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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. March's Theme: "Reflection"
Volume 5 Issue 3 ISSN# 1708-3265

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The Envelope Please…
An Interview with Melissa Gilbert

by Aleesha Stephenson

I was fortunate to meet Melissa on a forum last year. I was looking to try Kombucha Tea and she emailed me and offered to send me a scoby (starter colony) for free. I wanted to do some form of an exchange, so I offered to send her a Reiki session. One session turned into four and four turned into an attunement and let's just say… an amazing friendship was born out of that one random act of kindness she blessed me with… offering me a scoby when she didn't even know me. So, the Melissa I've been blessed to get to know is someone I'd love all of you to know as well. In an effort to facilitate this, I decided to profile her this issue. So, let's get on with the interview!

Melissa, tell us a bit about how you discovered the Raw Foods Diet and how you turned it into a business.

I was eating Raw Foods way before I knew there was such a thing as 'The Raw Food Movement'. I was ill with a variety of conditions and my husband, David (AKA My Hippie) suggested I take a close look at just what I was eating everyday. I was vegan, but a messy vegan at that. The middle of 2004 I decided to try something different. I was working 12-14 hours a day managing a local home improvement store, not feeling well, sore and in tears most of my free time. With the Hippie's support I began eating fruit only to see if this would change the way I felt, after about three weeks… I was hungry. Looking back at it now I was just not eating enough fruit. At that point my Hippie came home with a surprise for me; a juicer! We had a blast with it making all kinds of juices, they were wonderful and I realized I could live off juices forever, it was heaven. I was feeling great, in less pain and shedding far less tears.

Unfortunately, in the first part of 2005 I was ill again, this time it was different, I was not sore, I was really sick and not being one to see a doctor of any kind, I put up with it for almost a month. My Hippie finally took me to see a friend of ours who is a family physician, he asked a lot of questions, took tons of blood samples and did the whole work up on me. Three days later he called us back to his office, we were thinking this was really serious and it was. He informed us we were going to be having a baby! I was pregnant? WHAT??? You have got to be kidding me. As you can imagine Hippie and I were in shock, you see we have kids and they have kids, how could we be having another child at this point in our lives? However that was not all the news he had for us. I was also told that I had thyroid cancer and they would like to do a biopsy and run some more tests… I agreed. The tests came back positive, I had cancer. When they said I had cancer, I believed in my mind that I did not, my thyroid was enlarged but as I began researching this an enlarged thyroid is common for a older woman when she is pregnant. This can be caused from a variety of things, not just cancer. My Hippie and I are big on the power of intention, so we refused to mention the "C" word; in my mind, I just simply did not have it.

We went home and decided I would eat everything I could that was green, we were going to figure this out all on our own without the 'help' of any cancer treatments. So what was this going to do to the baby I was carrying? We decided it had to be much better for a baby to be made from greens, veggies and fruits - all the love and positivity we can give it, right? Well we were going to find out. I found a wonderful Midwife who agreed with what we were doing and the rest is history, all was well, the baby was healthy and perfect, the most beautiful child I have ever seen, he was gorgeous from the get-go. And today I am cancer-free. Yup that's right. After I gave birth the doctor did more tests and couldn't find any cancer in my body. I was cancer-free!!!

It was not until Alex was 9-10 months old, we were walking through the produce department at our local market and I over heard two ladies talking about the Raw Food Movement. Did my ears perk up or what? Yes I began to stalk them to hear more. I could not get home fast enough to do a little Googling. I must have spent 24 hours straight on the computer reading and learning, like a sponge I was absorbing everything. I could not believe that there was such a thing, I was thrilled and there was so many foods which could be eaten as a Raw Vegan, it was a wonderful new and exciting time for me. Finally I was something, I was a Raw Vegan and not some weird-o eating fruits and veggies only, I had a place and a purpose! I had finally found a name for the path I was so desperately seeking in my life, I knew immediately I had to do this as a living, I wanted to share it all. Spread the Raw Word, shout it from the roof tops. GO RAW!!! This is what I was supposed to do with my life. Raise Alex and talk about Raw Foods.

