bamboo juice . . . *uh-oh, mistake!

How is it that I’ve never heard of, let alone tasted, bamboo juice before visiting Otovalo? It was by pure accident that I discovered a young woman hacking away at part of a bamboo tree as I passed her shop. I’ve always appreciated all that the bamboo tree gives us. So when I saw them outside adorning the entrance to a shop, I had to double back. A hearty-looking bamboo juicer was directly in front of the shop, and in the back was a counter made of . . . bamboo.


I had no idea what bamboo juice would taste like. So I prepared myself, and, surprise . . . it was DELICIOUS.

The young woman was so friendly. She laughed alot, tried hard to inderstand a gringo, and let me take as many photos as I wanted. As long as I’m in Otavalo, I’m a steady customer.

*uh-oh mistake . . . I’ve been told this is sugar cane and not bamboo. : (

joshua bell and an experiment

Rush hour in many major cities is an intense time. This story though is about so much more. Last year I experienced “rush hour” when waiting for someone at Grand Central Station. I was standing in front of a store window when suddenly many people raced by – a stampede is what it was. They began brushing up against me; I started to think I had become invisible. I was occupying a small space and moving a few inches back wasn’t a possibility. I won’t say anymore except that the insanity will stop when we fully understand the power of the present moment.

This remarkable story has been traveling around by way of email.

“A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the
violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for
about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was r…ush hour, it was
calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on
their way to work.

Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was
musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds,
and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman
threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him,
but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he
was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother
tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the
violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to
walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by
several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced
them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and
stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk
their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and
silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there
any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most
talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most
intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a
theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro
station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social
experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The
outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour:
Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize
the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

“If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best
musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many
other things are we missing?”

******* ******* ******* ******* ******* ******* *******
“It’s foolish how we rush through life and cry that time is on the wing. We’re living in eternity, and time is just a clockmade thing.” – R. McCann


bus stop boutique + etc.

Isn’t it a delight when you unexpectedly come across a shop that caters to your needs, one that doesn’t require an inordinate amount of time to find exactly what you want? That was the case when I happened upon BUS STOP + Etc. “Fancy That . . . Happy Accident!” What lured me into the shop was a piece of paper attached to the entrance door, sort of a lovely letter to anyone who’s thinking of entering. It was beckoning. Theirs was not a big selection, but better yet, they had the right selection of shoes, boots, stockings, along with a feel-good-atmosphere and friendly and helpful staff. I’m looking at a post card from BUS STOP that reads: “Travel to BUS STOP and it will be no accident. Our shop is chock-a-block full of eclectic shoe styles from all over the world! BUS STOP is a women’s and men’s shoe boutique on historic Fabric Row, owned by London-born Elena Brennan.”
750 South 4th Street, Philadelphia, Pa 19147

So there I sat with my two boxes of possibilities while nearby an older and interesting man was hobnobbing with the staff. Then the conversation rolled around to winter and colds (maybe because customers were trying on boots), and he said something like this, “Half a raw onion every day prevents colds.” And the conversation took off as someone else said, “Yes, my family eats raw onions in the winter, and garlic is very good, too.” Suddenly I was lost in my own reverie as I thought, how did I forget that bit of information, my father always ate lots of raw onions in the winter, etc.

Burger Heaven is a coffee shop in Manhattan, and the establishment was always very generous with portioning out raw onions, and for many years they had a service of providing in their vestibule a small table with a bowl of chopped parsley for customers to chew to get rid of raw onion breath. I haven’t been there in a while, hopefully there’s still a bowl of parsley. What a good idea.

So, before the day is done let’s not forget to buy a lot of delicious organic onions and garlic, and, oh yes, perhaps parsely, too.

Are you all enjoying the day?

The Master Cleanse Experience… aka Lemonade Diet

Well it has been sometime since I have blogged, before the birth of our second baby, Clover Alessandra. This topic, however, has to be blogged about. I started the Master Cleanse diet this past Monday, January 29th, 2008. It is a 10 day(min) fast where you only consume liquids consisting of a lemonade concoction and then do a herbal laxative tea in the morning and evening. I completed this fast once January 2007 with my mother-in-law, Fran. 

What drove me to even consider this craziness was that I was at my wits end with the lack of weightloss from having my first baby, Sebastian. I packed on a hefty 50 lbs with him and had 40 lbs to lose after the baby. I managed to wittle away at it but by the holidays (6months) later I was still 10 lbs heavier and at a plateau. I saw the footage on Oprah about Beyonce Knowles doing the fast to lose weight for her role in “DreamGirls” I thought to myself… I can do that! So when I saw the family at Christmas I mentioned it to Fran and low and behold, she had the actual orginal book The Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs.   I was shocked! Apparently she had the book and had always wanted to do the fast but never got around to it.  So it was ON! We decided to start and complete the fast together beginning the new year. 

