The Ultimate Luxury: Fresh Produce and the Traveling Kitchen

On August 25th I could be found in the lap of luxury at the larger-than-life Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in the storybook Swiss Alpine village of St. Moritz. Just one month later, on September 25th, I was checked in at the Courtyard Marriott in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Boy, did my coach ever turn into a pumpkin! That aside, what I want to underscore here is that a first-class trip through life is determined not by the number of stars at the hotel entrance, but by the quality of life force flowing through the cells (the stars, if you like) of your body’s internal pathways.

I have enjoyed the good fortune of a colorful life that’s taken me through a wide variety of experiences. But no matter where I am or where I go—whether I have the good fortune to ride in the “front of the plane” and be escorted through fairytale European villages in a Maybach, or to zip through Manhattan’s underbelly in its equally fabled subway system (where I am more often found)—one thing never changes: traveling through life in a clean-celled body is always a first-class experience.

A clean-celled body is the epitome of luxury, so no matter how posh or depraved material things are around me, I can ensure a pleasure-filled life experience by keeping my system clean and high-vibing. Sure, my life experience can be enhanced by certain luxuries, but it’s not dependent (either way) upon outside circumstances.

Life in a clean-celled body is grand wherever you are! This is why I make the daily choices that are central to this way of life. I want to LIVE every moment—to drink in fresh air, breathe deeply, and feel my heart center expand. When I have a clear, open (gas-pressure-free) skull (most people don’t know what this feels like), I feel my spirit dwelling within a sensory body of flesh and blood, which is nothing short of amazing. It makes every moment—everywhere, with everyone—enriching and pleasurable.

When I boarded the flight to Switzerland, my clean-celled tool kit traveled with me. (Rule #1: Have your key ingredients with you; don’t leave them to chance.) My “traveling kitchen” filled with frozen fresh-pressed juices, organic carrots, raw goat cheese, lemons, organic baby greens, stevia, and of course dark chocolate were all in tow. These went into a suitcase in the, uh, “bowel” (aka cargo hold) of the plane. My colon-cleansing devices, and the normal stuff like running and hiking shoes, were also in there.

My personal lifestyle quirks also help me get to know my new surroundings quickly. That’s because I always visit the local markets, which is a superb way to get to know a new place and its people. Upon arriving in St. Moritz, despite toting along my own fare, I was much more interested in the local produce, the local raw cheese selection—and, of course, the local dark chocolates (this was Switzerland after all)! So, I set out on a mission to find the best produce, dark chocolate, and raw goat and sheep cheese in the area. After an immensely pleasurable stroll through the hilly village, I discovered exactly what I was looking for—a little local store run by a couple who refreshed their produce daily with the bounty of the small, local farms.

There before me was a cornucopia of the most appealing just-picked blueberries and raspberries, ripe cherry tomatoes on the still-verdant vine, about ten different varieties of hydroponic greens and sprouts, and the sweetest, crispest, juiciest carrots! And to top it all off, there was a selection of local raw goat and sheep cheeses that went beyond my wildest daydreams!

Fortunately, I was there for a whole week, so I had time to taste them all—there were the sweet, creamy, and soft cheeses; a Manchego that I would have liked to bring back by the case; and others like a Locatelli (a goat-style Pecorino Romano) that I would never have believed was made was with raw goat cheese if I hadn’t known the proprietress was an equally enthusiastic raw goat and sheep cheese connoisseur. This outing to the produce market became a daily ritual over the course of our week in that gorgeous mountain retreat.

We were there for my husband’s best friend’s weeklong wedding celebration, where no expense was spared and the food and drink flowed day and night from one over-the-top venue to the next. The hot Russian girl band was flown in from Moscow; the top DJ flown in from Johannesburg; even Maori (that’s right, as in New Zealand) priests and performers were brought over the Alps to help our friends seal the deal and give their guests the time of their lives. We danced into the wee hours of the morning to these “Spice Girls of Moscow” and the other entertainers who kept the parties raging day after day, night after night.

In between, we stole away to recover in the pristine mountain air, cycling to the purest icy lake to swim and then bask in the glow of the late-summer sun.

But every night, do you know what accompanied me to all the posh venues, where gourmet dishes were plated for the most discerning, worldly palates? That’s right, the real pinnacle of fine dining was my local peasant produce! I discovered a long time ago the remarkable quantity of baby greens one could fit into an evening bag. When all the air is removed, you can fit about half a pound of those greens into a Ziploc back and it takes up a minute amount of space (think vacuum-packed greens). My little evening bag doubled as my tool kit. (Who needs lipstick, cash, or an ID? Make way for the really important stuff like goat cheese). I could make a feast with the items from my bag: a base of baby romaine, topped with some veggies from the served dinner, a generous squeeze of fresh lemon, a touch of stevia, and the crowning glory of some goat cheese. Every meal was for me a bonafide masterpiece!

