Just a moment . . .

Musings by Chris and Photos by Jim

I am fast realizing that where one is has no bearing on one’s spiritual awareness. There is no preferred moment and time to be spiritual. It simply comes from within. It doesn’t matter if the sun shines, or the winds blow, or the temperatures drop, or the clouds blanket the sky; whether the streets are blessed with offerings as in Bali, or the cathedrals in Bretagne are kissed by streams of stained glass light, the external is just that. It is the internal environment of ones heart and soul that opens up the mind, body and spirit to light and love.

fauo 8 church St Herbot

Jim makes a daily practice of holding my hand as we traverse through Brittany all the while thanking me for the moment. The blue skies above and the yellow, brown, and green patchwork of farmland fields wrap us in a shawl of everlasting memories, around our shoulders of time. Familiar faces greet us on our walks into town with a jolie ‘bonjour’. We comfortably navigate the roundabouts as we follow the signs pour ‘toute directions’ into our favourite villages. We frequent neighbourhood supermarkets and ‘boulangeries’ and are awe struck by the magnitude of historical discoveries in each quaint village and hamlet. We are living a rich and magnificent life of opportunity; an extravagant life of simplicity.

valley morlaix 8

fauo 9 locronan2

Even remarkable holiday moments are confronted by everyday occurrences. Perhaps it is all in a day’s work of an international housesitter. One of our sweet charges, an aging fragile dog of mixed breed had a stroke six months prior. She subsisted on medication and confusion but was a gentle old soul who eagerly wagged her tail at your touch. She still was eating and taking the occasional walk before her family left on a two-week trek through the Pyrennes. By the end of the first week, she no longer would eat, resisted her medication, and barely lapped from her water bowl. It was a struggle to simply make it out to the garden, which is where she finally laid to rest on a brilliantly sunny springtime Saturday afternoon. She was surrounded by the hosts‘ daughter, who now as a young woman has her own young infant to care for, a compassionate vet, and two unsuspecting though caring house-sitters.


There is nothing like the passage of life to bring one into the moment; to stir the spiritual and divine from within. We were filled with such sweet sorrow for this canine life; this gentle creature who had brought moments of joy and happiness to a larger family of humans. Her passing – a breath away from our own immortality.

morlaix 3

The fast train of life smacked me broad side last week, taking me by the haunches and twisting me into an abrupt detour. I pulled my hamstrings on my left leg, completely and thoroughly enough to render me immobile. I now sport a ‘tres jolie’ cane as I hobble the streets of Lyon. My wandering days have been cut short and slowed down considerably as I quietly lust after those with youth and immediacy on their side. It’s not the kind of accident you envision when you create your dream vacation. It quickly has become a holiday for one – with Jim doing all the suitcase lugging, all the exploring up paths and down alleyways, and embracing a new culture with awe and inspiration. My daily routine of stretches, painkillers, and rests are interrupted by the occasional glimpse into nearby shops and cafes, where I carefully examine the simplest route to the ‘toilette’. Each moment is mapped out with care and concern about what I can and cannot manage. Spontaneity has left me in its wake. I’ve entered an aged perspective of mindful plodding.

morlaix 4

The moment has peculiar and familiar ways of reminding us to be present. As Jim remarked after my fall, we are apt to have accidents when we aren’t being present. At that particular moment I was flashing forward and backward into minute possibilities that were needless at the time. As I lay flat on my back I knew there was no turning back. I was now projected into a new realm, a new awareness, a new perspective. One in which I could only be with, in its entirety. I’ve never been considered a patient person. Perhaps I am left to ponder what patience means. It certainly brings me back to my breath, which is really all each one of us has in the end.


And so our ‘bon journee’ continues. May each one of you seize the moment; be with it; share it with a friend or loved one; realize how precious it is; feel blessed to experience that moment in whatever manner it greets you. And remember, your moment is something no one else can take from you. It is yours, so peacefully and utterly yours alone. So be it.

sunset in Parcou





Please join us in Bali

We apologize for our previous post. The beautiful posters we had made did not work out. Instead we are now including the information through plain text.

Sorry for any inconvenience.


We are going to Bali in January and February 2015 and we are inviting you to join us.

Our North American tour dates are from January 31 to February 6, 2015

If you have never been to Bali before and have been waiting for the right opportunity to go, or you have been before but would love to revisit this magical place, then our tour is for YOU!


We will be visiting traditional spiritual landmarks in addition to sharing our love of live plant-based cuisine. There will be an emphasis on preparation of traditional Balinese cuisine both cooked and live, as well as visits to 5 well-known live plant-based restaurants in the Ubud area.


Read the detailed information below and then contact us at:  rawsomelivingfoods@gmail.com with any of your questions AND to reserve your spot.

If you are from Japan, a Japanese-only tour with full translation will be from February 6th to the 14th. Please contact us at rawsomelivingfoods@gmail.com for costs and booking information.

If you would like to extend your stay, Jim and Chris will be providing the food and delivering workshops at H20 Yoga and Meditation Centre on Gili Air from January 24 to 31. [Reservations to the yoga meditation retreat are handled separately through the H20 WebsiteWhat a wonderful combination – yoga, meditation, snorkeling, and personal spiritual exploration, along with a daily live plant-based menu with added demonstrations and workshops on making the transition to a live plant-based lifestyle. Then continue on to Ubud and join us for a week of cultural touring and live plant-based cuisine. Or further your travels with an added week after our tour to other locations in Bali. We can provide many suggestions to enrich your cultural experience.

Too Rawsome to be true, but it is. Believe . . .