It was a really tough first few days and I almost quit so many times. It was amazing the need to chew something was what I felt and I just felt like I had the flu. Apparently these are all detox symptoms. At the end of the fast I was a pleasant 12 lbs lighter and had so much energy and umpf that I was so happy I had completed the fast no matter how tough it had been.

This is why I am here again going through the same fast. This time I had more to lose since I started at a higher starting weight. I figure it will get me going down the right path and help me restart my system. Oddly though, this time the fast has not been as arduous. It has actually been quite easy.  I was prepared for the worst on day 2 and day 3 and that never came. I am currently on day 6 and toward the end of the day at that.  One side effect I am experiencing that I also had last time is the “coldies”. You just freaking feel cold all the time. I guess the lack of solid food and also it being winter time doesn’t help. Besides that everything else, including the cravings are manageable. Last time I was obsessed with watching the Food Network and looking at cookbook recipes. Weird even though I couldn’t eat anything just looking at it made me feel better and closer to food. I am planning to go to day 10, but have been contemplating continuing on for 4 more days to make it a full 2 weeks.

I have been looking at message boards which are really helpful during this time. It is always nice to know there are others going through what you are going through. With that being said, it is definitely easier to do this with someone than alone. Also I had the benefit of having this week off of work. So I will only be at work for 3 days if I complete the 10 day fast instead of the 14 day one. The worst days are also in the beginning.

So right now my sense of smell is like superhero sense of smell. I guess since I am not eating it has instensified my other senses. It’s really odd to smell everything so intensely but at the same time really great. I am also just starting to get the energy high that comes with this fast toward the end. I have also managed to mantain working out. I have gone twice now and plan to go and do a weightlifting class tomorrow.

One thing I did differently this time was I drank a lot more water in between my lemonade drinks. I think that really helped me feel so much better and I am glad I figured that out. Also having two little ones keeps me really busy and my mind off of the whole food thing. It is truly amazing how much time you have when you don’t mess with food. You have a lot of free time to read and do things you usually don’t have time for. For me though with the kids I am just spending more time with them.

So another hard thing is watching your loved ones eat in front of you. Michael has been eating pizza, chinese food, pasta, etc.  It’s tough but I just tell myself that I can’t do it and I am too close now to the end to stop this. I know once I am done I will feel like a million bucks just like last time. Also hopefully a good 15 lbs lighter. Currently I have lost 8 1/2 lbs as of this morning weigh in. It is really motivating to see that scale go down everyday! My plan after the fast is really stay away from all the bad foods and eat a more clean diet and continue my vigorous exercising… I am addicted to the working out part!

So to anyone that wants to try this diet… DO IT! Just commit and do it and I promise you will be truly amazed at how you feel and how you look! 

gabriel cousens and diabetes….

If you have diabetes, or know anyone who does, run to the nearest news stand and pick up the November/December issue of Spirituality&Health Magazine. Gabriel Cousens, M.D. and Helen Ross, M.D. “cured” people in a 30-day retreat using raw foods. They did this at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, Arizona, a place having an excellent reputation – a place and person (Gabriel Cousens) David Wolfe highly recommends. Page 58 of the magazine says “. . . results of this diet were stunning: . . . . ” and “It’s not just diabetes,” says Dr. Cousens, “Everything went back to normal.” People rediscovered their happiness. and This is not an isolated case. The article goes on to say that he has “supervised the reversal of diabetes in dozens of patients, . . . .”

If, through the years, I hadn’t read of Gabriel Cousens and his solid reputation, I’d hesitate to post this. I’ve great faith in the raw food lifestyle, and know from first-hand experience the power of raw foods. There are people who have distain for this way of eating, but it’s like everything else in life, we make choices and sometimes we are very satisfied with the choices and at other times they’re simply not for us. Listening to opinions without having first-hand experience, however, hardly gives us the taste of the experience. When we first begin to change the way it’s always been for us, it’s tough going. The thrill is looking back to where we once were and thinking how ridiculous we were not to have seen how the choices we made were bringing us down. That’s the thrill, along with all the amazing things that occur in the process of getting to a better place.

The above information on diabetes is part of an article by Matthew Kenney, titled, The Chef Who Perfected Un-Cooking How this superstar chef became a devotee of raw veggies. Matthew Kenney is the creator of more than a dozen restaurants around the country. . . ” He trained in Italian kitchens, and went to the French Culinary Institute. His restaurant company “collapsed” after 11 September 200l,” and it was during this time of picking up the pieces and concentrating on getting “my mind and body back into good condition,” that he was introduced to a raw food restaurant. And you know what happened after that.

angela stokes at bonobo’s restaurant

Want to learn more about the raw food movement? I thought so.

