Friday, November 19, 2010

Last Post...

This weekend (November 20) marks the tranformation of Humbaba World into Each Peach Cafe, and thus this blog will come to a close and the new blog will be born! Become a follower of Each Peach Cafe for recipes, class dates, events, education, and more! The new Each Peach Cafe website will be up soon as well, but in the meantime you can still view calendar dates, etc., on the Humbaba World website.

See you at Each Peach!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Events for the rest of 2010...

I can't believe how quickly this year is coming to a close, and how much there is still left to accomplish! We taught our last class of the year already, and won't hold any during the holiday season. We will definitely start right back up in January with a Level I & II, followed by a Just Desserts class in early February (before Valentine's Day).

That said, we do have some exciting events coming up before the curtain closes on 2010. Thursday, November 18th from 3pm-7pm, we will be giving out raw samples at Just Naturals' Girls Night Out event. This event will be held at their new location in Bedford. This night also features a complimentary makeover, chair massage, astrology reading, reiki, and wine tasting! In December we have another free raw demonstration at Amoskeag Chiropractic in Manchester, this time featuring delicious raw snacks like cauliflower popcorn and cheesy kale chips. We have another event planned at Amoskeag in January, dedicated entirely to the coconut!

As always, check our Humbaba World calendar for class and event dates and details. Except, wait a week because I'm in Germany right now and can't update it! I will certainly have all the dates and times added in once I'm back in the states. Pictured: my cute, efficient hotel room in Berlin.

I hope to see you soon, at an event this year or a class early in 2011!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ah for the Love of Cheesecake!

We held our Just Desserts class last night at Denise's house, and oh what a night! As I said, we've been experimenting with desserts lately, and this led us to change up our class menu a little: pineapple crumble cake, key lime tarts, chocolate ganache cake with raspberry sauce, and maple pecan cheesecake. As we explained to the class last night, Denise and I are VERY particular about taste and texture especially. So we were still doing a little experimenting with the crust last night to see if we could achieve the perfect texture. Pictured, Denise and I are inspecting the texture and smell of the crust... Yum, yum.


The Crust...
- 1 C walnuts
- 1 C pecans
- 2 T coconut sugar crystals
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 T maple syrup
- 1 t vanilla
Process nuts, sugar crystals, and salt in food processor to a fine meal. Add remaining ingredients, but do not over process; should be crumbly. Press into spring form pan (or ring molds).

The Filling...
- 3 C cashew flour
- 2 C cashew milk (unstrained)
- 1 C maple syrup
- 4 T lemon juice
- 2 T vanilla
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 C coconut oil, melted
Blend all ingredients except coconut oil until smooth. Add coconut oil and continue to blend until well combined. Pour filling on top of crust and chill for an hour in the freezer before serving.

Enjoy! Augusta

Friday, November 5, 2010

Alissa Cohen's Book Signing... and Other Things

It was fantastic to see Alissa last night, taking questions from the audience at her book signing in Brookline. Denise I sat front row (of course!), and brought Rachel along for the ride. We're all three very excited to dive into her new book "Raw Food for Everyone" as soon as possible to recreate our favorite recipes from Grezzo. Oh, like wild mushroom fettuccine, BLTA wraps, California maki rolls, avocado skins... And the coconut meringue! (Thank you Sam). Rachel just took our Level I class a couple of weeks ago, finished a 21-day cleanse, and she's ready to jump right into raw with both feet. Yesterday, Lori and I found a fantastic location for our smoothie bar/cafe... everyone please keep your fingers crossed for us! We will know where we're setting up shop by the end of this month. It'll take about a month to get everything set up, painted, etc., and then we should be opening early 2011. So exciting!

The night before (Wednesday), Denise hosted a pot luck at her house, and we did a little experimenting in the kitchen in preparation for our Desserts class tonight. Busy, busy! We are perfecting a new dessert recipe, Maple Pecan Cheesecake, which is now Denise's mom's absolute favorite. It truly is an amazing dessert. Our lucky students will be eating it tonight! I'll be making some snacks tomorrow to take with me to Germany for a week... Walnut pate, onion bread, raw granola, etc. Hopefully customs doesn't figure out that I'm carrying raw nuts and seeds into the country! I'm guessing they won't. But now, I'm off to Manchester for our Just Desserts class, with chocolate ganache cake and key lime tarts in tow...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Raw Apple Crumble with Caramel

Denise and I have a raw desserts class coming up, our favorite class to teach, and we always get a little extra creative in the kitchen before one of these classes. Because our desserts class falls just before the holidays (Nov 5), we thought it would be nice to add in a dessert or two that our students could bring to Thanksgiving dinner, or a holiday party.

I happened to pick up the new Everyday Raw Desserts book by Matthew Kenney in September (because I love his Everyday Raw book so much!), and decided it would be wonderful to experiment with his apple cobbler with almond crumble recipe. The result? Fantastic!

2 cups almonds, soaked and dehydrated
2 cups walnuts, soaked and dehydrated
6 T powdered sucanat or maple sugar (I used coconut crystals)
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/4 t ground cloves
1 t salt
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 cup date paste (1 C date, 1/2 C water, 1 t lemon juice, blended = 1 C paste)
1 T coconut oil, melted

5 medium apples, thinly sliced (mandolin)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 t lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
pinch salt

To make the crumble pulse the nuts, sweetnener, and spices until well combined but still chunky. Add remaining ingredients and process until crumbly.

For the filling, toss the sliced apples with remaining ingredients, and dehydrate for 1 hour until apples are semisoft.

Line a pan or dish with plastic wrap or parchment. Press 1/3 of the crumble on the bottom for the crust. Spread in the apple filling and top with remaining crumble.

Serve with caramel...

2 cups maple syrup (I only used 1 1/2, which was plenty)
1 cup macadamia nuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 t vanilla extract
1 t salt
1/2 t lemon juice

Blend all ingredients in a Vita-Mix until smooth.

I have one more recipe to try before our desserts class, and then Denise and I will decide which to add into the mix. More to come...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Brendan Brazier, Cleanse Meeting, and a Level I Class... What a Week!

It's been quite a week for me, with lots of high points amidst LOTS of work.

Monday night Denise and I attend the Brendan Brazier seminar in Manchester, NH, sponsored by A Market. Wow. I've been dying to meet Brendan ever since my friend (and smoothie partner in crime) Lori turned me on to his book "Thrive Diet" years ago. I've been such a fan, I've even shipped copies of his book overseas to friends and family. I use him as an example almost daily when talking about a raw, vegan lifestyle, and he truly is an inspiration. Can you tell I absolutely love him?

Brendan spoke about how it takes energy (from your body) to gain energy (from the food you eat), and how you want to spend the least to gain the most for a higher net gain. Most Americans are overfed, but undernourished, because of the food they eat!

He also explained the stress/hormone relationship. Stresses including work, environmental toxins, foods we eat, even exercise, cause the hormone cortisol to rise. Excessive cortisol levels prevent the delta phase of deep sleep. This causes adrenal fatigue (I am a sufferer!), and causes many to turn to stimulants such as coffee... Which causes more stress on the body. 40% of stress can be attributed to POOR NUTRITION!

