May 24, 2012

The Raw Food Experience

Lately, there has been talk of organic, all natural, cage-free, no MSG added, and locally sourced produce and meat products. There has been talk of eating better and feeling better. There has been talk of high obesity rates and the prominence of fast food in our children’s diets. There has been outrage over the “pink slime” epidemic. There has become more awareness in the kinds of food we are eating and slowly, there is a growing shift in our thinking. And there has also been talk of going raw

Eating raw means eating food that hasn’t actually been cooked. You take fresh ingredients that haven’t been processed or tampered with and by combining them in expert fashion, you get a completely fresh and healthy eating experience. Granted, a lot of the food you’d be eating is cold but at least you would be giving your body the fresh natural high that it craves. The same kind of high you would get from exercising every day. 

The idea behind the growing popularity of raw food dining is that all the nutrients naturally found in fruits and vegetables would not be stripped from the source in the cooking process. That way, you get the ultimate nutrient-filled diet possible, hence giving your body the maximum fuel of raw goodness. 

However, there are skeptics to this movement. People who say that it’s rabbit food, that the people who prepare this food aren’t actually “cooking” anything, therefore aren’t real chefs or even to be considered cooks. Ironically, should one try to prepare an appetizing raw food dish, they’d be surprised to find that making raw “uncooked” ingredients taste good and original is actually a bit of a challenge. 

LA has it’s very own raw food chef, Chef Be*Live. He is a former Grateful Dead groupie/San Francisco nightclub owner/Humboldt County hippie/Seventh Day Adventist rebel who has come into the food world by chance and accident. Turned vegan over the course of a serious relationship with his then girlfriend Whitney, he went raw upon discovery of restaurant, “Raw” in San Francisco. Later, having taken on said restaurant under the new name, “Organic” he would learn about the craft that is raw cooking. 

What Chef Be*Live does, that few chefs I’ve come across understand, is that he seasons everything he makes without fear. After our meet up at the Sun Power cafe in the Valley he invited me to his apartment where he made the most incredible salad with a dressing of young coconut, cayenne pepper, and a mix of other amazing flavors that made the salad jump off its plate and sing. 

Chef Be*Live’s journey through raw and vegan cooking was a natural one filled with discovery rather than harsh rules of abstainment and rejection of certain foods. He ate meat when he wanted to discover a specific flavor or combination, he ate cooked food when he wanted it. There was never harsh parameters to his eating or cooking. 

He says he now eats only raw because it genuinely makes him feel better. And not just raw, but organic raw. Before organic, he was allergic to most raw foods he came across. It’s amazing how much a difference the quality of a product can make in the body, especially for Be*Live. 

Today, he is working on many projects simultaneously. He recently published a raw food cookbook entitled, “Going Going Gone Raw” and is working on several e-books with focus on fitness, sexuality through food, beauty, kids’ cooking, weight loss, and longevity. Needless to say, he’s a busy guy. 

One thing to note about the energy of Be*Live and the passion he has for his food is his affirmation and declaration that he’s “never followed a recipe once!” 

To get more info on Chef Be*Live, visit him here.

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