A few weeks ago I made a last minute decision to come back to California to visit Philip and other friends. What can I say? I'm a costal sunshine girl at heart.
I've brought my health back up to the point where I can handle some traveling, while being mindful of the fact that I still require a good amount of sleep/rest, and need to stick with my new diet/NO cacao. And yes, for the most part I have stuck with my diet, but I admit I haven't been perfect. I've indulged in more sweet stuff that I should be having (but zero cacao, in fact I've been cacao FREE for 9 weeks now - you can't even imagine how many times I've been tempted), and I've enjoyed some wine (I'm not supposed to be consuming any alcohol).
As a "born again" meat eater (if you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about, read this post), I've discovered some cool things. While being on the road, I found it easy to get the foods I needed. It was a little bit of an adjustment from my days of traveling while being all raw vegan where I would grab fresh/dried fruit, veggies, nuts, and cacao. Did you know that at Whole Foods you can order fish or meat and have it grilled right there, free of charge?! I made use of this service a number of times, and then picked up a salad from the salad bar to go with my protein of choice. I've carried hard boiled eggs, celery, dulse, and coconut butter in the car/purse to snack on. It's been a fun experience eating things at restaurants that I haven't eaten in years - cooked vegetable dishes, meat, fish, and raw cheese.
I still eat a bit of plain organic yogurt every morning as a probiotic, and have been enjoying frosty berry shakes for breakfast. I blend: Organic Pastures fresh raw colostrum with frozen blueberries, strawberries, and/or cherries, and stevia. I looove the colostrum - it's highly nutritious and makes my smoothies super creamy!
Speaking of which, I've been asked where to find raw dairy in Canada. So much for free will. Unfortunately it's not legal to sell raw milk here. Instead, a person must get a "cow/goat share" which entitles them to consume the raw product. If you cannot pick it up, most places will ship it to you. It is, however, easy to find raw cheese here, and the organic goat yogurt I use is questionable (since it does NOT say "pasteurized" as most other dairy products do). I've emailed the company and am waiting to hear back. Here's a great list of resources for raw milk and other dairy products in Canada.
Upon arrival in LA, Philip and I stopped for a visit at my good friend, Debbie Young's house for a wonderful feast with her family. Deb is amazing! She picked up some grass fed bison, farm fresh eggs, and raw amish cheese from her co-op for me. She also made me some bone broth and jerky for me to enjoy during my stay. CLICK HERE to get her amazing bone broth recipe!
Philip and I picked up 2 durians and a case of young coconuts from the Asian market too. The next morning we tore into the durian outside in the sunshine.
Ripping into it with our bare hands - that's the way to do it!
One of the durians was a bit more watery that we wanted, so I used it as an opportunity to make a simple pudding. I blended durian with young coconut pulp, ice cubes, and fresh vanilla bean for a thick, slightly frosty pudding.
We topped it with a few blueberries, a few crushed nuts, and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce from Kind Kreme.
November 2 was Philip's birthday so a large group of us celebrated at Au Lac restaurant - funny enough, this is where I had my birthday in September. As always, Chef Ito pleases any palate. The company was fabulous too! I feasted on the humanese soup, a seaweed salad, and some California rolls. Couldn't leave without one of Ito's famous donut holes - so soft with a sweet gooey center, rolled in some mysterious white powder. Strangely this was the only raw restaurant I ate during my trip.
Puki and Debbie
A few days later we were on the road, heading to LA for a few days to visit our friends, Anthony and Alexandra, the creators of Blackbird Naturals. We brought along the second durian to feast on. It was Alexandra's first time trying, and she loved it!
The weather was stellar, and we got some quality time on the beach. We had so much fun biking from Venice to Santa Monica beach one sunny afternoon before ducking into Rawvolution for milkshakes (which were really bad, in my opinion - mine was blueberry and tasted like slightly sweetened almond milk blended with ice and a few berries. Philip had the chocolate one and didn't like it either).
Onwards and upwards! A few days later we were back on the road heading to the Santa Barbara area.
Hehe, isn't the seal cute?! I was so excited to get this great shot of him/her.
We were sure to hit up the shops and restaurants too! We found a really neat new cafe called Epic Bowl that serves frozen fruit blends, topped with fresh fruit, hemp granola, and a drizzle of honey.
Our next stop was at our friend Gina's house for a fermenting class. This is something I've been wanting to get more into, as fermented foods are incredibly healing. We learned how to culture coconut, veggies, salsa, even cacao! I'll be experimenting a lot once I get home.
We enjoyed a fun night out in LA with our friend Disa.
Back at Dhrumil and Lori's house, a Thai Spring Roll feast was prepared by Lori one afternoon. A DIY assembly line was full of rice paper wraps, noodles, carrot, sprouts, avocado, cilantro, basil, and mint, in addition to dipping sauces.
Ready to roll and eat!
Today Philip and I went on a 10 km hike at Santa Rosa Plateau. We loved being out in nature, under the sunshine. I'm soaking up as much sun as possible, since I'm heading home in a few days. All great adventures must come to an end.
I love this image Philip shot of the sun shining through the trees.
I think this photo sums up perfect how I'm feeling right now :)
I'm so grateful for a magical vacation. In a few days I will return home filled with great memories and inspiration...