Ithaca, NY

Juice Feasting and how it saved my life.

I’d like to use this outlet ( to speak not as an expert, but to share some information I’ve gathered from my experiences as someone who frequently Juice Feasts and offer some insight into why I or anyone for that matter might want to participate in a fast. I’ll also share some of the things I struggle with when aiming to live a healthy lifestyle and what I do to overcome those hurdles. I’m doing this with the realization that there are so many people who are actively trying to live a healthy lifestyle but who, like myself, tend to fall off course and return to a path less desired, you are not alone. There are also those of you who have heard of juice fasting, but wouldn’t actually know what to expect from one or where to begin and I am also speaking to you. When referring to the practice of juice fasting I use the word Feast intentionally because I find it’s not a fast, a word that has the intonations of being rather depriving but instead I feel as though it is a feast indeed, feasting on compacted nutrition rather than for gluttonous satisfaction.

How my Journey Began:

Several years ago my mother discovered juice fasting as a way to possibly help me alleviate pain I experience on occasion from Crohn’s disease, which includes acute arthritis and serious digestive issues. She tried it out first for herself and then sent me on my way. My life took a turn for the best and has never been the same since.

That being said, the Journey for health is a continuous Journey, one in which offers endless opportunities to make decisions that will affect us either positively or negatively. i.e. to eat the piece of cake or to choose a healthy alternative.  (but more on that at towards the end)


What to expect:

I highly recommend attending a retreat and immersing yourself in a relaxing and supportive environment especially if you are preparing to fast for the first time. And although there are an abundance of places that offer such an experience the only one I will recommend is Gentle Earth Retreats because it is Heaven on Earth and the best place worth visiting.

My mom and I each attended our first retreat here at Gentle Earth Retreats in the Finger Lakes region of New York and have returned yearly either to the beautiful upstate NY location or to the blissful grounds in Cabuya, Costa Rica (a personal favorite of mine). I cannot recommend it highly enough, because the experience is so much more enjoyable then trying to prepare all juices, soups etc for myself while also trying to do my daily activities. Best to get away for awhile!

We return year after year in order to relax, rejuvenate and restart our digestive systems so to speak while in the most supportive of environments. The juices are prepared fresh daily for us with some of the tastiest recipes available with only the freshest ingredients and the highest quality of produce.

Here is a sample meal schedule (day):

9:00  Melon Juice

11:00 Vegetable Broth

noon: Gentle Yoga

1:15 Fruit Blend

3:15 Red Drink

5:45 Dinner as a group, Soup with Rejeuvelac and shot of Wheat Grass

7:00 Sorbet

9:00 Green Drink

(With plenty of water and tea throughout the day!)

*Retreat organizers are happy to pack cold lunch bags with juices in order to accommodate any excursions either alone or with the group.

The retreat itself and the evening gatherings are led by Katherine Croll, who is both a biologist and a nutritionist. She and her husband provide invaluable information regarding health and nutrition and do so in a casual and comfortable evening space which creates room to chat openly and to ask any questions that may and will inevitably arise. Katherine is a dear friend, a wonderful inspiration and truly an encyclopedia of information. She has opened my eyes to a world of information I didn’t have access to previously and she continues to inspire me daily by living life as a positive example and a wonderful role model.

Following retreats, I always return home energized and encouraged to continue making healthy lifestyle choices. I do feast on my own periodically throughout the year, although usually only for 2-5 day periods as opposed to 10-14 days while on a retreat.

My saving grace is being able to return year after year to Gentle Earth Retreats, to the loving arms of Katherine, her wonderful husband Jeff and their mighty dog Pedro. The community of health conscious individuals that attend these workshops and retreats also draw support from one another in their efforts to regain and maintain health themselves. Close friendships have been formed and huge strides towards health have been made!

Some of the benefits of juicing for long periods of time are:

  • encourages deeper detox
  • increases energy levels
  • reduces painful symptoms
  • regulates digestive system
  • changes tastebuds to appreciate healthy food.
  • more positive outlook on life
  • sheds excess pounds of unnecessary weight
  • deeply nourishes with nutrients and minerals
  • deepens appreciation for food, healthy food in particular
  • inspires creative ideas and interest in cooking/raw food prep
  • deeper, more sound sleep
  • vivid dreams
  • brighter skin, stronger nails & hair
  • detox, detox, detox

Last summer I had the pleasure of traveling with my mom to NY for our first retreat together.

