Myblog Tags

13 Indigenous Grandmothers 2012 4 years. go. 80-10-10 abounding river abounding river practice abundance acknowledgment activism addiction affirmation agave age allergen almond butter almond milk almonds alone Anger anniversary announcement Anti-GMO anxiety apology appetizer apple applesauce arrowroot art artisana artist asafetida assumptions asthma authenticity avocado avodaco awakening back to basics recipe baking soda banana basil bauman college bay area Be Love Farm Beach beauty bees beet Behind the scenes of Cafe Gratitude being love Being present Being your word Berkeley cafe birth birthday black pepper black sesame oil blame blender blog blood orange blossoms body image bok choy Bolivia borax bowl Brazil nut brazil nut milk bread breakdown breakfast breakthrough broccoli brown sugar building business butter bean by-donation cabbage cacao cacao butter cacao nibs cacao powder Cacao- cow cafe gratitude vendor cafe stories cafe testimony cancer caraway cardamon carob carrot cashews cauliflower cayenne celebrate celebrity celery celery root central kitchen challenge change cheese chef Chef of the month cherry tomato chia seeds chicks childhood chile chipotle chips Chlorella Chocolate chocolate chips Choosing cilantro cinnamon circus citrus classes cleanse clearing Co-Op cocoa powder coconut butter coconut flakes coconut meat coconut milk coconut nectar coconut oil coconut sugar coconut vinegar coconut water coffee coffee flavor extract collective comfort commitment commitment to love communication community company compassion complaint complete protein compost conscious products consiousness construction container cookies copper corn corriander cosmic Costa Rica courage cranberries create your life creating an opening Creativity crushed pepper crusted red chili flakes cucumber cumin cupertino curry curry powder daikon Daily Cleanse dairy dandelion greens daring date death declaration deep breathing defense dehydrator depression dessert destruction dexter cows diabetes relief diet difference dill disaster discomfort dissent divorce DIY dolphins dream dressing dried hominy ducks dulse earth eco-friendly education ego emulsified Endive england entertainment entitlement entree entrepeneur environmentally sustainable Escarole espresso event evidence expression fabric fair-trade faith Fall family family meal farm crew farm lessons farm life farm produce fava beans fear Featured coffee fennel fiber Fibonacci sequence fig film flax flax seed oil flour food as art forgiveness Forks over Knives frisee Fudge fundraising galangal Garbanzo beans garlic garlic powder generations generosity ginger giving back Gluten-Free goals and asperations goji good fats Gracias Madre grain grapefruit grateful bowl Grateful Programs Gratitude great northern bean great picnic foods green juice green onion green smoothie greenhouse growth grumpy Guatemala Hawaii hazelnut Healdsburg healing health heart connection Heather Haxo Phillips hemp seed hemp seeds herbal infusion hero Himalayas Hinduism history holistic home home products homesteading honesty honey Honeymoon hope housing I Am I am Grateful recipes ice cream in service independent inspiration inspiring person integrity international interview invitation Irish moss italian seasoning italy jalapeño Jason Mraz jewelry jicama Judgment juice club juicing kaffir lime leaves kale Kansas City kefir kelp noodles Kindred Spirit kitchen tips knowing kombucha Landmark landmark testimony Leadership lemon lemon juice lemongrass lentils letting go lettuce lettuce greens lime liquid vanilla living foods local logbook Los Angeles loss Love lucuma powder maca macademia Magnesium makepeace brothers mandarin Manganese mango manifest maple syrup marriage masa mason jar maui May I Be Frank medicine meditation menu mint mint chiffonade Miracle miso modernity Monday money morning motherhood movement Mung Beans mushroom music mustard seeds Nama shoyu nasturtium flowers natural news noni noodle recipe nori normalizing nut-less nutmeg nutritional yeast Oakland olive oil oneness onion onion powder opportunity orange oregano organic organization Pachamama packaging papaya parenting parents parsley parsnip partnership passion pasta pay-it-forward peach peanuts pecan pecans peppermint perfect pesto pH pistachios plastic play playing a big game plenty of time poblano chiles poetry politics pomegranate pomegranate balsamic vinegar pomelo possibility posture potato powdered sugar power Practice prayer present moment consciousness probiotic powder produce Product promise protest psyllium husk pudding pumpkin seed questions quinoa radicchio raffle rain rain forest Rainbow smoothie mix random acts of kindness raw raw athletes raw chocolate raw community raw education raw foodist raw recipe receiving recognition recycling red onion red pepper red wine regenerative agriculture rejuvelac relationship repetition requests resistance responsibility retail retreat revolution rice rice vinegar Romaine rosemary roses Rumi running sacha inchi oil sacred commerce business sadness safety salad San Rafael Cafe santa cruz sauce recipe scarcity school lunch science sea veggies self worth self-love self-transformation separation serrano chili sesame chili oil SF Mission Cafe Shadow shallot sharing shitake mushroom show sickness Silence simple recipe sleep slow movement smoothie snack sno peas soap soda ash soil soup soy lecithin soy sauce soy-free Spanish sparkling water speaking up spinach Spirit spiritual spring sprouts stevia stock storm strawberries strength stretching sucanat sugar sundried tomatoes sunflower seeds support surrender sweet cooking rice seasoning Sweet Gratitude tahini tamari tarragon Tatsoi Terces Terces Checks In thai green chilis Thanksgiving The Great Turning Thursday thyme toasted sesame seed oil tomatillo tomato tomatoes Travel stories trust truth Tuesday turmeric U.S. budget UC Berkeley unstoppable upset Vacation vanilla vanilla seed vegan ice cream vegan spotlight vegetable broth vegetable glycerin veggie pulp Vendors of Cafe Gratitude Venice victim vote with your dollar walnuts warm waste water water chestnuts weather weight management welcome wheatgrass white pepper Whole Food winter women workshop workshop testimony worry worth Wound xanthuan gum yacon yellow pepper yoga You matter youth yurt zucchini

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 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 for amazing raw recipes, lifestyle tips, inspiration, and more!

Raw Bruschettini

Almond Toast
Here's the Café Gratitude recipe with her notes:
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.
Juicer and dehydrator.
  • 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.
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
Mini processor
  • 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!
report abuse
vote down
vote up

Votes: +0

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!

report abuse
vote down
vote up

Votes: +0

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

report abuse
vote down
vote up

Votes: +0

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!

report abuse
vote down
vote up

Votes: +0

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Gratitude !

We love the expansive feeling we get from cultivating an attitude of Gratitude.

What are YOU Grateful for today ?

© 2010 Cafe Gratitude. All Rights Reserved. WebDesign and hosting by