Southwest Florida Raw Food Group Makes the News
A southwest Florida raw food group was recently profiled in The Herald Tribune. It seems raw food is making more headlines daily. The text of the article is re-printed below…
Eat Your Vegetables
When your mother told you to eat your vegetables, she probably didn't realize just how good they really could be for you.
So believes a new group forming in the South County [Florida] area called The Raw Food Group.
The raw food enthusiasts offered the public a look-see recently at how far raw food preparation has come when it presented a Mexican raw food dinner at the Venice United Church of Christ. Approximately 40 people attended the event to not only learn how raw food can benefit them, but also how to prepare a full course dinner made entirely of raw food.
It was both an amazement and a delight. Chefs for the evening were raw food specialists Johanna Farias of Sarasota and Alice Gilmartin of Venice. Gilmartin is hoping to create enough interest in raw foods in the Venice area to offer monthly meetings and potlucks. The pair prepared the entire meal, which included a salad, soup, entree and dessert without baking, broiling, boiling, frying, steaming or microwaving. "I try to make the foods that people are familiar with such as tacos," said Farias, adding, "only I make them using only raw foods."
Why only raw foods? "It's all in the enzymes," said Gilmartin. "Enzymes are essential to all activity in living organisms. By eating foods raw, you are keeping the enzymes intact for your body to digest and use to regain health and vitality." Gilmartin believes that there are many more people open to eating a raw food diet now than just a decade ago."A hundred years ago, Americans were living much more naturally and eating foods that were, on the whole, acquired locally," said Gilmartin. "As Americans are looking for more ways to achieve better health there is a growing interest in a raw food lifestyle."
Farias, who is raising her three children on a totally raw food diet, is writing a book titled, Raw Babies to help other mothers make the decision to go natural with their children. "I'm not fanatical," said Farias, who is in charge of a raw food group that meets in Sarasota. "It is important for people not to be extreme when changing their lifestyle. Sometimes you have to take things slowly and adjust to the change."
Gilmartin agrees. She has used an 80 percent raw food diet on her mother who was suffering from diabetes, arthritis pain and more. "In just three weeks, I saw her balance her sugar levels, relieve constipation, and even her wrists were symptom free," said Gilmartin, who made raw food soups, salads and smoothies for her mother. "An American diet is a very addictive type of diet, as everyone can attest to," stated Gilmartin, as heads around the room nodded in agreement. "If you start by just eliminating the most toxic foods from your diet and then eat more of the foods that are closest to nature, you can help your body to heal from all kinds of diseases."
Gilmartin continued by telling the audience stories of witnessing people in a macrobiotic class healing themselves from tumors, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and obesity. "I am so impressed with what food can do to help the body heal," she said. "I have seen it do such wonders. I have been in natural foods forever." Gilmartin said she began taking macrobiotic cooking classes when she was 12. "I want to offer workshops and give lectures to help other people make raw food choices for their diet," she added.
Sari Middaugh, owner of Veggie Patch Produce in Englewood, attended the gathering to learn more about raw food preparation. "It is nice to know more ways to prepare raw foods so that when people ask me, I can tell them," said Middaugh. Jean Ost came to the event at the encouragement of her friend Lavon Burtnett. "I came tonight because I like to experience the unusual," Ost said.
Judy Pokras, editor and founder of Raw Foods News Magazine, attended the event to meet other people with similar interests.
"The magazine is growing as more and more people become health conscious and are taking a new interest in raw foods," said Pokras.