My mom is a natural explorer, so here are just a few places we visited together:


The struggle is real:

Now with all these wonderfully positive things I’ve had to say, here’s where I’d also like to be forward and forthright in sharing my experience of what it’s like trying to stay on a healthy path. To begin, there is no such thing as ‘Perfect Health’. Someone recently explained health to me in a way that really resonated: Health can be viewed on a spectrum, and since there is no such thing as perfect health you are either dead or somewhere in between. I know I sound frank and possibly morbid, but death is inevitable so we may as well live as best we can while we are here. With this new information my goals have dramatically shifted and rather than aiming for a state of perfect health I can now aim my efforts to place me swinging on the spectrum of good health and leave the state of perfection out of the equation. With the realization that perfect health is no longer my goal, but rather a pain free and enjoyable active lifestyle is, the reins that held me in a negative and judgmental state towards myself anytime I slipped off course have been released. The expectation of perfection is too heavy a burden. It’s a tremendous amount of pressure to place on one’s self that we ‘must’ be raw, vegan, gluten-free, whatever the case me be ALL the time. I’ve given all these things a try, and they all hold a very important role on my quality of life. That being said I would much rather identify with ‘mostly vegan’ rather than to rigidly attempt to box myself into a mere category that feels limiting.

I feel called to share this aspect of my journey ‘the struggle’ because I know I am not alone in feeling that a healthy lifestyle can resemble at times a box, or one of lack. Wether it’s a sense of limited options being available or that taste must be lacking in order to be healthy, these are misconceptions. A healthy diet can feel both limitless and can be delightful to the tastebuds! I do fall victim to food cravings and sugar addiction but rather than beat myself up over any poor choices I may have made, I remind myself that every moment of every day we are always faced with more decisions and the opportunity to make positive choices is always available. There are infinite resources available and it’s really a matter of finding out what’s most important to you and what your goals are in order to find the information and answers that best suit your needs. I have turned to juicing pure fruits and vegetables in order to overcome some pretty trying health complications, as many people have. However the benefits are endless and extend to those in good health as well as in poor. The benefits or juicing and a healthy lifestyle are extraordinary and worth checking out for yourself. Do you have any experiences with juicing you’d be willing to share? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section!

If you’ve gotten this far, THANK YOU for taking the time to read this blog post. I began my blogging journey by sharing a number of dishes that I’ve created and enjoyed and now I’ve really had to step into the space of  sharing some deeper content, writing from my heart and sharing more in depth about myself and my Journey.

I hope you are feeling inspired to try juice feasting for yourself or at least to prepare something healthy to eat today. Let’s take our health into our own hands and see the world and it’s inhabitants as our allies, here to support  us and be supported by each other.

Much LOVE & Cheers to Good Health!

-Spiritual Foodie :0)




Product Review: Bhakti Chai Tea

Bhakti Chai Tea

Thank you Bhakti Chai for the wonderful tea and opportunity to write my first ever product review!

I originally reached out to someone from the company asking if they would like to support my efforts in blogging by offering me something to review and they were kind enough to send me several coupons. The company has a beautiful array of products available, however options are limited here in stores on the East Coast, although hopefully not for long! I gave their Ready to drink Iced Chai a try and LOVED it! It’s incredibly flavorful and has a pretty strong fresh ginger taste that I really enjoyed. Unfortunately it was made with soy milk and I would have preferred to be able to try their almond milk variation.


I reached out again, asking if they knew of any locations near me currently carrying their almond milk option and although unfortunately there are not, they were increasingly generous to send me two beautiful canisters from their Dry Tea Collection as inspiration for some flavorful drinks/dishes of my own: Rooibos Chai (caffein free) & Green Tea Tulsi Chai (Naturally Occurring Caffeine).

My creativity is going to have to take over because I’d really like to create something unique and I’d also like to go all out and make something like this Bhakti Chai Vegan Cheesecake or this Bhakti Coconut Rice with Mangoes and Pistachios listed among many other recipes on their website. Everything looks delicious!

