Laura Ross is the co-owner of Cleveland Vegan Catering and Restaurant in Lakewood, Ohio. She is pictured above with her husband, Justin Gorski. Laura is also a yoga instructor at Inner Bliss in Rocky River, Ohio.
I started out being pretty dumb. After all, I was a 21-year old college dropout who was smoking cigarettes, eating crappy, partying a lot with drugs, and basically being stuck in limbo with no direction. Then in an instant my life was altered forever. I was visiting my old college roommate in a very remote house in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I was alone in the house waiting for my friend to return home from school when the house was broken into. I was shot in the chest, tied up on the floor, and left for dead after the thieves ransacked the house and robbed it.
Amazingly I somehow got my hands untied, rolled over to the phone, and called for help. It took an ambulance about 45 minutes to reach me, but I recovered after being in the hospital for 23 days. I had a through-and-through gunshot wound. This means that it entered my chest and exited my back. Luckily the only vital organ the bullet hit was my lung. I almost bled to death, but I was okay after a few months.
The silver lining of this story is that this was my spiritual wake-up call. You see I was too dumb to learn about this on my own so a super traumatic event had to shake things up.
After recovering I met a whole new group of people that introduced me to Eastern religion, natural foods, meditation, and a considerably healthier lifestyle. This is why I think fondly about getting shot!
I became vegetarian on my 23rd birthday (over 40 years ago), and vegan in May, 1979. I’ve been a strict vegan ever since.
I want to give you some background on my professional life.
I have owned and operated a lot of businesses in my life. Most of the businesses I’ve owned have been the types of businesses that I believed in and wanted to contribute in a way that made a difference. For example; I’ve owned 7 vegetarian and vegan restaurants and a full service natural foods market.
Hopefully you’ll understand my inspiration for formulating the 1st certified organic, alcohol-free, herbal elixir for deepening one’s meditation as you read my story.
One day about 3 ½ years ago, I was talking to an old friend on the phone. I was telling him that I had read a book by an Eastern Indian Guru when I was in my early 20’s. In the book the Indian Master, Sri Yukteswar (Paramanhansa Yogananda’s Guru), was espousing the benefits of meditation. One of the benefits, he said, was that if 5% of the Earth’s inhabitants meditated regularly, that the vibration of the Earth plane would be elevated to such a state that we would experience world
peace. Sri Yukteswar also stated that there is only approximately 1% of the world’s population that meditates. The calculation to increase a critical mass by an additional 4% would mean that we would have to add 300 million more people! How can we achieve this?
Now obviously there is no scientific, empirical evidence to support this conjecture, but this resonated with me throughout my entire life. I never forgot his lesson.
So, my friend and I are talking on the phone when we started talking about formulating a meditation elixir. I initially thought it was an interesting idea, but where do we start?
It turned out that my friend really had no interest in investing the time and resources necessary to research and develop such an esoteric product. So, I started researching various herbs and how they affect one’s consciousness and brain function. I was becoming obsessed with finding a combination of herbs that would work consistently and produce the desired effects necessary to deepen one’s meditation.
I ordered dozens of herbs and began experimenting in my own kitchen with making tinctures and combining herbs based upon my research. I began experimenting with these herbal formulas. I thought fortuitously that I had hit on the perfect formula. It produced an amazing state of being for me during my meditations. I gave this formula to 15 friends and family to try along with a “feedback” sheet so that I could analyze the results. Out of 15 people, only 6 people felt ANYTHING at all! I was stunned! I realized that this was going to be more challenging than I had originally thought.
Back to the drawing board! I resumed experimenting with many more herbs and combinations. I kept trying them and giving them to friends and family. I just wasn’t able to achieve a success rate greater than 40% with any of the formulas that I had created.
I worked for over a year on this with virtually no success. I was spending 5-6 hours a day on the Internet researching every resource I could find on herbs. I have a friend who is a master herbalist and I consulted with her and read numerous books too. No one could help me. I was on my own. This was unchartered territory since at this point there wasn’t yet any meditation elixir on the market.
So, I quit! I gave up! This isn’t like me to give up! But I just couldn’t find the right combination of herbs that would create the kind of experience I was looking for. I let this idea go completely (I thought!).
Then, about 3 months later, the idea crept back into my consciousness. I really wanted to find the perfect blend of herbs. So, I started researching again. I looked in the most obscure places I could think of. I began again making various
formulations. I then found an herb I previously had never heard of. I thought that I’d give this one a try almost as a last resort.
Voila! I found it! I formulated my meditation herbal extract with the following idea in mind: I utilized one of my herbs to activate the 3rd eye. I used another herb that is thought to enhance mantra repetition in Ayurvedic traditions. The final piece to the puzzle was an herb that actually has many attributes. It works as a calming agent, it’s also a mood elevator (anti-depressant), and works also as an anti-anxiety herb.
Synergistically this formula was amazing! I now had to get the right amount of each herb so that the meditation experience was truly rewarding and perfectly balanced. This took many more months but I was finally ready to share my formula with the world. I sampled it out to lots of people and received incredibly positive feedback. In fact, I have not had anyone take this formula without a noticeable feeling of well-being.