Then there was the chocolate, of course! Since it’s a treat that begs to be passed around and shared, I take at least three bars with me whenever I go out. In the end, I have a stunning meal regardless of what is on the menu—particularly at weddings and organized seated gatherings, where it can all be very unpredictable, and where what we call the “good stuff” (i.e., raw veggies, avocado slices, raw cheeses, and such) are usually in short supply.

I pull my items out ever so discreetly. After all these years, I am not shy, but nor do I want to draw attention to myself or cause offense. However, what invariably happens is that my makeshift salad looks so appealing in contrast to the served dishes of cooked animal protein and starch that everyone around me wants to know what I’m having…then I briefly explain that I keep an unusual diet…no, I’m sorry this isn’t on the menu…but there’s a great roadside produce stand at the top of the hill…sure, I can draw you a map… (Hey, I’m supposed to be off duty and on vacation here! Here’s the website—I’m going back out on the dance floor!)

Despite all my conviction, I never want to offend (particularly when I am an invited guest), and I know it’s unusual to bring one’s own food to an event. Therefore, I am truly discreet when I am in this type of situation. However, to my very pleasant surprise, in this case my fellow guests not only weren’t bothered in the least by my traveling kitchen and resulting creation, but thought it was pretty cool (and that was before I pulled out the multiple bars of chocolate to pass around)! This gesture never elicits an untoward reaction—quite the contrary. Even my husband, who never knows what the reaction will be and whether he will want to crawl under the table and hide, enjoys the opportunity to boast about his wife’s bag of tricks and how she keeps him in such great health.

In the end, careful adherence to the clean-cell principle, combined with lots of fresh mountain air and sunshine, enabled me to enjoy all this fun and frivolity (which with the typical fare, combined with the wine and the late nights, would have been aging and acidifying) and not be any worse for wear.

Back in Bethlehem, PA, a month later, I was cruising around looking for a fresh produce market. I would be staying in with the kids for the night, and the small town didn’t appear to offer much in the way of decent restaurants, so we searched for a farmers’ market. But sadly, after asking around, all we found was a warehouse store. I’m sure there were some amazing co-ops and fresh markets, but in a pinch they were not evident. But even this warehouse store at least offered organic boxed baby greens and other non-organic produce for which I was grateful. And hark! I had my traveling kitchen, so there wasn’t much I was really dependent upon. I wanted some extra lemons and carrots, so my daughter and I ran into the store while my husband and son waited in the car. We stood at the checkout line and paid for our earthy-looking groceries.

I was put off but not surprised by the plastic smells and endless aisles of needless, harmful items. But I didn’t express this to my daughter. Living in a world apart from the mainstream American lifestyle of strip malls and warehouse stores, I had almost forgotten these places and their life-annihilating products existed. It was my daughter who commented. I wish I could remember exactly how she put it, but she was astounded at the carts lined up at the checkouts full of plastic, boxed foods and “wormy poop” (I had to chuckle when I finally realized she was referring to ground beef)! She couldn’t believe that people could eat hamburgers knowing what they are made of. She noted the pallor of the children and the girth and weariness of the patrons. Even though New Yorkers are a far cry from living in harmony with nature, many of us don’t see this kind of consumption. Furthermore, every store we went into reeked of plastic. I began to understand what water feels like when it’s sealed in a plastic bottle.

Back at the hotel, I tossed a great big salad (in a bowl I got at the dollar store—another toxic store that I had to put to use under the circumstances). I put together all the great items I don’t leave home without, as well as those things I picked up in town. Once again, a little preparation and effort to stick to what I know works best kept me in the great life-wave. It’s never ideal to be exposed to poor-vibration energy like chemically cleaned, poorly ventilated, non-life-generating stores and hotels, but if you can keep this exposure to a minimum and hold fast to what creates and maintains clean cells, you can still surf the great life-wave!

Whether you’re in Bethlehem, PA, Saginaw, MI, St. Moritz, or Tuscany, riding in the back of a Bentley or riding shotgun on the Greyhound, the ultimate luxury is in your hands. Never forget it!

Here’s to the ultimate in luxury—clean cells and all the love and vitality they bring!

Ever One,
Natalia

 


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