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Raw Journal

I started this journal in hopes that my life could help or inspire someone else. Enjoy!


Nov 2008


A Star is Born


fearless chocolate

fear less raw chocolate

November is my very good friend, Nova's birthday. Our little community of raw food friend's celebrated at a local raw food restaurant called Seed Restaurant in Santa Rosa. There menu is always changing so it is exciting to see what is available! I was really bummed that I forget the memory card for my camera:(


One highlights of the night was that I invited a new raw food couple that moved into the area and we all got a chance to know them a little better. They told me about how they routinely input what they eat into a nutrition data analyzer. They mentioned nutritiondata.com, fitday.com, and nutrition analysis tool 2.0. I think it is a great idea to track what you are eating each day to make sure you're getting what you need. It takes the guess work out of raw food. I also think that people think that just because it's raw, it's healthy. That is not always the case. Many people who are new to raw foods can easily get 60% of their calories from fat without even knowing! Tracking what you eat for a few weeks or more can really help. I also like the new book by Cherie Soria called The Raw Food Revolution Diet, this is is the only raw food recipe book available that has a nutritional analysis for each recipe.



carob pods

raw carob pods and raw carob powder

Back to the birthday bash, the other highlight was that my friend Nova's boyfriend wore a tuxedo to the raw food restaurant. He was a little over dressed to say the least, but I guess she is always getting on his case to dress up more often and he finally listened. I was also in on a little secret that he was surprising her with tickets to Hawaii! Nova loves a show on TLC called Jon and Kate plus 8 about a couple with 8 children. On their most recent episode they went to a beautiful resort to renew their vows called the Grand Wailea in Maui, well her boyfriend surprised her with a stay there. How romantic!


I'm super happy because I get to play with lil Chihuahua super star Penny Reh! Scroll down for pictures of her at the beach with my boyfriend and I. She's sleeping nuzzled next to me as I type. Having Penny Reh for three weeks has really given my boyfriend and I dog fever. My brother says that dog fever is contagious:) So far this week I've gone to three shelters to find my little doggie soulmate but I'm going to wait until my dog sitting duties are over. Nova told me that there are many dogs at shelters that need a good home and that if you buy a dog from a pet store you are supporting puppy mills that are just as cruel (or worse) as factory farming. There are so many cute dogs at the shelters it seems like you could find exactly the dog you need and possibly save it's life at the same time.


Green Festival

aged macadamia nut cheese

Aged Macadamia Nut Cheese

The next day we went to the annual San Francisco Green Festival. I ran into Justin from Organic Athlete, for those of you that have never heard about organic athlete, it's a non for profit organization that promotes vegan athleticism, awareness, and education. Justin is a raw vegan cyclist and runner. He was a speaker at our last potluck and I was amazed and inspired by his 3-4 hour a day workouts. I love it when raw vegan athletes dispel the myth that vegans have less energy! I also ran into the organizer of the famous raw spirit festival, Happy Oasis. I personally haven't been, but I know so many people who have and had a great time. I love going to raw food festivals! I used to go to the International Raw Foods Festival in Oregon. I miss it so much! I love Oregon, but luckily there is another Oregon raw food festival called the Raw and Living Spirit Retreat I'd like to visit. It's really good to connect with other people who are interested in the raw food's lifestyle. It makes you feel sane:) I'm so lucky I've created a community of raw friends. They are always a phone call, visit, or raw potluck away:)


zukay pickle

Zukay Pickle Relish

Also, at the Green Festival were many raw friendly vendors. I especially loved the Kale Chips from Blessings Alive and Radiant Foods. I bought the Thai High Curry Flavor. These were the ingredients:
 Kale*, Zucchini*, Basil*, Coconut*, Miso*, Curry Powder*, Garam Masala*, Lemongrass*, Jalapeno*, Ginger*, Lemon Juice*, Agave*, Scallion*, Himalayan Crystal Salt. They are salty, crunchy, spicy, with a strong curry flavor. I really liked them and think they would be good on top of a salad. They also have three other flavors: QUITE CHEESEY, PLEASING PESTO, and VERY TERIYAKI. I've tried them all, and they are all very good. Thai Curry is my favorite.









