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Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’

Loving the colorul life of Peru

I’m not sure how many of you realize but I now live in Cuzco, Peru for a couple months.  still have my community in Vilcabamba, Ecuador, don’t you worry.. but felt a calling to Cuzco as soon as I arrived in Ecuador, so I packed my Vitamix and dehydrator and hopped a bus!

Vegetarians Rock!

The food here has impressed me many times over. For one, there are at least a dozen vegetarian restaurants and because most cater to toursits, most have at least one or two vegetarian options. I consider it completely progressive for South America… and the food is good vegetarian, or at least the handful of restaurants I tried. It’s been tough for a foodie like me. On one hand I want to save money and create recipes at the hostel I’m staying at.. BUT I also need inspiration so going out for a meal is important in the

San Pedro Market, Cuzco

whole scheme of things. Right now I’m really focusing on sauces and experimenting with ingredients I’ve never even heard of – but suddenly fell in love with. One of the biggest eye openers is the herb huaycatay. It looks like a pot plant with pot leaves but has this

Lots of Corn in Peruvian Dishes

sweet, mellow perfumy taste distinct on its own. It’s safe to say I got the Sisho cursh. When I went to Japan two flavors stood out to me, shiso.. which is a green or purple herb, most closely related to mint but sooooo not. The other was Yuzu.. which is a citrus taste, somewhere between a lemon and a grapefruit… but super distinct. I almost tried to smuggle in fresh Yuzu back into the country.. until a friend promised to send me some dried – love it!!

Now I’m having a totally crush on huacatay. Today I made a dessert using it and past it around to the 6 Peruvians, or Cuscennas as they call them here in Cuzco, to try. The all loved the dessert. One

Creating raw dishes in Peru

thing I find here in Peru is that they do have spice, they do have flavor and combinations that are good and (more…)

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Cruising San Pedro Market, Cuzco, Peru

I must say that I’m not sure why I was called here to Cuzco, but these days when my intuition says something, I listen and follow as best I can. I  mean originally I was coming to Cuzco anyhow to

The Raw Crew for David Wolfe's Adventures in Peru

that I can help my friend Matt Samuelson out with raw food for a retreat of Americans coming to Peru over Thanksgiving. The retreat is David Wolfe’s Adventures. I’ve only met David once and it was very brief at the longevity conference in September/October of this year. We’ve got 30 people coming from all over the states. I’m psyched. First off, I get to hang with Matt who is a good friend of mine from raw food school. He was one of our instructors and we hit it off right away. This guy has a palate like no one else I know and can create extraordinary raw food at a moment’s notice. So that will be fun. It’s also fun for me to gain experience since I’ll be leading my own Raw Trips next year and holding weekend retreats all over the US.

So I actually chose my hostel (Apu-Wasi on the way up to Sacsayhuaman ruins) because it has a big kitchen in which to spend some time. To my dismay (more…)

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It’s been a whirlwind week in North Carolina but with amazing experiences and  outcomes. I met so many fabulous like-minded people as I drove the

Teaching an "Experience Raw" class in Cary, NC

state teaching raw food classes – it solidifies my belief that raw food will help us succeed on this planet. I know it sounds so big picture, but that is the way I have to think these days. With some very detrimental months and years approaching where – well life could go any which

Kirsten given Raw in North Carolina

way…. I have to keep the bigger soulful journey as priority number one!

I remember when Jan said she wanted me to come back from Ecuador and that we should tour, North Carolina came jumping to mind. It was my decision to spread the word here. North Carolina will always hold a special place in my heart. I lived in Charlotte for 3 very big years, which brought a lot of change. Big lessons, life lessons. It’s also the place where I first felt I had my community. It’s more of a feeling than an actual location.

I arrived in Charlotte in such style, I couldn’t have dreamed it up myself. Just so happens my really close goddess friend Lori lives in Washington DC and was traveling to Charlotte for the weekend with her family. So from New York City, I caught the Amtrak down to DC and spent a few days hanging out with my gal and her spicy little girl and extremely cool husband. I love those places where I can just melt into someone else’s life, be mommied and I have such great friends who help me balance and slow down, smell the roses, play with their kids, remember what really counts in this world. If you didn’t know it by now, I’m a huge fan of public transportation. Trains are so super smooth, convenient, roomy and quick. I remember being in Japan and riding the bullet train for the first time – wow, that is the way to go. Japan has really paid attention to their public transportation and it is paying off. We on the other hand, at least in the west, haven’t experienced the sheer bliss of

My Soul Sista Kelly and her son

rapid transportation where you can safely multi-task. Europe, wow they have it down too.

