Power Food for the Brain

Alzheimer, Mild cognition impairment, foggy mind, dementia, bad memory and concentration problems become more and more frequent in society. Alzheimer affects about half of Americans by their mid 80’s. Doctor say it’s genetics or aging. However, recent research shows that it’s directly link with diet. Here’s what it shows.

Beta amyloid protein, is observed in the brain of victims of Alzheimer disease. The research examined the diet of hundreds of people and observed who, over the years, developed dementia and who doesn’t. The results showed that, those who consume the most saturated fats in animal products and trans fats were those who developed brain issues. It also showed that, even if you have the gene (APOE[epsilon]4 allele) that, apparently condemns you to Alzheimer disease, your risk of developing brain issues were cut by about 80% if you avoid the bad fats.

Iron & Copper also accumulates in the brain if you have too much. Those metals are in food, in the rusty pipes of your tap water, your cooking pans… They oxidize in your body and as they do, they cause the production of “free radicals”: molecules that are swimming in your blood-stream, get into your brain and act like sparks that seam to the connections between one cell and the next. But iron and copper is necessary for good health isn’t it? Yes, but this is a double edge sword. You need a little bit, but when you get too much it becomes toxic. Vitamins and supplement company sell all those Vitamins and minerals including iron and copper saying “well you need these”, not realizing that, we get enough from foods. So adding these supplements isn’t recommended. Now how can we avoid getting too much of those metals? Vitamin E. Not the kind you find as a supplement though. Nature has eight forms of vitamin E and supplements are likely to have only one form and if you get too much of only one form of vitamin E it reduces the absorption of all the others. So you want to get it from food. Nuts and seeds are the highest form of vitamin E. Use them to season your salads or your meals, don’t put too much, just a little handful to your diet is enough. Here’s a list of food high in Vitamin E:

variety of brown nuts on brown wooden panel high angle photo
Nuts:
Sunflower seeds 10 mg (66% DV)
Almonds 7.3 mg (48% DV)
Hazelnuts 4.3 mg (28% DV)
Pine nuts 2.7 mg (18% DV)
Peanuts 2.4 mg (16% DV)
Brazil nuts 1.6 mg (11% DV)

Fruits, Veggies & Greens
Avocado Half a fruit: 2.1 mg (14% DV)
Mango Half a fruit: 1.5 mg (10% DV)
Kiwifruit 1 medium fruit: 1.0 mg (7% DV)
Blackberries Half a cup: 0.8 mg (6% DV)
Turnip greens 1 cup: 1.6 mg (10% DV)
Beet greens Half a cup: 1.3 mg (9% DV)
Butternut squash Half a cup: 1.3 mg (9% DV)
Broccoli Half a cup: 1.1 mg (8% DV)
Mustard greens Half a cup: 1.3 mg (8% DV)
Asparagus 4 spears: 0.9 mg (6% DV)
Red sweet pepper 1 medium pepper: 1.9 mg (13% DV)

Researchers went further in the research and found out that the colour present in some fruits like blueberries and grapes called : Anthocyanins also play an important role. After putting a group of  people around the age of 78 having memory issues, they asked them to consume grape juice everyday for three months. Once in the morning, once in the evening. After three months, they tested everyone and their memory was better and their recall was better. Why is that? A grape has to sit on a vine all day long under the sun. Their natural protection is that purple colour, those Anthocyanins, happen to be powerful antioxidants, just like Vitamin E. You can easily find them by their dark colour. So next time you go shopping aim for colour-rich food. Here’s a list of high Anthocyanins food:

food forest blueberries raspberries

Açai
Blackcurrant
Aronia
Eggplant
Marion Blackberry
Black Raspberry
Raspberry
Blueberry
Cherry
Grape
Red Cabbage
Plum

 

Finally another simple thing to improve your memory: Exercise. Simple cardio, a brisk walk, running, cycling… Whatever makes you feel great, 20 to 40 minutes, three times a week. Study has shown that the Hippocampus who normally shrink as you get older becomes bigger and reverses if you simply begin to exercise.

Share this information with family and friends to bring awareness on the root problem.

Inspired by Tedx Talk by Dr. Barnard
Photo by Marta Branco
Photo by Public Domain
Photo by meo

Coconut Yogurt – Cultured – Recipe

Have you ever tried dairy-free yogurt? Coconut Yogurt is my favourite and it’s actually so easy to make it home. This is one of the best way to improve your probiotic intake, plus you have an amazing unctuous and cruelty-free snack that will satisfy your unhealthy cravings for dairy, and it’s actually way more yummy! Have a try! For this recipe you will need a High Speed Blender.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Young Thai Coconut – Meatimg_15041.jpg
  • 1 cup of Coconut Milk
  • 2 Tbsp of Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 Tsp of Blackstrap Molasses
  • 1/4 Tsp of Sea salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Water Kefir / probiotic Caps
  • 1 Tsp of Vanilla

Recipe:

– Carefully open-up the Young Thai Coconut with a butcher knife ( See video ).
Pour the Coconut water in a Mason jar and store in your refrigerator for future recipes or to drink. With a spoon, grate the meat inside and put the meat in a strainer. Wash the meat in cool water and remove any hard scales stick on the meat. The browner skin is ok.IMG_1505.JPG

– Put the meat in a Vitamix or a high speed blender. Add the Coconut Milk, Maple syrup, Blackstrap Molasses and the Sea salt. Do not put the probiotic yet.

– Blend until smooth. If it’s too thick, add some coconut milk until you see a vortex forming on top.
IMG_1506.JPG
– When it’s perfectly smooth, add 1/2 a cup of Water Kefir ( from 2nd ferment ) or 2 capsules of probiotic and blend for another 5 seconds.
IMG_1508.JPG
– Put in a Mason jar with a close lid. It should give you about a 3/4 filled Mason jar. The yogurt will grows as it ferments, so you need at least two inches of space. Let it sit at room temperature for 18 to 24 hours then 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator until ready. The lid should be swollen by pressure.

– Be careful when you open the lid, put a plate underneath because it might burst out! It means it was successfully fermented, congratulations. Add some fruits, a dash of maple syrup and enjoy!


