Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Transitioning into a RAW Food Diet

Growing up, my family was on-again, off-again vegetarian. I think like most people, we knew what was best for us, but as a family, we gave into cravings - cravings that made us slaves to the sense of taste and texture.  In essence, slaves to our tongues.
   As an adult and as a parent, nutrition of my children has always taken priority in my life.  Most parents of course, are extremely concerned with the nutrition and care of the growing little bodies we are caring for each day. But I have to admit that I was a little surprised when I noticed about a month ago that I had been simply omitting meat from our meals. I had actually not cooked meat in over two months after I thought back.  Perhaps some of this came from the fact that after reading The Ten Commandments one day - I began pondering the meaning of "Thou Shall Not Kill". 
  As I sat one day pondering this -  I thought that God surely does not want us to kill the beautiful, innocent creatures he created on Earth - right? It seems logical enough to any peaceful and God-loving person I think. But here's the problem - we are SLAVES. We are all slaves to our taste buds and we have been desensitized to the cruelty of what happens to those creatures for our own selfish indulgences. As we buy that plastic wrapped package of red meat - we rather not think where it came from or how it got there, we just know it tastes good and will make a great burger. 
   But as you grow in your own spiritual life, ask God and ask yourself - should I eat flesh? Is it healthy for my spiritual development? Is it working to heal my body each and every day? Is it living, loving and nourishing to all my cells? 
   I was surprised to realize that as I looked at Raw Recipe books so many speak of spirituality. How with raw foods that the mind is clearer, the emotions are less volatile and one naturally feels more peaceful. I have to agree. I am in my third week of high raw and I have never felt better. I have lost 12 pounds, I feel so calm and in control of my reactions and my thoughts. 

   My purpose of going raw was God. It was not to lose weight or have a better complexion, to be calmer or feel even more joy - although all of these things have happened. I simply wanted to be a clearer channel of God's Love. This is the reason I choose to go Raw. Our time on Earth is so precious, we need to stay focused on our work and development rather than getting caught up in life's little sidetracks. I find that because of the REASON I am doing this, it's easy to stay with it. This is not a diet where my own "WILL power" feels tempted... I am doing this because I feel that this is God's diet - fresh fruits and wonderful fresh veggies and seeds and nuts given to us by the Creative Force of the Universe to thrive on. It's easy to have strength when you know you have the Love of God behind you. Isn't it? Through prayer, meditation, God's help and eating living foods, you can be cleansed of years of unhealthy eating and food abuse. 

  Isn't it time that you asked your inner spirit if now is the time for you to make the change to a peaceful living raw food diet? The benefits are multiple but most importantly, we are getting back to what was intended. Think about God's plan for your life and if you are a slave to your tongue. If we pray for God's will and not our own ego will, then we will be especially attentive to how God directs us. Yes you may need to learn a few new skills in the kitchen, but I promise, it is MUCH easier than you can ever imagine. More importantly, isn't it time to get back to the joyful, universal plan of love and harmony for our lives?   Love, Mellisa    

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Goals - Keeping the Mind Busy

We all think of goals as really good things. It's great to have goals in life. While this is true on a material level - when you realize that goals, just like any other "busy" activity keeps the mind engaged with such flurry that you have little time to be Silent, to be Still.. and enjoy the Divine within. 

A dear friend of mine just asked me how do I reconcile living in the moment with planning for the future.
It's true that it is not always easy - but the world is not likely to end tomorrow so someone has to pay the electric bill. You can simultaneously live in the now and enjoy each succulent amazing moment in time and space and still use your practical sense.. in fact, you must. 
However, what you can also realize is that while you do the dishes, create the dinner, work at a job and pay that electric bill... you do these things while you stay centered on the Divine within. Your Divine spark and your material existence need not be mutually exclusive... most of us cannot sit in meditation for 8 hours a day, and honestly, I really don't want too. I rather my life be a prayer in each moment, in everything I do.

  So while the physical self and mind want to have goals to keep us "motivated", when you truly live as a divine channel of unconditional love and kindness.. you realize that the connection and union with the Divine is the only true worthy goal.  All that leads to this is good. Everything else is material and will be swept away when you are done with this existence. Just recognize this fact. 

So goals that lead to a more perfect connection and union are desirable. Goals that improve life are desirable as long as they are meant for a higher good... not a selfish bodily desire. When your life is centered on Spirit, peace is yours, calm is yours and self esteem is high because you know you are important and that you truly matter. 
 So today I encourage you to look at your goals - look at your to-do list. In a prayerful state, allow your heart to speak to you and know what is truly important for your life. No one else has the answers. All the answers are within. 
Love, Mellisa

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

There comes a time in life

There comes a time in life when you realize that the world is not about getting more....