On Monday, 14 May, Accent on Wellness is presenting Angela Stokes at Bonobo’s Restaurant at 18 East 23rd Street @ Madison Avenue, Manhattan, from 7-9pm. Donation $5.00.

Angela Stokes is “a British author and raw lifestyle consultant who lost over 150 lbs with raw foods.” Anyone who has lost over 150 lbs eating only raw foods is a person in the know. Her website is

And should you want more information about raw food event listings in the NYC area, check out .

david wolfe and the raw food way of life

Once a month I get David Wolfe’s e-letters; they’re a reminder of the raw food way of life. The e-letters inspire because David Wolfe is the epitome of health and vitality in body, mind and spirit, and is dedicated to communicating to anyone who will listen the benefits of a raw food way of life. Don’t be alarmed, taste is very important.

The benefits derived from following this way of eating can’t be denied. Although there are those who deny it, but I wonder whether those who do have ever tried it. Every month when I read the e-letters, I think about what it would take to once again be a raw foodist. For one thing, it helps enormously to live in an area where foods for an uncooked lifestyle are readily available. David Wolfe said in his book, THE SUNFOOD DIET SUCCESS SYSTEM, that you “should move” if the raw food way of life is not possible where you live. That’s his level of belief.

From experience I know that the benefits far exceed anything you can ever imagine for yourself.  It’s good to remember though that the raw food way of life requires the right information.

Ah, yes, since I’m not completely living the uncooked life, I realize that to be on and off sounds a bit suspicious on my part, but having been on has resulted in being able (most of the time) to shun foods that cause havoc to the body and mind. And when the time is again right, slipping back into the raw food life will be easier. To have experienced it for a year gave me an understanding of what it’s about, and next time could be the right time. It requires dedication, and if you can handle that amount of dedication, it repays again and again. In the meantime, it’s something to thing about.

I remember when David Wolfe spoke at Caravan of Dreams. At that time, there was not much happening in Manhattan in the raw food movement. Since then things have changed big time. I think his passion, determination, and energy contributed greatly to the movement.

“It ain’t over til it’s over.” -Yogi Berra

david wolfe

I’d read in an eletter I’d gotten, perhaps 4 years ago, high praise for a book titled, The Sunfood Diet Success System. The next time I was in a bookstore I looked, but the book wasn’t there. I tried other stores. Couldn’t find it. Finally I went to the stores that were not considered mainstream, and there it was. I reluctantly picked it up. Reluctantly because it looked to me like information overload on a subject I wasn’t sure I wanted to know that much about. There were a lot of words in that book. However, the writer, David Wolfe, had put together a beautiful book.

It turned out that The Sunfood Diet Success System and I became fast friends. I read it from cover to cover a few times, highlighting the information I would need to become a “raw foodist.” I savored the words. They must have reached a part of me that was ready, because I felt, “Yes. I can do this. ” I was really excited. It wouldn’t be easy being in Manhattan and passing block after block of restaurants, bakeries, and take-out places having the most delicious foods. But . . .

David Wolfe came to town and gave a lecture. He taught us about coconuts and how to select the best ones. He opened a coconut and spooned out the milky white meat. It was similar to eating pudding. And the taste? Wonderful. He talked about many things; I was definitely hooked. At the time I was cooking for family, and knew no one would join me this time around in this particular endeavor. My main purpose was to have loads of energy and a clear head. And for one year I enjoyed every mouthful of my raw food meals.

Then there was a summer holiday and two couples came to visit. These four friends spend many weekends grilling steaks in their backyards. We had walked and walked in the East Village and were hungry. There we were in front of the Second Avenue Deli. We went in. It was merry and crowded and the smells came from everywhere. We sat comfortably at a big table- enough for lots of food- and began glancing at the many menu selections. And I noticed the very familiar pastrami on rye. The discussion was leaning towards sandwiches. And everyone knows that sandwiches in a Jewish deli at the right time is a taste worth persuing.

So, I didn’t blink an eye when the waitress pointed pen and paper my way and said, “And you?” It didn’t take but a few seconds to say, “Me. Well, I’ll have a pastrami on rye and a cup of coffee, please.” And my friends looked in my direction and smiled. That’s all they did was smile. Were they thinking, “Thank God. Now we don’t have to sneak out for a pizza anymore.” Or maybe they were thinking about the chocolate chip cookies that used to be in containers in my freezer.

Indeed. It was that way. You try things and sometimes they become a permanent part of your life. Sometimes they don’t. In both instances, you never do things in quite the same way ever again.