2015 Tours To Bali

Canadian Dates: January 31 to February 6, 2015

Japanese Dates: February 6 to February 14, 2015

Each Tour limited to 10 people

Rawsome on the Road invites you to join us for a trip of a lifetime. Enjoy seven glorious days in Ubud, Bali to explore a cultural lifestyle founded on heart, love, and community. You will be introduced to ceremonial landmarks and traditions, rice field and herbal walks, significant temple visits, market shopping, and spa opportunities.


Four mornings will be spent in a local organic rice field warung (café) with Chef Komang learning how to make traditional Balinese cooked plant-based dishes. Chef Jim Maurice will demonstrate how to turn these delicious standards into live plant-based options.


There will be ample free time to explore Ubud on your own, book your own spa treatments, and shop at the many beautiful stalls and shops along the avenues of Ubud. In addition, you can attend a class at one of the many famous yoga/meditation centres in Bali.

 The price for one week in Bali is: $1250  (Airfare is NOT included)


Included in the land price is:

  • Transportation to and from the Denpassar airport to your villa
  • Transportation to all special events and tourist destinations
  • 7 nights single-occupancy room accommodation at a Balinese homestay conveniently located in the centre of Ubud (air conditioner, hot and cold showers, wifi, swimming pool, fresh fruit breakfast included) – there is one double room that can be shared (ask for details on cost difference)
  • 3 sacred temple visits (Pura Besakih, Tanah Lot, Water Purification at Pura Tirtha Empul)
  • Cacao plantation visit
  • Herbal Walk and workshop making some traditional herbal remedies
  • Traditional Kecak Fire Dance
  • 4 – 2-hour morning Balinese plant-based cooking classes and raw food demonstrations
  • 5 dinners and/or lunches at well-known eateries specializing in cooked and live plant-based options (local and organically grown)


Initial deposit of $250 required by Sept 30, 2014 to reserve your spot in this trip of a lifetime. Fully refundable until October 15th. Non refundable after November 1st, 2014.

Contact information: rawsomelivingfoods@gmail.com


Want to go to Bali?

We are going to Bali in January and February 2015 and we are inviting you to join us.

Our North American tour dates are from January 31 to February 6, 2015

If you have never been to Bali before and have been waiting for the right opportunity to go, or you have been before but would love to revisit this magical place, then our tour is for YOU!

We will be visiting traditional spiritual landmarks in addition to sharing our love of live plant-based cuisine. There will be an emphasis on preparation of traditional Balinese cuisine both cooked and live, as well as visits to 5 well-known live plant-based restaurants in the Ubud area.

Read the attached posters and then contact us at:  rawsomelivingfoods@gmail.com with any of your questions AND to reserve your spot. 

If you are from Japan, a Japanese-only tour with full translation will be from February 6th to the 14th. Please contact us at rawsomelivingfoods@gmail.com for costs and booking information.

If you would like to extend your stay, Jim and Chris will be providing the food and delivering workshops at H20 Yoga and Meditation Centre on Gili Air from January 24 to 31. [Reservations to the yoga meditation retreat are handled separately through the H20 WebsiteWhat a wonderful combination – yoga, meditation, snorkeling, and personal spiritual exploration, along with a daily live plant-based menu with added demonstrations and workshops on making the transition to a live plant-based lifestyle. Then continue on to Ubud and join us for a week of cultural touring and live plant-based cuisine. Or further your travels with an added week after our tour to other locations in Bali. We can provide many suggestions to enrich your cultural experience.

Too Rawsome to be true, but it is. Believe . . .




When in France . . .

chateauneuf street

The first time we went as vegans and came home vegetarians. Everyone knows the three main ingredients in French cooking – butter, butter, and butter. The croissants and cheeses melted in our mouths ruining us for a life of only cooked veggies, fruit, legumes, and grains. Yes we fell off the wagon and it took 4 years later, a wheatgrass business, and a raw food green juice cleanse at Optimum Health Institute in San Diego, to open us up to the possibilities of a live plant-based lifestyle. Jim went on to gain his chef instructor certification at Living Light Culinary Institute in California, and the rest is history.

canal again

We have been primarily ‘raw’ or living a live plant-based lifestyle for the past 6 years. Yes we have eaten cooked plant-based cuisine from time to time – especially when we have traveled. Quite often it is to experience the cuisine of another culture or because the options are limited if we just stick with salads and fruit. Not that it isn’t doable living that way. It’s just that we both love food, and sometimes we opt for some diversity, even though it is taking us off our chosen path.

When Jim teaches for the Japan Living Beauty Association, he articulates a balanced approach to life, one that embraces rather than negates one’s culture. For the Japanese, as with many cultures in Southeast Asia, rice is foundational to their culture. The message is clear, choose wisely – whole foods over highly processed (i.e. brown, wild, or red rice over white) along with a high proportion of fresh dark leafy greens and other vegetables and fruit. If you are cooking your vegetables, lightly steam rather than grill, boil, or deep fat fry. Preferably buy organic and if that is not possible nor affordable, buy local. In France,

The Ministry of Agriculture recently launched an initiative to make agriculture more sustainable, which aims to make France a champion of agro-ecology. Under this initiative, the Ministry puts forward practices that are environment-friendly and increase farms’ autonomy. The government’s focus is on the environmental and social legs of sustainability in agriculture.

Specific action plans include the continuation of the pesticide reduction program; a new program aiming to reduce antibiotic use in livestock production, named “Ecoantibio;’ a specific program favoring sustainable honey production; a program favoring domestic vegetable protein production to reduce France imports of feed proteins; a program favoring biogas production from animal waste nitrogen; and actions in favor of organic production and consumption. – Click to read more.

the fields

Food plays a major role in the country’s social life. Wine and cheese are sources of national pride and reflect regional differences. Meals are ritualized, and full of social and cultural meaning. There are also political aspects to the meaning of food. For instance, there has recently been much concern about the quality of ‘engineered’ food and a rejection of foods that have been genetically altered. In France, there have been protests at some fast food restaurants in an attempt to drive them out of the country to keep the traditional quality of French food and the French lifestyle.

