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I finally – by popular demand – started some raw food classes down here in Vilcabamba. It’s such a sweet and conscious minded community, I

The gang right on task!

am honored to be helping these lovely individuals learn some new skills on their way to optimum health.

Word started getting around town that I was a gourmet raw food chef. Actually I think it was catering the Raw Food World Conference that helped introduce Jan and I to the ex-pat and Ecuadorian community. Once they tasted what we can do, they are ready to listen and learn… one of those idealistic times to teach. I decided a 4-class series would be a good introduction.. and I wanted them to be a celebration, so Friday evening, it was “Raw and Ready” time. Although I have non of my own yet, children are of utmost importance to me. I want to teach them and hopefully change the bad pattern that’s happening all over the world. Children today are a product of the knowledge we grew up on. We thought we were doing right, we thought we could trust that great information was getting past onto us. I now know that wasn’t so.. and still isn’t. If I’ve learned anything on my journey toward optimum health, it’s been think for yourself. Read and investigate all you can, then experiment and settle somewhat on an opinion, with full rights to change at any moment in time. I made sure my clients know that children always come free.  I had many of my friends bring

Casiopia was the best roller in the class

their Ecuadorian friends and employees too. My Spanish is not so good.. but I appreciate the

Fernanda & little bold Amar.. the youngest raw student

challenge and they appreciate my effort. It’s been a couple weeks now worth of classes and I look forward to every one of  them. What a fantastic set of energy that lands in the house every Friday night. All happy, open and loving. Our first week was a quick introduction where I taught my personal favorite breakfast.. a green drink extra-ordinaire. My motto is stick everything and anything you can in your mouth at all times of the day. Seriously, it’s the color of the milenium! It’s the only way to optimum health. I also taught them wonderful nut milk, kale salad and some other goodies.

The next week  I met guests with  challenge of  stuffed mushrooms, wraps and sushi. I honestly only believe in hands-on when it comes to raw food prep. The entire experience is one of texture, feel and balance. Although many people are aware and LOVE wraps, those rice papers and nori sheets can be intimidating and difficult without proper instruction. This is one of the classes I find Continue Reading »

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Raw for the Bugs!!

Leave my organic food alone!

Don’t worry I’m not trying to help absolutely every little creature out on this planet. It’s true, I really try not to kill spiders and moths and such.. but when it comes to my food.. THEY NEED TO STAY OUT! I do my damndest to stay far away from any chemicals and pesticides, so going organic to take care of the bugs in the garden was the only way to go. Sure sounds is if you are in the United States

The magic ingredients

and every type product is at your fingertips.. but here in Ecuador, it’s a different story. So I asked around and found a good concoction to wage a friendly goodbye party to the bugs in the garden!!

It’s quick, easy and simple.. although mind you I did this all with my mediocre Spanish.. but we got the job done :). You take really hot peppers (aji), some garlic (ajo), tobacco leaves(all over the property) and natural soap.. as well as a couple other plants here in Ecuador… like Chamico.. which I believe has a strong odor that bugs don’t like – hee, hee. The natural soap creates a film on the leaves to protect them from any “fliers” in the area, so when it rains, we will have to re-apply.

Jorge – (our gardner down here) and I mixed a bunch up one morning. I can’t tell you how Continue Reading »

Catering for the Raw Food World Conference, Ecuador

All I can say is… fully present, in the moment and practicing a lot of just “be”. Oh yea, and I changed countries. I’ve been here in Ecuador for more or less 6 months and it has been an amazing journey in all sorts of aspects of my life.. mostly the areas I didn’t know existed or certain nooks which needed some cleaning out. This new peace and balance I’ve welcomed into my life has been paying off in a good karma way.. on a daily basis. I’m learning the power of manifestation and how to accutely tune in to my inner-self.. and to be aware of where emotions come from and accepting them as a new lesson.

Sharing a laugh with Jan!

Intention, manifestation and creation.. raw food creations. Ok, this may sounds a tad weird.. but my creations both planned and impulsive have been spot on – like I was somehow told the combination and proportions in the middle of the night. There are dozens of times in the past few weeks that I wake up at 5am and head right to the kitchen to try some random recipe floating in my head. I know in the past,  I usually mull or simmer some things for a couple days before trying them.. but, it’s like I can’t create fast enough!

I think it all started when I decided to get social and meet some others living in the

Eating straight from the garden - everything grows so well here

area. This is the type of place where Continue Reading »

Come to Ecuador - Raw Trips!!

I know this isn’t news to some of you.. but RAW FOOD IS A MOVEMENT HAPPENING ALL OVER THE WORLD!  The demand for new and accurate knowledge about healthy eating is at an all time high as people realize they’ve been lied to about what they are eating. That is why I’m trying to reach out everywhere and get the word out – raw food is a win/win situation – good for your body, good for your mind, good for your mouth! This isn’t about carrot sticks and celery… this is about creating delicious gourmet meals that are giving your body what it needs to function at optimum level!! Can you tell I’m super jacked this morning!!! Loving life, it’s beautiful to exist on this planet!

