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The Self Examiner

Sharing is very important to us at Cafe Gratitude. This blog is our means of connecting with you, our community through sharing what's happening with us and creating a conversation around the many facets of this community.

Have you ever found yourself in the position of needing to loose more than 100 pounds?  Have you ever taken a leap of faith from a secure, successful career to choose your own freedom and fulfillment?  Do you know what it is like to loose the weight, leave the job, and learn to fly?

Well, Alison Ottaway does.  As far as miracle stories go, I believe Alison has lived through 3 or 4 of them, and is still going strong.  It all began in her early twenties, when she refused some chocolate raisins offered her by a friend.  One small step gave her the courage to become the woman she knew she was meant to be, exercising at home, shifting her diet, and ultimately loosing over 140lbs.  A year and a half later, she felt like a new person, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

By her late twenties, she was leading a life that by most accounts could be termed 'successful.' She had a stable marriage, a mortgage, and a highly lucrative job at Microsoft. However, her BMW, expensive lifestyle, and nights spent out drinking did not satisfy her, and she found inside herself a growing desire to feel vibrantly free and alive. Again, it was time for

Alison to deconstruct the things that were not serving her:
"I was often drawn to imagining myself at 70 or 80, looking back at my life. How would I feel if I’d squashed all of these desires down and not done any of them, preferring to stay safe, preferring to choose the money, the security, the flashy lifestyle? I knew that if that was the case I’d probably be a very bitter woman."

Over the course of the next year, and through much deliberation, it became clear to her where her path lay.  Her husband and her split, amicably, they sold their house, and she gave away most of the possessions she owned. She took a sabbatical from her job, sold her car, and traveled the world for 3 months.

Slowly but surely, it all came together.  She visited Brazil, Peru, Australia, and Russia, and after seeing how other people chose to live their lives, was able to reflect more deeply upon her own life choices.  She came back clear that she wanted to leave her job, to start again in another country, with new inspiration, in a new career.

After her 2nd year back in school, life took over, and she was affected by an acute and debilitating neck problem, which left her unable to hold up her head or leave the house for about 6 months. Through pain, depression, and eventual trust and recovery, Alison thought, ‘if I can just get through this, I’ll get to Italy, I’ll find a way. What have I been waiting for? This is what life’s about, this is important to me’.

She did get up and out again, and learned another valuable lesson.  Living at home with her parents had exposed her to the world of pain and pharmaceutical prescriptions and that her parents lived in.  She did not want to live that way, or to grow old that way, and was inspired to shift her diet and lifestyle to stay strong and healthy through her years.  She became vegan, and ultimately chose to pursue a raw food diet after seeing the amazing health results it had for her boyfriend.

She also moved to Italy(!), after being offered a job teaching English at a school in Tuscany.  She has lived there for two years, and is loving living a vibrant, wholesome, vital life.  Her path has found her some long-earned happiness and freedom.  She started Pathlesstrodden.com to share the joys of going after the life of your dreams.  She is currently training to be a raw food and lifestyle coach - to help others achieve their goals and live the life of their dreams.

She recently contacted Cafe Gratitude to share a recipe that she modified from our "I am Grateful" cookbook.  I am including it here as an invitation to share a bite of Alison's bright life, and to encourage you all to take the first step in living the life of your dreams.

To read Alison's full story, click here!

Also, be sure to check out her website at PathLessTrodden.com for amazing raw recipes, lifestyle tips, inspiration, and more!

Raw Bruschettini

Almond Toast
 
Here's the Café Gratitude recipe with her notes:
 
Ingredients: 
1/2 cup almonds soaked 8-12 hours      
2 cups almond nut milk pulp – You'll need about 1 1/2 cups whole almonds for this much pulp.
1/3 cup flax meal – Meal is ground flax (sometimes called linseed). You'll need just less than 1/4  cup for this much meal.
1 cup veggie pulp – I always use carrots only – tastes sweet and you can get the juice (needed next) and the pulp from the same veges! In total you'll need about 500g of carrots.
1/2 – 1 cup carrot juice  
1 tsp salt – I only use 1/2 tsp.
 
Equipment
Juicer and dehydrator.
 
Method
  • Rinse and drain the almonds. Chop coarsely, and mix well with all ingredients except the carrot juice.
  • Add ½ cup of the carrot juice and mix well. If needed, gradually add more carrot juice – you want to form a dough that resembles the consistency of bread dough. It should be dry enough to shape into a log but wet enough to stick together. I generally find ¾ cup of juice works well.
  • Turn the dough onto a chopping board and shape it into a log using your hands. I make mine about 3 inches wide and about 1½ inches high.  Then make slices about ½ an inch wide and place the slices onto the dehydrator tray topped with a mesh sheet.
  • I then dehydrate these at 105 degrees until they are crisp, depending on how thick you have cut them this will take between 12 and 18 hours.
 
Bruschettini – with Marinated Tomatoes and Basil Sauce.
 
Ingredients:
6 medium tomatoes
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ a lemon
¼-½ tsp salt (use Himalayan Crystal or the best salt you can find)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 large handfuls fresh basil
 
Equipment:
Mini processor
 
Difficulty:
Medium
 
Method:
  • Dice the tomatoes into salsa-size pieces and put into a sieve over a sink to drain away the excess liquid before transferring into a mixing bowl.
  • Add the lemon juice, 4 tbsp of the olive oil, the salt and a generous grind of black pepper to the tomatoes and mix well. Set to one side to marinate for at least half an hour.
  • Roughly chop the basil and put into the mini processor with the remaining 4 tbsp of olive oil. Process until a smooth, velvety green liquid.
  • To assemble the bruschettini, top each almond toast with 2-3 spoonfuls of the marinated tomatoes and then, using a teaspoon, drizzle some of the basil sauce over the top.
Hey presto, raw Italy on a plate!

For the full recipe with pictures, click here.

Comments (4)add comment
How inspiring!
written by Chy , July 08, 2011

Thank you for sharing such a powerful story!
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Proud to know Alison and to call her a friend
written by Dea Elmi , July 13, 2011

I am so glad that you featured my dear friend Alison on your blog she is a wonderful woman and her life is such an inspiration. She ame to visit me in October of 2010 for a weekend here in Sicily and it was such a treat to host her and her partner. We shared, laughed, she told me about her weight loss, her decision to radically change her life and more. Thank you!
Dea

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Wow!
written by Dea Elmi , July 13, 2011

Love Alison
I am so glad that you featured my friend Alison in your blog, she is such an insipration, was thrilled to host her at my home in Sicily last October, she was a total insipration! Thanks smilies/smiley.gif
Dea

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Fantastic Story ~ Thanks For Sharing
written by Tina Pruitt | The Healthy Lifestylist , July 18, 2011


I love this article about Alison Ottoway! It is very similar to mine (living the "dream" and choosing another path instead, that involves living foods), so I totally resonated with her journey...and pain...and am so happy for her! Wonderful experiences...

Also, the recipes look scrumptious ~ thanks for sharing.

Bravo for sharing such inspiration!
xo,
Tina

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