unconditional.
Creative Commons License photo credit: without you.

"I have never met a person whose greatest need was anything other than real, unconditional love. You can find it in a simple act of kindness toward someone who needs help. There is no mistaking love. You feel it in your heart. It is the common fiber of life, the flame of that heats our soul, energizes our spirit and supplies passion to our lives. It is our connection to God and to each other." ~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Today it’s an honor to have Nathalie Lussier, the Raw Foods Witch, as our guest writer.  Nathalie writes much about the foods we eat, and how we can make small changes to improve the healthy choices in our diet. Her focus is on the foods that come naturally to our world.  Fruits, vegetables, nuts.  Those foods which can be naturally grown. 

Now the real question: what kind of witch is she?  When I think of Nathalie, I think of only the best kind of witch, in a fun, fun way (think Glinda from the Wizard of Oz).  Her tagline says it all:  "Taking the Spooky out of Raw Food Magick"!  Now that sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it!  And it’s not about being perfect in your eating, it’s about the journey toward a healthier you.  And that’s a direction I hope I’m headed in.

A recent example of some of the great material Nathalie has is 21 Ways To Sneak More Vegetables Into Your Diet .  That’s a winner in my book!

Nathalie’s material will give you practical changes you can make to live a healthier life!  Keep up with her by subscribing to the Raw Foods Witch blog.  You can also keep current with Nathalie by following her on Twitter.

And with that, here’s Nathalie to help us all navigate through what sometimes seems like a jungle when it comes to our food choices. 

 

The Jungle of Food Choices

 

 Haul I
Creative Commons License photo credit: jordanpattern

"Did you ever stop to taste a carrot?  Not just eat it, but taste it?  You can’t taste the beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie." ~ Astrid Alauda

 Every one of us has more food choices than we’ve ever had before. We can eat an avocado from Mexico, a pineapple from Costa Rica, and lychees from China all in the middle of winter. We’ve also got a slew of other food choices. You know, the ones that tend to dominate our thoughts (via intrusive ads) and diet: processed foods. Did you know that the number one source of calories in the United States is via soft drinks? The average American drinks 60 gallons of this sugary drink per year. Companies spend billions (with a B!) on advertising to ensure that you get hooked on their brand of soda, snacks, and desserts. Contrast the number one source of calories with that of our closest primate relatives the Bonobos, who are 80% frugivorous where most of their calories come from fruit. Interestingly enough, there are no degenerative diseases observed in wild chimpanzees like the bonobos. "No cancer was observed among diseases of wild apes" (Chultz, 1967)

Re-Evaluating Our Bounty of Food

We’ve essentially fabricated most of the food that you’ll find at the supermarket. I always recommend that you walk the edges of any grocery store and stay away from the middle aisles. The middle aisles are the ones that will kill you, even if it doesn’t look like a lion chasing you down for dinner. You’ve got tons of companies fighting each other to appear on those shelves to entice you to try their brand of sugary cereal, pasta, or chips. Walking the “alternative route” of the grocery store, I let fruits and vegetables fight it out the natural way: through smell, looks, and taste. 

Lettuces
Creative Commons License photo credit: di_the_huntress

When I go to a farmer’s market or just browse through the organic produce section, I immediately feel pulled toward certain fruits and vegetables. Those pears smell really good. Maybe that broccoli’s color is just so alive that it makes me want some. That watermelon sounds really juicy when I lift it and tap the side. These are the types of signals that we might have grown up learning, had we not been plugged into the world of modern day fast food advertising. I admit it, I was a McDonald’s junkie as a kid. I begged my parents to take me there any chance I got. It wasn’t the food, it was the toys. My parents didn’t know what hit them. They never imagined I would turn out to be a “health nut” and resolve to eating a diet made up predominately of fresh fruits and vegetables. Now that I’m older, I know that I was under that advertising spell (and it wasn’t a nice lovey-dovey spell either!). Of course the trail goes deeper than that, because these processed foods are a socially acceptable and reinforced habit. If I’m out and about I’m supposed to stop and eat at that local fast food joint. I’m not expected to have prepared my own healthy meal or snack to bring along. That would just too “out there” for some people…

The Jungle We Grew Up In vs. The New Jungle

Things are changing, I’m not sure if you’ve felt the shift. People are starting to realize that eating tons of processed food really isn’t the best thing for health and well being. So now that we’re aware that we might need to make changes, a whole new set of challenges present themselves. Who do you trust? What is “healthy food” and what’s just marketed that way? Call it green washing, call it health or even “antioxidant washing”. It exists and it’s happening. It’s important when we’re feeling overwhelmed to take a step back and return to basics. What would we be eating if we hadn’t created this massive network of processed foods? Probably lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, with the occasional small animal or fish. We’d be eating more berries than we could likely afford at today’s supermarket prices.

Blackberries
Creative Commons License photo credit: threelayercake

Berries are almost unlimited in the summer, and they’re so easy to pick and eat. (Plant a berry shrub and you’ll know what I mean!) We’d be eating locally, and we’d likely migrate during the winter to survive. This is when our transportation technology comes in handy. Now comes the tough part: how do you fit all of these healthy foods into your day to day life? The idea is simple, but one we’re all reluctant to try. (I was too!) Remove some of the stuff you’re currently eating and replace it with fresh fruits and vegetables. There, I said it.

