I'm back from a fabulous trip to Bali and a decompression week on Maui with my sweet husband, just in time for the holiday season. Happy Holidays to you!
This annual trip is a pilgrimage for me, and an exploration of how to take America's wealth, productively filter out the greed and anxiety, and then make the exchange for the hard work and inspiration radiated by my Balinese production family. In five years what began as a last-minute spark of intuition has blossomed into a global project working with friends, families, colleagues, and customers worldwide. My annual trip to Bali is the magical highlight of my year and our enterprise. I posted a photo album on facebook to share some of the beauty with you.
This year, I was excited to be in Bali for Kunigan, the day when millions of Balinese Hindus perform special prayers to observe the day when Gods, Goddesses and ancestral spirits visit the Earth to bless the people and return home to heaven before noon. Every village decorates itself beautifully, ceremonies abound, AND blessings are magnified by auspicious synchronicities.
Because of the holiday, I was blessed with time to relax and celebrate with members of what has become my Balinese family, visiting their traditional family compounds, meeting new brothers and sisters involved in the loving manufacture and packaging of our Rawsome Creations.
The Balinese ability to add love to everything they do is apparent in all their work -- I'm sure you notice it. This visit allowed me to understand more fully how this trait imbues the More than a Nut Milk Bags with Balinese spirit, making our exchange so special. Giving back to those who help make the More than a Nut Milk Bags happen reminds me where we began and how we've grown. Without the diligence of seamstresses Pak Wayan and Ketut, my friend and agent Iluh Sri, my wheelman Iluh Putu, and Ibu Dewa and Ketut Alit who help with packaging, our project would not happen. I am forever grateful for their help and support. I am so grateful, too, for your end of this exchange, for your votes of confidence and support that come with every bag purchase. On both ends of our effort, real improvements are being made in the lives of real people.
Lots of exciting new restaurants in Bali, featuring more organic, farm-to-table, and local food concepts.
My husband Mike met me in Maui, a soft break in the middle of the long, long flight home. I thrive in warm weather climates and this stop over allowed me to bask in the sunshine for just a few more days before coming home to our cold fall climate here in Northern California. I am happy to report that Maui is also embracing farm to table cuisine that we have begun to take for granted in California. Farmers markets abound, and restaurants proudly feature local produce. Maui is more of a paradise for those of us who seek healthy food than ever. Lahaina now has a raw vegan cafe, Choice Health Bar. Maui Kombucha in Haiku has its own raw cafe. And Coconut Glen's vegan ice cream stand on the road to Hana calls us back every chance we get.
Returning just in time for the commercial cacophony of Black Friday is, I have to tell you, a bit of a shock! I want to convey to you the heartfelt gratitude expressed by every member of the Rawsome Bali family, and my own.
While I was away, Washington voters were induced by greedy outsiders to defeat their GMO-labeling measure, just a year after California voters were similarly bamboozled by the same pirates. I-522 (the Washington ballot initiative to label GE foods) just barely lost (48%-52%). It seems the initiative was defeated in the same way as ours here in California, with a ton of money and lies. Seattle TV station King5 called this "one of the most expensive statewide initiatives Washington has ever had," noting that $6.8 million in favor was raised in-state, but all but a tiny bit of the $32 million spent by opponents came from multi-nationals and their out-of-state lobbyist lapdogs. $32-million beats $6.8 million by only 4%!
While it's distressing that our entrenched food industry thinks it is worthwhile to win their secrecy at such great cost, it's also funny and indicative of the forces being brought to bear. On the one side, Just Us Folks making the reasonable point that if a product contains something we might need to know about, a friendly manufacturer would inform us. On the other side, we have an ethics-deaf greed conspiracy willing to spend wildly, bend the rules, and out-and-out lie to preserve their short-term economic advantage. Take Coca Cola (please!) This venerable international bad actor has been polluting the unaware for decades with a product that is very likely causal of the obesity epidemic . . . and their flagship beverage is losing popularity rapidly. So the company has attempted to buy our approval (and hedge its profitability) by acquiring (and, in the eyes of many, degrading) product lines that attract health-conscious consumers -- Honest Tea, Odwalla, and others. In Washington during the run-up to the I-522 vote, Coca Cola was exposed for its contribution of a desperate million to the front-group Grocery Manufacturers Association's illegal spending of $11 million to buy Washington's voters.
With these defeats of common sense and human consideration comes the exposure of corporate shenanigans, and this is the silver lining. Each campaign costs the bad guys more, and we are clearly on the side of the angels . . .and, eventually, we will prevail. When companies like Ben and Jerry's and Chipotle vow to remove genetically engineered ingredients from their products, our goal is achieved without resorting to legislation. By choosing to do business with companies that treat us right, voting with our purchases, our efforts are more effective than any campaign to pass laws that the pirates will find ways to circumvent. The more outrageous the out-of-state, out-of-reason dishonesty becomes, the more people pay attention. That's a good thing.
