Tuesday, June 1, 2010

NYC Here we come!

A few weeks ago I got a call from my friend, Katie who was almost squealing with excitement over her news from the Today Show. She had been approved to adopt a dog from their Bow to Wow segment and she was thrilled. His name was Wally and it was recommended that he would be a great therapy dog. YAY!!! He was exactly what Katie was looking for. She has wanted to use therapy dogs for cancer patients for the longest time and already has two wonderful therapy dogs for her massage therapy practice, but neither of them was quite the fit to take to the treatment center. Once she saw Wally on the Today Show segment she was convinced that he was the dog she had been waiting for.

I was just as excited as Katie when she asked me to go on the trip with her. We have worked together for many years to put together programs for this particular population. Katie has helped many patients through massage therapy, reflexology and guided imagery and hypnosis to name a few modalities that she uses. I have also worked closely with this population using raw foods, Laughter Yoga, color therapy, coloring therapy and artwork among many other techniques that I utilize. Together we have put many years into research and have diligently worked towards our personal and unified goals to provide service and hopefully a moment of respite to individuals going through various cancer treatments.

Oh yes, I really wanted to go to NYC too! I haven't been in a long time and it would definitely be a great opportunity to check out some raw restaurants!

I've included the link from the Today Show here. Be sure to check out our boy Wally. He is a beauty!!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Birthday Yummies

I come from a family that believes in shameless celebrating when it comes to our birthdays. In fact, we've been known to celebrate a full month when we can get away with it. Really, isn't life supposed to be one big party anyway?

I could not wait to whip up some raw goodies to share for my birthday and started working early in the week to prepare a few treats for everyone to try. Everything was delicious and I thought it all turned out beautifully. Unfortunately only my mom and cousin would even try the raw goodies. (This is what happens when you have a party with your family because my friends would have left nothing. Not a crumb. Yes, beloved family, I'm talking about you and I love you anyway.) So my lesson from this is to no longer tell anyone that anything that I've made is raw. In fact, I'm just not going to claim anything and watch what happens next time. Hehehehehe. Yes, I am that evil!

Now for the eye candy:

Here is a plate of raw chocolate goodies that I whipped up. Seriously, this was the highlight for me.

First I made little chocolate tarts. This is my own recipe that I'm still working on. They were wonderful, but I haven't quite tweaked it just yet to perfection.

Next I made Heather Paces MoonPie's except I made them into bite sized pieces. I can not stress to you how wonderful this recipe is. Go to sweetlyraw.com for her book. I even made the peace crane decorations for a festive flare!

Now for the cake. Once again I used one of Heather's recipes. This one from Just Desserts. This is the strawberry lime mousse cake. Fantastic! It is very crisp and delightful and quite the show stopper topped with all those lucious strawberries.

I'm still enjoying the leftovers and grateful that I didn't make the other two raw cakes that I had planned as well. I'd have to invite everyone over to help eat it all!

Happy day, oh Happy DAY!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Salad Dressing

I had several requests for the three salad dressings that I made for Sunday's potluck. I told everyone at the meetup what I put into each one, but I've had several more people to ask that didn't make the potluck so I decided that I would just blog about it and that way everyone would have the recipes. I am terrible about not writing down recipes so this is a great opportunity to just get it done. Most of my recipes are pretty much made up on the spot. All 3 of these recipes probably have origins somewhere from one of my recipe books, but I tend to remember what I like and just throw something together and then taste it until I get it just right.

Mango Vinegarette:
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2 mangoes
- 1/4 cup Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 TBS agave nectar or honey

- 1 roma tomato
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper
- 1 TBS curry
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup EVOO
- 2 tsp lemon juice

Sweet Black Sesame:
- 1/4 c black tahini or just black sesame seeds
- 1/4 c agave nectar
- 2TBS chickpea miso
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
Blend in a high speed blender if you use the sesame seeds.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Manuka Honey!

I met Bobbie Moore, president of The Wild Bee at the Wild Foods Weekend and learned lots of wonderful information about Manuka honey. Bobbie is such an incredible source of information and is very passionate about educating individuals on the benefits of raw Manuka honey, true organics and the welfare of bees. For more information visit: www.thewildbee.com.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cafe 118

During a recent trip to Florida we decided to stop by Cafe 118 Degrees in Winter Park for a love raw meal. I always try to visit any raw restaurant I can when traveling. Anyway, I put together a short video of our delicious raw meal for your enjoyment and inspiration. Everything was so wonderful!

Happy Healthy Day!

