Traveling Raw: Southwest Airlines, Hotels, and an Ashram


For the last ten days of my one-month raw experiment, which ended last month, I was on vacation in California.  So, there were the obstacles of traveling by air, staying in hotels, and staying in an ashram!

Traveling by Air

On the plane, I took a bag of baby carrots, apples, zucchini chips, raw mock tuna dip, and spinach.  It all fit in my backpack.  The trip from Nashville to Los Angeles on Southwest Airlines was 4 hours 40 minutes, and we were delayed before takeoff for 45 minutes by none other than the President!  He was in town very briefly and left at the same time our flight was supposed to leave, so of course, all flights were grounded.

Zucchini Chips

Zucchini Chips

Food for the plane ride.

Food for the plane ride.

View from the plane

View from the plane

I didn’t figure I would need a lot of food for the plane, and I didn’t.  Eating raw all the time is so filling and satisfying that even when it is time to eat, I’m not super hungry.  Just an apple or a few carrots will tide me over for an hour or two.

Staying in Hotels

Once I got my rental car, the first stop was Westlake Village for the Raw Living Expo!!  I arrived Thursday night for the weekend event. It took about an hour to drive from LAX to this area. All I wanted was sleep, not food, when I finally arrived at the hotel.

First thing Friday morning, I got the best massage ever at Ahhhmmm Massage in Thousand Oaks.  It was the best way to start my vacation.  The massage therapist, Heather, uses hot towels at the end of the massage, which was just perfect!

Back to raw food, I went shopping at Whole Foods before heading back to the hotel.  There was not a refrigerator in the room like I expected, so I called the front desk and requested one.   They told me that they were all out and asked if an ice chest would be okay, so I said sure.  They were going to bring it right up.  Well when they arrived maybe 5 minutes later, they had a mini-fridge available after all!


One last fridge!

One last fridge!

Food for the weekend

Food for the weekend

I put the basil, spinach, blueberries, grapes, coconut, and raw dessert in the fridge. There was a raw cafe at the event, so I ate there a couple of times.  Mostly, I made my own food.  I also went back to Whole Foods for their cold-pressed juices.

Staying in an Ashram

I made sure to bring an insulated bag for times that I was traveling from one place to another.  After the Expo, I stayed in Calabasas for a day.  Then, I made my way down the coast to Encinitas, where I stayed at an ashram retreat for a week, from Tuesday through Sunday.  The SRF Encinitas Hermitage retreat has both general retreats and retreats for kriyabans, or initiated students.  So my length of stay spanned both types of retreats.

The ashram was more challenging than I thought it would be as a raw vegan!  I stayed there last year, but I ate the vegetarian meals that they provided.  I recall that there was a retreatant there who had her own snacks to keep her sugar regulated, and she would eat those in the common dining room, since food is not allowed in our personal rooms.  As far as I know, she did not experience any issues.

I made reservations to stay at the ashram retreat back in October, and if there are any special food requests, they have to be made a month before arrival. So, I submitted the following request a month in advance:

Regarding diet, I am following a low-fat, raw vegan eating program, which is plenty of fresh, ripe raw fruit ( bananas, papayas, pineapple, dates, limes, etc), some uncooked greens (lettuce, spinach, etc), and a few raw nuts/seeds (cashews, walnuts, etc).  It would be great if some raw, non-dairy, uncooked snacks/meals could be included at meal time. Thank you in advance if you are willing and able to accommodate!!

The retreat supervisor called me and said that they could not accommodate, which was fine.  I was prepared to bring my own food, which she said was also fine.  She said that it would be best if I could stay in an apartment, as opposed to the retreat center, which is right across the street.  BUT there were no apartments available, as those were already booked up, so close to retreat time.  So, she said I could just use the employee refrigerator when I got there.

When I got there, I was shown a mini-fridge in the laundry room that is shared by at least 4 or 5 people. But it was okay because a lot of my food can just sit out at room temp, like bananas, tomatoes, dates, limes, etc. I put the perishables in the fridge.  There was a long counter where I could keep my food.

Counter of food

Counter of food

IMG_2668 IMG_2669

My first meal there was dinner on Tuesday, and I ate a mini-watermelon in the dining room with the other retreatants.  So I thought things would work out great!

Eating in the dining room.  Pics aren't allowed, so I captured as little as I could of the surrounding area.