My mom I think is in constant amazement about where raw foods is taking me. I told her I was heading to Canada to teach with Jan and she was so surprised.. another country again Kirsten? Yep mom, I’ll go where ever people need me – I’m here to help spread the word to help people make some changes in their diet!

Jan and Kirsten in full action!

Jan is from Canada so heading to Calgary and Red Deer was a very good decision. Her friends had been begging her to come up and teach, so I flew from Ecuador and met Jan on a Thursday night. The plan was to prep as much as we could for both class on Saturday and Sunday. Of course when teaching, you have to expect the unexpected. Jan went shopping earlier in the day and was shell shocked! One thing we didn’t take into consideration Continue Reading »

Ecuador Bliss!

A home with a view

Yes, it’s been a while since I found time to sit and catch you all up on my life. Whirlwind is a good description. I like staying busy, but it cracks me up when it comes in fully concentrated bursts of demands, schedules and projects!! Wonderful observations – no complaints!

So 2010 started off with a new home and new country for me. I’ve moved down to Ecuador to get me and my business partner’s raw food health retreat up and running. You must come check it out! The website is rawtrips.com – it’s not completely finished (because I’m doing it myself – first timer) but will soon be updated and spruced up. I’m absolutely thrilled with this opportunity to help heal.. and do it in a relaxed and blissful manner. Jan bought land in Ecuador many years ago with the dream of Continue Reading »

I feel like I’ve been in a time machine, I swear I love the train system here. I can settle into my seat, pull out my computer, or book, or breakfast and just chill. I will never really understand why some people choose to drive to work when the train is right by them and is an easy commute. We US citizens get so attached to our vehicles. That’s why I purposely got rid of mine 1 ½ years ago. Lots think I’m crazy to live in the Los Angeles area without wheels. The truth is I do have wheels, and the motor are my two legs. I would rather ride my bike while running errands, or meeting friends. I know not everyone can do this, but I can and I choose to cut my impact on this world down any way I can. Guess that’s why public transportation in any city doesn’t scare me.

I arrive in Kyoto right on time. The plan is for another raw food teacher is going to meet me, I’ll check into my hotel, then hop another train south to the big

Sweetness in the train station!

city of Osaka to meet with students at Masako’s studio. I’m a bit bummed to finally get to the city I’ve heard so many good things about – then leave it again after 15 minutes… but I’m here to do a job and that job is very important to me. Raw foods is just getting started in Japan and there are lots of young women who are ready to go like gang busters in their country.

How cool - a juice bar in the train station too!

Masako speaks some English, but brought along a translator to make it easier on all of us.

During our train ride I mentioned that I hadn’t yet tried Soba for any of  my meals. I saw their eyes light up – they would introduce me. They took me to a typical Japanese lunch spot and we all ordered our Soba noodles hot (traditionally they should be eaten cold) but it was on the verge of raining and the in wind was blowing and damn it was chilly outside! I know I’m not supposed to be eating wheat.. but these are buckwheat noodles and one big bowl is not going to hurt, right? Yummy,

Hot Soba.. Yummy!

yummy, I did the happy dance in my chair.. I couldn’t help it, it tasted so good. A very light broth and lovely toppings.. one had fresh nori, one had green mountain vegetables, the other had tofu. I got to try all three. Now it is custom and actually expected to make a slurping sound when youeat

The Market

Soba. I know it sounds rude, like something your mom would slap you upside the head for doing, but it IS the way here in Japan… and its fun using all your suction to eat.

We hit the fresh market on the way to her studio and the first thing I noticed is how cheap the prices were. Masako told me it was because it was a neighborhood market and NOT in Tokyo. Plus, she’s lived here all her life and knows where to get the good deals.  We gobbled up Continue Reading »

Celebrating with Miyumi

Shizouka is one of those cities off the beaten tourist track, but I’m not here to sight see – although I did take an afternoon to go stare at Mt. Fuji (see my “Au Naturel” blog kirstengum.com). I’m here to teach a class for my student and friend Miyumi. Miyumi has a food studio called “Anne Duex”

Food Studio, Shizouka, Japan

where she regularly teaches raw and vegetarian cooking courses. It’s named after her nickname “Anne” which I refused to call her and her cute little pup named “Duex”. Talk about a great facility, this woman has really put some time, effort and money into her studio. A commercial kitchen with two big stainless steal working tables and a cute little reception area. She’s also planning on opening up her own raw food restaurant in Shizouka some time in the spring.

I felt like I was in heaven. Truly I wish I owned a facility like this to teach classes in every week, no

Fantastic Studio to teach in!

more lugging all my ingredients to random places.. just bring the students here – it’s awesome and I’m completely jealous and happy for her at the same time. Miyumi and I decided not to do a dessert course but a recipe quick and easy – and of course healthy. She had a potluck party planned after my demonstration. When we arrived she had two assistants there to help me get prepped… what? help? I’m in heaven!! Students started arriving early so they could prep their own creations for the party.

I taught them Continue Reading »