Tag Archives: Salt Lake City

Las Vegas Has More Raw Food Options Than Salt Lake City

As most of you know, I am a hard-core Salt Laker. I am not personally “hard-core.” What I mean is, I LOVE SALT LAKE CITY! So it is with a fair amount of dismay that I have to admit that Vegas has more raw food options than Salt Lake.

My brother-in-law, Travis, and his wife, Lynette (family of mine I got from a first marriage, [thanks, Shaun!]) took me to their neighborhood Whole Foods in Henderson, NV yesterday. I was like a crazy person running from isle to isle. Maybe I was more like a pinball. I don’t know, but one thing is for sure, I am super jealous of their Whole Foods. The bulk sections had more than a dozen bins full of sprouted nuts and legumes as well as assorted raw trail mixes. I found raw almonds for almost HALF as much money as in SLC. They also had the coveted KELP NOODLES in stock. I can’t find those anywhere at home. And, of course, as any Salt Laker will tell you, it always seems like Disney World to round the corner out of the produce isle and find an entire section of a grocery store filled with wine. Although wine isn’t really a part of this 101 day project, the novelty of being able to buy it in a regular store never gets old. For those of you who care, I managed to restrain myself.

Go Raw Cafe in Las VegasTravis made good use of his smart phone and found a raw cafe for us to check out. We went to the Go Raw Cafe located at 2381 East Windmill Lane #18 in Las Vegas. When we first walked in I was nonplussed. It’s not what you would call “cozy.” It’s sort of a mix between a small bookstore, a select health food store, a salad bar and a restaurant.

We sat down at a table and started to peruse the menu. This was the point where I started warming up to the joint. The menu was extensive, to say the least. There weren’t any sprouted rice curry dishes offered, like the one Omar makes at Rawtopia, but I saw just about everything else there. Something interesting I had never seen before was their “tortillas.” They were really good. They tasted a little like flax crackers, but they were soft and pliable, like a tortilla. They were thinner than a tortilla, though, but not as thin as, say, rice paper.

We tried the “Veggie-Cotti,” the “Enchiladas,” and the traditional “Pizza.” I was stoked about the gigantic portions (leftovers!) and Travis and Lynette, both raw food newbies, loved their lunch. I was enamored with the side of “pasta primavera” that came with my dish, but I did feel like the chefs used anise with a little too much abandon.

A quick google search revealed there are many more restaurants that Vegans and Raw Foodies alike would enjoy in Vegas. Yet another reason to spend a winter weekend in the desert, eh?


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Filed under 101 Day Project, Freeing the Fat, Going Raw

More Reasons to Get Up Early? Because All This is Right Outside My Door.

Memory Grove Park
City Creek Trail
Eagle Gate
City Creek Trail
Utah State Capitol
Ensign Peak
Trail Roundabout
Capitol View
Into the Grove
Temple Square
Temple Square

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God Would Let Me Live In His Poolhouse

I feel like God's pool house will have a very Frank Lloyd Wright vibe to it.

I have spent a lot of time, over the last 20 years, ruminating on my reasons for leaving the Mormon church. I had many. Some were big. Others, admittedly petty. But the main reason was because I grew up feeling like shit. There was always a part of me that knew I was going to hell and tried hard to convince the rest of me that I was a monster. At the same time, the bigger part of me was constantly trying to calm down. I would whisper things to myself during particularly offensive sermons things like, “don’t panic,” and, “this guy can’t possibly be right.”

I should add that I DO think that a lot of the “crazy” I was exposed to was because of the radicalism in the tiny town I lived in, and not actually a part of the larger Mormon church.

My leaving the church was based entirely on my gut. For many years, I wouldn’t let myself read any of the many well-documented, historical accounts of Joseph Smith’s time that clearly dispute everything I was taught. Reading of any facts that are not church-sanctioned is forbidden. I was still so indoctrinated that I hadn’t yet realized that no one should shy away from any truth. I don’t just choose not to learn about any other subject out of fear it might change my mind. So, the fact-finding phase eventually came. In the end, it made no difference to me. I knew what I knew. It did, however, spark a fair amount of rage that I was ever subjected to such crazy-making. I wish I had no anger, but there it is. I am, for the most part, over it.

It was my daughter who helped me get over the “hump” about being okay with my choice to leave the church. I would look at my daughter and think, “There is nothing she could ever do, or not do, that would make me withhold my love.” I knew, from the second she was born, that even if she turned out to be a carnival madame, I would never stop loving her or wanting her with me. I knew, that as long as I lived, she would always find shelter in my home.

