A Whole Lotta Raw Wild Love!
I was lucky enough to nab one of the places on London's Wild Food Cafe Introduction to Raw Food weekend course. And am I glad I did!
Where to start? I guess I wasn't really sure what to expect - would I be frowned upon for not being vegan and eating cooked food? Would it be full of Earth worshiping hippy chanting eco-warriors who condemn those like me who wash their hair?
Quite the contrary, everyone was really nice!
Joel and Aiste, who run the Wild Food Cafe had really taken the time to put together a course that encompasses as much as it can about raw food and exactly what it can do for you, which in just two days, is certainly not easy.
Both are very warm and friendly people that radiate health and kindness. Raw living and working with nature and all it offers is their passion and life.
We started off each day with a green smoothie and stretch/dance/shout 🙂 certainly a great way of loosening up and getting everyone comfortable with each other.
On Day One we covered breakfast and lunch ideas. The raw superfood granola made in the dehydrator was out of this world, as were the kale chips. I've made kale chips previously as they're a great snack, but never with the coconut cream sauce that these included. WOW!
If this wasn't enough to convince me to invest in a dehydrator, the raw sundried tomato crackers were 🙂 served with some wonderful chickpea-free hummus made using courgette (I have always been a fan) they were a fantastic snack and left us all feeling pretty full.
We got to make our own wraps using nori and collard greens, along with a seaweed tartare which was incredible. Looking back through my recipe folder at all the ingredients, its amazing how simple and easy everything was considering how delicious.
It made me think about what a shame it is how distant the average person's day to day life has become from the simple genius that is nature.
Working too hard and choosing convenience processed food over making time to prepare wholesome goodness is unfortunately most of the population's way of life. Is it any wonder people rely so heavily on caffeine, alcohol and nicotine?!
I guess part of my job as a personal trainer is to make our planet healthier, one person at a time. At least that's what I believe and so far I've been very fortunate!
We also touched on Ayurvedic medicine and the best type of water to drink. I'm now on a mission to find Southampton's nearest natural spring to jump into (apparently this changes your life) and felt pretty glad that I'd already quit drinking tap water. I may not be investing in spring water just yet, but for now I'll stick with my activated bamboo charcoal filter.
Day Two was all about dinners and desserts 🙂 after our morning smoothie and dance/shout/stretch/scream we were each given a raw coconut, one of my favourite things EVER! Coconut water is still my favourite post-workout recovery drink, it saddens me to think about people relying on sugar and aspartame-laden sports drinks!
The coconut flesh formed the basis (and bowl!) for today's main event: the butternut squash raw curry. This involved a lot of preparation and several aspects of marinading but all came together in a beautiful symphony of flavour in the end. Certainly one of the most unusual and creative dishes I've ever tried.
I think my favourite part was the banana shallot bhajis. Again another reason to invest in a dehydrator, they were pretty incredible and a great alternative to the processed oil-laden trans fat variety that come with the average Indian takeaway.
We were all full-to-bursting after the curry. Not that this stopped any of us digging into the raw chocolate cake we were subsequently served!
I've always been a fan of raw desserts, one of the many reasons I signed up to the course. Following an antibiotic-laden childhood, poor teenage diet and lifetimes worth of sugar-laden processed rubbish, I was left with a stomach fungus and gluten-intolerance. I thankfully discovered and managed to kill this two years ago (I always thought I just had crap digestion) but still would consider myself a sweet tooth. So to have an utterly fabulous dessert that leaves you satisfied yet not sluggish was an added bonus that I URGE everyone to have a go at!
As if this wasn't enough, we rounded the day off with raw chocolates and ice-cream! I took my chocolates home for my other half (I literally could not fit in any more food) along with some granola and crackers, all of which were very much appreciated 😉
So was the course worth it?
I would say it depends what you are looking to learn. Condensing everything there is to learn about raw food into two days worth of material is virtually impossible - which is why it was great that we were asked before and during the course what we were hoping to learn. So if you are not sure, ask one of the team in advance, in order to ascertain whether it is the right thing for you.
Yes it's expensive, partly because you come away with a long list in your head of ingredients and equipment whether or not to invest in! But for me, I would say they are worth it, given the magical and endless range of possibilities that can be created with them. Shop around and find the cheapest websites. I like to buy my ingredients in bulk in order to save as much money as possible.
So all in all, a very productive, positive weekend. Maybe it was the food, maybe it was the company, maybe it was the power of all nature has to offer coming together and opening our eyes to what we have the blessed ability to create in this day and age.
Thanks again Joel and Aiste, I cannot wait to visit you at the Wild Food Cafe!