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Recent Living Light graduate Subah Jain is a beacon of light in the plant-based lifestyle movement. This dynamic young woman has already established herself as a sought-after wellness speaker and educator. Her YouTube channel, Satvic Movement, beautifully merges her love for truth with her gift of communication. Be sure to subscribe. We trust that you'll find her as enchanting as we do!

While with us at Living Light, we were blown away at her intuitive ability to create amazing, cutting-edge recipes. In our interview below, she shares how she's utilizing her experience with Living Light to teach others to improve the quality of their lives and their connection with the planet. Enjoy!

  1. What drew you to plant-based/raw food cuisine?

I was drawn to plant-based cuisine because I cured my health problems with it. I grew up on the standard Indian diet, consisting of milk, ghee, wheat, sugar, and very few fruits and greens. I didn’t realize the damage I was doing to my body until I fell sick. By the time I was 17 years old, I was already suffering from PCOS, hypothyroidism, excessive hair loss, and weighed about 15 pounds more than I should have. I was taking 6 different tablets a day. The fact that I had all these diseases at such a young age was extremely scary. I tried everything under the sun but nothing worked because I was still eating exactly the same food that was feeding my disease.

My life took a turn when I met a Guru in India, who taught me how to reverse these diseases without medicines, by drastically changing my diet & lifestyle. He recommended that I eliminate all dairy, oils, sugars and processed foods from my diet and eat food straight from Nature, the way it is found naturally, which is mainly raw, alkaline, vegan, water-rich food.

At first, I couldn’t believe that changing my food could cure me. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a try, since nothing else was really working anyways. I trashed every single pill I was taking and started following his diet. When I got my blood checked after exactly 3 months, I was no longer suffering from the diseases that I had been taking pills for. I lost about 18 pounds, my skin became clear for the first time in many years, and my menstrual cycles regulated.

It was clear to me that Mother Nature is not just a powerful healer, but actually the only healer. I wanted to tell everybody that they too can cure their health problems by switching to raw, plant-based, alkaline food. I wanted to scream it out to the world, so I decided to make it my life.

  1. When you attended Living Light, what did you enjoy about the school?   

The company. I just love the people I’m surrounded by here. We’re all from such different cultures and countries and yet, it feels like we’re family who knew each other in a previous life. We share the same beliefs, the same values, and the same vision to bring a massive change in this world. I have formed a community with whom I’ll stay connected for a long time. At Living Light, I feel like a fish who’s found her ocean.

Secondly, I love the depth of knowledge offered here. We’re taught everything from knife-skills, presentation and food styling to balancing flavours, creating textures and assessing mouthfeel. Whether it’s learning how to balance a dish, demonstrate a recipe in front of public or organize a catered meal, we’re given very in-depth knowledge, not just superficial.

I also enjoy recipe development days a lot. These are days when we have to develop our own recipe and share with the class later. This is much more beneficial than just watching and imitating, as it twists my brain and really challenges me.

  1. How do you feel attitudes toward raw and vegan foods have changed in the past 2 years?

To be honest, in the beginning, when I was eating raw vegan foods, I didn’t like it at all (partly because I didn’t know how to make it right). I was eating it just so I could lose weight & reverse my health problems. But after a month, I started feeling differently towards it. I started embracing its rawness and started missing my comfort foods (like milk, paneer, fried snacks, and sugary chocolates) less and less.

Today, after two years of eating raw living foods I have reached a point where I don’t feel like eating anything else. It’s not like I have to control my senses or stop myself. My heart feels joy in eating foods straight from Mother Nature.

What I love about raw food is the juiciness and pleasure it adds to everyday life. Eating a mango on my lunch break, scooping the cream of a coconut in my kitchen, breaking open a pomegranate and watching the seeds burst open. Each of these experiences is grounding and connects one to Nature in a tangible way. Sure, raw food is credited with glowing skin, bright eyes, shiny hair, and weight loss. But I think eating raw food is really about falling back in love with produce.

  1. Do you have any exciting projects going on that you'd like to share?

Yes. I have an upcoming food book called ‘Satvik Food’ consisting of about 60 recipes (with photos) of dishes that helped heal me. I use the nutrition principles of my guru from India combined with the culinary principles learned at Living Light. I want to publish my book after completing my training here.

