Thursday, September 25, 2008

Do You Have Natural Zing?

One of the highlights during my time in Sedona was meeting Jeff Rose, CEO of Natural Zing. Upon meeting Jeff, I quite honestly had no real striking first impression at all. He's a very calm, quiet, gentle presence, but as the days of Raw Spirit Festival progressed, I found that my lack of first impression was quickly replaced with professional admiration and respect. I spent a good amount of time at the Natural Zing booth because my friends, Bunny Berry, Rawbin and Wendi Dee were Jeff's volunteers and helped to keep things running smoothly at the booth. Natural Zing quickly became known as the "information desk" of RSF...largely in part because of Bunny's infectious presence and her expert ability to connect people, places and things. All of us grew in our brotherly affection for Jeff and enjoyed hearing his personal journey to health and how he began NZ. Also we loved the stories he shared of his lovely wife, of Natural Zing, his young child and soon to be born baby on the way. After observing Jeff for 3 days, I found him to be a gentle giant.....a dynamic, innovative, soulful business & family man who genuinely walks the walk, much more than just talking the talk.

While at Raw Spirit Festival, I had the opportunity to meet and listen to lectures by some of the world's leading raw food pioneers, leaders and gurus. Many of them are highly respected and have contributed so much to this healing, deeply impactful lifestyle....but sadly, a few others left me feeling like I'd just been bamboozled by a smarmy sales pitch or even worse, completely disappointed by harshly cruel criticisms of others and over-inflated egos. Jeff isn't one of those raw food personalities that's drawn to the limelight, but I did watched him spend hour upon hour, talking with the public and giving away more products than any other vendor in attendance. People were deeply struck by his generosity and I heard many stories from loyal and satisfied customers from across the globe. I began to realize that Natural Zing is one of the raw food world's best kept least in my neck of the woods.

So what is Natural Zing? First and foremost, they're a company that's dedicated to feeding your mind, body and spirit. Two decades of research and consulting with numerous nutritionists and vegetarian specialists have gone into gathering the very best products to develop one's natural energy and health....your natural zing! Long time staff members have been 90 - 100% raw foodists for many years and they are committed to helping those who are just beginning to transition, or others who are more advanced in this healthful lifestyle path.

Within Natural Zing's online market, they specialize in selling organic, raw, vegetarian and vegan foods as well as related chef tools and personal care products. Their equipment includes juicers, kitchen equipment and a variety of other products that meet the needs of various lifestyle and dietary choices. The website also has an Education link that takes you to health, lifestyle, vegetarian, living and raw food knowledge. Their health related book section takes you to abundant health and alternative knowledge resources that are updated regularly.

I have added a link to the Natural Zing online store at the right of this blog so you can go browse for yourself. I just placed my first order today and am looking forward to getting my Natural Zing on!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way to the Raw Spirit Festival

(disclaimer....some of the names within this post have been changed to protect the innocent....I saw that on Dragnet and thought I should include it for this entry.)
Throughout this week I hope to share some of the stories from my experiences at the Raw Spirit Festival. There are so many tales from the vortex that it's hard to focus on where to start, however, one particular episode easily stands out as the most memorable in my overview of our long weekend.

About three weeks ago, I was exposed to the craziest YouTube video I had seen in a long time. One of the members of Raw Fu posted it in a forum on our online community and I had to show my whole family this crazy cat because I couldn't believe my eyes. Was this guy for real?......

Uh, yeah. So, fast forward three weeks. As my plane landed in Sedona, I receive a text message from Bunny Berry, one of my roomies, asking if I minded if we give her new found RSF friend, Marcheeba, a ride into Sedona from the airport. Bunny, Angela and I agreed that it would be good to help out a raw food sister in need, not to mention that carpooling is good for the environment, so sure, why not? Hop in, Marcheeba!

The next 8 hours proved to be very interesting. Apparently, Marcheeba took a liking to us Southern girls and seemed to take pleasure in educating us along the 2 hour drive into Sedona about the vortex energy in this region. Marcheeba explained that we should be on the alert because the spiritual nature of the area creates lots of openings in one's soul, allowing things to "bubble up and release." Marcheeba shared stories of her numerous mystic travels to Sedona and of the many synchronistic happenings of years past. There were tales of Chakras, past life regression, reiki, and a certain man named Nacom, with whom Marcheeba had experienced an intense, spontaneous, spiritual and tantric connection with in Sedona over 10 years ago, but hadn't seen since. She told us to get ready because once in Sedona.....things just happen. I found myself tightening my seat belt.