So... Change your diet to a plant-based diet, which is easier for the body to assimilate (use) for a higher net gain. This lowers stress, which lowers cortisol. Eventually you are able to reach the delta level of sleep (2-6 weeks). You'll sleep more efficiently, and require less sleep yet have more energy. The idea is to introduce high net gain foods that are alkalizing (as opposed to acid-forming). Acid forming foods (meats, dairy, sugars, processed, cooked) causes your body to pull calcium from your bones to neutralize your blood. THIS is what causes osteoporosis. Acid forming foods also cause INFLAMMATION.

Introducing nutrient-dense, alkalizing foods such as maca (root from Peru full of nutrient-rich minerals from volcanic ash), and spirulina and chlorella (70% protein and alkalizing) into your diet will improve sleep quality and energy levels.

Remember: CHANGE is stress, even if it's positive change. Make the change to a new diet slowly, and preferably with the assistance of a holistic nurse practitioner (such as Val or Maureen at Londonderry Whole Health).

Tip for athletes: carbs BEFORE a workout, protein AFTER. Learn about Brendan's amazing products on his website

It was a true pleasure to meet Brendan, and I hope he is able to come to the grand opening of the coming soon smoothie bar and cafe Lori and I are working on opening.

Then Tuesday night I had my weekly cleanse meeting during my 21-day fall cleanse. I love cleansing with a group, because it makes it so much easier. Only one more week to go...

Saturday was the Level I class (from Alissa Cohen's certification program) that Denise and I teach. We had a fantastic group, who were very sympathetic to the fact that Denise and I couldn't eat most of what we were teaching all of them to prepare (because we're cleansing). It was such a fun day - we really enjoyed our time with this group (in the photo). Apparently they enjoyed our company too, because they're all coming to our Just Desserts class November 5th!

Definitely an action-packed week with lots of wonderful things to sustain me.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Raw Halloween Treats - Almond Butter Cups

Wednesday night Denise and I held our second raw living foods seminar at Amoskeag Chiropractic in Manchester... And this time we served up raw almond butter cups and coconut crisps, yum! Of course, Denise and I are cleansing, so we couldn't eat the almond butter cups. Boo.

In the seminar, we shared all of the wonderful benefits of eating raw, as well as the abundance of amazing nutrients in one of those raw almond butter cups such as... protein, calcium, folate, iron, B2, fiber (and that's just the almond butter!), antioxidants, magnesium, chromium, manganese, zinc, copper, vitamin C, omega-6 fatty acids (the cacao!)... Then we spoke at length about the MANY virtues of coconut oil. We couldn't cover all of the wonderful things about coconuts in this seminar, so we will have a separate seminar dedicated solely to the coconut.

There is one glaring myth about coconut oil, which I would like to dispel here. Coconut oil was wrongly given a bad reputation by the very producers of cooking oils, because tropical oils are expensive to produce in the United States. They wanted to switch the population over to cheap, easy to produce oils such as vegetable, canola, corn, etc. So, they started putting it out there that coconut oil is a saturated fat (which it is), and that it's therefore bad for you (which it's not). The truth is, coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs. MCTs are unique in that they are a form of saturated fat, but one which the body utilizes very differently. Their digestion is nearly effortless. Within moments of being consumed, MCTs are converted to energy by the liver instead of getting stored in the cells (like fat that does not contain MCTs). Because of these "direct burn" properties, coconut oil is THE oil of choice for maintaining a lean frame and optimal health. I can truly go on and on about this, but instead, I'll leave it for the next free seminar at Amoskeag all about the coconut.

We also spoke at length about fructose (sugar), because we used agave in the almond butter cup recipe. I will say this often, so don't expect it to change: sugar should be eaten in SMALL quantities and only on OCCASION. Definitely not every day. This is sugar in all it's forms - fructose, glucose, etc. Why, you might ask. Sugar is a drug that disrupts all sorts of delicate chemical balances within the human body, and is a direct cause of obesity in this country. Our daily fructose (sugar from plants) consumption should stay below 25 grams per day. That's the equivalent of 2 pears! That's it! Someone may think their eating really healthy having lots of fresh organic fruits every day, meanwhile they are consuming way too much sugar and spiking their insulin levels continuously. This is causing the mitochondria in their cells to starve, and therefore every cell in their body is screaming for them to 'eat more'. This is because although the cells are being fed, they are not being NUTRITIONALLY fed. Trust me, it's not the fat that's making Americans obese, it's the sugar.

What makes our raw almond butter cups a much better sweet treat than traditional peanut butter cups (aside from being organic, etc), is that the other ingredients are SO nutrient dense they slow the release of insulin into the blood and your cells can get some of the nutrients being made available to them. The recipe...

Mix together until smooth and creamy:
- 1C cacao powder
- 1C agave
- 1/2C melted coconut oil

Line an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with wax paper, and pour half of the chocolate sauce in. Spread evenly and set in the freezer.

Mix together in a food processor:
- 1 jar organic, raw almond butter
- 1/2 to 3/4C agave (to your taste)
- 1/2C melted coconut oil
- 1T Celtic or Himalayan salt (not table salt!)

Layer this on top of the now solid first layer of chocolate, and return to the freezer. Wait 20-30 minutes before layering on the last layer of chocolate using the remaining half of the chocolate sauce. Return to the freezer to become solid, preferably overnight.

Once completely solid, pop it out of the dish (the wax paper makes this super easy) onto a cutting board. Cut it into serving size pieces, and then store in the freezer for a (mostly) healthy snack!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Fresh Start...

Very exciting things in the works today... We purchased and took delivery on a commercial freezer, commercial fridge, and cash register for opening/re-opening of the Humbaba/Symbielle smoothies and tonics cafe. Whoa! They are currently being stored in Lori's barn until we find the right space for our cafe. Step one: check.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Longevity NOW Conference - Day 3

The final day, and it was packed with the best of the best. Daniel Vitalis started us off with water - it's history, it's properties, how amazing it is, what we've done to it, where not to get it, where TO get it ( He really drove it home for me that THIS WEEK I need to drive to Portsmouth, NH, to pick up glass bottles from the brewery, and then make my way to Exeter to fill them up. I recommend watching any interview with him you can find - on You Tube, wherever. Then find a spring near you and start bottling life!

We heard from Donna Gates, the author of "the Body Ecology Diet", which is a must-read for anyone battling candida (most of the American population!). I've always been a fan of fermented foods... But she really sold me on them. Essential to a healthy gut, and they take away your desire for SUGAR! She also spoke extensively on colon / small intestine cleansing... Which I will have to investigate more on my own. What I really loved about her session was how she described the intelligence of bacteria (micro flora). How they communicate with your gut, have the ability to silence "bad" genes such as diabetes, and are responsible for a significant percentage of your immunity. Can I get a "woot woot" shout out to good bacteria!

