Elaina Love is a legendary Raw Chef, Instructor and Detox Counselor. She is the founder of Pure Joy Planet, one of the most revered Raw Chef Certification Schools in the world. She has written 3 Recipe Books, created 3 Raw Food DVDs as well as the Amazing Nut Milk Bag, the best nut milk bag in the world ! Oh and she was also my teacher 🙂 Spending time with her is, well, Pure Joy!
You’re one of the Pioneers of Modern Gourmet Raw Food – when did you get introduced to raw?
I found raw foods in 1997 when I picked up a cleansing book called Cleanse and Purify Thyself (and I will exalt thee to the highness of power)
It made a huge impact on me, and after reading it cover to cover in 1 hour (it was a small book) I knew that raw food and cleansing was for me!
Were there any other notable Raw Food Chefs that you worked together with in developing the cuisine?
Juliano and Cherie Soria were my first teachers. I have to say Cherie made the biggest impact because she was so knowledgable and so willing to share and help me along my path. I will always be grateful to her for helping me to really soar!
Her tutoring and mentoring has helped me to be a better teacher and mentor to other students. Never underestimate the impact you can make on another’s life.
Thanks Juliano and Cherie for inspiring Elaina to create her Bliss Pie!
How has the Raw Food scene changed since you got into it?
First off here is how it has changed me: It is my life. It shapes my entire life. I eat it every day, I teach it every day (in some way or another even if it’s just a post on facebook) and I breathe the essence of the healing and beauty that a raw diet can bring to our planet.
Here’ is how the scene has changed:
Back in 1997 there was no internet resource for raw foods so it wasn’t like you could “google” a restaurant or recipe, I was on my own! Next is that in all of the SF bay area there was only 1 restaurant serving raw (Juliano’s Raw) which was an hour drive, and of course I made the drive as often as I could.
There were very few recipes or books to look at but at least I did have Juliano’s book and another one called Dining in the Raw by Rita Romano. Her book helped to shape my raw cuisine and through her book she was one of my best teachers (along with Juliano).
There was no cacao, no coconut oil, no sweetener except dates and maple syrup, no stores selling raw crackers or products, no superfood powders (like the protein, Maca, lucuma, etc.) that we have now. Back then it was a lot simpler and a lot stricter as to what was in raw cuisine. I used a lot of Braggs Aminos back then too as we didn’t know about Himalayan salt or wheat free tamari 🙂 Things have really changed big time. There are so many more raw chefs on the scene and Raw is becoming more of a household word, and so is veganism.
What have been the benefits and drawbacks (if any) of living this lifestyle?
Mostly benefits. I feel happier, lighter, freer and freesher! And most definitely I look younger and feel young. I never have joint or any other kinds of aches or pains and overall I feel pretty good on most days. Great for my mood and my figure 🙂
Only draw back is what we refer to as “The Raw Curse” Which means once you start eating a clean, plant based diet, it’s very hard to “cheat” or indulge in other foods without feeling harsh feedback from the body. Kind of like a food hangover after eating grains, dairy, processed foods, alcohol or sugar. But I will say that it keeps me on my path as I do not like to feel bad after I have seen and felt how amazing my body can actually look and feel!
How long have you been teaching Raw Food? How did you start?
I’ve been teaching since 1998, so that’s 16 years now!
I got started because there was a big demand and a demand for it from my customers. At the time I began teaching, I was running a raw food delivery service and flax cracker business and so many people asked me to teach them that even though I was terrified to do public speaking at the time, I jumped in with both feet and never looked back (similar to my raw food diet and cleansing path).
After that I began teaching at Living Light Culinary Arts Institute (a raw food school in California) before opening Pure Joy Academy in 2010.
Do you prefer teaching people how to Freesh or running Detoxifications? Why?
I really love both! I feel it’s so important to cleanse and detox and it’s a great way to begin on the path (as I did). However we cannot live off green juice and smoothies (most of us anyways) so I think it’s imperative to know how to feed one’s self the best foods on the planet which in my opinion are raw, plant based foods which are low nut and low glycemic. I love teaching people how to make their own breads, desserts and lasagnas because comfort foods that are healthy are going to get you through the rough patches.
Taking your Raw Chef Certification course here in Bali changed my life. How did you end up coming here and choosing to run your course here?