The French have always been proud of their sophisticated way of cooking. Fertile soil provides fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, grains, and meat, nearly year-round. The soil is also suitable for growing grapes, which are used for making some of the finest wines in the world. Food and alcohol play important roles in French society—the way a person eats often reflects their French heritage, region of birth, social status, and health.


The baguette, a long, thin loaf of crusty bread, is the most important part of any French meal. Everyone at the table is expected to eat a piece. In Brittany, where we are living for two weeks, the regional dish is crepes. Every town has a creperie with crepes created both in savory and sweet variations. Which brings us to wheat. We have discoverd that baguettes are plant-based, if not brushed with egg whites to be shiny (salt, flour, water, yeast). As the French are so proud of their food, careful about food sourcing, and ensuring all bread is made at the local boulangerie, concerns about gluten may be less of an issue in France. Dr. Katz suggests it may be contaniments are more of the issue rather than gluten itself, for the majority of the population. That is, there may not really be such a high percentage of people with a wheat allergy, but rather a sensitivity to associated contaniments introduced to wheat production in North America.

The amount of gluten isn’t really the issue. “It’s the company the gluten keeps,” he said.

Over time, we’ve hybridized and genetically modified common wheat – often to increase its gluten content to make it more appealing. Through that process – and other modern processing activities – we’ve introduced new nutrients into the grain. It’s how those nutrients interact with each other and the gluten that could be causing problems – not the gluten itself.

“In some cases, genetic modifications have increased the gluten content of wheat and other grains,” Dr. Katz says. “It may be that genetic modifications are also introducing new nutrients into the diet, and some reactions to gluten may be primed by the company it is keeping.”

the house in Brittany

So what are we eating? We have the wonderful good fortune to be living in a 300 year old farmhouse for 2 weeks in Plovenz du Faou in Bretagne. We have our own kitchen with a blender and access to a couple of nearby supermarkets with an abundant source of produce grown in France. The only organic or ‘bio‘ produce we have been able to find are bananas, but the quality of the vegetables from France have been manifique and the flavour incredible. Even though the tomatoes are grown in green houses, they actually taste close to garden fresh. The heads of lettuce have fresh dirt in them and along with the cauliflower, the heads are enormous (enorme). I’ve also never seen such large white cauliflowers in our grocery stores with absolutely no rusting occuring. We’ve been told that the French produce in our local spermarkets has been grown in Bretagne, so it is not traveling thousands of miles to get from the farm to the store to our table. Local as possible. If it is not grown locally, because of the time of year, then it is coming mostly from Spain.


We enjoy a morning green smoothie with fruit, some super green powder we always travel with and water (and yes you can drink the tap water here). We have slipped into eating baguettes with some organic olive oil and balsamic vinegar. And then we eat lots of fruit and salads. The strawberries from nearby Brest are as close to tasting like they are fresh from a garden as I have ever found in a supermarket. Because we don’t have the usual equipment to make more elaborate meals, we haven’t been able to make our own nut cheeses. However I’m including a link to Raw French Recipes that I found in case you are inclined to experiment.

When in France, we are attempting to speak some French, greet everyone with bonjour and throw in a merci for good measure. We have been made to feel welcome. When dropping into a local cafe for deux espressos the other morning, the head chef and owner purposely came over to us to shake our hands and welcome us. We feel very French walking into town everyday and buying our baguette while sampling some local organic red wine. We’ve discussed the possibility of visiting Optimum Health Institute in San Diego when we return to British Columbia in June. But for now, la vie est tres bonne!



Herbes de Provence Wrap
Serves 2

  • Chopped vegetables
  • 1 mashed avocado
  • 8 lettuce leaves
  • 1 sliced tomato
  • Herbes de Provence spices to taste
  • Drizzling of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

We had some leftover salad from the night before. Inluded in it was some cooked red and wild rice which we have been eating along with our salad every night (along with some steamed yams) as it has been unseasonably cold. I mashed up an avocado, sprinkled in some Herbes de Provence, and mixed it in with the salad. I then rolled that mixture up in lettuce leaves topped with some fresh tomato slices. Once plated I drizzled lightly with some organic olive oil and balsamic vinegar. If you are so inclined and have a fresh baguette, then you wipe off the remaining oil and vinegar with a couple of slices of baguette. Voila!

Pondering possibilities and Bumbu Bali – March 29th

Redefining oneself can be a daunting task if you take yourself too seriously. However, if you pay attention to the light that surrounds those energetic thoughts, when they burst through your complacency, then it becomes less onerous and more possible.

Nothing comes about without some level of risk attached to it. It is the very essence of that risk which becomes the paralyzing force for many of us, when in fact, risk can become the spark that fuels imagination and discovery.

ish photos 530

I keep wondering if entering my 60s has offered some relaxation around taking a risk. If experience is allowing my self doubt to finally trust in the unfolding of life, as it should be. Lately my trapeze is flying higher and I’m reaching further.

Part of redefining oneself is believing in your skills and talents and seeing the transferability of them within a broader world view. When climbing a preordained professional ladder, we often are trapped within preconceived parameters of where others assume our abilities are best placed. The opinions of others often hold us in check much longer than we really should be in one place or another. The views of others blind us to our own potential, leading us to disregard the songs we hear emanating from our hearts. Though still waters may be easier to tread and the shore easier to reach it ultimately leaves us with little motivation to cross the channel to the other side.