This is the basic recipe. From there you can experiment with various flavours, fruits and sweeteners. Let me know what you’ve tried in the comments! 🙂
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Top Vegan Superfoods – B12 – Omegas – Amino-Acids

The present list of superfoods are easy to integrate in your diet and rich in proteins, omegas, vitamins and minerals. Who said it was hard to get proteins and B12 as a Vegan? It is in fact more accessible and bio-available in a plant-based version!

 

Spirulina

Spirulina is an incredible green algae which is proven to have amazing benefits on your health when consume on a daily basis. It has been shown to detox heavy metals and arsenic, eliminates Candida and antimicrobial agent, helps prevent cancer, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and chances of stroke, enhance energy performance, help for weigh loss and offers many benefits for the brain and memory.
Spirulina is high in protein, Omega-3 and Omega-6 as well as minerals like copper, manganese, magnesium, sodium and potassium and has a lot of vitamins K, A, B6, C, Riboflavin, Thiamin and Niacin. The best way to consume is in powder form in a smoothie or a green juice with lemon or lime for better absorption.
Buy best quality here


 

Chlorella

Chlorella is often confused with Spirulina. Chlorella is similar in many ways but proportions are different and complementary. Chlorella contains more Omega-3 while Spirulina contains more Omega-6. Chlorella has more Iron, Phosphor and Manganese. Chlorella also has B12 which is 100% bio-available. Therefore Chlorella is one of the best supplement for Vegans looking for a natural source of B12. It’s good to consume Spirulina as well as Chlorella. Chlorella and Spirulina can be consumed together.
Buy best quality here

 


Irish Moss

This is one of my favorite because of its versatility in recipes and its health benefits. Irish Moss is a type of sea weed that has no particular taste. It is the perfect thickening agent for recipes and natural gelatin that offers endless possibilities for Vegan and raw deserts as well as face masks and creams. It’s been shown to improve thyroid health, has the potential to fight cancer, helps for positive mental and emotional health, can lower cholesterol, pain reducer, anti-inflamatory and protects the heart. The list of nutrients in this miracle algae is overwhelming. Some of them includes : Vitamins B and C, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, amino-acids, iodine, bromine, zinc, selenium, pectin, beta-carotene, and calcium. Irish moss is high in carrageenan and collagen which improves skin and hair health. Once blend with water it creates a gelatin that turns to a “jello” after a few hours in the refrigerator. You can put a scoop in your smoothies or create deserts as a substitute to gelatin. You can also directly put on your skin, do a face mask which highly help for a glowing young skin.
Buy the best quality here


 

Chia

Because of its high content in amino-acids and fibers, Chia seeds are considered effective against hypertension and diabetes. They are also recognized for bone health and also improve athletic performances.
Chia seeds are rich in Omega-3, Fibers, Calcium, Iron, B9 and are also a great source of amino-acids and antioxidants.  Chia seeds are also very versatile for recipes and easy to integrate in diet. When soak, they create a viscous “shell” and is a great replacement for eggs.
Buy the best quality here

 


 

Maca

Maca, also known as “Peruvian Ginseng” is actually a cruciferous root vegetables. Maca has many impressive health benefits including : buffering the effect of stress, improving blood flow, improving fertility and libido, boosting the immune system, improving bone health, improving athletic performances and clearer thinking. It has a great source of B12, B1, B2, C and E. It is also high in amino acids and has  important sources of iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium.
Buy the best quality here

 


 

Goji Berries

Goji berries are well known for benefits such as heart health, regulation of cholesterol, help regulate blood sugar, strengthen the immune system, fight cancer and help for a beautiful skin. Rich in antioxidants like the beta-carotene but also zeaxanthin and lutein. Goji berries are also rich in minerals such as iron, phosphor, potassium, calcium and zinc. They are rich in proteins and fibers and contain close to 20 amino acids and a high source of vitamins A, B, C and E. They are also rich in Omega-3. They are very tasty and easy ton integrate in any recipes.
Buy the best quality here




Turmeric

Turmeric is used as spices in many Indian dishes and is a powerful root which is one of the most powerful herbs on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing diseases. It is one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in all science. Benefits include: reduces depression, fight inflammation, improve skin health, helps against Arthritis, treat and prevent certain cancers, improve blood flow, helps for detoxification and many more. Turmeric is high in fiber, vitamins B6, C, E and Niacin. It is also high in potassium, iron, manganese and zinc. Often sold in powders or capsules or as fresh roots, it should be consumed with black or cayenne pepper to help absorption and goes well with ginger. Check out this famous and delicious golden milk recipe.
Buy best quality here




Pine pollen

It is one of the most interesting one because it’s quite expansive in markets but ironically there are plenty of pine trees everywhere and it’s easy to harvest your own. It is the perfect superfood for athletes and body builders, enhance libido as well as will power and mood, boosts immune system, offers many benefits for the skin, and anti-inflammatory due to MSM. Pine pollen provides a very high range of amino acids, vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, B6, C, D3 and E. Also rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, copper, iron and manganese. You can consume 1 1/2 tsp a day in powder or 2 capsules up to 3 times daily.
Buy best quality here



Golden Milk Recipe

This simple recipe is a super comforting drink with incredible medicinal proprieties. Ideal before going to bed it’s an amazing detoxifier and prevent diseases, flu, cancer and boosts the immune system. This is my personal favorite drink and i’m sure if you try it, it’ll be yours too!

 

Ingredients:

2 cups of milk of your choice (I prefer coconut milk)
1 1/2 Tsp of ground Turmeric
1/2 Tsp of ground or grated Ginger
1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp of coconut oil
A pinch of ground black pepper
Maple syrup to taste


Instructions:

In a small saucepan add all the ingredients and put to medium heat until hot but not boiling for about 4 minutes mixing frequently. Turn off the heat, taste and adjust sweetness to taste. Serve immediately. Enjoy!


Read more on the proprieties of Turmeric here.

The power of Juicing

Juicing is the best way to ingest large amount of living dense foods and nutrients in your body. We live in an era where food isn’t as rich as it used to be, the soil has less nutrients because of intensive farming and production. To get all the nutrients needed we need more whole food. Raw, or not, you need a lot of living foods to feel your best, plus, juicing heals and has been proven to cure people with severe diseases. We are fortunate enough to have the technology to extract the nutrients from food and separate them from the insoluble fibers. This way you won’t eat and chew all day long to achieve your vitamins and minerals intake. There are some things you should know about juicing, and what not, to get the best results, so let’s discuss about it.