Eating in the dining room. Pics aren’t allowed, so I captured as little as I could of the surrounding area.

wRawp wrap

wRawp wrap

Nori wraps

Nori wraps

For breakfast the next morning, I went to the laundry room to retrieve my food, then took it in the dining room to prepare before the other retreatants arrived.  However, they did not want me preparing or eating the food in the dining room. The supervisor’s explanation was that other people would want some of what I’m having!  She even came to my room to say the same, yet, she said it wasn’t a big deal…I just couldn’t eat in the dining room.  I was perplexed to say the least.

So my options were to prepare it in the laundry room and eat there or eat at a picnic table near the restroom outside.  I typically opted to just walk out to the car and eat there.  Sometimes I stayed in the laundry room, which would seem to be as ideal as it could be, for them and for me, but it wasn’t!  The supervisor and one of the volunteers were constantly suggesting I go somewhere else or try something else.  Why, when this is the spot that was designated for me?  They claimed they were just trying to be helpful, but I felt very bothered.

The laundry room is apparently an all-purpose room, because one day about 3 or 4 volunteers were preparing flower arrangements in there, and it is not a large room.  There were stems and petals everywhere!  There was no room for me to prepare my food in there.  I made it to the dining room, way before anyone else was there, but one of the volunteers called the retreat supervisor.  The supervisor kept trying to run me out of there.  I told her I would leave as soon as I was done making my food and that I couldn’t make it in the Laundry Room due to the flowers.  She said she knew, but she wanted me to come to her so she could find another place.  She literally stood over me, constantly urging me to leave.  I didn’t leave until I finished preparing my food, which was still way before meal time began.  This was on Thursday.  I’d been there two days, and what was supposed to “not be a big deal” was a big deal. I felt constantly watched. She even came up to my room a second time and said she smelled bananas.  I didn’t smell bananas.  I told her that she’d already seen all of my food in the laundry room.  There wasn’t any food in my room.  I thought it was all very ridiculous especially since we talked about all of this on the phone a few weeks before I came out.  She said she misunderstood, she didn’t realize all of my meals would be raw.  I felt like I was talking to a different person all together.

Another “obstacle” was that the kriyaban retreat began Friday evening, and the retreat supervisor didn’t want me eating my food during this part of the retreat at all!  She said that I needed to eat with the group and that I had to participate in the whole program. Her advice was that I “eat what I could” with the group.  Again she tried to move me to an apartment. I mentioned our previous conversation when she said there weren’t any apartments left.  And she agreed, as if she had forgotten that fact.  And so, I would start out eating with the group.  There was typically a salad or fruit on the side that I could eat. One of the days when there was a lot of fruit for dinner, I was able to eat enough not to have to go make a separate dish. But with the salads, it wasn’t enough. I would eat a little then go make my own food.

One evening after I ate with the group, I went to the laundry room to get started on my own meal.  One of the volunteers came back and made the comment that it was probably too late for a cutting board.  I asked her what she meant.  She said “Well, I could bring you a board, but it’s just really late.”  I told her I already had a cutting board, which I was literally using at the moment.  Clearly, she just wanted something to say.  I was doing just fine, and it was no later than 7:30 pm.   I tried my best to not let their intrusiveness mar my trip.  I love Encinitas Hermitage and will be back some day.  If I’m raw again while I’m there, I will find somewhere else to stay to avoid the hassle.

Most of the volunteers that prepare the meals were supportive.  They thought it was great and had heard of the raw vegan lifestyle before.  They would bring a knife and cutting board to my counter space and have it ready for me between preparations.  They even offered to chop it for me!  They would ask what I was making and say that it looked really good. There’s always some angels in the midst. ❤




Three-Month Raw Experiment Begins!


Two weeks after completing a month on raw, I’m ready to go a little longer.  I started a Facebook Page to keep track of my three-month raw experiment.



Today just felt right.  After all, three months isn’t that long either.  This time around I am keeping a food journal on paper.  Although I keep up with my food intake in CRON-O-Meter, and there’s places to record notes, I think a journal will be great to look back on to see what worked best for me, as well as where I can reduce costs.  I’m excited!


One Month Raw: How Did It Go?


After the Master Cleanse, I successfully eased into all raw.  It lasted from January 9 through  February 9.  I actually lasted a whole month!  It’s the longest I’ve ever been purely raw.  In the past, I just couldn’t seem to get past the 3-week mark.

