Facilitated by Peter and Beryn, two experienced raw food vegan chefs, the course was lots of fun. Peter has a similar presentation style to David Wolfe, ie great enthusiasm and energy. I know he’s attended David Wolfe workshops, but I think it’s the raw food diet that results in the same constant high.
I came armed with lots of nutritional information. I have numerous superb books by Gabriel Cousens and David Wolfe, two of the raw food nutritional gurus, and a whole shelf-full of other books which I usually delve into for inspiration when writing the weekly newsletters for the Ethical Co-op. I was more interested in the practicalities of raw food preparation, as I’ve got some of the equipment, but my experiments haven’t usually been appreciated by others, with the exception of my loyal 5-year-old son.
A raw kitchen is completely different to a cook’s kitchen. No toaster, stove or oven. Instead, a blender, a food processor, a juicer and a dehydrator are the tools of the trade.
Food of course is provided, and it was superb, especially on the second day. I wonder if they’ve designed the course that day one is intended to ‘shock’ with the greens (green smoothie, green juice, green salad), while day two is deliciously decadent, with chocolate smoothies, chocolate cake, pizza and pasta.
All vegan and raw of course. And utterly delicious. Only time will tell whether any of their culinary genius has rubbed off on me. But it wasn’t only the food that was great.
Their nutritional knowledge is encyclopaedic. The person next to me whispered at one point that Peter must have a photographic memory, as he rattled of facts and figures, and answered challenging questions. To really learn anything, one must have a beginner’s mind, and I consciously went in with this approach, ready to learn from them rather than block any learning by thinking I knew it all already. But I didn’t really expect to learn too much theory.
How mistaken I was. I have a book full of notes, and astounding claims. About absorption of B12 through the skin by getting into the soil. Peter’s experiences in the sun since becoming raw vegan (if I recall they were vegan for a while before that, but only started getting the health benefits after going raw as well). About the hops in beer having an incredibly high phyto-oestrogen level (basically female hormones), higher than the more well-known soya. About biophotons, ormus, and of course, lots of information on the effects of cooking!
I’ll be checking on their facts of course, and I’m particularly interested in a claim about the link between sunburn and trans fats – perhaps there’s hope for me to go a golden brown yet!
And learning about the fresh water spring in Newlands was probably worth the course fee alone.
One of the adjustments for raw food preparation is that, in order to eat an interesting variety, it’s less easy to be spontaneous. Whipping up a standard pizza in 20 minutes is quite easy (and even easier when you phone for take-out), but doing the same raw requires often requires hours in the dehydrator. Perhaps that’s not true, as juices, smoothies and salads are all fairly instantaneous, but a raw pizza, for example, can take 24 hours of preparation. That’s probably why, until today, I hadn’t ever used my dehydrator, and, if it came down to it, probably the single biggest motivation for doing the course was wanting to get some value from the expensive dehydrator that’s been gathering dust since I bought it at the recent Natural and Organic Exhibition.
Right now it’s going full blast, and, all going well, I’ll tell you at the end of this post whether the meal’s been a success.
I used the weekend to go completely raw as well, and do a minor detox of sorts. I ate nothing the whole weekend but what I ate on the course. I was a little low-energy going into the course, thanks to some misbehaviour on Friday, but Sunday I had oodles of energy, and Monday proved to be the most productive day I’ve had in a long time. I even managed to clean my freezer (you don’t want to know how long the frozen banana mush has been festering at the bottom of the freezer), and licence my car! If you need any more proof of the course’s efficacy, I don’t know.
And, to top it all off, my virgin dehydrator meal, mushroom and pesto, was delicious, although I think my supermarket brand blender is going to explode if it has to chop nuts, seeds, garlic and greens like that every day!