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April 2012 Newsletter

Happy Spring everyone. We had a cold winter and late rains, and now Nature seems a bit out of control. I can almost see the weeds grow! The fruit trees and pollinators are behind schedule -- it may not be a great year for fruit. All the more reason to take special care in the garden, and cultivate relationships with neighbor gardeners! Seasonal farmers markets are starting to open up all over. I miss my friends -- the farmers -- and look forward to seeing them again.


Saturday, May 5th -- Oxbow Public Market, Napa 11am - 2pm

Rawsome Creations More than a NUT MILK BAG is perfect for for juicing, sprouting & making nut milks.

For all you Napa area friends and fans: Stop by and visit the Oxbow Farmers Market on opening weekend and then join me inside at Oxbow Produce. I'll be there from 11am - 2pm doing Almond Milk demos, selling the fresh crop of Nut Milk Bags, and answering questions about raw foods.

Raw on the Rawk

August 10th & 11th -- Join me this summer on beautiful Salt Spring Island in British Columbia for Raw on the Rawk, a Raw Living Food Festival. I'll be doing demos and lectures along with panel discussions and showing my incredibly useful More than a Nut Milk Bags in the vendor marketplace. Sponsored by my good friends Jim and Chris of Rawsome Living Foods, this Friday and Saturday will be a wonderful time to get your green on and join others in celebrating the bounty of the season. Registration is now open via the website or facebook:

Update on Bumi Sehat
Robin Lim is CNN Hero of the Year, December 2011

Some exciting news from Bali and the Bumi Sehat clinic. As you know, my hero Robin Lim, the founder, won the CNN Hero award for 2011 and along with the honor came US$250,000. Robin initially mentioned their need for a new clinic and her plans to move forward with this, but much more is happening! Here's what Ayu, from the clinic, wrote in a recent email:

"We are in the process of the building project permit from our government. We will start the new clinic project as soon as we get it. For now we have finished our little cafe called Bumi Kopi (coffee earth) which is located in our new land. We hope this cafe can support our operational cost in the future.

"We have also started our new project for our youths: an organic garden, located in our new land, where the children can learn about permaculture and make their local coffee and organic food at our little cafe to serve on our cafe menu.

"We will be very happy to share the good news when we can start building the clinic as we are hoping so much for it to happen soon.

Magnitude 8.6 OFF W COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA, Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 08:38:38 UTC

"Thank you for keep thinking of us and we look forwards to seeing you again."

I received emails from many of you regarding the recent seismic activity in Indonesia and the reports of tsunami warnings that affected the Aceh clinic. This clinic is the one started by Robin immediately following the 2004 devastating tsunami in that area. Following the first large quake the Aceh clinic jumped into action. I received this very quick email update from Ayu and wanted to pass it along.

Dear Family and Friends all over the World...

6 am in Bali... 5 am in Aceh. The entire Bumi Sehat Aceh Team was evacuated by last night. I am sure the dawn light is a welcome relief for everyone who spent the night in fields.

Speaking with Eti on the hand phone less than an hour after the first big Earthquake, "Women and children have all moved upcountry. There are many aftershocks. So far we are all safe, no injuries for the Bumi Sehat team." The ambulance and the clinic car were used to move families to safety.

The men had stayed back in case the clinic filled with people needing help. I asked them to ALL go upcountry in case of Tsunami. I had phone contact with our nurse Liman, who said the men finally decided to move away from the coastal area, where the clinic sits. They were on their way to higher ground by motorbike, when the second huge earthquake struck. "Please don't worry, Ibu," said Liman in a strained voice, "We are afraid, but safe. We have finished moving everyone out from the village, we will stay on high ground until the shaking stops."

They suffered 33 Earthquakes in the last 24 hours! The worst two were 8.1 and 8.6. The epicenters seem to be directly offshore from the Bumi Sehat clinic in Gampong Cot.

Friends in the City of Meulaboh report the panic is terrible. Reports of casualties are very low, for this we are full of gratitude. Damage to the Bumi Sehat clinic has not yet been evaluated.

Continue to pray for peace in the Ocean and on the Earth.

Love Ibu Robin

Thank you everyone for expressing your care and concerns.

Rawsome Pilgrimages
Ubud, Bali in the morning, Rawsome Pilgrimage, May 2010

I'll be traveling to Bali again in October for a Rawsome Pilgrimage and I'd love to share my journey with any of you who might care to join me. I may be teaching a class or two while on the island -- no details yet -- but that's not stopping me from planning for relaxation and magical adventures. I'll be there from Oct 9th - 23rd. All the details as they develop will be posted on the Rawsome Pilgrimages website, so get on our mailing list. Also, we're on Facebook, and want you to 'like' us there. On the wonderfully interesting island of Bali, there will be plenty of time for creating adventures. My friend Amy will be along this year -- we've traveled together many times to Bali -- and between us we can offer lots of great advice about special trips, destinations, and shopping opportunities. I will be sending another container from Bali to northern California, so if you want something for your garden or home, this is the trip to join.