I posted (and am still posting) my raw meal pics on Pinterest.  It’s been fun and inspiring  making raw meals every day.  I felt so at peace, and so did my tummy!  There was some weight loss, but nothing dramatic.  Those things are pretty much the only things I noticed.  However, I’m not dismissing any results just because they appear to be subtle or minimal.  I realize that it’s only been a month.

Since my one month ended, I’ve had a cooked meal once a day, except for today, when I ate all cooked!  I was on vacation in California for the last ten days of my raw month.  When I got back last Monday, all I wanted was grits!!  And not the instant kind.  So I had my grits.  = )

Not so coincidently, I’ve had a touch of cold since Friday, and I almost never get sick!  I’ve also been really tired.  In eating cooked, I definitely expected to have an upset stomach or outright pain like in the past, but it was not the case this time…maybe because I didn’t overdo it.  I felt very cautious about what and how much I was eating when it came to cooked.  If I started to experience any nausea, I stopped!  Essentially, I’ve been high raw for the past week.

I’ve been reflecting all week on what’s next.  What I concluded is that I am going to do a 3-month raw challenge.  I think more than a month is needed to get even more settled into raw.  I attended the Raw Living Expo during this time and noted a lot of things I plan to try next, like sprouting.  I’ve sprouted before, but in Mason jars.  I plan to try some other methods of sprouting next to see what really works for me and my space.  Having attended Dr. Gabriel Cousens’ talk, I would really like to dig into finding out which raw foods work best for me.  And so the experiment continues!

Master Cleanse Break: Day 3


Posting Thursday’s notes…

Morning weigh-in: 143.8 lbs

7:57 am – 26 oz orange juice

Drinking the juice is going pretty slowly again today.

At this point, there is no conflict between breaking the cleanse (per the Day 3 instructions in Master Cleanser) and participating in FullyRaw Kristina’s 21-Day Challenge — orange juice for breakfast, raw fruit for lunch, and raw fruit or veggie salad for dinner.  I feel like I have been anticipating this day forever!

I combined 2 pints blackberries, 1 lb. strawberries, 5 kiwis, and a pom.  So, I have a good 7 cups of fruit for lunch. According to cron-o-meter, it is an 837.3 calorie meal!  I’ll probably be working on it ’til dinner!  Lunch is supposed to be 700 to 800 calories, so I’m well in the clear.

Raw Fruit Lunch

Raw Fruit Lunch

For dinner, I started with banana ice cream and strawberries.  Yums!  And finished with a low-fat raw vegan (LFRV) dish of lettuce, cucumber noodles, and a papaya dressing.  The recipe is from RawsomeHealthy.  The dressing turned out greener than I expected, but it was soo delicious! Double yums!!

First Course Dinner:  Banana ice cream + strawberries

First Course Dinner: Banana ice cream + strawberries

Second Course Dinner: Salad w/ Cucumber Noodles

Second Course Dinner: Salad w/ Cucumber Noodles

Eating went very well today.  I maybe had a  cup or less of  fruit leftover from lunch.  That’s fine, considering the fruit totally filled my 7-cup container, which I packed for the work day.  So, I’m glad I ate that much.  Lunch?  Dinner?  Ate all of it!!

Master Cleanse Break: Day 2

Morning Weigh-in:  143.6 lbs

7: 57 am – 1 quart Cara Cara OJ
The juice is going down more quickly.  It only took an hour today.  On a side note, I actually had a movement this morning.  Those were refreshingly missing yesterday!

I juiced the Cara Cara’s and Valencia’s separately today.  Yesterday, I just grabbed whichever variety of orange.  I wanted to see their distinct, different colors once finished. = )

Juicing Cara Cara's

Juicing Cara Cara’s

Juicing Valencia's

Juicing Valencia’s

Cara Cara on the left; Valencia on the right

Cara Cara on the left; Valencia on the right

I didn’t juice as much Valencia as I wanted, due to time, so I will probably head to Urban Juicer to make up the difference.

10:08 am – 22 oz Valencia OJ (finished drinking it at 10:36 am)
My arms are sore from juicing!

1:00 pm – 24 oz fresh OJ from Urban Juicer

My cycle started tonight.  In hindsight, I realized I didn’t have any cramps during the cleanse, and the mood dips were barely noticeable.

