As Spring is just around the corner (Yippee!), and Nature is slowly waking up from its long sleep, I am, once again, reminded of how the world is a truly magical and mysterious place and how little I really do know about Life.
Once in a while, the magic manifests itself through someone put on our path. Everyone we meet is unique and has his/her own gifts to share (that alone is amazing!) There are times, though, when you meet someone who's talent has a special impact on you. The fact that she sometimes calls herself 'Fairygirl' is just icing on the cake...
From Fairygirl to Raw Goddess!
Fairygirl, Heather, Gymgal, Heathy... You may know her under different names, but don't be fooled - she is one and the same: a dazzling and promising young raw chef who has been working her magic on the Raw Food Talk Forums.
Getting a little confused as to which name to use? I was too! So I simply asked her. "I like Raw Goddess Heathy." she replied. "It's fun!"
And a Raw Goddess she is! Beauty, health and aliveness just radiate out of her, while her raw creations are absolutely divine!
Playing With Food
At 23, Raw Goddess Heathy is a personal chef and yoga instructor, but most importantly, she's doing what she loves to do. "Creating food is more than a job for me," she says. "It's one of my main passions in life. I especially love preparing raw food for people!"
"I've always believed that a person should do as their work what they are passionate about," she continues, "because then, it's really never like work." She has found a way to do just that and she's "a happy person!"
In fact, her passion and enthusiasm are contagious! With her light and generous spirit (not to mention her scrumptious and mouth-watering creations!), Raw Goddess Heathy has charmed the Raw Food Talk community. (Believe it or not, there's even a 'Fairygirl Fanclub'! LOL)
Like many members, I instantly fell under her spell. I couldn't resist taking a closer peek at her world, well, you know, just to see how deep the rabbit-hole goes...
The Rawdventure Begins...
Heathy briefly heard about the Raw Food Diet after starting a vegan lifestyle, but "didn't take too much note of it at the time." Then one day, when she was 16, she stopped at a juice bar and cafe in Winnipeg which "turned out to be a Raw Food cafe."
"I was intrigued immediately," she remembers, "and asked a ton of questions. I then tried raw pizza, an amazing salad, and carob truffles." She was hooked. It prompted her to find out more about the raw lifestyle and "to start getting into it, playing around with recipes."
At 18, Heathy went on a 1 month raw retreat in California, where she got to brush shoulders with well-known Raw Food Chefs such as Victoria Boutenko, David Wolfe, Paul Nison, Elaina Love, Fred Bisci and Dr. Doug Graham. "I had such a great time and felt so good on the diet!" she says. Once back home in northern Canada, she tried to maintain the raw diet but found it challenged, due to social pressures and low availability of fresh produce in the winter.
"These days I'm 100% raw and have been for 2 months," she says. "I'm hoping to keep it up, although I don't believe in being overly obsessive. If in the future I happen to eat a piece of cooked food, I will do it and then carry on."
Carmella: You being a SAD chef, it looks like food preparation has been a serious interest of yours for some time. Can you tell me a little about how this talent burgeoned in you?
Raw Goddess Heathy: My passion for food prep began when I was 14. After reading "Fit for Life," I adopted a mostly vegan diet and started cooking for myself. I loved to experiment and was always coming up with new things. While friends at high school were eating chips and burgers for lunch, I was the one bringing my homemade vegetable soup and grain bread. lol
I knew that after high school I wanted to attend holistic nutrition and cooking school, but ended up going to a regular culinary program instead. It was challenging cooking meat and unhealthy French dishes, yet I still loved preparing food for other people. I worked in a bakery during high school, and once I finished college, quickly got different cooking jobs.
I find that my passion for creating food keeps growing as I move forward.
C: What's your creative process like? Do you just improvise, "a little of this, a little of that," or do your recipes evolve from someone else's creations?
RGH: I find that my inspiration to create comes in all different ways, and at all different times. For example, I will get an idea in the shower, while doing yoga, while going for a walk, watching TV, or even in my dreams. I may also see a specific piece of fruit or a different ingredient and an idea will flash through my mind based on that.
Once an idea fills my head, it's as if I need to put it into action or it doesn't go away.
I write it down, tweak it a bit, and then create it when I have the chance. The funny thing is, it usually ends up a bit differently than I originally planned - but that's what I love about the process. I try not to become too attached to the outcome, as I know that what is meant to be will be. My style is definitely "a little of this, a little of that." I never used to measure anything, but I am making a point of it lately, because I realize that not everyone operates this way and, when I get asked for a recipe, it's hard to share when I can only give an ingredient list.
C: What raw dishes do you most enjoy preparing and which of your creations is your absolute favorite?
RGH: Hmm...that's a tough one. I guess I'd have to say that desserts are my favorite thing to make, probably because I love to eat them! (he he)
I always find that I'm able to be so creative with desserts, using beautiful fruits and other interesting ingredients.
