5-star view from our veranda, in Vilcabamba Ecuador

That’s the short of it. Here’s my full list of the Pros and Cons of Vilcabamba:

Vilcabamba, Ecuador: Pros

1. Affordable Organic Food. This was a main attraction for me. Every Saturday there is a great organic market run by Kitzia Kokopelmana where you can find all kinds of fruits, veggies and greens at fantastic prices. Of course, if you stay longer, you would have the option to grow your own. There are many expats selling non-GMO seeds and swapping crops with each other.

Organic produce from Kitzia’s weekly market in Vilcabamba, Ecuador

2. Affordable Housing. There are many options available. Check the notice board at the Juice Factory for postings. We also really enjoyed staying at the Meditation Center in town; it has a great outdoor kitchen and very clean rooms. Bernie, the owner, is a really nice guy and he also happens to be a real estate agent in case you are looking for a home to buy!

3. Nice locals. The Ecuadorian people are very sweet and we really enjoyed speaking our broken Spanish when we could.

4. International delivery is ok. I met some people who ordered supplements from Vitacost and everything seemed to arrive ok. I had a few packages sent from USA that arrived safely (it does take longer than other places, up to 3 weeks for airmail). This becomes very important when you actually decide to live in a place.

5. Relatively Safe. More on this below, but for the most part when comparing to Central America or Colombia, I would consider Ecuador to be much more politically stable and crime-wise a safer choice.

6. Mountain views, rainbows, peaceful feeling. Aren’t we all hoping for more of that in life?

Nice rainbow view from our house in Vilcabamba Ecuador

7. Good climate. It’s not too hot or too cold year-round. You don’t need air-conditioning or heat and that means more fresh mountain air and negative ions for your health!

8. Easy to Get Residency. If you have $25,000 USD in an Ecuadorian bank or the equivalent value in property in Ecuador, you can apply for a resident visa and stay permanently. There seems to be a lots of hoops and paperwork to make this happen, but many people succeed and it’s certainly a reason why a lot of expats move to Ecuador.

9. Many Interesting Activities. Check the notice boards and ask around; you’ll quickly see that there are a lot of good workshops and activities being offered on everything from energy healing to women’s circles to essential oil lessons and much more.

Vilcabamba, Ecuador: Cons

1. Slow internet. This is true for all of Vilcabamba and can really be a problem if you work online (like me!).

2. Expensive Internet. We were shocked how much we paid for a few mice to spin us a connection….it was $84 USD per month!

3. Household items are Very Expensive. Things like pillows, sheets, kitchenware, plastic bins, shower curtains, etc. are extremely expensive in Ecuador. We were really shocked to see this because everyone told us how cheap it was! A plastic bucket could easily cost $5 or $6. That really adds up when you are buying for an entire home!

4. Superfoods and Supplements are Extremely Expensive. So much for the cheap cost of living! Once you get outside of the inexpensive rent, things can start to become expensive in Ecuador. While some superfoods and herbal supplements are available at the Juice Factory, they are really expensive, up to 3x the normal price. Your best bargain at the Juice Factory is the green juice shot made from wheatgrass, kale, parsley, fennel, celery and whatever other local organic greens are in season. Dennis, the owner of the Juice Factory, is a super-nice guy and very helpful by the way. It’s simply difficult to find a good source of organic raw nuts, seeds and dried basic raw food essentials.

5. Difficult to Find Work/Make Money. This is really a problem for a lot of gringos that don’t have an outside source of income. We saw many people trying to sell homemade raw food cookies, cakes and chocolates and hippie jewelry as a way to make money. The high cost of raw food ingredients makes the profit margin for food very low. Your best bet is to arrive with money or have a way to make money outside of Ecuador.

The town’s main square in Vilcabamba, Ecuador

6. Isolated. That can be a pro or a con depending on the individual! It’s a 1-hour drive to the nearest town, Loja, where you can find a large supermarket and the bigger shops. In Vilcabamba itself, there is really nothing but a few cafes and small shops selling essential items.

Not much to do in downtown Vilcabamba…it can be good but definitely isolating

7. Weird-vibes from certain Expat Locals can bring you down. As with any small town, there is a lot of gossip, rumors and even jealousy between gringos. This has a lot to do with #6 (isolated). If you’re prepared for this, you will be fine!