Master Cleanse Break: Day 1


Posting yesterday’s notes…

Morning Weigh-in: 144.8 lbs

8:01 am – 32 oz orange juice (OJ)

I juiced 64 oz of OJ this morning to take to work.  The  Cara Cara oranges yielded  at least 4 oz of juice a piece; the same for the organic Valencia oranges.  I had only four oranges left afterwards.  So, I may stop by Whole Foods or Urban Juicer for lunch.

Juicing Cara Cara and Valencia oranges

Juicing Cara Cara and Valencia oranges

Juiced and ready to go!

Juiced and ready to go!

The Master Cleanser book advises to drink the juice slowly.  No worries there! I wasn’t able to gulp it down like I thought I would.  I started to feel full after a few sips.  It’s going pretty slowly, naturally.  = )

An hour into it, I’ve only drank half a quart. I finally finished the first quart at 10:30 am…two and a half hours after I began!

I’m glad I didn’t fix a smoothie or other food to eat today.  I would not have eaten all of it.

12:00 pm – 1 quart OJ (sipped on it til 3:25 pm)

I shopped for more oranges on my lunch break.

7:08 pm – 1 pint OJ

Reflecting on the Cleanse
This cleanse was very gross. It’s most definitely referred to as a “cleanse” or a “flush”, as opposed to a “fast”, for a reason!  I was constantly flushing, in every sense of the word.  This detail is one that I didn’t even really think about.  For other detox programs that I’ve done, sure, there is some cleansing and elimination going on the first couple of days.  But on this cleanse, it is every day!  Throughout the day!  It is not so bad that you could not make it to the restroom in time, but it is very close.

And I never noticed the white tongue thing.  I didn’t seem to experience it.

Still eating ice!  Though I haven’t craved or eaten as much ice as usual.

I feel very alert, and my stomach is quite calm.  I have lost 8 pounds so far.  The cleanse is over, but breaking the fast lasts three days.  So, I’m still monitoring results.

I started out thinking I would do it for “10+” days, but ten days was more than enough for me!  I’ve been wanting to eat for days, though I experienced only a little hunger.  I debated about how to break the cleanse, but since I’ve put in the “work” for ten days, I would not want to ruin it by jumping back into eating.  It’s only for a couple more days…I can do it!

I don’t know that I would do this cleanse again!  It was cool to do once for sure.  If I should just need it for some reason in the future, I definitely would do it again.  It was simple, and the lemonade was yummy.

Master Cleanse: Day 10


Morning Weigh-in: 143.8 lbs

Today’s Intake:

6:18 am – 1 quart salt water

8:54 am – 1 quart lemonade

1:00 pm – 1 quart lemonade

4:14 pm – 1 quart lemonade

7:00 pm – 1 quart lemonade

10:16 pm – 1 cup herbal laxative tea

I had a headache around 11 pm last night, and I’m not one prone to headaches.  It felt like one caused by hunger.  It only lasted ten minutes, then passed.

It was pretty frigid and icy this morning, so I worked from home.  So glad it’s the last day of the cleanse!  It already feels weird that I will not have salt water or lemonade in the morning.  lol I finally decided to have the OJ to break the fast.  I planned to juice today and tonight in order to be prepared for tomorrow, but that didn’t quite work out.  Hopefully, I will get the oranges juiced in the morning.

Master Cleanse: Day 9


Morning Weigh-in: 145.0 lbs

Today’s Intake:

8:10 am –  12 oz herbal laxative tea

9:50 am – 1 quart lemonade

11: 30 am – 6 oz water

1: 45 pm – 1 quart lemonade

5:57 pm – 1 quart lemonade

7:54 pm – 1 cup mint tea

9:00 pm – 1 cup herbal laxative tea

I got up at 3:25 am to use the restroom and found my energy  bottomed out.  I felt hot, flushed, and on the verge of passing out.  I had to lie down immediately.  When I felt a little more stable, I made it to the fridge to eat some ice, which helped.  The ratios of lemon juice and maple syrup were likely off yesterday and the day before.  It would also explain why some of my mixes have been much darker than normal…and I thought it was due to the dark syrup!  I called myself eyeballing how much lemon juice it takes to make three batches in one quart — six tablespoons, which comes halfway up the first line on my Mason jar, so 2 ounces.  And the same amount for the syrup.  I’m going right back to measuring!   Or perhaps I just got too hot.  My heat was on at least 80 degrees.  I felt completely fine when I got up for the day around 7 am.