Donna also addressed Thyroid and Adrenals, which is a hot button for just about everyone (including me). Her breakdown of how to support healthy thyroid/adrenal function goes a little something like this: minerals, B vitamins, vitamin C, healthy proteins and fats (raw butter, ghee), vitamin D, iodine, zinc, selenium.

David Wolfe has been intensely researching hormones for the past year+, and he spent a significant amount of time educating us on hormones - the master switches of aging... If your hormones are abundant and balanced, you're protected! Hormone imbalance is responsible for obesity, depression, cancer, diabetes, aging, infertility, mood swings, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, heart disease... Wow. Causes of hormone imbalance include virus in the pancreas, toxic diet, poor fats and oils, mineral deficiency, pollution, low iodine, heavy metals, plastics, pesticides, soy, birth control pills, cholesterol medication. There are different strategies for helping different hormones, but some of the recurring things are good saturated fats and oils, MSM, folvic acid, nascent iodine, seaweeds, coconut products, a clean (raw) diet, enzymes (lipase), deer antler, I-3-C, maca, citrus peel, oatmeal, cruciferous veggies, tongkat ali, tribulus, superfood protein, far infrared sauna, goji, chlorella, marine phytoplankton, sea salt (pink Hawaiian), jing herbs, grounding, VITAMIN D, proper exercise.

The last one on that lengthy list, proper exercise, leads right into our time with Dr. Mercola (what a TREAT!). Dr. Mercola explained that telomeres, the caps at the end of all our DNA strands, are the most accurate biological clock there is - aging. As cells replicate, the telomere chain gets shorter each time. There are things that prematurely shorten telomeres, but the interesting thing is that our reproductive cells DO NOT AGE. They have a gene, telomerase, that repairs the damage during replication. In fact, all cells have this gene, but it is turned off and therefore aging occurs. The key is finding a way to turn on telomerase in all our other cells, and reverse aging. Whoa!

This hasn't been figured out yet, but there are things we can do to slow down telomere damage. Increase your production of human growth hormone (HGH) naturally through proper exercise and diet. Dr. Mercola explains that we've been on a cardio kick since the 70's (himself included), and he's learned through speaking with 6 of the top fitness experts in the world that cardio is not the way to go. Natural production of HGH decreases by 50% by the time we reach 30. Not because our bodies can't produce it, but because of the fitness changes we make between our early childhood and adulthood. The key to increasing your HGH production is oxygen debt, muscle burn, and not eating ANY FRUCTOSE for at least 2 hours following a workout. Mercola suggests following the Peak 8 philosophy of training: short burst / rest intervals in sets of 8. For example: sprint 8-10 seconds at 90-100% effort, then 90 seconds of rest. Repeat 7 times. Or: cycle 20-30 seconds at 70-90% effort, then 90 seconds of rest. Repeat 7 times. He says the elliptical machine can be just as effective. Always cool down afterwards. He also recommends mixing this routine up with yoga or Power Plate, Peter Egoscue stretching, strength training, core training, plyometrics... and MAYBE some cardio. You can check your HGH levels with a urine test. Should be 1000+ for men and women.

There are some VERY exciting things happening with the website, and I urge everyone to subscribe to the newsletter if you are not already. Dr. Mercola is doing some amazing things to make it possible and affordable (essentially free) for you to be your own best doctor...

Unfortunately, I had to leave the conference over an hour early to catch my flight home. However, I know my new friend Travis will hook me up with anything vital I may have missed. this concludes my 3-day longevity experience, but I'll leave you all with a little snack.

Frank Giglio's Curried Kelp Noodle Salad

- 1 package kelp noodles (soak with live oil, vinegar, and juice from 1 lime)
- red bell pepper julienned
- 1 large piece of ginger micro planed
- 2 carrots shredded
- 1 cucumber diced
- 1 daicon shredded
- 1 habanero diced
Stir together with the noodles along with curry spice and arame.
- 1 chopped green onion
- chopped cilantro
- dulse flakes

Add these on top and serve!

I made this for myself tonight for dinner... See photo. Enjoy!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Longevity Now Conference - Day 2

I almost can't believe it, but I think today was EVEN BETTER! We started off with a raw food demo by Raw Solla, from Iceland. She was energetic, funny, knowledgeable, fabulous! I truly hope I get to visit her shop in Iceland someday.

Then David Wolfe covered building super immunity, which I am very familiar with from his seminar I attended last spring at Kripalu.

Next was Truth Chalkins, who owns the tonic bar that's been feeding me all weekend... Most amazing seaweed soup ever, and I am not a fan of seaweed. He shared some wonderful wisdom with us, including; "If you can't believe it until you see it, it will never come." The perfect morning beverage... Eliminates candida:

Amino Acid Drink
- 8 oz water
- 1 to 2 tsp Arginine by NOW
- 1/8 tsp Citruline by NOW
- 1 scoop BCAA+G by MRM
- 1/2 tsp Lysine by NOW
- enzymes

And then... the one and only JOHN ROBBINS ("Diet for a New America"). What an amazing treat. He had so many wonderful things to say and share, and I got some truly fabulous one-liners out of our time with him.

"We are not separate. There is no 'other'."

"We could learn something from cats: to take care of our 'sh*t'."

"God says we have dominion over all things. What is dominion? Responsibility. Accountability."

"Let there be peace on earth, and let it being with me. Now give me that burger from a cow that lived and died in misery."

"Less pain. More love."

"I love my country, but I think we should start seeing other people."

I could go on and on, but the point is that I feel to lucky to have spent this time with him. He truly is a wonderful human being, and just a complete joy to be around. I think he's the only person I've met who actually carries around no hate. No matter what. A highlight to the day.

Another highlight, was a panel discussion with Dr. Mark Merriman, Dr. Joseph Mercola, and David Wolfe, deconstructing some of the biggest health myths such as...

- The sun causes skin cancer.
- Milk does a body good.
- Saturated fat causes heart disease.
- Low fat diets are healthy.
- Whole grains are good for everyone.
- Soy is a health food.
- Cardio is the best type of exercise.
- All plant-based supplements are just as good as animal-based ones.
- Vaccines are safe.
- Artificial sweeteners promote weight loss.
- Fluorinated water prevents cavities.

Fun stuff! But, I am once again one exhausted student of health... Lots more to look forward to tomorrow! Off to bed with me.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Longevity Now Conference - Day 1

Let's just get this out of the way... With the 3-hour time difference, I was WIDE AWAKE at 4am local time. It is now after 11pm. LONG DAY. However, supremely worth it!

There is SO much information we covered in this first day, I'll just hit on a few highlights. First we heard from David Wolfe, the man. For the first time ever, he talked about cancer... So appropriate since I just wrote about this in my prior post, and he confirmed quite a lot. Some take-aways:

- NO plastics EVER. Especially not to drink your water from. EVER. Elevates estrogen levels and increases risk of cancer by factor of 5.
- Cruciferous vegetables stop the build-up of bad estrogen.
- Outsmart cancer with O2/O3 therapy. "Flood Your Body With Oxygen", "Knockout: Curing Cancer" - books.
- Pancreatic enzymes - enzyme therapy (trypsin and chymotrypsin, the 2 master enzymes).
- Antioxidants from berries!
- Low sugar, low protein diet.
- Garlic, kale, nuts, seeds, seaweeds, low sugar fruits, root vegetables, grasses, super herbs, super foods, medicinal mushrooms, cruciferous vegetables.
- Vitamin D3 one of the best way to turn on cancer fighting hormones.
- Amino acid chains, peptides, in maca, bee pollen, spirulina, royal jelly.