I also have a YouTube Channel called 'Satvic Movement’. I post new videos every month that include education, recipes, and inspiration on how to be the best version of yourself. I am excited to go back home, make healthier versions of staple Indian dishes like samosas, curries, kulfi, and dosa and share it on my channel.

Experience Living Light for yourself by joining us for our Reset Retreat in January.

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Recent Living Light graduate Subah Jain is a beacon of light in the plant-based lifestyle movement. This dynamic young woman has already established herself as a sought-after wellness speaker and educator. Her YouTube channel, Satvic Movement, beautifully merges her love for truth with her gift of communication. Be sure to subscribe. We trust that you'll find her as enchanting as we do!

While with us at Living Light, we were blown away at her intuitive ability to create amazing, cutting-edge recipes. In our interview below, she shares how she's utilizing her experience with Living Light to teach others to improve the quality of their lives and their connection with the planet. Enjoy!

  1. What drew you to plant-based/raw food cuisine?

I was drawn to plant-based cuisine because I cured my health problems with it. I grew up on the standard Indian diet, consisting of milk, ghee, wheat, sugar, and very few fruits and greens. I didn’t realize the damage I was doing to my body until I fell sick. By the time I was 17 years old, I was already suffering from PCOS, hypothyroidism, excessive hair loss, and weighed about 15 pounds more than I should have. I was taking 6 different tablets a day. The fact that I had all these diseases at such a young age was extremely scary. I tried everything under the sun but nothing worked because I was still eating exactly the same food that was feeding my disease.

My life took a turn when I met a Guru in India, who taught me how to reverse these diseases without medicines, by drastically changing my diet & lifestyle. He recommended that I eliminate all dairy, oils, sugars and processed foods from my diet and eat food straight from Nature, the way it is found naturally, which is mainly raw, alkaline, vegan, water-rich food.

At first, I couldn’t believe that changing my food could cure me. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a try, since nothing else was really working anyways. I trashed every single pill I was taking and started following his diet. When I got my blood checked after exactly 3 months, I was no longer suffering from the diseases that I had been taking pills for. I lost about 18 pounds, my skin became clear for the first time in many years, and my menstrual cycles regulated.

It was clear to me that Mother Nature is not just a powerful healer, but actually the only healer. I wanted to tell everybody that they too can cure their health problems by switching to raw, plant-based, alkaline food. I wanted to scream it out to the world, so I decided to make it my life.

  1. When you attended Living Light, what did you enjoy about the school?   

The company. I just love the people I’m surrounded by here. We’re all from such different cultures and countries and yet, it feels like we’re family who knew each other in a previous life. We share the same beliefs, the same values, and the same vision to bring a massive change in this world. I have formed a community with whom I’ll stay connected for a long time. At Living Light, I feel like a fish who’s found her ocean.

Secondly, I love the depth of knowledge offered here. We’re taught everything from knife-skills, presentation and food styling to balancing flavours, creating textures and assessing mouthfeel. Whether it’s learning how to balance a dish, demonstrate a recipe in front of public or organize a catered meal, we’re given very in-depth knowledge, not just superficial.

I also enjoy recipe development days a lot. These are days when we have to develop our own recipe and share with the class later. This is much more beneficial than just watching and imitating, as it twists my brain and really challenges me.

  1. How do you feel attitudes toward raw and vegan foods have changed in the past 2 years?

To be honest, in the beginning, when I was eating raw vegan foods, I didn’t like it at all (partly because I didn’t know how to make it right). I was eating it just so I could lose weight & reverse my health problems. But after a month, I started feeling differently towards it. I started embracing its rawness and started missing my comfort foods (like milk, paneer, fried snacks, and sugary chocolates) less and less.

Today, after two years of eating raw living foods I have reached a point where I don’t feel like eating anything else. It’s not like I have to control my senses or stop myself. My heart feels joy in eating foods straight from Mother Nature.

