Lost and Found in Russia

I think it was more than my high school teacher, Mr. Sullivan’s, influence that turned me into a Slavophile.  I don’t have any Russian roots that I have ever discovered. My ancestors all seem to originate in the United Kingdom.  There is even a story in my family that it was a flip of a coin that decided whether my great grandfather would leave Nelson, England and move to the United States or Australia. Even my husband’s ancestors come from the UK. In other circumstances we might have met on that continent. So, why we both met on the Russian language floor at the University of Colorado implies a much larger plan than we could have birthed on our own.

Our faith walk has always included things Russian. My aunt sent me books on the persecuted Russian Christians while I was studying the language in college. We read books like:

God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew

Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand

The Siberian Seven by John Pollock

The Persecutor by Sergei Kourdakov

Since my husband and I are both drawn to all things Russian, it was not that unusual to receive  a book from a friend in Colorado. Her accompanying note said that she had read the book in great confusion, reread it, and still had some confusion. “But, I thought it might mean something to you.”

The book is called Lost and Found in Russia, Lives in a Post-Soviet Landscape by Susan Richards. We had been familiar with the name, Susan Richards through our Russian studies at university. She is a British journalist with a solid reputation. She did her doctoral work on Alexander Solzhenitsyn and won an award for her first book, Epics of Everyday Life: Encounters in a Changing Russia. She founded a website called Open Democracy and has written extensively on the former Soviet Union and current day Russia, its politics and people. So, it was with a sense of expectant curiosity that we read the book. What surprised us was the way it dovetailed  with our current foray into raw foods, vibrations and electromagnetic energy.

In a portion of the book, Susan Richards relates visiting her old friend Vera, who had left her previous life to join a group of Old Believers living on the slopes of the Sayan Mountains by Lake Toberkul. The fact that most jumped out to us about this was the mention that the group was vegan in their diet. Although Russia does not make the list of Blue zones talked about by Dan Buettner, there are some places in the country where people live longer.

Mountainous regions around the world appear to increase longevity. The climate and quality of the air in altitudes between 2,200 and 3,600 meters above sea level seem to be a health benefit. The very act of walking in these steep regions could increase longevity. Russian media reported the death of Magomed Labazanov in Fall 2012. He had been interviewed earlier in the year on his 122nd birthday. He lived in the village of Serebryakovka in the Kizlyar district of Dagestan. He credited his longevity to dancing traditional dances, abstaining from alcohol and tobacco and eating locally produced food.

The health benefits of a vegan diet were consistent with what we were reading about and discovering with our personal Genesis 1:29 experiment. We had heard about the Daniel Diet  as a good way to start a new year, an alternative to fasting. The movie Forks over Knives came out in 2011 and it seemed that many people started conversations about this topic. One of the blue zones is Loma Linda, California which has a large population of Seventh Day Adventists who eat a basically vegan diet. Here it was coming up, dating from the 1990’s in the former Soviet Union!

So, it seems that food is even more important than the paper plate chart we made in grade school would indicate! I have read that physicians have only one class in nutrition during all their years of medical training despite taking the Hippocratic oath by the man who coined the phrase, Let food be thy medicine, and medicine by thy food.  And raw food, according to Kirlian photography has something very special. Even if it only photographs water content in foods, it still makes sense that we would want to eat freshe food with more water content rather than dried out food. This trail of research will inevitably connect you with the work of Masuro Emoto. He has a theory that thoughts can produce some kind of wave or frequency effect on water crystals. His experiments are quite fascinating.

In addition to the food connection, another section of the book was also captivating. Susan Richards describes a visit to Professor Kaznacheev’s laboratory. She entitles this section of the book, Touching the Cosmos. “His laboratory contained a device they had developed that allowed ordinary people like me to understand what it meant to be in touch with the cosmos. The device reduced the magnetic field which covers the earth’s surface, he explained.” (p.153 Lost and Found in Russia)  Basically, this factual journalist appears to have had a type of out-of-body experience.

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?  Nikola Tesla is often quoted as saying, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

So, if everything vibrates, what are my vibrations? I would love to believe that I give off a good vibe!

An interesting tidbit that came up during this rabbit trail excursion was very personal. My husband and I have had this little thing that we do.  We often sign cards to each other with the number 500. This started when we were in college. We had one of those silly in love discussions that went:

 I love you.

I love you more.

I love you a million.