I read a post on Facebook recently, written by someone in their 20s, who expressed his boredom with those of us in our 60s ‘finding ourselves’ and going on ad nauseum about our epiphanies. I was instantly riddled with guilt and annoyance. Guilty of that very thing and annoyed that someone younger could not see any benefit in my musings about a road more or less traveled. Perhaps in your 20s, life seems to be stretching on with lots of play time. Once you reach your 60s and beyond, you realize how fast time passes, that there are no re-plays; that it’s now or never.

As we have personally journeyed through some life changes over the past six years, we have encountered people making significant alterations in their lives as they confront their mortality. Let’s face it, most people in their 20s and 30s aren’t as impaired by elevating blood pressure readings and escalating sugar levels as those of us in our more advanced years. Granted the demographics are changing in that regard but most of us are commited to a nimb-ism (not in my body) stance. It is easier to point fingers at and protest against the large monolithic food industrialists and governmental policies than to take control of what each one of us can reasonably manage – which is choosing to eat ethically and with integrity. Unfortunately, that kind of eating still isn’t readily available in a package or frozen food section of your grocery store.


Many people will flirt with dietary changes by embracing meatless Mondays and looking for vegetarian options. It is relatively easy to forsake meat and fish and replace it with cheese and eggs one day a week. Those who become more politicized in their food consumption will adopt a locovore plant-based approach, ethically saving the planet through compassionate and conscientious food choices – plants only, which are preferably organic and close to source. Those who gravitate towards a live plant-based option do so usually because of health concerns – to lose weight, to address a pressing health issue, to reduce aches and pains, to potentially lengthen one’s life span.

Whether we redefine our life purpose or our life style, there needs to be an awareness that the path you are on is not serving you. It’s that realization that the fatique you are experiencing on a daily basis has more to do with a lack of oxygen. The flame is not igniting or the candle refuses to stay lit. This can occur at any age and what I challenge anyone to consider, no matter what life stage they are at is, what brings passion to your life? Is it a career change, a professional re-purposing, or a lifestyle makeover (physical, spiritual, emotional, or intellectual).


The possibilities are endless and the adventures uncomparable. If you think it’s too late, then you’re going to miss the starting pistol. Just strap on your metaphorical runners and head for the finish line. As long as it stays in view, you still have miles of opportunities ahead of you before you head onto the next marathon, and each time with more agility and vigor, with new best times, and new routes to traverse.


As we contemplate new ways of sharing the benefits of a live plant-based lifestyle and its many variations around the globe, why not join us to learn what we discovered while in Bali.

Saturday, March 29

1 to 3 pm
Rawsome on the Road presents: Bumbu Bali 
  • Take a rawsome visual trip to Bali with raw food chef and instructor Jim Maurice and partner Chris Gay
  • You’ll be introduced to the spiritual beauty of this remarkable country and people and invited to join Jim and Chris for their tour next February in Ubud, Bali
  • All this while nibbling on some of Jim and Chris’ live plant-based adaptations of traditional Balinese culinary delights.
RSVP required by Noon Wed. March 26th – rawsomelivingfoods@gmail.com


Rawsome Presents: Bumbu Bali – Sat. Mar. 29

Sometimes we are on the road even when we are at home. Well ‘home’ in the traditional sense doesn’t exist for us at the moment. We are back in our homeland. In fact we are back to our somewhat traditional territory – housesitting in Victoria, B.C. – which was home for us for well over 30 years. What a joy that we have a high speed blender and a food processor, some good knives and a cutting board. We’re back to eating losts of salads and drinking green smoothies every morning.

whats up

Since Jim returned from 10 days teaching in Japan, we have been walking and reacquainting ourselves with new and familiar eateries and scenic vistas. While in Japan, Jim spread the word of balance, live plant-based options, eating food that is as close to source as possible, and expressing gratitude for each day. Rawsome on the Road will return to Japan in September, providing us both with opportunities to learn more about how the Japanese are adopting healthier dietary options into their cultural preferences, while providing insights into our observations of dietary and lifestyle choices around the world, while on our travels.


It all seemed so easy to live in the moment while in Bali. The challenge as each one of us knows, is practicing our A, B, C, D, Es of life while confronted with more of the mundane and intrusive elements of day to day living. Traveling headlong into new experiences can occur whether on the road or firmly planted on home soil. Living with a partner who has embraced a health opportunity as a mantra to revising his life, has provided me with insights into the blessings of being present. Witnessing playful pictures of Jim in parks and playgrounds, and his own personal sandbox of choice, the kitchen, has offered me opportunites to revisit what holds me back and inroads into potential possibilities of pleasure.


A Recipe for Healthful Living

Appreciation – Appreciate each moment, each smile, each interaction, each emotion and action as an opportunity to learn, live, love, and to let go. Live each day with joy, appreciation, and gratitude. There is so much to be grateful for, with the first thing being the fact you are alive, you are a beautiful being, and that you give so much to others with your presence.

Breathe – Breathe deeply everyday as a way to provide you with stillness, reflection, oxygenation, calm, and purpose. Breathe through moments of happiness and sadness, anger and frustration, love and adoration. Inhale love into your heart and exhale love into the hearts of others.

Core – Find a spiritual and foundational base with which to guide you along your life’s path. Find a philosophy that supports your values and your cultural orientation while nourishing your heart, your intellect, and your spiritual foundation.

Diet – Choose wisely, to the best of your abilities, as close to source as possible, within a range of plant-based options that respect the environment and all living things. Eat with balance in mind. Eat in order to sustain and maintain your health and well-being as well as the life of the planet. Eat with intention. Eat within a cultural norm that respects a diverse and life-giving perspective.

