Featuring Puma St Angel & Grace Grove Retreat Center
Nestled just outside Sedona, Az, is Grace Grove Retreat Center. This is a beautiful facility with breathtaking views, amazing therapists and healers and an energy beyond compare. Today we have the lovely Puma St Angel sharing her story! Enjoy~ Lori
What inspired you to create Grace Grove?
Morgan and I saw a great need for an elegantly organic rejuvenation center that had all the amenities for cleansing & detox programs, facilities to rent out to other facilitators so they could feel fully supported while taking their clients through deep processes and we saw the need to grow food and create community. So I would say we were inspired by spirit and it really helped that Morgan and I combined have been in the retreat business for over 35 years.
Can you tell us a bit about your center?
Grace Grove offers a variety of retreat packages. Our signature program that we do every month is called The Full Body Rejuvenation Retreat and during this powerful week program we guide people through doing a Liver & Gallbladder cleanse. We offer such a variety of workshops, classes and ceremonies that no matter if people are coming for spiritual, physical or mental reasons the program address all their needs. http://www.gracegrove.com/retreats/liver-gallbladder-detox-retreat/
We also have a Freedom from Meds program which guides people off their medications and teaches them how to create a self care program for continued success. Dr. Dan Engle is a medical doctor and psychiatrist who lives here at Grace Grove oversees this program and he has to be one of the most amazing doctors I have ever met. It is such an amazing gift to be trained in western medicine and have the MD credentials but to be completely passionate about alternative health and to gracefully incorporate both modalities. He is truly a Medicine Man of the 21st century.
Another aspect of our business is to host other facilitators' retreats. This offers our guests a variety of programs to choose from.
- As an example our upcoming retreats include a Kidney Cleanse Retreat http://www.gracegrove.com/retreats/kidney-cleanse-2/,
- Celebrate the Goddess Retreat http://www.shamangelicretreats.com/#!sedona/vstc2=group-rejuvenation-retreats,
- Wealthy Goddess Business Master Mind retreat, Cord Wood Building workshop and so much more.
And lastly we offer personal retreats which caters to people's personal needs from get away rejuvenation vacations to people who are trying to heal from all sort of physical, mental and emotional crisis.
How did you get involved in cleansing, detox and digestive health?
Honestly I think it was my soul purpose because I certainly didn't learn it from my parents. When I was in college I was mesmerized by every alternative healing modality and in between studying text books I read any alternative health book I could get my hands on and then it was Nov. 1999 when I was working at a health food store I was amazed by how blue and clear the eyes were of two guys working in the produce department and I found out they were raw foodists and from that day forward I was awe struck with the raw food lifestyle. Shortly after that I found my self assisting David Wolfe with running raw food retreats at Eden Hotsprings and then I was running raw food retreats. It was then natural to open my own center.
How do raw foods fit into your life and center?
Raw foods has taken me on the most incredible journey of my life. I couldn't imagine living a life without an abundance of raw foods. Everyday I seek the right balance of totally raw foods with other foods such as grains, beans and sometimes raw cheese. At this moment I am eating totally raw as I am prepping for a liver flush and then in a few weeks when I have to travel, I will be as prepared as I can be for eating healthy while traveling but not stressing myself out if I can't find the most "perfect" food. I love to say that I am perfectly imperfect all the time!
Here at Grace Grove we are dedicated to eating only whole organic foods and it is mostly raw. Being a health practitioner I greatly understand the immense complexities of a person's digestive system and to create a sustainable health program for people it is sometimes necessary to ease them into a whole foods diet therefore we do a lot of catering to people's needs. Plus a lot of people don't come to Grace Grove because of cleansing or dietary reasons but they come in for example through a business retreat and then they are blown away by the food and they soon realize why they came to Grace Grove.
What's the best way for a raw newbie to get into raw or vegan foods?
After years of guiding people into the world of raw foods the best way to get your feet wet is to go to a raw food restaurant or find a RF potluck in your area and begin trying different recipes. If you don't have a restaurant near you there is no better excuse to go on a trip than to visit a RF restaurant and try all the items on the list. Surrounding yourself with like minded people who also have an interest in eating healthier because this will create a recipe for success when it comes to gradually shifting your lifestyle. Also have fun with it and don't take anything to seriously. Make gradual changes to your lifestyle so that you create patterns that are sustainable. Also pick 1 new recipe a week to make and only make recipes with ingredients that you will buy on a regular basis.
Can you share with us a favorite recipe or dish?
Sauces and salad dressings have to be my favorite because you can eat any amount of vegetables as long as you have a tasty dressing and you can eat the same vegetables all week long as long as you have different salad dressings. I would love to share with you the ingredients of my favorite dressing but the problem with me and recipes is that nothing ever gets measured so I can't give you any measurements.
Puma's Salad Dressing Ingredients: Tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, honey, fresh ginger, red bell pepper, water, salt and then you can add in any kind of herbs you want or things like sundried tomatoes & olives.
How is your spiritual life in conjunction with the raw/vegan foods lifestyle?
Everything is spirit and my spiritual practice is creating the experience of walking gracefully on this planet and being of service. Every step I take is a meditation, every colonic I perform is an act of internal baptism, every email I answer is an opportunity to practice communication. Everything I do is an act of spiritualism because I am not separate from spirit. I am spirit at all times and therefore everything I do is spiritual. When I started on the raw food lifestyle it dramatically helped me to connect deeper to my own spirit. When working with people who are going through emotional and spiritual problems it is so important to have them start eating a lot more raw foods because it allows them to hear what their own spirit is asking for.