A lot of people I have over actually gravitate towards Bhakti Chai Tea whenever offered a cup. The gorgeous packaging really stands out and the container is filled with beautiful little pyramid bags. Both flavors smell and taste absolutely heavenly, they’re a real treat for the senses!


I recently shared a pot of tea with a Goddess Sister of mine. We used the Naturally Caffeine Free Rooibos Chai and simmered it with grated ginger, orange zest, candied ginger and dehydrated blueberries. We were delighted with the combination of flavors and felt soothed from the inside out.

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Lemon and Blueberry Almond Cookies- RAW


*Inspired by the book ‘Raw Food Made Easy‘ by Jennifer Cornbleet, pg 164

I used approximately:

  • 1/2 cup of raw almonds & 1/4 cup of raw pecans, rinsed and soaked briefly
  • add a dash of salt, blend in a food processor briefly, maintain a chunky consistency
  • add 4 chopped dates, some cinnamon and a small amount of maple sugar (optional)
  • add a drop or two of lemon essential oil (doTerra) and continue to blend in food processor (keep chunky consistency for texture)
  • transfer to a bowl and mix in dried blueberries before forming into small balls

Cheers to good health!

Banana Bread – Vegan and Gluten-Free


In the hopes of being able to salvage bananas that had over ripened I successfully found a recipe online and created one of the tastiest breads I’ve ever had. This was actually my first attempt at banana bread, baking in general is very new for me. Learning which substitutes to use and when makes my life a lot easier. I really enjoy trying new things, going outside of my comfort zone and discovering that I am capable of more than I realized. The original recipe I found online calls for sugar, which is tried and true. I plan however, to experiment and modify this recipe to get the same satisfactory results without the added sugar. In the meantime, I am very pleased with this vegan and gluten free banana bread and encourage you to give it a try, especially if you already have bananas that have over ripened and might just otherwise get thrown away.

*Black bananas actually work great, they may look bad from the outside, but inside they are packed with flavor!

*If you want to speed up the process of ripening bananas try leaving them in a paper bag for a day or two or even leaving them in the fridge overnight.

Here’s a link to the original recipe (be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page):

The substitutions I made:

  • Coconut milk instead of dairy milk.
  • Substituted 1 egg with 1 tbsp (50% golden flax seed 50% chia seeds) ground in a coffee grinder and mixed with 2.5 tbsp water.

Strawberry Shortcake Pie (mostly Raw)


This layered ‘pie’ just came together today while playing around in the kitchen. Turns out it just happens to taste a lot like Strawberry Shortcake. It’s absolutely delicious!

Prep ahead of time:

  1. chill a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight
  2. Ideally, prepare strawberry jelly layer the night before and chill in fridge overnight as well


  • 2 cups of soaked nuts, any (I used a mix of raw macadamia, raw cashew, raw brazil and raw pecan nuts)
  • add 3-4 soaked dates
  • 1/4 cup raw shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • add 1/4 tsp vanilla & dash of sea salt
  • add lemon juice to taste & zest of one lemon
  • opt: maple syrup or natural sweetener of your choice

Process ingredients in a food processor until smooth (or a bit less for more texture)


Strawberry Chia Jelly:

  • 2 small strawberry containers (set aside a few of the most attractive looking strawberries, to be sliced and added before serving)
  • 1-2 tbsp of chia powder (chia seeds, ground in a coffee grinder)
  • opt: small amount of sugar or natural sweetener of your choice / also, pairs well with fresh mint

Process ingredients in a food processor until smooth, cover and let sit in the fridge overnight if possible. Opt: Add whole chia seeds in addition to chia powder.

* Jelly Inspired by

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Vegan Whipped Cream:

  • 1-2 refrigerated cans of coconut milk
  • Sweetener of your choice, I used maple syrup
  • Flavor, I used vanilla extract and rose water

Do not shake the cans of coconut milk, open and carefully scoop out the thick portion on top. (The liquid on the bottom of the can be saved and used as a wonderful addition to just about any dish at another time.) Blend the ingredients together in a high speed mixer for a couple of minutes, until desired consistency is reached. *If you choose to add some of the liquid portion of the can, be sure to do so sparingly & add only a little bit at a time.