Exercise – Move. Walk, stretch, swim, run, practice yoga, hike, ski, cycle, weight bear – do something that increases your heart rate and uses muscles, increasing flexibility, and gets the oxygen moving through your body. Be in touch with every part of your body, feel the energy coursing through your bloodstream, and feel vital and alive.


As the roads of opportunity present themselves to us, we will continue to share our adventures with you. We will chronicle our experiences and observations through this Rawsome on the Road blog as well as on our Rawsome on the Road facebook page. Please ‘Like’ us and share with others. We love reaching a broader base of interested and like minded people, visioning a heathier and more compassionate lifestyle.

In a similar vein, we want to share with you our travels in Bali.

Saturday, March 29
1 to 3 pm
Rawsome on the Road presents: Bumbu Bali 
  • Take a rawsome visual trip to Bali with raw food chef and instructor Jim Maurice and partner Chris Gay
  • You’ll be introduced to the spiritual beauty of this remarkable country and people and invited to join Jim and Chris for their tour next February in Ubud, Bali
  • All this while nibbling on some of Jim and Chris’ live plant-based adaptations of traditional Balinese culinary delights.
RSVP required by Noon Wed. March 26th – rawsomelivingfoods@gmail.com





Leaving and wanting more

Musings by Chris and photos by Jim

We’re so close to the end of our time here in Bali that we’re aching to share all that we don’t know. As visitors to Bali, and not particularly seasoned ones at that, we realize there is so much we don’t know about the Balinese culture. We also appreciate that regardless how many visits we make to this sumptuous and reverential land, we never will fully know what it means to be Balinese.

We read Fragrant Rice by Janet De Neefe, prior to coming here in 2013. It definitely is a good introduction to understanding the many cultural ceremonies, learning an abundance of recipes (meat and fish based), and developing an appreciation of the spiritual nature of the Balinese. We’re realizing it is a book that warrants a read every year before we embark on our vacation in Bali – a primer for paradise.


For now, we simply want to share what is speaking to our hearts during our last moments here. We want you to relish the scent of incense wafting up from the twice-daily offerings placed outside residences and businesses. Showing gratitude and appreciation figure heavily into the Balinese culture. It reminds each one of us of the spiritual connection we have to ourselves, the environment, and to our community.


We want you to imagine the Full Moon. It is a time when the moon is at its most powerful and its influence is most potent. Purnama (or full moon) is always a special day for ceremonies and festivities. Hundreds of temples all over the island celebrate their anniversary on a specific full moon each year.  Since full moon is also considered an auspicious day for Balinese ceremonial culture, hundreds of ceremonies are held in all corners of the island on this sacred day. People believe that Purnama is the best time for making good deeds or doing religious activities, since the reward of them will be multiplied by one hundred. This is the ideal time for healing, guidance, and completion.


We want you to appreciate the simplicity of food and the necessity of rice as a basic and foundational part of one’s diet in Bali. It is the fabric of commerce, the stability of home life, and the cultivation of the Balinese culture.

The rituals of the cycle of planting, maintaining, irrigating, and harvesting rice enrich the cultural life of Bali. At the beginning of planting time, ceremonies are held to carry the young stems of rice that have been nurtured in a special nursery. On each section of the rice fields, the corner nearest to Mount Agung will receive the honor to be the first place to receive the young stems of rice. The water level in each section is perfect; little streams of water effortlessly flow from the highest section up on top of the hill to the very bottom section.


Before planting, throughout growing time, at harvesting, ceremonies are held and offerings are presented to Dewi Sri, the goddess of rice. In the middle of rice fields far from the village, you often find little shrines with neatly presented flowers, fruit, and offerings for Dewi Sri.


We want you to understand our concern that Ubud, in particular, is over-building for the tourism sector. There is a seductive quality when inviting tourists into their community, being exposed to a westernized economy and lifestyle, and building bigger and better villas and homestays and large resorts. Huge complexes are taking over rice fields with often the only way to access these commercialized resorts is via pot-holed dirt roads and/or narrow rice paddy paths. There is no infrastructure being developed to accommodate the increased traffic that will result when ‘they build it and the tourists come.’


At the same time, we want you to be grateful for the existence of traditional Balinese homes and lifestyles, despite this burgeoning growth. They are a collection of individual, largely open structures (including separate structures for the kitchen, sleeping areas, bathing areas and shrine) within a high-walled garden compound. Extended family members all live together with daughters living on their husband’s family compound and adopting their customs and family ways. Land is blessed prior to building a new structure and ceremonial procedures are passed along through the generations.

We want you to marvel at the work of the visionary few who are hoping to improve the life of birthing women and those individuals who enter the world with complex needs.


Death during childbirth is still one of the highest areas of mortality for women in Bali. Birthing practices in the public hospitals is viewed as non-gentle and often quite punitive. The Bumi Sehat Birthing Centre in Ubud uses gentle midwifery practices, acupuncture, nutrition, prenatal education, and support post labour for up to 6 weeks. It also includes a walk in clinic for anyone in the community based on donation.

This centre has a mentorship program with young teen women encouraging them to volunteer at the centre and eventually to be supported to go on and get further education to become midwives, who will hopefully do their internship at the centre and over time volunteer and help out. The centre operates via donations and volunteers. Read more about this wonderful endeavour and our friend, Brenda Hinton’s involvement.)


