Sunday, 12 April 2009

My Boutenko Weekend

Victoria Boutenko & I with our green smoothies!

Well I have returned from a most enlightening weekend! I was a sponge, sitting at rapt attention at Victoria Boutenko's feet for two days. (I was seated on the floor on the big cushion I brought.) Her daughter Valya was there as well, gracing us with green smoothie demos, both savory and sweet. Also, as a surprise to us all, Valya led us through some interactive exercises from Byron Katie's "The Work". (I'm more of an EFT girl, myself, though I have to admit that The Work asks pretty kick-ass questions, and I will be tapping on what came up for me during our session.) Anyway, that young woman is an encyclopedia of fruits & vegetables, just like her Mama, who obviously 'didn't raise no dummy.' Those Boutenkos are SMART women!! It truly is remarkable.

I don't even know where to start. There was just so much to this weekend. I learned things that only pouring over my notes will shake loose, and I met some seriously great people!

Big thanks to Clive Langton and Diane Lindsay of Raw BC for putting this together and to Catherine and Ziggy and their family for hosting it at their amahhhzing mansion! What a gorgeous place. These folks worked so hard all weekend, ensuring that all of us had everything we needed, and the weekend ran without a hitch!

Victoria Boutenko, what can I say? Brilliant woman. From this privileged weekend intensive, I am doing what I always do, and that is, taking in the information that strikes a chord with me, that excites me, that fits for me, and respectfully leaving the rest. We are the experts of our own bodies and lives, and even her bottom line message to us all was: You are on your own!

It was a pleasure to meet her and to be audience to such a ground-breaking, and I would say, radical, woman. She sleeps on the floor, takes daily plunges into frigid water, and considers a world with no conventional toilets, among many, many other things. She doesn't just read things from books or hear them from other people and regurgitate them to a room of people. This is a woman who takes no information at face value; she relentlessly researches everything for herself, and comes up with her own conclusions.

I was happy to get a copy of the revised and expanded edition of 12 Steps to Raw Foods (How to end your dependency on Cooked Foods) and get it signed, "To my special friend, Lucie, From Victoria with Love, 4-12-09" That's pretty special, right? We didn't spend any time chatting personally, other than when I stepped up on a break and mentioned the odd fact that we knew someone in common, my friend SG, who organized the Boutenko conference in New Zealand a couple months back. (I'm jealous of Victoria for having met SG, whom I've known online for years! Isn't it an odd twist?) She remembered SG fondly, and thought NZ was amazing.

So we were there from Saturday at 9 a.m until Sunday at 5:30 pm. We were told to bring our own mug, and were served green smoothies for breakfast and lunch, and green pudding for our evening snack, aka dinner. Saturdays' green pudding consisted of romaine, chia seeds, kent mango, and finger bananas, and Sunday's pudding was sunflower sprouts, young coconuts, and dates. (Both good, though I am not a fan of coconut so the first one was my favorite.) There was also a bit of sliced fruit available: strawberries one day, oranges the next. Delicious, but pretty slim pickins for 2 days' worth of food. (Victoria had said that most of us if not all, would have symptoms of detox by the end of the first day, and sure enough, by Saturday night, I had a cracker of a headache.)

Not everyone who was at the workshop chose to stay overnight, but a good bunch of us did, and we watched a movie on the big flat screen, 'Overcoming the Food Imprint', Valya Boutenko's film. By this time, my headache was worse rather than better, so I begged out of the second movie, something by Wayne Dyer, and I went to bed to rest, to read, and ultimately, to do some EFT on this headache. It was a luxury to have the entire downstairs room to myself for a couple hours. I was able to take the headache from an 8 to a 2, then I suddenly remembered with great joy that I had brought a wee stash of food, on the premise of not trusting that I could eat so little for two days. I must say though, those smoothies all day were dense and if not for the headache, I could easily have sailed through the evening without other food. But I wanted to slow down this detox because I don't know about you, but for me, there's nothing quite as 'wah' as feeling sick away from home, and further, in a group! So... I ate a couple small pieces of raw carrot bread and 2 bananas. Finally, the headache was gone altogether.

