My Way: Andrea Crossman
Is it Christmas already? Two My Way's in one week! You know how we do here at We Like It Raw. We just can't stop highlighting amazing peeps in the community who are both looking good and up to something special. And speaking of looking good and doing good....
This week's second My Way feature comes to us from the lovely Andrea Crossman, half of the two-member-soul-sisters-team responsible for Lovemore. The mission of Lovemore? Inspire the world to "let love be our guiding principle in every situation."
Andrea is based in Brooklyn, NY and to really get her you have to see a list of her favorite things: Art of Living, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Buddhism, vegetarianism, peace, love, yoga, Bikram yoga, holistic health, guacamole, cocktails, campfires, hot springs, deliciously bad tv, books, google, the moon, the stars, waxing philosophical and being ridiculous.
Damn, you go girl...
Andrea was always into keeping fit and healthy, but only recently jumped into the world of raw foods. She'll tell us a little bit more about the motivation behind that jump, but it is safe to say she's been loving every minute of it. Now, let's here from Andrea how she does things her way!
My Way: Andrea Crossman
On June 1st I signed up to be a guinea pig for Penni Shelton’s Raw Foods Rehab, an 11-week experiment about raw foods and weight loss. Penni is writing a book on the subject so to test her theories she created Raw Food Rehab—RFR for short. This group was heaven sent. As the co-founder of a love-infused social entrepreneurship venture called Lovemore, I was deeply bothered when I began to realize that I was not in alignment with my own mantra, “love more,” in some fundamental ways. I had stopped the exercise I loved, put back on 40 pounds I was oh-so-proud to lose a few years ago, and my social life all but ground to a halt as I struggled with not feeling in my skin, or my spirit. It was in this place that I stumbled upon Penni’s open call for guinea pigs. This kind of serendipity is not to be ignored. This raw connection back to my soul was masterminded by the cosmos, of that I have no doubt. As of this moment, early morning on July 2nd, I have been raw for exactly 31 days, and the first 18 were spent in a juice feast. Here are my last four raw days, My Way.
I got up at 1 pm. I wonder if I’m the first My Way’er who is a shameless night owl. I’ve always had the propensity for the second wind, but ever since my stint on the night shift as a labor and delivery nurse, I slip back into a late to bed, late to rise habit often. Today was the Smith Street Fun Fair in my neighborhood of Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn. As I got ready to head to the fair I decided if there was something I really wanted to eat, I would, even if it wasn’t raw. This felt a touch scandalous both because I hadn’t had anything un-raw since May and also because it was day 1 of this My Way. I checked out all the street fair food and was tempted by some vegetarian sandwiches from Mario Batali’s Po, and some others from Stinky Cheese, but not enough to take the plunge.
I checked out the non-food goings on as well. I talked with a guy who owns Brooklyn Tattoo as we want to create a tattoo inspired Lovemore t-shirt. I talked to some other artists and designers too and felt a kinship with them for the first time. I didn’t expect to make Lovemore connections today and it felt great.
I wanted to stay out and enjoy being with the people so I went to Pacifico, a Mexican restaurant with great outdoor space. I did have a little cooked food: two tostones, and a handful of chips, both merely as guacamole delivery devices. I figured guacamole and a salad (hold the cojita cheese and croutons please) were the best near raw choices.
I also ran into Brandy Barber at Pacifico, who I know because she co-produces Mortified, a show where people read their angst-ridden teenage diaries. I was in the Mortified in April of 2008 and it was without question one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Mortified’s other co-producer, Anne Altman contacted me about a week ago asking if I’d be free for a show in September. Oh yes I would!
Back home I took a nap and then had my favorite salad: baby romaine, shredded carrot, and avocado dressed with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. I also had a few leftover raw stuffed mushrooms, and some freezer fudge from the Sarma Melngailis cookbook Raw Food, Real World.
Around midnight my sister (best friend, business partner, neighbor) returned from a weekend trip to Seattle. I headed over to meet her for a late night walk and debrief of our respective weekends. Happy to have my sister back safe and sound I headed the 3 blocks back to my place and to bed.
I had a restless night’s sleep and woke up at noon. I hopped on the scale and took my measurements like I’ve been doing every Monday for RFR. So far I’ve lost 19 pounds and a whole lot of inches, and I feel so much better. Something interesting about the past month is that I don’t want to eat until quite late in the day. Before my lunch I spent some time on calls with my sis and then made my first ever video for RFR. It was a little nerve wracking, which is funny as I was a professional trainer and public speaker for years, and still consider that my core competency, but it took a minute to get used to the lack of a live audience. Once I did, I loved having another way to connect with this community that has shown me so much humanity and love.
When I finally got around to eating I had a snacky assortment beginning with stuffed mushrooms and a few raw crackers with lemon-garlic-tahini sauce mixed with some leftover pesto. Still needing more veggies, I made a big bowl of broccoli, which I mixed with a more of the lemon-garlic-tahini sauce and nutritional yeast. This is one of my new favorites. I ended the meal with a nibble of freezer fudge.
For dinner I had some nuts mixed with EVOO and spices. I then made hummus. Sorta. It wasn’t very hummus-y. It was zucchini and sunflower seed based and I dipped rounds of yellow squash into it. Then more chocolate. Then a realization: I’m much more satisfied and ultimately eat less when I have something more traditionally meal-ish, even if it’s just a salad. This is going to be quite a process of figuring out what works best for me.
