Interview – Claire Ragozzino // Vidya Cleanse

Claire is such a beautiful soul. I came across her blog several months ago reading it to the very end – falling in love with her prose, plant based recipes and self. She is the typeof being I wish I could spend a day (or week) with in my life, full of vitality, earth and movement. Claire’s journey to creating her Vidya cleanse + courses stemmed from healing her own health which is something I admire, and she’s done a pretty amazing job. I am so thankful she took the time to answer some questions. For more on Claire check out her blog | instagram | pinterest

Interivew – Claire Ragozzino // Vidya Cleanse
Who are you + what do you do
My name is Claire Ragozzino, I’m a holistic nutrition educator and yoga instructor.

How did you get involved with holistic/organic living?
In my early teens, I suffered from chronic digestive problems.  I wasn’t raised with the healthy eating lifestyle I’ve adopted now, in fact, hamburger helper and fast food was a pretty standard part of my childhood diet.  But by 15, I was tired of feeling terrible all the time, and somehow the universe delivered to me my very first raw food book. Completely intrigued, I spent an entire summer experimenting with raw cuisine and reading every alternative medicine book I could get my hands on. Then an older friend just back from India and Bali introduced me to cleansing. I got a juicer for my 16th birthday, and from there I guess you can say the rest is history! Over the years of learning, I built my lifestyle around this passion for sharing what I love and what has brought me healing along my journey. 
Tell us a bit about the e-courses you offer
I believe our health is not static, and that our bodies are closely connected to the natural cycles of the earth. With this in mind, I wanted to create an online program that used holistic cleansing as an intentional tool for reconnecting people with their personal health needs.  Cleansing with intention is a powerful medicine, and when you can do a purposeful, seasonal cleanse you can cultivate a deeper connection with your intuitive health knowledge.  Vidya actually means clarity, knowledge and inner wisdom. So the Vidya Seasonal Detox eCourse is a platform for knowledge sharing, providing you tools to inspire sustainable change in your diet and lifestyle, and find your own inner wisdom.  I guide you through the journey with step-by-step cleanse plans, seasonal recipes, shopping lists, meal planners, meditation and journaling exercises and intention crafting worksheets – so get you clear on where you’re at each season and how to find your health truth. The next global cleanse kicks off June 21st with the summer solstice!

What projects are you working on? + How will you celebrate Spring season?
I just launched the first video in my quarterly “Vidya Seasonal Kitchen” series. I’m working with my favorite local video production team, Choate House, to create short instructional cooking films based on recipes that inspire connection with the seasons and our health. Eating seasonally is a way to naturally cleanse your body and connect in with the fluid cycles of the earth and our evolving health needs. My intention is to show that seasonal cleansing can be simple, nourishing and satisfying to the mind, body and spirit. Keeping in line with the seasons, our next Kitchen Series video will be released summer solstice week.
But without getting too ahead of myself, I’m savoring the arrival of Spring by spending more time outdoors hiking and rock climbing, and enjoying all the amazing fresh salads and juices I’ve been missing over winter.  I’m also gearing up to do my own seasonal cleanse, and really looking forward to this time of reflection and renewal.
Do you have a morning routine?
I like to wake up slowly, spending my time in bed visualizing my day and reflecting on what I’m feeling with a short journaling practice before I get up.  Then, I get to my Ayurvedic morning rituals of self-care, Dinacharya, starting with oil pulling, tongue scraping and dry skin brushing before I shower.  After I’m clean and covered in a copious amount of coconut oil, I’ll head to the kitchen and make an alkalizing drink of warm water with lime and aloe vera juice.  I’ll usually sip this while I check emails (guilty!), then make some herbal tea and get over to my mat. I have a small yoga room in my home where I do my personal practice, which can vary daily from just 15 minutes of yoga therapy and pranayama (breath work), to a juicy 2-hour asana sessions with friends.  Since my schedule frequently fluctuates, keeping an open mind and fluidity to my morning yoga practice is important to me.
How do you spend your free time?
Rock climbing! I am completely hooked on climbing and take any free time I have to disconnect from technology and get outdoors.  Climbing is a total meditation, so when I’m not practicing yoga on the mat, I’m doing so on the wall. It’s so special because you get to experience this beautiful one-pointed concentration as you move with intention and balance.