I wish I could say I slept well, but oh man, I wouldn't be myself if I didn't tell you this. I had the worst night's sleep! It had nothing to do with the space; we slept in a beautiful, huge communal room, all with our various foamies, mattresses, and sleeping bags. There was this one bed --right next to me--from which emanated the loudest snoring. Think broken up chainsaw trying to cut endless bags of marbels. Then add a lawnmower going over nothing but golf-balls.

One woman had earplugs and she STILL was awakened throughout the night by this. I only slept on and off, according to the rhythm of this unrelenting noise. Not his fault, it's just that snoring doesn't bring out the best in me, even at home, where it's at least easy to gently poke and say, "Honey you're snoring..." and he turns over in his sleep and even says, "oh, sorry baby..." But this guy, well, I couldn't gently poke or even throw a shoe at him (my other thought.) Remember that cushion I brought? I slept with it on my head! lol

Other than questioning why I slept over, I had a very fulfilling weekend! I feel so glad that I went, and so inspired to keep up the greens in my diet (in fact, I made a savory smoothie, like, a soup, in lieu of dinner when I got home.) I'd like to keep this up, this lean eating. The courses I took last month taught me great raw food prep skills, and inspired me to get into doing workshops. But I have felt I've been eating too many dense, nut-heavy recipes, at least in a row. This weekend reminded me to eat light, and eat lots of leaves. Ah, balance, the eternal Libran quest.

In any case, I have a feeling I'll be attending some raw potlucks with some of these folks in the near future. It's *really* cool to have more folks to be raw with. Great support, resource, and community.

Happy New Week, Rawkers!


Anonymous said...

so glad you loved the weekend, met Victoria and got lots of new info and inspiration - they are amazing, huh!! shame about the snoring - one of the downfalls of communal sleeping space. and so cool you were able to make a connection with her re NZ ... funny for us both to have met her but still not met each other yet - it will happen one day!

Zucchini Breath said...

Other than the snoring it sounds like you had a great time. I can't wait to hear more!

Rawkin' said...

Thanks for this comment, SG :) They really are full of info and inspiration and I just found them to be so damn SMART and get that Valya, so young,23 I think, and so well-spoken and sensible, and well, SMART.

When I said to Victoria that we know someone in common and told her about you on her recent trip to NZ, I said, "You've met my friend, and I haven't! No fair!" lol

I trust it will happen too, SG xo


Rawkin' said...

Hi Zucchini,

I did love it, and the snoring is getting funnier as time passes, and sleep is regained! I am flawed in this way, I can't take sleepus interruptus. lol it makes me seethe. (tap tap tap)

There was SO MUCH knowledge shared, all conversational and I was at some points, writing as fast as my little pen could take me, but I'm really not scientifically minded and sometimes I thought, "my brain hurts." lol but we all take in what we are ready to hear. And I heard a TON :) so there will be some sharing going on.



contessa20 said...

Wow, sounds like a great time (well, besides Sir Snores A-Lot). I'd give my right arm to have been there.

Rawkin' said...

Hi Contessa!

Sir Snores A-Lot! I love it! I think that helps me get over it altogether. haha! Thanks! :)

You know, as I've mentioned, those Boutenkos get around! They are all over the world, that family. Ya never know, they may be coming soon to your city.

I only found out about it by joining my local Raw society, via email newsletter. That may be an option for you where you live...?



Kristen's Raw said...

Oh! What a fabulous time it sounds like :) HHHMMMM!


Rawkin' said...

Thanks, Kristen's Raw, it really was a great environment. Loads of like-minded people in a beautiful retreat mansion, with a couple International authors/speakers who were down-to-earth and right on! I am soaked with new friends and knowledge...I'm so glad I went!


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