OK - for some reason blogspot has been very tempermental lately so here is the link for the video: http://www.youtube.com/user/infusionoflife#p/a/u/0/fvOhYBcRtZI

If anyone has any suggestions as to why my videos no longer upload, please let me know. I may need to search out a new blog resourse. Thank you!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chickweed Pesto

Here I am goofing off rolling around in a bed of chickweed and then doing a recipe demo of chickweed pesto. The end of the video explains a little about chickweed aka the little starlady. Yes, I made up the recipe on the spot. I just kind of work that way. Chickweed pesto recipe: 1 cup chickweed, 1/2 cup fresh basil, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt, 1/4 cup of EVOO and 1/2 cup pinenuts or sunflower seeds. The pinenuts are better!

I had difficulties uploading this video so after several attempts I have just decided to post the link to my youtube site: http://www.youtube.com/user/infusionoflife

Just look for the video titled Chickweed Pesto!

Have a happy healthy day and I love you!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Apple Pie Green Smoothie

Today I made an Apple Pie Green Smoothie. Watch my camera man's reaction after he tastes this delicious concoction.

Have a happy healthy day!

I love you!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Green Smoothie Article for The Green Dove Magazine

As a passionate raw foodist, I often teach workhops on this lifestyle that I love so much. One of these workshops is titled “Demystifying the Green Smoothie.” I love this one for many reasons. It’s fun and easy for people to realize how simple it is to incorporate healthy foods into their lifestyle with simple tools and techniques and very fast results!

1. You need a blender to make green smoothies. You don’t have to go out and purchase a high dollar Vita-Mix or a Blendtec to get started. A basic blender will do. However, you can also use a personal blender, such as a Magic Bullet as well. These are really great if you travel a lot and want something small to take with you so that you can continue enjoying green smoothies wherever you are.

2. You need to have some type of liquid in your blend to start the blending process and keep your smoothie from being too thick. This can be anything from filtered/distilled water to juice to tea. Whatever you would like that you think would blend well. I typically used my own Roxtract filtered water, but will sometimes use juice depending on the kind of smoothie I want to make. I typically put about a cup of liquid in the blender first. Of course you can adapt this for a smaller or larger blender.

3. Assuming you will be making a sweet smoothie, you will need to have fruit of some sort for your smoothie. This can range anywhere from fresh organic apples to frozen organic fruits. I try to always make mine as organic as possible. I recommend using organic bananas for what I refer to as the “basic” green smoothie. Bananas just have the amazing ability to cancel out the taste of the greens if you are getting started so I strongly suggest using them for your first green smoothie. You want to use about two or three bananas. I always make the “basic” smoothie first in my classes just so individuals can experience a smoothie that is easy and tastes delicious. I am often told by my workshops participants that they would have never even tried the smoothie on their own once they knew they would be drinking kale or spinach. They can’t believe that it tastes so good!

4. The most important part of the green smoothie is the GREEN! This is a great time to explore various types of fresh organic leafy greens. There are a variety of lettuces as well as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, parsley as well as collard greens and other hearty greens. Sticking with the basic smoothie recipe, I would recommend kale for its nutritional content as well as its ability to marry so well with banana. These two are just perfect together when starting out with green smoothies. Wash and place four or five kale leaves in your blender. Make sure that you de-stem them for a regular or personal blender as they are too fibrous for them to blend smoothly. If you are using a high power blender, such as a Vita-Mix you can just place the whole leaf in to blend.

5. For my workshops I often bring a sweetener to add to the smoothie. At this point I no longer use anything for my own smoothies, but I do use something when I teach. After drinking green smoothies for awhile, you will find your taste changing and you may need less and less sweetener and more and more greens. You can use raw organic honey, raw organic agave nectar which has a lower glycemic index or even Yacon syrup which has a glycemic index of zero. I usually use the raw agave for this particular smoothie. You may want to taste you smoothie at this point to see if you need much of a sweetener to be sure before you start loading it up.

6. Add extra goodies! I always like to use organic vanilla extract or vanilla beans in the basic smoothie. It really enhances the flavor of the smoothie and gives it more of a banana pudding like taste. Cinnamon is another great addition to the basic green smoothie. It gives an all around rich taste to the smoothie and many individuals find it to be quite comforting, mimicking the taste of a cooked food item.

7. Enjoy and play with your food! Green smoothies are fun. Feel free to experiment with the combinations. You can freeze the fruit prior to making the smoothies or add ice if you want a cold smoothie. Play with spices and come up with an easy smoothie that you can pull together quickly for those times that you need a quick fix. There are plenty of web resources for green smoothies as well as my personal blog for whenever you need an idea boost. Remember to use raw, unpasteurized ingredients and as organic as possible. Don’t forget, green smoothie mustaches are sexy!