Fibers
There are two types of fibers found in fruits and vegetables. Soluble fiber and insoluble. When you juice, the insoluble fiber is removed. This is the thicker fiber like the skin and the “filaments” just like in celery. The main objective of the insoluble fiber is to “trigger” the digestive system by chewing. Just like the smoothies, when you juice, you have to “chew” or swirl the liquid in your mouth to trigger the digestive system. The positive part about not having the insoluble fibers, in comparison with smoothies where you keep all the fibers, is that it’s easier on your system, you have less material in your gut and stay in a “fasting” state. Therefore, I highly suggest that a green juice should be your first “meal”. The soluble fiber is the pulp found in fruits and vegetables. This is what feeds the healthy bacteria in the gut, the probiotics. This is the fiber you need for digestion and to prevent all kind of digestive disorders. When you juice, you keep the soluble fiber.

Fruits
You should juice greens rather that fruits. You will have too much sugar as a result of juicing fruits. It’s still better than buying a commercial fruit juice of course. But if you do, mix it up with some water. The best fruits to juice are: Green apples with greens, Watermelon is good, organic is best; you should juice the skin of the watermelon which contains more nutrients than the red part! Otherwise, for best results and healing proprieties, juice greens.

Greens
Celery, cucumbers, wild greens and dark leafy greens, like Kale and Spinach, should be the base if you are juicing greens. Add ginger and lemon to a green juice will highly enhance flavours and medicinal proprieties in green juice.

Food combination
Some foods aren’t compatible with others and you should be careful. Leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables go with everything. Herbs, spices, citrus and ginger are neutral. Carrots should only be mixed with green apples and ginger. For the most part, stay in a category and do not go crazy with too much ingredients.

Buying a Juicer
There are a lot of different kind of juicers in the market and it can be a struggle to choose which one is best. Some are better to juice fruits, other greens. Some are versatile and you can use to also crunch ingredients like seeds and nuts or create dough out of sprouted buckwheat for exemple. Depending on your budget you can always find cheap ones. Personally I see it as an investment. I really like the Omega juicers because they are versatile and it’s not going to break easily, in fact, I might have it for the rest of my life! I have the model NC800 HDS which is a “masticating version” that slowly crunch the ingredients without damaging and creating oxydation. I also use it for many culinary options.

 

Recipes


Ginger Blast
50g of Ginger
1 Lemon (with skin if organic)
1 Head of Celery
2-3 Medium size Cucumbers
Handful of Parsley


Carrot “Mineralizer”
7 Carrots
3 Green apples


Chlorophyl Boost
4 cups of Spinach
Handful of Dandelion greens
Handful of Mint
1 Head of Celery
1 Lemon


Total Detox
1 Head of Cilantro
50g of ginger
1 Lime
2 -3 Green Apples
1 Head of Celery


Wild Energy
Handful of Dandelion greens
Handful of Plantains
Handful of Carrot Greens (wild)
3-4 Medium size Cucumbers
1 Lemon
40g of Ginger


Kale & Ginger Turmeric
1/2 a Head of Kale
1/2 a Head of Celery
2-3 Medium size Cucumbers
40g of Ginger
40g of fresh Turmeric
1 Lemon
Pinch of black pepper (highly improve absorption of Turmeric)


I hope you enjoyed this introduction to juicing. Please feel free to share some recipes in the comments and give it a like!

 

Photo by Toni Cuenca on Pexels.com

RAW Food – Why & How?

Why eating raw food? The question you have to ask yourself is: “Are you eating to live, or living to eat?”. Food is addiction in this modern world with plenty of processed food deprived of nutrients, eating for instant satisfactions. Food is fuel, and we lost touch with the true meaning of eating. We want what tastes best instead of what makes you feel best.

Raw food doesn’t mean you’ll live on carrot sticks. It’s easy to find tasty alternatives that will satisfy your cravings and be creative in new ways with your recipes. It also doesn’t mean you have to always eat cold food. You can heat your food under 118° before you kill the living enzymes, thanks to the dehydrator which makes living food incredibly versatile.

Nature always gave us everything we need to thrive from the gifts of the earth. We have herbs and medicinal plants to cure about anything. We have delicious fruits with all the vitamins and minerals a human being needs. We have greens and wild plants that grows everywhere like plantains, dandelions and Queen Anne’s Lace that are some of the most nutrient dense food. Everything is there so that you can thrive and be at your best, physically, mentally and spiritually. You can be fully alive by eating living food. Nothing is natural and sustainable the way most of us eat right now. It’s the biggest conspiracy of all time.

What about cooked Vegan food?
It’s always a better idea than eating animal products. It’s sustainable, healthier and help a good cause which is the animal cruelty. But it’s also possible to be vegan and be unhealthy. There’s plenty of vegan junk foods also. It’s ok if you do it for the animals and don’t really care about your health. My point is that if you want optimum health you have to follow nature’s design. Logic is that, we are the only specie that cooks their food. When you cook, you break the fibers, kill the living enzymes and burn nutrients. There is nothing wrong about cooking some rice, beans or potatoes once in a while. But I suggest, if you’re looking for you great potential, to eat raw as much as you can.

From what I know it’s also possible to be unhealthy on raw food if you only eat what tastes best for you. Again you are looking to fill a void of satisfaction and eat only the sweet stuff or you may always eat the same thing again and again. The secret is variety. Don’t stick to the same recipes week after week. You should also go for fresh and organic if you can. The sooner fruits and vegetables has been harvest, the better. You also want greens, lots of greens. Greens are what will make you feel the best. Bitter is better. If you feel like eating cooked foods, there’s some things you should avoid: Wheat products like bread and pastas, hard to digest and expand in your gut which cause constipation and feeds bad parasites. Frying or cooked oil. Any kind of cooked oil isn’t recognized by the body because your body is not equipped to utilize those fat in their processed form. Tomatoes. They become too acidic for the body when cooked. Getting rid of wheat products is probably the hardest one, at least it was for me. This is how I understood how those processed products are highly addictive. Once I got rid of them, I felt a huge difference in my digestion and energy level.