8. Increase in local crime, break-ins and robberies. This goes slightly against #5 of the Pros, but there I compare Ecuador to other countries in Central and South America. You are not likely to get robbed at gunpoint in Vilcabamba, and that is re-assuring. But, burglaries are on the rise. We heard of many break-ins while we were there; most occured while the residents were out to dinner and usually laptops, electronics and cash were stolen. Just before we arrived, there were at least 2 Western women who had been raped (in different incidents). It’s important to be careful. This is one of the main reasons why we chose to pay more money to live in a gated community. Definitely look at the security of your house before you decide to rent.

Vilcabamba can still be a great place to live and a positive experience as long as you stay street-smart and take advantage of all the good things it has to offer.

A lot of people ask me what I thought about Vilcabamba. Many young raw food, vegan and vegetarian couples and families consider moving there because of the ability to live relatively cheaply and still have access to organic food (most of the health-oriented people in Vilcabamba grow their own vegetables, fruits and greens). It’s not easy to describe my experience to others because everyone has different expectations when they travel to a new country to start a new life.

The house had a main living area, 2 separate bedrooms and an upstairs office/loft

Quiet bedroom and lots of nature, ideal for a long water fast…this place was really a perfect detox retreat!

This was the upstairs loft which I used as an office. Great place for meditation or yoga as well!

I really liked Vilcabamba for the few months that I was there, but long-term, I don’t think it’s the place for me, at least not at this stage in my life. I feel a very strong need and pull to be in the mainstream still, to help people understand how to read food labels and look for hidden additives in food, to teach more about raw food and detox, and to show that you don’t need to live in the faraway mountains in order to be healthy. Maybe in a few more years this will change, maybe not. Stayed tuned for more updates, because you will know when I know!

One thing I would definitely recommend is to visit a place first and try to live there for at least 6 months before you seriously considering moving there permanently. Not everyone is able to handle the “mañana” approach in Ecuador (also known as the “mai pen rai” style in Thailand). When we take our Western mind with us, even when we want to “get away,” we may still expect the post office to deliver on time or for the store to open when it says it should or for the correct item to be ordered and delivered. Well, things just don’t happen like that in more relaxed places in the world.

If you decide to go, join the Vilcabamba Facebook page to search for houses to rent and ask any questions to the local expat community.

Top Pick for Vilcabamba

Be sure to check out Elena’s Raw Food Lunch in her private home, a monthly event offered directly from Elena and her husband Vladamir, 2 of the nicest people you will meet in all of Ecuador, and even in the world! Elena has a passion for raw food recipes like no other and every month she offers a new and unique raw food menu for lunch. It’s well worth it to enjoy her creations, and a great way to meet other local raw food people too.

Elena’s Raw Food Lunch is amazing!! Here is her raw pizza with cashew “cheese”

Elena’s raw cacao and coconut cake…this cake alone is a reason to visit Vilca!!

So is Vilcabamba a real Valley of Longevity? Well, maybe yes and maybe no. According to the book The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer by Dan Buettner, Vilcabamba did not make the cut for having a high number of centenarians (people who live over 100) because they don’t have the proper documentation to verify birth records for age verification. Personally, I didn’t see that many healthy old Ecuadorians. Sadly, many of the locals appeared to be overweight and more on the unhealthy side of life.

Beautiful mountains and vistas in Vilcabamba, Ecuador

A word of warning about the salt in Vilcabamba and all of Ecuador/South America for that matter: There is a non-caking agent in the salt called Yellow Prussiate of Soda (YPS) or E535 or 535. This chemical additive can cause an allergic reaction in people resulting in an extremely itchy rash, restless sleep, hot flashes and irritability. I saw many expats in Vilcabamba suffering, especially with rashes. Salt is used in all restaurants (including “healthy” restaurants) contains this additive. I found people very unaware and even ran into problems with one local expat who was selling his own “higher quality” salt that caused a terrible reaction for me; still he swore it was clean. Upon further questioning, he revealed that his product has never actually been tested. In short, do not trust homemade expat labels and check the ingredient list on all other salt. Fluoride is also added to salt in South America so most people do try to avoid buying it, but I did not meet one person who knew the dangers associated with YPS, in my opinion, the much more dangerous ingredient. Stick with Himalayan salt or buy the equivalent large pink salt from Bolivia which can be found in supermarkets in La Paz for $2 per kilo.

