HOLISTIC HEALTH To stop health problems, he stopped cooking
The Raw Food Guy discovered a new way to stay healthy.
By L. CROW
Several years ago, Howard Fisher was a happy fat guy, to the tune of 400-some pounds -- he isn't sure because the scale went up only to 320. He was fine with that. If people didn't like his weight, it was their problem. That is, until he was diagnosed with adult Type II diabetes.
The diabetes he could handle. It was the medications that were not an option, when he learned that their side effects were liver and kidney disease. So he stopped taking them, tried some holistic stuff, and floundered for a year.
Then he happened to strike up a conversation with Daniel McHugh, who worked at the Good Food Co-Op at the time. McHugh suggested diet changes, which Fisher misunderstood as being a vegetarian.
So he proceeded to make huge pots of vegetable soup. Finally, Fisher realized McHugh was talking about raw foods. Living foods. Unprocessed foods.
On Dec. 15, 1999, Fisher officially became a raw-foodist. Now known as "The Raw Food Guy," he devotes his time and energy educating others on how to prepare food without cooking. He has published a food prep book, and at 175 pounds, he no longer has diabetes. Fisher also pointed out that he doesn't like the word diet, which he says implies "temporary," but instead calls this an "alternate lifestyle."
So, why would anyone choose to eat only raw foods? "Raw foods are chock full of everything you need," Fisher said. "They are 100 percent nutritional value, and your body knows what to do with them. Only 15 percent of nutritional value is retained in cooked food. The body only recognizes food values and will tell you to eat more. But with raw foods, you only need to eat a small amount."
"The more raw foods are exposed to oxygen, as in blending or juicing, the quicker your body can absorb the nutrients," Fisher said. He recommended making green smoothies, which are pure energy. "We don't chew green leaves long enough," Fisher added. "As David Wolfe says, 'The stomach has no teeth.'" Wolfe is the author of "The Raw Food Diet."
Fisher recommends eating a variety of foods. Most people might think eating only raw foods would severely limit what you can consume. But Fisher has used his own food preparation knowledge and combined it with some established models to create an amazing menu diversity. One of his first models was an "un-cook" book by Juliano called "Raw."
"This guy looks like a hippy straight out of the '60s with a new age twist," Fisher said. "His book is filled with things I never would have considered doing with foods. 'Cheese' made from sprouted nuts or sunflower seeds, 'meats' from marinated mushrooms and nut meats. 'Nonpasta' ravioli made from root veggies and 'spaghetti' made from zucchini."
The right stuff
Nuts are an important ingredient in Fisher's recipes, and a food processor is an essential appliance. His "neat-balls" consist of ground almonds, walnuts, celery, onions, garlic paprika, parsley and Celtic sea salt. "This salt has 91 essential ingredients, and it is good, very strong," Fisher said. It is costly, but a little goes a long way.
Medjool dates are another staple in Fisher's recipes. "They are soft, plump, and really big, like God's pieces of candy," he said.
Fisher's "pizza" or "Essene" bread is made from sprouted buckwheat, tomatoes, onions and sea salt, which is blended, then dehydrated, and served with "brayonnaise," made with ground brazil nuts, lemon juice, water, olive oil and sea salt.
Another neat gadget Fisher uses is a "spiralizer," which can quickly turn a zucchini into a mound of angel hair "pasta," which he serves with a pesto sauce.
Mushroom saut & eacute; is made by marinating sliced mushrooms in a mixture of nama shoya, (live cultured soy sauce) and olive oil. "After 30 minutes, the mushrooms taste like they are cooked." Fisher said.
For dessert, he would serve apple pie made with blended apples, cinnamon and vanilla, with psyllium seed used to gel.
The crust is made from ground Medjool dates and almonds, with added coconut, if he wants to be really fancy.
Potatoes are not recommended under any circumstances. "They contain toxins," Fisher said.
"They also make the pancreas malfunction," added Sandy Yambar, Fisher's associate.
Fisher and Yambar counsel people on how to live the raw foods lifestyle. Fisher also hosts a raw-foods support group at 7 p.m. the third Friday of each month in his home.
The sessions are open to the public. Each person brings a raw food dish. If you are new, you can bring fresh fruit.
"We all have a good time," Fisher said. "The group offers recipes and food prep instructions, and we discuss problems. It is also a means of support, because many family members often do not understand or support this new lifestyle."
"People need to see a variety of raw food dishes in front of them that they can taste," Yambar said.
XLaughing Crow is a practitioner of holistic healing. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.