Stomach Acid
For most people, stomach acid is a problem. It’s important to have a good stomach acid so that food digest properly. To stabilize stomach acid you should have plenty of lemons and lime. When you wake up, drink water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or half a lemon juice. Do the same before bed. You can also drink a head of celery juice every morning. One way of knowing if your stomach acid is great is to drink a little beet juice and observed if it’s coloured when you go to the bathroom. If it is, then your stomach acid is too low.

Probiotic
It’s important to have a good flora and plenty of probiotic. Capsules are an option, but not the best. It’s expansive, dry and half of it is probably death by sitting on a shelf for too long. Making your own Water Kefir is the most effective way to get your probiotic. You don’t have to worry about prebiotic, raw food is full of it. Prebiotic is, in other words, food for probiotics, which is fibers and minerals that you get from raw foods.

Supplements
If you have diversity in your diet you might not need any supplements. Try to have seaweeds in your diet. Irish Moss is one of the best superfood worth any supplements. The only other supplements worth having is Chlorella another seaweed with high range of vitamins, magnesium and zinc, which most people on any diet lack. It is actually created by the body itself by bacteria and you can find B12 in the earth. Now that everything is sterilized your don’t find B12 on vegetables naturally but once you have a good flora you will start to produce B12 by yourself. It might be good to supplement in the beginning of your transition to raw food taught. Do some blood check once in a while and supplement if needed.

Getting rid of body waste and parasites
Depending on how bad you treated your body in the past, it can be a hard process to get rid of the body waste. Everything you ate is printed in your body, in your cells and DNA. Just like if you have a condition or sickness, it’s not what you “have to take” or eat but what you have to get rid of. What caused the problem in the first place. The best thing you can do is fasting. Fasting heals anything. Your body starts to use the waste in your body as fuel and creates new ones. You give your digestive system a break and instead of using energy to digest, it finally has an opportunity to heal whatever is wrong in your system. You starve the parasites and they have no choice but to leave your body or die. Water fast for as long as you can. Then do a green juice fast for as long as you can then green smoothies until you slowly integrate raw foods. You won’t feel great when you do a water fast, don’t get discouraged. All the bad stuffs is coming out so you will feel symptoms like headaches and nausea. It’s a good sign that you are cleansing. There is a lot of case of people healing incurable conditions with water fast and this is the fastest way to heal. Before doing any kind of fast please inform yourself and read how to do it properly. I personally did my cleanse with information on this book: Heal Yourself 101

Healthy habits and eating less
Do not force yourself to eat, ever. A lot of people feel like they HAVE to eat breakfast. When you wake up you’ve been literally fasting and not eating for several hours. That’s why it’s called break-fast. Don’t worry you won’t lack energy if you don’t eat. In the contrary you will have more mental clarity and energy because energy isn’t wasted digesting food. Your body will thrive with fuel you gave it the day before if you nourish properly, it doesn’t need more. You might have a green juice in the evening if you feel like it but whenever you break your fast, it should always be something easy to digest. In nature when we were primates, do you think we were eating all day long like in the modern world? In fact, a lot of people get interested with the OMAD (One meal a day) with incredible health results. 20 hours of body rest and healing then 4 hours window of feast. You don’t have to do OMAD, but consider giving a rest to your body in a regular basis. When it’s time to feast, make sure to eat enough though. Stop eating after 7PM.
Chewing your food properly is very important, especially with raw food. Digestion starts in the mouth. It’s going to take you longer to eat on raw food. Which isn’t a bad thing when you think about it.
Stretching and exercise at least 30 minutes a day is also very important to move the lymphatic system which is responsible for getting rid of waste.
– Avoid stimulant like coffee, especially with any kind of sugar added. If you really enjoy coffee in the morning maybe just drink it black, you won’t break the fast. Green or white tea without sugar is also great.
Getting sunlight is also important as much as you can.
Simplify your life, get rid of any weight on your shoulders, toxic people and materials. Be generous, give to people.
Go to bed early. 10PM is optimal, never go to sleep after midnight.

Food Combination
This is important to read my complete article about Food Combining.
Eat the food that digest easily BEFORE the slow digestible, protein, fatty foods.

How raw food will affect your life?
Waking up with energy and motivation, feeling grateful and happy. You will never be sick again, not even a cough, this is your life insurance. You will live longer and prevent diseases. You will inspire people around you. You will realize how life is beautiful and be sensitive to all your surroundings. You will feel free and crave adventure, going out of your comfort zone. You will unlock the potential to listen and receive signal from your heart, the cosmic GPS, that will guide you to your true goal in life!

This article is just some quick important keys to be successful with raw foods. However, reading from various experimented experts will help you on this journey. Don’t get overwhelmed, take your time to inform yourself properly and when you’re ready, taking these steps to raw food will greatly improve your life at ALL levels. This is the best investment you can do in life; investing in yourself.

Photo by Lukas from Pexels

Crispy Cheesy Kale Chips

Raw, dehydrated kale chips is a classic for vegans and raw foodists. It’s super easy to make your own. I’ll show you how to make them perfect! All you need is a dehydrator and a high speed blender / food processor for this recipe.

 

Ingredients:
  • 2 Heads of Kale
  • 300 – 350g of of nuts of your choice
  • 50g of Nutritional Yeast
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 3 Cloves of garlic
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 cup of filtered water

 

Recipe:

Soak you nuts over-night or for about 8 to 12 hours.

Wash your kale and remove the leaves from the large main stem. Cut your kale into small to medium bite-size. Put in a salad spinner to remove the water then in a large salad bowl.

In a high speed blender put all the ingredients. nuts, garlic, bell pepper nutritional yeast, lemon juice and the water. Blend until smooth but thick. 

Add the mixture with the Kale and mix very well.img_1474.jpg
Make sure the leaves are well covered with the nut mixture.
Spread into dehydrator trays.

Put them in a dehydrator at 110° for 8 to 12 hours.

For conservation I suggest putting them in pot with a close lid, in the refrigerator. They stay crispy for a week.

*If you want them next level, add some Vegan fermented cheese to you mixture!

