AMY J. BARRY, Special to The Day
The loss of a loved one and her own good health are what led Lisa Sobolewski to radically change her diet and go raw.
Sobolewski explains that although she had been eating healthy vegetarian food since a young age, her stressful career in New York City in a stressful career designing high-profile restaurants left her with less time to cook, so she started eating more take-out food, albeit vegetarian. She also found she was paying less attention to what she was putting into her body.
"I got sick, I developed a skin condition," she says. "I started looking outside of myself for a quick fix with doctors and medicine and it turned out to be more damaging than good. At the same time, my world was collapsing economically, and my mother's health was declining. I discovered a juice bar nearby and started turning my health around."
She then moved back home to Stratford and bought a juicer. Her mother died a month later, and Sobolewski was still sick.
"I realized toxicity and stress was my illness - and not paying enough attention to myself and inner peace," she says. "That imbalance came out through my skin. I began eliminating processed food completely from my diet."
After a friend gave her a raw vegan chocolate bar - which she ate overlooking Big Sur in California while taking some time to be still and take care of herself - she returned to Connecticut and discovered a vegan café in Fairfield. She began educating herself about raw food.
"After eating a clean raw vegan diet for three weeks, the serious symptoms I'd been experiencing for years completely reversed and I finally healed by allowing my body to heal itself," she says.
For those who aren't clear on what exactly a raw foods diet consists of, Sobolewski explains that it means simply eating the diet nature provide - food in its whole uncooked form that's not heated above 115 to 120 degrees.
"Anytime you heat something, you change its molecular structure - and it also loses energy," she points out.
JUSTFOOD makes fresh and cold-pressed vegetable and fruit juices, gourmet superfood smoothies, handmade raw chocolate, and a selection of savory raw food. Sobolewski also offers raw food workshops and demonstrations, juice cleanse programs, lifestyle and health coaching, and an annual retreat in Costa Rica.
Sobolewski doesn't expect that everyone will eat nothing but 100 percent raw, organic food but says that adding it to one's diet and reducing processed food can make a big impact.
"It's about realizing the power of fresh, living food and feeling the difference in energy," she says. The raw food lifestyle cuisine is just peaking on the East Coast. There are inventive and creative ways to eat fresh, real food."
A raw diet connects everything for Sobolewski.
We're all energy and we're all connected. More harmony goes into our thoughts when we (eat this way)," she says. "We make healthier, clearer decisions, feel more peace in ourselves.
"It has a huge ripple effect," she adds. We begin to realize how powerful we are to heal ourselves. We've become so disconnected from nature by taking into ourselves things that are so unnatural and processed."
JUSTFOOD is at 1 Main St. in Chester. For more information about events and programs, visit www.gojustfood.com or call (203) 218-3701.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
Makes 8 cups
5 cups chopped butternut squash (seeds removed)
3 cups fresh young Thai coconut water
1-1/2 cups young Thai coconut meat*
1/5 medium sweet onion
2-inch by 2-piece of ginger
1-2 celery stalks (plus additional few for garnish)
1 tablespoon raw honey
Cinnamon to taste
Pinch turmeric, cumin, coriander and garam masala (to taste)
1 tablespoon miso (optional)
Blend all ingredients until creamy smooth in high-speed blender. If using a Vitamix, blend on high for one minute to create more warmth. Pour into serving bowls and garnish with curry powder and minced celery.
*Available at health food stores and often at Stop & Shop. Young Thai coconuts are white (shaved) and have a tapered (conical) top.
GREEN SUPERFOOD SMOOTHIE RECIPE
1-1/2 - 2 frozen bananas
2 cups spinach
1 handful sunflower sprouts
1 medjool date (pit removed)
1/2 teaspoon Spirulina powder*
1 teaspoon maca powder*
1 teaspoon bee pollen*
Water to desired thickness
Blend all ingredients until smooth using a high-speed blender.
Note: Fiddleheads in New London carries most or all Superfoods (marked with an asterisk), as does The Local Beet Coop where JUSTFOOD is located.
Recipes courtesy of Lisa Sobolewski.