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  • Sisterhood Spotlight: Julie’s Incredible Health Journey

    My story of success and medical wonders

    By Julie Wilkinson (Howick, South Africa)

    Julie's before picture

    This time last year I felt terrible. I’d been coughing continuously for six months and I’d had the flu for the umpteenth time. With no one else to blame, I blamed swine flu, which was, at the time a big worry on the African continent.

    My first exposure to the world of Raw foods –

    It was during this time that I received an invite from my friend Shereen to attend a raw food “bring and share.” Read more »

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    Sisterhood Spotlight: Jodi loves the support here at The Raw Divas

    Hi, my name is Jodi.

    I started looking more into natural health about 7 years ago.  The journey (reading materials, changing beauty products, changing cleaning products, etc.) led me to raw foods.

    I have read about raw foods, green smoothies, and overall health. I first read Natalia Rose’s book “The Raw Food Detox Diet” and have read her other books as well.  I’ve also read other authors including Alissa Cohen and Victoria Boutenko.

    It has taken me a while to implement what I’ve read in these books.  I’m making gradual changes in my life as I work towards improving my overall health.  Some of the things I’m working on include fatigue, digestion/bowel issues, and hormone balancing.

    I was lead to the Raw Divas when I was reading Angela Stokes-Monarch’s weekly newsletter in February of 2010.  The newsletter mentioned the WISH summit and that’s Read more »

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    A Taste for Trust

    by Lisa Marie Lindenschmidt

    So, I decided to start selling my raw chocolates. But before you start thinking this is a shameless plug, let me tell you why I brought this up. The shameless plug will come at the end of the article.

    Mo was raised in the kitchen – well, there and in grocery stores. I spent so much time in the kitchen that we eventually brought down a box of her toys so that she could play while I made food. As she got older, she became more and more interested in what I was doing, so I let her help. I’d have her sort through the dried beans, wash the mushrooms, and lick the spoons. The tasks, of course, got more advanced as her attention span and interests developed.

    When I got into raw foods a couple of years ago, Mo (about 10 at this point) asked if she could do the plating. I let her and noticed she had a real eye for making things look artistic. She even looked up how to fold napkins into cool shapes and how to set a table. (Gotta love those homeschooled kids!) She’s gotten really good at it!

    So, when I began experimenting with raw chocolate, Mo was right there beside me. Jokingly, I made her my Official Taster, but I noticed something: she really had an amazing sense of taste. Granted, it was different from mine and we didn’t always agree, but usually she was spot on. And the ideas she was coming up with! I would say, “So, Mo, I’m thinking about making some chocolates out of [some weird ingredient]. What do you think?” She would say, “No. That’s stupid. [We’re pretty up front with each other.] What about [other weird ingredient]?” It would invariably be something totally wild and ingenious. I came to her more and more to get her opinion. And I realized something was happening with me: I was trusting.

    OK. I’ve never been the greatest at trusting people. For good reason. My developmental years were far from The Bradys or The Cleavers. I ended up as one of the Walking Wounded, spending years trying to repair something that I wasn’t convinced I really needed anyway… until this whole chocolate thing.

    I noticed that every time I came to Mo to ask her opinion, it was from a place of curiosity. I really wanted to know what she thought. I was relinquishing the illusion of power-over, that need of having to decide everything about every aspect of my world and control it down to the finest detail. When I truly listened to her and tried one of her ideas… they were brilliant. But I began to question myself: was I asking her opinion because her ideas were usually pretty good or was this coming from someplace deeper? Why did I even care what she thought? And why was this whole process feeling novel to me?
    And then it hit me: she never gave me her opinion from a place of power-over. She was genuinely interested in what I was doing and wanted to let me know what she thought of it. She cared enough to think about it during the times I wasn’t making chocolate and come back with ideas she’d mulled over. Not to put too romantic a point on it, but she was coming from a place unfettered by battle wounds. Jim and I had done something right: we’d given her a voice. But more importantly, we respect her enough to hear it and respond to it as valid, as something desired.

    There’s been a running joke between Jim and I. Whenever we do something to Mo that is a little tougher than maybe we originally intended, we say, “Well, that’ll be in her book!” – meaning that autobiography that every parent worries that their child will write. Now I don’t really worry about that so much. Maybe it’s because I’m secretly hoping her book will be… a cookbook.

    Shameless Plug: I’m launching a new line of raw chocolates called Rite Chocolate. If you’d like more information, contact me at [email protected].

    Lisa Marie Lindenschmidt is a raw foods chef and teacher and owner of Rite Food and Company (www.ritefoodandcompany.com), which offers workshops on intentional and joyful eating. Lisa Marie and her homeschooled daughter, Mo, record a weekly podcast – called Sweet Peas Podcast – chronicling their raw foods journey together.

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    A Fish Story

    by Lisa Marie Lindenschmidt

    Mo has this uncanny ability to make the supposed mundane have great spiritual significance. Take the fish incident.

