Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Monarchs in Mystic

I was so excited to attend a talk by "celebs" in the raw food world, Matt Monarch and Angela Stokes Monarch.  Both have followed individual paths into raw foodism that ultimately crossed and culminated in their recent marriage.  Matt Monarch has been nourished by a raw vegan diet for 11 years and travels to share his experience with this diet. His business is Raw Food World, a website containing all your raw food culinary needs. Sometimes, he has some good sales going and it is worth being on his mailing list for the coupon codes.  His new bride Angela Stokes has a very well publicized story of her impressive weight loss (160 in 2 years) and physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual transformation.  She gained her following in the blogosphere and has since published several pamphlet style books and at least two real ones. They both create a show on Youtube about healthy raw living. 

The evening was coordinated by our local raw foodie community organizer, Gina. The evening began with a scrumptious dinner of pate stuffed tomato, kale salad, and onion bread.  The ladies of Citrus Juice Bar and Cafe in Mystic did a lovely job pulling it all together.  The small space was filled, about 30 people were there.  The Monarchs arrived, we all sat and watched them unload their merchandise and chatted until it was time for the talk to start.  I sat next to Gina's dad and raw food author, Frank Ferendo, with whom I have developed a friendly relationship via our blogs and on Facebook.  He is the author of the book Reasonably Raw, which is available through  I have browsed this book and would recommend it to anyone who is curious about the lifestyles and the reasoning behind it.

Frank's most recent blog post on the Monarch's visit was very amusing and offered a glimpse of his experience having these raw celebs stay in his house.  However, I am compelled to comment on some of his observations and offer a bit of a different take on the evening.  Please stop here and read Frank's post on this because he sums up the content which I am not going to repeat here in full.  

Back to our Sunday evening talk...

I have not read Matt Monarch's book. My impression of him prior to meeting him was that he was a simple guy, maybe a surfer,  from CA who happened into this lifestyle and shares what he has learned along the way.  I've never been blown away by his information, but I like his website for ordering products.  Hearing him talk, pretty much left me with the same impression, except dial it up to full-on CA frat-boy surfer dude. That's not a bad thing at all, but for me it did not serve the spiritual message he was trying to impart. I respect that he makes absolutely no claim of being an expert on anything except his own personal experience. He does share some gems if you can hang in there and listen for the inspirational nuggets between product placement and high colonics.    Personally I would like to see him tune into the audience a bit more.  A room full of newer raw foodies and the rawcurious, might benefit from hearing colonics exist once or twice, but it is a big leap for someone coming off a standard cooked food to want to go get their insides professionally Roto-Rootered once a month.  I've been in this lifestyle for 2 years and I personally am not interested in hearing a 30 minute focused sermon on the importance of colonics, let alone locating, traveling to, and shelling out for such a service.  I see the potential benefit in removing the decades of mucoid waste we've accumulated and how that might help some people but the whole time we heard about Matt's intestinal sludge I was empathizing with those people in the room who might have been hearing about this for the first time.

Another main focus of Matt's talk was the progression of a cleaner and cleaner diet to the point of ultimately becoming a breatharian, someone who lives on only air, sunshine and universal energy.  This isn't the very first time I have heard Breatharianism but I have yet to come up with an ACTUAL Breatharian to read about in cyberspace.  They are a bit like the Loch Ness Monster; existing primarily in theory and imagination. I am certainly not closed off to possibility, but at this time it is not on my bucket list to become one. The human being is an amazing creature and I can imagine a being so evolved and tuned into G*d and Universal Energy enabling them to subsist on simply fresh air and sunshine. It is a beautiful, but esoteric, concept. I envision this would be a state achieved by someone on a deeply spiritual life path, perhaps a Buddhist monk.   I think most of us can agree no matter our religious tradition that people like Jesus Christ, Buddha, Ghandi, and presently the Dali Lama or Thich, Nhat Hanh are rather highly evolved spiritual teachers. We study their lives, their teachings and emulate them.  These are some of the most highly regarded spiritual leaders of our past and present and as far as I know none of them aspired to be a Breatharian, so for me this is more a hypothetical state of nirvana than a tangible, useful concept. 

Matt did talk about his products and while I am not offended by the idea that the Monarchs did a talk and sold products from said talk, I was sort of turned off by his self stated "extremism" and pushing of certain products and superfoods. Extremism, in and of itself, is unhealthy. If you self-identify as an extremist, then to me that says, "I am unhealthy. I am not balanced. I do not feel good about my choices."  This is different than someone PERCEIVING what you do as extreme as I am sure many people think what I do is extreme.  And that is a subtle but key difference. Being in spiritual alignment with your choices are a key to healthy living, someone else's judgements of what you do are of no consequence. That's their stuff. But to say "I am an extremist"  invalidates the message.  He illustrated how extreme he is by repeating it several times.

 I understand the Superfood concept, thanks in great part to Gina and lots of reading.  There  is a place for some Superfoods if you gain benefit from them.  I am not averse to trying something here and there and seeing if its worth incorporating into my diet. However, I have noticed that within the Superfood movement there are members whose energy is that of a drug addict.  The desire to take something in powdered or pill form in high quantities or just a lot of different ones seems excessive sometimes and it is that energy that turns me off.   I'm all for filling in an obvious nutritional gap or solving a health challenge or imbalance nutritionally, but popping and pushing pills, powders and tinctures is a real turn off.   The raw food movement would serve society by helping people discover the tremendous benefits of raw food in and of itself.   Recipes, tastings, success stories, acceptance, open-ness, and love, that is what inspires people to make healthy choices for themselves.  