The Yasasan Widya Guna Orphanage was started by a Balinese husband and wife. The husband, Ketut felt he was making good money working three jobs and rather than buy things he wanted to give back to the community. He saw children who were parentless (mostly because of mothers dying during childbirth and/or fathers dying and leaving mothers with children and no place to live). So his aim has been to support the children, keep them as connected as possible to extended family, educate them, feed them, teach them life skills, and personal planning for the future.

The orphanage initially took place on his family compound. Now it has expanded to another piece of land that he fundraises for as well as leases out parcels of it to support the orphanage. Also people can support a child for $30/month (if they do not have a disability) or $60/month if they have a disability. Quite a few of the children have Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Obviously, the children with disabilities come with more challenges, equipment and therapeutic needs.

Each child has their own bank account with the aim that by the time they will hopefully be ready to leave, they will have the equivalent of $500 to either start a business, get further education, and create a life plan for the future. The reality is that some of the children will never live independently and Ketut is prepared for them to live out their life in the complex. But those that are older than 14 are expected to help with personal care of the younger ones. They are all so lovely, clean, polite, and engaging. Some go home daily or weekly, and some have their mothers actually working on the premises and helping. Those youth who do not have disabilities have been supported to go onto further education to actually become physical therapists to eventually volunteer at the orphanage. An amazing program, which like the birthing centre, does not receive any government funding.


We want you to be amazed and inspired to come visit this magical land. We will be hosting a Japanese only tour as well as a Canadian tour next February. We will be posting more details in our next post. We feel confident that our tours will open up your hearts to a place, to a people, and a culture that will forever alter your perception of the developing world. We know the smiles of the Balinese will never leave you when you find yourself in this spiritual land.


We are filled with gratitude that you joined Rawsome on the Road, for this leg of our journey in Bali. Stay tuned for more information to come about our upcoming tours for next year. And in the months to come – more stories to share from Europe, in April and May.

The journey continues . . . Chris and Jim



Eating, drinking, and loving in Bali

Musings by Chris and photos by Jim

There is a downpour every afternoon. It remains hot and sunny every morning until around 1 pm. School children run for cover at the local warung for their mid afternoon snacks of Nasi Goreng (fried rice) or Mie Goreng (fried noodles). Just like our local wok bar on Salt Spring Island provides a lunch hang out for the high school students, so too do the two women providing chips, pop, and traditional Indonesian rice and noodle dishes here on Bisma Street in Ubud.


So what do two raw foodies consume during their days in Bali? The Japanese tour Jim ran at the end of January attracted 12 women from Tokyo, Osaka, and one from Kelowna, BC (who also provided translation services). The intent was to expose the participants to the many raw food cafés in Ubud, as well as the beautiful and unique cultural aspects of this magical place. We fell In love with it last year and had a resolved desire to share with others.

While living in Ubud, it is possible to stay completely raw, however, in all honesty, we are far more rigorous and committed to the lifestyle in our home community than when traveling. Let’s look at what raw looks like here in Bali – and primarily in Ubud.


Everyday is started with fresh bottled water and some water with added green powder to give us a hit of immune enhancers (a mixture of wheat grass powder, spirulina, chlorella, olive leaf, and alfalfa). It didn’t protect us from becoming sick after about 10 days in the country, but psychologically I felt I was doing my best along with taking grape seed extract tablets. We have a daily plate of freshly cut fruit. Other common fruit includes rambutan, snake skin fruit (salak), mangosteen, and green bananas (that are actually ripe).


This time of year seems to be a steady dose of bananas, papaya, watermelon, and pineapple that is bought fresh every morning at the local market. We seek out a fresh daily juice whether it is green, Jamu juice (turmeric based), or watermelon or some other fruit combination. Also if we can find some fresh, we have a daily shot of wheatgrass. It is critical to emphasize ‘no sugar or syrup’ in any of our juices. We discovered in both Thailand and Indonesia and Bali, they really like to add sugar to everything.


Salad can be a rare commodity in communities outside the larger cities like Ubud and Sanur, or those not typically catering to tourists. In Ubud, you will find restaurants specially promoting fresh local organic produce. Some well known cafés in Ubud include Alchemy (a great very reasonable salad bar, fresh juices and raw desserts).


Sari Organic is idyllically situated out in the rice fields and promotes ‘pick your own greens’ in their organic garden. They are not necessarily raw, but you can get salad, juices, and cooked vegan options.

Clear is one of the more upscale trendy restaurants that has several raw items on their menu, snacks like raw crackers and cookies, as well as sumptuous desserts, including non-raw options. And they also own and operate Funny Monkey – an ice cream outlet that serves cashew and/or coconut ice cream that is raw and vegan.

Taksu is a health spa providing yoga, massage and other therapeutic modalities, in addition to a restaurant with a number of raw menu selections. It is very Zen and a great place to retreat within the noisy bustle of Ubud.

YOGA BUBBLEThe Yoga Barn is the biggest yoga facility in Ubud and includes retreats, accommodation, classes, and a wonderful Garden Kafe. It has a large selection of juices, raw options, Ayrevdic and Macrobiotic selections and tasty desserts.

Its sister location, Kafe, always has one main raw selection, a few raw desserts, juices, and Meg’s big bowl salad (that comes with Tempe and tofu which you can request not to be included if you want to go entirely live plant-based). Atman, on the same street as Kafe has wheat grass, fresh juices and a few raw options with lots of cooked vegetarian and vegan possibilities. Juice Ja is one of our favourite restaurants where we love their salad and usually have our shot of wheatgrass and Jamu juice. They have a good selection of cooked vegan and vegetarian options as well.


Fivelements is an exclusive spa and resort that is unique in its bamboo design, pampering guests to a five-star gourmet cleansing retreat and the most superb live plant based dining experience you will ever encounter. It is outside of Ubud and one that should not be missed if you have the budget to indulge – at least once.