Kale

Enjoy!

 

My Experience at Earthaven Ecovillage Part 3

<— Part 1

<— Part 2

Day 5

7:00AM

My clean-up partners had to wake me up, I was very comfortable in my sleeping bag that morning. We were supposed to have some yoga after breakfast but the teacher couldn’t be there. I did some yoga anyway doing “sun salutation” with the group. There was a Coffee and trade happening all morning where you can buy local products like vegetables, honey and crafts. I bought some crafts, then I went at the river that Kimchi IMG_0909.jpgshowed us 2 days before. I was looking for a peaceful moment. I went in a different direction this time. There was a beautiful fall with a an artwork of a little fairy hut, the area was incredible. I stayed there for at least an hour. Writing things i’m grateful for about this experience and meditating. I remember when I closed my eyes and stop thinking, the sound of water flowing in the river transformed into a rhythm of Jambe. I was convince that a group of people were playing not far from me. Is it what Kimchi talked about?

 

2:00PM

We then visited Steve. He welcomed us in his personal apartment at Earthaven and offered us his home made delicious iced tea. It was a very cozy place. Steve talked about Deep Ecumenism and Spiritual diversity at Earthaven. “Earthaven is where the human community in bonding with the Earth in a maner capable of healing the devastation of tThe-Dream-of-the-Earthhe past and inspiring a new grandeur for the future. At Earthaven, even for a brief while, we experience what it is to return to ourselves.” – Thomas Berry author of The Dream of the Earth. Steve explains that Earthaven has different people with different beliefs and religions. Despite the fact that they have different spiritual traditions they unite instead of divide humanity. Just like Matthew Fox explain on his landmark book:

One RiverOne River, Many Wells. In this metaphor, the wells are the individual religions or wisdom traditions. The river is the Source into which the various religions dip. Different wells, same river. It was very interesting and really fits my beliefs.

 

 

 

4:00PM

We went for a walk with Kimchi in an area we’ve never been before. We walked in a little path which brought us to a sacred place. Multiple stones that do not originate from the area were found. They actually originate from far away and they been brought here by ancestors of the land way before IMG_0915.jpgEarthaven. The stones are placed in a circle with a labyrinth pattern, leading to the center. It’s a meditation and prayer altar. You have to slowly walk the labyrinth in a meditative state of mind visualizing your wishes until you get to the center, you then kneel and send your wishes and offerings and slowly make your way back. I quickly felt at peace making my way in the labyrinth and I really enjoyed this meditation. Plus, the history behind it’s origin and the reason is still mysterious, making it fascinating.

 

 

6:30PM

239 Earthaven SOIL 2016

Dinner time, it was the most active dinner of all. It was a special day, the Summer Solstice. There was a lot of people this time with a big meal. It was delectable! There was a lot of positive energy out there it was great to see many people having fun.

Then later we walked together, people brought percussions and played a rhythm while we went for this 15 minutes walk to the campfire.We arrive at this nice set-up in wilderness with wood benches. People reassembled in a big circle around this unique fire. They do offerings like roses, spices and items that represents elements and sending gratitude. They keep the ashes and build with rocks and concrete above, until it becomes an incredible109 Earthaven SOIL 2016.JPG altar full of history after the years. I played some Jambe, of course, and seeing the animated scene while jamming was an incredible feeling. People danced and laugh we had a moment more intimate where everyone shared poems, signing, stories and mantras, until darkness arrives. Then we played music again. It was an incredible fiesta! Then after a while we went back to the camp. I enjoyed the rest of the night talking with friends.

 

 

Day 6

7:30AM

It was my last day and I woke up with this feeling telling me that I will miss those incredible people. I was grateful though, and full of positive energies. So after the breakfast, we went at the Council Hall and did a circle check-in. We made activities, dancing around and “let go of our crazy”. Then NikiAnne shared with us methods to take action and apply what we learned during our experience at Earthaven, whether you are an activist or an artist. She explained it in 4 categories. 114 Earthaven SOIL 2016.JPG

  • Resist -> Protestor, Anarchist, and law breakers.
  • Reform -> Politics, Donations, Green Party
  • Re-create -> Ecovillage, Reforestation, Gardening school
  • Re-imagine -> Artists, Speakers, Ecovillage

 

Everyone has their own ways to take actions. We also have tendencies to fight each others because we have different ways to do things, but everyone fight for the same and none of this categories is better than the other. Government likes it when we fight. They don’t want you to wake up and work together…

Then we had a random partner to whom we answered questions about how we would see our future if we had no money issues to do whatever we want. The partner with you writes while you say any ideas you have to answer a dozen questions. It was a hard exercise for most. We don’t really think about this, we realize we hold on a “poor mindset” and this is probably what hold you back from having what it needs. You need to know where you are going before you can receive what you need… If you know what I mean. Read The Prosperity Secret if you want to understand those principles.

10:00AM

We then reassemble in circle for our final words and our final check-out. It was touching moments. I shared my infinite gratitude read something I wrote by the river the other day. Then we all individually shared hugs and saying the Adios and we took a final picture all together.

IMG_0921.JPGJerry was ready to drive me to the airport. Once I leaved this magic place and was on my way home I felt like “Wow… what an adventure, I can’t believe this”. Like I had an awakening. I was vibrating high even long after this adventure. It inspired me and develop this passion to discover and learn more. And that’s why I’ll keep traveling and hope to inspire others. I hope you appreciated this thread, thank you for tuning up! 🙂

 

My Experience at Earthaven Ecovillage Part 2

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<– Part 1 

Day 3

9:00AM
The morning was planned to visit the Gateway Barn where Chris built his Micro Hut and gave us lessons about Biochar. Biochar is a charcoal-like material that is produced by pyrolysis of biomass and is often used in permaculture as a soil amendment because of

Biochar-En-page-001.jpgits unique characteristics such as it’s water-holding capacity and is an ideal environment for bacterias to thrive and creating a soil rich in nutrients for the plants. He was explaining all this while cooking a soup on a T-Lud, an eco-friendly stove used to transform wood scrap into charcoal while cooking. He’ll use that charcoal as a fertilizer. Genius! Now just imagine that at a larger scale, you can cook, heat, and make fertilizer for the cost of nothing! Companies now offer this approach, like: Rocket Stove and Champion Stove. There is more information about this on the internet. I recommend this- Youtube channel -to learn more about biochar, and organic gardening:

11:00AM
We then moved to the Council Hall for a little course 101 about renewable energy/electricity with Chris. It was about technics and methods used in solar panel and water turbine system. I can’t say it wasn’t interesting, but it was technics and theories.