We have nice memories of Vilcabamba….thank you!!

Vilcabamba is definitely not for everyone, but it’s still be a good place for a raw food community, and I hope to see it thrive!

More on Traveling Raw:

Top 10 Tips for the Best Healthy Sunscreen

For many people, the summer months are a time to be outside, enjoying the beach or nature…and also the sun! But, what do you do to protect yourself from sunburn or sun damage? What can be used as a healthy sunblock? Is there such thing as a chemical-free or organic sunscreen?

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

Staying healthy in the sun!

Danger of Homemade Sunscreen Recipes

First of all, it’s important to be clear that homemade sunscreens are NOT a healthy alternative. I’ve seen many “mommy-and-me”-type blogs posting recipes for making sun creams at home, and there is definitely a lack of knowledge regarding the safety of ingredients. Why? Because the main ingredient is titanium dioxide, a known carcinogen! That’s right, a proven cancer-causing ingredient is right in the middle of that “made-with-love” sunscreen recipe!

It is true that there is some debate on the level of carcinogenic risk there is with titanium dioxide, with some people saying that ii is a safe ingredient when 99% pure and can only cause health risks when in a nano particle form. But do you want to take part in the human experiment? I don’t! And I certainly don’t want to make my own recipe where I could potentially use too much or use a version which hasn’t been tested for purity.

Zinc Oxide, another popular ingredient in homemade sunscreen recipes, has been found to have potential evidence of reproductive toxicity according to the Environmental Working Group investigation of sunscreens and other sun-blocking products. So, be sure to avoid any recipes containing this suspect ingredient as well.

How to Protect Yourself from the Sun

As someone who has lived on the beach for the last 12 years, I’ve spent a lot of time in the sun (mainly in Australia, USA, Thailand and Israel).

Here are my top ways to spend time enjoying the sun safely.

What to Use for the Best Healthy Sunscreen:

1.Wear a hat. It’s just that easy. Find one that is comfortable so you actually wear it.

2. Limit your time in direct sun, and avoid the hours between 10am – 2pm. I can usually spend between 60 – 90 minutes in the sun without sunscreen and without burning, but that’s after I have a base tan. Build your time exposer slowly. No need to fry yourself to a crisp!

3. Move to the shade. You can still enjoy many hours on the beach under an umbrella or in the shade of a tree. This is Mother Nature’s natural organic sun protection!

4. Wear a rash guard shirt in the sea. This is especially a good option for kids. Many surfing shirts actually have a high sun protection factor in the material of the shirt.

5. Have a sarong and/or long-sleeve light-weight cotton shirt to cover-up if necessary. When you feel yourself burning, it’s time to cover the skin!

6.Add chlorophyll to your diet. Why don’t plants and trees get sunburn or leaf cancer, especially when there are exposed to sun all day every day? Because the chlorophyll in leaves protects them from getting burned, and it can help protect you too! A daily Green Smoothie is the best way to start your day before you hit the beach!

7. If necessary, buy children’s sunblock  or sunscreens. The child and/or baby formulas will have the least amount of toxic chemicals. When I know I’ll be out for more than 90 minutes, I apply a baby sunscreen to my nose and shoulders. A small amount is going to be much better for you than a full body immersion.

8. Check the labels and choose a brand with the least amount of titanium dioxide. I recently looked at some popular sunscreen brands, and I saw one expensive bottle contained 38% titanium dioxide in nano particles! Another brand contained only 12%. Can you see how you can still make a better choice, even if you still choose to use a traditional chemical formula?

9. Do not  choose anything above Factor 30. When you increase the sunscreen factor, you also
increase the toxic chemicals in the ingredients. By choosing a Factor 30 sunscreen and limiting your time in the sun, you will be making a healthier choice  for you and your family.

10. Be sure to shower after you finish your fun inthe sun. This sounds like common sense, but if you choose to put a chemical on your skin, you need to wash it off, hopefully with a sodium laureth sulfate (SLS)-free soap and only some organic coconut oil to hydrate your skin after.

