A Quick Trip to Tuskegee Institute

I’m writing from the Kellogg Conference Center at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. This morning, Uzuri, Little Lotus, and I found we had received scholarships to an organic farming conference held at Tuskegee Institute, complete with hotel room reservations, so we quickly packed and drove for several hours stopping at fruit stands along the way. The conference actually began today, but we’ll attend a day of organic farming classes tomorrow.

I love being here. There is a bust of the founder Booker T. Washington in the Lobby and lots of cultural and historical art decorating the walls. It feels profound to walk on ground that Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver stood on. I am humbled.

Things at the farm are going beautifully. We’ve finally finished weeding the hoop house, and we’re beginning to harvest zucchini and sweet peas. Uzuri and Little Lotus harvested two big drinking cups full of sweet peas to eat during our ride to Tuskegee. They were delicious. After eating sweet peas fresh from the garden, we are all baffled by the thought of cooking them. They are so tender and flavorful when fresh and raw.

Our happy household has decreased by two. The lovely Rasta couple moved last week. Beginning an organic farm from scratch is an adventurous idea, but the reality is a lot of work. It’s not easy, but it can be a wonderful growth inspiring experience.

In love, joy, and peace,
Asante
http://www.LivingOurBliss.net

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A Teary Beginning to a Wonderful Adventure

Little Lotus and I are in a small town in Arkansas. We’ve stopped here on the way to our friend’s land in Alabama. The adventure we have prepared for over the last several months has begun!! We envisioned our project, plotted the steps it would take to get here, worked really hard, and here we are at the beginning of what we call our ecoadventure. Amazing and exciting, right? Not exactly. As the last steps of our preparation became a reality, we realized that embarking on this new beginning meant saying goodbye to people and a place we had come to love. We left Oklahoma in tears that left me wondering whether I had made a very wrong decision. After about fifty miles passed under our adventure-mobile tires, we were both able to catch sight of our dream again. The vision of our plan came back to us in small glimpses at first, and before long we were both smiling again.

We are excited, once again, about our road trip with our cat Max (who travels on a leash) and about our plans to build an eco-house, but we’ll never forget the folks we love that we hope to see again very soon.

In love, adventure, and bliss,
Asante
http://www.LivingOurBliss.net

Planning a Recycled Lean-to Greenhouse

I’m so excited about our current project! We’re building a lean-to greenhouse in our backyard. This in and of itself is a wonderful project, but what makes it extra special to me is that we’re making it out of found and repurposed materials.

After watching lots and lots of youtube video on other people’s projects (thank you!), I have an idea of where to begin with ours. Yesterday I looked around our yard for materials we can use for our greenhouse, and to my surprise we had almost everything we need to build a frame laying in our yard. We had several large posts, several 2x4s that I salvaged from a curbside, 2 old tires, and an old pallet that I collected from a restaurant. While looking in our yard, I spied a piece of plastic sheeting in our neighbor’s yard that looked like it wasn’t being used. My neighbor was happy to give the sheeting to me, plus I got to meet a new neighbor and have a wonderful conversation about composting and gardening.

Today Little Lotus and I will go on a treasure hunt for more old tires. The tires will become the foundation for the outer wall of our greenhouse after being filled with compacted dirt. I’m so excited, our greenhouse will be a wonderful place to begin seedlings for our garden.

Wishing you love, joy, and delicious healthy food,

Raw Chef Asante

www.LivingOurBliss.net

The Upside of a Failed Modem

What began as a failed modem became a wonderful break from the computer that I didn’t know I needed. It has been a wonderful and productive few weeks. For example, I’ve partnered with The Health Food Center (one of our local health food stores) to offer my Raw Brazil Nut Tacos in their deli every Tuesday starting in March. I also began counseling with a really wonderful woman. I’m so excited about this. Like most of us, I have “stuff” that blocks my joy at times, and I’m ready to work these things out and step fully into my bliss.

This week we placed our first order for Azure Standard. Azure Standard is a company that ships high quality food to food buying coops at a discount. A good friend of mine suggested that we order food from them, and we’ve finally placed an order. We’ll go the drop point on Monday with all the other families who’ve places orders and help unload the truck and pick up our pounds and pounds of organic nuts, grains, and dates…yum.

Today I’m on a mission. I want to find barrels with which to build a simply water catchment system. I also want to find plastic sheeting to reuse as a cover for a greenhouse. I want to make the greenhouse out of found materials, and I believe I’ve collected enough pallets for the frame. Now I need to find a cover. I’m so excited about this idea and about gardening in our yard. Perhaps we’ll create a little urban homestead. I’ve always wanted to do that, and there’s no better time to begin than now!

Love Love Love to you,

Asante

www.LivingOurBliss.net

Juice & Water Fast Days No.9 & 10

I’m on day number 1o of my 10 day fast! This has been a really amazing experience. We scheduled to have some work done on our house early this morning, so I didn’t get enough rest last night. What a difference that made. This is my first time fasting this long, so I should have scheduled the work for another day so I could focus on rest and self-care on the last day of my fast. Several times today the thought has crossed my mind to make this a 9 1/2 day fast rather than a 10 day fast…lol.