Hungry for Change:

Last month we featured the free viewing offer from Hungry for Change a new film from the producers of Food Matters. Apparently several of you accepted their offer -- in fact, 455,365 people watched !! THAT's history in the making! Exciting to know that so many people are interested in exactly what we talk about here month after month. Healthy food film makers are gaining momentum, and I support each and every one of them any way I can. Sometimes this takes the form of a small donation via an organization like Kickstarter, direct website support, or by purchasing the films and sharing them. I want them to know I care about their subject, too, and I want them to see that their work is sustainable, important, and having the desired effect.

Here's another one: Average Joe on the Raw.

Average Joe on the Raw:

I began following this project a couple of years ago through some friends who are featured in it. It's not destined for the award season, but it's simple and well done. The movie follows Seth, an "average joe," as he discovers at 30 he's not as healthy as he ought to be. "If I don't want the standard american diseases I better stop eating the standard american diet," says Seth. He's heard about raw food, and wonders if 'going raw' can help him. So off he goes on his 60-day journey of discovery.

Along the way Seth meets some of my very special friends, Dara Dubinet, and Kirsten Gum, classmates of mine at Living Light. Russel James, raw food chef extraordinaire who I studied with in London 4 years ago, and a host of others like Dave the raw food trucker. No joke, this guy really is a trucker who has lost over 200 pounds so far, dramatically reducing his risk of heart and kidney disease, diabetes, and colon cancer, among other things. Average Joe on the Raw was produced by Penni Shelton, another dynamo on the Getting Raw stage. The film reviews the hard core basics of going completely raw for 60 days, and explains the overall raw food diet pitfalls and successes in an easy and understandable way. Going completely raw for 60 days may seem as frightening to you as her husband's proposed circumnavigation of the globe sounded to Mrs. Magellan, but for those considering an adventure, this is a reasonable challenge, and Average Joe on the Raw is worth a watch.

Online candidates for Media that Matters are coming in fast these days. Here's another scheduled for free listening:

John Robbins and his son Ocean are hosting the Food Revolution Summit from April 28 - May 6th starring an all-star cast of foodies, sustainability experts, and downright good folks. The list includes Bill McKibben, Caldwell Esselstyne, David Wolfe, Dean Ornish, Frances Moore Lappé, my hero T. Colin Campbell, Vandana Shiva, and many more. Free listenng is available each day with top experts in the fields of climate change, disease, medicine, GMO's and politics in the food industry. Unlike other webinar/lecture formats this one is only offered one time (there'll be no repeats of the lectures), so of course they offer an upgrade to purchase the CD's / MP3 files. The speaker line up looks great with some folks I'm not familiar with and others I've not heard from recently so I'll be listening.

Update on Label GMO signature gathering

Thank YOU, Californios, for getting out there and signing those Label GMO petitions. YAY!! By March 26th, we reached the minimum number of signatures required, 504,760, to get the GMO labeling initiative on the November ballot. 504,760 is a strange enough number (it's based on a percentage of the California voters in the last Presidential election case you wondered). But we're not stopping there.

Label GMOs Ballot Initiative 2012:
We want to be sure we have enough perfect signatures just in case there are duplicates or contested signatures. So we're still out there gathering in front of healthy foods stores, community events and anywhere it's allowed, and if you haven't already signed, please do. Our goal is 750,000 signatures just to be sure, and we have until April 22nd. Keep telling your friends, post it on your Facebook page, Tweet it on Twitter, and do whatever you can to get the word to your California neighbors to anyone listening. This is grass roots action at its best. We can be proud to say we were part of the grassroots action that asserted our right to know what's in our food!

Raw on the Go Tip of the Month

I have heard that some of you aren't enthusiastic about green smoothies in the winter. On some cold mornings I admit they're not the first thing I want. Perfect green smoothie weather is coming soon, so start thinking about your gardens and get those dark leafy greens planted, so there'll be plenty of fuel for the smoothie season.