I love you a billion.

I love you to infinity.

Yes, you get the drift. Even we felt silly at the time. So, we made an agreement, “Let’s just say that 500 is the biggest number that will ever exist. We will always love each other 500!” And it has been that way ever since. So, imagine our surprise when we started reading about vibrations and found this chart.


Did you check out the measurement beside love? The vibration of love is 500! Coincidence? I think not. Is God trying to tell us something? Time to go do more study.



Weebles Wobble, but We Don’t Fall Down

That old commercial. “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down” used to tickle me. My toddlers played with them. I never imagined that I would become one. It is nearly as painful to admit verbally as it has been to experience physically that I started 2016 as a Weeble.

In 2015 I had a desk job.  It doesn’t matter if you are good at your work, if you love your co-workers, if you believe in the ‘product’ – sitting at a desk for the majority of your day and staring at a computer screen is NOT good for your health.  It does NOT help a person thrive physically.

So, although 2015 was actually a wonderful year in many ways, – lucrative, intellectually challenging, filled with friends, family and some travel – it was not a healthful year. Therefore, my husband and I decided that in 2016 we would make health a priority. Because after all, if you haven’t got your health….

We wanted to throw ourselves into a program, but we couldn’t! We have always loved sports, especially tennis, racquetball, and biking! Our bodies, however, were in protest mode!  My left knee totally vetoed the fast twisting motions required by tennis and racquetball!  My husband’s job required a lot of heavy lifting and repetitive motions, so by the end of a day his sore muscles and bruised ligaments screamed, “Enough already!”

So, in the beginning we just limped to the stop sign at the end of our street and back – 2/10 of a mile! We looked like Grandpa and Grandma Weeble. We rocked side to side, hanging onto each others arms. We barely made it back, crawled up the three stairs to our front door and went in to take a nap.

Each day we committed to going a little farther! Around day 4 we drove to a trail and walked 4 miles. It took about 4 hours! That’s a pretty slow pace when you consider some people have broken a 4 minute mile!  We drove home and it took nearly as long to get out of the car and crawl into the house. Yet, we challenged each other to continue. Sometimes there was a pain in my heel that would not go away until we were two miles into the walk!  Another time we walked the last two miles in the rain!

I am thrilled to tell you that WALKING WORKS! Simply walking. Just putting one foot in front of the other. Just moving forward! We are just 12 days into our commitment, but we already feel things changing.  We have not lost all the weight we need to lose. We have not been perfect on our raw-food-only eating plan. We have not done stretching exercises or yoga.(yet)  We even took one day off from our commitment to walk while we re-tiled our kitchen counter.

This morning, on our 3 mile neighborhood walk, we noticed that we aren’t wobbling as much!  We are walking a little more like humans. Instead of the side to side motion, we are standing straighter and moving forward, so our pace is a bit faster.  Pain has noticeably decreased.  The knee twinges less.  The heel stops pulling after only a half a mile.  My husband is 10 pounds lighter – me only 5. Yet, any improvement is significant improvement and we are encouraged!



Interns Are Wonderful!

This summer we have hired an intern/executive assistant/Gal Friday! I highly recommend this idea. We have bartered room and board for a multitude of necessary services! Our wonderful intern, Julie, even prepares vegan and raw recipes! She graciously credits me with introducing her to raw cuisine – but she has taken it to an art form! In addition to this invaluable talent, she also has a degree in Fine Arts with a specialty in using natural and recycled resources to create beautiful items – from jewelry to woven accessories to display installations. So, we are already brainstorming new recipes to help our journey to health as we also brainstorm products to give some of our new artisans at Trades of Hope a jump start in their businesses!
This week we have been treated to raw cheeses, raw tacos (complete with ‘meat’ filling and ‘sour cream’, apple ravioli among other delicacies! She has enjoyed Daytona Beach and our many farmers markets and the produce growing from our tower garden! I believe we are going to have a blessed and super productive summer!


Finding Juice in Cheyenne, WY


I want to send out a big thank you to RubyJuice in Cheyenne, WY! We were traveling and in Cheyenne we were able to find a place to help us stick to our raw food convictions!  Luscious vegetables were juiced right in our presence and the choices of combos and other eaties was great! We were even able to revitalize with their “wheat grass zinger” which was really the best tasting way to get wheat grass into your body that we have ever tried! If I could have that every day, drinking wheat grass would be no problem at all!