Daniel Aaron who owns Radiantly Alive Yoga Studio in Ubud invited me out in 2007 to cater a 30 day yoga teacher training. I catered several of those for him over the years and eventually we both thought it would be a good idea to create a raw chef training program for those people who wanted to go further than just being a kitchen helper. After that it was just easy to start my own school and Bali was one of the first places on my list to teach from. I just love the magic of Bali and the excitement the students feel when visiting such a beautiful, peaceful land.
What does an average day of eating look like for Elaina Love? How has this changed from when you started eating raw?
My typical day is a bit boring: Morning is green juice and sometimes a hot chocolate made from raw cacao, maca and stevia. After yoga or fitness I drink a green smoothie with vegan protein powder, raspberries, spinach and some other green powders in it. Lunch is usually a big green salad with lots of toppings such as tomatoes, olives, avocados, peas, a vegan veggies wrap (my creation) or onion bread or nori or something like that. I don’t skimp on the goodies!
Afternoon snack can be anything from more olives to a grapefruit to a raw home made chocolate cluster. Dinner is sometimes cooked like home cooked beans or lentils with more salad or greens. late night snacks can include a vegan ice cream (store bought or home made), sprouted, dehydrated buckwheat with cinnamon and almond milk or something like that. All these are recipes from my course as I teach everything in my course that someone would eat on a regular basis. That’s the beauty of the course…you get to explore all the foods and then have a repertoire to choose from.
On the course you taught us about the Ayurvedic way of analyzing food and health – do you find more value in this system or the modern western system? Why?
Oh Ayurvedic is high on my list of “go to’s” when figuring out what to eat and what not to eat for most people. I find that as a Pitta Dosha I don’t do well on grains, sweets or too much spicy food. Pittas also do really well on a high raw diet, so that’s helpful when I’m feeling out of balance to avoid those things that put me out of balance. It also helps me to coach and understand other people with different doshas better. It’s more than just eating, it’s really a personality profile as well. I couldn’t live without it and in fact use the system on a daily basis.
What exciting stuff is upcoming in your life and in your business in the next year?
I’m always up to something! Next on my list is a 1-week detox retreat in Sedona Arizona, followed by some private trainings in Tucson. I’ll be in Brazil in September teaching my level 1 and then back in Bali again in November teaching the 3 week chef certification followed by a 5 day detox in early December. 2015 is more Bali trainings and even a training in Australia. I love my life!
Can you share an exclusive new Raw Food Recipe with us, preferably a dessert 🙂 ?
Yields 15 Slices. Inspired by Cafe Gratitude.
I’ve been rapping on and off for about 6 years now, but I hadn’t been for a while when I took your course. Your suggestion to make our practice Raw Food Demos as fun and unique as possible gave me the impetus to write that little spoken word poem I included in mine. Which is now part of the Durian Song! Raw Food has helped me tap into my creativity, and I hear this for lots of other people. Has it helped you do this? How do you express creativity?
Raw food has made me a lot more creative. As a result of going raw in 1997 I started my online store, catering, coaching and culinary academy, so needless to say I’m busting with creative ideas and projects. Since beginning these businesses, I have not looked back on my old life. I find my mind works quickly and I find it very easy to come up with more ideas. I also have created (as you know) thousands of raw food recipes with all my creativity. The way I express creativity is through website design, recipes and just being in the kitchen making beautiful dishes.
Are there any awesome stories of your students finding or taking their creativity to the next level once they found Raw Food?
Many! I have students who have opened business after coming to my training. One person is Lisa Labute in Toronto Canada. She now has a blog and cafe called The Goods where she serves up raw and vegan goodness.
Priscilla in Hong Kong has a raw chocolate making company, Moi in Hong Kong has a raw food store, Julie in Australia has a raw cafe called Earth to Table, Kathy in Tucson has a vegan cafe called Urban Fresh, and there are many many more of my students who have gone on to open up businesses and do health coaching.
Finally, the most important question of all; who’s your favorite hip hop artist?
Haha! That’s easy…Jonny Freesh of course!!!! You are the best and I love all of your fun and quirky rhymes!
Thanks for the great interview. I look forward to catching up when you’re back in Bali in November. And sharing a durian of course!
Connect with Elaina Love at the Links Below :
Her School : Pure Joy Academy
Her Website (for Recipes & Products) : Pure Joy Planet
I hope you enjoyed the interview. I certainly enjoyed conducting it.