Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Michigan's Raw EcoFest!

Hello, hello, my health-conscious friends!

Over the weekend, I did something out of my norm, and out of my comfort zone: drove 5 hours north to Michigan, to join our friends Mark and Carla in attending a Raw Food EcoFest! And boy am I glad I did! It was such a delight to expand my horizons, hear what other people do for health, hear stories about people changing their lives through diet, and finding many more topics for me to research! (Always the student!)

So I wanted to share a little about what I saw and did that day with Dave! (The poor man! At first, he thought he may opt to just hang out for the day at the hotel while I went all by my lonesome! But he decided to let me drag him along, and actually said he liked a lot of it!)

First, we stopped at Adya Water, where we met Matt, who shared his theories on how mineralizing water makes it cleaner, makes nutrients more readily absorbed, and makes your body healthier and less prone to disease and other maladies. He even gave us a "super shot" of his treated water, and Dave said he noticed a tingling on the back of his tongue - presumably as the water was killing off some bacteria!

Then we got to wander through the various tents selling all sorts of fun products - we saw all sorts of fun things!! Aromatherapy and natural lotions, Fair Trade crafts, Worm composts, mushroom-growing kits, solar energy information, raw foods to try... and here's a picture of my man actually getting interested in some of these things! He's checking out a spiral slicer - same idea as the one I already have (and have posted about) but I guess it makes the noodles even thinner! More like angel-hair pasta than the spaghetti-size mine makes.

Checking out fun kitchen tools!
Then we thought about food... They had several vendors lined up where various raw foods were sold for lunch! They had "natso" meats and "raw-tacos", raw pumpkin pie and carrot cake, many different wraps and sandwiches that used various green leafies as wraps, juices and smoothies, and more! Dave thought about it.... aaaand decided he wasn't that hungry ;-) Then he kept asking if I thought we'd be able to find an Oktoberfest-style brat-and-kraut vendor somewhere close! No such luck, my dear!
Row of Raw!
So we instead made our way to the main tent where some little mini-lectures were going on. We listened in on a woman talking about how she views samples of a person's blood, and can get a general read on what may be making them less healthy than they would like. She was offering testing at the festival, but we passed on that.

Finally, I decided I was hungry and I wanted to try some new foods! So as we walked down the row of food, the "raw taco" just sounded interesting to me! I picked one up, and asked Dave what he wanted. He gave a slight curl of the lip and said he'd pass on it all. Alright! Not to let his spirit dampen me, I bought my taco and salsa, and we headed to a table!

The taco was SO GOOD! They used processed soaked walnuts to emulate the meat, and then had it all seasoned up with organic taco seasonings (chili pepper, cumin, coriander... who knows what else!) and then had a bell pepper and avocado spread on it, and a yummy salsa on the side! Then they used a big ol' collard leaf to wrap it all up! Yum, yum, and YUM! I was shocked!

Walnuts, spice, onions, oh my!

As I nibbled... Dave got curious. "Welll, ok, maybe one bite. I'm kind of hungry..."

The next thing I know, I'm heading back to the food line to buy a second, because Dave wouldn't give it back!

Defending his food with a growl!
Just as we were finishing our meal, it started to rain and the temperature dropped! Brrr!! We were getting ready to walk back to the car for extra layers and umbrellas, when I was drawn in by a bizarre site... people looking like baked potatoes! And I just had to check it out!

Far InfraRed Saunas: the claim is that they help stimulate circulation, boost metabolism, relieve pain, help bolster your body's natural detox process, and many other things. Pretty big claims for me to study further, but what I DO know is that it was super warm and toasty!

Getting myself zipped into my space pod!
Phil was the man selling these contraptions. It was a clever trick, I'll admit! Offer a free 10 minute personal sauna system, and you're trapped in there while he give you the sales pitch!!

But it was SOOO worth it! I actually had a lot of fun chatting with Phil, and the girl zipped in the pod next to me. So we just kept talking, and Phil kept cranking my timer. My ten minute session turned into over a half an hour!! I was so warm and toasty by the end, that I was ready to get back out and face the cold :)

Peace, Love, and Smoothies!
And then finally we got a call from our friends Carla and Mark, and there they were!!!  With chairs for us!  YAY!!!!

So all four of us went back over to the main tent where they were giving away raffle prizes. I guess life was smiling on us! Of the 10 tickets we purchased, 3 were winners!! So we got a free DVD from Matt and Angela Monarch (two people respected within the Raw community), a big bottle of some "super food" supplement (yet another thing for me to research!) and a one-day workshop with Joyce Oliveto, one of the chefs there! Woo!! So I guess we'll be making a trip back to Michigan in the future for the class!

