Monday Night Live at Café Gratitude

I got an email from the lovely folks who run the Petaluma potluck about Monday Night Live, a new program at Café Gratitude's Healdsburg location. If you can't make it up to Sonoma, don't worry - all events will be tapes and posted online later! Here's the email:

Hey! Shea here!

For those of you who don’t know yet, or for those of you who do know, but don’t know how it’s coming along, I am excited to write this email and let you know that beginning in January 2009, I’m going to be working with Café Gratitude in an effort to bring live, weekly, educational speaking events to their Healdsburg location. (How Cool Is That?)

The project is called “Monday Night LIVE! @ Café Gratitude” and, as the name implies, will take place live, on Monday nights, at Café Gratitude. The events will be from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. This will allow people about an hour to arrive, order and eat, with the speaker / presenter going on at 7:30pm for 45 to 60 minutes.

I am PROUD to announce that Monday Night LIVE! @ Café Gratitude will kick off on Monday, January 12th, 2009, with the first speakers being Matthew and Terces Engelhart – the owners of Café Gratitude, and the authors of ‘The Abounding River’, and “Sacred Commerce.”

After Matthew and Terces we have quite an amazing line up of speakers manifesting!

Happy Oasis on January 19th,
Elaina Love on January 26th,
Cecilia Benjumea on February 2nd,
Lydia Kindheart on February 9th,
Dr.'s Rick and Karen Dina on February 16th,
Melissa Phillippe on February 23rd,
Laura Bruno March 9th,
Dina Knight on March 16th,
Don Allan Hardman on April 20th,
Kevin Gianni in June,
Bruce Horowitz on June 22nd,
Cherie Soria on June 29th,
and many more!

I am choosing speakers who are passionate about what they do, what they bring to the world, and how they live their lives – and they will primarily be pulled from the following communities: raw foods, alternative health, fitness, sustainable / green living, and spirituality / consciousness practices. Personally, my main interest in terms of topic is this:

Who Are They and Why? Who where they before they found what they do (their passion), and what was their life like then? How did they find what they do? How did they get into it? How has it affected their life? And, who are they now because of it? I am, however, always open to other ideas for topics, and I also trust your judgment,
so if you have any recommendations, suggestions or referrals for specific topics or speakers, please contact me at shea@shealynnbaird.com.

The events will all be filmed, and the videos will be posted on my blog, SheaShayShā,
as well as on my YouTube account.

The goals of the project are to create community, educate the public, have fun, and benefit all parties involved.

Please check the schedule often, as it is, and will be, updated regularly. And please consider making Monday Night LIVE! @ Café Gratitude what you do on a Monday night!

We ALL (Café Gratitude Healdsburg, the Presenters who will be traveling to be with us, and myself)need YOU to make this work!

Monday Night LIVE @ Café Gratitude
Located at Café Gratitude Healdsburg
206 Healdsburg Ave (inside the Olive Leaf)
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Phone: 707-723-4461
Hours: 9 am to 9 pm

Thank you! See you there!


Blackberry & Feijoa Smoothie

I try very hard to be a locavore and eat seasonally (with some exceptions like cacao, maca, coconuts, bananas and a few other things), and one of my favorite things about my raw food journey has been discovering more foods that I never even knew existed. Ever since I was little, I was always drawn towards unusual looking fruits and vegetables and wanted to try everything I saw. I would pick random flowers and take a bite to see if they taste good, or nibble on the edge of a plant while hiking. But this year, I took that to entirely new levels and actively sought out new kinds of fruits with a consuming passion I had apparently barely scratched the surface of. Instead of just trying them, I hunted for knowledge and tried to learn more about them then their names and flavors. I learned food origins, what kind of climates (Northern California has a gazillion micro-climates which means we can grow a diverse array of food) they grow best in, how to care for them, the duration of their growing seasons and a million other things you probably don't care to know. ;) There is an abundance of local, seasonal foods and trying to figure out what to do with all of them is so fun and exciting!

