Eating Well The Raw Food Way

June 22, 2006

Eating Well the Raw Food Way
by Claire Kellerman

“Raw food is the only diet I have found that simultaneously nourishes the mind, body and soul. I know I am eating in a way that has minimal impact on the planet. It really is in harmony with the environment, the natural order, and it lets me support my community eating local organic produce,” Dave Elberg of Makawao.

Making the switch to eating only raw foods is easy and fun says local raw food chef, Dave Elberg of Makawao.

“In general, people are so amazed with what you can do with raw foods. Last night at a potluck in Huelo, we made a raw coconut ice cream banana split with raw chocolate syrup and goji berries, a veritable tropical eruption, akin to Haleakala, in terms of the size of its success as a crowd pleaser,” says Elberg.

“Balance is key, especially in a raw food diet,” he says. “The reason being that raw foods are so intensely potent. The most fundamental balance needs to be found between sugars, like all sweet fruits, fats, which are all nuts, seeds and oils, and leafy greens, ‘King Kong food.’”

Elberg likes nothing more than sharing his passion for raw foods through his inspired concoctions that hook people transitioning to raw foods, and whipping up feasts for the celebrations of more experienced raw foodists.

David Wolfe, of California, best-selling author and leading authority on raw food nutrition and vibrant health, and co-founder of Nature’s First Law, has spent years enhancing his own health and sensitivity through raw foods, sharing his journey through his philosophy, and an expansive range of adventures and discoveries in his book, Sunfood Diet Success System.

Wolfe recently gave a free lecture in Haiku. He credits raw food as one of the keys to health and longevity. Raw foods embody the sun’s energy, liberate your body from pain, lethargy, aging and dis-ease. Shifting to a raw food diet, Wolfe suggests, supports enjoying life to the fullest – maximizing bliss, laughter, service, abundance and love.

Elberg utilizes wisdom he’s embraced from David Wolfe’s book, Sunfood Diet Success System, in his explanations of raw foods.

“Depending on your constitution and your lifestyle, you find the balance between these three groups; sweets, fats and greens,” he says.

“For instance, if you’re an athlete or a body builder, it is good to have an equal balance between these three groups. You get the calories from combining the leafy greens and the fats for sustained energy, while the sweet fruits’ sugars give you a more immediate source of energy and mental clarity by maintaining your blood sugar.

“When eating for detoxification, you want to take out fat, because fats slow the detox process and fruit sugar accelerates it.

“When I tell people I eat a raw foods diet including lots of greens, it’s funny how some people ask, ‘You eat rabbit food?’

I like to reply, ‘No, it’s more like gorilla food. One of the strongest land animals for its size is the Silverback gorilla, which survives predominantly on leafy greens and water. In a lot of ways, you could call it the King Kong diet!

“With a raw foods diet, one does well tuning into what their body really needs, becoming an intuitive eater. Intuition with eating is so important, separating wants from needs and letting go of old habits.

“Raw food is the only diet I have found that simultaneously nourishes the mind, body and soul. I know I am eating in a way that has minimal impact on the planet. It really is in harmony with the environment, the natural order, and it lets me support my community eating local organic produce.”

Access to the freshest produce

The Abundance Exchange of Paia is encouraging an exchange of organic homegrown and farm produce. The Abundance Exchange meets the first and third Sunday of the month on Baldwin Beach near the pavilion between late morning and early afternoon.

Co-organizer Sarah Irani, of Haiku, says she eats 80 percent raw. “I tend to eat raw all day, having a smoothie with maca for breakfast, wraps and salads for lunch, and some cooked grains, maybe barley and steamed vegetables for dinner. I just like the way it feels.” Irani says.

“It happened naturally once I began doing yoga. I became more sensitive and stopped eating sugar and bread because I didn’t like how they made me feel. Eating raw foods, vegan and vegetarian came easily as my attitude and moods were brightened, leading me to make better choices consistently.”

Nadine Newlight, of Haiku, also eats raw foods about 80 percent of the time. “The warmer the weather, the more I eat raw.” She says it is an easy lifestyle.

“I keep a fridge full of fruits and vegetables and grab an apple, banana, grapefruit, mango, strawberries, or grapes,” says Newlight. The luxury of having the finest quality organic produce is made even simpler through the delivery of a box from The Real Food Club.

The Real Food Club is Newlight’s business. It has 80 members and is growing steadily.

“We have awesome greens. Our staples are rainbow chard and kale, grown especially for us by Upcountry farmers. We also have wheatgrass and sunflower sprouts. They are so good. You are going to want to snack on them more than junk food.” These are all important ingredients to a balanced raw food diet.

The Real Food Club is a way for local farmers to market their crops.

“We love local farmers and we want to help them conserve their time, as they often express their desire to “just grow food.” As a supportive partnership, The Real Food Club would love more local produce with reliable delivery. Paying for jet fuel is our last choice, flying in things that are grown locally.”

Old habits die hard

“I’m never giving up some comfort foods. I love making soups!” declares Ashana Sophia Morrow of Haiku. “We made Thai coconut soup with homegrown Hawaiian pumpkins and lemongrass last night and it was so good!! I don’t know if I’ll ever eat 100 percent raw foods. Now I eat about 50 percent.”

Morrow is a cellist and gourmet natural foods chef, including vegan and raw foods. She shared the way she incorporates raw food into her busy schedule, after returning from playing her cello for a group of 80 smiling seniors in Kahului.

“There’s a balance with a bountiful amount of greens, herbs, edible flowers and roots. If I am out, I can grab a bag of snow peas, string beans, or an apple to slice up and eat with some almond butter. Or I spread tahini or almond butter and sprinkle raisins on bok choy or lettuce leaves for a snack.”

As a chef, Morrow emphasizes that being in a centered state enhances the food she’s offering to her clients, and she is very conscious to avoid cooking when emotions are less-than-optimal, as she says, “It effects the quality of the food.” Her favorite feedback is when she hears “Mmms and Ahs.” She says, “That’s how I know I have done my job, by the sounds of satisfaction when they’ve tasted my dishes.”


Claire Kellerman ( is a freelance writer.
The Maui Permaculture Network meets each month.
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