Knowing this truth led me to the greatest breakthrough I would ever have. I realized it was simply illogical to believe that a supreme being, like the Mormon God (who is said to be all-powerful, all-knowing and who loves us more than a parent loves a child. In fact, he is referred to as our “Heavenly Father” almost exclusively) would have sent down a list of requirements which, upon failing to follow, would result in our not being able to live in his neighborhood. As I watched my sweet daughter sleeping one night I realized that not only was the aforementioned completely irrational, so is the idea that in order to remain in our family units in heaven that there are a bunch of other “to do’s” on God’s list for us.

I used to play out the scenario of me dying, in my mind, and going to God for judgement. I would hear Him saying to me, “Now Rebecca, I told you that if you didn’t get married in the temple to a nice Mormon boy that you couldn’t live up here in our section of heaven and furthermore, you are now stripped of your family.” The whole idea, to me, is completely, totally and utterly preposterous.

I do not base my love or support or affection or shelter or help or anything on a sliding scale of Hannah’s obedience to me. It would be crazy to do so. And if it would be so ridiculous for me to do that, then why does it seem rational that God would do that? It just doesn’t jive. (As an aside, I know there are a bunch of you saying to yourselves, “You just don’t understand the nature of God,” I must interject that, no, I do not, but neither do you. And for those of you who are now adding in, “It is not ours to understand, all will be revealed,” I have to say, I totally agree.)

Nowadays I see others like me everywhere. They shuffle listlessly around Salt Lake area malls with blank faces and bags bursting with RC Willey bric-a-brac. They are good people. They don’t know why they are so depressed. They feel trapped. They double-down on the depression by seeing their sadness as further evidence of their failure to be the perfect mormon. They believe that “living the gospel” perfectly is the ONLY way they will ever feel peace. They are people who are wracked with guilt and who carry the heavy burden of knowing they haven’t gotten God’s To-do list done. It breaks my heart to see their needless suffering. And make no mistake, they are suffering, and it is needless.

Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE MORMONS. Maybe not the dogma, but the people, in general, I like. They are my people, after all. I do not doubt my Mother’s sincere love and belief in the mormon church. I do not judge her faith. It is a pure and beautiful thing. For her, I actually hope it is ALL true. She deserves a house right next to God’s in the hereafter. I am happy for the thousands of mormons out there who find their happiness through the church. I am grateful for their generally positive belief system. I know that one of the reasons I love it in SLC is because a large percentage of the population has taken 2 years out of their lives and given it to the service of humanity across the globe. I think “the church” is, mostly, a force for good — no matter what it’s based on.

But, for those of you who have read this missive and thought, “How sad for her that she missed the message,” or, “She must have read some anti-mormon literature,” or, “God loves us, he just hates certain behaviors,” or, “Women can’t hold the priesthood because they already have the gift of childbearing,” or any other common platitude, let me bear you my testimony:

I know that there is truth in all things, but no one thing can contain all truth. Just as you know, with all your “heart, might, mind and strength” that the mormon church is the only “true” church, I know with equal vigor that, if there is a great white God who sits on high, he and I are good. He loves me. In fact, He loves everything about me. He thinks I am earnest, hilarious, sweet and sincere. He cracks up at my hijinks and cries about my many failures. And if, when I die, I meet Him on the other side, I know He would let me live in his pool house if I wanted to. He would find all my family who had gone before and they’d throw me a party. He would just be glad to see me again. Period.

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Major Headway — Everything in its Category

When I woke up this morning, I almost despaired. My apartment had not one square inch of cleared space to spare. My junk was everywhere. I was planning to have some larger furniture pieces taken out to the storage unit today to wait until this spring when they will either be hauled off by family members or sold in “The Greatest Yard Sale of Time and All Eternity.” (Yes, that is the official name of the yard sale I’m hosting this spring.) Alas, these prodigious pieces persist this evening, but I have high hopes they will find their new home in the storage unit by Monday night.

I decided I would focus on taming the mayhem in the house. Because I thought removal of some big furniture was imminent, I had emptied them out, and their contents were strewn about. AND I had had the kids bring in some stuff OUT of storage so I could sort it. Suffice it to say, the place was trashed. It’s still dirty, but I called roll and took some names today!

I feel like I can’t really start shedding more stuff until I know what I currently have. To that end, I labeled a bunch of empty bins with household categories like, “makeup”, “painting and sanding”, “office supplies” and so on. Then I went through all the crap all over the house and sorted it all into those categories. Guess how many scissors I discovered I had… 15! Fifteen scissors! I can safely sell thirteen of them. Guess how many nail clippers I found… 13! I bet I have over a hundred pens. I know I have 12 different types of hair gel. Honestly, it’s a miracle this house has EVER been clean.

