Community Spotlight: Erik Shirai

Our new Community Spotlight showcases SanaVita’s heart and soul, our amazing community of practitioners and clients.

Meet Erik

I am a self-taught, NYC based director and cinematographer; I have worked around the world on numerous documentaries and TV shows. Some of my clients include TRAVEL channel, National Geographic, A&E and PBS. I am dedicated to producing content that is visually cinematic and original.

I started my own production company, Cebu Osani Films in 2007 to build a foundation for my creative ideals. My style is to approach cinema more openly, trusting my natural intuitions to guide my creative vision and allowing the story to breathe organically.

I am currently working on 2 projects. The first one is called I AM WHAT I EAT. I AM WHAT I EAT is a film series that shares stories from around the world about people and their connection to food. The first episode featured Mike Lee, the founder of the NYC supper club, Studiofeast.

My 2nd project is a feature length documentary on Night. I traveled around the vast country of America last year, finding and filming people who inhabit the night. Night people are the minority; when the rest of the country dreams the people of the night work, play and live in the shadows. ‘A Shot in the DARK’ is a film dedicated to sharing their story.

My girlfriend, Melissa Detroy, works at SanaVita and introduced me to the health and wellness world. She has shown me a lifestyle beyond just eating healthy. Her influence has helped me find balance in my life, which has been a great benefit to me both professionally and personally. Melissa’s dedication to helping people heal has been an inspiration to witness.


Community Spotlight: Tara Cook-Littman

So many wonderful people are part of our SanaVita community. We are a diverse(!) group of individuals who all share a common goal of leading healthier, happier, more energetic lives. So, let’s get to know one another.

With that in mind, we have decided to launch our new Community Spotlight to showcase our heart and soul, our amazing community of practitioners and clients.

Meet Tara

When I first began my journey to better health and healing, I was directed to SanaVita as the place for colonics. I didn’t realize that the therapists at SanaVita would offer me so much more than a colonic. They always took the time to speak with me about my diet and make suggestions for improvement. One day I was reading SanaVita’s newsletter and Gabe’s work was mentioned.

Something told me to meet with Gabe and I am so grateful that I did. Gabe helped me connect my physical symptoms to my emotional and mental state, integrating all the pieces for me so that I could get to a higher level of understanding about how my mind and spirit affect my body and vice versa. I am passionate about the work I am doing now, but I know that without the support I received from Gabe and the other therapists at SanaVita, I would not be in a place where I could do this work and be effective.

I am a Certified Holistic Health Counselor, but began my career as a prosecutor in a trial division at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. I am combining my advocacy skills as an attorney with my passion for health and wellness to advocate for improved food policy within the United States. I recently co-founded Right To Know CT, an organization dedicated to getting legislation passed in the state of Connecticut that would mandate the labeling of products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). I am also a staff member with the Institute For Responsible Technology, the country’s leading organization educating consumers about GMOs. In addition, I am the chair of the PTA Council Committee and the Fuel For Learning partnership, which through education and advocacy is working to improve the quality of food served in the Fairfield School system. I also have a private practice guiding clients on a journey to wellness by helping them learn about healthful eating, managing stress levels, feeding their families better and helping them stay active. I am leading seminars on different topics related to health, including the dangers of GMOs and how to avoid them in the marketplace despite the lack of labeling.

My blog, “Real Food, Real Life, Real Fun” focuses on topics ranging from healthful eating, including the benefits of drinking green juice, to GMOs and politics. I have appeared on News 12 On Your Health to inform viewers about GMOs and have also been a guest on numerous internet radio shows, including the Organic View with June Stoyer, Curt Linderman Unleashed, and the Robert Scott Bell Show.

I deeply believe in the importance of community involvement and I spend much of my free time volunteering at community organizations. I headed a team that founded the K’tanim Preschool at Congregation Beth El in Fairfield, CT in 2007. I also served as Vice President of Education for three years at Beth El and was chair of the Religious School Restructuring Committee in 2011, which created a new and invigorated religious school program that addresses modern trends in Conservative Jewish education while maintaining high standards of education. For six years I have been a member of the Board of Directors at Operation Hope in Fairfield, a social service agency providing homeless and at-risk families and individuals with shelter, food, and other services. And, for three years, I have been a member of the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center Presidents Council. I have been the chairperson of numerous fundraising events for non-profit organizations including the Operation Hope Wine tasting in 2008 and 2009, the Operation Hope Gala in 2010, the Jewish Home for the Elderly Annual Luncheon in 2009 and 2010, and the Jewish Home for the Elderly Gala in 2007 and 2011.

Tara graduated from Brandeis University with a BA in American Studies and minors in Journalism and Women’s Studies and received her JD from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law where she graduated Cum Laude and was a member of Moot Court.