Tasty Bite!
An edible fall flower, Hollyhock, with stamen removed and filled with: Saffron Risotto, Butternut Squash, topped with Sprouted Black Lentils and Micro Leeks


I know I'm supposed to eat them for optimal health, but what do I do with all those veggies and fruits, anyway?

Gourmet Raw Food's Chef, Val Rae says, "Celebrate them!"

This is an inside peek at what I'm cooking and not cooking for optimal health. A raw foods diet is not always 100% raw. I will demonstrate 80% raw, also known as "high-raw" (high percentage of raw foods) because that is the way I live.

I started eating this way to ready myself for cancer treatments. It turned out the food IS the treatment. My carcinoma-in-situ high-grade (breast cancer) went from "life-threatening" to "gone" in 7 months. I did not expect it, but now I know, it was not a miracle. I'm not the only one. Look into it. There many success stores out there.

Although I believed that I had made mostly healthy choices in the past, I was also aware that I had been battling an array of physical, emotional and mental challenges most of my adult life.

As I transitioned to a cleansing diet, additional positive side effects stated showing up for me: emotional balance; escape from debilitating addictive behaviors; enhanced clarity of mind; strengthening of physical body and a desire to exercise; increased connection to creativity and spirit -- all things that I believed were lost to me (and humankind). I was probably clinically depressed! I attribute this awakening to rejecting SAD corporate food-like substances* and learning to celebrate real foods. Gratitude soon took over greif and now my spirit is alive again!

When toxins are removed from our systems, we can stop fighting for survival and allow ourselves the joyful experience of thriving!**

*This term,"food-like substances," cracks me up. It's so true. I first heard it used by Michael Pollan in The Omnivore's Dilemma. Go Michael! (
** I learned the difference between surviving and thriving from Tim Van Orden. Tim encouraged me to RUN again! (

The diseases and conditions vary. The cure is the same: Eat mostly raw, highest-quality, organic, plant-based diet, harvested as freshly as possible. AND, don't stress out. Love. Relax. It's your nature. Reclaim it.

I'll show you how to make it enjoyable, affordable and easy! I welcome your questions and suggestions!

Hugs! -Val

Plants "want" you to be healthy and well-balanced. Allow the plant kingdom to be your gracious servants. They love you; they worship you; they aim to please your pallet and delight your senses; they cleanse and enliven you!

(Don't believe me? Try this one on: From the plant's perspective, you'll make better fertilizer some day if you are healthy and free from toxins when you fall off the cliff and decompose. So, its in the best interest of ALL living things that we are non-toxic, disease-free and vibrantly healthy.)
If plant-furtalizer isn't an inspiring goal, set your sites on living! It's not hard to do. Just start eating local, fresh, organically produced foods as much as possible and stop participating in fast-foods and pre-packaged food-like substances.

Eat like the kings and queens that you are! Enjoy delicious easy gourmet foods AND know you are feeding your inner and outer beauty with plant nutrition from a gratefully abundant earth!

Val Rea Jacobson, Living Foods Chef, Kitchen Coach and Educator

For recipes from my Demo and Dine Live Programs, please visit my blog.
You can Google: "What's Not Cooking at Val's"

For a catalog of the world's finest cutlery, go to: Please use Rep# 33142656. 

For an alternative food distribution system that provides organic produce (local, family-farmed when available) go to: 
Use "Trader St. Joe's" as the discount code to receive $5-off your first order.
Here is a Q & A from Nomi Shannon. I found this information valuable in making my path to a high-raw foods lifestyle. At one point, I was eating WAY too much dense protein (mostly in the form of raw cheese, nuts and seeds) and not getting good results or feeling great. Here's why:

Ask Nomi
 Question:   How will I get enough protein on a raw food diet?

This is usually the first question that people ask.  Most of us have been raised with the notion that a lot of protein is good for us. The meat and dairy industries depend on that attitude. But, ponder this for a moment: What is the most perfect food for a human being when it needs it most, as a newborn infant? You guessed it- it is mother's milk. There is no other time in the life of a person when growth will be so dramatic.

The infant will triple or quadruple in size in its first year and needs more protein to grow on than at any other time in its entire life span.  And just how much protein is in mother's milk? The answer may surprise you. The amount of protein in mother's milk is 2.5 to 3.5 per cent.* Compare that to the amount of protein in cow milk at 30 per cent*.

A baby cow needs to gain hundreds of pounds of mass in its first year, while it's relatively small brain does not need to grow very much; quite obviously different than the needs of a human baby.

If the amazing growth in the first year of life is perfectly served by the amount of protein in mother's milk, why would any human being ever need more? The answer is, he/she does not need more protein than that.

One of the biggest mistakes in a SAD (Standard American Diet) is the consumption of too much protein. One of the saddest and most dramatic effects of a high protein diet is a negative calcium balance leading to osteoporosis in an older person. Habitual consumption of high protein forces the calcium in the body to act as a buffer to the high acid state created in the digestion of protein. The current medical advice to consume more and more calcium in the form of milk products, oyster shell calcium and over the counter digestive aids such as Tums can not reverse the calcium loss in the bones due to excess protein consumption. Excess protein robs our bones of the very substance they need to maintain their strength. Osteoporosis is not a disease due to calcium deficiency; it is due to a lifelong consumption of too much protein.

