Category Archives: catalytic projection

fresh new day

There’s been a flurry of working going on over at our new initiative, Fresh New Day. Marica and I have begun creating a document of our everyday world – using photography and writing to learn more, notice more, to explore the local and immediate in greater depth.

I’m very interested in the cosmic in the commonplace. I’m looking forward to making numerous photographs through the year, hopefully elevating the familiar with insight and inspiration. I can’t wait.

So far it’s been fun (and funny) as Marica and I are generally not discussing the images and the words before we publish them, and so reading and viewing each other’s day brings surprise and laughter as we see what’s caught our eye. It’s been interesting to see colour and design commonalities as well – but from very, very different perspectives.

You can get an update on our photos by clicking on the ‘fresh new day’ tab (above), or get the hot off the press images and writing at Fresh New Day HQ.

the good old days

I recently caught up with a former student (Hi Floyd) and I was ranting about how cool the technologies are today – no more wrecking backs and knees lugging heavy video cameras and such around. I can get almost the same quality video from my little point-and-shoot Fuji still camera as I ever did from a 3-tube, and in terms of editing, Quicktime and Movie Maker can give me pinpoint accurate editing and still have $20k in my pocket compared with the old edit suites. I could just about be drawn back into teaching again. Just about…

The difference, though, that really makes a difference these days is the ability to communicate – around the room, around the corner, around the world. And even though that’s what my Masters is in, it still makes me shake my head in amazement and delight – I love it when it works, especially when connections work through a fusion of traditional and contemporary ways.

Here’s an example:

A few weeks ago I was wondering what it would be like to have a pet hyena.

image from http://www.pieterhugo.com/ Well, you do, don’t you. Except I don’t have Conan-sized biceps and I decided that a beast that size would probably knock stuff off the coffee table and shed everywhere and generally be – well – beastly. Cool, yes, beastly, undoubtedly. Damn useful, though, if I ever went back teaching. You need a good laugh when you work with people who find themselves unemployed.

The photo, by the way, by Pieter Hugo – the story behind the photos is great, and has given rise to ‘My baboon is feeling nervous’.

I digress. I decided a different kind of animal might be the order of the day, and after clicking around blog rolls and the net, I ended up falling in love with My Pal Walter. Who wouldn’t want a giant tortoise for a pal?

I thought Walter, and his pal, David Palumbo, were just the best thing, and I was moved to discover a little more by reading David’s profile. Turns out he’s an illustrator from Philadelphia, USA. And he (of course) presents some of his ideas, paintings, and sketches in an online portfolio. Using technology to communicate that’s called.

image by David Palumbo - davepalumbo.blogspot.comIn addition to the science fiction-y / fantasy type illustrations – book covers and the like, David does a fine line of erotic postcards. I’m not 100% sure if they’re erotic – they’re certainly beautifully illustrated with young women at various states of undress, however if you look at my drawings of nekkid chicks they’re anything but erotic. Perhaps it’s because I don’t draw as well as David.

An aside: horrors, I note I haven’t drawn since 2007, and some of the works from then are pretty odd and awful. I firmly believe it takes 10,000 hours to learn how to do something – I’d guess about another 9,995 hours are needed urgently.

As a warm-up exercise before working on his commissioned work, David began creating small postcard-sized paintings. What started out as a fun daily practice has turned into a new passion, and before you knew it, a book was born and a new web site, Quickie, was launched.

As part of the promo for the book David posted on his blog that he would give away prints of the postcards as – wait for it – postcards. If you sent him an address he’d send you a card. I figured there’d be none left or any other excuse I could come up with to explain why I wouldn’t get a card, however, to my complete delight a card duly arrived – signed by the artist himself – what a joy! The image is the one above – some chick removing purloined y-fronts. Hmmm, now there’s an interesting story…

MYOBBack to loving how connections work through a fusion of traditional and contemporary ways … way, way back when I designed and ran a Government funded business course for the YMCA (well, someone needed to get the profits and, as a not-for-profit, the Y was second to none in terms of taking profit).

There was no money to promote the course (of course) so I created a series of posters shamelessly re-appropriated from appropriated art and when no one was around fired them off through the Y’s copier, and posted them across town. Most were not coloured (this was in the days before cheap colour copiers), however I sat down with my coloured pencils and did a few for fun.

My friend Floyd rocked up to do the course – “I saw the posters and figured you’d probably have something to do this kind of carry on.” We got on with the course – Floyd pursued other fields, I went on to work with another oppressed minority group, the terminally rich.

The core image (with Gordon and Cynthia) was, I believe, created by Boris Vallejo – part of his Conan portfolio. The vulture (not by Boris) on the left says, “Oh well, I spose we better clean up Jenny.” The vulture on the right replies, “Yeah, else she’ll stain the carpets and stink up the place.” Jenny? Jenny Shipley, then minister of social welfare, and definitely not someone you’d want to take home to meet your parents, unless they were rabid National voters. Despite Gordan’s sovereign efforts, Jenny received her knighthood today. So much for the carpet.

And the connection? Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell turn out to be David Palumbo’s parents. I love how blogging allows us to make connections, to weave old stories in with the new – our world is hundreds of times richer and with far greater potential than it was 20 years ago. The real changes are not new minerals or whatever, rather something not only sustainable, but something increasingly available – human intercommunication and sharing of ideas.

Happy 200th birthday, Charles

Charles Darwin turns 200 today. My hero. After all these years he’s as provocative as ever. Definitely who I would invite if I could invite six people from anywhere (or any when) in history to have dinner with. Not sure what I’d make for dinner, but very clear about the invites.

Life, changing

Christina's World
Christina’s World Art Print
Wyeth, Andrew
36 in. x 28.75 in.
Buy at AllPosters.com
Framed   Mounted

The first writing of the new brings no comfort at all. I was saddened to read of the passing of Andrew Wyeth noted by James Gurney, and then in the NYTimes. It’s always interesting to me how little things can change lives – and it was seeing the work, Christina’s World (above) that set me on a more creative path than I perhaps would’ve walked otherwise. I saw Wyeth’s work – reproductions rather than originals – in the 1970s and I was struck by the strange (yet familiar) isolation the images conveyed. It’s difficult for me to express how these sparse images are so evocative – I can all but hear the susurration of grasses, the soft ‘flumph’ of curtains pulled over the window frame to flap in the breeze, the ringing of silence. ‘Atmospheric’ doesn’t capture the almost surrealistic detail – and yet, when you look, no details, just scratchy brush marks. Wonderful.

My favorite work is ‘Wind from the Sea‘. Strangely haunting, I’ve only ever seen the painting by way of reproductions, most no larger than the link. I frequently think of this image, and before today the memory of it has somehow enticed me buy property near the sea – pursuing the empty promises of imagined realities. Who knows what are the sources of motivation?

catalytic projection

I wrote earlier about how it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter. The message is, although we’ve been stuck inside and generally weather bound, connections to people and places and ideas and concepts and dreams have been exploding all over the place. I’ve always been really interested in loose affiliations and vague connections – the stuff of inspiration – mystery and imagination. Somewhere in the fusion of the six degrees of separation and how you don’t know how you have changed a person’s life is how our lives seem to have been working this year.

At times it’s felt more than a little overpowering, and at other times it’s been a complete blast. I haven’t been able to put it clearly in words, but, in a way typical of how the year has unfolded, I found a video that very accurately shows the year’s expression of our ideas and interactions – with each other, with you, and subsequently the rest of the population.

The best way to experience the full impact is to open the vid to full screen (click the second button in from the bottom right) and crank the audio volume up to melt-down-imminent-you-need-a-note-from-your-mother-to-do-this. May I present, our year of ideas and interactions with others in 3 minutes and 44 seconds… thanks, everyone, couldn’t do it without you.

It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter…

Well, long and cold, and while I have known lonely winters, this hasn’t been one of them. I haven’t written here for what seems like forever, but I have been writing like a mad thing over at the two new sites we’ve put together…

Business Savvy – For years I’ve taught people how to set up their own businesses. I have a special interest in micro business, patchwork economics, and rural community economic development. I decided that I would a) declutter the basement office, and b) make the material I’ve gathered over 20 years available online so that perhaps other people might be able to go on and change their lives and those of their family’s for a positive future.

A good reason why it hasn’t been a lonely winter… I’m a loaner. I changed jobs earlier this year – instead of a farewell gift of something fabbo like a plate with a picture of kitten to hang on the wall I asked for contributions to my investment fund for Kiva, and for my colleagues to pick out an investment for me. They did, and together we invested in an entrepreneur in Togo. Loaves and fishes. Having invested in fish, the next step has been to invest in loaves…

Cecilia Nyameke (from Tarkwa, Ghana) is a divorced mother with six children. Currently four of her children are in school. She has been baking for six years and her business serves as the main source of income for the family.

Image from Kiva.org - loans that change lives

She wants to use her loan to buy bags of flour, sugar, and baking powder to expand her operation and also to avoid price hikes. Cecilia is a member of the group called Abandenden Jesus (meaning “Jesus, our Strong Tower”). Members agree to guarantee for each other to repay the loan.

I look at this photo and I just want to buy and try some the bread, still warm from the oven, with lashings of butter and clover honey. I can’t recommend the stories highly enough.

Another reason why the winter hasn’t been lonely – Get Going Online. After teaching html and web at night school for a couple of years, and to celebrate 10 years of writing web pages and developing web sites, I decided to offer people a great way of getting going online. There are huge numbers of small businesses with ugly and out-of-date web sites. Why? If you’re not geeky and/or if you’re busy running your business, how do you update your web site? The options are you either don’t – and that’s a bit of a disaster – or you pay someone else to do it for you – and that is a potential disaster too. I decided to offer businesses a happy compromise with a content management system and some limited customisation – at small business scaled prices. It’s a good deal, especially as seeing the end result is anything but under-powered. Get Going Online is offering well over 400 designs (more arriving every day), and the preview isn’t just a screen snap or two, the preview IS the full site – this is what your site will look like. I’m very, very pleased with the way it’s shaping up and the positive responses.

And another reason why it hasn’t been a lonely winter…

lutfisk


When I was a kid we didn’t have tv. Yes, I did have a pet dinosaur. Somehow my parents discovered the local museum (and when I say ‘local’, I mean a 45 minute drive away, in part over unsealed roads) ran sessions comprised of 16mm movies – documentaries – in the museum basement. It was not unlike sitting in Tutankhamen’s private theatre, if King Tut had used those finger removing folding wooden chairs, later to be used by the Spanish Inquisition to such good effect.

I fell in love with the images (typically of New Zealand) from the National Film Unit, the national pride invoked by vivaciously positive sounding voice-overs, the haw-haw jokes, and the unique music – it was unlike anything heard or used in another context before of since. Add in the torture seats, the screechy-scratchy sounds of the chairs on the hard floor, the smells of mothballs and the flickering lights on the screen – plus, of course the thrill of being out with Mum and Dad past our bedtime – all set to be a thrilling experience. So, yeah, had the pet dinosaur, but also had an experience that probably couldn’t be re-created for our young’uns. They probably aren’t going to be uplifted by scenes of mountain buttercups fluttering in the breeze, blue skies in the Southern Alps, or majestic waterfalls. You can see how, when Peter Jackson bought out the National Film Unit, all that footage found its way into the Lord of the Rings, fantastic, even if they had to toss in a couple of hobbits and some other stuff. Gotta pay the bills I s’pose.

When I found the clip above I was reminded of the documentaries clattering away in the basement of the Wanganui Museum. It’s worth viewing just for the terrific production values alone, and of course, somehow the EU food hygiene requirements hadn’t been brought into play at that point. I imagine no-one died from eating lutfisk. I don’t imagine many of the people actually producing the lutfisk were later served such delicacies in the manner shown in the film… Culture. This is culture, that is culture, this is all culture.

Kate ‘08 – changing a life, one day at a time

I’ve so been looking forward to writing this posting. It’s number 500. And somewhere in the first few paragraphs it’ll topple over into 200,000 words. I started writing here on 1 August 2005 – it’s literally been a life changing experience. One of the life changes started in March 2006 – Marica and I worked to run Blog Hui – New Zealand’s first international weblog conference. One of the speakers at the conference was Kate Quinn (then Rodgers). Kate grabbed her Mum, and they flew out from Perth, Australia, and into our hearts. We’ve stayed in touch, Kate’s writing is a regular stop off point for my daily reading. Kate’s life changed when she and Chris got married and they changed house, and everything seemed pretty much on the go.

Not everything, however. Kate had been struggling with her weight, and in January of this year (2008) Kate wrote of how, about a year ago, things reached an absolute crisis point. Kate found herself, in hospital, in pain, and wondering what had happened to her that amongst other things, she was now 147.5 kg (23 stone or 322 pounds).

I was left in the hospital overnight, and Chris went to sleep at his Mum’s house. I had plenty of time to reflect on what had brought me to this point. What made a happy child turn into a depressed adult carrying years of fear and pain in a pile of lard on her skeleton? Was it the years of bullying for being fat (I was a stocky tomboy, not fat at all in reality), holding in my emotions to put others first, having been called a selfish bitch for years no matter how much I put others needs before my own, being emotionally abused by drunken loved ones. Bottling it all up, and the bottle had to expand to contain it all.

I was gutted for Kate and her painful admission, and yet heartened by her courage – that aspect of her character wasn’t a surprise at all – after all, she had jumped on a plane to come and talk with us – if that doesn’t take guts I don’t know what does. At Blog Hui we wanted to (and did) cater for the widest range of food preferences possible, and Kate had requested vegan/vegetarian. After the crisis, Kate and Chris decided to make a transition from vegetarianism to raw veganism. Raw!

Now, that really got my attention. Raw. “What does that mean?”, I wondered. I thought about a character in the movie Notting Hill, who was a ‘fruitopian – I only eat fruit that has dropped from the tree’, and I had a vague memory of characters in Samuel Butler’s ‘Erewhon’ that only ate cabbages that had died of natural causes. That’s just stupid. Time went by. Recently, Kate posted a picture of herself and I was completely stunned by how great she looked, and in light of the crisis posting, I was more than a little intrigued by how Kate had made this change in her life. Inquiring minds want to know, so I flicked Kate a note, and she’s graciously agreed to the following interview:

Lynsey: I have friends who’re vegetarian – they work on a ‘no faces’ principle – pretty much anything else is up for grabs. Talk me through the continuum vegetarian > vegan > raw – what are your definitions – what meanings do you work to? Can raw include yoghurts and the like? How about honey?

Kate: Many people who eat chicken and fish but not red meat call themselves vegetarian, resulting in confusion over the meaning of vegetarian. To say it loudly and clearly: a vegetarian will never eat chicken or fish, and anyone who eats those and calls themselves vegetarian is merely damaging the reputations of genuine vegetarians. Don’t do it!

Sorry, but it is one of my pet peeves 🙂

I became a vegetarian when I was 10 years old, when it occurred to me that the meat on my plate came from the animals I saw when travelling through rural areas. I clearly remember making the announcement to my school friends; they laughed and said I wouldn’t last a week!

As a vegetarian I consumed dairy products including milk and yoghurt, cheese, eggs and honey. I was not concerned with processed foods that contained these however I would never eat anything with gelatine. The only leather I wore were Doc Martens boots and I rarely used wool or feather products. As a teenager and young adult, if I went to restaurants that noted “vegetarian” beside a fish or chicken dish, I’d challenge them! I remember calling up one restaurant after being very pissed off about a junk mail flyer/menu I received in the menu, and the owner being annoyed that “us vegetarians” wouldn’t make up our minds about what we would eat! Quite simply, vegetarians don’t eat flesh products – and fish is flesh – and will eat either or both dairy and eggs, or neither. Protein is not as important as people are led to believe, but I’ll answer the ubiquitous “Where do you get your protein” question anyway – from greens, tofu, tempeh, pulses and other plant based sources.

At the beginning of 2007 I had been transitioning to a vegan lifestyle for a few months, which involved reducing processed products that contained animal products from my diet. Vegans do not eat anything that is made from animal products or by-products from the slaughter industry, and I personally do my best to ensure products I use do not contain animal products (eg. glue). Honey and bee products are included in this.

As yoghurt is a dairy product and often contains gelatine, it is not vegan however there are plenty of soy yoghurts available and quite a few are preferable over dairy yoghurts.

Raw foodists are not necessarily vegan, but those who are create “cheezes”, yoghurt and “mylk” using nuts and seeds. Almond milk is my absolute favourite!

Lynsey: Where did you get the raw idea?

Kate: In my 20s, I naturally started going off cheese, milk and eggs. Cheese was a very hard addiction, primarily the culture of Cheese n’ Wine nights that I would have with my friends. I would only ever drink milk in tea or use it in baking, and about 5 years ago I went completely off eggs (I find it very anti-femininist eating the ovum of a female from another species) so I’d use egg replacements in baking. However, I started to react to cheese and milk with really bad reflux and nausea anytime I had anything that contained them. So at the beginning of 2007, I started transitioning to a vegan lifestyle.

Rolling back a bit, my hubby Chris attended the FotoFreo conference in March 2006 (coincidentally while I was at Blog Hui!) and the keynote speakers discussed raw food, spirituality and photography. Chris got chatting to them afterwards, talking nothing about photography and all about raw foods! When I returned from NZ he was very hyped about it and wanted to go down that path rather than just be vegan (I don’t know why, ask him). That Christmas, I bought him an EziDri Dehydrator and we… put it on a shelf and forgot about it to prepare for our wedding 🙂

Looking back to the time when we were planning our wedding, I honestly don’t know how I’m still alive. Living 56kms from my work, and with roadworks the entire way, I spent at least 3 hours a day in the car. We would leave running late for work in the morning and pull into the service/petrol station and buy breakfast – usually a chocolate muffin, Snickers and 2-3 cans of V or Red Bull. And that was just me. On top of this was extreme stress from work, the wedding, family, money, trying to sell our house etc. We slept only a few hours each night, ate crap all day, and ran on auto-pilot.

We had never ever been that bad in our lives, only a couple of years before we were eating 100% organic (except the weekly pizza and Cheese N’ Wine nights) and actually exercising. I was still fat though as being vegetarian does not mean you’re lean and healthy – there’s plenty of vegetarian (and vegan) junk food out there that can keep you fat!

We had a three-day honeymoon “down south” in WA, and in a small country town wandered into a kitchen wares shop – and there was a book on Raw foods. We picked it up immediately and back at our bush cottage decided that raw was the way we’d go.

Amazing synchronicities occurred after that. We found a rental house 5kms from my work after fruitless searching for months, after I had a dream where the front of the house was vivid in my mind. I probably saw it online but my intuition/subconscious was clearly telling me this was the place. 2 minutes down the road is a wholefoods store and cafe selling raw food (salads mainly) and 7 minutes away is a raw food specialty store (Perth is very privileged as a store like this doesn’t exist anywhere in Australia to my knowledge).

We finally made the plunge in June 2007 after signing up for a 3-day raw food retreat that was advertised in Nova Magazine, which I only happened upon by chance. I cleaned absolutely everything out of our cupboards, giving away long life products like flour to family members and eating up anything else in the weeks prior. On returning from the retreat, we stopped by a farmers market and bought the biggest load of fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds I’d ever bought (even after regularly getting organic fruit and veg boxes years ago) – and within a week we had eaten the lot!

Lynsey: Did you consult a doctor before going raw? What about ongoing medical monitoring?

Kate: I didn’t consult a doctor. I don’t have a family physician and as we had moved / been busy I hadn’t really bothered with any specific doctor for years. We did consult a naturopath however who advised us on the best ways to get all our nutrients, vitamins etc. I am seeing a doctor this weekend and will be asking to have all my vitamins and minerals tested.

However, apart from an ongoing health issue that being raw hasn’t affected positively or negatively, I feel absolutely fantastic!

Lynsey: Some one word questions. Wine? Beer? Coffee? Tea? Infusions? Hotchocolate?

Kate: I occasionally have alcohol, drinking wine that is not refined using egg or isinglass as long as I’m sober enough to make that judgment.

When I went raw, I went cold turkey off caffeine – after all the energy drinks I was consuming, I wanted to be off it entirely. I still love the smell of coffee but have absolutely no desire to drink it. On about 2 or 3 occasions I’ve had a black tea at work but I don’t like the taste and so I have a few sips and give up. I keep a selection of herbal teas and herbal elixirs at work, drinking them maybe once or twice per week. I don’t make tea at home because we only have a stove top kettle and the dehydrator sits on top of the stove 🙂

Hot Chocolate – it can’t be replicated as such but it is easy-peasy to make a chocolate drink with Almond Mylk (Mylk because it’s not “Milk”…) and raw Cacao power (pure chocolate and a superfood). Add a hint of spices and cayenne, and you get a pretty fiery drink that will warm you up in winter.

Lynsey: At work I’m a munchie kind of guy – I have this macaw thing (here and here) going on – bean sprouts, carrots, bananas, nectarines, oranges, grapes, mandarins; dried fruit: dates, pawpaw, apricots, mangoes. Brazil nuts, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds. Lunch is usually a salad-y thing, or, if I’m working through, miso soup. I’m kind of snacking all day – nibble of this, bite of that. It’s not that I’m really hungry, it’s more about if I don’t I get bored and chew up the phone, mouse and/or keyboard. How does all the dried fruit, nuts, and seeds fit into the raw world?

Kate: It sounds like you’re on route to being raw, Lynsey! The only changes you’d make is to dry some of the fruits yourself or ensure they have been dried at about 40 degrees celsius to keep the enzymes intact, and that the nuts are raw – unsalted and not treated with heat to get them out of their shells. Although with both things I’m pretty easy going and I don’t usually worried about dried fruits but I don’t have salted, heated nuts (they now taste pretty gross to me actually).

I nibble all day too – I like your Macaw analogy 🙂 When I first went raw I’d take in quite a lot of these things but then started just eating fruit throughout the day. I’m now starting to think of bring in a lunchbox of miscellaneous dried fruit and nuts now that its getting colder and I’m getting hungrier.

I dry my own apples and they are absolutely delicious, but don’t really bother with other fruit because you need such a huge quantity to make it last. I sometimes eat dried apricots, peaches, figs, and sultanas. I also eat Goji berries, which are a superfood (apparently) but past the marketing hype that’s currently going on, they just have a really nice taste and are pretty to add to raw desserts.

I have miso paste which I rarely use, but have since being raw had one or two bowls of miso soup. It is one without bonito, which is a tuna product.

Lynsey: Salted peanuts are a key that really fits the lock for me. They have everything going on – portability, salt, fat, flavour, texture, repeatability, the ease (convenient) factor and you can always eat ‘just one more’ – there’s always room. I can’t afford to eat a single one or I’d eat them by the kilogram until they’re gone, with the corresponding weight gain. Mind you, I’m not much better with baby carrots – they’re the same but without the salt/fat 😉 … Do you think this is a kind of food ‘allergy’ or food ‘orgy’ i.e. just a sign of no will power on my part?

Kate: An alternative to salted peanuts – in one word, Edamame.

Edamame is not raw, but it’s healthier than salted peanuts. It is the soya bean in the pod, and has had the shell cleaned with a bit of salt in a mortar and pestle then is lightly blanched. They are so incredibly yummy and give the same salt rush as the peanuts do. Check out your local Japanese restaurant or Asian grocer and see if they have any, it is worth trying.

Peanuts aren’t raw anyway, even “raw” ones have had some heat-based processing. I had a couple recently in a mixed nuts bag I bought and didn’t like the taste even though I used to love them (especially with beer, which hubby has discovered goes very well with Edamame!).

You can caramelise nuts, or make savory nuts, by mixing nuts (esp almonds and pecans) in a seasoning and dehydrating them. I haven’t been enticed to do this yet!

Lynsey: What’d your folks/friends say when they found out?

Kate: Generally, saying that you’re a raw foodist comes with a positive and curious response. I’m often asked how I can eat cold food all the time, as many people associate raw with cold and out of the fridge. That’s not the case. I eat “Lasagne” straight of the dehydrator and it’s deliciously warm, and using spices in dishes brings out a heat that warms you up even in winter. Mind you, I am in Perth and our winters are usually about 16 degrees celsius.

My mum Helen was all for me living a raw vegan lifestyle and has since become raw herself, greatly alleviating her chronic asthma and lessening heartburn/reflux she had experienced for years.

Chris’ parents think its another of our “fruity” ideas and are happy to go along with it but won’t eat any of our food (they’re fussy, traditional English food eaters).

The rest of our family are just fascinated, and are loving seeing the results. I don’t know if any of them would go so far to follow in our footsteps, but I’d love them too as quite a few are also overweight (genetic, probably not – I’d say we’ve all inherited emotional eating habits) and I worry a lot about their health. But I’m no preacher either so I don’t try to force anyone and simply lead by example.

My boss at work, an ex-chef now IT manager, on overhearing me telling a friend said monotonously – “I knew people like that once, they were weeeeird” 🙂

Lynsey: Our family traditions are tightly woven in and around food – as an example we want to know what you ate for dinner long before who was the celebrity you dined with. Did going raw mean you have to tweak any food cultural practices and protocols? What – no Easter eggs?

Kate: Oh, we had Easter eggs – they were vegan but not raw! I’ve never been one for Easter eggs anyway, the chocolate is always crap and would always give me migraines (true! I was always miserable at Easter).

Being only children, family do’s are generally woven around our parents with us doing the cooking. We haven’t had a raw family get together yet, as we were away at Christmas and this past Easter we just chilled out in Kings Park, each with their own picnic.

Previously, we’d entertained with a vegetarian lunch and fish as a main for everyone except Chris and I. Growing up, myself and a few cousins were vegetarian so there were always plenty of options.

Our wedding menu was completely vegan, with the menu designed by me and superbly catered by our friend Nigel at Big Belly Bus Catering in Perth. I was so scared of the reaction and only told our parents (who were also scared that family would be insulted) but everyone raved about it and even wanted the recipes.

Lynsey: Your hubby – Chris – what’s his take on raw?

Kate: As I said above, it was pretty much his idea. He has lost alot of weight and looks great now, but is worried about maintaining it so is eating cooked vegan products outside of our home e.g. falafel at work or going out to dinner.

Lynsey: What happens when you travel – can airlines cope with vegan as a fall back, or are they ok with raw?

Kate: Airlines are great with vegan food – even if you’re a meat eater you should order it because it smells and looks a lot tastier than the meat ones but they assume you’re healthy and give you an apple instead of chocolate or candy!

We’ve travelled twice now being raw, the first time last September and I was so sick with a virus that I ate the vegan meal (after not having anything cooked or high-starch since June) and it just made me much worse. Then Chris and his colleague travelling with us caught it, and the conference attended barely had anything vegetarian let alone raw vegan so we survived on tropical fruit, fruit salads and green salads from the hotel. By the end of the week, we were so hungry for something solid that we bought a falafel at a nearby supermarket. It tasted so bland and boring but it filled me up.

After that, I started thinking that eating a bit of cooked food here and there wasn’t so bad, and would do it occasionally. However, it was bad and it made me feel rotten. It just showed how easy it is to have bad habits over good habits, and because of this complacency I have now been struggling to have a day where I only eat raw foods.

We made better choices when travelling to Melbourne for Christmas. I made a little book for raw recipes that didn’t require anything other than a fork, we purchased a great little hand blender, and we stayed in self-contained accommodation the whole time. I did eat cooked foods during this time, how could I not as Melbourne is the haven for vegan eateries and I was like a kid at a fruit counter! (ok, kid at a candy store, just trying to be healthy funny).

It worked out great though, check out what we had for Christmas dinner.

Lynsey: How easy from a practical logistics perspective is it to be raw?

Kate: What’s for dinner tonight?

You can’t get easier than raw food – honestly. For dinner, I might have some fruit and if I want to be fancy I’ll actually cut it up and garnish it with mint. Or I’ll make a salad. Sometimes we will make a pate, patties or soup: all very quick to prepare as you just roughly chop the ingredients and put it in the food processor.

If we want more gourmet raw food, we will have pre-prepared some patties, onion bread, cookies, cereal, or crackers on the dehydrator usually giving them about 18 hours drying time (average). Any of those though we make to eat during the week. Cereal is created by sprouting buckwheat (about 1.5 days) and then drying it. Top with almond milk, sultanas and fruit and you’ve got a breakfast that’s better than corn flakes.

Almond Milk is quick and easy once you get the hang of it. Blend 1 cup of almonds to approx. 2 cups of water in a high speed blender such as the Vita-Mix. Then pour into a nut milk bag over a bowl and squeeze the Mylk out. It is kinda like milking a cow, without the cow attached 🙂 What I mean is that it has the same kind of milking action. You don’t have to strain it through, it just means your milk is thicker and nuttier. Once strained though it has the consistency of a Low Fat Milk but is very creamy and flavorsome. To make the chocolate drink, you pour this back into the blender and mix in some carob or cacao powder. Easy peasy!

Tonight, I have a couple of patties on the dehydrator (which I’ve been snacking on all day) so we’ll probably finish them off with some salad. I should make up a raw Brownie or we’ll go easy and have Raspberry Sorbet. All that talk of Almond Milk now has me wanting some, so I think I might make that too.

I’ve bought a tonne of books too for ideas and recipes, but now have the select few that I love regularly and I now feel confident with the ingredients and textures that I’m making up my own recipes.

Lynsey: I’m frighted about the vibe – you know, whole earth sackcloth, macrobiotic sandals and socks, and unshaven – and just wait ’til you see the guys! How has your day-to-day life changed being raw?

Kate: Some raw vegans have that vibe (some now-meat-eating-leftover-hippies are like that too!) but the people I have met in Perth’s raw community are all down to earth, normal people. There’s a few IT professionals, multimedia people, students, retirees, natural therapy practitioners. These are only the people who come to our picnics too. Online I’ve met people from all walks of life and very few are anything like the stereotype you’ve described. However quite a few, including Chris and I, are into organic fibres like hemp and you can get some gorgeous hemp clothing now. Chris has a couple of business shirts, one which he wears to photography jobs because its breathe-ability means he doesn’t get so hot. I’m waiting to lose enough weight to buy some hemp clothes – as it’s assumed only skinny people want to wear it! But then again all fashion generally assumes anyone over size 14 wants to wear a bedsheet anyway.

Lynsey: I guess if you changed your mind about ‘raw’ you could always sneak out for a burger. It’s about what you eat, rather than a permanent, get a tattoo thing, right? Have you ever snuck out for a burger? Ever wanted to? Anything you miss? Have you got a tattoo?

Kate: I’d never want a burger, I’ve been away from that so long that it just doesn’t even occur to me as being food. However, I seriously miss tofu and tempeh! I love both of those and since I haven’t been eating all raw each day, I’ve been getting teriyaki tofu at the local Japanese place. Of the non-raw foods that I’ve been eating recently, it’s been water crackers and hummus (convenience food), Japanese because the local Japanese place is just so yummy (wish I hadn’t discovered them) and then steamed veggies if we happen by Chris’ parents place on our way to our 2nd, night job.

I remember reading in a Fiona Horne book years ago, about how she got her tattoos to mark a significant change in her life, and that tattoos were culturally applied in this way too – to signify the passing from one phase into another. That has always stuck with me, and so getting a tattoo is something I really want to do. There are some specifically vegan tattoo artists, but alas not in Oz. I have no idea what I’d get yet but it would be very personal and special. I don’t think many raw foodies would agree with this either because it contradicts some principles of natural hygiene. However, I prefer to go with my intuition and I like the idea (for now, at least).

Lynsey: So help me, I have to ask. With all the raw talk, I initially thought it was about – you know – *that* kind of raw. So, ah, is it true that, um, raw – you know – puts lead in your pencil?

Kate: I named my blog “In The Raw” because of the double innuendo, naked food/naked body, but also because I’m blogging so personally that I’m really putting myself on the line. But the title is used by some other bloggers and in a book, so I’ve been wondering if I should change the title. What do you think?

As for libido, well at first we both certainly had more energy and stamina that the bedroom really did spark up. However, it’s been rather boring lately as we’ve been busy working etc. We more often go to bed snuggled up to our laptops than each other… and we’ve been married for less than 1 year! (Together for 9 years tho).

Lynsey: How can someone get raw?

Kate: Start by unbuttoning your shirt….

Seriously, if you want to go raw or do a 30-day trial e.g. this one at Steve Pavlina. I recommend doing your research first and take it slowly. Make sure that you have a plan of how you will do it, and that you are doing so for the right reasons otherwise you will just go back to the way you went before. Breaking bad habits is hard and without the conviction you will fail. I’ve been floundering but I still consider myself a Raw Vegan and I’m still committed to eating primarily this way because I know – now from experience – that it is better for me, and I know it is the only thing that has worked for me in regards to weight loss.

Lynsey: Thanks, Kate, you’re an inspiration. Readers will be interested to note that, as of publishing, Kate notes she has progressed 25% of her weight loss goal. Changing her life, one day at a time.

myth busted!

The Odd Couple - buy at AllPosters.comGoldfish (Cassius auratus) are not my favourite fish to keep. They’re ok, but they don’t have the same levels of engagement that other species – perch (Perca fluviatilis) for example, or rockfish (Acanthoclinus littoreus – and other fine species by that Forster guy), if you’re a marine aquarium buff. Despite popular opinion, goldfish not that easy to keep, and to keep them very well so that they thrive and are fabulous is quite demanding. The more exotic (i.e. bulgy eyes, fluffy fins) the more demanding they are. I think of them as the orchids of the aquarium world. And, yeah, give me the species varieties (or even a different species entirely) any time.

The other thing about goldfish is – again, despite popular opinion (reserved for people with no knowledge or experience of goldfish) is that they have rather more than a three second memory span. To feed the goldfish in my old pond we used to walk over the bridge to get to the food supply. The noise of walking, particularly my father’s heavy work boots, would bring the fish from all corners of the pond. Day after day. At least one of the fish had a memory, and then probably txted the others. What else could it be?

According to the Australian journal, CampusReview (26.02-03.03.2008, p.20), 15 year old Rory Stokes, a South Australian school student, conducted an experiment to test the 3-second rule. Over a period of three weeks Rory trained the fish by dropping a red lego block in tank with the goldfish, waited 30 seconds, and then fed the fish. He timed how long the fish took to swim to the food. Over the three weeks the time taken dropped from more than a minute to less than five seconds. After the three week training session, Rory stopped using the lego block. Six days later he dropped the lego block in, and despite having not seen the lego block in the intervening the fish swum up to feed in 4.4 seconds. He concluded the fish remembered for more than three seconds. Apparently Rory told ABC Radio that when he repeated the experiment six months later the fish were slower, but still remembered.

Yeah, but what if he’d used a green duplo block six months later? If that’d worked, would the fish be entitled to honorary PhDs? I’m not sure if the experiment is all that sound. I bet I’m not the only person who can look back on cramming for exams and then walking out after the exam with nothing more on/in my mind than getting a feed and playing with lego. So, maybe it’s more about the food and the lego than about the memory. In fact I’m off to check on dinner right now.