I hear they have a bunch of UCF guys that hang out in there at times. They also had some products they were showcasing to benefit women in Africa AND they invited me to leave Trades of Hope catalogs in there! Because of that we have the first Trades of Hope Compassion Entrepreneur in Wyoming – Jenni Brelsford! RubyJuice is truly a place with a heart for people – caring about health and happiness.

Their address is:

Rubyjuice Fruit and Smoothies

113 W 17th St
Cheyenne, WY 82001

(307) 634-3022


Thinking about Food

When you have people visit for an extended period, you think about food – a lot. Although people are impressed with our tower gardens and our front yard garden, the idea of eating all raw is a totally alien concept to most. Since it is important to us that our guests feel comfortable and honored, we do not force them to juice or eat raw food. The catch is that I also do not feel that I am honoring someone if I serve them the artificial sugars and processed foods that they may be used to. So, how do we deal with that? It’s costly, but we try to have some of both available. We look two-faced if you enter our home and see these deadly processed foods in our frig and pantry, but it is the compromise that we have found to not upset people or make them feel forced into a lifestyle they have not yet chosen! (Notice I said “yet”.)
We try to have a salad at each meal. We will juice and make smoothies as they heat their morning coffee and English muffins – and – truth being truth – sometimes we even have a cup of coffee and muffin with them. We will make rice and beans, we have luncheon meats in the frig for sandwiches (we don’t eat those), but we can join them for a veggie wrap. I think I’ll try some stir fry for them, and maybe some nut pates or garbanzo bean “tuna”. We will see which changes they are open to. But we are fighting a difficult mentality in that our visitors are on “vacation” and most people on vacation feel that is a time which includes license to eat all the “bad” or “rich” foods that they would not normally eat at home. Vacation is a particularly difficult time to introduce people to “healthy only” choices.
We also are in the throes of weddings! Of course, we all know that celebrations include celebration food! It takes a while before people adjust their taste buds to a place where a watermelon or a ripe peach (I’m drooling) are as ardently desired as a piece of “traditional” wedding cake !(But I want to give a shout out to Adam and Ashley whose wedding we just attended – and they had veggie cups and fruit skewers for appetizers! Awesome!)  Still, people on vacation to attend a celebration (or several celebrations as is happening in our family) are not generally the most open to healthy suggestions however lovingly and gently introduced! So, prayers appreciated! We ask that we would be good examples (and not succumb to old habits and bad choices ourselves) and that whoever is supposed to be encouraged would have ears to hear and eyes to see. Thanks! Our guests will be here for a month. We’ll let you know how things work out!


Day 4 Juice Only

This morning’s juice was pineapple (1/2), spinach and kale (about 3full leaves of kale and a fistful – husband’s fist – of spinach) through the juicer. Then, we poured that juice into the blender with some frozen banana. The juice alone was pretty tasty. the juice with the banana was like a smoothie and very tasty, too. Then husband decided to also add some Vega Whole Food Health Optimizer powder which had cacao and made the whole thing taste chocolatey! So, that was good, too.
Just to be real here, I have to add that I have woken up with a headache the last two mornings. After I drink my morning juice it seems to go away by noon, but I’m not really sure if that is part of “detox” or due to the fact that I still need to drink more water throughout the day. One of the signs of dehydration is headache, but it is really difficult for me to drink a lot of water. That is something I am trying to improve. So, this morning I gave myself permission to lay around and read a book. I ran to the store briefly and cleaned the bathroom, but that was about it. Now, I split the same kind of smoothie with my son and later I will go visit my sister.
We planned these couple of weeks for our juicing because we did not have a lot on our calendar besides regular work. We have both lost a pound or a little more each day. That kind of incentive helps keep you going, but plateaus can happen as well, so our focus is on health more than anything. We are getting so many nutrients from this wonderful fresh food and cleaning ourselves out from the processed food that sneaks it way back into our diets.
So, that’s it for today. I hope if you try our juice combos that you like the taste.


Juice it up

This morning I juiced 3 grapefruit and some blueberries. Peeling the skins and running it through the Breville Juice Fountain makes it frothy and skims out the pulp. I like it a lot. Around 11, hubby came home and wanted to try a green juice, so we juiced 4 pieces of kale, 2 tomatos, 1 1/2 really large red peppers, two cucumbers and a handful of parsley. It was good, a little bland but drinkable. Around 2:30 I started feeling the lack of calories and whipped up some oranges and blueberries. These were about the last oranges on my tree, so I’m going to start hitting up my friends. The orange juice helped but didn’t last long. I have a bit of a headache and need to leave the kitchen so I’m not faced with the temptation every second. That’s what hammocks are for.