I already shopped at the farmers market almost every week, as well as at my favorite local co-op, Rainbow Grocery, but going raw has forced me to dig even deeper into that connection. It has made me want to reach out to more local farms and has helped put a face on the people who grow my food for me until I can buy some land to grow my own. It reminds me that we are all part of one system working together and that each delicate piece has its place and they all matter, which makes us and all our decisions so unbelievably powerful. Nothing is inconsequential.

So thanks to Swift Subtropicals for growing these gems just a few hours from my home, which allowed me to concoct this delicious smoothie this morning. Locally grown feijoas in December? Yes, please!

Blackberry & Feijoa Smoothie

2 cups walnut milk
4 Medjool dates
4 apricot kernels
1/2 pint blackberries
3 Feijoas (peeled)
1/2 a banana
2 Tablespoons cacao nibs
1/2 teaspoon raw honey
1 Madagascar vanilla pod

Put all ingredients in blender and blend well.


SF Life January Potluck

I've been getting a lot of questions from people about how to survive winter on a raw food diet, and am composing a more detailed post on the topic, which includes common misconceptions and some things to add to your foods, but wanted to give all the SF locals a heads up that the next SF Life Potluck will address some of these issues.

From Dorleen:

At our January 4 potluck we will share ideas on how raw fooders survive winter. If you are new to Living Foods and this is your first winter, come and learn helpful ideas of how to survive winter. If you have survived one or more winters, please share survival strategies and winter recipes.
Our potlucks start at 1:00 and are held at 630 Valencia (near 17th Street) It's in the community room at the Mission Police Station. The cost is free to members and $3 for non-members who bring a raw vegan potluck enough for 10-12 servings. If you do not bring a potluck dish, you will need to pay an extra $5 whether you are a member or not. Also,
please bring your own plate, utensils and serving utensils for your potluck dish.


Mini-Juice Feast 2008

I did a mini-juice feast for about 3 days. I initially was planning 10 days, but I had to cut it short and postpone doing it long-term until I have steady income again. It was pretty easy to stick to because I already juice almost daily, and I felt more alert, energetic and ultra connected. The only drawback was that it was really costly for me to juice enough to not be hungry all day, and even with shopping at the Farmers' Market, I just couldn't afford to do it longer.

Everything was absolutely delicious! My favorite juice combination that I was sure to make daily:

Spinach + Apple + Celery + Mint + Parsley + Ginger + Lime + Chlorella

It's delicious, and made me feel like I had just injected myself with serotonin. Colors became more vibrant, and I just felt so energetic and focused afterwards.


The Benefits of Radish Juice

I've finally decided to embark on a short juice feast to speed up the detox and healing process a bit and step into the next phase of my raw food journey. In my research on healing thyroid imbalances with raw foods, radish juice has come up a fair amount, so I've decided to include about 1/2 cup of it daily to ensure I get all the benefits. It's good to juice the green tops, which contain calcium, riboflavin and carotene, as well so you don't miss any key nutrients.

I have only used red radishes and rainbow radishes so far, but am going to splurge on black radishes this week. Russian studies have proven them to be extremely effective for treating thyroid imbalances. The radish has an element called raphanin in it that balances thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Raphanin is what you might call an adaptogen, meaning that it will bring your thyroid into balance whether it is under- or over-active.

Radishes are very beneficial to our overall health - they are good sources of Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Iron, and amylase. The radish is also high in sulfur, which is a mineral that helps build and maintain youthful skin, and has proven to be good for treating acne. Radish juice has been used for treating skin conditions, asthma and sinus problems.

The power of the radish has been recognized in traditional oriental medicine for centuries. It has been used to help remove hardened accumulations in the intestines as well as reduce phlegm. It has also been found recently that radishes contain xylogen, which promotes phagocyte activity which helps in breaking down cancerous cells.