Stay protected. Your skin will look better & younger, longer!

(Note: Coconut oil is NOT a safe option for sunscreen…I’ve seen many tourists getting fried to a red and blistered crisp in Thailand trying this, and it doesn’t work.)

Limiting your time and moving to the shade is the best alternative. A diet high in antioxidants will minimize any free-radical damage to the skin and will also limit the amount of “burn” to the skin. It’s certainly true that with a high raw food diet, I don’t ever seem to burn anymore, even after spending longer amounts of time in the sun. But I’m still careful not to overdo it.

More on Lymphatic Detox/Cleansing:

Think your Mediterranean Green Olives are a ‘safe, clean’ food? Think again!

I continue to try to dispel the myth that I hear over and over again when people tell me, “But I don’t eat processed foods” or “I NEVER eat Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)” or “the veggie restaurant I go to doesn’t use any additives in their food.”

What I hope to teach is that we have to be responsible for what we put in our mouths.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Ribonucleotide, Disodium Inosinate, and Disodium Guanylate are all flavor enhancers which add a salty, savory taste to foods. They overstimulate the taste in food, making a bland food taste exceptionally good. They also overstimulate the brain, and are known as “excito-toxins”. They can be listed either by the food additive name or by the food additive number (sometimes called ‘E numbers’): 621, 635, 631 and 627.

Legally, these food additives can also be ‘disguised’ in terms such as spices, yeast extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, natural flavors, flavoring, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed vegetable oil, torula yeast, autolyzed yeast, sodium caseinate, and monocalcium glutamate.

Of course, these additives can also be listed by their real name, as in the case of the examples below. But would you think that a simple can or jar of olives would contain flavor enhancers to chemically alter the taste? Well, they can!

In this blog post, we look at Mediterranean Green Olives, all exported from Spain. I found these particular items in a supermarket in Bolivia, South America, but you will recognize these brands in any supermarket in the world.

Ybarra Green Olives, a product of Spain, with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

In the first example, we look at Ybarra Green Olives stuffed with Jalapeños (or Aceitunas Verdes Rellenas in Spanish). Looking right on the list of ingredients, you will clearly see Monosodium Glutamate (or Glutamato Monosodico in Spanish). Looking on the Ybarra website, I saw that they do NOT list any ingredient information for any of their products. However, I did find the following statement:

“We care about our consumers’ health. That’s why we include nutritional labels on all our products to communicate, in a transparent way, nutritional information and ingredients of each one of them.”

Well, I do thank them for that!

Carbonell Spanish Green Olives with Pepper, with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

In the next example, we look at Carbonell Spanish Green Olives with Paprikou, or Pepper. Again, right on the list of ingredients it is easy to see Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). On the Carbonell website, I saw that they do NOT list any ingredient information for any of their products. Interestingly enough, I did find the following 2 statements:

“Carbonell olives with Pimento Pepper paste are allergen-free” and “Carbonell black olives are allergen-free.”

There was no mention of the Green Olive with Pepper, Monosodium Glutamate or any other allergen information on the website.

Fragata Green Olives with Pimento, with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Finally, we look at Fragata Spanish Green Olives stuffed with Pimento. On the list of ingredients, we can quickly see Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). On the Fragata website, I saw that they do NOT list any ingredient information for any of their products. (Are we seeing a pattern here?)

What do you want to see on the list of ingredients?

Ripe olives, water, salt.

When buying olives in a jar or can, try to stay away from flavored olives (like lemon, garlic or pimento). Anything flavored is much more likely to contain MSG. Plain is your safest bet.

If you see the word “spices” or “natural flavorings” on the ingredient list of olives, don’t buy it! In the USA, I find that food companies are a bit more savy, and they use other ingredients which already contain MSG and them hide it in the term “spices.” All legal, of course.

What are the best olives to buy?

The best olives to buy are fresh, organic olives cured naturally with fresh lemon, fresh garlic or fresh herbs. My favorite place to buy fresh green or black olives is at the Friday organic market outside of Shuk Hanamal at Tel Aviv Port, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Once you taste a real fresh olive, you will quickly understand the inferior quality and flavor from a jarred or canned olive full of chemical additives.