It was such a new experience for me traveling with a family on the go. At one time I think both Peter and Lori were on the phone, their daughter was in the back watching a movie on the computer and I had headphones in.  Sure isn’t like they used to do it, playing eye-spy along the road, the ABC game and other made-up time consumers. I was excited to spend time with them all. They are my family and they were taking me to my other family, depositing me at the door of Kelly and Bill and offspring ☺ And two of my favorite sisters were going to meet, kids running all around, a whirlwind of energy as I landed on Willow Oak drive. Lots of hugs and a big sigh – I was back, back to familiar. There’s a different feeling when you return to a place you used to live. I knew the street names and directions. It felt like  nothing had changed.. but everything had changed. It was my first introduction to the newest member of their family – he’s already 3 years old. I couldn’t believe I was meeting him for the first time. I had seen so many pictures of  him, the latest – when he decided he was going to ride his bike – and so he did.  I had the best time hanging with the kids, watching their sleepy rises  every morning, they’re reading time before bed but after bath and the various appointments and practices through the day.  It took know time to get into the swing of things. It’s vital to have friends that allow for you to be fully into it when you are present, but that are ok with weeks of no communication when you are gone. That’s what good friends do for seeking Sagittarius like myself! Then when the reading time was over, Kelly, Bill and I could congregate in the living room with a few cool brewskies and discuss what’s going on in the world and how our opinions have changed the older we get. It felt so familiar like old times, but truly in a new exciting way.

Charlotte was my home base for the raw food classes in North Carolina.. but I spent a good portion

Spreading the Raw Love in the South

of time driving the state. It’s nice for me to drive alone, good time to think. And since I haven’t owned a car for two years and don’t drive in Ecuador, it’s was kind of nice being at the wheel.

First a lovely class in Winston-Salem. Meghan and Noel of New Planet Yoga http://www.newplanetyoga.com/were so lovely. Their studio is very zen with hard wood floors, lots of light and warm colors. They are energetic and present and we could have talked the night away. The group got very active in class – which is how I like it. I truly think they all will follow through with incorporating some of the recipes. I receive one of my biggest compliments. One client called me the food whisperer! She said that she could feel my connection and energy with the food. One of the biggest parts of my class is the re-introduction to food and the wonderful ways to  use natural ingredients for raw creations.

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All Raw, All Good!

When I moved from New York a couple years ago, I felt like I was escaping the rat race, the concrete jungle felt like it – along with its loud noises – was beating me down. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely LOVE New York.. but you have to understand I’m an outdoorsy gal, who loves to be in nature. True Central Park gave an immediate outlet but you still could hear sirens and such. So my move to California was desperately needed for me to grow and learn more about self-care and my own health. That transformation happened and is still happening in California. Everyone always asks me which I like better NY or CA.. they are apple and

Super Savory and all raw

oranges to me – both beautiful and radiant in their own way.

Being raw and surviving raw is quite easy when you are living in the mecca of health in Santa Monica. Even the Whole foods has one aisle of raw, not to mention whatever pro-biotic drink you’d like. The Coop has “ready to go” raw meals and there are 5 raw restaurants within 5 miles of the beach. Yes, it’s the easy spot. New York however, I knew would be different. New York you can find thousands of tiny restaurants each serving up wonderful specialty items.. and they are all within walking distance. So to get residents of the big apple to stop for just  a second and think about what they are putting in their mouth, well, I knew it would be a challenge.. but you know me, challenge is my middle name!