12:30PM

After dinner was a presentation about sustainability offered by Lee Warren. She gave us informations about the economy and the economic situation of Earthaven. She explains that being off-grid might be a struggle to some, depending of their financial situation. You might be free of loan and electricity bills, but you still have taxes, some may have depts or need medical services, or need repairs and external needs or luxury.  However, there is no large employers within 20 miles, and local service jobs are mostly 10-15 miles away over winding mountain roads. Jobs must be available onsite nearby. Many community members offer labor to other members and neighbors or the community itself. Several members work offsite. They also have their own local money as well.
She spoke about the decision making process. At Earthaven there is no “leader”. It’s community, everyone is equal. Female and male, black or white (they use the term “Y’all” not “You guys” as equity). They all have the same privilege. The vote has to be almost the unanimity. I don’t know the exact numbers though. If there is members that vote against a decision, there will be a revote and discussions to find an agreement.

3:00PM
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Nature connection with Kimchi. We went for a walk in the Village Terraces. A family-friendly cohousing neighborhood. She offered us some meditation time with nature to reconnect. She brought us to a great kept river and offered that we separate and find a peaceful spot to rest and meditate with the sounds that surround us. “Down by the river you may often have auditory alucinations, some say it’s the ancestors” she said. So I found my spot, dive my feet on the cold water, closed my eyes and meditated. It took only a few seconds until I found my true inner peace. like never before. I felt free.

 

5:30PM

Dinner, then free time. I decided to take it cool, talk , write and go to bed soon. I played some guitar with Dylan, one of the student and we had great conversation in a gazebo-library. And soon I was to bed.

Day 4

7:00AM

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It was my turn with two others in the group to clean up for the next three days, so I had to wake-up earlier. It was nice to participate. Then what was planned for the morning until din013 Earthaven SOIL 2016.JPGner was a Garlic Harvest at the Yellow Farm with Andy. We first did a little Check-in with NikiAnne, went to the farm where we met Andy, a super nice guy. He explained the process for harvesting. Pretty simple but physical.

Then NikiAnne went back at Earthaven wishing us good luck and said that we should interact with each others while working. “Sing, talk and interact with the  person close to you. It’s great to work while having fun!” she said. And so we did! It was amazing experience and we had a BIG harvest. The ole field was done in a little more than two hours. It was a hot sunny day and it was hard work, but we made it pleasant, we had conversations, jokes and signing. Then we went at the farm to prepare the garlic to dry. So basically, we take a bunch and we tie them with a rope to hang them upside down. It was a lengthy process but we did it quite fast after we found our pace.

1:00PM
We were hungry, but first, we had to jump on water. We needed a river, it was so hot! We found a river not that far. It was ice cold, but whatever. I jumped without a doubt. It was soo good. It felt awesome after that. Then we went for dinner. Everyone looked exhaust. I was. I relaxed a bit, as soon as I was able after cleaning-up, I just lied on a bench for 15 minutes. The day was far from done.

2:00PM

For the next part of the day we walked with Kimchi to Hidden Valley in the direction of the Full Circle Farm. Once there we met Leon. Leon is incredible. He has a huge land094 Earthaven SOIL 2016.JPG with multiple buildings. One of them was a beautiful local for meditation. Working 7 days a week and his mind never stops. So when he needs a little brake, he takes some time to meditate. He also has bees, grow mushrooms, has free goats (he doesn’t kill them) and greenhouses everywhere. One acre was used for wild plants and flowers that grow freely for the bees. We learned so much with him, he shared his uniques technics with us. I found funny when he told us what was the best fertilizer. Bee poo. Yep, I know, that’s weird, but it’s real. He dig a hole to show us how rich was the soil made with his own biochar and compost.
He believes that growing food is what we are meant to do on earth. We are a unique specie with hands, a logical mind and abilities to do so. And we are greatly rewarded by doing so. He says he often has visitor that just came back from vacancies by the beach and the only thing he has in mind, and he yells: “NOOO, YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GROWING FOOOOOD!” Haha, that was funny. This visit was awesome, it was one of my favourite activity considering the fact that it opened my eyes knowing what a simple family farm can achieve and the possibilities are endless. I learned so much you have no idea.

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6:30PM
Dinner and independent time. We had great conversations with the group, all satisfied ofMead the day. I was also offered some amazing local mead by NikiAnne. The bottle had spiritual design with the Flower Of Life and were identified: Prosperity; Love. I opened a bottle that night and shared with everyone. It was a full moon and some of us decided to take a walk and find a cozy spot to gaze the moon and stars and tell stories. Despite the huge day. I ended up going to sleep late that night, with gratitude for the past day.

 

 

 

PART 3 ->

 

 

My Experience at Earthaven Ecovillage, North Carolina, Asheville – Part 1

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This is where my passion for sustainable and meaningful life began. I was attracted to the idea that some people join together, create a community and live harmoniously with nature and care for each others. People work hand in hand, sharing services and goods. And indeed, every person I met in this community have so much passion and love to share, you can feel their vibrant joy for life. Of course, this can not be compared with the busy stressful life in cities. Most people are unable to find their meaning and taste for life. I think that working with nature instead of against it might be an answer for a happier and peaceful life filled with passions.
I was there only for a week, but this journey was so rich, it opened my eyes to a new perspective in life. I will describe to you my journey in detail below.

Day 1

I admit that I was pretty dang nervous, but also very exited. It was my first experience traveling alone. My flight was early in the morning. So I planned to sleep the night before my flight at an hotel close to the Montreal airport. I woke up at 3 AM to catch my flight Planefor 6 AM.I arrived to destination at 1:30 PM in Asheville, NC. The landscape was beautiful with mountains and trees everywhere. There I met Jerry, a gentle community member of Earthaven so that he can drive me to the village. He once lived in Canada and had good conversations with him. He offered me to go for a snack, so we went to a typical restaurant and then drove up to the Ecovillage.

