Making Life Delicious!

Archive for the ‘Personal history’ Category

For Father’s Day

fred

My Dad, My Hero: Fred Soria

Here is a list of Dadisms. Things he often told my sister and me.

 1.  Don’t be a hypocrite. Stand for your beliefs.

2.  The bigger mistake is that you didn’t learn from your first mistake.

3.  Always dress according to the occasion.

4.  Stay away from crooks and thieves.

5.  A nickel is a nickel.

6.  When someone knows better, they do better.

7.  Don’t loan money unless you are prepared to never see it again.

8.  Be kind to all animals.

9.  Always do the right thing without expecting a thank you because the thank you may never come.  What is more important is that you did the right thing.

10. Learn to cook. It is the most important skill.

11. Nothing can replace the truth.

12. There is nothing sweeter than the fruits from our own trees.

13. If you leave your spouse be sure it is for good reason.

14. You will see that I am right about this.

15. Credit cards are a trap.

16. Sewing and typing…they come in handy.

17. If I don’t have cash to pay for it then I don’t need it that badly.

18. Most bullies are full of hot air.

19. It’s always smart to buy a small, practical car that is good on gas and repairs.

20. True friendships endure all.

21. Education is freedom.

22. Respect people.

23. If you have time to do it over again, you have time to do it right the first time.

24. When your gas tank gets down to 1/4 of a tank, fill it up.

25. Bright colors are a luxury that even a poor man can afford.

26. The truth is always easier to remember.

27. Never leave home without a dime in your pocket for a phone call.

28. I raised you with a good foundation…now you are on your own.

29. Thanks for listening.

 

Fun at Au Lac and Yummy Culinary Class

au lacTraffic is something we just don’t have in Fort Bragg, so I wasn’t prepared for the congestion on the LA freeways!  But it is all worth it when we have the opportunity to meet great people like the ones at Au Lac in Fountain Valley on Friday night.  Many of them told us they have wanted to attendLiving Light for years and some decided tonight that they aren’t going to wait any longer — after all, money sometimes manifests out of nowhere for other things, why not for something as important and life altering as this!  After all, nothing is as important as our health!  And, if food doesn’t taste great, forget it — we would rather die than eat food we don’t like!  It isn’t enough for it to be healthy — it has to taste good.  Nothing like great tasting food to get people inspired!

It was also wonderful seeing Chef Ito again!  Ito graduated from Living Light 12 years ago and has become one the the best chefs in the world.  His restaurant is one of my favorites — you can really taste the LOVE.  Thanks, Chef Ito, for spreading the love and light one bite at a time!

Next stop is Yummy: Vegan Culinary Classes in Pasadena.

Yummy’s vegan culinary class on Saturday was a yummy experience for all concerned.  Dan and Iyumies had a great time showing attendees (some not even vegan, but curious) how to make Raw Food for Cooked Food Lovers — they were blown away!  Even the raw food enthusiasts in attendance said they had no idea raw foods could be so exciting and delicious.  I love big bold flavors and it comes through in my style of cuisine and the recipes in our book, Raw Food for Dummies, as well as what we teach at Living Light.   Lot’s of people said they want to attend the school, even if only for our weekend entree level classes, FUNdamentals of Raw Living Foods and Sharpen-Up Your Knife Skills.  Others said they were ready to do as our graduate Michael Miller told them he did — and start a new rewarding career as a teacher and chef.

big gracieThe next stop in our solar-powered RV (better known as Gracie) is La Jolla; then on to San Diego and back to LA before returning to the Bay Area.  Looking forward to meeting more great people interested in making healthy living delicious!

Check out ourtour schedule to see where you can meet us.