As I was throwing everything into its categories with its friends, I did a quick sort. I have about 3 new bins of stuff to price for the yard sale as a result. And now the fun part starts! Now that I have all household items in categories I can leisurely pick a category a day (or every other day) and mercilessly cull. I feel so encouraged by today’s progress.

Thanks to my friend, Manu, who sat and visited with me for 7 straight hours while I worked.

Folks, this is really happening. I really am going to be set free. I can’t wait!

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When in doubt, eat something.

I am tired.

I let myself get so tired, in fact, that my brain stopped functioning today. I know that in order to have energy, I should eat. But when I’m tired, I often miss the obvious. It has been over a week since I’ve had a decent night’s sleep and until about an hour ago, I’d probably only eaten 300 calories in 48 hours.

I am NOT into torturing myself by starving. I am also not into going without sleep. But I AM determined to become a morning person. For realsies. So I have been greeting each day at dawn in hopes my body will believe me that I’m serious about falling asleep earlier.

But today was a straight-up nightmare. I woke up at 5 AM per usual and meditated for a half an hour before waking up to write for a couple of hours. I was anxious because I knew that at 9 AM I had to be at the school to confront a professor about a grade. I have never had to do that before and was really nervous. I was also angry. Outraged, actually. By my estimation, there is no possible way I deserved a ‘B’ in that class.

So I forgot to make a smoothie before school. I also forgot to throw a macadamia/cacoa energy ball in my bag. I also neglected to consider that I had only had about 24 ounces of raw juices and soup the day before. I figured I’d pick up an apple and a banana at the school cafeteria, along with some green tea and all would be well. But the “conversation” I had with my professor was very upsetting and before I knew it, I was still choking back tears halfway through my critical theory class (which I love).

I hid my droopy, tired red eyes with my Ray-Bans and somehow made it through music theory and a history lecture. Next, I drove my daughter down to Draper (It may as well have been Mexico) and took a nap in the parking lot of Outlook Development. My back was not pleased with the arrangement (My sister, Nan, jokes that we have “ancient gymnast syndrome!”). So I took some big, deep breaths and drove back toward downtown.

I took the 1300 South exit so I could stop by the health food store to pick up some more Flackers. I was wicked hungry and too tired to make dinner, so I figured I’d polish off the avocado and pine nut hummus I’d made two days prior with an entire box of a few Flackers. I walked in the door and was immediately heart sick. “This is not a health food store,” I grumbled to myself, “this is just a stupid restaurant.”

I turned around to leave, my head hung low, believing I was probably just going to starve to death, when the woman behind the register asked me if I was looking for the market. I said I was, and expressed my confusion. And then she said some glorious words. They were a little jumbled up, but I caught fragments of “All” and “Raw” and I swear I heard the angels singing when I looked back over my shoulder at what I had assumed was a salad bar. But this was no salad bar. This was a buffet of gorgeous, thoughtfully prepared, all raw food dishes.

It was glorious! They had Raw Pizza, Zucchini Noodles, Vegan Sushi, Raw Lasagna, Curried Kale, Smashed Cauliflower, home made Flackers and more! I was like a wild animal. I am laughing out loud, by myself, in my living room right now at how crazy I must have seemed to the nice organic hippy ladies.

After wolfing down the comfort food, I came up for air long enough to appreciate the cute, quaint diner space. I especially liked that they had books laying out on every table ranging from the sensible to the “far out.” The address is 329 W. 1700 S.  I think it was called “Manic Organic” or some such thing. I’ll definitely go back again.

After letting my stomach settle, I had a surge of… energy! I was still tired, but now fully functioning again. I realized I could’ve saved myself a lot of misery today by being just a little more prepared.

Next time I feel like I may actually be starting to die in the middle of a class, I will use my head and go buy a banana (or seven). Divorcing the drama, to me, means more than just staying out of negative conversations and relationships, it means planning ahead so days like today don’t happen.

I can hear Doug’s voice, “Everything happens for you, not to you, Rebecca.”

and mine replying, “Can it, Byron.”

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The Ropes Course

I am the master of letting myself, and those around me, "off the hook."

Miracles never cease. Hannah and I were out the door this morning by 6:30 a.m.! We made it to the “Ropes Course” in time despite the sleepy dude running the juice bar (or, rather,  slowly ambling the juice bar).