Radish-carrot has been the tastiest combination I have tried so far. The radish gives a nice fiery tang to the sweetness of the carrot juice, and as long as you are getting your radish fresh from the ground with a higher water content, they won't be bitter or too over-powering.


Raw Autumn Granola

I just made another batch of my favorite raw Autumn granola today. I tried some existing recipes in the past and though they were good, I was not 100% satisfied with any of them so I created my own. Here it is:

Raw Autumn Granola

1 1/2 c. soaked almonds
3/4 c. soaked whole buckwheat
3/4 c. soaked sunflower seeds
4 grated red pears
4 grated apples (your choice)
1/2 c. fresh cranberries, chopped in food processor (if you don't chop them, they won't dehydrate well and your granola will require refrigeration)
3/4 c. coconut flakes
1/2 c. date paste (about 7-8 large dates pureed in food processor)
1/2 c. agave nectar (I have not yet made a firm decision on the agave debate, so I will keep using what I have, but will probably eventually substitute yacon syrup or maybe honey)
3 vanilla beans, ground
1 TBsp cinnamon
sprinkle of salt

Rinse and drain all the soaked grains and seeds and place in a large bowl. Grate the pears & apples and add to grain/seed mixture. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Spread mixture onto dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 112 degrees until dry, usually about a day.


feelings of disconnection...

I have been eating raw for awhile now, but when I lost my job I began eating more cooked food again, mostly because it was offered to me for free, and not having a job, I felt I was in no position to turn down free food. It took me a few weeks of feeling crappy physically and emotionally to realize I was reverting back to living in fear - using a scarcity model for living, instead of the loving, abundant model I adapted to when I first went raw. I knew I needed to get back on track with what I was putting into my body because even though I had lost 20 pounds and my depression was gone and I was feeling overall pretty incredible until I lost my job, my acne has still not cleared up, I still have another 20-25 pounds to lose, my mood swings started come back a little because of the stress of being unemployed, and my PMS reappeared. For the last 2 years, it had been lasting about 10 days, but when I went raw it went down to 7, then to 5, then to 3, and then to 2. This past month of eating more cooked, it was back up to a week. I don't know if I will eat 100% raw forever, but I do know without a doubt that right now, I need to continue on my healing journey and not give into the fear based thinking that caused me to stray. I will deal with the rest when it comes.

So I have started getting back to my 99-100% raw intake, and am feeling much better, but I am noticing a lot of emotional things coming back up again, like peeling the layers off an onion. I am feeling a disconnect from some of the people in my life who don't quite understand what is going on. Most of my non-raw friends are very supportive, but there are a few people who it is just hard to talk about. I think maybe they don't understand that this is not just a way of eating - it's an entire lifestyle change. I don't feel like a "new" me - I feel like I am simply becoming the me I was all along; the person I always was inside that was just hidden under a pile of health issues, depression, mood swings, excess weight, psychological trauma, acne and the insecurities that resulted from all of the above. So as I shed all those physical layers, it is only natural that I would continue to shed more emotional layers. This happened when I first went raw too, but it's way more intense this time around and I feel like I am shedding so many layers of self. I think this might be scary for some people in my life, because they have this idea in their heads of who I am, and who I have been the last 14 years that I have had these problems. I think perhaps they, like I at my most defeated and depressed moments, just began to think I would always be that way and now that I am changing, perhaps they feel they don't know me anymore? I am not quite sure. I know for a lot of people, eating raw seems like such a drastic measure because it is so different from what they know, but to me, eating things that make me feel bad seems completely insane. I don't try to push my raw agenda on people, but I do speak openly about it, because people are always curious about what I eat and how I get my protein and all the other questions raw foodists always get. I want to educate people about it if they want to know. And while I do not push it on anyone, I do talk about it a lot because it is so amazing to me. I feel great about it and after feeling like absolute hell for 14 years and thinking I would never find a way out of that dark hole, finally finding an answer, especially one that showed me signs for several years before I was ready to really link it all together, feels so amazing to me, so I am excited and inspired and it is a big topic with me. No, it's not all I talk about - I still love art, music, books, spirituality, nature, travel and a ton of other things - but it definitely is a big part of who I am now, and I guess for some people, it can be overwhelming. For me, it's really only when I am dealing with people who are skeptics and try to put down what I am doing that I have an issue, and I think that is not their intention most of the time, but it still comes out that way. So what I am trying to do with those people in my life is to just keep my mouth shut about it as much as possible. They will continue to be skeptical until they experience the benefits for themselves, and many of them will probably never try it anyway and there is nothing I can say or do that will make that any different, and that is OK too. As thrilled as I would be to see them try it and feel the amazing benefits themselves and remove their skeptical feelings towards this different way of eating, I know it is not my place to convince them of anything, and if they cannot accept that what I am doing is best for me, that is fine too. As one of my dear friends said,""When something like this becomes an integral part of your life, it is almost like a religion because it is a whole different way of life. Not everyone will understand the faith that you have in it." And so I should not expect them to understand it. The most I can do is keep living this way for me, and to just be a positive example as I go deeper into transformation. Through the friends that are supportive and curious about the raw lifestyle, I have learned that as you make positive changes in your life, some people can't help but notice and be drawn to making healthier choices themselves, and this works best when it comes to them naturally, because they have the desire to change themselves. So thank you to all my friends and family members who have been open to the changes I have made, and who have supported and encouraged me on my journey and made me feel like less of a Pariah. I had almost given up hope that it was possible to feel good, happy, positive and normal after so many years of fighting this battle with depression, and your strength and support is immeasurable. I hope I can one day find a way repay you.