Here's a travel survival tip for you: I avoid commercial super-sweet juice dispensaries like Jamba Juice and their megamart kin Odwalla. We're encouraged to think it all grows on trees in granny's back yard, is natural, yada-yada, and so we're meant to conclude... it must be healthy... but with only fruit in their smoothies (even if it was organic and of known origin), there's still an awful lot of fructose (fruit sugar) in one mighty slurp -- way too much for my body to handle efficiently. Hence the big sugar rush we are encouraged to crave. (Google "fructose, Jamba Juice" for an eye-opener). And lest you think that's only fruit they're putting in your cup; they have to use barely ripe (at best) long-shelf-life fruit, and so they add an unhealthy dollop of corn sweetener, aka fructose, to each and every cup in order to appeal to the Great American Sweet Tooth. And don't imagine this is only JJ; check out the label on your favorite Odwalla juice... And these guys are the best in the marketplace!

I often think how wonderful it would be if I could get green smoothies of some kind (and not the ones from concentrate they started offering last year). So I came up with my own concoction to try next time I'm in a pinch and find myself near a Jamba Juice -- I guess they'll call it "the Brenda"? JJ offers fresh juices now -- orange and carrot. So I'll order one of these (or both mixed together) and ask for two or three shots of their spirulina powder. They offer it as a smoothie add on, and they'll blend it right in for me. Not perfect, but when I'm needing something quick and easy, it works for me.

And here's another quick fix -- when I find myself at a Whole Foods that has a smoothie / juice bar, I buy some Kale and they gladly add it to a smoothie.

If you find a quick easy way to get nutrition on the go, let me know and I'll share it with everyone next month.

Another Great Company

Remember my story from last month when I shared how much Mike and I LOVE factory tours? Whenever we have a chance we're there, checking out the local sights and manufacturers.

Visiting Bobs Red Mill with my mother. Everyone wears a red vest, except the visitors. (Brenda, our tour guide Al and Mom)

Visiting my mother recently in Portland, Oregon, I had the chance to visit Bob's Red Mill. I've seen Bob's smiling face and his red coat for years on the packages of numerous products adorning the grocers shelves. Wow! they are an amazing company: well integrated at every level and conscious through and through. I got to meet Bob himself, red vest and all. He was entertaining the U.S. Grain Inspectors the day Mom and I visited, and we toured around with grain moguls from around the country. Most of them were narrow traditionalists who were overwhelmed by all the teff, amaranth, chia, and other ancient grains. Why so may products? Do people actually want them? These guys had a lot to learn and I was pleased to see they had reached out to Bob and were there to find out all they could.

This article continues at my website!

Here's a common question asked by students: Can I have wheatgrass?

Many people are discovering that they are 'gluten intolerant' or have a 'gluten sensitivity'. There are a few (but increasing number) who have 'celiac disease' -- a Wikipedia article suggests that between 1 in 1,750 and 1 in 105 people are afflicted. Wikipedia and the Mayo clinic agree that the only treatment is a gluten-free diet ...but gluten is like sugar: it's cheap and filling and finds its way into lots of foods.

IF you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, be wary of commercial wheatgrass sources like Jamba Juice or others offering shots from their juice bars. It's easy to cut too close to the grain and introduce some gluten into your juice. For those who are 'gluten intolerant,' there is no need to stay away from the wheatgrass, but you do not want the grain.

IF you are growing your own, and cutting it yourself, you can cut the blades well above the grain line and not have any reaction, even if you are celiac. The gluten is all in the grain.

More on the importance of freshness and knowing your sources: in researching this topic I found that for some, it's not necessarily the gluten that's the problem, but a mold that can grow in the silo when the grain is stored for so long. Long storage -- part of the industrial farming here in America -- has problems beyond the simple fact the grain contains gluten.

"Drink a Rainbow" by Tracey, writer for

I'd like to give a shout out to one of my favorite 'Green Smoothie' websites:
This amazing picture -- I call it "Drink a Rainbow" -- was posted recently by Tracey, their writer and a sister green smoothie goddess! Tracey has put together a wonderful resource of all things smoothie; great recipes and nutrition facts. Here's one using oranges and dandelion greens, both plentiful in the gardens right now.


I started the Journey to Raw gradually, beginning with breakfast. Learning to make coconut yogurt was a first big win for me. Discovering how to make good oatmeal without boiling it was another hurdle. This Almond Cinnamon Oatmeal recipe is a staple in our kitchen on weekends. And of course, we buy the organic raw oat groats from Bob's Red Mill. Groats are the basic oat grain, before it's been steel cut or milled in any way. Enjoy this oatmeal with almond milk, fresh or dried fruits, chopped walnuts, raisins, or extra cinnamon. And if there's any left over, make Oatmeal cookies!

Now that the rain has stopped I'm going out to pull weeds. Will you join me?

Thanks for reading and remember to "Drink a Rainbow."

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