apple cinnamon date rolls

apple cinnamon date roll with celery

There were also a lot of new raw chocolate companies at the festival. I'm really happy there are more raw vegan chocolate options for the chocoholics out there. Unfortunately I can't eat raw chocolate:( Just a sprinkle of nibs and my bladder gets really irritated and I feel shaky and have trouble sleeping. I definitely think it's better than a standard candy bar though and if it encourages people to eat healthier overall; that's a good thing. A new raw chocolate bar that stood out was called Fearless Chocolate. I didn't try it, but my friend did and he likes it a lot. The consistency is really smooth and creamy and they have different flavor options.



me and penny

Penny Reh and I

My favorite is still carob! I love carob power in my smoothies and desserts. Carob is a pod that grows on the carob tree that is a member of the legume (pea) family and it grows in Mediterranean areas. Carob is up to 8% protein and contains vitamins A, B, B2, and B3. It is also high in calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium and contains iron, manganese, barium, copper and nickel. For more information about carob read this article. Most people have not seen a raw carob pod, but luckily my friends brought some back for me from Germany. Look at the picture to your left. You just chew on the pods and spit out the seeds. So yummy!










New Yummy Products


Darrell and Penny

Darrell and Penny Reh

Another raw food product I tried last weekend was not at the Green Festival but I found it at Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco. I also read about it in Veg News Magazine in the favorite products section. It is called Tree Nut Cheese and it comes in 8 flavors. It is a raw cheese made from nuts. I personally tried the aged macadamia nut flavor. It definitely had the consistency of a soft cheese with a nutty flavor. I am curious to try the other flavors. On it's own it didn't blow me away, but I think it would be great on a raw cracker.  Plus, I am biased because I like to make my own nut cheese. I let two other people taste it for a second opinion and they both really liked it. It's getting rave reviews and has many fans. Any new vegan raw food product in the cheese aisle is an amazing thing!







Nova lee

Noval Lee Birthday Girl

Another raw food product my friend John introduced me to recently is from a company called Zukay and they make a raw pickle relish and an almost raw fermented salsa! Even though, on the website they say that the  tiny amount of culture they use is milk based, since then the formulation has changed, so now the culture they use is vegan. I tried the raw fermented pickle relish and I really liked it. I think it would be awesome in a raw food mock tuna pate. You can order a case of 6 jars right off the website. Pickle relish fans rejoice!





organic athlete

Organic Athlete Team

The last raw food product I wanted to tell you about is something I stumbled upon at my local health foods grocery store. It is an organic apple date roll. Basically they took some organic dates and rolled them with organic apple powder and cinnamon. Soy lecithin is also on the ingredient list. I usually don't like date nut concoctions because they are so heavy, so I was thrilled to find a date roll with no nuts. They are absolutely delicious! Reminds me of an apple cinnamon roll. My favorite thing is to spread them on celery sticks.


If you want to see some of the other products that I recommend go to my recommendations page, most people overlook this page but it really is just a list of some of my favorite things. If I love something I love letting people know about it.You might get some good ideas for Christmas!


Happy Gratitude Day


John with Happy Oasis

John and Happy Oasis

Here is a cool video someone sent me about wisdom I thought you might enjoy:


and don't forget to scroll down and read my latest new poem about Gratitude in honor of Thanksgiving.


And of course Happy Thanksgiving!!!


I Love U,

Ceci and Penny Reh


P.S. 5 things I'm grateful for

1.Babysitting little Penny Reh and snuggling with her in the morning.
2. My friend Nova who lets me share her dog:)

3.Having the time to be creative and write in this journal. It's one of my favorite things to do.
4.Laura and I have a planned walk in a few hours and the sun is shinning.
5. I'm grateful that Darrell is back from a business trip and also that he bought me a Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder, 60-Minutes (Black) and I'm anticipating all the raw food videos we're going to make and all the people we are going to reach!

What are are you grateful for?


1 year 1 shopper 500 bags 

1 year 1 shopper 500 bags

Curry Kale Chips 

Kale Chips



glowly sunset



Gratitude is
an eternal pause
to recognize the divine
amidst the mundane

Gratitude is a deep breath for the soul
a softening of the heart
a surrendering of the ego
to all the invisible workings
of a magical universe

Gratitude is our raft
on that great current
that is both us
and carries us
back and forth
between heaven and earth

Gratitude is our connection to spirit
A joyful prayer
A silent mantra
to the only truth the world has ever known
All is Always Well

Gratitude is an invitation to sit at God's table
and celebrate with the angels
to toast to a blessed life and a peaceful heart
Gratitude is a glimpse into the heart of life itself
a preview of even more beauty and more wonder to come
to be uncovered in every


-Cecilia Benjumea 11/08

click for more of Cecilia's poetry


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