A quart from yesterday...a little too much syrup!

A quart from yesterday…a little too much syrup!

I was kinda surprised I lost two whole pounds since yesterday morning.  The massage and sauna likely contributed.

I’m drinking the laxative tea first thing again, since I’m going to a special fellowship service to commemorate Master Yogananda’s birthday later this morning.  The herb tea works much more slowly than the salt water flush.

At this point, I’m going back and forth as to how I want to break this cleanse — do the two and a third days of orange juice (OJ) as recommended OR just have a smoothie Tuesday morning.  I wonder if Burroughs knew of smoothies when he wrote the Master Cleanser book?  A smoothie seems to me to be easing back into eating, too.  It is also how I broke my last fast.  One minute I think “I’ve done ten days, what’s two more?”, and the next minute, I just want to get on with it!

Master Cleanse: Day 8


Morning Weigh-in:  147.0 lbs (again)

Today’s Intake:

7:10 am- 1 pint herbal laxative tea

10:45 am – 1 quart lemonade

11:55 am – 10 oz water

12:45 pm – 10 oz water

2:00 pm – 1 quart lemonade

5:45 pm – 20 oz water

7:42 pm  – 1 quart lemonade

10:00 pm – 1 pint herbal laxative tea

I drank the herb tea instead of salt water this morning because of the massage and sauna treatment today.  Don’t want too much moving around!

The massage and sauna were so relaxing!  The sauna reminded me of a banya.  I had to walk outside to get to it. The inside was so nice ~ wooden and heated by hot coals.

Later, I was yelping “vegan” and came across a restaurant in Nashville with raw entrées on the menu!  It’s called Spark of Life.  It looks like they just opened last year, so fairly new, and are already expanding!  I wondered how I’d missed that!  They appear to be regrouping and reopening later this month.  Yay!!  On days I’d prefer to eat out, this restaurant will be perfect!  And it’s pretty cool that there’s a vegan delivery service in the area.  It’d be even cooler if they offered raw vegan dishes, too, if they don’t already.

The cleanse is almost over!! Only two more days.  Wo-hoo!

Master Cleanse: Day 7


Posting yesterday’s notes…

Morning Weigh-in: 147.0 lbs

Friday’s Intake:
5:57 am – 1 quart salt water

8:21 am – 1 quart limeade
I juiced the limes at home and stored in a pint for the ride to work.  I use a sink strainer (that’s never been in the sink!)  to keep out the seeds.  The limes were pretty firm, even after rolling, so I made some cuts in the flesh to get the juice out.  Four were enough for 3 batches (or 6 tbsp) in one quart.    The limeade was a bit more tangy but a nice, refreshing change.

Cutting limes to get to the juice!

Cutting limes to get to the juice!

Juicing limes through the strainer

Juicing limes through the strainer



11:04 am – 1 quart lemonade
Lunch was fun…and cold!  I went to the Farmer’s Market for some butternut squash.  I got those, some Roma tomatoes, Kentucky-grown Shitake mushrooms, and red onion.  Stocking up!

1:06 pm – 1 quart lemonade
Annnnd, I’m about out of maple syrup again!

4:13 pm – 16 oz warm water
More groceries!  While shopping for maple syrup at Fresh Market,  I continued to stock up on more fruits and veggies for next week.   As previously mentioned, I signed up for the FullyRaw 21-Day Challenge, though I plan to go at least a month all raw.  The shopping list for the program is super helpful!  I bought 10 small zucchinis, 4 large cucumbers, 3 heads Romaine lettuce, 2 celery, a bag of sweet peppers, an onion, apples, bananas, and even some small red watermelons! I felt somewhat self-conscious buying so much produce again, minus any packaged foods, as it usually draws looks or questions at the register.  I was having flashbacks from raw shopping trips past.  Then, I stepped back and noticed my large shopping cart was nowhere near packed!  Regarding what’s a normal amount to buy/eat, my perspective is in the process of shifting.  = )  I just hope I eat it all!!

7:23 pm – 1 quart lemonade

10:00 pm – 1 pint herbal laxative tea