It is not about manifesting worldly possessions, a higher paying job, or more stuff.

It's time now to act. It's time now to share your gifts with the world - to commit random acts of kindness and embody love to the very best of your ability. 

 Let the "stuff" of this Earth fall away as you focus on a higher purpose - the one you came here to live. This purpose is to make your life full of purpose. 

Each and every day is a gift - be thankful and rejoice that we have another day to help another, to bless another, to share in life's wonderful gifts. 
Material possessions fall away - but the growth of your soul will never. 

 Live that change - be that change. Live in such a way that your heart feels full. Help that stranger, give food to those who are hungry, share in your abundance that others may know joy and compassion, and love - your gifts are as ripples on the ocean of humanity.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Non Toxic Home - the pots and pans of it all

   At some point a few years ago, I realized the dangers present in non-stick pans. Teflon, when heated on high heat (smoking) gives off toxic fumes. Well, being the natural mama I try to be, I wanted that out of my house. Sure I enjoyed the convenience of having the food just slide off - and clean up was a breeze... but at what price? I don't want to toxic fumes in my house or around my growing boys.

     So my quest began - going back to the basics of cooking. I thought about my grandmother's house and how she swore by cast iron. It was even supposed to be good for you, giving you a an extra boost of iron (you can also pay for that in a vitamin jar!) So I started with ONE cast iron bought at Whole Foods. That set me back about $50. Wow. This may take some time because I am pretty frugal, and not the type to spend money frivolously even when it is for a good cause. I thought I'd just replace one at a time.  In the meantime I stooped using the Teflon.

Fast forward a few weeks and I was at the thrift store. There, I found another cast iron pan... this time only $3! Apparently, someone thinks they're outdated. Boy I wish I could have returned my $50 pan to Whole Foods. No matter.. you live and learn. At this time, I decided that I really only needed two pans. Honestly, who am I.. Rachel Ray? I use my crockpot for so many things.. pans are like an accessory! 

So out went all my Teflon that my husband and I had so carefully chosen. And it felt great. One less toxicity in my household. 
I think back back now to the way my grandmother did things, to the things of old. I have watched a lot of youtube videos on how they did things in the Great Depression. 

I enjoy learning and most of the things that were done at that time were extremely frugal and ecological. So why not live simply and enjoy things we have?

My husband keeps reminding me that this 'economic crisis' can actually be a very good thing. It's helping everyone get back to what really matters, go back to simpler times and understand that needs and wants are two completely different animals.

I have acquired one last cast iron pan, another thrift store find. It's more than enough. My pots are all enamel covered which I have had forever (and apparently are non toxic so I am sticking with that!)

So take a few moments and think about your pots and pans... any Teflon that needs throwing out?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mystery fruit

Today was our bi-annual town-wide garage sale. I love this day because I chat with a lot of our neighbors and everyone seems to happy and excited to be out and about. There's usually a ton of people out walking in the streets, and because our town is only 2 square miles so you can walk it in a half day (considering you stop a lot to look at the sales!) In any case, I was happy to see some people in my community doing container gardening and lot of people have fruit and nut trees in their own yards....very cool!

The boys and I indentified chestnut trees, oak trees and another nut tree (you'll see a pic below) that I am quite not sure about. Also, we discovered a mystery fruit that I have not been able to identify with my google research (and usually I am not too bad at that!) So here it is...

it's cherry like, smells delicious, but has little ridges or hectagon shapes all over it. The skin is red but the flesh is orange... do you know what it is?
I put it next to a 2 liter bottle cap so you could see how large it is. 
Let me know what you think!

Oh and here's the some of the nuts we collected as well...

Hickory nuts on the left to be used in baking (thanks to Google I was able to identify it!) and yummy Chestnuts on the right, local, organic and free!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Welcome to Nature's rest Period

Last night it got rather cold. I brought some of our plants in like the Container Lemon Tree, the avocado tree and some of our potted flowers. They've been out all summer and while I enjoy the seasons, I am sad to see summer go. It's my favorite part of the year, along with spring.  

My little garden helper chatted with me as we took the plants outside to get some sun. Before we knew it, a bee buzzed up to the Meyer Lemon tree (plant really - its not too tall) and started enjoying the nectar in the sweet smelling flowers. The tree has already flowered once this summer right after we bought it as a Father's Day gift. It currently (and incredibly) has 5 lemons on it, and now we've have the pleasure of a second flowering. 
The smell of the Meyer Lemon tree is so sweet.. it smells like Jasmine to me. I love it. I am in awe that this little tree is producing so well. 