We also learned about Chinese herbal formulation from George Lamoureux of Jing Herbs, EFT Tapping from Nick Ortner, and then how to make an incredible kelp noodle salad with Frank Giglio.

Kevin Gianni told us an amazing story about the Caro people in the Andes of Peru... No western diseases, live off of 400 varieties of sweet potatoes (and coca plant), and have life expectancy of 90+. Their secret?

- Glacier water
- Crops fertilized by alpaca
- Clean air
- Coca leaf (calcium, potassium)
- Protein in potatoes (these are NOT your average potatoes)
- Exercise (they hike MOUNTAINS)
- Connected to pachamama (earth)

Then we heard from Daniel Vitalis. OMG. Almost everything he talked about was a piece of the puzzle I already knew. But he put the puzzle together for us, and I actually cried. I was so overwhelmed with sadness for the direction the human race is headed in... I had to head straight to the Tonic Bar for a Jing Master smoothie after his session. Definitely far too much to get into in this blog, but so powerful. Let's put it this way: buy local, buy organic, know your farmer... And become a gatherer of wild foods. Avoid GMO at ALL COSTS.

Finally, we heard from Dr. Stephen Sinatra about getting grounded (earthing). This is so important, and so simple, I will do a special blog post just about this topic sometime in the next week. Basically, how to save ourselves from the destructive forces of modern living in one, easy, can be done for free, act.

This is all just the tip of the iceberg... I have so much information, I could go on forever! I have some AMAZING recipes to share with everyone also. We will get to all that... Eventually... But for now, I've got to get some shut-eye. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Cancer Answer

Last night I attended the "Trophoblastic Theory of Cancer" seminar with Denise and her mom Doris at Amoskeag Chiropractic in Manchester. Wow. Dr. Ed is knowledgeable, passionate, and inspiring.

This particular seminar explained a long-standing theory of cancer, why cancer rates have soared in the 20th and 21st centuries, and what to do about it. It comes down to healing from the inside out, not from the outside in (i.e. chemo and scalpels). Dr. Ed's wife, who used to be the Director of Oncology at Brigham and Williams, agrees there will never be a "cure" for cancer, precisely for this reason.

The basic theory: pancreatic proteolytic digestive enzymes are the body's main defense against cancer. This is believed to be true because a developing embryo is made up of the trophoblast (undifferentiated, invading, host-feeding cells) and the actual embryo... On day 57 of development the fetus begins producing digestive enzymes (7 months before they're needed), and this is the exact same day the trophoblast matures into an organ (the placenta). Remnant trophoblastic cells (stem cells), become the reservoir for new cell growth in every organ in our body throughout our entire life. If the embryo DOES NOT start producing digestive enzymes, and the trophoblast does not mature into a placenta, it becomes one of the most deadly cancers.

What does this mean? It means enzymes are responsible for the maturation of trophoblastic cells from the beginning to the end of our life. Without digestive enzymes, or enough digestive enzymes, trophoblastic cells in our organs that are meant to mature never do and become cancer.

There are 2 ways we (and all mammals) get digestive enzymes. 1) from our pancreas, and 2) from living foods that have their enzymes intact. The more processed foods we eat (without enzymes intact), the harder our pancreas has to work to produce digestive enzymes, and the pancreas becomes fatigued. To support the pancreas, and ensure the healthy maturation of trophoblastic cells, this suggests we are to eat nutrient rich foods high in enzymes throughout life.

Raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds; miso; avocado; pineapple; raw milk; etc.

Sources: John Beard's publication The Enzyme Therapy of Cancer (1911), Dr. Donald Kelley's book One Man Alone: An Investigation of Nutrition, Cancer, and William Donald Kelley (1960), and Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez's study Nutrition and Cancer (1999). Do you see the history here???

Unfortunately, our current medical model does not make money off the trophoblastic theory of cancer... So we continue to kill ourselves with processed foods, radiation and chemotherapy. Cut it out! And they do...

What a truly fabulous and enlightening seminar!

This was the perfect kick-off to my trip to California for David Wolfe's Longevity Now Conference this Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I was one of the first 100 people to check in to early registration this evening, which means I will receive $100 in fabulous goodies (can't wait!), and I got to walk the vendor hall... OMG!!! Daniel Vitalis is here, Aimee's Livin' Magic, Frankie, Barefoot Connections, etc., etc.

The days are long (8am to 9pm), but our presenters include David Wolfe, John Robbins, Daniel Vitalis, Frank Giglio, and many more... Including the one and only Dr. Mercola! I'll do my best to blog about my experiences each night as the conference unfolds.

Off to bed with my Barefoot Connections grounding pad...


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Raw Food for Everyone...

I pre-ordered my copy of Alissa Cohen's "Raw Food for Everyone" last night, and I am SO excited! October 28th can't come soon enough! Seriously, I feel like this book will do for raw food enthusiasts what Julia Child's book "the Art of French Cooking" did for the average American household... So, so exciting. I may even be inspired to pull a Julie Powell and create every single one of the 300 recipes in Alissa's new book. Sounds like a great winter project to me!

When Denise and I took Alissa's 4-day training a year and a half ago, we were lucky enough to be in one of the few classes that trained on the 4th day with the Head Chef at Grezzo in Boston, Leah. She is a genius. With Alissa the first 3 days of training, we learned everything you need to know about raw food preparation. With Leah we learned what you WANT to know, so that you can create gourmet, mouth-watering, yum, yum, yumminess! We are both supremely sad that Grezzo is no more, but feel beyond blessed that we happened to time our training just right to get the experience we did.

Gets me thinking... Perhaps we should start a "Raw Food for Everyone" dinner club. We can choose the menu for maybe 2 dinner parties a month. People can choose which recipes they feel comfortable taking on, and Denise and I can cover the more technical ones. Then we get together and graze! I like it. So, pre-order your own copy of Alissa Cohen's "Raw Food for Everyone" and start practicing!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Is Saturated Fat in Coconut Oil Bad for Your Heart?

I just spent a glorious weekend in Vermont with my partner and two friends of ours, enjoying the beautiful weather, amazing scenery, and tremendously fabulous food Vermont has to offer. Our friends are from NYC, which for the East Coast, is relatively health-conscious. During our weekend, I was asked about my copious use of coconut oil, because "isn't it a saturated fat which causes heart disease?" I argued my points as to how coconut oil does not apply to this science, but was rebuffed. The jury is still out as to whether coconut oil is good or bad.

Monday morning rolls around... I receive an email from our friends thanking us for the wonderful weekend, along with a link to the article Saturated Fat in Coconut Oil is Bad for Your Heart. this article claims that saturated fat is bad regardless of the source - even if that source is coconut oil. I love a healthy debate, especially one about health!

