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Holistic Holiday at Sea, Part 4 March 12, 2012

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Lino Stancich instructs passengers on the art of self-massage for healing on the top deck of the MSC Poesia.

THIRTY THOUSAND FEET OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO – It’s hard to believe it was just a week ago that I made this journey in reverse, catching my pre-dawn flight in Guadalajara, deplaning in Miami to find my Dad relaxed and rosy from the sun at the wheel of a rental car. A week since we found our way to Cruise Terminal 4 in Fort Lauderdale, to the 16-story MSC Poesia, to the Holistic Holiday at Sea, a colorful new community of people joyfully embracing a lifestyle that until now, I’d never contemplated adopting for myself.

I’d given up meat for my Dad, and even dairy for a few weeks – and giving up all animal products on a long-term basis seemed right and proper for my father, who is fighting a grim mesothelioma diagnosis with a self-healing approach. For me, however, it seemed unnecessary and extreme.

But that was before – and this is after.

Holistic Holiday at Sea, Part 3 March 8, 2012

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When Dr. Martha Cottrell turned 50, she was a mess. She suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and severe allergies. She didn’t think it could get much worse – but one day, it did. She was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous lesion of the cervix.

“I was doing everything I had been taught,” she told the audience, an attentive theater full of more than 1,200 vegans and macrobiotics. She had healed thousands in her career as a family practice physician, but she didn’t have a clue what she was doing wrong in terms of her own health.


Healing on the High Seas – Part 2 March 4, 2012

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Sunday dawned somewhere over the high seas, and we emerged poolside to find the yoga instructor cheerily calling out over a stiff ocean breeze: “Remember, surrender all resistance; we’re in battlefield conditions. This will strengthen your practice!”

A hundred pairs of arms reached for the sky as the last shades of pink faded away, and another brisk troupe circled the track overhead. “Just go to the edge of your comfort zone – remember, it’s vacation yoga!”

It’s morning workout time on the MSC Poesia, the chartered cruise line for the Holistic Holiday at Sea, and poolside chats are at a minimum – 1,200 cruise passengers are here with a mission, and I’m no exception.

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I’m here with my parents – Dad, who has recently made the switch from meat-and-potatoes guy to hardcore macrobiotic in an attempt to beat back a terminal cancer diagnosis, and it didn’t take long to find we’re surrounded by kindred spirits. For them, it’s not just a cruise; it’s a matter of life or death.

Dining with Gomier, The Rasta veggie man April 1, 2010

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PUNTA GORDA TOWN, Belize – The best meal I had in Punta Gorda was prepared by a Rastafarian vegetarian by the name of Ignatius “Gomier” Longville. And the conversation was even better than the food.

I asked Gomier to explain to me how he came to be a vegetarian.

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“I consider myself a Rasta man,” he said. “To be a Rasta man you have to be respectful; what I don’t like for myself, I shouldn’t like for you.