Earthaven is off-grid up in the mountains about 45 minutes from Asheville. I really enjoyed the ride, climbing up, curve after curve in total wilderness. We arrived at 3 PM. There I met the group of participants for the program. They were sat on logs in circle at the camp site where our tents were set up for us to sleep at night. I was the last person to arrive and I was gracefully welcomed by everyone. I remember NikiAnne the amazing organizer of this trip, said «Jonathan, YOU MADE IT!» with happiness and a smile on her face. She is the Co-founder and director of SOIL (School of Integrated Living) whose mission is to inspire and empower people to live responsible and creative lives by providing experiential education in integrated living and regenerative systems. Every participants were beautiful souls, open minded people. There was a group of students from South Carolina, an ecological activist from New Jersey, An architect from Florida who wants to found his own ecovillage (he actually did co-found an ecovillage to this day in Florida). And a young couple with a new born baby travelling the world to find an ecovillage they fit in. We presented ourselves and talked about the objectives of the program and what we want to accomplish during the week. Then Kimchi, co-Firekeeper, and longtime member of Earthaven Ecovillage. An artist, deep ecologist, and permaculture activist, did us a little tour of the site, showing us where we meet for meals131 Earthaven SOIL 2016.JPG and the main facilities. We had a little brake, and met for dinner. Dinner reassemble community members and students of different programs and it’s a time where everyone share, laugh and eat delightful organic, local food offered by community and prepared by generous members and volunteers. We often have to participate for preparing meals, or dish-wash and clean-up. I enjoyed the vibe, it’s different from society, watching TV while eating mac n’cheese. After dinner we had some free time so I decided to relax and sleep early after this long day.

Day 2

Mornings are slightly cold and pleasant. There is something magic about waking up in nature. Feeling the first burst of light, the smell of fresh air and the morning dew falling from trees. I felt exited for this new day. I brushed my teeth, saying good morning to those who were waking up and went for a coffee and breakfast.

9AM
After breakfast we had a «Circle Check In». It was a new concept to me. The objective of this is to prevent misunderstanding and motivate each others throughout the day by simple communication. The process takes no longer than 15 minutes and here’s how it works: The host will asks two or three simple questions like «What are you grateful for the last 24 hours?» «What do you want to accomplish today?» «How do you feel after this activity?» «If you were a fruit for today, wich one would you be?» and once it’s your turn to answer, you are also free to express any suggestions, discomfort or anything you want to share. This principle is commonly used in community so that everyone has their word to say. The same basis are applied in the decision making process were everyone participate to find agreement. In society, we rarely communicate with non-violent communication principles, and “check-in” with our partner, family and friends to understand how they feel or share their joy/fear/problems, right? This lack of communication often end up developing social anxiety for some people and we underestimate our ideas and fear judgment.Councill Hall.JPG
Then we had this event called «Build Our community» at the Council Hall. The Council Hall is the first building at Earthaven and is the center point of the ecovillage. This is where events and courses take place most of the time. The whole point of this reunion was to improve our relationship with the members of our group to develop confidence and ease with each others. We did exercises somehow… awkward, and uncomfortable, and that was the ole point after all. Once we feel awkwardness with someone, barriers are broke and you free yourself from fear of ridicule. I felt lighter and confident afterward.

10:30AM
Next was this story, philosophy course with Chris Farmer, called «The Big Story». Chris is a genius in every area of self-sustainability. From tiny-house to green energy and organic gardening. He built his own little paradise in Earthaven called «another way». I share a little article with you about him.

«When I was twenty-years-old I realized I had never eaten a single thing in my life that I knew where it came from. It was like the Sunday morning cartoon where the anvil falls out of the sky and flattens the cartoon character, that was MY anvil. It just destroyed me to realize that. I thought I was connected to nature because I was going outside and connecting with nature, then I realized that I wasn’t as connected as I thought.»

For Chris, living with the Earth in mind is far more than a hobby.

“Trying to live a sustainable lifestyle is my means of self-medication. I have dedicated my life to figuring out where my food, water, energy and wood I use come from, and that’s literally saving me from an incredible psychological bill.”
“Human beings have a spiritual responsibility 5 to take care of what takes care of them. If we had that level of relationship with everything that gave us life, imagine that. But we don’t. We have mountaintop removal. We have fracking. We have wars throughout the Middle East. We have clear-cut areas of trees bigger than we can even fathom. That’s what we have and we can do better. If we knew then what we know now, humanity would be even more successful and less addicted to fossil fuels. Our quality of life and our connection with each other would be better. It can be done. We just have to keep learning from one another.”  –  http://poweringanewsouth.com/chris/

Chris is such an empath. He narrates his heart touching stories with emotions often with a tear falling out of his cheek. Every words he says provokes deep thoughts. I can’t say how grateful I was for this. Later on, I will share with you one of his story. That morning he spoke about the Soil Food Web and shared his philosophy about the root of our own existence…

12:30PM
It’s dinner time and I was already overwhelmed by this incredible morning. But hold on, it’s just the beginning. Everyone in the group talked with excitement about our morning classes during the meal. My heart was opened like never before, living all this new things.

2PM

«Drumming up Mindfulness». As I read that in my schedule I felt SO happy! And it was such an empowering experience. I couldn’t believe it. Every step forward through the program was just like a huge step in personal evolution in tune with my core values. This event took place with Nick.

IMG_0788.jpgNick is a professional drummer. He explained how drumming can be a useful tools of expression and communication. It’s like a language where everyone can express freely and understand each others. Like two people of different languages won’t be able to communicate with words, but they can play together.

Everyone had a Jambe, placed in circle. We all drum together with a basic rhythm at first. As it progress, rhythm can increase or decrease and everyone express their feelings by adding tones, notes or progressions.  feeling the vibe. it’s impressive how fast every one adapt knowing this concept. The ole room was filled with energy has we played and progressed. It was energetic to me. I felt like I could do this all day long!