How do you come up with your programs?
Coming up with our programs was a culmination of years of trial and error. We have a team of excellent therapists & doctors who have all put their input into creating the kind of programs we want to experience. Our team has been leading retreat programs for several years and together we figured out what people need and delivered the goods to satisfy their needs. Notice, we don't satisfy their "wants" but we do fulfill their needs, which then become their wants (after they feel better). Most people "need" to heal their bodies before they want to do something healthy for themselves and that is why most people who come to us are in dire straights, they are at the end of their rope. We always have the small percentage of people who come to our programs to maintain their health but more people come because they are experiencing some kind of symptoms.
What's one thing that most people don't know about you?
Most people don't know how I got my name Puma. There were several factors in the gifting of my name and one of them was because I owned a lion cub when I was 10 years old. My family and I were living in Puerto Vallarta Mexico and my dad gave us a lion cub for Christmas. That was an incredible journey!
Do you think it's vital to be 100% raw or 100% vegan?
I think it is important to go 100% raw vegan for a period of time which could look like a few weeks, months or years in order to really clean out the system and hit the re-boot switch and then begin to add in different foods into the diet to see what the body really thrives on. I believe that raw foods is a cleansing diet but not necessarily a maintenance diet for most people and of course there are always the exceptions.
IF you were to eat any cooked food you wanted what would you eat?
Pizza. I have such an emotional attachment to homemade pizzas. When I was a kid my dad would come home from his restaurant at 2 am (he owns a steak house!) and I would wake up in the middle of the night to watch a movie with him and eat pizza that he would make. It was my special time with my dad, so I have fond memories of eating pizza. I then grew up making home made pizzas.
What raw/vegan principles do you personally embrace?
That is a really hard question to answer- have you ever done something for so long that it becomes a way of life and you don't realize that what you are doing is different? I can't think of any "principles" that I have- it's kind of like the idea that rules are meant to be broken. Principles are too limiting for me.
Have you experienced any deficiencies on the raw food diet?
When I was a 100% raw I was in my 20's and very healthy so my body was able to handle deficiencies and as I got older (35) and became more educated I realized that the diet wouldn't sustain me my whole life. I am a very strong believer that we need to listen to what our bodies need and step outside of personal belief systems. The bodies needs aren't controlled by theories that we want to uphold. Just as the seasons change our bodies needs change. At times the body will CRAVE a 100% raw food diet and at times it will need a maintenance diet.
What made you go raw or go vegan?
I went vegan probably 13 years ago and about 3 years ago I started allowing some fish and raw goat cheese into my diet. I was at a Rave in the desert one New Year's Eve and I found my self hanging out in this women's tent and she said she was vegan and I asked her why, she said "When you are vegan you just vibrate at a different frequency". I wanted to know what she meant and I decided to go vegan (I was already vegetarian). I took me about a year to ween myself off of dairy. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself. Now as I allow different foods back into my diet I am very conscious of how much and the quality. If I didn't go vegan I wouldn't be able to have as much self control as I do now.
What are some raw food staples in your current diet?
Lots of homemade sauerkraut and kim-chi, avocados, all kinds of fresh fruit & veggies (we have an orchard & garden here at Grace Grove)- during the summer I get to graze on all the fresh fruit here like mulberries, blackberries, apples, peaches, plums, quince, pomegranates, and so much more. I also eat a lot of seaweeds and seeds. I am really big into concentrated herbal formulas from Premier Research Labs. I really thrive when I am taking powerful herbal formulas.
Are you 100% raw?
I am 100% Puma 100% of the time and I am always in my raw form. I did eat a 100% raw diet for several years and then a few years ago I began to introduce other foods like buckwheat, quinoa, beans, and steamed veggies. I also eat some fish maybe once a month and I've been enjoying some goat cheese. I believe that everything in moderation is good but you MUST moderate your "moderation". I do switch to eating a 100% raw diet at times to do a cleanse and there will be times in my life where I will stick to 100% raw for long periods. But just as the season's change my eating habits will change.
Not everyone can be a great chef or spend the time preparing. What suggestions would you give for the simple person?
Just learn how to make a few salad dressings (they are so easy after you make a few different recipes) and then you can eat a few salads a day. Anyone can chop some veggies and put dressing on them. Also you can make a salad dressing thicker by adding more seeds or a nut butter and turn it into a dip for veggies (or chips if you are lazy- at least part of your snack is raw).
What is the last book you read?
The last book I read was " How to kill parasites naturally" by Dr. Overman and "Deep Truth" by Gregg Braden. A very big part of my practice is helping people eliminate parasitic infections. Most people don't realize that one of the BIGGEST causes of dis-eases are parasites and they aren't easy to eliminate. It has become a passion of mine to help people get to the root cause of an illness in order to treat it in as little time as possible, efficiently and gracefully.
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I have visions all the time of me laying my hands on people for just a few minutes and all their ailments are gone. In these visions I am about 70 years old (and only look 40) and I am in a small temple like room high up in some mountains and people are making the journey to see me for their life transformations. This is the superhero I will be.
If aliens came by, (ya know the aliens that have "never” been to Earth before), what would you feed them first? I would feed them cherimoyas and cacao.
Grace Grove Retreat Center
1280 Willow Point Rd Cornville, AZ 86325
~~Thanks Puma for sharing with us! I hope you are all inspired to find out more about this amazing center!
In love and health,
Lori Clayton, LMT, CHHC