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vital juice los angeles raw food ani phyo

It was a Vital Juice Spa weekend full of healthy beauty, yoga, massage, breath work, and good food. Co-founder Amanda Freeman was in town for the spa event, and it was lovely to catch up with her. On Friday, I enjoyed the best ever breath work session with Cindy Click. Perfectly what I needed after a challenging week.

I met lovely folks from my favorite yoga studio, YogaWorks. Terri Seiden, the Director of Marketing, has offered to throw a book release event to help me celebrate Ani’s Raw Food Essentials in late June at their Larchmount location.

ani phyo, jamie, vital juice los angeles, raw food

Here I am with the beautiful Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh. I forgot to bring my yoga clothes, so I missed out on doing yoga on the lawn in the sunshine.

kimberly Miguel Mullen, ani phyo raw food, jamie, vital juice, santa monica, ca

The next day, I got to see Jamie again… this time for a raw meal in Santa Monica at a newish raw food cafe with gorgeous Kimberly Miguel Mullen. Read about our raw food lunch on Vital Juice, Los Angeles.

ani phyo, dora jih, kanga

Good thing I fueled myself up with a Spa Day and then Raw Foods because the next day I drove almost all the way to Palm Springs to meet up with my best girlfriend from college, Dora Jih of Season Tees. Her 8 year old daughter had a synchronized swim competition. It was so fun to watch these cute girls all dolled up in hand made custom outfits doing their mermaid dance. And, they let Kanga join in on the fun too!

kato banks, ani phyo, andy caldwell, raw food los angeles, ca

Last night I met up with old school friends from back in the SF rave days in the early 90s. Above is a photo of me with Kato and DJ Andy Caldwell who was spinning last night in Los Angeles.

Andy’s set wasn’t until 12.30am. And yes, it was a Monday night. To help us all stay awake that late, six of us met for a raw food dinner beforehand.

michelle belegrin, dawn knepley, capm petersen raw food

I always have my camera on me, and was so disappointed I forgot it last night! So these low resolution photos were all taken with my Blackberry instead. Above are Michelle, Dawn, and Capm, sitting on the other side of the table from me. It was interesting that 4 out of the 6 of us were at least 1/2 Asian. Michelle is half Chinese, Dawn’s half Korean, Kato is half Philippino, and I’m full Korean. As I look around, I realize this is our beautifully diverse America. I’m still processing how our USA media doesn’t represent the multitude of cultures that really make up our United States.

After shutting down the cafe, we then headed over to Hollywood to find a packed club, especially for a Monday night! The crowd was totally mixed with what seemed like 1/2 Asians, and another 1/4 at least of other people of color. It was also a huge range of ages, from 21 to 70. There were several groups of older Asians, they looked like my mom’s age, dancing like crazy. This was the first time I’d seen this, ever. And it was awesome.

It was really fun to be part of rockstar Andy’s entourage, being escorted into the club and up onto the stage. We even got to hang out and dance next to the DJ booth all night long.

ani phyo, andy caldwell hollywood the playhouse

I love dancing, and it was a huge treat to dance to Andy’s beats. He’s usually super busy traveling to perform all around the world, so it was a rare opportunity to see him here in LA. Dancing for me is a spiritual practice. Letting go and flowing is cathartic.

ndy caldwell dj hollywood, ca

Before I realized, it was past 2am. Michelle told me the party ended at 3am, which was about 5 hours past my bedtime. So, she and I headed out. By the time I got to bed, it was past 3am. I still woke up at 8am. I know that’s 5 hours of sleep, but I feel tired today. I’m finding it to be harder and harder to stay up late anymore. I don’t think it’s a sign of aging, but rather, perhaps it’s just about being more responsible and taking better care of myself. Either way, last night was totally worth it! I got to catch up with old friends, and danced my legs off to the beats of Andy Caldwell. It was so fun!!!

andy caldwell paul harris

This is a photo of Andy Caldwell and Paul Harris, who was spinning prior just before the change over.

moby and ani phyo raw food

Moby, one of my favorite musicians, was at the Skirball Cultural Center last night on tour speaking about his new book Gristle. It’s a compilation of 10 chapters on topics including health, environment, and government subsidies that make less healthy food cheaper and more accessible that healthier options. Moby’s got quite a sense of humor. He’s funny.