One of our first stops was the local health food store, New Frontiers. With the exception of the flagship Whole Foods store in Austin, I've never in my life seen such a glorious selection of organic, raw food goodies and provisions. We rambled around this store like euphoric ADHD children in a toy store until we suddenly realized that Marcheeba was missing. We knew we couldn't just leave her there because we had her luggage in our car. Nearly at our wits end, we finally rounded the last corner and there she was, speaking with a man that she promptly introduced to us as, Nacom. Oh Babaji, let the synchronicities begin.

One thing led to another, and I won't bore you with all of the details of our evening, which seemed to be an endless comedy of errors, but I must share our final encounter. A group decision was made to leave Bunny in our hotel room to upload pictures and video, while Angela & I trekked out into the dark, starry night to try to find the host home where Marcheeba would be staying. Navigation wasn't easy since neither Angela or I knew the terrain nor were we proficient night drivers. Eventually, through group effort, we found the address and pulled up outside Lawrence's impressive Sedona house. The following videos detail the rest of our encounter......

Be sure to stay tuned for more tales from Raw Spirit Festival 2008 in Sedona, Arizona.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Raw Spirit Festival - Day 3

Parting from the festival on Sunday around 1 pm was bittersweet, but we were able to capture some last minute magic with some beloved friends before returning to Phoenix to fly home. Ahem....what a beautiful, life altering weekend.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Raw Spirit Festival -Day Two

The amazing raw love fest experience continues.......

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Raw Spirit Festival - Day One

Here is a visual highlight from our Day One at Raw Spirit Festival....what a great day....what an amazing experience so far:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Welcome Baby Benjamin!

Many of my regular readers will remember when I ran the blog post with the heart warming story about my friends, Robin & Chuck, and their miraculous conception of their first baby. As you can see from the above slide show, we have a baby!! On September 8th, around 10:45 pm, Benjamin Charles Hicks was brought into this world. He is perfectly healthy and I don't recall having ever seen a more beautiful newborn infant in my life. At 41, Robin is a radiant and proud new mother and Chuck is busting his buttons! Although Chuck isn't completely finished with his tour of duty in Iraq, the Army was kind enough to allow him this leave for the birth and initial adjustment period. He'll be back home for good before the holiday season and this year there will be much for which to give thanks. Welcome to Baby Benjamin and congratulations to both of his wonderful parents!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sedona & Raw Compassion

As I write this blog post, I am in the middle of packing and prepping to travel to Sedona, Arizona for this year's Raw Spirit Festival. This will be my first time to attend this large, international healthy living, eco-sustainable, raw food event and celebration. My traveling companion, Angela, and I are so eager to experience the event we're heard so very much about. I imagine there will be more tie-dye and group hugs than you can shake a stick at, but...hey when in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? I don't actually own any tie-dye, but I am going out today to buy some fashionable (hopefully) walking/multi-terrain shoes for my outside in Sedona festival comfort.

I will be taking my laptop, flip video camera and digital camera so I can stay connected and hopefully blog the event as it unfolds. If you don't already subscribe to my YouTube page, head over that direction and click subscribe because that will be the first place my videos go. Many of my videos never make it to this blog, so this way you'll get the unedited, "raw" version of what goes on behind the scenes!

Not only will I be sharing a room in Sedona with Angela, but last week we found out about a last minute surprise guest roomie, the creator of the 100 Day Raw Challenge and Raw Fu, Bunny Berry! Believe me, wherever Bunny is, there are good times! Her sense of humor and splendid presence is a gift to everyone who comes in contact with her. Our hotel room will be insane, as three raw food techie nerds unite with all of our superfood snacks and audio/visual equipment. Hopefully we won't blow out the breakers out at the Comfort Inn.

Changing the subject, I had the pleasure of meeting with a member of our local raw food meetup group at Whole Foods yesterday. We did a store tour in hopes of getting new ideas for quick and easy raw food preparations. Melissa and I also discussed the challenges of staying raw and those feelings of guilt or defeat that come when we occasionally find ourselves backsliding into old, not so healthy, patterns of our previous life. Melissa shared that she's dealt w/a candy, cookies, soft drink moment while I admitted my latest stupor of finding my self leaving the Taco Bueno drive thru with a sack of Mexi-dip and chips. It happens, people. I think we'd be hard pressed to find more than a handful of raw food gurus who are able to stay 100% raw all the time. And for the record, that's not my ultimate goal anyway.