So... I immediately searched for "coconut oil" on What I love about Dr. Mercola is that he does not expect you to take him at his word... He always likes to back up his articles with plenty of outside studies and research from medical journals and the like. In his article on coconut oil, he dispels the myths surrounding coconut oil and explains where these myths come from.

Dr. Mercola maintains that coconut oil is the only oil that is "stable enough to resist heat-induced oxidation during cooking, while it also helps you promote heart health, maintain normal cholesterol levels, and even supports weight loss." I can attest to this last piece personally!

Of course there is controversy around anything that is actually good for you, because chances are it comes from the earth and large corporations (pharmaceuticals, food industry, etc) can't make a killing from it. Who do you think pays for the vast majority of medical "research"?

Aside from the health-promoting properties of coconut oil, I love it for many more reasons. For example: it is fabulous for removing glue goo (like from stickers and labels). Honestly, it is the most amazing stuff on the planet and I am never without some. Don't take my word for it... Like anything, do your own research and come to your own conclusions about what's best for your health.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Who Says You Can't Have a Happy AND Healthy Halloween?

We have a lot of exciting things coming up in October and November... Just in time for the BIG 3: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah. No need to fear (the holidays)... The answer is here!

Alissa Cohen's Living on Live Food Level I
October 23, 2010, 11am - 3pm
Manchester, NH

Alissa Cohen's Living on Live Food Level II
October 24, 2010, 9am - 5pm
Manchester, NH

Class details are listed on the Humbaba Calendar page, along with a link to email us about registering. Are your living food skills past the basics and ready for sprouting and dehydrating (but not interested in getting certified to teach)? No problem! We offer the sprouting and dehydrating portion of the Level II class separately at a significant discount.

More exciting news for October... We will be holding a Halloween Treats Seminar at Amoskeag Chiropractic in Manchester, NH. We will post the date as soon as we know it... it will be on a Wednesday starting at 6pm. This will be the perfect seminar for parents looking to give their kids delicious and healthy alternatives to the typical toxic Halloween fare. Although, parents may not want to SHARE with their kids, these treats are so delicious!

Think you may want to create desserts to bring to your holiday parties? I do this every year so that I know I'll have a delicious indulgence that's healthy for me too. For this reason, we'll bring back our oh-so-popular Just Desserts class in November. We plan a fabulously fun Friday night filled with decadent specialty drinks to accompany the most amazing raw desserts you've ever tasted!

Looking for one more feather in your living food cap? Add to your repertoire with a Holiday Sides Seminar. All the goodies like stuffing, cranberry relish, and mashed potatoes. If we get enough requests and can fit this one in, we'll DO IT! Let us know what classes/seminars are most exciting to you...

We hope to see you before the snow flies!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Are You the Same Nutritional Type as Angelina Jolie?

In comments reportedly made during a press briefing for her new movie SALT, Angelina Jolie discussed her experiences with a vegan diet. "I joke that a big juicy steak is my beauty secret," said Jolie. "But seriously, I love red meat. I was a vegan for a long time, and it nearly killed me. I found I was not getting enough nutrition."

I have been eating a mostly vegan diet for more than two years, mostly raw living foods (uncooked). I am conscientious about the foods I choose - mostly leafy green and vibrant vegetables, some fruits, raw nuts and seeds. On occasion I do indulge - if I really want that slice of pizza, I'll have it. But I have not eaten milk, eggs, or any meats (including fish) since making this lifestyle change.

The first 9 months of going vegan, I felt amazing. My energy was high, I was sublimely happy, and my physical body was in great shape too. Since then, I believe I've been on a very slow backward slide to low energy, some tendencies toward depression, and feeling out-of-shape. I think there are some improvements I could make to my vegan diet to truly optimize it, and there have been periods of not enough sleep, but I'm beginning to wonder if my body requires something else... gasp... meat?

I'm not certain I'm ready to make that leap, but perhaps I am ready to add in a poached egg (yolk is still raw) here and there and some raw milk (preferably sheep's milk). Of course antibiotic- and hormone-free, free range, etc. What I need to do is find a local farmer.

Before making any change like this, I like to do my research. First, I finally took Dr. Mercola's Nutritional Typing online test to see whether, according to his research, I fall into the protein group, carb group (veggies), or combination group (mostly veggies, occasional meats). Turns out, even with several of my responses being "vegetarian/vegan, does not apply", I truly fall into the combination group. Doesn't mean I'm going to go out and eat a steak today! However, after I complete my fall cleanse through Londonderry Whole Health Nurse Practitioners, I will talk with my nurse practitioner about possible changes to my diet based on this new information.

It is my experience that making any major change to diet can be even more dangerous than whatever diet you're living, unless you move slowly and with some professional guidance. Our bodies are great at adapting, but less so when you just flip a switch.

What I know to be true, 100% to my core: no one diet is best for everyone. There isn't a "one size fits all" when it comes to nutrition. This being said, I recommend everyone take Dr. Mercola's Nutritional Typing test (it's FREE!), and then conduct some further research from there. I also believe our bodies do not require one diet for the entirety of our life. Our bodies change. So I will continue to take the Nutritional Typing test at least a couple times a year, and I recommend others do as well.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Positive Attitude

A couple of weeks ago, on August 11, Denise and I had scheduled a free living foods demo at Amoskeag Chiropractic in Manchester, NH. I happened to be on an extended stay in Florida with my 93-year-old Nana, so that my Uncle could be out of town. I was very sad to miss our event, which Denise pulled off brilliantly all on her own, but I had the rare opportunity to sit with a wise woman, hear her stories, and gain some wisdom.

For the event, we had capped the attendance at 35... but an enthusiastic 50 showed up! Denise served them walnut pate, angel hair with marinara, and dessert tartlets. Dr. Ed, of Amoskeag Chiropractic, was so thrilled with the presentation, he wants all of his patients to attend a similar event in a few months. Hundreds. All will be welcome, and I'll be certain to post the event on our calendar. Needless to say, I was very sorry to have missed this event.

Meanwhile, in Florida, Nana and I were having grand conversations about her childhood in NY, married life and being a mother, joining the corporate world at ABC... She truly led an amazing life, and I can only imagine what she would have accomplished had the times been more liberated for women. She's endured many hardships as well, but I believe she rose above them so well, and continues to do so, because she has an unflagging positive attitude. Her attitude is truly marvelous.

Three years ago, when my sister and I visited her for her 90th, she had recently had a rough time of it with melanoma. She had also gone blind in one eye and deaf in one ear. At 90, many would feel sorry for themselves (rightly so!), or even give up. Not Nana. She saw every day as a blessing and treated it as such. When my sister and I were leaving for the airport (my sister for Istanbul and I for Boston), Nana walked us out to the car to say goodbye. In a combination of brutal honesty and humor she parted with this: "I don't know if we'll she each other again. If not, goodbye!" She has since attended my sister's wedding and received several visits from her granddaughters.