My personal favorite is my Double Chocolate Cheesecake... It's a chocolate lover's dream! Although ask me again in a few weeks and it might be different!
When I asked her how she feels about the Raw Food Diet in general, she replied with a candor and maturity that astounded me. Such a refreshing perspective in these days where one gets trapped so easily in ideals and "isms" of all kinds, especially when it comes to diet!
RGH: I always feel fabulous while eating raw foods and I'm happy to see that it is becoming more mainstream. I feel that the more education we in the raw food community can deliver, the better. People are ready for it. I never push "raw" on anyone... I usually wait for someone to ask me about it and I'm finding that, these days, many people want me to teach them how to prepare living foods.
I also feel that everyone is different, and a diet that works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. Maybe some people DO need some cooked foods (healthy ones) in their lives. It's important not to be obsessive.
I think if a person is craving cooked food, they would be better off eating a piece than to stuff raw foods down their throat in a negative frame of mind. Take care of the root of the problem: where is the craving for the cooked food coming from?
Oh... Sweet Thing
Although everything Raw Goddess Heathy makes looks delectable, desserts are her specialty. Apricot Ginger Cookies, Chocolate Tarte, Apricot Almond Crepes, Mango Cream Pie Stack, Raw Nanaimo Bars... Each one more luscious looking than the next. Oh, and did I mention her cheesecakes? See what I mean about falling under her spell?
To give us a glimpse of the raw delights she'll be including in her upcoming ebook, Heathy has agreed to share with us two of her delicious dessert recipes...
Chocolate Cream Stack
A scrumptious cheesecake with a thick carob-banana layer. Divine! The measurements are mine, as Raw Goddess Heathy hasn't yet put hers down on paper. So if something doesn't seem to quite work out, please blame me! LOL They are designed for a 6" diameter margarine tub, if you're planning on using a 9" spring form pan, you may wish to double the recipe.
1 cup of pecans, soaked and dried (or dehydrated)
5 or 6 soft dates
a dash of salt
Process the ingredients in a food processor until they are crumbly and will hold together. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of a spring form pan* and set aside.
* If you don't have a spring form pan, you can use one of those margarine tubs and line it with saran wrap.
1 1/2 cups cashews soaked for a few hours
1/4 cup honey or agave (less if you don't like it too sweet. Remember that you'll have the sweetness from the crust and chocolate layer as well!)
4 tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 " piece of vanilla bean (or 1/2 tsp pure vanilla)
1/3 cup of water
Blend everything in a high power blender or food processor until smooth. If using a FP, stop to let it rest a few minutes so as not to stress the motor.
½ cup of soaked raisins
2 soft dates
¼ cup carob
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1 or 2 tbs of soak water
Blend everything until smooth. Make sure not to use too much water as you don't want it to be too runny.
Pour the filling on top of the crust, followed by half of the chocolate mixture. Then sprinkle a few pecans pieces, and finally the rest of the chocolate layer.
Put the whole thing in the freezer for several hours to set. Then gently transfer the cake onto a serving platter and let it thaw in the fridge.
Serve topped with fresh fruits. Heavenly!
Chocolate Kiwi Crepes
3 medium bananas
1 tbs raw honey
2 tbs carob
1/2 tsp vanilla
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Spread on entire teflex sheet and dehydrate at 105F until it can be peeled off in one piece. Flip over onto the mesh sheet to continue drying on the other side.
Note: only dehydrate a short time after flipping. It should still be pliable.
3 kiwis, peeled, and chopped or sliced
2 cups soaked almonds
1/2 cup raw honey
juice of 2 oranges
1/2 tsp vanilla
Blend in a food processor or blender until fluffy and smooth.
Cut the sheet of chocolate crepes into 6 rectangular pieces.
Spread some nut whipped cream on the crepe (leave a few inches furthest away from you bare).
Next place a few kiwi pieces along the top edge (closest to you), and roll up like sushi.
Continue with the rest of the crepes.
Refrigerate 8-12 hours (or overnight), until the crepes have softened.
Spoon a dollop of whipped cream on top, along with some more kiwi slices.
And most of all, enjoy!!!!!!!
Ready to Rawk the World
Heathy would like to eventually focus all of her energy and time on exploring her passion for Raw Foods. When she returns from her trip 'Down Under' next summer, she will be teaching a series of raw food prep classes. She also intends to publish a raw recipe e-book which she is really excited about. (And she's not the only one!) "Friends and various people have been asking me for ages when I'm going to bring out a book," she says, "and I always answer 'when the time is right!'"
In the fall, she's hoping to attend the Living Light Culinary Institute in California where she has "wanted to go for years!"
Any other future projects in mind? "I have always, always wanted to open a raw food cafe/juice bar and yoga studio," she explains, "so that too is on my list! I also would like to develop a number of uncookbooks."
Well, she's got the creative fire going and she certainly has the talent, so we better keep a close eye on Raw Goddess Heathy, for she's surely gonna Rawk the World!
All photos by Raw Goddess Heathy