You can see two of the five lemons - they're still green

 We watched the bee closely buzz from flower to flower for several minutes. His hind legs were loaded with pollen. So much so, that the poor thing actually had trouble flying. It seemed weighed down. So we sat and kept watching the little thing as it worked to fly up and kept being pushed down... I honestly started to wonder if the bee was okay.. was there something intoxicating about that lemon flower?

The bee flew about a foot away from me (glided really) onto the deck. There. it began to vigorously clean itself scraping the pollen again and again from it's body and legs. We were quite impressed with all it's fancy footwork and seeing it so close. We laid down and Alexandre grabbed the camera so we could remember this moment. The bee stopped and rested for what seemed like 5 minutes, just adding concern to my thoughts about him being ok. Just as I turned the camera on, the bee started vigorously cleaning again and then surprised me by quickly flying off. All nature has rest cycles I thought. Rest, is good. Welcome fall, I am glad you're here. 


Re-Learning Basic Cooking Skills

I realize it's not always easy to think about cooking, cleaning and all a mom's responsibilities. I remember in the not-to-distant past when I would watch my fellow "natural, organic" friends bring their little raw whole food concoctions to potlucks and think to myself "wow, they must have a lot of time on their hands if they are able to make this type of stuff". I considered myself natural - but I just wasn't "there",  you know? 

Well fast forward a little over a year later, and recently I noticed while talking to a friend, that I really AM unplugged when it comes to food and cooking now. Somehow, although admittedly unconsciously, I have come back to basics and I honestly COOK! I think I got tired of all the preservatives and food dyes in the foods available at the supermarket. I'm trying to feed my kids and my family, whom I love very much! On a blog one day I read  that a mom felt like she entered into an alien zone when she entered a supermarket.. all these weird names of stuff that comes from only God knows where and by what process... and it's true. I suddenly realized that I felt the exact same way. I was tired of label reading on every single thing I picked up (and then usually put right back down with a sigh). When did buying food to feed a family become so complex? It really shouldn't be that way. 

Couple that with my frugal side and the growing and staggering food price increases, and I decided that enough was enough. I was not going to be taken advantage of, and for what? Low quality food stuffs that aren't fit to feed anyone? So , I slapped on my apron and I re-learned the art of cooking. 
 I have always enjoyed cooking really - but this time it's been different. I have truly learned to appreciate each ingredient and savor the food I cook and eat. This deep appreciation also stems from having lost a huge amount of weight. I've laid aside my typical American way of eating, and now, I've surpassed even my best efforts of a few years back. 

While I won't say that I eat everything organic, I do eat everything in it's most natural form possible. My kids can identify everything they eat. It's recognizable food. We know where it comes from and where it has grown. 
One of the best parts of relearning the Art of Cooking, is not only that you get intimate with veggies, fruits and food of all kinds, but that you learn where it comes from, how it grows, and what it needs. There's beauty and meaning in that. My boys were really amazed when they saw a peach groove and we picked the fruit for the first time at a local U-Pick farm. We were really moved, honestly. We're still learning all the time and it makes for incredible Science as part of our homeschool day as an added benefit.  

Here's just some of the things we have learned:

  • How to cultivate yeast from grapes then bake it into bread
  •  How to bake fresh homemade bread for less than 50 cents a loaf in a matter of minutes of day
  •  How to use a crockpot to cook beans and many other foods which allows for easy, frugal cooking of basic (and cheap) staple foods, high in protein and fiber and extremely healthy for us.
  •  How to make jelly and jams and can them.
  •  How to pollinate squash plants without the bees
  •  How to make apple cider
  •  How to make homemade crepes for pennies
  •  How to make homemade cheese and yogurt
  • How to ferment and the various bacterias involved
  • How to make our own economical laundry soap
  • How to make our own toothpaste
  • How to make a quick solar oven in the summer
  • Learn to make stock from leftover veggie peels
 And so much more... 

But most importantly, re-learning the basic art of cooking for your family makes you feel incredible inside. We are Mothers and Parents, when we nourish our little tribes with good, wholesome food that they come to love, we can breathe a sigh of relief that they are not caught up in junk food and fast food. We also save an incredible amount of money eating  this way and we lose weight and feel great. We simply become, HEALTHY, inside and out.