Moby co-edited Gristle with leading food policy activist Miyun Park, a spunky, tattooed, muscular, well spoken, Korean American beauty. Nice to see a strong Korean American woman who obviously tells it like it is, no holds bar.

Moby explained how he used to be one of those annoying, extremist vegans, and would irritate his family and friends. Today, he has compassion and understanding for people from all backgrounds and experiences. Rather than being militant about veganism, he recommended we lead by example by looking healthy and happy. I love his message, and share the same philosophy. We won’t win people over by making them feel bad, alienated, or wrong.

I was happy to be able to gift Moby with an early copy of Ani’s Raw Food Essentials, and Miyun with a copy of Ani’s Raw Food Desserts. ani phyo frances fisher

I met up with the lovely Frances Fisher, nominated in 1998 for her outstanding performance in the film the Titanic. Frances was sharing with me her story about her last Christmas event that was catered vegan. No one realized there was no meat served. That’s always the best way, when the food tastes so good, no one misses the meat!

I looked up Frances’ age (born 1952), and my goodness, she looks great! Obviously, her diet and lifestyle make her radiate with health and vitality.

The same crew where all there to see Moby as the past several days of vegan events: Brendan Brazier (contributor to Gristle, bravo!), Robert Cheeke, Jordan and Jolia Allen, Benny Chan, Kato Space, and many other friends. It was a great eve, and I’m realizing I need to get back to the Skirball to check out the exhibits during the day soon.

moira ani raw food vegan venice california

Sunday was the annual post Genesis Awards Vegan Lovers Brunch hosted by Chef Moira Nordholt and Ron at their lovely home on the beach in Venice.

The food was delicious, as always, and included a raw lasagna, raw cheeze filled endive boats, kale salad, green salad, sushi rolls, mac and cheese, and chocolate truffles, and many other delicious treats. One interesting item on the menu were these fiddlehead ferns.

fiddle head ferns

These ferns are only available 1 week each year at the farmers’ market. This was our lucky week to get to enjoy these unfurled fronds of the young fern. They look so interesting, and the taste reminded me of a Korean vegetable side dish.

It was a relaxing Sunday afternoon haven amidst the craze of the LA Marathon earlier that morning. We enjoyed great food and company including Lorri Bauston (Animal Acres), Elizabeth Castoria (VegNews Magazine), Jolia Allen (Vegetarian Times), Brendan Brazier (Vega), and Robert Cheeke (Vegan Body Building), to name a few.

japan town los angeles, ca

Living in the center of Los Angeles, I walk and ride my bike around my neighborhood, rarely drive, and hardly ever make it downtown. Saturday, I decided to explore downtown LA. I started at by USC at the California Science Center and watched the new Hubble 3D IMAX. It was incredible to see images Hubble captured, and I recommend everyone to go see this film. It’s only 45 minutes long.

Next, I visited a new (to me) Japan Town mall in downtown LA where I stumbled upon a really cool bookstore and an Asian grocery store. I stocked up on my sea vegetables: Arame, Hijiki, Nori, and picked up a bottle of Yuzu (orange paste with green hot pepper). Sea veggies cost much less at the Asian market than at a natural food store. I even ran into an old friend who lives in Santa Monica who happened to be shopping downtown too.

The photo above was shot at dusk, so the sky is an amazing blue color. I’m learning that dawn and dusk are the money shots for architecture.

Los Angeles at night

I was with Benny, an amazing photographer who’s photos are found on many of the architecture magazine covers out there. Benny Chan’s aerial photo series are printed huge, maybe 10 ft tall, if I had to guess. Standing in front of the images makes me loose my stomach as if I was really flying up in the helicopter with him. Read about Benny’s show in the LA Times.

Benny’s been inspiring me to shoot dusk and nighttime city shots, especially from the top floor of high rises. You can even find the crescent moon in the photo above. It was a beautiful city scape on a warm LA evening.

On the way home, I stopped off to visit my friend Kato Space who was hosting an old school house party in Hollywood with special guest DJ Garth, from the Wicked Crew in San Francisco. I love dancing. Besides the prior evening at Pink Floyd, I hadn’t been out dancing for months.

