Monday, August 24, 2015

What the #*@% are Humans Eating?!

Quick explanation:
We were in a grocery store. We were dumbfounded by all of the things called food that had hardly anything real in them! People are slowly beginning to make the connection between what goes into (and onto) their bodies and the state of their physical health and overall well being. Are you aware of what you're really consuming?

We were about to throw in the towel and leave when I spotted this packet of smoothie mix. The thing that made me laugh out loud was that it says to just add banana and blueberries. What??? Then what's in the packet? The ingredients were unpronounceable for the most part. Gross. At least it contains flax! The token real ingredient.

Read the labels. Read labels very closely. Natural flavors are NOT natural. And better yet...don't buy anything that has more than one ingredient. Whole, simple foods are what we thrive on! Enjoy this photo montage of chemical cocktails that your trusted family food store is selling to you... Those brands that many of us have come to love and trust.  I ended up in a fit of bewildered laughter and many people were walking past us wondering what was so funny. It's funny ...and extremely disturbing. 

This??? Who came up with this?

Yes. Chips that taste like food truck meat. How can this be possible? Why?

There were about 20 bottles on the shelf. ALL were pink. Lucky!!!!

Maybe rainbow candy will trick kids into eating this?

Get all of the artificial food dyes in one cheesecake!

If you want to have bulging eyes, add this stuff to your coffee. 

It must be healthy. It's gluten-free!

Wow. Ridiculously good Bags of Cash.  (Oh. And some potato chips too.)

Everything about this is so bizarre. Bacon already cooked in a box. (The display was sitting next to the bananas in the produce section.)

Bright green "pistachio" muffins. Anything green is good for us, right?

Orange cheese was too boring. Rainbow=better. Am I cringing?

Shampoo or drink mix?
Contains no milk? Huh? Lots of weird chemicals though. And protein!

Rainbow wall of "juices". Virtually no juice inside. Just sugar, flavors and colors. Bright colors.

This won the prize for hugest sack of snack. I was starting to get a little disoriented from holding all of these "food" bombs.

Then I was starting to really lose it here. Girl Scout cookie flavored coffee creamers. Why?! (Cameraman was laughing. Resulted in a bit of a blurry image.)

This put me over the edge. Full mind-blown scenarioOn this one they actually tell you what may happen if you keep eating these. Who names their food product that??? I was having a laugh-cry here. Oh boy.

Check out the new book "The Dorito Effect" by Mark Schatzker. It's full of fascinating and eye (and mouth) opening information about why packaged food and beverages (and chain restaurants!) are so addictive. We thought we knew all about this topic, but we learned a lot more from this book. It has taken our food shopping skills to the next level.

Ok. Here's one last image we captured that gives us hope!!!! Yay for avocados!!!! That town must have been having a guacamole fiesta!!! Yum.

Ps. There was also this: One grocery store we went to was offering a 10% grocery discount if you allowed their pharmacy to inject you with the flu vaccine. Sweet deal!... Or is it???

Consider cleaning your fridge and cupboards out. 
Eat real food. 
Skip the vaccines.
That is just my humble opinion. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Smiles for Miles

Reunion shenanigans. 

Tanner's family hosted a reunion last weekend (as they do every 2 years). This time it was at a campground in the foothills of the Rockies just outside of Calgary. We arrived in time to help set up and enjoy the sunny summer weather. My favorite thing about this reunion was that there was no cell phone service unless you hiked a few kilometers up a hill. This created a forced visiting scenario where people actually talked and laughed and got to know each other a little better (which is kind of the point of reunions!). 

Bath in the river at the reunion. 

We took hikes, had a group yoga class one morning, and bathed in the trickle-of-a-river a couple of times. Tanner and I were asked one question over and over and over again during the 4 days that we camped with the extended family tribe: "What are you doing next and where and when are you going to settle down?".  The first couple of times, I tried to formulate some sort of intelligent response and then when that still wasn't satisfactory for some folks, I decided to start responding with "I have no idea what's around the corner for us. Do any of us really know for sure? We don't know how much time we each have on earth, so we may as well live the life we dream of." That seemed to change the conversation back to politics or some other "normal" topic that was less unsettling for everyone. 