I started taking classes on Raw Foods. I took all the classes they offered at the Ekaya Institute. I was Certified as an Nutritional Consultant, Raw Chef, and Raw Foods Coach. I then took private classes - teaching me many more things as a Raw Food Chef from a wonderful lady in Crestone, Colorado. I am currently taking several classes at UNH (University of Natural Health), I will have a Bachelor of Science in Holistic Nutrition and will be a Hygienic Doctor. I am constantly adjusting our diets according to what I am learning. I'm looking forward to sharing this information with our readers in my column from issue to issue. Ah… life is quite an adventure.

What are some of the changes you have noticed in your life since you chose a Raw Vegan Diet and Lifestyle?

First of all let me explain what the difference is between the words diet and lifestyle. In my mind the word diet is something you are personally trying to get a grip on, or master. You are not living the Raw Vegan Lifestyle until you have actually mastered the diet; when you have become 90-100% raw 100% of the time then you have mastered the diet and you are living the Raw Vegan Lifestyle.

Living a Raw Vegan Lifestyle has changed me on many levels, I have excess energy all the time, I am truly a happy person, I can feel love from everything in my life, I am no longer stiff and sore, I never catch the colds which get passed around, I feel lighter as a person, *laughing* I am, I have lost around 150 pounds and kept them off. My body is much leaner, I am no longer depressed, I now love to exercise daily. My skin is clear and beautiful. I am no longer worried about how strangers view me. I leave the house without make up. I now like leaving my home in comfortable clothes like my old worn out Levis and cowboy boots - no worries about dressing to go out in public for me. I like that one, I like it a lot. I am very laid back and satisfied with my life, I now Love and Respect myself. And best of all I am Cancer Free!

We have begun to release a lot of things from our lives, mainly negativity and with that comes people and things, possessions, stuff we do not need. We are letting go of material things we have carried around with us in this Earthly Journey and it feels so good and freeing, it is wonderful. Simplicity is what life is all about for us in this present moment. We are learning all the time, learning about ourselves and what it is we are on this planet for. What our true path in this life is. Living the Raw Foods Lifestyle has done this to us, we notice and cherish all the wonderful little things life brings. We are truly grateful for it.

How did you release/lose 150 pounds?

Aleesha, I drank green smoothies and ate lots of salads - Kale salad to be exact. I made lots of fresh green juice. Consumed green smoothies 2x a day and a salad in the mid morning and again in the early afternoon.

Example menu:

I never ate after 5-6 pm. I drank warm tea or water if I felt hungry after that.

How do you stay Raw?

This is the amazing thing, I know in my heart we will never go back to eating cooked (dead) foods, because I/we feel healthy and wonderful. My Hippie and I are both are on a different level of spiritually, there is no going back for us. I think about how I felt back then and I was a miserable person, who would want that back? Not I.

I know you enjoy fasting and you are currently doing a juice feast. How many days have you Feasted or Fasted since you went Raw? Why do you choose to do it?

I have done several 10 - 20 day fasts. I completed a 100 day juice fast last spring, with some short fasts after that. I am currently going thru a 92 day Juice Feast. I love to do this because it heals my body, and it makes me feel really wonderful. I feel as if I am on a mission to rid my body of all the toxins it has been holding onto for my entire life, it's not an easy process, but one I undertake because it is necessary for me in this moment. Each and every time I fast or feast I come out on the other side looking and feeling younger, lighter and freer than I did at the beginning of it. I feel my body releasing all the bad things which have accumulated within, both physically and emotionally. I feel clean and fresh. I have been "finding" myself through fasting. Each time I discover something new I didn't know about my body and soul. I am a Free Spirit and discovering that has been the best gift to myself. Fasting has freed my spirituality and my being.

I know you are choosing to raise your youngest child, Alex as a Raw Vegan. Does he ever ask for cooked foods? What is his favourite food right now?

We are in the mindset that Alex is here for a special reason; he is here to do wonderful things for the planet and mankind. He was not planned by any means, he choose David (Hippie) and I to raise him, because he knew we could do the right things for him along his path. We were the chosen ones, he could have picked anyone, but he did not - he chose us and for that we are extremely grateful.

We will do anything we can to make sure he is healthy, happy and is steered in the right direction and make the right choices in his life. We are his parental guides and he will eventually have to make his own decisions, in the material world.