Your blog is a compliation of delicious plant-based recipes and health tips because you are a nutritional health educator, how do you help your clients online/in person and heal others this way? 
I work with clients in three ways: one-on-one with private wellness consultations and food coaching sessions both in-person and online, in large group guided cleanses through my seasonal ecourses, and through workshops and retreats (I’ll be leading a fabulous retreat in Costa Rica in June, all beautiful souls should join me for a week of spirited detox in the jungle!). My teachings meld together my background in yoga, raw food nutrition and Ayurvedic principles. But my true goal is to empower people to think, feel and act intuitively when it comes to their health.
You are absolutely stunning and have a visually beautiful life, what are some beauty tips + favorite places to shop?
Thank you! I try to keep my beauty routine as natural as I can. Sticking to the mantra “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin!”, I use mostly edible organic skincare products that I make or buy. In the warmer months, cooling coconut oil is my go-to lotion pre- and post-shower. In the cooler months, warming sesame oil nourishes and grounds me. I use magnesium oil for my hair, and let it air dry…but I think that part is mostly out of laziness to blow dry it! Epsom salt baths with essential oils are a pretty regular part of my weekly rituals. But above all of these habits, I’ve committed to practicing these rituals with self-love and appreciation for my body.

Favorite books/online reading material
My reading material consists of a mixture of yoga/Ayurveda/herbalism texts, cookbooks, food blogs, and quarterly journals, like Lucky Peach or Kinfolk. These are some of the books + blogs I’ve been loving lately:
·      “Woman’s Power to Heal” by Maya Tiwari
·      “Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy” by Mukunda Stiles
·      “Planetary Herbology” by Michael Tierra
·      “Vegetable Literacy” by Deborah Madison
·      Food + Lifestyle Blogs – The First Mess, Green Kitchen Stories, My New Roots, Earth Sprout, Free + Native, Justina Blakeny…are a few of my favs.
Top 5 Necessities (can be culinary,clothing, makeup, etc) for health
1. Banyan Botanicals Triphala Tablets (digestion is everything right?!)
2. Kuumba Made Sage Coconut Oil (on-the-go natural skincare)
3. Lulu’s Raw Chocolate Love Truffles (one of my favorite raw chocolate companies)
4. Rifle Paper Co. Journals (daily journaling is so essential in my life)
5. Heritage Store Rosewater Spray (for energy clearing + grounding)
For those who want live cleaner what are some tips?
Start by shopping one day a week at your local farmer’s market. Take your fresh new ingredients and research a few ways you can prepare them.  Making even just one home-cooked meal with a few fresh, local ingredients can make a big difference in your diet habits by establishing a meaningful connection with your food source and engaging in the process of preparing your nourishment with loving intention. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Barefoot on the beach with a babe on my hip, a few books under my belt, and surrounded by friends who inspire a healthier, happier world.
Who + What inspires you?
I’m so inspired by entrepreneurial women who live their dream proud and loud, and share it with others to inspire passion and positive change in others lives. I’m also really intrigued by people who live off the grid, who don’t live by social norms and spend their lives closely connected with their surroundings – both nature and the people in their lives.  It’s an interesting balance isn’t it? Finding a way to live authentically and share your truth is a true test I believe!
You live where + recommend these places for travel
I fancy myself a bit of a gypsy, but somehow I ended up in the Midwest – great old Oklahoma City! This place has some interesting creative energy and I’m grateful for my little home here now, but I need to travel frequently to stay alive and inspired. Here’s where I would pack a bag and hop a flight to any day:
·      Tulum, Mexico
·      Joshua Tree, California
·      Burlington, Vermont  
·      Mysore, India
·      Essaouira, Morocco