Raw Chef on the Road

refugioOur fifteen city tour of California has begun!  We spent Saturday night camping in our solar-powered RV, Gracie ( we travel in grace), at Refugio State Park, a beach park north of Santa Barbara.  I  used to visit this park with my family when I was a kid.  This has so many wonderful memories of childhood for me, since I was born and raised in Santa Barbara!  As we were driving in, the park attendant asked about our license plate, Raw Chef.  He wondered, as many people do, if it meant sushi.  We explained about raw foods and rangertold him we are on a 15-city California tour, educating people about the health benefits of raw food and how to make it easy and delicious.  He became very excited about it and bought a copy of our new book, Raw Food For Dummies!  The next morning, he told us that the whole family is reading the book, and they love it!  He said he thinks this could change everything for them!  It just shows that all of us can make a difference in people’s lives when we are least expecting it!
dan and cherieOur experience at Ninaya and Daniel’s house in Goleta (a few minutes north of Santa Barbara) on Sunday afternoon was delightful!  We spent the day with the local meetup group, friends and family, enjoying food together before Dan and I talked about Raw Food for Smart Busy People (fashioned after our newest book, Raw Food For Dummies), then I gave a class in flavor dynamics and flavor balancing and showed how to create big bold favors without depending on oil or sugar.  We answered questions about food, kitchen equipment, and lots of questions about Living Light classes. They were surprised to learn that we re the ONLY state licensed raw vegan  culinary school (and voted Best Raw Chef Training Program!) there is.
One of our graduates, Amy Bacheller, was there (so great to see her and her husband, Glen!).  She got up and encouraged everyone to attend the school, even if they have no interest in becoming a chef.  She told everyone to stay at the Living Light Inn and experience the love and support of the Living Light staff — it is an experience you will never regret or forget!  Thanks Amy!
We’ll stay in Santa Barbara for a couple more days before going to LA to share our years of experience (over 35 between Dan and I) with folks there!  Looking forward to meeting more people eager to thrive on a high raw diet of fresh ripe raw organic foods that are delicious and easy to prepare!  My only concern is where to park our 26-foot RV, Gracie, in LA, even though she isn’t that big (1 1/2 parking spaces).  Big cities are not very RV friendly and sleeping in them is prohibited. Well, we are doing good work for the planet, so I trust we will be supported on our journey and everything will work out!
Love,
Cherie and Dan

Avocado Love

I grew up surrounded by avocado trees.  There were seventy-five of them on our heavenly acre of orchard in Santa Barbara, California.  I’m told avocados were my first solid food – and believe me, it was love at first bite!  These friendly fat fruits are a mainstay of my diet and belong on the top shelf of any raw pantry.  In Dan’s and my new book, Raw Food for Dummies, I cover all sorts of information about avocados as well as some fabulous recipes, two of which are reproduced here.  Avocados have so many health benefits; the fact that they’re so delicious is almost a side note to why we should eat them.  But – like so much else on our beautiful planet – they make healthy living delicious!

The typical avocado is about 250 calories, 75% of which are fat calories.  But wait – almost all of an avocado’s fat is monounsaturated – the kind we need to process the other less desirable kinds.  In fact, avocados are proven to decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (helpful cholesterol).  Did you know avocados have more potassium than bananas do? And extracts of avocado are being researched as aiding in the reversal of hypertension and diabetes mellitus.  And a new study out of Japan suggests that avocados may have an antibacterial component.  Avocados are truly amazing.  Here is one of my favorite avocado recipes (also featured on page 128 of Raw Food for Dummies, along with easy to follow instructions on how to pit and peel them):Vitality Soup

Vitality Soup

Yield: 2 servings

1 cup orange juice

2 cups stemmed and chopped kale or other dark leafy greens

1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped

1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, basil, or dill weed

1 tablespoon light miso

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic, crushed (1 clove)

1⁄2 green onion, chopped

1⁄2 avocado, peeled and pitted

Filtered water as needed for desired consistency

1 Combine the orange juice, kale, cucumber, herbs, miso, lemon juice, garlic, and green onion. Blend the mixture until smooth.

