FROM pastry chef to raw food addict, the journey has been a long and fulfilling one for Julie Mitsios.
The owner of the very hip raw food cafe, Earth to Table, switched from traditional baking methods to raw food when her sister was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
Mitsios says changing her diet improved her health.
“Raw food is about eating food exactly how it occurs in nature — without cooking and over-processing,’’ she says.
“It’s nature’s medicine, not just a fad … Eating food in its natural state was normal before we started processing.”
Mitsios studied raw food preparation techniques in the US before opening her own cafe in 2002.
Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are the foundation of the dishes she serves up.
Mitsios says a raw foodie’s kitchen is likely to contain a food dehydrator, graters and other gadgets designed to turn raw ingredients into colourful works of art.
And if you consider the many ways food can be prepared without cooking — such as sprouting, blending, dehydrating, soaking, juicing, fermenting and pickling, raw food is far from uninspiring, she adds.
At Earth to Table, nothing is cooked.
“We use a dehydrator to warm dishes (make breads, wraps, doughnuts) and this can be set accordingly so that it doesn’t go above 44C. This way we can preserve the natural enzymes and vitality in the food,” Mitsios says.
The cafe specialises in vegetarian plant-based food and does not use eggs.
“We replicate the texture and taste of eggs in unique ways using nutritious ingredients such as Irish moss and psyllium husks,” Mitsios says.
“We have a dish on our menu, an Irish moss creation called the “vegetable scramble”. People are amazed at the texture and taste.”
Another favourite, Shepherd’s Pie, is a mix of 10 vegetables.
Julie Mitsios says raw food is the purest form of eating and nutrient-rich. To try this at home:
■ Use lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables;
■ Sprouted and activated nuts and seeds are great in salads;
■ Try fermented foods.
■ Make zucchini pasta: Using just a peeler, or better still a spirooli slicer, you can get the pasta look-alike, top this off with a pesto sauce (you can an amazing guilt-free, gluten-free and low carbohydrate dish).