Dave bringing back the first raffle win!
Then Matt and Angela got up and gave their story, talked of the dangers of processed starches and refined sugars, and talked about the benefits of (uhh...) colon cleansing! Eep! I keep hearing about that stuff, but I am not ready to commit to someone poking around my bum voluntarily!
Matt Monarch and his wife, Angela Stokes-Monarch
Our next stop was a dehydrator demo with Joyce, where we got to sample "natso cheese" crackers (no dairy! Just seasonings and such made these little guys taste like Cheez-Itz!) I will definitely want to give them a try some time! Then she gave us facon-bacon - made from seasoned egg plant! I was shocked again! It didn't quite taste like bacon to me, but it was still interesting and I never would have guessed I was eating eggplant!!

Carla passing out samples. Such a sweet giving soul!!
And then around 7:00pm, things began winding down. They had planned to do a bonfire, but for some reason, they cancelled. Sad :(

But on the up-side, the mostly-local produce stand was trying to get rid of a lot of it's left overs! Woot!!

Dave and I went over, and I realized, "wow! This is pretty much all the stuff I'd get from Kroger - Romaine, red-leaf lettuce, lemons, limes, apples, avocado, onions... and more fun stuff like plums and leeks!" Well, why not just do my shopping now, when it's mostly local and cheaper?! I asked Tony, the guy running the booth, if he had a few bags because I was ready to load up! He shook his head and said, "But I have a big box!" I'll take it!

So Dave and I started to load up. I tried to remain somewhat conservative - organics can be pricey, and I didn't want to embarrass myself by picking out more than I could afford, then having to put items back once he gave me the price... so I did just a handful of things. As we were loading up the box, he kept saying, "you sure you don't want this? Or how about more of that?" Dave and I laughed, asking if he was desperate to get rid of stuff. Apparently, a lot of the stuff was still good, but not necessarily good enough that it would be sellable for long enough - that it was easier for him to sell it now, than to risk it going bad too quickly and not selling at all. So, yes, some of it did have to go within the next few days!

I looked in my box, and asked how much he wanted. He said $10. Rifling through my wallet, I pulled out a $20. "All I have is this," I said, expecting change. He decided to do a $20 box, I guess! He said, "just start loading things in! The full box for $20!" More unexpected blessings raining down on us!

I felt bad about taking advantage of that, so just slowly added a few more things. So he came over and started loading me up himself! I don't even know all that ended up in there! But I know there were 2 heads of romaine, 2 heads of lettuce, a giant sweet onion, 2 sweet potatoes, about 5 lemons, maybe a dozen limes, 5 or more plums, 3 pears, 3 leeks, 2 kiwi, a tub of green and red grapes, a head of broccoli, a head of cauliflower, a bundle of celery... and I can't remember what else! But half of it is at home, cozy in my fridge, ready to be eaten and help fight for my health! ;-) The other half made its home with Carla and Mark, who housed us the second night, as part of our thanks to them!

So many thanks to Tony of the Simply Fresh Market
for the treasure trove of produce!! It will all go to good use! :)
And after all that, we drove to our friends' place for a good night's sleep! The next day held its own fun!

So that's Day One of my Michigan trip! So many new things to read about: raw taco recipes, mineralizing waters, Biomats, sprouting, FIR Saunas... and dare I look into the ghastly topic of colon cleansing?!!? All in good time, I suppose!

Have a lovely week, and hopefully I'll see you back here soon for apple-pie green smoothies, restaurant raw style, and fresh pressed cider from Day Two!

Happy Honeydew Hugs!
You can see the peaceful pond behind me.  And that pile of rocks?
That's where the bonfire SHOULD have been!!


  1. Yay for a successful trip! It's always a good sign when someone won't give you back your food. ;) Nothing like tasty, healthy food. I love the picture at the end of the post, you look amazing! (:

  2. Hi Megs!! {hug!}

    Haha! Dave is still craving those "rawcos" or "natso taco" or whatevers :) I guess I'm going to have to start experimenting with recipes!

    And thanks! :D I was feeling so good after a whole weekend of (almost) nothing but fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds!

  3. That Seasonal food finder below is awesome!

    Hiya by the way Spark Friend here!

  4. Well hi DV, my Sparky friend! :D Good to see you dropping in!

    I know! Isn't that gadget great?! Lazily, I wish I could get it to always stay on Ohio's food... but it keep defaulting at NY. Ah well, I guess I know what they're eating in the Big Apple at all times, then! (Or what they SHOULD be eating, at least!) ;-)