2 Add the avocado and blend again — no more than 1 minute — until smooth.

The avocado originates in Mexico, the earliest reference to which dates around 10,000 BC.  The avocado tree also has a long history of cultivation in both Central and South America, with an avocado shaped urn found near the pre-Incan city of Chan Chan dating from 900 AD.  The domesticated avocado tree we know today is descended from these ancient roots and provides us with this irresistible treat.  Beside being a creamy, delicious alternative to dairy foods like sour cream and butter, not to mention making a wonderful base for chocolaty raw treats, the avocado is perhaps best know for its place in south of the border style cuisine.  One of my favorite avocado recipes of this sort is Avocado-Pineapple Salsa found in Raw Food for Dummies on page 198:

Avocado-Pineapple Salsa-7450Avocado-Pineapple Salsa

Yield: 3 servings

 1⁄2 cup diced pineapple

2 Roma tomatoes, finely diced

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes

1⁄2 cup peeled, seeded, and finely diced cucumber

1⁄4 cup packed chopped cilantro

1 green onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1⁄2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

1 1⁄2 teaspoons lime juice

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 Put all the ingredients into a bowl and stir to mix.

Avocados are so special to me.  My history with them is so close to my heart when I remember mycherie and fred childhood and my father’s avocado trees.  And I love all the ways I can incorporate them – my first food – into so many delicious raw dishes.  Avocados are so satisfying and such a sensual food.  They are truly one of the best, most comforting and healthy things we get to keep with us as we embark on our raw journey.  Enjoy!

Appreciating Each New Day

Some people start their day with meditation; others with prayer; some mumble and get out of bed grudgingly. I begin everyday with appreciation. There are so many things to be grateful for! Even if I am experiencing challenges in areas of my personal or business life, there are still things I can appreciate if I focus on the good things in my life. Since I started this daily practice, I find it much easier to tackle problems when they arise, as they are bound to do. The problems don’t seem as difficult if I have started my day focusing on things I am grateful for. It just kind of keeps things in perspective.Today I am expecially grateful for all the wonderful people I met at our FUNdamentals class yesterday, and for the appreciation they expressed to us for the work we are doing. I’m also grateful to Martine Lussier, Living Light Culinary Programs Manager, who is on tour with Dan and I.  She manages my demos and co-teaches FUNdamentals of Raw Living Foods with me when we are on the road. It’s a tremendous job and she is AMAZING, as the attendees of our class yesterday will attest!

I’m also grateful to our generous host, Agathe Mathieu, a Living Light graduate, and the owner of Tao Organics,Vancouver’s newest raw food restaurant. She closed her restaurant for a day to host the class and worked so hard to help make the event a raging success. Three other Living Light grads joined us, too: Jim Maurice, who is producing a first-ever raw food event in Salt Spring, called Raw on the Rawk;  Chantale Roy who teaches popular classes at a University in Vancouver, and Stephanie, who was so gracious and willing to help in any way she could.

I’m also extremely grateful to our Living Light team at home in Fort Bragg, for supporting us and taking care of business while we are away — making it possible for us to bring FUNdamentals of Raw Living Foods to the people of Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle, and Portland. Teamwork makes the dream work!

And, finally, I am grateful to the people who attended the class and made us feel SO appreciated. We came a long way to share this class and having people so grateful really validates our efforts. Most of them said they can’t wait to come to California to attend more classes at Living Light and to us, that says it all.

I wrote a book, which I have not yet published, that contains 365 little rhyming couplets that are affirmations of what I want to create in my life. One of those is something that is well embedded in the core of my being and is supported by my daily practice of appreciation:

I wake up early everyday, feeling GREAT in every way.

Next stop, Toronto!

The Spring of Life

Eight hundred and forty-five miles after leaving Fort Bragg, we made it to Vancouver, BC. What a trip it’s been! Wednesday it rained all day, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the incredible scenery and abundant natural beauty along the way. After all, abundant water is what makes it so beautiful here.

Seeing the beauty that results from so much water reminds me how important water is to our own health. I’m going to be speaking about Raw Foods for Health, Beauty and Longevity while I’m in Canada and one of the things that is very underrated in many studies on aging is the lack of adequate hydration. Very few people get enough water.