4PM
Next was a class filled with great informations offered by Diana Leafe. Diana is known around the world as a trainer. Diana’s mission is to help intentional communities get started successfully, function effectively, and achieve their goals. She has learned what works well from founders and long-time members of more than 170 communities worldwide — ecovillages, cohousing neighborhoods, housing co-ops, shared group households, income-sharing communes, and more. She is author of Creating a Life Together, (2006), and Finding Community (2007).
https://dianaleafechristian.org

 

7:30PM

After dinner with had a 
campfire with a story shared by Chris Farmer «Clueless Honkey». Again, I was amazed by this story. Everyone shed a tear to his story. It’s now time to share one part of his story I found in his blog. And I encourage you to read further with the link below.

The Clueless Honky
132 Earthaven SOIL 2016.JPG“One day, I began calling my friends “honky”. And all of a sudden, I had a new habit. Admittedly I don’t even remember why I started. Maybe I was strangely jealous of African Americans who called each other “nigger”, or gay people who called themselves “queer”. Something was perhaps attractive about somehow reclaiming such horribly harsh words.

 

Maybe I was just trying to be stupid – always a favorite pastime of mine. But “why” was, and still is, not the point.  

Then, when I was hanging out with my family once, my uncle overheard me call my brother “honky”, and he said “Oooh. You don’t want to be using that word.”
“Why not?”
“Well, do you know where it comes from?”
“No”.
So this is what he told me. I don’t know if it’s really true, and actually I don’t care, because it’s priceless.
He told me that back in the Old South, when a man was looking for love – the kind you have to pay for, but he was too poor to hire a white prostitute, he would drive down to a poor black neighborhood. He wouldn’t get out of his car, because he knew the brothers on the street would kick his ass. So he would pull up in front of the prostitute’s house, and stay in the driver’s seat, and honk and honk on his horn, until she came out and got in the car with him, and they drove away. That’s where the term “honky” comes from.
“Wow”, I said, “you’re right. That is horrible.”

But then, after a few days, I thought, “Hold on. That’s the Perfect word.”
That’s how so many of us obtain so many of the objects of our desires. We drive down into the poorest of the world’s neighborhoods. We’re afraid to get out of our cars, so we stay in the driver’s seat, and honk and honk on our horns until the object of our desire gets in, and we drive away. 
Except that these days, for the most part, we’re not even aware that we’re doing it. It’s like we’re not only Honkies, we’re Clueless Honkies.
I began to realize that the Clueless Honky is like a club, but the strangest club of all time. It’s not a club that you have to get admittance into, but a club that you have to get admittance Out Of.
In that the first step to get out of the club, is to admit that one is in the club.
(Hand in the air). Hello, I am Chris Farmer. And I am a Clueless Honky. I eat food that I don’t know where it comes from. I am heavily addicted to the fractional distillation of petroleum. I wear clothes and shoes and use electronic gadgets that are made very, very, very far away.
How did I get myself into this mess where my life is dependent on things to which I just don’t know how to give thanks?
Well, that’s not an easy question to answer. But over time, this is what I’ve come up with:
I noticed how we humans are such creatures of story. And I began wondering if we got in this mess because we lack a coherent enough creation story. And by creation story, I mean one of those Big stories that for eons people told themselves, and that answered the really big questions in life – who are we as human beings, where are we, and why are we here – and that, in essence, explains how we are connected to the source of our lives.
Because it sure seems to me that to have unwittingly become a clueless honky, I must have lacked a clear sense of who I was, where I was, and why I was here. I must have lacked a clear sense of my connection to the source of my life.

To get another perspective on how this plays out – how lacking a coherent creation story – plays out, I want to go back a couple of hundred years and look at an intellectually and morally luminous person we’ve all heard of – Thomas Jefferson.
Now, Jefferson found himself in a similar predicament – that of his life being dependent on things to which he didn’t know how to give thanks.
As is well known, Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence which included these famous words: “We hold these truths to be self evident- that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.“
As is less well known, Jefferson was also the author of Notes on Virginia, actually the only book he ever published. These, too, are his words: “The blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distant by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments of both body and mind.”
What allowed, and continues to allow, this kind of confusion, these kinds of ridiculous justifications for the unjustifiable, even from one such as Jefferson?
I wondered, if your creation story doesn’t help you make sense of the tricky stuff in life, well then, you just start filling in the blanks, so to speak, and you wind up creating ridiculous justifications for the unjustifiable, instead of dealing honestly and directly with the tricky stuff. And that’s what we’ve been doing for longer than anyone can remember.
And then, as time went by and as technology allowed, we hid – or exported – the unjustifiable way out beyond the horizon of our lived experience. Or, in other words, we made a slow transition – from slaveholders to Clueless Honkies.

And I also wonder whether or not the creation stories that we do have within our culture – I wonder if they are too infected with “guilt, sin, and blame” – what John Trudell calls the “Trinity of the Chain” – for them to ever do us any good. Because it’s almost unbearable to deal honestly and directly with anything we feel guilty about, or that we’re blaming others for, and so we therefore never truly learn from the big mistakes our species is prone to make.
So I propose that it’s time that we create a new creation story – a story that can help us “admit” ourselves out of the Club of the Clueless Honky.

I’d love to go ahead and recommend three design parameters for just such a story. Main design parameter – my dream is that it would be a main “frame” story that could hold an infinite number of stories within it. Kind of like the “1001 Arabian Nights”. Maybe not quite as explicit as where the main story is of a woman telling one unfinished story night after night. But, nonetheless, where the main story could fit an almost infinite number of individual’s open-sourced stories within its broad central theme.
Second, the main frame story would actually already exist and would already be at the least somewhat familiar to most folks, like it was some kind of sleeper story that just needed to be slightly tweaked and awakened to reveal its full potential. Doing this – revitalizing an old story – would avoid any kind of potential cult of personality surrounding the author of the new creation story.
Third, the frame story would answer not only who we are, where we are, and why we are here, but would also elucidate our connection to the source of our lives in such a way that it would answer, without resorting to any guilt, sin, and blame – how did we become such Clueless Honkies, and how do we get ourselves out of this stupid club?
Now, I have a suggestion for just such a story that would meet all of these design parameters.”

Check out the next Clueless Honky Blog post for more.

8:30PM
Sleep time. I didn’t slept a lot. There was so much to think about. I was still on a high. Pretty satisfied though.

Part 2

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