It's a very exciting time of year for me, planting my garden and watching the magic that unfolds each week until the raw bounty is ripe and ready for consumption. I don't mind the physical toil at all; in fact I very much appreciate the digging, twisting, lifting, bending, stretching and all other movements that are the yoga of gardening. Gardening is some of the very best exercise one can get and the benefits are great, from both the yoga and the fresh home grown produce. It’s so satisfying to walk outside and pick food for your meal just minutes before eating. And that's food you’ve grown yourself, you and the universe that is.

I’ve found gardening to be so easy and very rewarding on so many levels. I would encourage everyone to get out and play in the dirt this spring and see how easy having a green your thumb really is.

This month in Vibrant Living I have an article, Traveling in the Raw, in which I share a few tips I’ve picked up over the years being raw on the road, and as usual Gretchen has come up with another great recipe. Enjoy!


"When our hearts are opened toward others, we naturally receive a sense of wholeness, and thus, physical, mental, and spiritual health follows."

~ Peter Ragnar


Here’s another new recipe from Gretchen.


“The specific disease doctrine is the grand refuge of weak, uncultured, unstable minds, such as now rule the medical profession. There are no specific diseases; there are specific disease conditions.”

~ Florence Nightingale


Traveling in the Raw

Following a raw food diet can be challenging for some and a breeze for others, but even those that take to the raw food diet like a duck to water can have trouble keeping on track when they travel. Having done a fair amount of traveling throughout my raw years and having just returned from a 3 day visit with my daughters up north I thought I’d share some tips with you today.

I’ve found that a little forethought goes a long way when planning a trip, which includes thinking about where you might get your next raw food meal. Before I leave on a trip I think about where I’ll purchase my food. When I’m at home I do most of my shopping at the farmer’s market, which I may not be able to do on the road. If I’m unfamiliar with the area I’m traveling to I go online and search for farmer’s markets in the area. Next I search for natural foods stores, and do a mapquest for directions from where I’ll be staying to the food market or farmer’s market. If I’m staying with friends I’ll ask them where I might get organic groceries, and I’ve even contacted my hotel to ask them for their ideas.

Usually things work out well; I find great sources for organic fruits and veggies and all is good. Of course sometimes there is no organic produce available so I just make do. I accept the fact and don’t let the thought of eating conventionally grown produce bother me again. Two years ago I spent five weeks in Australia and was not able to purchase organic produce where I was, but was fortunate enough to spend some time in the country where everyone grew organic food and people brought me fruits and veggies from their own organic gardens when they heard I was a raw vegan. Ah, those friendly Aussies. So if you let people know about your diet and what you’re looking for you just might be surprised.

Now some people eat a very simple diet and by just scoring the produce they’re happy. Five or six oranges, some chia seeds with bok choy and there’s breakfast. For others that’s a stretch, they prefer something more complex or gourmet shall we say. I have traveled with my Vitamix and whipped up green smoothies in the hotel room. It’s quite easy and not much different than doing it at home. Most hotels today will have a mini fridge in every room and if not you can sometimes request one.

Keeping food in the trunk of your car can be just as effective although not as convenient as the room fridge during cool weather. Storing heat sensitive produce in your host’s garage can really work well; the garage is typically cool and you won’t be taking over the refrigerator with copious amounts of your fresh produce. You also don’t have to worry about food contamination (last night’s tuna casserole spilling into your greens), or someone mistaking your breakfast for the communal fruit bowl.

A web search from the business center of the hotel or a quick scan of the yellow pages can reveal a local raw food restaurant or organic market if you’ve not already done this from home. Another trick Gretchen often implements is having friends or family pick up fruits like bananas and avocados ahead of time so they’re ripe when she arrives at her destination. Bringing along a spoon, a cloth serviette, several plastic bags, a fork and a good knife (if checking luggage) can make things much easier.

Taking some food with me helps to fill any voids in the food chain I may encounter. It’s a given that I’ll travel with some type of super green powder, some chia seeds, perhaps some soaked almonds, dates, and usually some fresh fruits and veggies. I may even take my next meal or two with me in my carry on or checked luggage. High water content produce is great when flying because dehydration is a very common occurrence during air travel. The more hydrated you are the less out of sorts you’ll feel during and after the flight.

Apples, oranges, celery, and cucumbers all travel well, and I’ve been known to take along romaine, bananas, and bok choy too, but the leafy greens won’t last too long in the luggage and out of the fridge. Even if you’ve packed food in your luggage and have a natural foods market picked out to shop at when you arrive , it’s a good idea to have some type of snack with you so you’re not tempted to go pizza hut on yourself at the airport during a time of low blood sugar when your flight is delayed.

Last week Gretchen and I flew up to Washington State to watch my daughters’ crew race and to spend a little time with them. I know the area fairly well and there’s a large Whole Foods Market between the airport and our hotel so we were able to pick up several days worth of food to go along with what we brought with us. Sunday afternoon we used the yellow pages to locate a very nice organic co-op closer to the hotel where we picked up great produce for the remainder of the trip.

Our hotel did have ripe apples and bananas, although not organic, in the complimentary breakfast area which Gretchen took advantage of as some of her bananas had not yet become fully ripe. When you travel sometimes you just have to make do with what you have and can find. The important thing to remember is that eating non-organic food for a few days or even weeks isn’t the end of the world.

Now if you’re taking a road trip that’s much easier to do. A cooler in the back seat, storing other produce you want to keep cool in covered boxes in the trunk, and your bananas in the rear window ripening while you wind down those country roads. You can bring much more with you and have the opportunity to plan out your food stops along the way. I really enjoy stopping at local farmers markets along my journeys to see what delectable treats they may have, and it seems like I’m always rewarded with a least one super find in taste and price.

My advice to you next time you decide to Travel in the Raw is to plan ahead, don’t sweat the small stuff, and enjoy yourself knowing that how things unfold is exactly how they should be. After all enjoying the journey is really what it’s all about.


“Although the brain constitutes only 2 percent of our body mass, it uses 20 percent of the oxygen,” says Istvan Molnar-Szakacs, Ph.D., of the Semel Institute’s Tennenbaum Center for the Biology of Creativity at UCLA

This means that your brain uses up around 1/5th of your total oxygen intake.


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Be Well and Wonderful, Hugh





The contents of my website and my newsletter are gleaned from my experiences and observations, meant only for educational purposes and not intended to replace medical advice, consultations, or treatment of any kind. I recommend you see your professional health care provider if you suspect you have an illness or disease of any kind. I'm not medically trained, and I would never suggest or imply that I know what is best for someone else's body or overall health, ultimately each of us is the only one who knows what's best for us.

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