Sanur has Manik Organik which has a few raw items as well as a large variety of cooked vegetarian and vegan items. Kuta and Semiayak both have places that will cater to raw vegans with at least one option.


The best site to frequent when traveling is Happy Cow. It really is up to you to what degree you are wanting to eat live plant-based foods, how stuck you are on organic, how adventuresome you are at living in a place with your own kitchen and shopping at the market and prepping your own food. A few years ago we had our own apartment in Mexico and did shop for our own food and made smoothies, salads, guacamole, and salsa. We used grape seed extract drops in the water when we were washing the produce. I’ve been advised one should do the same here in Bali, unless you have a water filtration system or copious amounts of bottled water. Some of the stores where you can find fresh produce in Ubud include Sari Organic, Alchemy, Bali Buddha, and Down To Earth. The latter two locations also have thriving restaurants that cater to cooked vegetarian and vegan tastes with some raw options. With the heat of Bali, it is a challenge to prevent wilting from occurring, so salads often are made up of chopped up long beans with grated coconut and spices or grated carrots and cabbage with chopped cucumbers and tomatoes and onions.

Truth be told, Jim and I enjoy at least one cooked dish a day. We enjoy trying the local cuisine. We try to ensure that the food is vegan. It is not uncommon for cultural dishes in S.E. Asia to use fish sauce and MSG. We do ask it not be included. We can hope our requests are understood and honoured. We do ask for red rice whenever possible, however, white rice is truly a staple and preferred in most restaurants. We do believe we have a better chance of eating live and cooked plant-based cuisine in this part of the world than in most parts of Europe. That will be our next challenge when we travel there in April and May.

We have taken a Balinese cooking class and did express our desire for it to be vegan. They are quite comfortable adding in lots of tofu and Tempe in place of chicken, which is a staple in Bali. The Japanese tour participants, in part, felt there may not have been as much ‘raw’ as they preferred. What is always important to remember is:

  1. What is your aim in traveling? – exposure to culture, experiencing food, spiritual quest, becoming part of a family, volunteerism
  2. What are your values around food? – must be vegan (raw or cooked), no wheat, open to anything
  3. What is your primary outcome? – writing a travelogue, photojournalism, reinventing the food you eat into a live plant-based version, ticking off your bucket list

What Jim and I know about ourselves is that we are traveling in order to:

  • Expose ourselves to new cultures
  • Feel connected in some way to the communities in which we find ourselves
  • Share our experiences with others through our writing, pictures, developing tours
  • Recreate the taste sensations we experience (whether cooked or live) into plant-based options
  • Spread the foundational beliefs we have about fresh, organic, plant-based foods to new audiences and within new cultures
  • Live as healthy and balanced as possible
  • Honour and respect the cultures with which we come in contact (regardless of their dietary preferences)
  • Live with integrity, appreciation, and gratitude
  • Laugh, love, and live each day with joy

Rawsome on the Road strives to be as raw and awesome as possible. And we also endeavour to be honest and open about our journey. We all have a choice as to how we wish to live. May we all find a place of respect, acceptance, and acknowledge the uniqueness in each one of us. Rawsomely yours, Chris and Jim.


Living with impermenance

Musing by Chris and photos mostly by Jim
Yoga group photo courtesy of L.G.

The fast boat was coursing over the Indonesian waters chopping over waves bringing me to Padang Bai, closer to my resting destination of Ubud; a place we have called home for the past month. The waves were peaking, my stomach lurching as I braced myself, closed my eyes, and felt the gentle droplets of salt water and sea breezes lulling me into a place of calm. Suddenly, the ocean completely bathed me into awareness, laughingly rolling through my open window, landing in my lap, cascading over my shoulders, drenching my head; a reminder of impermanence. The moment is never constant. A young German tourist lent me a towel as I laughed and reflected on my days snorkeling on Gili Air, feeling suspended in time and place. The past week was a memory that will last a lifetime.


Landing on a little island across from Lombok, with nothing more than ponies and carts and bicycles for transportation is something of a dream. The sands are white, the ocean iridescent shimmers of blues and greens, and the sunrises and sunsets predictably bracket each day with awe inspiring light shows and deep breaths of gratitude. Gili Air is literally translated as the Island of Water. After the closure of our cafe in October, the impending darkness of fall and the ending of a dream weighed heavily upon my heart. I was breaking open spilling sadness in my wake, wherever I went. I knew I needed to be replenished and that our trip to Bali was in the offing. But I also knew I needed to be selfish and crawl out of the safety of my holding patterns and stretch myself emotionally, physically, and spiritually. H20 Yoga and Meditation Centre was the door I chose to walk through.

yoga group

I have facilitated workshops and retreats and recognize the importance of balance between process and open space. As adult learners we all need a mix of kinesthetic, cerebral, visual, and oral learning opportunities. We require times to interact, have moments of contemplative silence, and ways in which to integrate new experiences through our heart, our soul, our body, and our mind.

The website for H20 Yoga and Meditation Centre articulates the vision of its owner/operator Bindu as “H20 is committed to maintaining a sacred space where people can come and revitalize, gain clarity in their lives, and cultivate a deeper relationship with themselves.” As we intellectualized and lived the 4 elements of the week’s focus (earth, water, fire, and air), by weeks end I was stripped of any preconceived notions of who I was and how I was meant to travel this life’s journey.

My body was stretched in new and amazing postures. I experienced my limits and how I could touch the expanses of my yoga mat with a flexible mind and heart. I appreciated that what happened on my mat was unique to me. I was there for my learning only. I was free to share or not. What I learned is that expressing the energy of the elements enriched my interactions with my fellow participants.