Dancing directly raises my level of happiness and well being. It’s a spiritual practice for me to let go and to feel the flow. It was so much fun, but way past my bedtime.

kevin boyland, ani, and joe connelly

kevin boylan, ani, and joe connelly

The Veggie Grill is taking SoCal by storm with their delicious vegan foods. I love the fact they use soy-free cheese made from cassava root. (I’m in fact Asian, but allergic to soy products). And, they have a great marinated raw kale salad that’s yummmms.

Joseph Connelly, publisher of the best vegan lifestyle magazine VegNews, was in town on his way to Expo West in Anaheim tomorrow. So, we met up with Veggie Grill owner Kevin Boylan for dinner in West Hollywood. It was so good! I gave Joe an early copy of Ani’s Raw Food Essentials to check out.

We also met 3 fitness buffs. They were ripped with huge muscles on a vegan, plant based diet. All train in Jujitsu, and looked like they could be body builders. I asked the lady in the group about her protein intake, and she said she doesn’t worry about it. To build muscle, she told me to pump heavy iron at high reps of 20, 4 sets. I’m going to try that later today at the gym.

I’m all about building up my muscle mass lately. I feel that as I’m growing older, my metabolism is naturally slowing down. One way to boost it up is by building more muscle mass. I’ve noticed after years of detoxing and fasting that my body cannibalized my muscle. So now it’s time to rebuild more.

airfood

Raw Airline Food

It can sometimes be a struggle to find a vegan option on an American airline. I was surprised that my flights in SE Asia on both Singapore and Silk Air both offered numerous vegan options, from Asian vegan to American vegan, and also offered a RAW FOOD option!

Cabin air pressure in flight is lower than air pressure at sea level, which means we have less oxygen being carried in our blood. Cabin pressure makes our digestion more challenging due to a 30% increase in gases trapped in our body. And, flying is dehydrating. I try to drink a liter of water for every hour of flight time.

I say a raw food platter should be served to everyone on every flight. It’s full of water, oxygen, and easy on the digestion. This isn’t rocket science, but simply common sense. Hopefully, this vegan and raw meal also helps offset my carbon emissions a little bit….

resort owner Mom Tri and I

resort owner Mom Tri and I

Mom Tri, owner of the resort, totally gets it. His spa uses edible coconut oil, he has an organic farm in Chang Mai with a cooking school, and looks super fit and healthy.

the salt water pool over looking the lagoon

the salt water pool over looking the lagoon

This is one of 3 pools at Mom Tri’s, and salt water too.

lotus pond

lotus pond

Each morning I’d find a newly bloomed lotus flower. They’re beautiful!

deck for dining

one of many decks for dining and drinking

This is just one of several decks overlooking the ocean for dining and drinking. What a view!

the beach

the beach

This is the beach at Mom Tri’s….turquoise water and white sands. I did get a minor jelly fish sting. I was with a doctor, luckily, who kept me calm, and though it left welts on my arm, it was really not a big deal. I tried to swim a mile a day in the ocean. It was bath water warm and such a treat.

Dr Richard DeAndrea and me soaking up sun

Dr Richard DeAndrea and I soaking up sunshine

It was super special to get to meet up with 2 longtime friends from SF in Phuket, Thailand.

Dr D (which in Thai means ‘the good doctor’) runs the 21 Day Detox program, and he and his partner John Wood taught me all about detoxing almost 10 years ago. Dr D is currently living in Bangkok developing his clinic with cutting edge healing therapies.

Dmy friend anthony in thailand

Anthony and I in Thailand at Mom Tri's

Anthony Hall and I go way back to SF days of raves and web 1.0. He’s an amazing photographer, and artist in general. We’re both back in LA now…and combating jet lag! Anthony’s British…perhaps that explains his stern expression. But, I did manage get him to smile…..

anthony

Anthony gives us a smile

Smiles and friends are two important pieces for fueling happiness. The sunshine and warm water and tropical environment helps too!

thailand from airplane

view of Phuket from the airplane

One way I like to entertain myself is with my camera, especially during long international flights.

sunrise

a sunrise on the plane ride back to LA from Asia

The sunrise during my very long flight back to the USA from Tokyo was beautiful. Most people were sleeping and missed this amazing view.

I don’t sleep well on planes, and you’ll usually find me doing wall push-ups and stretching in the open area by the staff. Maybe that’s why one flight attendant remembered me from my flight to Asia 6 weeks prior.

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