When food is cooked, the moisture in it evaporates, so we need to drink more water to make up for it. But instead of drinking pure fresh water, many people drink coffee, soft drinks and alcohol. And, by the time we are thirsty, we are dehydrated. This causes premature aging and is another good reason to eat whole fresh, high water content foods and drink juices!  We brought juice with us on the trip and drank lots of water so we had to visit a rest stop every couple of hours.

One rest stop had a 1,000 year-old Red Cedar tree that was hollowed out in a fire over 100 years ago and still stands, albeit held together by rebar.

 Another time we stopped to “rest” and hoola hooped 20120412-193351.jpgto add some fun and movement to the trip. Those who know me, know I love to play with the hoops! It brings out the kid in me!

We visited with one of our graduates, Becca Palm, who is hosting us for a talk and demo in her beautiful Seattle home when we return the first week of May. Then we’ll teach FUNdamentals of Raw Living Food that weekend, before going on to Portland to shower them with raw food love there.

When we arrived in Vancouver, we went to the home of our host, Agat Mathieu. She is one of our graduates and the owner of a new restaurant in North Vancouver, Tao Organics, where our FUN class will be held. Martine is staying in her adorable little cobb house with a labyrinth in front and a creek in back.

Dan and I are staying in an apartment nearby and we found out from the owner that  bears come up the creek into the old growth forest in back of Martine’s cabin, so she needs to make a bit of racket at night when she goes outside, because the bears are just waking up from their winter hibernation. Alrighty-then! I think Martine will be hanging out at our place a lot!

It’s not too late to register for one of the upcoming FUNdamentals of Raw Living Foods classes (Vancouver on Saturday, April 14  followed by Toronto, Seattle, Portland and finally back home in Fort Bragg). We’ll also be doing  a lot of talks along the way, as well as appearing at the Total Health Show in Toronto for talks and a special seminar. You can get more details about the tour at http://rawfoodchef.com/TOUR.html

How Raw Am I?

I get this question all the time: How raw am I? People comment that I appear to be the picture of health and they assume that means I eat only raw vegan foods. I do have a tremendous amount of energy, yet I am not 100% raw 100% of the time: I am mostly raw all the time.

I find when I eat a very high raw diet I sleep better, need less sleep, have more energy throughout out the day, experience more mental clarity and at age 65 (coming up May 31) I am still as active as ever. On the other hand, not all raw food is better than all cooked food. For example, steamed collard greens are more health producing than the best raw vegan cheesecake (don’t get me wrong, I eat cheesecake from time-to-time).

Even athletes, who need lots of calories and protein, are better off eating steamed quinoa than a bunch of nuts due to the high fat content of nuts. The problem with cooked foods is that they are very addictive – it’s easy to get sucked back into eating foods that are quick and easy. And, the more cooked food one eats, the less aware they are of how their body reacts to food; robbing it of energy, requiring more sleep, being forgetful, feeling bloated and experiencing other problems that one might normally blame on age. I have fallen into that trap, so I know. I find that the more cooked food I eat the more I want, even though it robs me of energy. Fortunately, I know how good raw food makes me feel and of course I am a gourmet raw food chef, so I make great tasting food! It’s pretty easy for me to make the choice to be raw. But food has to taste good. If it doesn’t, people won’t eat it. They would rather die that eat foods that they don’t like; so instead of learning how to make great raw food dishes, they reach for unhealthy choices. I want to continue to live a long healthy productive life, so I have to make choices that will take me there and a raw food diet seems to work for me. I can both nourish my body and nurture my spirit with raw food.

If you are interested in learning to make amazingly delicous raw vegan comfort foods that emcourage you to stay raw while you feast, lose weight, gain energy, and feel young longer, join us at Living Light International for chef training and nutritional classes for novices and professionals alike. Classes start as low as $365. What are you wating for? It’s never too late to get healthy and be happy!

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