    Over the past 13 years or so, my family has moved through a myriad of dietary choices. We’ve gone from vegetarian to vegan to raw vegan and are now focusing on a whole food approach. We still consume a lot of raw vegan foods, but have been experimenting with incorporating raw, local, organic dairy (such as homemade goat’s milk kefirs and chevres and raw butters), local eggs, and sprouted and cooked whole grains. We have had amazing success with this, I believe, because we cleaned out our systems first with a high raw vegan diet. Also, after reclaiming our stomachs and their true needs, we’ve all gained a new perspective on appropriate portions. Now, when we eat, it is from a place of true appreciation – for the taste of the food, yes, but more for its medicinal value. Our food consumption has truly become ritualistic in nature… something I’ve been striving for for years.

    So, when the idea of meat came up, we had to talk. Mo, who’s been a vegetarian all her life, decided she’d like to try some fish, specifically salmon. She told us that she’s been getting signs from the Divine that are all pointing her towards salmon. We listened. We talked a lot about what bringing home salmon, cooking it, and consuming it would mean for our family. We are the family that has never had meat touch our dishes, our utensils, or any of our cookware. Would this change anything spiritually for our house? Would it be possible to do this in a way that fostered honour and reverence for all involved – including the fish?

    The night we decided to do this, we had a massive rainstorm. The wind was howling and the rain was being slashed sideways. Mo said, “I think it’s cool that it’s raining outside. The Water energy wants us to pay attention tonight.” In our religion, the Water Element symbolizes emotions, flexibility, growth, change, fluidity. It was a great observation given the situation. This was the weather I ventured into to find our fish.

    Read more »

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    Apportioned Guidance

    by Lisa Marie Lindenschmidt

    “Mo, you just had a salad an hour ago! Why are you eating again?!”

    Mo, whose face was shoved in the fridge, now turns to me. Her eyes are ablaze with a look she has crafted over the past year. This look is intended to shoot laser beams and make me question my self-worth. A couple of days, this look has worked; most days I just respond with exasperation.

    “Mom! Gah! Duh! Because I’m hungry! Hel-LO! Isn’t that why most people eat?!”

    OK, the attitude was annoying, but what was even more annoying was that she was making a valid point. Why was I questioning her hunger? Why do I never ask her to validate her thirst? Where was this coming from? Was I reiterating some old programming taught to me by my gramma? I grabbed some chocolate, got a pen and paper, and went into my room to do some thinking.

    What were some of the messages I received as a kid around food consumption?

    • My food was doled out to me by the adults and I was expected to clean my plate. If I didn’t get enough to eat, I couldn’t have seconds or I’d get fat. If I was still hungry after dinner, I offered to clean the kitchen so I could munch on leftovers.
    • Dinner was eaten with the family – no matter if I was hungry or not.
    • If I was hungry, I couldn’t eat until the appointed meal time.
    • Snacks were only eaten in the mid-afternoon and could only be an apple or an orange.
    • Dessert was only eaten at special occasions and/or only after dinner. Other sweets were eaten in secret.
    • Drinks of any variety (i.e., Coke, sweet tea) could be consumed at any time.

    In other words, adults determined when I was hungry and what I could eat. My “job” was to do as I was told… and then rebel and eat in secrecy. For me, these messages bred a break in communication between me and my body – something I’ve been working to re-establish for years. These messages also reiterated the power-over dynamic adults often used with children. Food is the ultimate weapon for many adults; withholding as punishment or rewarding with “treats” is a common theme in this culture. So, what would happen if I took the emotions out of play? What would happen if my job was simply to provide a house full of healthy food and let her make decisions around her food consumption? Could I trust that all my education and nurturing had actually sunk in?

    Armed with my new experiment, I began the trial the next day. Here was my first observation: Mo went to the fridge and started rifling through, looking for a snack. I bit my tongue and didn’t ask what she was doing or make a snarky comment about her wasting electricity by keeping the door hanging open. I also didn’t say anything about the fact that we’d just finished lunch a half hour ago. I continued doing the dishes. Eventually, she asked me what she could have as a snack.

    “What does your body say it needs? A drink or something to eat?” I asked casually.

    She did the pre-teen sigh and said, “I don’t know.” And then she closed the door and said, “I think I’m just eating because I’m bored. Maybe I should just make a hot tea. Would you play Uno with me?”

    Inside, I was jumping up and down with joy and excitement – for her and for myself. Outside, I said, “Yeah, sure. What kind of tea you want?”

    As I was making our cups of tea, I realized that a lot of energy went into worrying about Mo. Have I done enough? Given her the right tools? Been a good enough example? And I think I’m done with putting all that energy into doubting. Today I trusted and today the results were good. And if on some days they aren’t, then I have to trust that we’ll be able to work through it… because I think the education and nurturing has sunk in… for both of us.

    Lisa Marie Lindenschmidt is a raw foods chef and teacher and owner of Rite Food and Company (www.ritefoodandcompany.com), which offers workshops on intentional and joyful eating. Lisa Marie and her homeschooled daughter, Mo, record a weekly podcast – called Sweet Peas Podcast – chronicling their raw foods journey together.

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