The Silent Giggle

It sounds kind of eerie, the silent giggle as I like to call it, but it is incredibly effective. What is it? It’s my favorite tool to pull out of my arsenal when I’m having a bad day or when I just want to really plant a positive seed. Actually I really like to use it as much as possible.
So what is the mysterious silent giggle? Exactly what it sounds like. I teach this one regularly in my workshops. It’s very easy, but does require a bit of practice so you don’t come off as a raving lunatic at times. Simply put the silent giggle is that tickle of joy or that funny joke or silly song that you keep in the back of your mind. You just don’t outwardly laugh. Keep your laughter inside, but allow the joy to flow through your eyes and voice without laughing. Sometimes when we practice this in my classes, I do admit that some of my students come off a looking a bit deranged, which is hysterical and really great for a Laughter Yoga class, but to truly hone in on the benefits of this technique you really need to be able to use it publically. You can always hear a smile through the phone. Go on practice it. You can literally hear the smile in some ones voice. Now just remember the silent giggle of joy. That really amps up your phone calls and messages. It is amazing how people will respond to the sound of your voice when you use this technique. Feel free to try this out by recording yourself saying the same message once normally, once with a smile and then again with the silent giggle. You can notice an immediate difference! It had made many opportunities available for me that I never knew existed. This sis because the joy spills out and people are just drawn to you. Another great way to use the silent giggle in a public or one on one meeting is to just remember to hold on to your thought that make s you giggle. Don’t let it go. You will express absolute joy with your eyes and yet again people are drawn to you. I can’t tell you how this has opened doors for me as well. It’s as if the whole world is in on your secret. Individuals open doors, give you parking spaces, offer you free coffee and the list goes on to even further things to such as offering of jobs and the like. The trick to it is to be sincere with your level of joy from the silent giggle. Don’t force it and don’t come off as if you are laughing at anyone. Just BE in that place of joy that comes from the giggle and know that you are planting a positive seed.
What are the Laughter Yoga benefits from this if you are not outwardly laughing? I still believe that this technique can reap numerous benefits, a boost in your self-esteem and ease from stress for starters. Also, you may cause overflowing joy in another and there may at some point be some genuine outward laughter as well. At the very least you will cause yourself to just feel good, but more than likely it will spread out to those around you as well.

Laughing when it isn't funny

As a Laughter Yoga leader I am often presented with the question of “what if it just isn’t funny?” There are many times in our lives when nothing is funny. Everything thing has turned upside down, we experience grief, are bogged down with life circumstances, are sick or just simply forget to have a moment of enjoyment. It’s easy enough for this to happen to all of us. It’s called LIFE.

I have great news for those of you that suddenly forget to find a moment in your life to laugh. You don’t have to find anything funny to enjoy a hearty laugh. That’s right. You can still laugh for no reason. Why do this you ask? By allowing yourself a chance to experience laughter in the face of everything that life offers you, you allow yourself an opportunity to reconnect with yourself and those around you. You allow yourself a break or a mini vacation rather from whatever challenges you may be facing at the moment.
How is this possible? Scientific research has found that the body does not know the difference between real and fake laughter. Fake it! I have many times found myself doing this. Sometimes the whole session is fake, but often I am able to start genuine laughter after faking it because I simply get tickled at myself.

Sometimes it is just too hard to try and yes, there have been times that I faked it when I felt terrible and even started to cry. That’s ok too. Keep trying and you can learn to get a good laugh in. Find someone willing to laugh with you or watch funny videos. YouTube has many things to choose from for a quick fix to help you get started. You may need to practice a bit and that’s fine. Lock yourself in the bathroom, look at yourself in the mirror and start fake laughing. Usually just the thought of someone accidently hearing me is enough for me to get giggling. Remember to take a basic breath in through the nose and out through the mouth during the rest periods of laughing to ensure proper oxygenation.

So, back to the whole idea that the body doesn’t know the difference between real and fake laughter, your amazing body will still produce all the movements in a fake laugh that it will in a real laugh. These abdominal movements cause a massage of the internal organs and your heart rate will still rise with the activity. Your body will also still release the same hormones during fake laughter as well. Some of these include endorphins which aid in pain management and dopamine, the feel good chemical.

Stress relief and relaxation also occur after a good laughing session. Allow yourself the opportunity to reap these health benefits and more by really trying to get in a laugh when you know that you need it, especially when you are to a point that it seems impossible to even try. This is probably when you need laughter the most. So go ahead and grab a mirror and find a special spot to let yourself loose. Nothing has to be funny at all. Just practice and you will discover the powerful ability your body has to cope, rejuvenate and enliven itself.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Who says raw snacks can't be easy and fun?