What I love about raw food is the juiciness and pleasure it adds to everyday life. Eating a mango on my lunch break, scooping the cream of a coconut in my kitchen, breaking open a pomegranate and watching the seeds burst open. Each of these experiences is grounding and connects one to Nature in a tangible way. Sure, raw food is credited with glowing skin, bright eyes, shiny hair, and weight loss. But I think eating raw food is really about falling back in love with produce.

  1. Do you have any exciting projects going on that you'd like to share?

Yes. I have an upcoming food book called ‘Satvik Food’ consisting of about 60 recipes (with photos) of dishes that helped heal me. I use the nutrition principles of my guru from India combined with the culinary principles learned at Living Light. I want to publish my book after completing my training here.

I also have a YouTube Channel called 'Satvic Movement’. I post new videos every month that include education, recipes, and inspiration on how to be the best version of yourself. I am excited to go back home, make healthier versions of staple Indian dishes like samosas, curries, kulfi, and dosa and share it on my channel.

Experience Living Light for yourself by joining us for our Reset Retreat in January.

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by Vesanto Melina, MS, Registered Dietitian

Mung beans and lentils are seeds with the potential and life force to grow into large, strong plants. For this purpose, these little embryos contain a rich store of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbohydrates, all ready and waiting for the right conditions of heat, moisture and oxygen to be present in order to grow. As soon as seeds germinate, chemical changes occur, including many that provide us with health benefits.

Healthy vegetarian bowl dish with fresh flaxseed sprouts.

For example, when mung beans and lentils are sprouted the following changes occur:

  • Protein is created; protein quality improves – with increased amounts of essential amino acids – and the digestibility of the protein present increases.
  • Trypsin inhibitors (anti-nutrients which reduce protein digestibility) are destroyed during germination of mung beans and lentils.
  • Starch is converted to the more easily assimilated simple sugars; glucose and fructose increase tenfold when mung beans are sprouted.
  • Sprouting significantly increases the content of enzymes, including those that break down or begin the digestion of protein and starch.
  • The carbohydrates that can produce gas (flatulence) largely disappear when mung beans are sprouted.
  • Sprouting stimulates the production of quantities of antioxidants that protect us against disease.
  • The vitamin C content of the original legume increases 17 times when lentils are sprouted and eight times when mung beans are sprouted.
  • The riboflavin content of mung bean triples and in lentils it increases by 50 percent during germination. The content of other B vitamins also increases.
  • Phytate-mineral complexes are broken down during sprouting, greatly increasing mineral availability.
  • The small amounts of hemagglutinins present in raw lentils and mung beans are destroyed by germination, making these raw sprouts safe. Only sprout these small legumes, not the bigger ones such as chickpeas or other beans. These larger legumes contain too much of these hemagglutinins to be eaten in a raw form, although if you go on to cook the bigger beans these problematic components are completely destroyed. Thus, although sprouted mung beans and lentils are safe, the other legumes should be eaten in the cooked form only.

If we take mung beans, lentils and other sproutable seeds along when we are sailing far from ports or when camping in remote areas, we can have fresh sprout salads despite limited access to markets selling fresh produce. During winter months when one’s garden is not productive, sprouts can provide us with fresh food and an excellent source of vitamin C.

The equipment needed to grow sprouts is simple and economical. A one-quart (1 L) canning (mason) jar is sufficient for kitchen sprouting. A sprouting lid or mesh screen is needed for the top, to allow rinse water to flow in and out while keeping the sprouts in the jar. Plastic sprouting lids can be purchased at natural food stores for this purpose or you can put a piece of mesh screen or cotton cheesecloth across the mouth of the jar and hold it in place with a rubber band. A dish rack is helpful, although not essential, for holding the jar at an angle to completely drain the water after rinsing.

Easy sprouts
1/4 cup (60 ml) dried mung beans or 1/2 cup (125 ml) dried lentils
2 cups (500 ml) water
(Makes 3 to 4 cups sprouts)
Put beans or lentils in a one-litre sprouting jar and add water. Put a mesh screen or sprouting lid on the jar and let stand at room temperature for 12-24 hours. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cool water, then drain again. Place jar, with screen, upside-down at a 450 angle over a saucer or dish rack so water may run off. Cover jar with a towel or place it away from light so sprouts can grow in the dark. Rinse and drain two or three times a day for three to five days, until a short tail is visible. Store the sprouts in a sealed container in the fridge for up to one week.