A “clean diet” must be MSG-free!

All of this information may seem overwhelming at first, but isn’t it time to learn the truth? Especially if on your “clean and safe” diet, you are still experiencing migraines, insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations, restless leg syndrome, dizziness, vertigo, irritability, moodiness, depression, sensitivity to sound and light and/or a general feeling of malaise and lack of energy?

Even small amounts of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in the diet, as little as 3-4 times per week, can make a person symptomatic for the entire week. Imagine how someone may feel when they are unknowingly eating MSG 3-4 times per day!

Not everyone will experience the same exact symptoms, because flavor enhancers like MSG will over-stimulate the brain in individuals in different ways, depending on their body chemistry and sensitivity. Look at the rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, ADHD and autism absolutely sky-rocketing every year and compare that to the amounts of flavor enhancers (or excito-toxins) hidden in foods and in the diet, and it will quickly become apparent that we are facing an epidemic with the chemical additives in our food.

Solution:

Always look at the ingredients before making a decision to buy. It’s takes less than 30 seconds, and over time, you will know what brands are safe and what brands are not. In restaurants, you always have to be careful, because waitstaff and even chefs are simply not trained on the level of food additive allergies and intolerances. In restaurants, I only order salads with no dressing and a side of lemon or lime. If there are canned or jarred olives on the salad, I don’t eat them.

More on Food Additives:

Recipe: Raw Vegan Veggie Wraps

Julienne Cut your favorite raw veggies. Chop up some fresh herbs.

Raw veggie wraps are a great way to eat salad with your hands and enjoy the feeling of eating a wrapped tortilla again, except this one is all raw and gluten-free! These are great for lunch or a raw food potluck or even to take to a family gathering and let people see how beautiful real, raw food can be!

In this recipe, I simply took what raw vegetables I had at home and julienne-cut the veggies into long, narrow strips. In this case, I used carrot, red bell pepper, cucumber, red cabbage and mushrooms. I also chopped up some fresh cilantro (coriander) and some red onions. Note: the taste of red onions is very strong when they are raw! If it’s too strong for you, then you can always leave them out!

I prepared all the veggies in advance. Then I made a quick raw marinade to drizzle over the veggies and let them sit for 2-3 hours. Every time I make this recipe, I used slightly different ingredients and I make different dressings…and you should too! That makes it fun!

For this marinade, I used 1/3 cup raw apple cider vinegar, 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 fresh lemon squeezed, dash of cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon dried Zatar spice (a Middle Eastern Spice made from Thyme and Sesame Seeds) and a dash of Himalayan Salt to taste.

Collard Greens are a great choice for wraps because they’re flat and very big!

The next step is to wash and prepare the Collard Greens. Slicing out the stem is a good idea so you have 2 nice flat halves to use for wraps. For the smaller leaves that don’t have such a thick stem, you can leave them as they are.

Be creative with your wraps! Use different ingredients and dressings every time!

Finally, you are ready to make some raw vegan wraps! Other optional sauces to include are Raw Tahini Dressing, Homemade Spicy Mexican Salsa or Raw Pumpkin Seed Cheese. Be creative!

Get some toothpicks ready to pin your wraps together.

Have some toothpicks on hand to keep your wraps closed after rolling!

Isn’t organic raw food so beautiful and inviting, full of natural color from the earth? No need for flavor enhancers, chemical coloring, preservatives or any carcinogenic food additives!

I love raw food!!

Raw Veggie Wraps Recipe

  • 1 Organic Cucumber, Julienne Cut
  • 1-2 Organic Carrots, Julienne Cut
  • 1 Organic Red Bell Pepper, Julienne Cut
  • 1 bunch fresh Cilantro (Coriander), Chopped
  • 7-8 medium-size Organic Mushrooms, Sliced Thin
  • 1/2 head Organic Red Cabbage, Julienne Cut
  • 1 Red Onion Sliced (Optional)
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Organic Collard Greens

Raw Marinade Recipe

  • 1/3 Cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Fresh Organic Lemon, Squeezed
  • Dash of Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Zatar Spice
  • dash of Himalayan Salt (to taste)

Et Voila! You have beautiful wraps that are all raw, vegan and gluten-free!