GI2MR cafe gratitude meet up

Dhrumil from We Like It Raw was in town for a few days, so he organized a little lunch meetup at Cafe Gratitude with Anna, Lauren, Sharon and I this afternoon.

It was really wonderful to spend several hours just sitting and talking and getting to know each other. A lot of my friends are not raw, and although I attend potlucks and local events, I still sometimes feel that there is not as much of a community as one would think there would be in a place like San Francisco, where almost every subculture from Burners to bikes has a community with a DIY state of mind behind it. I want more activity in my local community, so I feel it's up to me and the like-minded people I meet to make that happen. I think through meeting these lovely ladies, we can start to build things a bit more and create a more positive experience for those that visit the city and want to connect.

We talked about getting spring water, foraging for wild edibles, writing, life changes, synchronicity and shifting your awareness so that you tap into them, community, our own raw journeys, and a whole host of other topics. It was really wonderful, and I left feeling very motivated and inspired.

Sharon asked some questions about some minor drama on GI2MR and how some people feel apprehensive about posting because of a lack of support, and Dhrumil gave us a brief rundown about a video he has just posted addressing those concerns, and how he wants to change things to improve the level of support by introducing a Sherpa program where people will serve as guides to provide information and support. You can view the entire video below.

GI2MR: Sherpa's Program from Dhrumil Purohit on Vimeo.


Help Heidi smile

As someone who recently went to the dentist and had them tell me I need over $7000 worth of work done immediately, I can totally related to Heidi's tears of frustration and fear and hope that anyone who reads this will donate at least $1 to her cause, more if possible.

In my case, the Green Dentist urged me to go into more debt to pay for all the work, but then after I lost my job and told them I no longer had insurance to pay for most of the cost, the urgency seemed to be gone and they said they would "make a note in my file" and I should call them when my situation changes. It's funny how it was so urgent that they made me cry in the dentist's office, but then when I had no insurance, there was no desire on their end to help me find alternative solutions or refer me to clinics or sliding scale programs. My frustrations with the American healthcare system are numerous, so I genuinely hope that Heidi will raise enough funds to cover her dental care and smile again soon. I have another friend who owes the hospital $46,000 for a bike accident, and it's really insane that we go to wars in the name of helping others, yet we don't take care of our own people here at home.