How did I get interested in the raw food diet? Why did I write Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People? Here's my story . . .
The Evolution of a Raw Food Chef
You may be wondering how a ‘typical American girl’ raised in the era of fast food and convenience products came to fall in love with the idea, and then the reality, of raw food cuisine. It’s a question I get asked a lot and one I love to answer.
It was a dark and stormy night...
No, wait. That’s another story. MY story starts in a bright, sunny kitchen in San Jose, CA. It was there at the age of seven that my love affair with good food began. My father was a self-taught chef -- though I imagine he would simply have called himself a ‘cook’ -- who learned his way around pots, pans, and recipes because my mother was utterly lost in the kitchen. (This was something she revealed to him after they were married.)
Dad taught me how the ins-and-outs of the culinary arts, and I took to food preparation like a duck to water. I dove in with both feet! I loved experimenting with recipes and serving my ‘creations’ to my family.
Loving Animals Means Loving Veggies
At the age of ten, I got interested in vegetarianism and began ‘gobbling up’ books at the library. I read the ground-breaking book Animal Liberation by the Australian philosopher Peter Singer and Huston Smith's The Religions of Man, which included a fascinating chapter about Hinduism. Each gave me insights into why some people choose not to eat animals and animal products. Then I picked up the cookbook Laurel’s Kitchen and discovered the incredible world of vegetarian cooking.
My ‘Great Discovery’
After graduating high school, I attended the University of Chicago. During that time, I met a yoga instructor named Keyvan Golestaneh. This gifted healer introduced me to raw food. In all the culinary reading I’d done, I had never come across anything about raw food before.
It was unchartered territory for me. I was intrigued.
Keyvan suggested that I include more raw foods in my diet...and I did. I began drinking more juices and smoothies. I started to eat more salads. It wasn’t long before I noticed an improvement in my health.
Suddenly ‘you are what you eat’ was more than just a catch-phrase to me. It was a way of life. I began to see the connection between what I ate and how I felt. By simply changing my eating habits and including more natural, unprocessed foods in my diet, I lost some weight, my skin cleared up, my digestion improved, I was sleeping better, and I had more energy.
The better I felt, the more I wanted to incorporate raw foods in my diet. I wasn’t a fanatic and I didn’t go 100% raw because I don’t like to be strict about things, nor do I think one must eat 100% raw to be healthy. But by just including more raw foods in my meals, and making some of my meals all raw, I could see that my health was improving.
Another Life-Changing Experience
Several years later, I had my earned B.A. in Music History, and M.A.T. in teaching English and had found employment as a high school English teacher. Like most teachers, I had my summers off, and for fun I decided to go to the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute for one of their chef training programs.
Cherie Soria, the founder of Living Light, is a pioneer in raw culinary arts, training amateur and professional chefs alike. When I attended Living Light, I discovered that not only is raw food healthy, but it can be an incredibly delicious cuisine and career. I decided to switch professions right away. It was a great move.
Today I’m the lead instructor for the teacher training program there. I teach the Chef and Instructor Training Course because in addition to my enthusiasm for recipe development and making raw food easy, I truly enjoy teaching...and I especially love teaching teachers.
I’ve been teaching raw food classes for the past 10 years, both in Chicago, where I lived until recently and at the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in Fort Bragg, California. (I live in Oakland, California now).
The Here and Now and Looking into the Crystal Ball
There’s a lot of wonderful things going on in my here-and-now, but I want to do more. I've completed an expanded, updated edition of Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People. It includes over 50 new recipes, a chapter on Green Smoothies, a chapter on Raw on the Go, and more color photographs. It's available now!
I've also launched Ready For Raw, a comprehensive online training in every aspect of easy raw food preparation, including video, assignments, and live Q and A with me. Check out my online course here.