My sweet friend, Heidi Ohlander, just posted a terrific article called Fall In Love With Raw Food All Over Again. If you are struggling with your raw food experience, I highly recommend that you go read her positive and encouraging post. We are all in this journey towards rejuvenating our health together and it is a process. It IS NOT about perfection, it is about learning to balance our personal diets intelligently, consciously and passionately. What's right for one isn't going to be right for all. I hope we can have compassion and support for one another regardless of where we are in this process.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Clearing the Air

I just received the below comment on a blog I posted about my love of sprouting. As all of my regular readers are aware, I make a point to give credit where credit is due in every one of my blog posts when I have taken information from one of the many good & respected folks who I consider mentors and educators. In the above mentioned post, I inadvertently did not hyperlink to The Sproutman, Steve Meyerowitz, from whom I gathered a portion of his sprouting information. I have every one of Steve's books and consider him to be an admired authority on sprouting. I also took sprouting information from the sites of Jordan Rubin, Brian Clement of the Hippocrates Institute and Chet Day, all of whom I did manage a link to.

The below letter, that was just posted today in the comment section of the sprouting blog, says that it is a 3rd attempt to contact me. For the record, if I would have received an email or a comment, like I did today, I would have addressed this immediately by correcting my mistake of not including a link to The Sproutman. This is also the first time a comment was left for me, so I am taking the time to let you, my readers know that I officially give credit to Steve Meyerowitz for his wonderfully informative writings on sprouting, some of which I passed along to you in the a fore mentioned blog. I am no authority on sprouting, like the gentlemen I've listed, but I am quite passionate about the subject as a student.

I formally apologize to Mr. Meyerowitz for making such a blatant over site. It is unfortunate that this has become such a spectacle, but I will certainly be much more meticulous in future postings, checking and double checking, to make sure I have included the correct links to the information which I am passing along to my readers. Ass beating received.....taking it like a big girl.

"Dear Ms. Shelton,

This is our 3rd and final attempt to contact you regarding your plagiarized post dated August 21, "Let's Talk About". Plagiarism is when you copy someone else’s words, text, or content, in part or in whole, and then publish it as your own without obtaining the permission or endorsement of the original author. It is the same thing as theft or copyright infringement and professional writers or anyone that publishes their works with integrity take this violation very seriously.

I represent author and health advocate Steve Meyerowitz. His original 2005 content from which you copied into your blog post was published as your own not only without Mr. Meyerwitz’s permission, but also without the use of quotes or references to the original author. Ms. Shelton, we believe you are an intelligent and savvy woman who obviously is very active within the blogging community. You have had media and publishing relationships in the past, so we do not understand why you would participate in such an unethical practice. We do not believe that you do not understand what plagiarism or copyright infringement means.

We are respectfully once again asking this this content is removed immediately and provide your readers (since there are many comments to this posts) with an honest explanation. Again, plagiarism is theft. It is unacceptable and regrettably we have taken measures, such as notifying your readers and blog community, in an effort to prevent this from happening in the future. Please heed to our request and address this matter accordingly.

Tina Diamond
Representative, Sproutman Publications"

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Raw Fu Weekend in Hotlanta

Paula and I found ourselves in the air early this past Friday morning, flying en route to Atlanta - Georgia, for Bunny Berry's Day 30 Raw Fu Meetup. In the above slide show, you can enjoy a glimpse into the beautiful weekend we shared with friends. Meeting Bunny was surreal....a dream come true. She's exactly like I thought she'd be, only a little more spectacular, if that's possible. Rawbin, Blaq Berry, Jer, Joanna, Basil and all the others were uniquely captivating and charming in memorable and endearing ways. Dinner at R. Thomas in Atlanta was delightfully campy and the food was very healthy and delicious. The Raw Fu members who joined us were darling and I learned a lot of new things that evening. I tasted my first creamy, exotic Durian.....who knew that it would cause stinky pee just like asparagus? I am a believer in the power of community. My only regret....not getting to meet Chadd....but our day will come.

One thing that motivates and inspires me is that I will soon be leaving again, but this time for Sedona, where I'll be attending Raw Spirit Festival in just another week. Happily, I'll be united and reunited with some of my beautiful friends and many others who I can't wait to see once again. Stay tuned for details on this upcoming getaway as they begin to unfold.