Jennifer immersed herself in the raw-food lifestyle in her early 20s and found that the raw-food consumption helped some ailments she had been suffering. Shortly after adopting a raw-food lifestyle, Jennifer began to notice a significant decrease in her symptoms and in time they were completely gone.
As an advocate for a raw-food lifestyle as a healthy food option, Jennifer offers a unique and simple approach to raw food cuisine. The Best of You Today was fortunate to hear first-hand about her passions for food and health.
BOYT: What inspired you to adopt a raw food lifestyle?
Jennifer Cornbleet: From a young age, I was always interested in healthy food options in general. I found out about raw food from a yoga instructor when I was in my early twenties. She encouraged me to try including more raw foods into my diet for my well-being. I did not have major health issues, but I had some issues such as digestive and skin problems. So, for a month I tried including more raw foods in my diet and I noticed a big difference in how I felt. That was my first encounter with raw foods but I did not do anything about it until many years later when I was teaching high school English. I had summers off and I found out about the Living Light Institute which is a raw food chef school in Ft Bragg, Calif., where I now teach classes. I went up there and attended summer training just for fun. That experience completely opened my eyes to what a creative cuisine raw food can be! I also enjoyed the teaching aspect of it and it inspired me to switch professions to create recipes and write a cookbook.
BOYT: I would love to know what makes your approach unique in your books“Raw Food Made Easy” and “Raw for Dessert.” Are your books suitable for people at all levels of interest in raw food?
Jennifer Cornbleet: My goal in my cookbooks was to make all the recipes easy and convenient to the average chef. Many times raw food preparation includes activities such as sprouting, fermenting, and dehydrating, which can be overwhelming for people who are not already in that world. So I made sure all of my recipes are user friendly, don’t require fancy tools and are able to be made in less than 30 minutes.
BOYT: Can you share with our audience some of the physical and health benefits you have experienced from eating raw food.
Jennifer Cornbleet: I want to start by saying that I do not think that diet is the only aspect of health. There are a lot of factors, but diet is very important. I also want to say I do not think everyone’s diet has to be 100 percent raw because there is a spectrum of healthy foods, some are raw and some are not. What is important is including a lot more fresh produce in our diet, especially the greens and raw natural foods. I have noticed that my digestion has improved as well as my quality of sleep. I lost some weight, my skin cleared up, and I stopped getting as many colds. I have had much more energy since adopting this eating lifestyle as well. Eating raw overall raised my health level.
BOYT: Do you have any food that you try to eat every day? Jennifer Cornbleet: As much as possible I try to eat dark, leafy greens like kale, romaine, chard, parsley, spinach, collard and mustard greens. I also try to have some kind of omega-three rich seeds like flax, chia, or hemp seed.
BOYT: What are your thoughts on juicing? Do you juice for health or go through a two or three day juice cleanse? Jennifer Cornbleet: I do one- to three-day juice fasts periodically. I really do see the value of giving our digestive system a break and giving your body a chance to heal and repair through juices. I think leafy green veggie juices are the best. One of my favorite juice combinations is in my book: kale, celery, parsley, lemon, ginger, and cucumber. You can add apple to make it sweeter. I make this juice as often as I can and sometimes I will make a smoothie if I am pressed for time.
BOYT: What are the essential tools in a raw-food kitchen?
Jennifer Cornbleet: To get started all you need is a nice cutting board, a food processor and a blender; you can do 90 percent with just that. Eventually you may want to get a nice high-speed blender like a Vitamix, but I would start with those three tools.
BOYT: What are your thoughts on dehydrating? Are there increased health benefits in dehydrating food? Do many of your recipes call for it?
Jennifer Cornbleet: I am not opposed to dehydrating but for the average person it is not a practical piece of equipment. I do not think there are any health benefits to dehydrating. Essentially, you are taking most of the water out of the food which makes the food more calorically dense and harder to digest in some cases. None of my recipes call for dehydrating and I will stick to that in all my future recipes.
BOYT: What are a few of your favorite sources of protein from raw food? Jennifer Cornbleet: All-natural whole foods have protein in them. So it is almost impossible to not get enough protein simply by eating a balanced diet with sufficient calorie intake. Dark, leafy greens contain between 30 to 60 percent protein by calories and also seeds like hemp, sesame, pumpkin are major sources of protein. I also like blue-green algae like spirulina or chlorella. You can buy them in dried form and they are very rich in protein.
BOYT: Moms make up a large part of our audience. Do you have time-saving techniques and tips for someone that is interested in incorporating lots of raw foods into their diet but are crunched for time?
Jennifer Cornbleet: Actually, all of the recipes that in my books and classes are designed for people short on time so you cannot go wrong with my books! In addition, I would recommend that people set up their kitchen really efficiently. Buy large quantities of staple ingredients a couple of months in advance so the only thing they need to buy weekly is fresh produce. I also like to set aside a few hours on the weekends to prepare foods that will last all week such as almond milk, salad dressings, desserts (which you can freeze), and pates made from soaked nuts and spices blended together. This way you can fill your fridge with healthy food for the week and fill in with salads, soups, or other fresher dishes.
BOYT: Do you incorporate vitamins or supplements in your diet? Is there a line you endorse?
Jennifer Cornbleet: I do use supplements because I think our food and produce is not as nutrient rich as it once was and it can be difficult to get all the nutrients you need. I recommend that people work with a holistic health practitioner and decide what works for them because everyone is different. Personally, I like HealthForce Nutritionals spirulina and green powers as well as E3Live Blue Green Algae.
About Jennifer Cornbleet
Jennifer Cornbleet is a nationally recognized raw food chef and instructor. She is a best-selling author and sought-after speaker dedicated to making the world of raw fod an easy and accessible addition to 21st century kitchens. Jennifer admits that her passion for eating surpasses her passion for cooking. As a result she is constantly developing new techniques and recipes that will minimize her time in the kitchen at maximize her time at the table.
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