Raw Living: Workshop with Renee Shaidle

I believe what you eat has a lot to do with how you feel in terms of health and mood. I get my love for cooking from my mom. Preparing good meals was her priority. My mother had an operation when I was in high school, so I took over cooking for the family. My mom guided me through everything, and this gave me a good foundation for cooking. Since then, I branched out to different cuisines and to doing a lot more baking.

In Taiwan, you cook almost all vegetables (you also cook your water). My mom brought that habit to Canada. Cooked lettuce is one thing that I am not fond of.

Anyway, last Saturday my friend, M, and I went to a raw cooking workshop/demonstrated at Marbles Restaurant in Waterloo with chef Renee Shaidle (Be live: The Raw Food Lifestyle). I want to try this restaurant in the future – their menu looked good.

I first heard about the raw food lifestyle when my friend, J, took the hubby and I to Life Food Bar in Toronto. It was an interesting experience. The hubby was not impressed with the food, the price or the portion. This was a few years ago. The restaurant’s menu has changed since then. Although, I think “raw dishes” are easy to make at home and isn’t worth going out for. In any case, we don’t eat out often and enjoy home-cooked meals better.

We went into the workshop knowing some ideas behind the raw food lifestyle. The reasoning makes sense to me: enzyme denatures due to high heat, so “raw food” keeps enzymes intact. It actually reminds me of my biology courses at McMaster University, re: looking at protein structures…primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary structures and looking at denaturation caused by other chemical compound or heat.

The workshop was enjoyable and gave me some ideas. I liked Renee’s style of promoting the raw food lifestyle. She was not very aggressive or forceful about it. Her idea is, take what is comfortable with you and aim to have 51% of your diet raw.

This is zucchini noodles, made by a spiral slicer:

I like to learn about different “food-styles” and take in different aspects of these to fit into my life. I mean, everyone is different and the way our bodies process food might be different, so there isn’t one *right* food-style. I tried following a vegetarian diet and it didn’t work for me – even though I was very careful with eating, my body wasn’t absorbing the iron (I tried iron supplement pills prescribed by my family doctor, it didn’t work either). I follow this rule for eating: everything in moderation.

Our meals generally are 50% raw because we have salad almost everyday with our meals. To go beyond that (i.e. completely raw), especially during the winter, is tough for me. I need my soups. I’ve always been a soup noodle person. It’s been passed down by my mother. The point is, it’s hard for me to part with that during the winter. In the summer, the raw-ness in our meals increase.

This is zucchini pasta with tomato sauce. It was yummy and seemed simple. However, it was not “spagetti and tomato sauce” to me; it was more like a salad.

Renee also sent us her recipe book, which will give me more ideas with “cooking”.

This is a really simple dessert recipe for chocolate truffle. It’s made with walnuts, almonds, coconut flakes, raw cacao powder, sea salt, and dates. The cashew cream provided a perfect compliment.

Renee also explained the difference between raw food and living food: FAQ.

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