Promoting Raw at Equinox, New York City

Annie, my wonderful friend who’s been helping get Raw Trips off the ground, had set up demos at Equinox gyms all over manhattan – from early morning until late at night,  I sat behind a table and urged love through smoothies, granola protein bars with goji berries and lovely kale chips. It was a case of human behavior. First the look, the swing wide in their path to the gym, enough to take a gander what was on the table. Then maybe a stop in or a “I’ll come back”. Most always come back. First off, humans in the US never turn down free food. I think everyone works sooo hard, that when they see something for free, whether they want it or not, they jump in as a present. I’m confident enough to know that once they get a taste, they’ll want more. And so it goes. Little by little, questions came, another taste, some more questions – yes – interest is there, especially when you start explaining how raw food gives you raw energy and will take your workouts over the edge! Gyms, I haven’t been in one for years – I’d rather ride bikes, run on the beach, go to yoga studio.. but in NYC I completely believe in them for a good solid workout. There’s way too much traffic and way too many people on the streets to get a good workout in sometimes. Not to mention, New York in August, hot an humid!
The biggest positive reaction came from the Equinox down in SoHo.. I mean they were yearning for information. I have to share this funny story with you. Soooo.. we had a table set up in the lobby… directly across from us was another free sampling of a new Vodka. We couldn’t be more opposites.. almost come to the lights side away from the dark side kind of thing. As soon as I got the table set up – it was swarmed. It did my heart good to look at see so many people at my table and the poor vodka guy was alone. To me, it was another sign from the universe that yes indeed, sharing knowledge about raw food, whole food, natural food in a natural state is part of  my journey. Oh yea, of course I took some yummy raw treats over to the vodka guy.. and he loved them!!!

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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 (more…)

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The finished product with my friend Sachiko

Christmas is not a big holiday here in Japan. I mean the country is primarily those who believe in Buddism & Shinto,  so although they love the decorations of a tree, snowflakes, reindeer and such, everyone works on Christmas day, just like any other day. The 23rd is big – the Emperor’s Birthday (although it’s not really) and then New Years Day is huge. I fully admit that I forgot it was xmas until about 11 in the morning when my class started. They wished me all a Merry Christmas

Class in Kamakura on Christmas Day

then laughed at my surprise. It happens to me when I travel. I usually always know the date – especially if it is a travel day.. but hardly ever know the day of the week. It really doesn’t matter in my world, I work when I need to work, any place, any time, anywhere. That’s the beauty of being a freelance tv person and a raw food chef. Both really allow me to schedule as I please. To me, it was a no brainer choosing to come to Japan instead of staying home for the holidays. That’s another thing about me, I’m not a really huge holiday person either. I think that stems from always having to work on the holidays. That’s what happens when you are a tv reporter and trying to work your way up the ladder. You move constantly – pretty much every two years which means you are the lacky at the bottom of the totem pole.

Kirsten making Autumn Spiced Carrot Cake

Class was held in a traditional style Japanese meeting room, complete with low tables, cushions on the floor and sliding paper doors between the rooms. It was gorgeous and it really got me into the swing of things. The sun was shining, it was cold and windy outside and warm and cozy inside. If you are a teacher, this is the perfect scenario all you have to do is woo them with  a great dish. I decided to make my Autumn Carrot Cake again since it was such a big hit at the party in Tokyo. I had about 16 students who were on the edges of their seat. (more…)

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Cranberry Orange Breezer

It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for, game time here in Tokyo. Today is my 6 hour raw food demonstration where I

The Team

get to wow eager young students with new recipes, tricks and technology. For the menu today, a lovely cherry, apple ginger spritzer using a nut milk bag instead of a juicer (juicer is optimum but not available), Sweet and Sour Spinach Cilantro Soup (recipe by Elaine Love) a Apple-Pomegranate Salad (altered for Japanese ingredients) a yummy Mushroom/Almond Stuffing with Cranberry Relish and Raw Chocolate Truffles. These are my take on Elaina Love’s creations – she’s great magical soul. That’s how any type of “cooking” is, you take the basic recipe and then add your spin or pizazz – this includes presentation, focus flavors, textures, ingredients.

It takes 4 of us to get all the ingredients and equipment to the restaurant, I don’t ever think I’ve done this much

Teaching how to make a zesty relish

prep.. even for a catering gig. Even the simplest of techniques for us in the states are brand new for Japan, so I’ve gone over my list numerous times trying to highlight all that will wow and empower. True there are many obstacles teaching in a foreign country, or should I say challenges – and I always love a challenge. It has made me realize how very lucky we are in the states to have access to some ingredients which make raw food much more gourmet. For instance, you’d think I could get Young Thai Coconuts

Answering Questions during class

here in Japan, since Thailand is merely a hop, skip and a jump, but from what I think I understand importing them is not allowed. I can’t expand more than that at the moment, but I intend to find out more. So any dessert recipe with coconut was completely out the window. I mean it makes no sense to teach a course if they don’t have access to the ingredients. There are also only a few with Vita-mixes, food processors and dehydrators – which allows you to take raw to a whole new level. Mostly it’s because – no joke – they cost more than triple the price here – another item on my list to check.

Students digging raw food!

There are many familiar faces in my audience, students who (more…)

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