I was in the mood for a little snack, but really didn't want to take the time to whip up anything too fancy like a cake or pie. I needed something NOW. So I made this plate of goodies to share. Very quick & easy. Most importantly, it was delicious!

First I made the banana sandwich cookies which are nothing but banana slices with raw almond butter sandwiched between the slices. That's easy enough and always a crowd pleaser.

Next I got creative with some leftovers and made pear "fries" and Strawberry Raspberry "Ketchup". To make the "ketchup" I blended one large handful of strawberries, about 1/3 cup raspberries, 1/3 cup young coconut meat, 4 brazil nuts and a squirt of agave nectar. It was delicious, but I imagine that you could get creative & make any kind of fruity sauce using some red berries and it would be wonderful. I was just using up leftovers and had no idea that it would turn out so delicious. Asian pear slices were used for the "fries."

I must warn you that this is a great snack and I have had to make it repeatedly upon request for several days now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Love Declaration

The Love Declaration
-A Covenant-

I am your partner
in awakening
from fear.
From this moment on,
at all times,
under all conditions,
I Declare
I will be
for All Beings,
A Conscious Source
of Absolute Love;
and I promise
I will serve only
this Love,
in you,
in me,
and in All,
no matter what,
for the rest of my life.

David Kenyon Seacord

I admit that I have been less than gentle with myself lately. Maybe that is why I stumbled upon this poem when cleaning up this morning. Maybe I needed a reminder of the love that I am. It is always easier to give love to others than to allow it for myself. Today I decided to change that for myself. I've been through a lot lately; the death of a grandparent, a car wreck and physical pain from pushing myself too hard to name a few things. I absolutely have not been able to come up for air, nor have I allowed myself to. By not allowing myself to flow through love, I not only do myself an injustice, but do one to you as well. That I can not bear, because I am your partner, where ever you are and who ever you may be. We are in this epic journey of life together. How can I serve you if I do not serve myself? When the well is run dry, what is left for me to give?

So today I will give to myself a bit; to refuel, to replenish and to restore my declaration of Love for All. I purchased myself beautiful roses and decided to become my own Valentine even if it was a few days late. I was only going to buy one bunch, but ended up with two when I couldn't decide between the colors of blush of innocence and yellow of abounding joy. These serve as my reminder of beauty, joy, gentleness and mostly love. Each time I glance at them I will send out "The Love Declaration" as my promise that I will remember why I am here.

Now if you will excuse me, there is a hot bath and a cup of tea waiting for me.

Be gentle with yourself.
You are so very loved,
your partner

Monday, February 15, 2010

After months of watching videos and reading up on spring water,I finally had the opportunity to gather fresh spring water this past weekend! I found this spring located on findaspring.com. I was so excited to be in the area that I had to go at the first opportunity.

It seems that there was quite a following for Mt. Vernon Springs in the days before the Great Depression. At one point this healing spring hosted a hotel for individuals to come and use the spring waters for health benefits. I plan on doing further research on this spring and will be adding my findings here as soon as I can.

I found the spring to be very well maintained and easy to locate and the water was fantastic. I became obsessed at soon as I tasted it and believe it to be well worth the journey. There were papers posted with the findings of recent testing on that spring waters that deemed them as safe drinking waters so I did not worry about testing them myself as I have met other individuals that have gathered here previously. Also, I found out that many locals also regularly consume from this spring as well.

Health and Beauty are regular hot spots for avid spring water drinkers. Delicious!

This is a flyer posted from the old hotel. There is a bit of a glare, but you can still read it. I found this to be so fascinating!

This is the bridge that joined the hotel and the springs. It is the only thing remaining other than the springs themselves, which are in a shelter and have a couple of picnic tables close by.

More information on Mt Vernon Springs can be found at: http://www.fomvs.org/

I realize now that gathering spring water has become a new obsession for me. I spent the rest of the weekend researching more springs that I plan on visiting and sharing information about. It seems that my hometown is very close to several spings. A few of them were well known for their medicinal and healing waters and even shipped out bottled spring water from the springs back in their thriving days. The Great Depression really took its toll on these health destinations and now they are not very well known anymore. Hotels closed, burned down, etc. It seems that to only a few, all this information was lost. I seek to change that and I would like to thank Daniel Vitalis for his endless research and education on locating springs and the benefits of drinking pure water. Spending time with these glorious waters resonates deep within me and I know that I will be doing this for years to come.