Monday, January 19, 2009

Serendipitous Raw Encounters!!

It seems that as I travel down this raw path, I am having serendipitous encounters and experiences almost daily now. You know what a serendipitous encounter/experience is...those chance meetings or run-ins or even bits of information you hear that you label as a strange coincidence, timely information, or maybe even too good to be true. Yes, I have had them even before going raw, but it seems like the momentum is picking up and they are happening almost daily.

I think my visit to New York is when I really started to notice this. As you know by now, I am transitioning into a more raw diet. When I arrived at my friend Gemma's house, who I stayed with in New York, the first thing I saw on her desk was Natalia Rose's The Raw Food Detox Diet, which I had just finished reading a couple of weeks prior and I was already on one of her other books, Raw Food Life Force Energy. It turns out that Gemma's client (she is a personal chef) was beginning a raw food diet, and then she shows me her kitchen which was loaded with raw food goodies and fresh produce. It didn't stop there! She went on to tell me that she had signed up for a raw food (un)cooking class the following Sunday but didn't think she could make it and could I fill in for her! I was thrilled. Here I had been worried about how I was going to maintain my path towards raw in NYC, and then the raw red carpet had been laid in front of me.

While I was in NYC, I also quickly realized that the yoga studio my yoga teacher had recommended, Yoga To The People, was just a 5 minute walk from my friend Gemma's studio. What luck!! Then it hit me that my friend Mike from Give It To Me Raw (GI2MR) that I had been corresponding with via email had mentioned that he lived just minutes away from that studio. So imagine that- I had been emailing with this guy, we become friends, the NYC trip pretty much falls in my hands, and he happens to live in the same hood I was staying in. Now, when you meet someone new, especially someone you have only been corresponding with via email, you never really know how you are going to vibe in person. So when we agreed to meet for lunch, I was a bit nervous. Would he be an odd duck? Would I have anything to talk about to him besides raw food? Well, I should have had more faith in the Universe. Instantly, Mike and I clicked and he wound up being one of the warmest, intelligent, and just plain awesome people I have ever met. I had the good fortune of spending a good deal of time with him on my trip. And from him I learned not only where the best raw food in NYC is, but he also opened my mind to looking into CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture), getting my own piece of land in a community garden, and really taking my raw lifestyle to the next level. Not to mention that this guy knows his NYC history so I was flooded with amazing historical facts and deep appreciation for that amazing place. It also turns out that the second raw restaurant we visited, Quintessence, was the same place that the (un)cooking class would be.

That class lead me to another serendipitous encounter. As I was looking for the class' location and was asking for info at their retail store, I noticed a girl who looked strangely familiar. I had to approach her. I asked her if she was on Give It To Me Raw, she says yes. I ask her if her name was Amanda, she says yes. Turns out she was a girl I had been emailing on Give It To Me Raw over the last month. Another warm, beautiful individual.

After I left the lovely city of NYC, the raw love just kept flowing. So, remember how I mentioned that Mike got me interested into looking into CSA's and community gardens? Well, it turns out that my city's closest CSA produce pick up is at the Farmer's Market that is down the street from my house on Sundays. And within just days of coming home, I met a great guy named George who just got a patch of land in a community garden in Santa Monica. I know I will learn a lot from him as well. Then I get a message from Dhrumil (the master mind behind the two best raw sites out there...WHAT WHAT!!!) encouraging me to attend a raw food meetup in Orange County with Anthony, aka The Raw Model. I was kinda hesitant, meaning lazy, because it was like a 45 minute drive. But I went. Wow! So glad I did. What great people I met...Anthony, Debbie, Dawn, Disa, Lisa, Marie, Ingrid, and Mia just to name a few. And Anthony gave us a great tip on a great deal on green juice at the Santa Monica Co-op, which I have now become a groupie of. Not only that, but just a few days after the meetup, I ran into Marie at the Co-op, while only the day before that I had ran into Mia at Leaf in Sherman Oaks. I also coincidentally realized that Disa and I had been emailing on GI2MR before we met. Flowing, flowing, flowing...the Universe is just flowing with serendipitous events!

Then there was a serendipitous food event. Being part Italian, I was raised on quite a bit of Italian food. I had given up pasta long ago, with the occasional flirtation with brown rice pasta before heading into a raw lifestyle, but really missed some of the traditional foods I had grown up with. One of those foods is(forgive me, I do not know how to spell it so we are going phonetically here!) Scechata , a traditional Sicilian style pizza from Alessi's bakery in Tampa, Florida (you just learned where I grew up!) that we had at pretty much every wedding, birthday party, and holiday growing up. It's not your usual pizza. It its square, with a thick, almost paste like sauce, loaded with chunks of what looks like pieces of meatballs, and just a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese. So yum. Typically, this pizza is served at room temperature or even cold. I can remember devouring square after square of it as a child, my mouth tattooed with the a light red ring around my mouth. I haven't had this pizza pie in years and to be honest the opportunity has not really come up because I no longer live in Tampa; it ain't easy to get your hands on. But during my East Coast adventure last month, my mom brought some Alessi goodness to my sister's house. There it was, my beloved childhood memory. Of course, I did not have any- even though I had pizza in NYC, I really can't do the meat thing. However, it did make me a little nostalgic. Fast forward to last week when I was at the Co-op, doing my juice groupie thing, but also longing to make my own, raw tomato sauce. I decided to go with Sarma Melngailis' recipe. I went home with my sundried tomatoes, onion, garlic, etc and got busy. Once my food processor had done its thing, I took an apprehensive taste of my red swirl. Oh my goodness!! I knew this taste! It was almost the same exact flavor of my beloved Alessi Bakery tomato sauce. Suddenly, I was flooded with memories. I was five, I had a ridiculous cake with Chuck-E-Cheese or maybe it was Cinderella in front of me, and I was slopping down some Italian goodness. Too bad I was alone in my kitchen because it really was a special moment. Was this serendipitous? I sure felt it was. Of all the recipes I could have chosen or tried, I went with this one. And it was magical.

What do all these little events mean? The people, the encounters, the events...what is the Universe saying to me? In my opinion, it is the Universe's way of whispering, "Hey Anita. You are on a great path. I will support you. Look! Another amazing friend! Another beautiful day! What did you say you needed help with? What information did you need? What bad situation did you need to be pulled out of? What feeling were you hoping to have? There you go- get your manifestation on!" Any doubts I may have had about what I'm doing are gone. I know I'm on the path towards my own enlightenment. I have learned that food equals lifestyle and lifestyle means taking a serious look at all parts of your life. You are feeding more than your body; you are feeding your soul. Whatever you are trying to get answers to, stay open, let the Universe (or whatever you would like to call it) show you the way, and watch your thoughts- make them good ones! I know I will. I am approaching each day with a new child like curiosity-hmmm, what will be revealed to me today? What amazing person will I meet? Who's got something I need to hear? And when I need some comfort and some reminding on what it feels like to be childlike, I now know one little magical sauce (thanks, Sarma!) that will transport me to time when I ran like the wind, stained my clothes, and laughed relentlessly. Maybe not much has changed! :-)

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