Our first stop was only a short drive away to our friends' Ulla and Mike's place just outside of Nelson, British Columbia. I've already introduced you to them in this post, but in a nutshell, we met via common friends, Mosaica and Pontifex, who did some wwoofing for them last year. Ulla is a Colon Hydrotherapist and together we facilitated a three day Raw Radiance Retreat in September. Every time we stopped by to visit them the hours would just fly by, so we were all looking forward to this opportunity to spend more time together and further explore our many common interests.
Pulling our home behind us has many advantages (it's such a luxury to be able to have our own space with minimal effort - no endless sessions of packing and unpacking) but it also has its share of challenges. For instance we can't just stop whenever we want to as the truck and fifth wheel combined measure about 45 feet. It also makes turning on streets tricky and turning around down right intimidating. Not knowing whether we'd have enough room at the end of Mike and Ulla's street, we decided not to take any chances and reversed up all the way from the main road to their driveway. Don then had to back up about 1/4 mile along the latter to the house. It's a learning process for him - it's so counter intuitive as you have to turn the wheels in the opposite direction than you want to go - but as they say 'practice makes perfect'.
Our RawVee nicely tucked away close to the apple trees.
We were blessed with a few gorgeous sunny Autumn days before a long rainy spell began in earnest. The view from the road above their home was stunning with the season's rich yellow and orange hues.
I shared several photos of their beautiful property here. To my surprise (and delight!) it was still yielding some veggies and fruits in spite of the cooler weather.
Mike said that it's been a fantastic tomato season. We continued to harvest lots of them...
... including this ginormous variety; undoubtedly the biggest we'd ever seen!
I discovered lovely purple flowers hidden among the fallen leaves.
There are several types of grapes growing in their garden. Sooooo sweet and juicy! To me they're such a symbol of abundance!
Also many kinds of apples.
Mike finishing up harvesting one of the trees.
But those big critters didn't scare Miss DaPuss one bit. She made herself right at home exploring the property, even the barn where a couple of wild cats have taken residence. We did hear a screech or two once, mind you. ;-)
Stretching comfortably near her new home.
In Ulla's Sunny Kitchen
Ulla has been reintroducing more raw foods into her diet ever since the Retreat but she felt like she needed some extra inspiration. We were particularly thrilled at the prospect of playing together in the kitchen, and boy, did we ever uncook up a storm! It had been a very long time since I had prepped so much food!
As I always like to remind people, I feel you reap much better long-term results by gradually incorporating a few raw recipes that you really enjoy into your regular diet rather than going 100% all at once. Eating a certain (usually unhealthy) way for decades, it's necessarily a long process to replace these old habit patterns. One thing that has become part of Ulla's new eating routine is to always have some fresh almond milk on hand. She has grown particularly fond of Chia Pudding in the morning, which her body really responds super well too.
Dill-icious Dill Dressing
One of our feasts: Tomato & Herbs Soup, Salad with my Dill-icious Dressing, Onion, Dill & Horseradish Cheeze with two kinds of dehydrated crackers.
Some of the main courses we enjoyed...
Russell James' awesome Cauliflower Cheese
On the Sweet Side
Since I've been in a low nut intake phase for several months Don and I have been mostly staying away from desserts. Well, I guess that's not entirely true; we continue to enjoy chocolate as I find that it's the perfect sweet treat yet soooo much lighter than say, a piece of raw cake or pie. Excited to introduce Ulla to certain raw delights together we did whip up a few desserts. It certainly made Mr. Donnie very very happy!
Given the tons of blackberries that they harvested this year, Ulla has made my Mango & Blackberry Cobbler several times. We had it once warm straight out of the D with a nice scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream. Divine!
During the summer I started experimenting with Pamela Vinten's Amazing Guilt Free Chocolate ebooks. Raw chocolate is one of those techniques that I feel I still have so much to learn about, and so I was thrilled to discover these books that offer so many wonderful and yummy ways to use raw cacao. Every single recipe I've tried thus far has turned out super well. I'll tell you more about this fab recipe book soon, but in the meantime here's something to get you drooling.
Nutty Chocolate Slab
Ulla has been playing with Pamela's recipes a lot. In fact her Chocolate Recipe #1 quickly became her basic chocolate candy formula. She comes up with all kinds of fun variations: peppermint, stuffed with different nuts, decorated with slivered almonds...
A beautiful chocolate platter that she prepared for a gathering.
Get Those Ds Going
Showing our handy work: Savory Nori Snacks & Raw Cheeze Itz
We also made Rawvolution's Burgers which I hadn't had in ages.
We served them with marinated crimini mushrooms and marinated fennel.
A couple of months ago Ulla introduced me to a fantastic local wholesale group called Organic Matters. They offer a wide variety of high quality organic products for really great prices. The only downside is that you need to order at least $500 worth, but that's usually not an issue when you team up with friends' and neighbors.
All Cleaned Up
I was mentioning earlier how staying with Mike & Ulla made it a lot easier for us to do all sorts of things together that we'd been meaning to but rarely had the time. On the one hand I was able to pass on to Ulla a few technical tips on how to start a blog, use her new Sony a57 DSLR camera (like ours) and edit videos in iMovie.
It also allowed me to receive a series of 5 colonic irrigations. I'd of course heard about colonics but had never experienced them before. If, like me, you aren't already familiar with this technique here's a bit of info I found on Ulla's Devine Health site:
Since the colon affects all of the body’s organs either directly or indirectly, maintaining a clean and healthy colon promotes all other organs’ efficiency within the body.
I received a colonic from Ulla every 2 or 3 days and was amazed at how different each session felt. While the first one was quite uncomfortable and didn't seem to yield much result in terms of waste removal, each successive one kept taking the cleansing process deeper and deeper. At times I could feel detox symptoms as some of the accumulated waste was being dislodged, but thankfully these passed quickly. By the third colonic I was able to be completely relaxed and felt so energized afterward. I suffered from chronic constipation for most of my life (before I got into raw) and there is little doubt that my colon has suffered some distortion as a result. It was exciting to see how I could take in more and more water as my colon was gradually resuming its natural shape.Colon Hydrotherapy is a gentle washing of the large intestines with warm, filtered water to remove built-up toxins and wastes, improve overall bowel function and digestion, and allow for better nutrient absorption. It reduces bloating and intestinal gases, purifies the liver, and stimulates peristalsis (rhythmic muscle action of the gastrointestinal tract). Other benefits reported include the relief of head and backaches; rehabilitation of nerves, muscles, glands, circulatory and immune components of the digestive system; weight control; clearer and smoother skin; reduction of acne, skin rashes, arthritic symptoms; and an overall feeling of improved health and vitality.
Ulla at work (and nope, that's not me! lol)
If you'd like to learn more about colon hydrotherapy, I strongly recommend that you drop by Ulla's site, particularly her FAQ here.
We're already talking about visiting Mike and Ulla again on our way back in the Spring. She suggested that we do an even longer series of colonics then, which I'm looking forward to. Yay!
Methinks I'll stop here for now as this post is starting to get pretty long. I'll be back soon with a short recap of the raw events that we hosted while staying at Ulla and Mike's.