Vesanto Melina, MS, RD is a dietitian and co-author (with Brenda Davis) of  Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition (and Express Edition), of Becoming Raw and the Raw Food Revolution Diet, and of the very new Kick Diabetes Cookbook (all published by the Book Publishing Company.
Vesanto thoroughly enjoys teaching Living Light’s Nutrition courses - come see for yourself!

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A graduate of Living Light Culinary Institute, Cristina has over 15 years of experience art directing, designing, and branding for Discovery Networks. We had the chance to connect with her since her graduation in 2012.

1.) What was your first experience in the kitchen?

My oldest kitchen memory is making marzipan. I was so intrigued by the beautiful shapes one could create. I liked trying things and making up my own flavors.

2.) What drew you to plant-based/ raw food cuisine?

It just made total sense. This food is such a shortcut to wellness and it’s so aesthetically pleasing that you can’t help but fall in love with plant-based raw foods.  Yes, it’s a little challenging at first but then that glow / feeling takes over and you see the transformation in your life and you just want to keep going!

3.) When you attended Living Light, what did you enjoy about the school?

At the time, most of the staple raw ingredients and kitchen tools were new for me — and having access to all of this at Living Light was mind-blowing. I enjoyed the culinary studio set-up. It is designed for a hands-on experience that allows for plenty of culinary exploration.

4.) Who are the culinary inspirations in your life right now?

I really enjoy René Redzepi’s work, he’s very inspiring. His last book on fermentation (The Noma Guide to Fermentation) is really cool. I also like watching the Chef's Table on Netflix — all of those stories are very inspiring.

5.) How do you feel attitudes toward raw and vegan foods have changed in the past 5 years?

A few years ago the term "Raw Foodie" was a label for those who ate solely raw foods. The result of that was a cuisine that imitated cooked dishes —in flavor and texture— while trying to recreate food experiences. It developed its own set of kitchen rules and recipes characteristically loaded with nuts. It was quite challenging and it was very attractive to me. But now I think Raw Food as a cuisine is more than an "all or nothing" lifestyle choice. It is nice to know what your body needs and make food choices that support that. I like that vegan restaurants now offer raw dishes and that markets carry some raw staple products, it’s definitely become more available and more inclusive!

6.) Do you have any exciting projects going on that you'd like to share?

I am very excited about my project THE VEGGIE SHIFT where we celebrate the sexy side of veggies, and stay inspired to keep a healthy lifestyle via interviews, recipes, food coaching and retreats.

I also am working with a TV crew from Washington DC in a very cool project. We are developing a unique series of shows to be shot in a live studio and I am running the culinary media department. We are scheduled to launch in May 2019.

Finally, I will be a chef for a few retreats again next year in Ecuador at the Raw Food World. Come join me!

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by James Sant

Yield: 2 quarts

2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 red onions, diced
3 Fresno chilies, minced
2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 pounds purple tomatillos, chopped (see Variation)
4 cups fresh corn (from the cob)
5 cups cooked garbanzo beans (see Variation)
1 bunch cilantro, minced
8 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Mexican chili powder salt and pepper, to taste

Toppings
2-3 avocadoes, diced
1-pint cherry tomatoes, diced
½ cup pickled jalapenos
½ cup minced cilantro

  1. Sauté red onions and Fresno chilies, cumin, and coriander in the avocado oil, until translucent, about 4-6 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and sauté another minute.
  3. Add the purple tomatillos and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium high heat to release juices, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the corn, garbanzo beans, minced cilantro, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat and simmer for 12-14 minutes.
  5. Transfer 4 cups of the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.
  6. Return the blended mixture to the soup and stir well to combine. Add the apple cider vinegar followed by the Mexican chili powder, salt, and pepper.
  7. To serve, pour soup into individual bowl and garnish with the diced avocadoes, cherry tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, and cilantro.

Variations:

  1. If you are using green tomatillos, add 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup to balance out the bitterness of the green tomatillos.
  2. Use Great Northern Beans instead of the garbanzo beans.
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