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Home arrow Resources arrow Articles arrow ARTICLE: RAWREFORM USA TOUR - SPRING 2006

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by Angela Stokes

Spring 2006 will be forever etched into my memory as the season I tasted my first durian, sang, sweated and released for eight hours solid in the company of David Wolfe at my first ever sweat lodge and encountered my first screaming fan in public... ;) On my debut lecture tour of the USA, with the wonderful Matt Monarch of, my experience of the raw food world was blown open into exciting new territory and I enjoyed every moment?
Arriving in Southern California mid-March, I was immediately struck by the amazing sense of abundance there, where the street corners literally overflow with tree-dropped, ripe fruit and the weekly farmers? markets boast magnificent arrays of fresh, local, delicious produce. Having just arrived from a cold, damp, grey British winter, I was more than a little impressed.
Things just continued to get better. My overall experience on this tour was one of abundance, joy and enthusiasm. Everywhere we went, we were greeted by interested and appreciative audiences and learnt so much about the power of raw foods to transform peoples? lives.
Matt set up an amazing tour for us covering four states (California, Arizona, Oregon and Washington) with a wide range of venues and audiences. From an intimate event with a group seated on floor cushions in a yoga society to 75 people packed into a hall at a health food shop to potlucks in peoples? homes to catered events in raw restaurants - we even hosted our own gourmet sit-down meal and talk, catered by our friend and outstanding raw chef, Lara Barge. It was a varied and exciting schedule and we were always met with a very warm welcome ? the enthusiasm of the audiences was so inspiring, with plenty of participation, questions and feedback. For me, it was also such a beautiful experience to meet people whose own health and lives have dramatically changed as a knock-on effect of reading my story and feeling inspired to go raw. Meeting one woman for example who just a year previously had weighed about 7stone (roughly 100lbs) more and had lost that weight and transformed her own life after reading my website was so humbling for me and affirmed for me the value of putting my work out there. America seemed like an ideal place to share my message, being a land with extreme overweight and obesity issues, coupled with huge interest in raw foods. There is so much potential there for people to take this message and make significant changes to their health and I was delighted to participate as a catalyst in that process. I love the feeling of ?planting seeds of consciousness? in lectures ? often people would ask me after talks how to pass on this message of natural, healthy weight loss to an overweight/obese loved one. It is not always easy to convey the message that there are other ways to lose weight than slimming pills/diets/surgery, unless people are ready to hear, but the more the message gets out, the more chance there is that people will be open to hearing. One aspect that will of course help massively in this process is media coverage of raw foods, which seems to me to be quite sparse in the US right now, primarily, it seems, due to the interests of the major pharmaceutical companies overshadowing advertising and media coverage. Despite this, the raw message is undoubtedly spreading fast and I personally did two radio interviews during my visit and met other people who host raw features on cable TV and are producing a fascinating documentary about healing diabetes with raw foods (see It is now my mission to go on the Oprah Winfrey show and spread this message with the masses, as a living testimony to the healing powers of raw foods for recovery from obesity. :)
The enthusiasm and interest in raw foods in the US really made an impression on me - I was in awe of all the raw products available and excited to think how the raw foods movement in the UK will also expand in this direction over the coming years. We have a lot to look forward to. I found it extraordinary to see whole aisles of raw products in health food shops, including pre-packaged, ready-to-eat meals and cakes ? I was amazed to think that there?s so much demand for raw foods that whole chiller cabinets were stocked with fresh ?to go? meals. Visiting the amazing raw restaurants was really exciting too ? to have an ENTIRE menu of dishes to choose from was such a treat, rather than cobbling together a lacklustre salad from other menu items, as often happens in restaurants. I LOVED the vibrant Caf? Gratitude restaurants in San Francisco, where all the dishes go by names such as ?I am JOY? or ?I am LOVE? and diners eat at tables topped with a transformative game for friends to enjoy with their meal. Au Lac restaurant in LA won my heart however for the divine creations of master chef Ito, whose frozen chocolate cakes are simply unrivalled ? made with pure love by this extraordinary being who took a vow of silence five years ago, you can taste the joy in every delicious bite?
I feel so blessed to be on this path, spreading this raw message of hope and health and it was an especially wonderful experience to share this tour with Matt, whose confidence in getting out there to spread the word is such an inspiration to myself and thousands of others. We found our talks complimented each other so well ? covering both male and female perspectives, two very different journeys into being 100% raw and the balance of Matt speaking more generally about being raw healthily and myself speaking from a more personal perspective. Overall, our listeners got a good all-round feel for raw life.
I learnt a huge amount on this tour and had such a fantastic time connecting with many vibrant people on their paths to a shinier, happier, healthier future. I now look forward to continuing my US talks later in the year, focusing more on the east coast  - Florida, New York and Texas are all planned, along with an amazing 12-day raw weight loss retreat I will be facilitating in Michigan at Ronora Lodge from November the 7th to 19th (see for more details). Keep an eye on my site ? - for updates as the schedule becomes confirmed.

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