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I gave my digestion a break today by skipping solid food and drank Energy Soup (inspired by Ann Wigmore) all day. So, I decided to feed my hair instead with an Indian Head Massage.

Our climate’s dry here in Los Angeles (a dessert), and the sun’s been bright this summer, reeking havoc on my locks. My hair felt dry and my ends brittle. So, I took my bottle of organic, extra-virgin, cold pressed olive oil into the bathroom, and poured a heaping tablespoon into the palm of my hand. I massaged the oil into my scalp and hair, and worked it through to the ends. Note to self: next time, pour the oil directly onto scalp…I have a lot of hair.

Our skin is our largest organ, and you know I like to avoid putting things on my skin that I can’t drink since it absorbs into my blood stream. Well, did you know our scalp is one of the most absorbent areas of our skin? Mine drank up more than a 1/4 cup of olive oil, and was happy for the increased blood flow and circulation from the massage.

I first discovered this massage, also known as Indian Head Massage, at a spa in Portland, OR. It alleviates stress and tension, increases blood flow and circulation, and promotes hair growth. Supposedly, this treatment done in the evening before bed helps alleviate sleeping issues, so I’m hoping it will cure the insomnia I’ve been suffering from all week long.

Choose almond, coconut, sesame, and/or olive oil since they moisturize, condition our hair, stimulate hair growth, and have a neutral scent. After your massage, wash your hair, and dry. I always choose to air dry.

Try this trick:
Wash with your conditioner first, working it from roots to the ends. Rinse. Then, wash with your shampoo, again working it from roots to ends. Rinse. You won’t need to condition again. And it’s better for your hair to reverse your conditioning and shampooing. That’s how I rinsed out my olive oil.

I was in NYC last week for my television appearance on NBC at Rockefeller Center and several events celebrating my newest book Ani’s Raw Food Essentials. I love how easy it is to get around NYC without a car by walking, taking a train, bus, or subway. I miss great public transportation when living in LA. It’s also surprisingly easy to be healthy and to enjoy raw foods in NYC. I felt super lucky to be invited by the lovely Mia Andres from Organic Avenue and raw model Anthony Andersen for dinner at Pure Food and Wine.

This was my first visit to NYC in 6 years, and my first visit to Pure. I was blown away by the food! It was super fresh, beautifully plated, and really delicious. We enjoyed the S+M salad, appetizers, ravioli, lasagna, but my favorite thing ever was the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sundae! I finally got to meet the heart of Pure Food and Wine, Sarma Melngailis, who’s even more beautiful in person.


The next day, I was invited to Quintessence for lunch with my good friends Dhrumil Purohit and Philip McCluskey. Dhrumil is the amazing brainiac creator of the best raw food online community We Like it Raw, which Philip is now a part of too. These two are a real RAWkstar power team….handsome, young, super talented, and doing positive things in our world.

I had been to Quintessence my last visit to NYC 6 years ago. It was good then, and was really good this time around again. We enjoyed tacos, burgers, sundaes, but my favorite was the bagels and cream cheese! Wish I had been there on a weekend to enjoy their raw vegan brunch menu.

I was craving Pure’s Mint Chocolate Sundae, so had to make it back for one more dinner before heading back to Los Angeles. My friend Moby, a long time vegan, and my favorite electronic musician, met me in the garden for dinner along with a few friends and my cousin, Minnie Roh. We enjoyed pizza, ceviche, tamales, smoothies, drinks, lasagna, appetizers, chips and guacamole, but most importantly…a Mint Chocolate Sundae! Everyone was hooked.

To boost this blissful experience even further, Shania Twain, a friend of Moby’s, and Canada’s most popular musician, stopped by our table to catch up with Moby. What a way to finish up my NYC visit!

ani phyo, frances fisher, eva, moby, diamondsnake

Moby was performing with his new heavy metal band DiamondSnake last night in Hollywood, where I bumped into Frances Fisher and Eva. We had a blast dancing up a storm. You can see Moby on stage behind us rocking out to his new Heavy Metal music.

Lead singer Phil Costello’s voice is incredible. They have a song called Rock and Raw, give it a listen on their homepage. These guys are a funny!

moby diamond snake phil costello

It was way past my bedtime of 10pm, and I lasted to about midnight, but left before they finished their set, unfortunately. I hope to get to see DiamondSnake again, maybe along with NYC tour next month.

DiamondSnake was sporting vegan guitar straps, very cool! Choosing vegan has the biggest impact on helping to save our planet and stop animal suffering. Besides, a vegan diet, and especially a raw vegan diet, helps with weight loss, increases health and our immune system, and gives us tons of energy to rock on roll!

It’s official, I now like Heavy Metal music. Moby…I love you!

neelam ani phyo raw food essentials

During my silent 10-day Vipassina mediation last October, I had a vision to work with kids in underprivileged neighborhoods teaching them how to garden, grow food, and make healthy food. These neighborhoods lack fresh produce or healthy food options. The only way to save lives is to teach kids about food, real food. Growing our food builds confidence and self reliance. It’s important for kids to understand where their food comes from.

Neelam Sharma is the Executive Director of Community Services Unlimited, Inc. and is largely responsible for the development of CSU’s food justice and youth training programs. She helped create The Healthy School Food Coalition, The LA Food Justice Network, and the California Food Justice Coalition. An inspirational lady…passionate, intelligent, and beautiful.

garden ani phyo raw food

Neelam and I met at the Expo Center garden, where I first met Dana Clay, the Urban Farm Assistant responsible for this beautiful garden. I found a curry tree for the first time, and the leaves tasted pungent, like curry.

cherimoya ani phyo raw food

They even had a cherimoya tree! Yum. The last time I saw a cherimoya tree was in Baja. I love cherimoya, and just picked up 3 at the local farmer’s market. Visit CSU’s weekly Farm Stand in front of the Expo Center on Menlo just north of MLK on Thursdays from 3-6pm.

Find more about Community Services Unlimited events, and how you can volunteer on their website. A special thanks to my good friend Bryant Terry for introducing me to Neelam and CSU, inc.

tyler golden, ani phyo, raw food essentials food photographer

Tyler Golden is the photographer responsible for the beautiful color food photos that grace the center pages of Ani’s Raw Food Essentials. Tyler had a show of his aerial photography last weekend. I stopped by to say hello and gave him a sneak peek copy of our book. He was thrilled with how his food photos turned out. They’re going to look even better in the final printing, out June 1st.

Tyler’s amazingly talented. He grew up helping his pops with his cookbooks taking photos and styling. His dad has an delicious NY Coney Island style pretzel company called San Diego Pretzel Company. If you like soft pretzels, definitely check these out. They’re the real deal.

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.

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