As we go to press we find that Oregon is starting to gather signatures to put it on the ballot for their next election. For me, the take-away from all this makes me want to revisit a caution I shared with you at this time last year:
If what you buy to eat has a label, chances are good that it's adulterated -- if not with preservatives, colorants, thickeners, and extenders, then by its close association with fugitive or soluble molecules in its packaging. The only sure way to have pure food is to grow it yourself, organically and chemical-free. A close second is fresh food bought from a farmer you trust. Many of us manage to get most of our food from these sources. A distant third is to buy claimed-to-be organic produce brought to the megamart from afar. Buy packaged food with caution, and honor the honest manufacturers who tell you what's in their products, and make the effort to get their product to you fresh and smartly packaged.
The first Winter colds are afflicting folks, reminding me that the dark season has a stunning effect on our diets. We crave comfort foods, especially those high in fats and sugars. With the end of Summer, Farmers Markets dwindle, although this year we are happy to see more and more year-round choices of fresh local food. True, the supplies of tender summer greens and plump peppers and tomatoes are less in evidence, but there's still plenty to make my morning green drinks . . .and all those berries and peaches I froze during the summer sure add welcome sweetness and color.
Wherever I go, I discover that many, many people are taking greater care with what they eat. Packaged foods are out for me, but that's much harder to manage in the Winter. I am reminded of the saying, "Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom." For me, "freedom" is another word for health, and my family's prepared-food-free diet seems to keep us -- knock on wood! -- vigorous and vivid.
As always, I come home from Bali inspired by their very different attitudes toward time and art. Despite the plunge back into the hurly-burly of the pre-Christmas United States, this Winter I have pledged to take greater care with my family's nutrition . . .to keep my Bali-colored glasses on as long as I can, so I see everything based in care, attention, and love. Sure, I could buy many of the staples I use pre-packaged and ready for instant serving . . . but I don't trust the packaging, AND I firmly believe that peeling the fruit, slicing and dicing the vegetables, taking the time to make nut milks, cheeses, and the many time-intensive raw preparations that help us stay healthy -- by investing the food we eat with my time and my love -- I am giving myself and my family the greatest gift of all.
In that spirit, I want to make a pledge to you, my newsletter family. Rawsome Creations' products are more and more widely available, but I want you to be able to find them at the best prices here in my newsletter and on the Rawsome Creations website. I am confident that if you compare our new online pricing, you'll find that our new "free shipping" policy beats even the best online sellers. (Sorry, free shipping is only possible in the US.)
For those new to living foods, or who have friends and extended family who may be ready to admit more living food into their diets, may I suggest that a copy of my More than a Nut Milk Bag Recipe Collection and three Nut Milk Bags might be a transformative gift?
Out in my yard, it's all about persimmons, bigtime! I am always looking for recipes to enjoy these magical orange spheres. I'm blessed to have both the Fuyu and Hachiya varieties. While my dehydrator is working overtime drying gemlike slices for future use, I'm busy with the blender making pulp for future smoothies.
One of my sheroes, Victoria Boutenko, writes in her Raw Family newsletter:
I freeze persimmon pulp in 1 and 2 cup measures ready for smoothies, pies, cheesecakes or breads. I've always said "the freezer is your friend" and at times I get a bit of flack from folks about that, but honestly, if doing a bit of freezing with foods in season is going to make it quick and easy for your to convert these morsels to out-of-season meal-time treats, then freeze away. My research has produced a consensus that up to 30% of some nutritional attributes may be lost through freezing, along with some textural qualities, due to the cell destruction that happens when water freezes. Indeed, some fruits and vegetables don't freeze well at all -- those gemlike pomegranate morsels, for example. And clearly, freezing for long periods -- years -- is not good for food. But in my book it's better to have the majority of the nutrition available than none at all or substantially less due to the effects of conventional forms of storage. Fresh frozen preserves nutrients better than canning or packaging with preservatives any day.
So here's my December addition, filed under the heading of Green Smoothies even though one of these recipes is a very orange shade of green!
5-6 ripe persimmons, sliced (with seeds removed)
2 cups of water or orange juice
Blend well in a blender.
Yields: 4 cups
5-6 ripe persimmons, sliced (with seeds removed)
4-5 leaves of Romaine lettuce
2 cups of water or apple juice
Blend well in a blender.
Yields: 4 cups
Thank you, Victoria Boutenko, The Raw Family for these recipes.
Thank you, dear Readers, for your support for my products and projects. Despite the dark, the rain, snow, sleet, and hail, I wish you the healthiest possible Winter . . . and remember to eat your vegetables as raw as ever you can!
Farewell, Summer. Hello, Autumn......
Traveling is one of my greatest passions. Sharing travel with those I love is one of my greatest joys....
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