Tofu or not tofu?: Hear the professionals raw

20 April 2012

Written by: Madeline McCarty

The night was held at RUSU ‘REALFOODS’ (RMIT University Student Union’s organic, vegetarian café) with the little area out the front of its ‘food bar’ type set-up packed to capacity with many passionate raw foodies and those curious to learn more. On arrival each person was presented with a quite substantial goodie bag which weighed a tonne – or 1.08 kilograms to be exact. Included in the bag was a kilogram of brown lentils and 80 grams of herbal tea leaves, plus other discount vouchers and samples from healthy food businesses).

The host of the evening was Lucy Stegley (SmoothieGirl), the Realfoods café Coordinator, along with key speakers and demonstrators; Ace Rosengarten, a Certified Raw Gourmet Chef & Instructor and Certified Educator in the Science and Benefits of Raw Food Nutrition, and Billy Simmonds professional body-builder and power-lifter, and winner of Mr Natural Universe 2009.

There were four ‘cooking’ demonstrations lead by Ace throughout the night, which included; a superfood smoothie, mock tuna pate, sprouted chickpea hummus, and a berry coconut parfait for dessert. It was interesting to note the different ingredients used in place of what would normally be used in regular versions of these recipes. For example, during this particular session such substituted ingredients included milk made from brazil nuts used for the base liquid in the smoothie , minced almonds and sunflower seeds with herbs to replicate the flavour and texture of ‘tuna’, and blended young Thai coconut flesh sweetened with agave nectar instead of custard cream.

 

A lot of these raw vegan dishes used a high power blender, with Ace advocating further for those interested in raw veganism to look into getting access to a food dehydrator to enable the making of recipes such as biscuits, crackers, and other foods that need to be set.

Door prizes were given out throughout the night, with the prizes being donated by different raw food product companies including; Pura Veda, which instils itself as a detox, protein and weight loss food.

During the intermission there were many raw food dishes including ‘cheese’ cakes, smoothies, salads and different bento boxes to purchase.
Billy Simmonds, Mr Natural Universe (meaning that he doesn’t take steroids), spoke about his experiences as a vegan body builder and gave some tips to people wanting to get in shape by following the same lifestyle choices as him.

 

Billy debunked different myths that he has come across, including the main one for him, that you can’t be a body builder if you don’t eat meat. In this sense he discussed that if you plan each meal well, you can have a diet that provides the same – if not more – nutrients than eating a piece of steak or salmon, and without the added pressure on your digestive and detoxification systems from trying to process so much animal product.The five main tips that Billy offered were to: know your body type, define your goal, establish a plan, execute and then assess.

Attending the night proved that if you are willing work hard with the food choices you make, a plant-based diet that includes plenty of raw living food is a lifestyle that is achievable and there are many benefits to making this choice, with quite a number of people present on the night acting as living proof of this.

The Realfoods café is inside the RMIT University’s city campus foodcourt (360 Swanston St, Building 8, Level 4, Melbourne), and is open Monday – Friday 11am – 4pm (during semester). All meals, snacks and drinks are under $10 so it’s a great place to fill up on healthy, delicious, organic vegetarian and vegan food on a budget! Their Facebook page is:  http://www.facebook.com/RUSUrealfoods

Madeleine McCarty is in her final-year of a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Media Studies at La Trobe University. She is 1/10th of the upstart editorial team for 2012 and now realises that if you put in a lot of effort you can succeed with raw veganism. You can follow her on Twitter @MadeleineKMcC.