The Monarchs brought the contents of their warehouse with them for sale. I admire that they are living freely, traveling, and funding that travel with these personal appearances and product sales.  Anyone who makes a living doing what they love and believe in, serves the greater good.  It was a LOT of stuff for a small space.  They sold a lot of it too.  They have a good thing going. Very smart. Free from the rat race, I can totally get on board with that. 

After Matt's talk, came a short break for shopping and chatting  I asked Matt a few questions about a product he was selling.  I will admit that this was more to see if he was as  "connected" he as he claimed.  I had a strong sense of disconnection from him even though his words were all about being spiritually evolved.   His words conflicted with his being.  He didn't look like the glowing, centered person that I had thought he would.  Maybe it was shyness, maybe he was distracted because their vehicle was towed, but if there was any word I would use to describe Matt it would be DISconnected.   This was disappointing.  He had spoken for a while about his very recent recovery from an intense case of canine scabies he contracted when he rescued some puppies from Mexico.  Instead of pharmaceuticals he chose to use some of his superfood products and supplements in high doses. This coupled with the description of his ongoing bowel cleansing leads me to believe he is currently undergoing an intense detox and healing crisis. Suffice it to say, maybe he just wasn't himself.  We all have off days, nights....weeks sometimes.   

And then came a breath of fresh air.  Every woman is a Goddess, but the woman in raw food worthy of the title Raw Food Goddess, is Mrs. Monarch, Angela Stokes.    Open, sweet, witty, lovely, a ray of sunshiney "good" vibes, Angela delivered in 10-fold.  Her personality really came through during her brief talk on her journey since becoming raw and the unfolding of her life.  She was a charismatic speaker and very funny.  I think the whole room was captivated by her.  It is pretty obvious when someone eminates light and love.  People are drawn to these beacons in our life and Angela delivers this in her talk.  She spoke about her state of being at 300 lbs and how she transformed physically, mentally, and emotionally.  She spoke from the heart. She didn't spend much time on any particular product, just a few common sense ideas.  For example, how easy it is to sprout seeds and how this old school raw food technique needs a revival.  She spoke a bit about her new book Raw Emotions, and I think she sold out her stock of them while she was speaking. People were jumping up to grab their copy off the shelf, myself included.  She was a real person and a beautiful example of what can be achieved with a clean diet.  I went to this event really needing some inspiration, my raw food intake has waned over the last 8 months and I have the excess weight and mood swings to show for it.  I really needed some inspiration and she delivered.  Her book, Raw Emotions, is about how to deal with food addictions and the mental, emotional, and spiritual journey that accompanies a change in diet and lifestyle.  While it focuses on raw food,  I can see this book helping almost anyone whether Weight Watchers, South Beach or any number of other lifestyles resonates and works for you. None of them will work long term unless we heal internally as well.  Raw Emotions addresses the unfolding of self during a health transformation.

Frank states in his post that he doesn't think eating better makes you more spiritual and this a main point I disagree with.  I completely accept that may not be how it works for some people, I am one of the ones that it did for this way.  As I have stated in many past blogs, dis-ease comes from within (spiritual) to without (physical) with shifts in the emotional/mental realms along the way. While the SHIFT must take place spiritually, in that, one must awaken and consciously take the reigns of their health, the healing happens in the reverse order of the disease.  Physical to Spiritual.  When the physical body begins to heal, it exposes what's gone off in the mental, emotional, and ultimately spiritual realm.  Those things must be healed too or the old patterns will come back whether with food or another type of addiction.  Angela's thoughts in Raw Emotions address exactly this topic. I have only just started it, but I hope to write more about this book once I finish reading.

I am sure every member of the audience that night took something different away from the speakers and each other.  I am sure different aspects of the talk resonated for different people. Some people in the audience seemed to be really connecting with the idea of colonics and asked about seeking one out locally. It was of service to some. This experience re-affirmed for me that we receive exactly the experience we need to learn a lesson and grow.  It also served as the catalyst I needed to re-examine my own recent choices.   Every interaction is significant because we've called it to us vibrationally; it already exists within us in order to manifest in our experience.   I find my work right now to try to be present for those moments so that I can grow from them and attempt to handle uncomfortable ones gracefully. It is hard work, that I find so much easier when I maintain a diet high in raw foods. I've noticed that most of my blog posts are written when I am maintaining close to 100% raw.  In this space I feel most creative and clear.  The times the blog is quiet is usually because I am not making the healthiest choices and am feeling too blocked and uninspired to have anything to share. 

I honor the people who share their personal journey openly as it helps me illuminate my own path. It gives me new ideas. It stretches my mind about what is possible. I take some. I leave some. I learn from all.  So thank you Matt, Angela, Gina, Frank, and all the other blog, book and message board authors and speakers who so openly share what you do to ultimately inspire people to find their own truth and lead fulfilling lives. That's the goal really, isn't it?

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