Some creative artwork someone in the family drew on the trunk. 

We ate a lot more than we normally do that weekend, and we were grateful that the organizers were kind enough to offer vegan options at all meals. We still indulged in some things that we normally don't, but regardless we had a lot of fun with aunts, uncles, siblings cousins and little nieces and nephews. We look forward to the next reunion in 2017. 

The day the reunion ended we began a week of mostly liquids to cleanse our digestive systems and bloodstreams of some of the excess stuff that we indulged in over that long weekend event. We have discovered how simple it is to consume liquids on the road. We enjoy lemon honey teas in the morning and many mornings we also have a dose of a warm cacao drink, which helps with the cleansing process. In the afternoons our favorite thing to have is coconut water. The stuff in containers isn't quite like what comes from a fresh coconut but some brands almost have it right. Yummy

Thrive Vegan Cafe 

We then returned to the West Coast and arrived on Whidbey Island, Washington to retrieve our stash of cacao and have a visit at the home of Tanner's aunt and uncle. They also own a vegan and mostly gluten-free and organic cafe called THRIVE on Whidbey in the village of Freeland. We were able to continue with mostly liquids there and enjoyed some fresh greens smoothies and hearty soups while we were visiting for two days. Tanner's mom had also just arrived there for a visit, so we had a mini reunion there. 

Just down the road from Thrive, there is a 72 acre park called the Earth Sanctuary. It has been created as a natural preserve with wetlands and forests and also as a space where one can meditate, walk a mandala or hold a sacred ceremony. We enjoyed it with Cori, Tanner's mom, one morning. We sang and drummed and played our singing bowl and enjoyed the birds and insects and nature's sounds and energy. I would love to return again, as we only had enough time to see part of this special place.

We ferried off of Whidbey back onto mainland Washington. A billboard caught our eye that had a picture of the iconic Uncle Sam and it read "Greece is broke. Are we next?" Interesting.  A while later, along the Oregon Trail highway we passed a group of protestors holding signs that read "More War Means More Debt" and "Honk for PEACE". Of course, we honked and waved some peace fingers. They smiled and waved. It felt like a a scene from the late 60's. At least that's what I imagined.

We arrived near Bend, Oregon at the home of a Couchsurfing host, who I will call Kelly. We had stayed with Kelly about two months ago just for one night and got along great. So we retuned for a second visit. When we had arrived there the first time, she informed us that she is epileptic. She told us what to do if a seizure were to happen and we shrugged, smiled and said no problem. We were all happy to see each other again this week. She and her little doggy welcomed us into their humble home in the forest with open arms and happy paws. We did a lot of catching up. Kelly has been trying out medical marijuana in a CBD paste form to help ease the epilepsy and lessen the seizures. She believes it has helped and continues with the Rx medications from her doctors as well. She is 29 years old, an only child, and has really been struggling to find the balance between relying on her family for support and spreading her wings into adulthood. 

The next morning Tanner and I were on day 6 of almost completely liquids. We had some lemon tea and a mug of cacao each. We piled into our car with Kelly and her pup and drove into the Cascade Mountains just to the west of Bend.  We proceeded to complete a 10 mile (17kms) hike together. Tanner and I decided to attempt a barefoot trek. I made it through the first 8 miles and then put my shoes on so that I could pick up the pace and return to the car before the sun set. Tanner went the whole 10 mile loop barefoot (which the guide book led us to believe would only be a 7 mile loop). At the end, our feet and legs were dirty and hobbit-like, but we both made it out without a blister or cut or scrape. It's amazing what we can achieve when we have our minds in the right place. Kelly was so proud that she completed the 10 miles, which was by far the longest she has ever done. Back in the car, we enjoyed coconut water and some watermelon scooped out by spoon. The little dog slept all the way home. It was quite an adventure for all of us.

