A tray of herb pesto canapes and a bowl of kale salad sat on Elizabeth Wills’ kitchen countertop, alongside glasses of kefir mojitos and mugs of Sunfire Super Foods’ Chocolate Bliss at Monday’s San Marcos Raw Food Meetup potluck dinner.
Becky Patterson said her herb pesto canapes, which consisted of sliced cucumbers, homemade pesto, tomatoes and black olives, have been a long time coming.
Patterson said she has experimented with various raw food dishes and tasted those of others at the group’s potluck dinners for more than three years.
Wills began hosting potluck dinners through Meetup, an online social networking site, in fall 2008 after she began selling Austin-based Sunfire Super Foods products.
Sunfire Super Foods products contain raw, unprocessed ingredients, such as Himalayan salt and cacao powder.
Wills said she has not consumed coffee for more than 20 years. She has substituted the caffeinated drink for the company’s Chocolate Bliss, a powder of vitamins and minerals that is mixed in water.
“I don’t really get headaches since giving up (coffee),” Wills said. “It’s amazing. We actually do have some Tylenol and Advil in the house because my daughter had braces, but we probably don’t even know where it is.”
Suzi Fields, Edible San Marcos chairwoman, said though she has repeatedly attended the potluck dinners, she has not transitioned to a completely raw food diet.
Fields said she still drinks coffee and enjoys soup on cold nights. However, she said the majority of her food comes from a personal garden.
For Wills and her family, the transition to eating raw food almost exclusively has not been difficult.
Wills and her family’s venture into the world of raw food began after she attended an “unschooling” conference in Dallas. She said presentations by David Favor, Sunfire Super Foods founder and owner, among others, opened her eyes to new ideas about health and nutrition.
Wills said because raw food is not cooked at more than 105 degrees Fahrenheit (the temperature varies among raw foodists), important nutrients are still present. She said this allows the human body to properly digest and ingest less food.
Wills attributed her family’s good health to eating raw food. She said she has not had a cold in years.
Some people transition to eating raw food after they, or someone they know, is affected by a health problem.
Patterson became interested in raw food after the death of her husband five years ago from cancer. His death prompted her to investigate a cure for diseases.
Through her research on diseases and her work as a biofeedback practitioner, Patterson’s perspective on the effects nutrition has on the human body changed from the ground up.
As a gardener, it was from the soil that Patterson drew her inspiration for her adopted philosophies. She believes in consuming fewer meat and dairy products, growing her own food and buying local organic products.
A presentation by Wills at a San Marcos Runners Club meeting on the benefits of raw foods piqued Patterson’s interest. She later began attending the group’s potluck dinners.
Through guest speakers, such as Craig Sommers, author of the “Raw Food Bible,” and raw food preparation demonstrations, the potluck dinners have helped Patterson inspire her family members to transition to a healthier lifestyle.
She said even though her son-in-law is resistant to dietary change, she believes he and her daughter will eventually make the transition because her three-year-old grandson enjoys eating vegetables.
At almost 60 years old, Patterson said she is in better health than ever.
“I had my best blood work last time (I was checked) than I ever had (before),” she said. “My hormones are in balance. I have to attribute some of that to the good food I’m eating.”