So, for those of you who don't know why I went to Italy, it was for some advanced training in Sat Nam Rasayan. For those of you who don't know what that is, which will be everyone except Aimee, you can look it up if you want.

Anyway, Sat Nam Rasayan is all about being aware of your surroundings and clearing out "resistances," so as you can imagine, all of the people in Italy were really amazing and successful and sensitive people. These people really knew how to manifest their dreams into reality, they were all very non-judgmental, down-to-earth, kind, and many of them were professional healers (massage therapists, yoga instructors, psychologists, doctors, etc.), but also many of them were scientists, lawyers, entrepreneurs, teachers, artists etc. The whole lot of people I met were incredibly successful with amazing stories though.

We all had a 3-5 course vegitarian dinner in the hotel's dining room every evening. There were about 200-250 people there, so there was lots of variability in the group we'd be sitting with every evening. Most of these people have been coming to this retreat for 15 years, since it started.

The first night, Barbara and I were sitting at this table and this young girl, about my age, and a middle-aged man were sitting next to us. He was from San Francisco, and she was from LA (the other one, in California). They were just hysterical with laughter. Everything he said, she would bust out laughing. Sat Nam Rasayan REALLY doesn't mix with drugs, but if it did, I would really think she was on some. (But you really can't do it if you're on drugs, so I know she wasn't.)

I asked this girl if they had just flown in that night. She said yes. I figured she must be really high from being jet-lagged.

To clarify, she was very giggly and giddy. But she wasn't that annoying "happy" - she was more of a contagious pleasant lightness, if that makes any sense. I don't mean she was "high" in the way of flying away either, she was very grounded and down to earth, but just happy and fun to be around. You don't meet many people like that today. So many people seem so self-absorbed angry and depressed that it's weird when you meet someone so content and fun without some kind of sick explanation for it, you know?

So I wrote it off to jet-lag.

But she was still like that the next day. And the next. And the next. And on and on. I love this girl! Barbara says she thinks it's because (her name's Jennifer) she started her own business, she eats really healthily, she's very successful, and all of these things just make her high on life.

Mind you, we were in Italy for 7 days. Jennifer's high remained constant. Even after a day of traveling from Assisi to Rome (where she had, by the way, rented a fantastic flat for a few days).

The business she started is a raw-food company. I wonder if part of her high energy is because her body is so happy (we are what we eat?)??? Every time her digestive system puts forth just a little bit of effort, it is rewarded with pure nourishment and goodness. And here was me, probably still struggling to digest black pudding and haggus from Scotland, not to mention the daily bottle of wine Barbara and I would indulge in in the little village down the hill from our hotel each evening after dinner!

So, being a scientist, I am going to do a little experiment.

After I finish off all of these Christmas and New Years leftovers my fabulous future in-laws have left in my refrigerator, I am going to try this raw food diet. I'm sure Jennifer will help me out with some recipes. She makes all kinds of wonderful concoctions like baba ganoush, and things that seem like they would have been processed but arent.

I figure I can do anything for a couple of weeks.

After I have eaten scabby boudin for breakfast (see Edinburgh entry), haggus (whatever the hell that is), cracklins, regular boudin, beef jerkey, alligator, raw fish, caviar, beef sushi, liver, foie gras, and all this other crazy ethnic stuff, how could it possibly seem "crazy" to graze on some celery and carrots for a couple of weeks? It's hardly disgusting. And it might even help me shed a few pounds to start to get ready to fit into a wedding dress, which wasn't part of my original plan, but certainly helps as motivation!

I've looked into a few recipes, and they look really delicious:

Avocado Berry Salad (Raw)


1 ripe avocado, cubed
3 cherry tomatoes, halved
6 strawberries, quartered
1 long carrot, julienned
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small head of lettuce of choice
5-6 tablespoon vegan vinaigrette dressing
vegan parmesan cheese (optional)
lemon juice
salt & pepper

Italian soup

This is a very simple but really tasty soup. You can add other flavours to it for lots of variation.

1 avocado, peeled and stoned
4 tomatoes
A handful of basil
1/4 of a cup of cold pressed olive oil

Blend all ingredients. If it's too thick add some freshly made tomato or cucumber juice.

Stuffed Mushrooms

1/3 C pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 C fresh cilantro, packed leaves, chopped
1/3 C fresh basil, packed leaves, chopped
1 T lemon juice
1 C tomato, chopped
2 T Braggs or to taste

Put all ingredients into a food processor, except the tomatoes, and pulse chop several times. Stop to scrape down the sides and repeat. Add the tomatoes and continue to pulse chop until just blended. Keep a texture to apesto, it should not be a puree. Remove stems from mushrooms and stuff the filling into the cap of the mushroom. Place on a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 105 degrees for 2-4 hours.

I feel so healthy just thinking about it! I'll let you know how it goes, and how long I can resist Wes' Chilli!!!!

animated gifs from Library of Congress photos

Kevin J Wier makes animated gifs using old photographs from the library of congress flickr account. ...