Throughout our visits with Kelly, she reiterated how well she felt in mind, body and spirit having us around her. We shared our knowledge of healthier food shopping with her. We told her about how to avoid additives and chemicals that she suspected may trigger some of the seizures. She basked in the sounds of our singing bowl, drumming, and songs. Tanner's mom just passed on a Love Tuner to us the morning that we drove to Kelly's place. It's a small whistle that sounds like a single note on a harmonica. It's tuned to a C note at 528Hz, which creates a sense of love and peace. ( ) It is extremely soothing and the player receives the greatest benefit, as the vibrations carry throughout your head and body. We played it numerous times throughout the visit, several times in which Kelly felt the precursors for a seizure coming on. She was so happy and relieved when she felt like herself again! Before we departed, she told us how grateful she was that somehow our energy and intuition helped her to remain seizure-free. She later texted us and said she would like to have a Love Tuner of her own so that she can calm herself at all times. She knows that anxiety and stress increases the frequency of the seizures, so anything that is calming is helpful to her. She thanked us again and told us we were her spirit doctors. So beautiful!

We are seeking funding through Indiegogo to assist us in gifting items such as the Love Tuner, which has a price tag of about $60. We would like to continue to give freely without leaving ourselves penniless in the meantime. Please consider donating at the bottom of this blog post. Any amount will help to shift someone's life for the better.

As we drove away into the wildfire smoke in the badlands of eastern Oregon, we opened the sunroof and offered some Chiapas organic tobacco in gratitude for the experience and the people and the earth. We do this whenever we leave a place or take food from the earth. We often do it with our feet on the earth, but in a way, the tobacco is more spread out from the sunroof. We have learned this offering from several native friends throughout our travels. From what we have seen just this week, this American land can use some serious love and gratitude. 

Here is the link to the One World Wellness Indiegogo campaign...

Thursday, August 06, 2015

West Coast Waves to Alberta Prairies..and Back Again

Reflections of Mexico and Guatemala in West Vancouver, BC

Here's a little recap of the last two weeks. It's not really super creative or witty. But it IS what happened. Ready...Set...GO! :

We enjoyed an evening ferry ride and arrived in Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver. We headed to Tanner's aunt's home for a lovely visit. We also visited a cousin and his wife who are expecting a wee one soon. We then headed east and visited a couple of friends on their new organic farm in the interior farm land of Chase, British Columbia. What a stunning farm with a riverfront view! We enjoyed two river swims and picked our veggie supper from the pretty garden. They showed us the straw bale and cob house that is almost completed. So great to reconnect with awesome friends doing awesome things!

Inside peek at the straw bale "truth" window and some crafty cob moulding. Beautiful!

After that visit we met up with some more special friends in the mountains outside of Invermere, BC. They had their trailer parked and their two kids were bouncing on the trampoline. We pitched our tent and watched some amazing storms. We swam with the little ones and picked fruits and veggies at the community permaculture garden that they have helped to build over the last few summers. It's so wonderful watching kids be excited about growing and harvesting their own food.

We crossed through the Rockies into Alberta. We met a good friend for lunch and spent the night with our sister-in-law in Calgary. 

The next day we drove north of the city for one hour to the town of Olds. I spent 5 sweet years there from 2008-2013 and it was so much fun to catch up with our friends and their families! We camped out in a small camper for a whole week on the property of some of our favorite friends there, who we sometimes refer to as our long lost aunt and uncle. When we arrived at their place, the Love Farm, some of my favorite musicians were packing up after a house concert the night before. They unpacked their accordion and bass and a couple of fiddles and serenaded us before they drove away to their next show. So special. Thanks OQO (and Ed!). 

I spent many hours discussing the topic of Fair Trade products and standards with long lost Auntie Bev. She and I and a small group started up the Fair Trade Olds committee.  We began in 2008 and guided the Town of Olds to become the first Fair Trade Town in Alberta. It was a wonderful time and we learned so much. Bev is still going strong and continuing to spread the word about the importance of knowing who and where your luxury products are coming from. Coffee or tea drinker? Do you use sugar or indulge in chocolate? These are a few of the many products shipped to us from less-developed countries. These countries are often lacking enough fair labor laws and regulations. You can expand your world consciousness by asking for Fair Trade versions of these items and more. Read more about Fair Trade here.