Our mid-week 36 hours of silence was painfully anticipated and reluctantly relinquished. It was a time of reflection, peeling layers of emotions that once seemed so relevant and now so completely unnecessary. We burned away our pain through a ritualistic offering. At once I uttered a mantra “I am released and free’ which connected me to that moment of awareness and continues to guide me as a daily affirmation.


We solidified our chosen affirmations through a 108 step process. 108 is a sacred number in several Eastern religions including Buddhism. The Tibetan Buddhist malas or rosaries are usually made up of 108 beads. In some schools of Buddhism it is believed there are 108 feelings. This number is reached by multiplying the senses of smell, touch, taste, hearing, sight, and consciousness by whether they are painful, pleasant or neutral, and then again by whether these are internally generated or externally occurring, and yet again by past, present and future, until we finally arrive at 108 feelings.

It was a dreadfully hot and sunny day on the beach as each one of us walked through a path of our creation of 108 steps where in each our own fashion we solidified the transformation we sought. At the end of our 108 steps we each rang the Tibetan bell to signify our release and a proclamation of our newfound path.

gili sunset

In keeping with the water theme, I am reminded of a pond of water and throwing in a pebble and the ripples that are created. Each day I ponder what ripples I will create based on my experience at H20 Yoga and Meditation Centre.

Upon immediate reflection the ripples I felt includes the light and laughter of the people around me emanating from their hearts and through their eyes into my soul; the profound work each one of us undertook during the week and how proud we should all feel; the wonderment and surprise of each day; the love and integrity of each individual; the harmonious community of joy, appreciation, and gratitude achieved through this collective experience. I thank Bindu for having the vision and opening up the space so we could be here and strive for our potential.


I have no idea if I will return again and if I will ever do such a retreat again, but I do know this was an important part of my life’s journey. I am filled with gratitude.



This is a post of rambles. Words that struck me. Images that continue to linger. No true thread other than the connectivity of words bridging phrases and elongating into sentences. Paragraphs held together with punctuation stumbling into an abyss of synopses. We both will be busy next week. Jim with a tour from Japan and I off to Gili Air for a week of yoga and meditation. Predominantly a week of being off the grid. So for now . . .

Musings by Chris and Photos by Chris and Jim

I’m struck by the responsiveness of people when you share from your heart. It opens up a poetic place in their literary soul. Words pour out revealing a hidden heartbeat of creative energy. We all have more to give than ever imagined. Has the influx of social media unearthed a desire to write that other forms of transcription neglected? The immediacy of responses fuels the ego to keep on describing, articulating, imagining, postulating. Not one of us is prepared for the onslaught of verbiage that Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr have exposed us to. But we hold on. It’s our 2014 lifeline to ‘real’ connections. The closest thing to human contact many of us may experience on a daily basis, my ‘friends’.

rice field 9

As I sit overlooking the rice paddies of Ubud, I write or read using my iPad, rarely glancing up to see the amazing vista before me. Real life in action. A rat scurries over a thatched roof of the farmer’s hut, disappearing through a hole like a toboggan over a hilltop into the shady refuge of the storage lofts within. Breezes barely cool the industrious farmer knee-deep in the splotchy muck of the paddy as she cleans and prepares by hand for the next rice planting. Coconut palms wave on the horizon teasing us with views of mountains and destinations rarely visited by native Balinese.



palms waving

“This is a nice life”, Jim reminds me. “Everyday is a gift.” Not just here in Bali. He suggests five components of a healthy life with appreciation tipping the scales of gratitude. Others include cleansing breaths, daily contemplation, dexterity or movement, and eating local organic plant-based food. Really quite simple. Five little words.
A – Appreciation
B – Breathing
C – Contemplation
D – Dexterity
E – Eating


More words come tumbling out as our 33 year old daughter’s birthday arrives while we are in Bali. She has always been one who likes to take at least a week to celebrate her day. Jim jokes she must be Balinese because she likes ceremonies and celebrations so much. Despite her propensity to prolong the inevitable, she came into our life – right on time. She was always such a precocious, intelligent, funny, and ambitious little girl, mastering developmental milestones sooner than anyone else her age. Especially language. For someone who patiently waited to arrive, she wasted no time in blasting through life and learning all there is to life, as quickly, passionately, and lovingly as possible. She teaches so much about who we are, what we are here to do, and how to appreciate all we bring to life. With words.

carol photos 770

We live here like so many without taking up permanent residency but temporarily residing in our transient abodes, fantasizing about permanence. We look at the pension across the rice field observing the couple on their verandah, reading, entertaining, contemplating, coming and going for walks, dips into the pool, breakfast at the complex restaurant. Living a visitor’s life in Ubud.


I’m slowly watching the construction of a nearby villa enter into its finishing stages in time for a dry season completion. The woman at the local Bisma Street Mini Mart where we buy our water saw a bottle of Jamu Juice in my hand one day and commented in surprise, “You like?” She shared her favourite place of purchase if she doesn’t have time to make her own. I decided to visit the local salon on our street. Had a  manicure, pedicure, facial, and haircut all for just under $20. Each service included a massage of the body parts involved in the services rendered. In short, I almost had the equivalent of a full body massage. We’ve tried to go to almost all the cafés on our street at least once. As we walk by we are greeted eagerly in anticipation of a repeat performance. It’s akin to saying no to your children when we respond “Not tonight” as smiles slide from their faces. For the time we are here, we are permanently on their temporary guest list of tourists.

Evening prayers from a nearby mosque are wafting through the Ubud breezes calling us to sunset. More words. More moments. More wonders. More to come.