Let's take a look at some of the special day's many events:
guest lecture with Tim Van Orden at raw aura
I first heard of Tim Van Orden when I became more intrigued with raw foods a year or so ago. In fact, his green smoothie videos on YouTube (along with Carmella Soleil'sThe Sunny Raw Kitchen and Heather Pace's Adventures of Raw Goddess Heathy) were one of the first sources that helped to introduce me to the multiple benefits of raw foods. I had heard about Tim's guest lecture upon my previous visit to Raw Aura (see post: raw aura workshop), and thought it would be nice to have my birthday coincide with his visit (as a side note, it was also a Raw Aura staff member's birthday (although her name escapes me at the moment)- what a cosmic connection!). Upon our arrival to Raw Aura, we were greeted with a multitude of like-minded folk who came to hear Tim speak about "Raw Food Myths, Magic and Misconceptions". In short, the restaurant was packed with eager and hungry raw vegans .
Of course, I had to try another one of the fabulous dishes on the menu. For this visit, I decided on the sour cream and onion kale chips (I must have been hungry, as I forgot to take a photo!), the lasagna, and parsley-carrot-apple-lemon juice. My manfriend ordered the living pb & j, which was a delightful combination of banana, strawberries, a nut-based butter spread on dehydrated banana bread. A definite winner:
The lasagna was really interesting, as I assumed it would have been a slightly warm-dehydrated dish. Although it was cold, it was still super yummy. A combination of nut cheeses (cashew-based 'ricotta' with pine-nut 'parmaesan'), spices, tomato sauce, and zucchini noodles, this was very interesting to try (although, slightly acidic for me - not sure why, perhaps I wasn't in a citrus-y sort of mood that day;-). The presentation was quite nice as well:
the lasagnaThe restaurant wound down just in time for Tim's talk. Incredibly engaging and informative,Tim offered a balanced (no pun intended) discussion surrounding raw foods. His approach was quite impressive, and some key issues discussed were enzymes, B12, supplements, food production. Other highlights of the discussion for me included the concept of 'whole-ism': a holistic view to existence, the power we have in making our own choices in relation to food, the concept of 'thrival' (thriving as living). Personally, I was impressed with how he approached multiple issues related to raw foods from both sides (he not only championed certain aspects of raw foods, but also offered a critique).
The juice was a delightful blend of the aforementioned ingredients, and I was very impressed with raw aura's hand cranked blender (a masticating juicer I'm presuming?). This juice was quite refreshing:parsley-carrot-apple-lemon juice
His emphasis on stress in relation to diet was particularly iluminating; the idea that if a raw vegan approach to diet and lifestyle can cause someone anxiety and stress, then perhaps it is not the best approach. During the guest lecture, my academic conditioning came into play, and I wrote copious amounts of notes.
I promise that drawing/doodling helps me concentrate!:
Above all, Tim combined an informative, research oriented approach with strong public speaking/orator skills and a philosophical approach to understanding life and living. In fact, I would consider Tim to be a supreme raw food existentialist (although I know he refrains from labels) ;-) Some great Tim 'mantras' that I took home with me include:
I was glad I had the opportunity to thank him in person for his talk. Unfortunately, it was too busy to ask for a picture, as the next group attending his 4pm lecture were being seated. Ahh well. My first encounter with a raw vegan spokesperson - hopefully not the last! For more on Tim, check out his website Running Raw.
"make loving choices",
"live a lot",
"take your power back", and
"live a life of maximum expression".
As the evening approached, I was able to unveil my raw birthday cake. I decided on a re-worked version of Carmella's Persimmon Shortcake recipe. Here is my version/recipe:
3/4 cup well packed soft dates, chopped
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup dried coconut
1/2 cup cashews, ground
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
1 c cashews
1 c coconut milk
2 tbsp raw honey (beegan!)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
1/2 c melted coconut oil
1 tbsp lecithin powder
2 tsp psyllium husk
layers of persimmon and bosc pear
If making again, I would reduce the psyllium husk in the whipped cream. I wish I could figure out how Carmella gets her whipped cream so light and fluffy. The psyllium husk helps to thicken it, but thickened it a little too much. Anyhow, this was super delicious and seriously enjoyed by all (only one slice remained by the end of the evening). Some more photos of the cake:
Last but not least, a sampling of a raw-related birthday gift (oh so sweet - both literally and figuratively):