Now I want to hear where you’re at in your journey through this not-so-wild but still unruly jungle of food?

If you’d like a little help along the way to removing stuff that doesn’t serve you and adding stuff that does, you can find me at my blog The Raw Foods Witch. I help people live an enchanted life, by taking the spookiness out of eating more fresh raw fruits and vegetables. You can also sign up for my free program called Feel Light – Take Flight, and watch your energy soar.

Michigan Trip 2008-7
Creative Commons License photo credit: krossbow

"Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart…. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become." ~ Steve Jobs

 

Laugh Out Loud!

by Lance Ekum on August 19, 2009 · 60 comments

 Laughing Donkey
Creative Commons License photo credit: jaxxon

"Laughter is an instant vacation." ~ Milton Berle

Laughing!!

It just feels so good!

And I'm headed out to put that laughing urge to good use.

What's Up?

Have you ever noticed how laughing can become contagious?

Or how laughing can just put a little extra bounce in your step?

I'm joining forces with the very talented and creative Kim and Jason Kotecki, from Escape Adulthood, to "laugh for social change".  Kim and Jason are a husband/wife duo from here in Wisconsin, whose purpose behind what they do is to make our adult days more childlike.  Doesn't that sound like a winning concept! 

And together we're going to laugh.  A laugh flash!

Huh?

If laughing is contagious, feels good, and makes others feel more comfortable to laugh themsevles – wouldn't it be a great thing to take this out into the world to get it spreading?  Kind of like a virus, only way, way better!

That's exactly what we're doing!  And you're invited to join us! 

Date:  Saturday, August 22nd, 2009
Time:  10:45 AM Central Time (meet), 11:00 – 11:15 AM laugh
Location:  Meet outside of the Wisconsin Veteran's Museum in downtown Madison, Wisconsin (corner of State St. and Miflin)
Who:  Anyone and everyone welcome!

We'll meet, most of us strangers – and then we'll find ourselves a spot amongst all the happenings at the popular Farmer's Market at the Capitol Square.  And…we'll just laugh.  Laugh to bring some extra joy into this public place.  We'll do this for 15 minutes, and then we're done. 

Just think of the feeling you'll be leaving others with.  Others with us, gathered to laugh – filled with joy from laughing together.  Others who pass by us – some who may think we're a little bit "out there", and most who will smile, maybe join in, and overall just feel a lightened sense of being! 

Personal note:  Being considered "out there" is a pretty cool thing!

How Did This Get Started?

The very awesome and super fantastic Katie West, from The Levity Project, is the whiz-bang smarty pants behind this idea of getting a group of people together to laugh in a public place.  The goal of this is to bring about social change in the world, by locally going into public places and laughing out loud.  And being okay with doing that.  And to remind us all that life is fun.  And when we really feel like laughing, it's okay to do that.  In fact, it's down right good for us! 

And cool beans!  Katie will be doing this same thing with a group of people in Portland, Maine – at the same time (12:00 noon Eastern Time).  So, if you're anywhere near there, contact Katie and join her!

Maybe you're someplace else in this world we live in.  That's okay.  Feel free to join us in spirit…wherever the moment happens to place you at!  Laughter around the world…

A Laughing Hippo
Creative Commons License photo credit: TakenByTina

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." ~ Victor Borge

Wow!

Laugh with me now! 

Ha Ha He He Ho Ho Ha Ha Hardee Har Har!!

Doesn't that feel good!

More Awesomeness

Brandi Reynolds, joy rebel magnifico, just so happens to have a "mission" this week of finding and experiencing laughter in our world.  How's that for synchronicity

If you're not familiar with what Brandi is doing, check it out – right here explains the concept behind these missions she's creating.  It's free, fun, and done when YOU want to!

Your Turn

What makes you laugh?

Are there times when laughter has lifted you up from a low place?

Any crazy ideas on creating laughter?

The Wheels On The Bike Go Round and Round

by Lance Ekum

  photo credit: merrionsq   “The greatest wealth is health.” ~ Virgil I’ve jumped on my bike and headed over to hang out with Sahar Aker, over at Fat Fighter TV. Sahar has taken her background as a journalist, from the television studio, to include the Internet as another medium for spreading the message of healthy […]

2 comments Read the full article →

Sunday Thought For The Day

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: h.koppdelaney “As you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged by a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens.” ~ Stephen Graham

67 comments Read the full article →

Tri-ing Life

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: mmeiser2 “My will shall shape the future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man’s doing but my own. I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze. My choice; my responsibility; win or lose, only I hold the key to my […]

80 comments Read the full article →

Sunday Thought For The Day

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: arnaud bertrande “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the […]

70 comments Read the full article →

Where Is This Journey Taking Me?

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: James Jordan “No journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within” ~ Lillian Smith It is with deep honor and appreciation, that I ask you to join me today over at the Evolving Beings website.  Evolving Beings is one of […]

Read the full article →

Sunday Thought For The Day

by Lance Ekum

Learn To Fly from Christian Letruria on Vimeo. “You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’” ~ “George Bernard Shaw   Note: Special thanks to David Zinger for introducing this video to me.

69 comments Read the full article →