Dream Vision Board : what would your ideal day consist of?
In my perfect dream world, time would be infinite and unimportant.  Life would be centered around long meals with friends, soul-connecting conversations, and uncharted adventures.  My home in the jungle near the ocean (think Tulum), would play home to my gypsy traveling friends – their board paid in time spent caring for the garden.  Whatever we couldn’t grow ourselves, I could find by taking a trip to the farmer’s market and filling up my bike basket with fresh, local harvest. There would always be music, laughter and late-night conversation by the fire. We could sleep in hammocks under the stars, and awake to the sunrise by the ocean.  Barefoot, sun-kissed, and open-hearted, we’d greet each day.
One piece of advice

Above all else, practice self-love and compassion…the rest will follow!

“Morning found us calmly unaware, noon burned gold into our hair.”

Lately when I’m not busy, I have been knitting, writing letters, had a few post birthday get togethers and watching too many old horror films, with pizza & coffee

But mainly I have been gardening. I transplanted several seedlings and they are doing well so far, patience is key. And a watchful eye. so instead I think about my dreams. I have learned a lot about independence in this year even though its barely springtime. I am becoming one of those people that want to grow their own produce, knit my own clothing, can on my jams & jellies. A medicinal herb garden that I can pluck from to make concoctions to heal and aid. I want to have an attic overlooking the countryside or the forest where I can read and get lost in the beauty of the day. A beaty I helped create. Self sufficiency is my path to inward growth

birthday cake

Interview | Emily von Euw

Emily has a well known blog This Rawsome Vegan Life, which properly sums up the content. Beautiful, vibrant photography and her wonderful writing invites you in as if you already know her, as if she’s your next door neighbor ecstatic to share her kitchen alchemy with you. I adore people that have this quality to them, call it effervescent or contagious but it never fails to put a smile on my face. 

I don’t write much about my food allergies, but it has really become a constant in my life that prevents me from going out to eat without fear of contamination or getting ill. So I am very grateful for bloggers like Emily who provide us with ridiculously delicious recipes that are healthy, organic, and allergen friendly and plant based. I believe nature is the greatest tool for any artist and Emily’s creations are visual proof of this. She recently came out with a book that I can’t wait to get, as I am working on building up a recipe book collection 

While I completely believe that everyone should consume what heals + works for them, I firmly attest to that fact that everyone should definitely incorporate as much organic, plant based foods whenever possible. Please check out This Rawsome Vegan Life 

Who are you + what do you do
My parents gave me the name Emily von Euw. I have been on this planet for 20 years, inhabiting the city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada – it’s a beautiful, vibrant place (though it doesn’t get as much sun as I would like). I am a participant in the universe, child of the stars, sister of the moths and mother of the trees. I am a brother to the wolves and father to the berries. I am organic and happy and sad and confused and nostalgic and present and curious and floating and cemented and bursting with ancient new life. Who knows where I came from.

I do a bit of everything: writing, reading, yoga, meditation, music, painting, dreaming, crying, laughing, university (history, philosophy, humanities, archaeology, geography, geology, psychology, etc.), kissing, running, sitting still… but I am most well-known for creating a blog called This Rawsome Vegan Life, wherein I make, photograph and share my own raw vegan recipes with the wonderful world and all the kind people in it. I have also just had my first book published called Rawsome Vegan Baking which focuses on raw vegan gluten-free desserts. People seem to like what I have to share, so I am eternally grateful that this will probably be able to be my “job”, although truly it’s simply my passion.

How did you get involved with holistic/organic living?
It is the logical place to end up, and I try my best to be a rational creature whenever I can. It’s the intelligent choice to lead a lifestyle that is cruelty-free, sustainable and healthy. I mean, we all like peace, right? We all want the planet to be in good condition for our children, yes? We all want to feel and look our best, correct? I’d answer affirmatively to all those questions and so that is why I follow a whole foods, organic, plant-based, mostly raw diet.  

