The raw food movement has been around for quite some time but it’s a lifestyle diet that shows no signs of losing momentum. In fact, the number of devotees is growing by the day and not all of them live in trees or attend shamanic movement workshops on a regular basis.
Lumai de Smidt is one of a new breed of raw food fans who has embraced the diet to such an extent that she now makes a living out of it. The vibrant 20-year-old shares a rambling house in Plumstead in Cape Town’s southern suburbs with her parents, Portia and Jason of The Africa Café.
Backed by her parents, Lumai has become the face of their enterprise, which they call Raw Food Religion. It all started 10 years ago when Lumai was beset by eczema and allergy-related symptoms.
In desperation, she and her mother started replacing wheat and dairy with alternatives such as rye flour and soya milk. After much trial and error, Lumai’s reaction when she as much as licked an ice cream confirmed their suspicions that she was allergic to dairy products.
This discovery inspired the mother and daughter’s keen interest in superfoods, alternative ingredients and vegan foods.
After attending a workshop by American raw food guru David Wolfe (and trying his raw chocolate) at the age of 17, Lumai became a committed raw foodie. For her, the change in diet and lifestyle worked wonders. Her eczema is gone, the allergy symptoms have vanished, her skin is clear, she has loads of energy and hasn’t had a cold in three years.
“Seeing food as medicine is empowering,” she says, “but it has to be tasty too, or you won’t sustain it in the long run. Read more about raw food principles here.
The team experiments with different ingredients and has developed a range of gourmet vegan and raw foods, which are sold at their Spades and Spoons deli in Cape Town’s Wynberg.
To create these products, they buy many of their vegetables and fruits from Woolworths’ organic offerings, while other products are sourced from Superfoods (www.superfoods.co.za), which imports nutritious raw ingredients such as goji berries, raw cacao, maca powder and spirulina.
“Eating raw in a responsible way means supplementing your meals with superfoods,” Lumai insists. “You need these products, some of which are high in proteins and B vitamins, to make up for what is lacking in the fruit and vegetables you eat every day.”
The family home serves as the Raw Food Religion factory and on any given morning you will see a number of cooks watching over dehydrators and food processors while creating vegan meals to order or making raw supplies for Spades and Spoons.
The lunch menu includes better-than-meat mushroom walnut burgers, spicy butternut soup, coconut vegetable wraps and a delicious chocolate mousse.
They are also renowned for their nut cheeses, dehydrated sweet potato crackers and onion bread, and produce a range of nut butters and raw sauces and jams, nut mayonnaise, poppy seed-and-pine-nut salad dressings, as well as organic, raw chocolate brownies and coconut macarons.
None of the products is heated above 46°C when they are made, as per raw food regulations.
“I don’t recommend that anyone switch overnight from eating cooked food to going completely raw. Gradually introduce more raw foods into your diet and you’ll soon start noticing the difference. Eating this way should always be fun and enjoyable.”
Follow Lumai’s blog at www.rawfoodreligion.blogspot.com where you can view products from Raw Food Religion and order from their Green Kitchen Eat-In meals menu.
Spades and Spoons Deli, 23 Constantia Road, Wynberg.
Order by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, call 082 570 9439 or visit www.facebook.com/spadesandspoonsdeli.
WATCH LUMAI PREPARE HER RAW FOOD