I know, without a doubt, despite all the hardships that come her way, she continues to live a happy and meaningful life because of her positive attitude toward life. She treats each day as if it might be her last, and accepts this as a gift. Something we can all benefit to learn from. Enjoy the day as if it was your last!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cool, refreshing relief from the HEAT...

It's been a HOT June, definitely hotter than we're used to before August. So I whipped up a cooling creation that's healthy and delicious. The best part? Most of the ingredients are stored in the freezer, so you can have them on hand to enjoy this smoothie any time.

Grape Crush
- 1 cup frozen red grapes (organic, seedless)
- 1/2 cup frozen pear (I cut them up and store them in a freezer bag)
- 1/2 cup frozen cucumber (I skin a cucumber, slice it, store in a freezer bag)
- 1 medjool date
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 cup coconut water (add a little more if needed)

Blend all ingredients in a Vita-Mix, using the plunger to help it along. This should turn into the consistency of a frozen slush... Thick enough to eat with a spoon. Need it a little sweeter? Add a spoonful of honey to the blender.

I served this at our last raw food pot-luck, and everyone LOVED it! Cooling, refreshing, very grape-y, and delicious. The best part? Not only is this smoothie delicious for summer, but it is super healthy too! Cucumbers are a natural diuretic, so if you feel like you're retaining water in this heat the cucumbers will help. Grapes are very anti-cancer. Pears are high in fiber. Dates also provide lots of fiber and are packed with fuel for high energy. Coconut water is the very best for re-hydrating.

Enjoy! And join us at our next smoothie seminar for more fabulous creations...


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sweat it OUT!

A funny little story... At the end of 7th grade, when we were all signing yearbooks, a cute 8th grader signed "you are a really sweat girl" to mine. Of course he meant "sweet", at least I HOPE he did... Although the "sweat" description would accurately describe me as of late.

In our living food classes, students are very interested in learning about how to cleanse and detox. Breathing and sweating are two of the most basic ways our bodies naturally do this, all on their own! Respiring and perspiring. I mention this, because Denise and I started a hot yoga challenge on June 1st - she's practicing Bikram yoga in Manchester, NH at Bikram Yoga Manchester, and I'm practicing hot core yoga (a Bikram inspired style) in Beverly Farms, MA at Yoga Passion. We are both 4 days in, and LOVING it!

Each day, as my breathing gets deeper, I can feel my body digging deeper into the toxins taking up residence there and expelling them all the way from my toes out my mouth. And the sweat? That's pretty sweet too. If you're looking for some detox in your life, some balance, we both highly recommend giving hot yoga a shot. Most studios have a special offer for newcomers - both these studios offer your first 10 consecutive days for only $20. $2 a session, if you go every day for 10 days, is a sweet (I mean SWEAT) deal! Namaste.

FYI, my Yogi's partner Grace also teaches raw food classes! I can't wait to meet her and talk raw. She has a 3-day class coming up June 18-20 in Beverly Farms, MA. For details, she can be reached at


Monday, May 17, 2010

Something about a window opening when a door closes...

It is a sad day when your favorite raw food restaurant closes, and I was very sad to learn that Alissa decided to close both Grezzo locations - Newburyport and Boston. Although, I am very happy for Alissa that she has decided to follow her true path: teaching. She's an amazing teacher! Read her blog post about this decision here.

The good news? 'There's good news?' you may ask. Yes! The good news for us raw foodies is that Lori opened Symbielle last week, a fabulous juice and smoothie bar! There are many wonderful menu items to choose from, but the BEST creations are the ones you come up with on the spot with Lori's guidance. She truly has something for everyone, including Richardson's Ice Cream for the non raw foodies to enjoy.

Lori has created a wonderful space to meet up, chill out, get healthy, or hang loose in at Symbielle. And she's supporting local agriculture to boot, by purchasing from local growers and local vendors, like Richardson's.

Symbielle is located at 227 Newbury St, Route 1 NB, Danvers, MA. There's plenty of parking, so bring your friends... ALL of your friends! While things get going, they'll be open until 4pm on week days, and 6pm on weekends. Come early, and come often! I'm sure you'll see me there...

Monday, May 3, 2010

The True Fountain of Youth... Water From the Source

I spent an amazing weekend with a wonderful group of people at Kripalu learning how to build super immunity from David Wolfe. I learned so many incredible, truly mind-blowing things, my brain is still humming. It will take some time for all of the information I absorbed to gel.

The last thing we all did together, before leaving Kripalu, was visit a spring in western MA, and drink from the "fountain of youth." Literally, the first bit of "news" I heard upon returning home was the massive run on bottled water because of the "catastrophic break in a pipe" cutting off the water supply from Weston, MA, to dozens of cities and towns north and west of Boston, including my town of Wakefield. The police and fire department have been out for days warning everyone not to drink the water being pumped into homes from alternate sources because none of it has been treated.

WOW. This proves to me once again how the Universe works in mysterious ways! How, you might ask? The moment I learn that the best water to drink on this earth is abundant and FREE, I mean that very moment, there is more reason than ever for me to seek that water out and start drinking it immediately!

The very first thing David taught us about how to build super immunity was to collect and drink water from naturally occurring springs. Not filtered water, not bottled water, not reverse osmosis water, not ionized water... But free, natural, aurous, spring water. Why? As David says "it's called the fountain of youth, not the faucet of youth."

There are plenty of videos and blog posts about why natural spring water is the best water on this earth for us to drink. What I'd like to pass along is Daniel Vitalis' website, where you can literally find a spring near you anywhere in the world! If there is ONE thing you do for yourself to build immunity, do this. Buy some brown glass bottles from a local brewing supply store or antique shop, fill them with water from the nearest natural spring, and cork them. No need to purchase fancy machinery. No need to hook up fancy equipment. Go straight to the source provided to all of us for free from this great earth. There is no better gift.

I will continue to share snippets from my incredible weekend every now and again in this blog. If you have any questions about finding safe spring water, please leave a comment.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunscreen: healthy or hazardous to your skin?

I am a fair-skinned individual, and for that reason overexposure to the sun has always been a concern of mine. In an effort to prevent skin cancer and wrinkles, I've always slathered on the high SPF (50 or higher) before going out into the sun, and have been a big fan of the frequent re-apply.

In the transformation I've been making over the past 4 years into a healthy lifestyle, skin care has been a rather large piece of what I've transformed. I use organic soaps and lotions, I filter my water, I skin brush... Organic sunscreen is one switch I have not been able to make. It seems no matter which brand of organic sunscreen I try, I still burn. And they are expensive! I finally decided I had to switch back to traditional sunscreen, and have stuck to Neutrogena.

Last week on there was an article recycled about the dangers of traditional sunscreens, and Neutrogena is right up there as one of the worst offenders. Dr. Mercola has an organic sunscreen product that he believes in, but I am super skeptical after all of the organic brands I've tried that failed me. What did stand out was one of the comments at the end that diet improves your skins natural SPF and therefore resistance to sun damage; specifically, eating fresh spinach. When I visited the link provided in this comment, here's what I learned...