More Healthy Recipes:

Dry Skin Brushing to Detox Lymphatic & Reduce Cellulite Naturally!

The lymphatic system is a cirulatory system in the body. It’s cleaning cells and dumping toxins into the blood all the time to keep the body clean. But, unlike the blood, the lymphatic system has no pump. If you don’t move, the lymph doesn’t move. It waits for movement to ‘surf’ from the contraction of muscles. So, in order to keep the lymph moving and clean, you have to move!

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

Practice Daily Dry Skin Brushing to Detox the Lymphatic System

According to David Wolfe in The Sunfood Diet Success System, “The average person has 1.2 gallons (4.5 litres) of blood. But each person has four times as much lymph fluid as blood. Clean and light foods allow the blood to become clean and light, which in turn allows the lymph to become clean and light. Cooked fats are thick, heavy and have a deranged structure. They clog the blood, arteries and lymphatic system.”

The lymphatic fluid rests just below the skin; if it is toxic or sluggish (from processed foods, smoking, chemical body products, lack of exercise), the skin simply won’t look good. A healthy glow comes from the inside out.

If the lymphatic system becomes sluggish, it will try to ‘off-gas’ through the skin. If someone is wearing nylon or polyester clothes or putting chemical creams on their skin, there is nowhere for those toxins to go (imagine wrapping yourself in plastic wrap). So those toxins get re-absorbed. That’s creates a back-log of internal work. This is where a detox can be a good idea to give all the organs a chance to catch up.

How to Clean Lymphatic System

Exercise is the best for lymphatic. Many people who sit all day long develop a sluggish lymphatic system simply because they do not move! Lymph likes gentle exercise, like walking, stretching, swimming or yoga. Go for a walk during lunch, stretch throughout the day and develop a regular exercise routine. Drink plenty of water to keep the lymphatic cells hydrated. Choose a natural deodorant with no added aluminum. Avoid foods with chemical coloring, flavoring, sugar replacements and preseratives which all add more internal housework to the body. Dry skin brushing and wearing natural fiber clothes also allows the skin and lymph to breathe.

Always brush towards to heart to stimulate circulation

How to Practice Daily Dry Skin Brushing To Detox Lymph

Dry skin brushing means to brush the skin when it’s dry. Brushing the skin in the shower is wet skin brushing. Using a loofa in the shower will not give the same effect because once the skin cells are wet, you’re essentially pushing all the dead skin cells around over the surface of your skin. Dry skin brushing adds just the right amount of pressure to move the lymph while at the same time flaking any dead skin cells off of the skin. Many people will say that the skin actually becomes more clean from dry skin brushing than from taking a shower!

You only need 5-7 minutes a day to do your dry skin brushing. The best time is just before you get in the shower in the morning. Brushing the lymph will stimulate circulation and this can also make you feel more awake and alert for the day. You can also do your dry skin brushing later in the day or in the evening too, whatever works best for your schedule. I prefer morning because not only does it get the circulation moving first thing in the morning which is great, but it also gets me into the habit of doing it every day.

Always use a natural bristle brush. Nylon brushes will scratch the skin. A natural bristle brush can be found in any health food store. Most will also come with a handle for brushing the skin on the back.

Brush the skin with a reasonable amount of pressure, but not too strong. Start at the feet using short to medium strokes and always brush towards the heart. You can brush your arms, torso, back and chest but avoid sensitive areas like the breasts and face.

Daily Dry Skin Brushing To Reduce Cellulite

Now, the keyword here is daily! If you practice dry skin brushing on a daily basis, you can start to break up the toxins that have settled into the fat cells creating those unwanted pockets of cellulite. If you practice this daily for a minimum of 3 months, you can start to see results.

Clean Diet for Clean Blood and Clean Lymph

Remember, your body is ‘a community’ of organs. A natural whole and pure diet is always best. Everything you eat affects the entire body, including the lymph. If you choose to eat a lot of animal-based fats, fried foods or processed foods, you will still be creating a daily burden of internal toxicity giving all of the organs more work to do. Combining a healthy diet with healthy practices like dry skin brushing will give you the best results for a beautiful, healthy energetic you!

More on Skin Cleansing: