RawGuru Interviews Courtney Pool from Tree of Life
Question #1: A) What are some raw food staples in your current diet?
I have three main staples: greens (including sprouts), spirulina
, and green juice. Fresh greens and sprouts are a daily staple for me: I have a big salad for lunch and sometimes even for breakfast. I feel they’re the basis of a balanced raw food diet. Green juice is another staple which I drink every day. I usually have a non-glycemic juice made from cucumbers, celery, greens, and lemon either in the morning or in the evening, depending how I feel that day.
Almost three years ago, I was on a 60-day Juice Feast and suddenly began feeling magnetically drawn to spirulina
. The odd thing was that I had not really ever had it before, all I can gather is that my body suddenly knew what it needed. After I finished my Juice Feast, I hit the ground running with my spirulina consumption and haven’t stopped since. I eat tons of it.
B) Are you 100% raw?
It depends on the time of year. Most of the months of the year I am, mostly because I feel imbalanced with cooked food when it’s warm or hot outside. In the winter, I sometimes choose to eat steamed quinoa or warm miso soups, but even that is only a couple times a month. I don’t tend to focus on percentages; it can create feelings of control and deprivation that I don’t enjoy, so by not paying attention to the percentage but rather paying attention to my body and energy levels, I keep balanced fairly easily.
C) How did you start?
The very first introduction to anything in regards to natural health or dietary choices was that I saw Supersize Me; simply because it was popular at the time. I was a fast-food-fueled varsity swimmer and water polo player, so it was definitely not an initial interest to me! Over the course of the next year, I learned more about organic foods and natural health through books and the internet, and stumbled upon the book The Food Revolution, by John Robbins. I went vegan immediately; I didn’t even have a vegetarian phase. A few months after that, I discovered Eating for Beauty by David Wolfe and began playing around with raw food and frequenting the only raw food restaurant in Utah, which was in Salt Lake City where I was going to college.
Question #2: How did you get involved with the Tree of Life?
I had known about Gabriel Cousens, M.D
., through his books, for a year before I found out about the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. I had been feeling drawn to complete immersion in learning about and practicing the diet and lifestyle with many people around me who also had the same passions. Additionally, I had begun to be interested in meditation, yoga and other spiritual practices and was also drawn to community support in that area. I sort of accidentally discovered the Tree of Life online, not previously knowing that Dr. Cousens had a center. I applied to join the team there and was hired. That was a little over three and a half years ago.
Question #3: Can you describe to us what true hunger is? And how does one deal with overeating/binging on raw foods especially dry fruits and fats?
Overeating and bingeing commonly happens when people transition to raw foods. This is a topic that many pages could be written about. First off, true hunger is waiting until the body is asking for fuel and replenishment to eat, not because it’s mealtime, a social event is happening, or there is something that looks good. For many, transitioning to a raw diet means transitioning to foods that don’t numb, distract, or damper unfavorable feelings within ourselves or realities in our lives. So, those things come up and often people try to push them back down again with the heaviest foods they can get to, which are fats and dry foods. They’re the most emotionally filling for most people. Physiologically, overeating those foods can be due to a transition from the body’s addiction to processed sugars and fats, and so it’s just a stabilization period. Greens and green juice and alkalizing foods are the best for balancing those cravings, as well as a willingness to examine what is beneath the desire to use food for emotional and compulsive reasons.
Question #4: How is your spiritual life in conjunction with the raw foods lifestyle?
Raw food has given rocket fuel to my spiritual life. Eating a clean and nourishing diet clears the blockages in the body as well as gives it true cell-food so it can run like the incredible bio-computer that it is. When the body is working well, the spiritual energy has clearer channels to circulate through as well. On a more practical level, a raw food diet allows for easier and deeper meditations, as well as more ease in other spiritual practices such as yoga. In the beginning for me, it was all about the food and the body and the health, and it’s turned into being all about developing myself as a person, deepening my conscious awareness and my feeling of connectedness to something bigger… and raw food is just a support for that.
Question #5: How do you come up with a recipe?
The recipe always comes after a bunch of experimentation with simply what I like to eat. My favorite recipes to create are for are superfood, herbal and medicinal based foods and drinks, since my normal ‘eating’ tends to be simple – salads, green juices, etc. I love making recipes that incorporate items like cacao, maca, bee pollen, medicinal mushrooms
like chaga and reishi, and other herbs. I also love creating low-glycemic recipes that don’t taste like they are. After I’ve thrown something together on intuition and taste test several times, I’ll write it down (usually because someone else wants to try it!)
Question #6 Can you share with us a favorite recipe or dish?
I’m loving a ‘coffee’ drink I make sometimes, which consists of equal parts concentrated chaga or reishi mushroom tea and some kind of nut or seed mylk (I like almond, brazil and coconut mylk best). After that’s together, add a sweetener such as honey, xylitol, stevia (or a combo of all). Toppers that I also put in are cacao powder
, cacao butter
, maca, vanilla powder, and if you want to get sassy – cayenne pepper. You can really adapt it to your liking.
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High in Omega’s Hemp Dressing by Lianna Giovane
SaladServing for two…
3 tbs hemp butter
2 tbs. hemp oil
2 tbs. coconut nectar
Squeeze of lemon juice
Splash of apple cider vinegar
2 squirts of Herbal Hot Sauce Elixir
Bali sea salt
and black pepper to taste
Mix the the above ingredients in a bowl until well combined and add any of your favorite salad greens like romaine lettuce, watercress, radicchio, pea shoots, etc. Enjoy!