In the trunk of our Jetta we brought along a large Rubbermaid tote full of mittens and sweaters and wintery items to consign at a very special women's clothing boutique. It is called reFind clothing & decor and it was a co-creation with my former partner, back in 2010. My eyes welled up as I entered that beautiful shop and saw that the floor plan had changed to expand the space. There were other tweaks that made it more lovely than ever.  I felt so proud of how she was evolving and growing up without me. Yippee!

One World Wellness hosted two cacao ceremonies in Olds. The first was a group of men and women. One friend brought along his singing bowls and a huge gong to add to the magic. It was pretty spectacular. During the ceremony an awesome thunderstorm watered the landscape. We ended the ceremony outside in the sunshine with singing and gonging. Beautiful. 

Funkiest spatula in our cacao yet!

The second ceremony was a women's circle at a local yoga center called Blissful Energy. And blissful it was. We were a circle of women of all ages. One woman traveled several hours to join us. We laughed, we cried and we collectively vibrated higher with the energy of the cacao medicine! We are looking forward to another ceremony there soon. Thank you special people!

I took a trip one evening with my sweet friend and she took me to meet a woman nearby who makes unique jewelry. I enjoyed chatting with them both and left with a few special handmade items with beautiful memories embedded. We then drove into the full moon rising and pink sun setting. We arrived at her friend's artistic retreat home. It was overflowing with gorgeous artwork. Mostly earthy, whimsical animal paintings. She also showed us her collections of other crafty things and insisted that we both take home a one-of-a-kind up-cycled bag. I chose one with rainbow ponies. Why not? I already know what it will get used for...someday soon. Stay tuned.

Roadside FREE sign. (Mirrored medicine cabinet included.) Note the forest in reflection. A little mixed multi-message from Mother Nature. 

On my last day in Olds, I treated myself to my first haircut in a year. I went to visit my sweet friend/ talented hairstylist. We had a great visit and I was so happy that she could fit me in. My hair is happy too. I had been trimming it myself for a whole year and it was time for professional intervention. Thanks Amy!

My last stop that evening was a women's book circle that a dear friend organized. The topic of discussion was something like "what would say if you could go back and tell your 20-something self about how to live life better?". I really enjoyed the variety of answers that the group shared. Things like telling yourself to have more fun, travel more, don't be so self-conscious, don't worry about what others think of you or your choices, take chances, laugh more, don't try to be so perfect, pursue your passions and be original. Wow. I can relate to most of those reflecting back on my 20's! Luckily, I have reevaluated my life in the first few years of my 30's. My 33rd year will be coming to an end in a month and I feel better than ever about my life choices. I feel like I can scratch out most of that list up there. Wee! Feels so good to be free of a lot of that self-limiting stuff. Try it for yourself. Once we let go of all of those fears, we open new doors that will lead us to new great experiences and adventures! We discover our gifts and wisdom and make leaps and climb mountains. This will inspire changes in our world as a whole. Like a domino effect, but in reverse. Imagine that!

The Love Mailbox that I passed a few times and then remembered to snap a shot. Love it.

In the words of Nahko Bear: "Be of service. Be a sensible person. Use your words and don't be nervous. You can do this, you've got purpose. FIND YOUR MEDICINE AND USE IT!" - from the song "Manifesto". He is my current favorite musician. Check him out. 

Ps. If you feel called to donate to our One World Wellness Indiegogo campaign, here it is. 
If not, we would really like to know why our readers aren't interested in supporting the positive change that is so needed right now. $10? That's two lattes. $20? You can't event get a date at the movies for that. $50? That's a nice supper out. Every bit helps to get us to our next stop where we are leaving a trail of higher consciousness every step of the way.

Please click here either way and watch out little trailer. Thank you! Xo