This fast has been a wonderful cleanse and a great exercise of will power. Here is a picture of my shining face after fasting for 6 days. I feel so much lighter and on purpose. My face is shinier, my body is leaner, my mind is clearer, my skin is smoother, I have even been more patient with my little girl. Over the last 10 days I’ve realized just how much I think of food each day and how many times I eat almost mindlessly. There were several times when I was getting bowls of good things for my little girl that I would have, at any other time, taken a few bites out of habit. That was an interesting observation. Another observation, which was quite funny, is that my stomach growled yesterday for the first time during my fast. Yesterday I began thinking about my first meal after my fast and all the wonderful raw foods I want to eat over the weekend, and my stomach growled!

Completing this fast made me think about the first time I fasted. It has been a slow and gradual growth. I thought back to a 2 day fast I did in my early twenties with a friend. After our fast we went to Whole Foods and gorged ourselves on vegan food…lol. Not the best way to break a fast, but it was a good beginning. But that was not the first time I fasted. I can remember a couple of 2 and 3 day fasts in my earlier twenties, but as I thought back even further I was able to remember my first experience with fasting. I was about 18 and I had just purchased a copy of  The Master Cleanse by Stanley Burroughs at a new age store for around $5. I read through it and immediately wanted to try this spicy lemonade cleanse. Several days after buying the book I developed a cold and I decided to try The Master Cleanse to release the cold. By noon of that day my cold was gone and my lemonade fast was over! My first fast was 1/2 day long. That is a great beginning.

Over the last 10 days several people have asked how to begin fasting if you are a beginner. I am still a beginner, and I’m very happy to share what I’ve learned. Here are three great ways to begin fasting:

1. Start juicing everyday. Get in a routine of juicing and get familiar with juice combinations you like, and add lots of greens to your juices.

2. Begin with a 1/2 day fast or a 1 day fast. In comfortable baby steps you can become comfortable with the discipline fasting requires.

3. Join a fast or cleanse group. Many fasting groups are available through raw food forums and on Facebook. The moral support is very helpful.

Here are some tips I’ve learned over this fast that will increase the ease of my next fast:

  • Make rest a priority.
  • Shop the day before my fast for loads of produce.
  • Drink juice before I begin feeling hungry.
  • Don’t schedule a major event during a fast.

For others that are more experienced with fasting, these tips my not apply, but for someone new to lengthy fasting like me, these tips may be helpful.

As an added bonus, I feel very clear about the direction of my business right now. This makes so much sense to me, as everything about this time period seems cosmically aligned. For example, I did not plan my fast to begin on the day after the solstice and end on the last day of 2011, it really just happened that way. To honor the new year my book Living Our Bliss: An Introduction to Sun Food (the ebook version) is on sale for $8. I also have plans for lots of freebies to give away on my website, the first of which I made available last night. Visit my site linked below if you’d like a free gift.

Wishing you abundant joy and vibrant love,

Asante

www.LivingOurBliss.net

Juice and Water Fast Day No.8

I’m coasting through my last few days of my 10 day fast. That’s really how it feels. At this point it doesn’t take a lot of effort to maintain. On my 8th day of fasting, this is officially the longest fast I’ve done so far. Up to this point my longest fast was 7 days.

 My favorite juice today was fresh honeydew juice. It was so delicious, frothy, sweet, rich, creamy… I could go on! Only 1/2 of my honeydew filled a very large glass. I’m about to juice the other half after writing this. I look amazing, if I do say so myself. My skin is bright and smooth, my body is leaner, and my eyes are brighter. I find myself pulling my hair back and just looking at my pretty face in the mirror.

A fellow faster described fasting as a gift we give to ourselves. I wholeheartedly agree. It is a wonderful gift. Before fasting I was craving, and at times indulging in, cooked foods that I knew were not good for me. Throughout my fast I’ve observed that the only foods I think about are high vitality raw foods. I love this!

The honeydew melon in the fridge is calling my name, and I must answer.

Wishing you inner peace and beauty,

Asante

www.LivingOurBliss.net

Juice and Water Fast Day No.7

Day 7 of my 10 day juice fast has been great. I have been so inspired lately, and I’m really excited about growing my business. Today the fact that I’m fasting hasn’t been foremost on my mind. I’ve been able to go about the day pretty much as usual. I feel aware of the fact that I’d like to eat, but it’s not as overwhelming as in the first few days.

I feel great in my body! My little one told me today that i was look prettier…lol. She sees my increased shine. Everything about my body in leaner and smoother. I developed a little headache today, but it was nothing serious. I’m still detoxing, although the symptoms are very mild. My husband suggested that I include bentonite clay in my fast. Bentonite clay absorbs impurities and toxins and helps the body express them more rapidly. I chose to do this fast with juice and water, but next time I may include bentonite clay.

Today I enjoyed a huge cucumber, celery, dandelion green, and apple juice. I also enjoyed water and coconut water. Little one always asks for some of my juice and sneaks pieces of whatever I’m juicing. She thinks she being sneaky when she takes pieces of orange or apple that I’ve prepared to juice. It’s so cute.

In anticipation of eating solid food again I ordered the book Sweet Gratitude: A New World of Raw Desserts. It’s a raw dessert recipe book created by my favorite raw restaurant Cafe Gratitude. I’m in love with Cafe Gratitude and I can’t wait to make their yummy desserts!

Wishing you love, peace, and joy on your phenomenal journey,

Asante

www.LivingOurBliss.net

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