Alex does not know what cooked foods are, he has never had anything dead inside his little body. He is life, therefore eats only living foods. In my mind, there is not a better way to start out on this Earthly Journey than by choosing healthy foods to feed your body, mind and soul. Only great free spirits can come from this.

Alex's favourite food? Well there really is not one favourite there are many. Bananas and Green smoothies are his daily staples and I am sure there would be hell to pay if he did not get them every day. *laughing* He loves all fruit and most veggies, some harder vegetables are still a little difficult for him to eat, but Alex eats everything we do. He drinks fresh fruit and vegetable juices, coconut water, hemp milk and homemade raw almond milk. He gets a lot of seeds in his diet as well as superfoods to insure his growth and brain development, which I track closely. He is PERFECT! I Love him…

I know that you have dreams of living off-the-grid. What exactly does this lifestyle represent for you and how far do you plan to take it?

Aleesha, I could go on and on with this question. To keep it real, we want to live simply. Grow our own food. Harvest our electricity from the sunshine and wind. Get our water from the sky. We do not like relying on others for these things. This has been our dream for many years, we do not like living in the hustle and bustle of the city, it is just too much for us. We want to slow down and live simply, amongst other like-minded people.

We have been doing a lot of research and have considered many of the options out there as far as living off-the-grid, and we have been actively looking for a home or land for the past year, I think we have finally found our little piece of paradise. We will be moving to Taos N.M. YAY!! We are very excited about it, it has taken Hippie a long time to decide on how and where we should live, me I can live anywhere, just get me out of this city! It has been a roller coaster of a ride with many ups and downs, but it feels great to finally have a plan in our pockets.

What is a typical day like in the Gilbert house?

Crazy! I will give you a play by play of my day.

See Crazy!

Wow, but you do get some sleep right? *laughing* If you could get one point across to our readers today about living a Raw Vegan Lifestyle, what would it be?

Oh, you know me better than that. Okay, only one thing? Well that would be health. If you would like to truly be healthy get all the processed and junk foods out of your life, these things poison your body and cloud your soul. Take control, you are the only one who can do this. I am not telling you to all run out and become Raw Vegans, what I am telling you, (like my Hippie did to me) is to consider what you are feeding your body, alright just think about it. When you put unhealthy foods into your body, what do you think you are creating? Yup, a body full of unhealth instead of health! So why not live to your fullest potential and then some. Do something special for yourself, you deserve it.

Melissa, thank you so much for taking a few of your precious 1440 minutes of your day to talk with us. I know I appreciate it and I imagine our readers do as well! Namaste' my friend.

Be sure to read Melissa's Raw Column "Life in the Raw".

Melissa Gilbert is a Raw food Chef, a Certified Raw Food Nutritional Consultant, and a Raw Food Coach. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer and works with her client's nutritional goals as well as getting them established in an exercise regime. Melissa also owns and operates a Raw Vegan Daycare, called Little Sprouts Daycare.

A writer for Pear Magazine, a Raw lifestyle publication, Melissa has decided to join us as a regular columnist and Associate Editor (staff member) here at Timeless Spirit Magazine.

Currently getting her Bachelor of Science in Holistic Nutrition and taking classes to become a Hygienic Doctor, she is mother to toddler, Alex and wife to David as well as mother to 2 grown children and 3 grandchildren. As if that isn't enough on her plate, Melissa and David have started The Sunny Raw Café in Denver Colorado, a Raw Vegan home delivery café for people living the Raw lifestyle, or who simply want to eat more healthy foods.

In her spare time Melissa enjoys the great outdoors, mountain hiking, biking, snow shoeing, camping in the backwoods and sailing. A Shaman in training and Tarot card enthusiast, Melissa (and her family) practices Buddhism with Pagan influences. If you would like to learn more about Raw Foods you can reach Melissa via email or visit one of her websites: www.LoveRawLife.com, www.rawtoddleralex.blogspot.com, and www.rawmom.blogspot.com.

Copyright (c) 2008 by Timeless Spirit Magazine. All articles are the copyright of the particular writers and cannot be reprinted without their expressed permission. All rights reserved. International copyright laws prohibit reproduction of or distribution of this page by any means whatsoever, electronic or otherwise, without first obtaining the written permission of the copyright holder. We retain legal counsel to protect our copyrights.

Any advice given is for informational purposes only.

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