Tell us a bit about the book you just released! Will there be a follow up?
Oh, yay! I am still so excited to talk about it. I was blessed enough that my publisher – a subsidiary of Macmillan – found me through my “popular” (hah) blog and asked me if I wanted to write a book with them. Of course I said yes! Whatta dream come true. Although a book was on my mind, it was a far-off goal and not necessarily a realistic one (in my mind). I wrote the book in four months, thankfully right when I was on summer break from university. There were then several months of post-writing work to be done, and it was finally published around the world a few weeks ago! It has already sold out of the first printing, and I cannot tell you how joyful this makes me. Not only because it means people are appreciating my work, but more so because it means people are grabbing on with a passion to vegan living! I am an optimist about the future and firmly believe the world is becoming more and more conscious as a species as time progresses.

I am writing my second book right now, and it is all about juices, smoothies and healthy snacks. I am very excited to share this one with the world because although if you look at my blog you will assume I eat only raw cookies and cake, the majority of my diet is juice and smoothies; so it shows more of the bulk of my daily food regime. Smoothies can save the planet.

What projects are you currently working on? + How will you celebrate Spring season?
I am working on new recipes (always), promoting my first book, writing my second book, attending school (final exams are coming up!), and trying to maintain a social life and a fresh, blooming romantic relationship. I am going to celebrate Spring by sharing some special recipes on my blog, soaking up as much sun and outdoor adventures as possible, eating banana ice cream, laughing with friends, and travelling around the continent.

Do you have a morning routine?
I am a Virgo, so I am ALL about routine and list-making. My morning routine is: wake up, think about the day and take a few deep breaths, drink filtered water, splash face and brush teeth, stretch, exercise, yoga, make a smoothie or juice and then wait until I am hungry again to gorge on organic fruits. I will then go to school, the farmers market or busy myself around the house depending on the day.

How do you spend your free time?
As touched on above, I do a great many things that give me joy. I love listening to records, cuddling other animals (human and otherwise), dancing late into the night (or anytime, really), crying about the elegance of the universe, hugging trees, reading (currently getting through Kurt Vonnegut), writing down poetry and thoughts, creating art (usually as gifts for loved ones), making and eating ALL the food… mostly organic fruit, raw chocolate and kale, asking questions about the meanings of life/ death., walking around the surface of the earth and being conscious of my role in it… The list never ends.  

Your blog is a compilation of delicious plant-based recipes and health tips, what are some tips you can share for people to implement more fresh healthy meals in their life?
Get rid of all the junk food in your home. Replace it with healthful whole foods that don’t bring about any guilt, only happiness. Stock your fridge with fresh vegetables, fruits, leafy greens, homemade hummus and nut milk, coconut water, almond yogurt, nuts and seeds. Stock your cabinets with organic tea, dried fruit, cacao powder, coconut oil, coconut nectar, oats, beans, quinoa and whole grains. Experiment with raw vegan entrees, desserts, sauces and soups and buy some whole food cookbooks to try out in the kitchen. Visit your local farmers market and talk to the farmers there, asking questions. Hit up your local health food store and do the same. Buy local and organic when you can afford it. Buy an inexpensive blender and have a fruit smoothie every morning (blend a banana with some frozen berries, and orange and some almond milk). For an easy and delicious meal: steam some vegetables and serve with a cashew “cheese” sauce or spicy peanut sauce, and brown rice noodles… with a raw vegan dessert to finish. Wink wink. (Just google any of those things to find recipes.)