The following thirteen nutrients are currently known to increase your skin's sun protection factor (SPF) level:

Co-enzyme Q10*
Omega 3 essential fatty acids*
Vitamin C*
Vitamin E*

The ten SPF enhancing nutrients with an asterisk (*) are all found in spinach. This makes spinach quite possibly the single most potent whole food nutrition source to reduce risk of ultra violet sun damage to skin and thus the risks of sunburn or various skin cancers.

I'm willing to experiment with this! I regularly include green smoothies in my diet now, but I can really beef up the spinach during the months where I'm likely to experience the most sun exposure. I'll include the organic sunscreen in my regimen again, and see how it goes. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, Friday, May 7th Denise and I are hosting our first Raw Food Pot Luck in Wakefield, MA from 6-8pm. Our special guest, Michelle, will be educating us on organic skin care, and I imagine will be the perfect person to ask about organic sunscreen. Everyone is welcome to come join us! Information is posted under Events on


Thursday, April 22, 2010

More Information About Agave...

We said we'd continue to get to the bottom of the "agave is as bad as HFCS" article, and sure enough, there is a wonderful article by Susan of Rawmazing which helps to clarify and dispel myths and misinformation.

She spoke with Stephen Richards, the founder of BetterBody Foods and Nutrition, asking him to respond to some of the points made in the Mercola article. Mercola's article is in quotations, followed by Stephen's responses in italics.

"In spite of manufacturer's claims, agave "nectar" is not made from the sap of the yucca or agave plant but from the starch of its pineapple-like root bulb. the root is comprised mainly of starch, similar to corn, and a complex carbohydrate called inulin, which is made up of fructose molecules. the process by which agave starch and inulin are converted into "nectar" is VERY similar to the process by which cornstarch is converted to HFCS1."
There is no starch in the agave plant. the agave plant contains fructans which are broken down into sugars by simply applying low heat. the process by which it is broken down is not even close.

"The agave starch is converted into fructose-rich syrup using genetically modified enzymes and a chemically intensive process involving caustic acids, clarifiers, and filtration chemicals."
Xagave is a USDA organic certified product and we have a GMO free certification. Thus the statement that chemicals, genetically modified enzymes and caustic acids are used is incorrect - with respect to Xagave. Again, I cannot speak for other brands.

The fructose content of Xagave is less than sugar (sucrose), about the same as honey, and less than HFCS. In addition, Xagave has less total sugars than the above mentioned sweeteners. Xagave has a glycemic index of 30 (date paste has a GI over 103), and contains inulin, (a prebiotic fiber, promoting the healthy function of your lower intestine that has also been shown to promote regularity, boost the immune system, increase calcium absorption and increase bone density).

Interestingly, onions also promote regularity, boost the immune system, increase calcium absorption and increase bone density... and also contain inulin. When I worked at Stoneyfield Farm Yogurt, I learned that they add inulin to their yogurt. Just a little aside!

I hope this information is helpful to you on your quest to know the truth about agave. Like anything we purchase to feed our bodies with, no two products are created equal... There are good tomatoes and toxic tomatoes, even though they are both called tomatoes. The same is true of agave.

To read Susan's full article on Rawmazing, click here: Agave: Hero or Villain. To learn more about Xagave, including independent lab tests, click here: Xagave.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Jamie Oliver: Teach Every Child About Food

I heard rumblings about this video, shocking things I could barely believe, and now I've come across it and finally seen for myself. Jamie Oliver is a chef who has found his mission: to fight obesity in America by educating children about food. Yes! He states his wish as this: "I wish for everyone to help create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity."

I got into a little discussion with the person who sent me this video - he loves the message, as I do, but we disagree on one point. He thinks it's harder than ever to get away from bad foods laden with salt and sugar. I think it's the same answer as it's always been to do so.

When I was growing up in the 80's, we had fast food and chain restaurants, we had ice cream stands and soda, we had poor nutritional school lunch programs... Everything that exists today. However, I grew up in a household that treated all of those foods as a once-in-a-great-while treat. We had ice cream for dessert once a week, on Fridays, during the summer (and we only had dessert once a week). We had soda only for birthdays, so for my sister and I that meant twice a year. Only my grandmother would take us to McDonalds, which was very infrequent. When we had pizza, it was homemade from scratch with whole wheat crust. We ate dinner together as a family almost every night, and we made our dinners together. We made our own school lunches, and didn't buy from the cafeteria.

The point is, the answer hasn't changed even if the food landscape has (adding sugar to elementary school milk cartons??? Yikes!). Families need to re-evaluate the way they treat food in the home, and how often they go out for prepared food instead of eating at home.

I absolutely applaud Jamie Oliver for embarking on this mission. It is very near to my own mission. I encourage everyone to watch the video... And pass it on.


Friday, April 2, 2010

30 Day Raw Challenge

With the weather in New England unseasonably sunny and warm, now is the perfect time to start the 30 Day Raw Challange! This is a wonderful way for those who have been thinking about eating 100% raw living food to jump in with both feet. Join the Event page for helpful tips, suggestions, Q&A, recipes, support, etc. If you're not ready for a 30 day commitment, or not ready for 100%, you can always modify the challenge to suit you. But Denise and I highly recommend going at this full steam ahead! You won't believe how amazing you feel at the end of the 30 days, and don't be surprised if your body craves staying raw...


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More thoughts on agave...

There is a new article on about the "evils" of agave - worse for you than HFCS! It's very easy to believe every word of this article, and start dumping any agave you may have down the drain. But what I'd like to know, before I jump on the "agave is the devil" bandwagon, is who paid for the studies that produced this new information? Was it paid for by the stevia people? Or the sugar people? Or some other competitor? I trust Dr. Mercola as a good source of information, but it is still important to check the original source of that information. And Mercola has been known to make a retraction or two in the past.

There is one tiny little paragraph buried in the article that caught my eye the second time I read it through: "It is worth mentioning that some websites mention that a natural raw agave product does exist in Mexico, made from the actual sap of the agave, but availability is limited because it is so expensive to produce. By far, the vast majority of agave syrups offered commercially are not this unprocessed raw agave from the sap." Nothing more is said about this, but it does mean that raw, unprocessed agave does exist somewhere in the world.

I personally don't purchase agave found in stores. I order mine from Ultimate Super Foods online, and they do sell a RAW agave. If you just compare the color and consistency of what I buy with what's found in stores, there is a profound difference. I will try contacting Ultimate Super Foods to learn whether the agave I've been purchasing from them is truly unprocessed raw agave or not, now that I'm armed with new information.

I truly believe it's a good practice to not immediately cry wolf without doing some investigating first. This is true about any incendiary information! And I also believe it's a good practice to limit ANY sweeteners in your diet, including raw honey. Stay tuned...


Sunday, March 28, 2010

All Raw, All Weekend

Wow. Denise and I were elbow-deep in raw all weekend... And I cannot think of a better way to celebrate turning 36! Friday night my beau treated me to Grezzo. His critique? "It didn't make me gag." HIGH praises coming from a very non-raw guy, trust me! I caught a glimpse of Alissa on her way out to a show with a friend, and of course Leah in the kitchen making her beautiful creations.