Easier than we make it!

Sometimes I make blogging harder than it is. I don’t get around to it because I think I don’t have anything significant to say. I stress over whether I have enough information, or whether my grammar is perfect, or my punctuation is without error. I can only get out of this perfectionist trap by repeating a quote I heard many years ago. It was “anything worth doing is worth doing poorly”! Okay, that drove me crazy too, when I first heard it because it seems at first glance, to clash with the idea of giving everything your best effort. Yet, when I really thought about it, I began to understand. If anything is really worth doing at all, than any attempt , even a less than perfect attempt, is worthwhile because it it still a step forward in an area worth pursuing. Another thing is that as people attempt things, they usually get better and better at them.
I also reminded myself, that this blog is not an attempt to win a prize or write the great American novel. It is simply about encouraging people. Some of my friends and relatives have asked me to share in a couple areas concerning what we eat and how we do our ministry. So, that is all I have to do here. Whew! Pressure off, big relief.
Do you put pressure on yourself that way – demand all sorts of things of yourself that no one put on the list except you? I do that all the time.
So, this morning I will simply tell you that I woke up refreshed and motivated (a gift – nothing I did). And, due to that perky feeling I was really ready to juice, so I did. I made orange and grape juice for breakfast. So, details – I peeled the orange part of the skin off the oranges, cut them in half and stuffed them through my Breville Juice Fountain. Then I put about a half a pound of grapes through simply because that is what I had in the frig. it came out frothy like an orange Julius in my old mall days. It tasted good and was sweet (like I like it) and it gave me enough energy to make it to noon.
Then I juiced 6 carrots, 2 stalks of kale, two mini cucumbers and 4 juicing apples for lunch.
I plan to juice again for supper. Ever since I did that juice fast two years ago, I have wanted to do another, but we kept traveling or having company or events that made juicing logistically difficult and socially challenging.
We realize that right now we have a window of opportunity and we should take it. We started on this Monday because we still have to work, so even if we end up curled into the fetal position and hating this juicing fast, we’ll have the weekend to lay in bed and get over the hump. Hopefully it won’t come to that because I would like to do some other things this weekend than suffer, but I’m willing to suffer through the detox to get to a better place. Usually the first few days you feel great, and then the reality of what you are doing sinks in to both mind and body and you can experience some discomfort. So, our window for discomfort is this weekend.
Our verse for inspiration is Isaiah 40:29. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Juice fasting is more successful when we admit we need help, God’s help and the help of supportive friends and family.


A Couple Smoothie Recipes

Today I mixed a bunch of kale leaves (take the green off the stems and don’t put the thick stems in your smoothie), a large handful of young spinach leaves, about a cup of coconut water,1/2 a pineapple and a frozen banana in the blender. (I used Matt’s Montel Williams blender. It’s pretty heavy duty, but I have made a similar smoothie in my regular Osterizer blender as well). Both my husband and I thought it tasted pretty good.

Yesterday I used our juicer. We have a Breville Juice Fountain. My favorite blend is about 5 carrots, 4 celery stalks, 4 whole long leaves of kale (stems and all), and 3-4 juicing apples. Usually we get about a quart of juice out of that. We can toss the pulp into our compost, or use it to mix with other ingredients and make a raw recipe that goes into the dehydrator. Usually we just compost it.


Must See Movies about Diet and Health on Netflix

These are some movies that have influenced us in our decision to try and eat primarily raw food. It seems there is evidence daily to support that decision, although there is also a constant barrage of dissension as well. The dissenters arguments, however, are based more on tradition, comfort, habits, and addictions rather than health. Everyone has to make up their own mind. We are simply in process. Sometimes we are really successful – and then we feel great and look better. Other days we succumb to old habits – and within an hour or so feel terrible. Watch these resources for yourself and let us know what you think. Before anyone makes a change in the way they live, they have to believe the change will be a beneficial one.
Available on Netflix as on 2/25/2013
Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
Food Matters
Food Fight
Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution
The Gerson Miracle
Ted Talks: Chew on This
Ted Talks: Defying Disease