As for a raw food diet, all the leafy greens and sprouts contain protein. If you are eating lots of fresh raw leafy greens and sprouts, along with a moderate amount of nuts and seeds, there is usually no reason to be concerned about your protein intake.

For those who continue to be concerned or who have higher protein needs, such as athletes and growing children, raw sunflower seeds and raw tahini (sesame seed butter) in particular, are very digestible sources of protein and they are very economical compared to other nuts and seeds. Shakes and dressings made with a tahini base are excellent for people with weak digestion, the ill, the elderly and children. Tahini is not only a good protein source, but it is also high in calcium, good fat and it is alkalizing.

*Note: different texts offer different percentage numbers, these numbers  are derived from lectures at Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida.

 Q. In my quest to eat a high percentage of raw food in my diet, I am bothered by constant food cravings, and experience a lot of setbacks  - will I ever get over this?

A. The first day you notice that you are craving a large green salad or a great juicy apple or a bowl of sprouted pate with sprouts on top will be a great day indeed.  Then you will know that you have rounded a corner in your health regimen, and that you now have a body that you can begin to listen to.

Being able to "listen to your body" is often preceded by a period of cleansing. If you have been subsisting on a diet of McDonalds, pizza, soda and sweets, The Quick Fix is what your body will crave. If you are addicted to sugar, it is not just a mental addiction. Your pancreas is screaming for you to feed it the sugar that it has become used to having.

What should you do? The best thing may be to eat the highest and best food choice that will respond to that craving. Far better than a candy bar or an ice cream would be a piece of fruit or two. If you do the best that you can in each instance, including forgiving yourself if you step back to your old ways for a moment, then move on again in the right direction, you will gradually reduce or eliminate unwanted cravings.
I recently came across this quote that I think may be helpful:
"A step in the wrong direction
is better than staying
on the spot all our life.
Once you're moving forward
You can correct your course
as you go.
Your automatic guidance
System cannot guide you
When you're
Standing still"
.....Maxwell Maltz

The amount of time this takes depends on many things such as:

How long you had been eating a poor diet, did you transition to raw slowly or quickly, did you begin with a water or juice fast to get a head start, etc.

Another way to quell cravings is to eat a good healthy meal as soon as you begin to lust for pizza or fries. In the early stages of being a raw foodist, hunger is what usually brings on cravings.  Often, once you have eaten and are satisfied, the craving itself will just go away, or at least you will find it easier to resist. 

This means that it is important to always have some good healthy food on hand. You are guaranteed to get into trouble if there are no fresh fruits and veggies in the house or office and you are hearing a litany of cheesecake, cheesecake in your head.  It is too easy to give in to cravings when you have no way to fill up with healthy food. Plan ahead- bring a bag to work with you each day with a variety of fruits and veggies -try red peppers, apples, baby carrots, celery, fennel, zucchini, orange, pear.

Be imaginative. Try new things

Other ways to help you stay centered in your food choices are to meet regularly with other raw fooders and to encourage restaurants you frequent in your area to provide wonderful salads and other raw foods.

When a person has feelings of alienation or loneliness it is difficult to combat unhealthy cravings. Remind yourself that the value of life and socialization is not just about food. Creating an environment for yourself that includes other raw fooders without excluding the other people in your life, often the ones that you love the most, is a delicate balance of strength and tolerance.

Cleansing, whether with a water or juice fast or more gradually through eating more and more raw food, is what will change the very tissues and cells of your body so that they are tuned into seeking the foods that are good for you.

Ancient toxins that have been stored in your body are brought to the surface during a fast and as they exit the body via the blood stream can trigger old cravings.

Each cleanse experience is different. Perhaps in your case you may get a headache that in the past you would have eaten sugar to avoid. Now you know that a healing is taking place and you need only to wait it out and it will go away. Actually giving in and eating sugar will set you back in your process.

 The day will come that you will far more often crave for the healthy foods than for the foods you wish to avoid. And as time goes on you will learn to trust your body more and more. You are on a journey and are working towards the freedom of wonderful health: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual; we all are.

Stickers on fruits and veggies
The little stickers on loose fruits and vegetables have valuable information on them! According to a letter from 'a scientist knowledgeable in the field of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)' in the October 2003 issue of Gourmet magazine: "a..useful tip to the consumer [would be] a primer on how to read the little stickers on loose fruits and vegetables. Besides providing the store's cash registers and computers with product identification and price information, these stickers can tell you a lot about the food you are buying. A label with four digits indicates conventionally grown food. Labels with five digits starting with an 8 indicate that the food is genetically modified. Labels with 5 digits starting with a 9 indicate that the food is organically grown."

Well as soon as I read this I looked at all my little stickers and it's true! All my organic food had stickers with 5 digits beginning with 9 and all the conventional food had stickers with four digits. There were no five digits beginning with 8, nor do I plan for there to be, but what a great thing to know!

Ask Nomi is created and written by Nomi Shannon, author of The Raw Gourmet book and DVDs, co-author of Raw Food Celebrations (Shannon & Duruz), and owner of &
This information is copyrighted. If you would like to use it on your blog or newsletter, you do need to ask permission at
The Raw Gourmet
PO Box 160
Bonsall CA 92003

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