Late tonight Rawdawg Rory sent me a photo of him sporting a Lovemore t-shirt. We love to collect pics of folks wearing or using their Lovemore gear so we can to add to our flickr stream. Rory has been very supportive of my new raw journey and also of Lovemore. He is one of the connections I’ve made in this community that show me something special is going on here. He just created a new “Why Raw?” page on his site that is very helpful for newbies like me. I couldn’t have been more psyched when I saw his “after” picture. So cool!
Ok, so I may have downplayed the final dose of chocolate I had Monday night. Holy. Cacao. Starting at about 2:30 am I had an anxiety attack like no other. By about 6:30 am, still wide-awake, with a pounding heart, and the inability to lie still, the light bulb went off. Crack-cao! Ohhhhh…noooooo… I finally slept for a few hours and when I woke up I felt what I described as “vomity.” (Please don’t tell my alma mater Columbia University School of Nursing about this word I’ve invented.) I wrote a long whiney rant on the RFR message boards that ended up creating some good comedy as our Raw Food Rehab community truly become REHAB. I simply couldn’t handle the hard stuff. I cancelled my evening plans, moaned about not being able to have my mommy or her homemade white toast, eventually got over it, and laughed at my raw rookie mistake.
In lieu of toast I made what I dubbed a Calm Belly Smoothie: Brazil nut milk, a pinch of salt, vanilla, dates, bananas, chia, pineapple, and nutmeg. It hit the spot, but not like mom’s white toast with butter would have. I’m not gonna lie. Sorry die-hards.
In the midst of cacao withdrawal, I followed up with Equinox about some trunk shows they want Lovemore to do in 4 of their NYC stores and strategized with Angela about an inquiry from a local Shakespeare group about Lovemore eco-tees for their organization. Synergy rocks.
As the day came to a close I made plans with Dave, one of my oldest and best friends to meet tomorrow at the raw foods Mecca: Pure Food and Wine.
I got up late as per usual, fed my kitten (she is 9, but always a kitten to me) and packed food and sundries to head over to Angela’s.
Having grown weary of watching Angela eat pizza or bagel sandwiches, I decided to bring lunch to her place. Before we got down to business, I made us the raw vegan version of that Chinese chicken salad that was popular in the 90s. Remember? With the ramen noodles crushed on top? No ramen for us today. I used cabbage, shredded carrot, red onion (would have preferred scallions but was out), and dressed it with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, agave, and salt and pepper. Once it was all mixed up I sprinkled it with slivered almonds, which totally make the dish.
After lunch we checked in a delivery of new stock. We got to see our brand new reusable bags bearing our tag line, “be the love,” Lovemore’s riff on Gandhi’s “be the change you wish to see in the world.” I am thrilled with this new addition to our line of green living gear. Once all was unpacked we got to flip ‘n folding. It is amazing how as an entrepreneur you truly do everything. While we were flipping right, then left, then up, we talked about the possibility of being a vendor at the upcoming Raw Spirit Festival in DC. We need more information, but if Lovemore would be well received, we think it could be a really cool opportunity. We’ll see.
A few more random tasks and it was time for me to hustle home, get pretty, take my 30-day raw picture, and hop on the subway to Pure Food and Wine. I arrived shortly before my 8 o’clock reservation to meet my friend Dave, who I have known since 1989, when we both lived in Middlebrook Hall at the University of Minnesota. Dave has never had a raw dinner so I was very excited to share this with him. I am an extremely lucky girl because he generously treated this budding social entrepreneur to the Pure Food and Wine tasting menu. There is truly nothing more loving that a friend could do for me to celebrate my 30 days raw. Thank you Dave! Technically it is a 5 course tasting menu, but there were actually 7 episodes of deliciousness, because the dining experience began with an amuse bouche (cherry tomato, watermelon, basil and balsamic…shockingly tasty) and there was a peach popsicle palate cleanser before dessert. After our 2nd course, Dave, looking for some more substance, said, “I’m feeling a little Gary Crossman here,” invoking my father, an old-school meat eating man if there ever was one. The waitress assured him that would all change by dessert, and she was absolutely right. By the time the entrees started coming—lasagna, Thai curry something or other, fettuccini, falafel—Dave and I were both beyond pleased. And then dessert came. Oh. My. God.
There was a fruit crumble-esq thing that was fantastic, but whatever. Why whatever? Because of the other thing. A minty, chocolaty, ice creamy, fudgy, wow-this-is-so-good-are-you-kidding-me creation. Dave’s commentary went something like this: “this is ridiculous…there is no way this can be good for you…this is ridiculous.” It was…beyond... Pure Food and Wine, you outdid yourselves with that one. We literally closed down the patio and experienced one of my favorite revelations about raw foods, the experience of complete satisfaction without uncomfortable fullness. We left feeling light and happy, me a bit giddy from my first wine in over a month, and we continued on to a further subway stop just to enjoy the walk.
Now I am back home in Brooklyn with my sleeping kitten Lizzy, and putting the finishing touches on My Way. As I reflect, I thank the gods for giving me this beautiful community and way to love*myself*more. I also thank them for that dessert. Blessed be.
Andrea Crossman is an entrepreneur and love goddess based in Brooklyn, NY
p.s. To say thanks, in my own little way, for all the amazing support I've gotten from the raw food community, I'd like to share a special discount code to the Lovemore site. The code is "LoveRawMore" and when entered on the checkout page it will give you 15% off every single thing on chooselovemore.com through August 16th, which is when RFR wraps. Hope you enjoy and again really, thank you from the bottom of my heart.