  1. Conform raw nut crust to a pie pan
  2. Add layer of strawberry jelly (or any fruit)
  3. Spread plenty of vegan whipped cream to cover jelly and fill pie, or just drop whipped cream onto the pie with an ice cream scoop
  4. Top with sliced strawberries


*Keep Refrigerated

Pecan encrusted Sweet Potato ‘Burger’

sweet potato burger

Adapted from the amazing book The Naked Kitchen Veggie Burger Book comes this sensational delight. So versatile it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This is one of my favorite recipes from one of my favorite cook books, it’s a real treat!

Makes 8-10 thin patties


  • 3/4 C pecans
  • 1 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 2 sweet potatoes, baked and peeled
  • 2 C cooked cannellini beans
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley (or your choice of herb)
  • 1 tbsp GF soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4-1 C GF all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp any neutral-flavor oil


  1. Process pecans and 1/2 tsp of salt in a food processor until finely ground. Set aside on a plate or pie pan.
  2. Then process the sweet potatoes, cannellini beans, herbs, soy sauce, maple syrup, chili powder, cinnamon, chipotle powder, black pepper, and rest of salt. Pulse until well mixed.
  3. Add and process 3/4 C of the flour until combined and add additional flour if need be because it may be too sticky to work with. The mixture should be a bit sticky and form relatively easily into patties. Tip: Keep your hands moistened with water to make shaping patties easier.
  4. Gently coat multiple patties with crushed pecans and cook in a non-stick skillet over med-high heat with coconut oil. Cook aprx 4-5 minutes on each side or until firm, then lower the heat and cook another 4-5 minutes on each side.


Oatmeal ~with Turmeric


Here’s a super tasty and quick & easy to make anti-inflammatory breakfast or anytime meal/snack. Here’s all you need to do to try it for yourself:

On stove top prepare single serving of GF steel cut oats with water. Add aprx 1/4tsp of turmeric (start w less and then add more) ghee and salt to taste. Optional: add raw honey or other natural sweetener, fruit, nuts etc.

Raw Jicama ‘Fries’

raw jicama fries

Here is a link to the original recipe I found online:

The sweet couple in the video came up with this recipe as a means to fulfill a craving of BBQ style foods and to bring while attending get together with friends over the summer . I had some left over jicama and decided to give it a try and I’m very pleased with how tasty they actually are! I enjoyed them cut in this thicker way, but next time I think I’d like to cut them a little thinner and give them a try.


Mix together in a bowl with olive oil and they’re ready to eat. Best if marinated and set in the fridge first. They tasted the best on the 2nd and 3rd day of leftovers.

Sunflower ‘Tuna’ on a bed of greens

Sunflower 'Tuna' over greens

In addition to making dishes of my own, usually from things I already have in the kitchen, I also enjoy recreating dishes I find online, or that I see in a book. I found a recipe for mock tuna online using mainly sunflower seeds and here’s a link to the recipe:

Instead of wrapping ‘tuna’ in collard greens I served  a scoop over a bed of greens and topped with tomatoes, hemp seeds, and crushed pecan pieces. It was very flavorful and a nice addition to a spinach and sprout salad.

I don’t know if the flavor is anything like real tuna, but I imagine there are some similarities. If you prefer to keep even just the thought animal products out of your dishes, then let’s call this one a sunflower spread of sorts shall we.

It’s worth a try!

Raw ‘Cheesy’ Roasted Red Pepper Kale Chips

Raw Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper Kale Chips

While juicing recently I spent a lot of time online looking at online videos of recipes and bookmarked several that I knew I wanted to try. This was one of the first things I made and has also turned out to be the most repeated thing I’ve made over the past few weeks. I am eating kale chips almost daily thanks to this recipe, and they never taste the same. I have been able to use an assortment of nuts, a variety of peppers, and both straight and curly kale to mix things up.

Here is a link to the original recipe I found online:

For the nut cheese, she uses walnuts in her video where as I chose to use a combination of soaked cashews and macadamia nuts instead because they were what I had on hand at the time. I’ve tried walnuts once and liked the kale chips just fine, but the cashew and macadamia nuts really seem to set this recipe apart from anything I’ve had before.


  • 1 bunch of kale (curly or straight)
  • 1 red bell pepper (or more)
  • 1 cup of soaked raw nuts (macadamia nut & cashew..  or any variety)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or less)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (or less)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)