What are some beauty tips + favorite places to shop?
Here is my “beauty” regime (although my opinion is that my whole lifestyle is a beauty regime, you are what you eat! I also exercise regularly): I wash my face every morning with a mix of jojoba, avocado and castor oils. Google “oil cleansing method” for more info on this. This also acts as my moisturizer. I sometimes use baking soda as a facial scrub. I splash my face with rosewater often. I moisturize my body with coconut oil and sometimes shea or cacao butter, scented with lavender and vanilla. I clean my teeth with baking soda on a bamboo toothbrush and use sesame oil as a mouth wash. Google “oil pulling” for more on this. I clean my hair with baking soda (“shampoo”) and apple cider vinegar (“conditioner”). I don’t usually wear make-up but when I do, it is from Earth Lab, Arbonne, or Urban Decay. My fave body products are from Just the Goods and Ellovi. I love to shop at The Soap Dispensary here in Vancouver.

Favorite books/online reading material
The classic: Leo Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf, Kurt Vonnegut, William Faulkner, J.D. Salinger, William Golding, Ayn Rand, Henry David Thoreau, Hermann Hesse, Sylvia Plath, Franz Kafka, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Gabriel Garcia Marquez… I love it all. When I am not in the mood to read deep, thought-provoking literature, I enjoy philosophy, non-fiction about nutrition, the nature of the universe and history.

Top 5 Necessities (can be culinary, clothing, makeup, etc.) for health
Coconut oil. 
My record player and collection. 
My current beau. 
My cat, Dante. – and sunshine! That was 6 or 7 but shhh.

For those who want live cleaner what are some tips?
Understand that you deserve it. Also look at my answer to the similar question above.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Living in Costa Rica or somewhere else sunny, in my tiny house on wheels with a pet pig and a human I love; along with an organic garden… and wi-fi so I can keep doing the blog. I cherish the simple life.

You live where + recommend these places for travel
I reside near Vancouver, BC, Canada and highly recommend you come hang out with me. I’ll give you hugs and raw vegan brownies. But also I LOVE Vancouver Island, especially Tofino and the gulf islands around Van Island. The majestic West Coast landscape holds a big piece of my heart in its dark, misty clutches. Most of Canada is pretty damn beautiful, and the lesser populated areas of the US are gorgeous as well. I haven’t been anywhere else, really. Although, I would love to travel much farther north, maybe to Alaska; and also much farther south… like Costa Rica.

Dream Vision Board: what would your ideal day consist of?
Sunny, warm weather. Hiking up a small mountain with my lover and animal companions to enjoy a fruit picnic on top. Hiking back down, having a bath together. Going to a farmers market, an art gallery or used book store. Reading poems and listening to records. Making love and dinner. Watching a documentary about ancient civilizations or a Kubrick movie. Going dancing. Rubbing myself down with coconut oil and meditating before slipping into a freshly made bed. Drifting off to sleep to enter my subconscious world. I think I’ll do all that this weekend.

One piece of advice
Do what works for you, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.

“The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.”

Where has the time gone? Truth be told I am so happy its Spring, which coincides with my birthday (the 26th) and I love the idea of winter, more than winter – which I find to be more isolating but Spring has been really kind, full of the promise of blossom and release. My birthday was unexpectedly beautiful. I got to meet friends I have known but live terribly far, I have explored beyond my city and traded stories for dreams, totems and smiles. My best friend Kayla and I joined in the #100HappyDays challenge on instagram under the #westcoastdiaries tag. I think social media can be overwhelming but also positive at the same time. In this case, we both feel inspired to search for something that make our days a bit more sweeter. I have been planting and reading about gardening. Its a dream of mine to someday grow my all of my own produce, as much as I can. Theres a serenity and hard work in gardening, its outwardly caring for something that will sustain you – its no different than painting a work of art or creating in general. I really love the Garden In the Koop boxes because they make it so practical yet attainable whether you have limited or vast space and its all organic + ethical!

So where has the time gone? Its gone in memories, laughter, story telling, escapism, creating, resting, growing and walking. Its a detachment of the concept of “time” and simply just living day by day seeing where it takes me.

morning light
birthday flowers
postal love
tiger & ranunculus