Denise and I taught Alissa Cohen's Living on Live Food Level I on Saturday, and we taught Level II on Sunday. My poor little 5-tray dehydrator didn't know WHAT to do with itself! It was awesome. When Denise emails me the photo, I'll post the gorgeous pizza we made in Level II. MMM.

We couldn't have asked for a better group of women to join us in this weekend adventure - it was truly amazing. As always, we learned just as much from them as they did from us, and we loved every second of it.

We are looking forward to our upcoming Free Green Smoothie Seminar April 29th, and our Next Level I & II Classes June 5th & 6th. We hope to see some familiar faces, and some new ones too!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Bathing in chocolate...

Here it is, my little mishap with the Vita-Mix (notice the chocolate in my hair). Hey, if you can't have fun in the kitchen, what's the point? And making a mess is ALWAYS fun. Just ask Denise about the splatters on the ceiling...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Just Desserts Night... Recipes

Our Just Desserts class last night, in Londonderry, NH (thank you Maureen!), was amazing fun as always. We had a fabulous group of women, and we ate, and ate, and ATE! Per usual, Denise and I prepared a couple of treats for the class that we do not teach during the class - one of which last night because it's in the experimental stages. Several requests were made for these recipes... Following is the latte recipe...

"Strength" Mocha Latte
- 1/2 C brewed burdock root tea (brew and strain)
- 1 C almond milk
- 1 to 2 t agave (or honey or maple syrup)
- 1/4 t vanilla
- 1/4 t shilajit (optional, but gives you calm energy)
- 1/2 t maca powder (gives it a malt flavor)
- 1 to 2 t cacao powder (or more if you like)

Blend ingredients together to incorporate and make them frothy. Serve chilled in the summer. Or warm in a Vita-Mix. If you make this the moment you brew the burdock root tea, it will be warm already. You can purchase the shilajit and agave at Ultimate Super Foods. I also reference other great places to purchase products online on the Humbaba World website.


Thursday, March 18, 2010


Just Desserts is right around the corner, and Denise and I are really looking forward to an evening of delicious, healthy desserts shared with a great group of people. It is definitely one of our favorite classes to teach.

Sadly, we had to discourage a couple of people from joining us this coming Friday night. Why? NUTS.

Raw food desserts are notorious for using nuts - nut flours, creams, ice creams - it's practically unavoidable. Well, why? Surely there has to be other ingredients we can use as substitutes. Coconut meat, of course, is one such ingredient... but truth be told, Denise and I have not cracked that one so-to-speak. Our next task is to get over the fear of opening coconuts. Silly, I know. It's not, for example, like having to get over the fear of public speaking!

Because of all this, we are working on creating nut-free alternatives to as many of the recipes we teach as possible. Nuts are a wonderful source of protein and good fats in the raw food world, but there are plenty of other sources of these such as sprouted quinoa and avocado.

We don't want to have to turn people away again because of a nut allergy, so keep your eyes open for a nut-free raw food class sometime this year... Including desserts!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring/Summer Classes Added!

This past Sunday Denise and I got together to "play" in the kitchen, in preparation for our next Just Desserts class. You wouldn't BELIEVE the craziness that ensued! We're talking chocolate splatters on the ceiling and my head covered in chocolate mousse... Not kidding. We even have the pictures to prove it, which I may post one day.

Needless to say, we had a tremendous amount of fun like we always do when we get to messing around with raw food creations. And we did actually accomplish some things in and amongst all the "play", such as setting more class dates:

April 29th - FREE Smoothie Seminar
June 5th - Level I Certification
June 6th - Level II Certification

Keep your eyes peeled for more summer events as we add them to the calendar... Do I hear "pot-luck" anyone??? And of course, if there are any classes you'd like us to offer that you don't see on the schedule, put in a request for it!


March Classes at Affordable Prices

I've noticed lately that several raw food classes are being offered on a sliding scale to accommodate everyone's wallet. For example, Rawbert's classes (of Organic Garden Cafe in Beverly, MA). Also Alissa Cohen recently offered her 4-day training this spring at a discount for the remaining open seats.

Denise and I understand what it feels like to really want to learn about how to prepare raw food, but just not being able to stomach paying the class fees to do so. It was a significant investment for us to take Alissa's 4-day training, and we almost didn't do it because of the financial hurdle. But, oh, was it worth it! Doing something wonderful for yourself always is.

We certainly don't want people to miss out on learning as much as they can about how to live and eat healthy in a sustainable way, so we decided to follow suit by offering our spring classes on a sliding scale as well... Just pay what you honestly can afford! This offer includes our Just Desserts class March 19th, and our Level I & II classes March 27th and 28th.

Now, if only Whole Foods would take on this philosophy...


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Myth of Agave as a "Healthy" Sugar Subtitute?

Oh boy. Just when you think you're doing the healthy thing... There's new evidence to the contrary! I know it can certainly feel like this sometimes, and with what I've recently learned about agave (the sweetener I use for EVERYTHING)... Well, let's just say I've been momentarily derailed.

What I belived about raw agave is that it was a healthy sugar substitute - better than sugar, artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, maple syrup, or even raw honey - and a low glycemic food. I was very careful only to buy raw (very, very light in color - unlike the brown syrups you typically see). However...

I very recently read a piece on that was educational, if not discouraging. In this article, it is explained that agave is mostly all fructose, not low calorie (same as table sugar), and may not have a low glycemic index. No clinical studies have been done on its safety for diabetics, so presently the claim that agave is a safe alternative is purely speculative. The less heat used to process the agave, the lower percentage of fructose - but still at least 50%. This makes agave an illogical choice if you're hoping to avoid the high levels of fructose in high fructose corn syrup.

Glucose in sugars are converted to blood glucose. Fructose is converted to fat and cholesterol by your liver. A danger is that fructose does not stimulate your insulin secretion, nor enhance leptin production, which is thought to be involved in appetite regulation. Therefore, dietary fructose can contribute to increased food intake and weight gain.

This information just goes to show, no matter your nutritional type, we should all try to remember that sugar is not good for us!

So, what to do? My personal plan is to experiment with stevia - a natural, sweet herb. It is much sweeter than sugar, so very little is needed. I asked Alissa Cohen her opinion on stevia vs agave, and she is using whole leaf stevia whenever possible - avoiding agave. You can grow it fresh in the summer, like any herb, or buy it dried at Mountain Rose Herbs.

- Eliminate all artificial sweeteners
- Avoid high fructose corn syrup
- Limit sugar
- Limit raw, organic agave (avoid all other forms of agave)
- Use raw, organic honey in moderation
- Use whole leaf stevia in moderation (but avoid stevia-based sweeteners like Truvia and PureVia)

As I experiment with stevia as a sweetener, I'll post ratios and comparison amounts to help all of us transition away from the liberal use of agave I know I was enjoying. And Denise and I will incorporate more stevia (or other sweet things like dates) into our class recipes.