It was a sunny, but very cold Utah County morning. Mt. Timpanogas was as glorious as always, rising above us to the east. Our Course Commander was a great guy named Adam West who wore a knit hat with the bat signal on it. I appreciate an unspoken joke.

Hannah and I had both bundled up in no less than 4 layers each, but it was still cold. All of our “Power-90” group was there along with the Outlook Development facilitators. They put us through our paces.

There were various and sundry physical  challenges that we all helped each other through. I have a general lack of fear of things like heights, and whether or not I will be able to accomplish this task, or that. It’s probably all the gymnastics and my stint as a skydiver. Or, perhaps it was my lack of fear that drove me to those pursuits. Wait. No. I was terrified of rides at the fair as a kid… It doesn’t matter. All I know is, Bursts of Brilliance? Call me. Long Term Grind? Don’t. You could try, but I probably won’t answer. So, while the ropes course was really scary, thrilling and daring for most, for me it was an exercise in endurance, commitment and patience.

It took endurance because of how cold I was. There have been so many times when I’ve punked out because of the cold. I hate being cold. I love the cold so long as my core is warm, but once I lose that internal heat, it’s over. That happened fairly early in the day, so then it became a matter of commitment.

Commitment is a word I can hardly say out loud anymore. I have only recently realized what a total commitment-phobe I am. I like to let myself (and others) off the hook. I put the “hook” in hooky. I am easily bored and ready to move on to the next thing. But I am working on all that. I went to the event today completely committed to the experience. I was committed to staying present and learning everything I could from the group and the facilitators. It was difficult.

Why was it difficult? Because I have no patience for things that I do not have patience for. I have patience and some to spare when someone is struggling, but trying their best, to overcome an obstacle. Or when people are talking and I’m just 10 or 15 degrees warmer. I start to lose it when I’m cold, outside, around a lot of cool toys like zip lines I’d like to be playing on and I’m stuck in an endless debate over how best to get all of us from one side of the pond to the other.

I am someone whose first impulse is to take charge. I decided to practice taking direction and letting other people step in to leadership. This meant I had to constantly remind myself to SHUT UP, be patient and mostly stand still in the cold. Which took commitment. Which then required endurance. Which made it more and more difficult to be patient. Which in turn made it harder to stay committed… you get it.

Overall, I was proud of my experience at the ropes course. In truth, the most “acute” experience I had was when they forced Hannah and I to be in separate groups (very wise) and I was standing way way far far away from her when it was her turn to battle a demon and win.

She is such a rock star! Intellectually I know I should not rescue her from all things scary, even if she is terrified, but it goes against every fiber of my being. Sometimes I feel like Gollum walking behind her muttering, “my precious…”  but not only does she NOT require rescue, I think the facilitator’s advice that I could be hindering her personal growth is wise.

So, in keeping with the theme of excess emancipation, I am committed to stopping excess worrying and rescuing in general. I know she’s resilient, smart and resourceful. I will use my faith in her to override the worry-and-rescue subroutine running in my brain at all times.

To that end, in the spirit of endurance, commitment and patience, every time I catch myself worrying over stuff only she can ultimately deal with, I will picture myself throwing out the worry and putting faith in its place. Shucking the superfluous shit. Maybe I’m getting the hang of this?

Its that time of the week now to shift the focus back to ridding myself of material madness. I will take pictures and post a report on the progress of the big YARD SALE coming soon to Salt Lake City.

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My Favorite Type of Street Food

My first reaction to this question was, “I don’t like any food that’s been in the street.” But then I realized what the real question was. sigh.

I’ve never been much of a consumer of food vended by street merchants. For many years, Salt Lake didn’t have any. Where I lived in Texas didn’t have any, either. And then I started traveling overseas.

One rule I stick to (whether it’s true at the time or not) is that I always let everyone know I am a vegetarian. That way the chances of eating any “funky” meat goes out the window. I have a wicked black mold allergy which also makes me extra cautious about raw food on the road. So, with those two things in mind, street vendors aren’t really an option in places like Indonesia or Costa Rica.

Because of this, when the street vendors came to Salt Lake I honestly never considered patronizing one. It wasn’t because I consciously thought they were unclean or whatever, it was just that I never thought about them at all. And they’ve been here for years.

All that changed a couple months ago when my friend John (who lives in NYC) took me to his favorite street vendor in Salt Lake. It was the most delicious Mexican food I’d ever had. I ate a burrito that was literally the size of my head. And it was cheap!

Leave it to me to need a New Yorker (originally from Idaho) to show me something about Salt Lake that I’d been missing. The taco cart I’m talking about is on State St. and about 8th South. In the Sears parking lot facing East.

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