It took me many more months to source all of my ingredients organically, to obtain organic certification for the manufacturing facility, create the artwork for the label and logo, and build the website.
The final challenge was trying to manufacture this formula in such a way as to maintain high potency without alcohol as the menstruum (solvent). I found a way to make my formula with an amazing proprietary process that would be very difficult to replicate.
Now, I introduce to you the 1st certified organic, alcohol-free, all herbal, elixir that will help you achieve a deeper and more satisfying meditation experience whether you are new to meditation or an experienced meditation practitioner. My goal is to make a difference in people’s lives and assist to create more calm and peace on this planet. Meditation has changed my life in a very positive way. In the 30 or more years I’ve been meditating daily, I have noticed that I’m calmer, happier, and more balanced in my overall life. I hope I can help someone else get to the same place. If I do, I’ll consider this venture a true success!
Let me leave you with a wonderful quote from His Holiness the Dalai Lama:
“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”
Remember; MEDITATION MAY LEAD TO WORLD PEACE!
The Healthy Living Kitchen
The Healthy Living Kitchen is a foundation providing wholeness in the lives of busy people through the bridge of food and education. The HLK’s intent is to empower their clients to make healthy food and life style choices that can be sustained throughout their lives. While the long-term goal is to have their own brick and mortar, the short-term goal is to establish the HLK’s clientele locally. The HLK will support the growing demand for healthy food options that not only meets the dietary restrictions of specific clients, but also cater to the lifestyles of busy health conscious individuals. The services that HLK offer are, but aren’t limited to; prepared foods, tailored personal cleanses, general public seasonal cleanses, focused group classes, private catering events, educational workshops and seminars, pop up dinners, and live cooking demonstration/classes.
At the Farm Stand the Healthy Living Kitchen will make available high quality products, along with welcoming and outstanding services. The founder Yolanda Ramos has substantial experience with over 20 years in customer service and sales. Along with 10 years in Property Management. She graduated in 2015 from Cuyahoga Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Business in Hospitality Management, Certifications as a Professional Culinarian, Personal Chef, and in Business Management. She was employed at Whole Foods Market, Rocky River for 3 years as a member of the prepared foods team. She works with multiple clients as a Personal Chef, creating individualized healthy meal plans. Yolanda’s passion for health and extending hospitality to friends and family, lead her to a shift to healthier lifestyle. Which eventually lead her on the path to pursuing her academic credentials and collaborating with Rhonda Sharpely on various healthy eating programs and presently, The Healthy Living Kitchen LLC.
Rhonda Sharpley has 40 years’ experience as a Pastry Chef and Cook. She has worked in both retail and restaurant management. Was the Owner/Operator of “Well-Bread Bakery and Catering” in East Lansing, Michigan, the business focus was healthy gourmet foods. She has been a vendor at the Downtown, Gordon Square and Voinovich Park Farmer’s Markets, selling whole spelt and buckwheat baked goods utilizing all local grains as well as gluten free selections. In 2013, Rhonda graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, receiving a Health Coaching Certification. Rhonda worked as the Health Coach and Nutrition Consultant at Cleveland Childcare and Early Learning center for 4 years. She conducts group and private Health Coaching programs, is a member of the Cuyahoga County Early Childhood Wellness Taskforce and a Healthy Cleveland-Healthy Eating Committee member.
Pamela A. Popper, Ph.D., N.D.
Dr. Pam Popper is a naturopath, an internationally recognized expert on nutrition, medicine and health, and the Executive Director of Wellness Forum Health. The company offers educational programs to both consumers and providers that facilitate informed medical decision-making, diet and lifestyle intervention, and improved long-term health outcomes. Through its own network of providers, Wellness Forum Health offers direct-to-consumer healthcare services.
Dr. Popper serves on the Physician’s Steering Committee and the President’s Board for the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington D.C. Dr. Popper was one of the health care professionals involved in the famed Sacramento Food Bank Project, in which economically disadvantaged people were shown how to reverse their diseases and eliminate medications with diet.
Dr. Popper served as part of Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s teaching team at eCornell, teaching part of a certification course on plant-based nutrition. She has been featured in many widely distributed documentaries, including Processed People and Making a Killing and Forks Over Knives, which played in major theaters throughout North America in 2011. She is one of the co-authors of the companion book which was on the New York Times bestseller list for 66 weeks. Her most recent book is Food Over Medicine: The Conversation That Can Save Your Life.
Dr. Popper is featured as one of the lead experts in a new documentary, Food Choices, which will be released at the end of the summer, and will be co-authoring the companion book for this film.
Dr. Popper is also a lobbyist and public policy expert, and continually works toward changing laws that interfere with patients’ right to choose their health provider and method of care. She has testified in front of legislative committees on numerous occasions, and has testified twice in front of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
Dr. Pam Popper is a straight-talking professional who is not afraid to criticize national health organizations, government agencies, medical professionals, pharmaceutical companies, agricultural organizations and manufacturing companies, many of whom have agendas and priorities that interfere with distributing truthful information and promoting public health.
Everyone who is interested in health should hear her speak. For some, their lives may depend on what she has to say!