Danielle Arsenault has been around the raw food block.
She’s a raw food chef and educator who’s studied at both the Anne Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico and at the Raw Foundation in Vancouver, B.C.
Even before going raw she’d co-written four gluten-free vegan cookbooks selling all 4,000 printed copies.
Her love for the kitchen began when she spent several years living abroad. She lived in Mexico and South Korea teaching English and found it difficult to find vegan food. She explained there were always ingredients such as lard or fish sauce added to what seemed like a vegan option.
With what felt like no other options, Arsenault headed into her own kitchen and began to experiment making her own delicious vegan-friendly foods. When her passion in the kitchen was ignited, she began to take a deeper look into nutrition and this is where she first began to learn about raw foods and how powerful they can be.
“I have found raw food to be the most healing diets I have come across,” said Arsenault. “I want to share with people the ability to heal themselves.”
Now she runs her business Pachavega Living Foods Education, with her motto “Organic plant-based education to heal your body and ignite your spirit.”
The chef explained she keeps the word “raw” out of her business name so she doesn’t scare people away for fear of the unknown.
She uses her raw food knowledge, skills and passion to help other people find health and balance in their lives.
She seen people clear up acne, come off diabetic medicine and even use raw food to help heal from cancer.
“Whether it’s hypertension, diabetes, cancer or depression, I fully believe it’s all alleviated with raw foods,” Arsenault said. “I am not a doctor so I can’t use the word cured, but I’ve done tonnes and tonnes of research.”
When Arsenault decided she wanted to learn more about raw foods she travelled to the Anne Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico in Aug. 2012.
“It was amazing and it changed my life,” she said. “It was then I decided to be 100 per cent raw. Before going to the institute I was at least 50 per cent.”
She stayed 100 per cent raw for more than a year. Now she hovers around 80 per cent raw in the winter and 100 per cent in the summer. If she is going to choose to eat cooked food it’s often sprouted brown rice, quinoa, yams, broccoli or butternut squash.
“People need to stay away from packaged and processed foods,” Arsenault said.
When it comes to being a raw foodist living in a cooked food world, Arsenault explains, “I’ve had to accept that people are just going to eat what they will. Instead of fighting it I want to inspire them.”
While she’s never had health issues of her own, Arsenault credits her healthy habits to keeping her in tip top shape.
“I’ve got unlimited energy,” Arsenault said.
Fermented foods also play a key role in Arsenault diet. She brews kombucha and water kefir as well as making her own fermented nut cheeses and krauts.
The 32-year-old avid rock climber is picking up from Victoria, B.C. and moving to Canmore, Alta. in May. She’ll be living in the Rocky Mountains and will be teaching a raw food chef certification and nutrition course.
“I am a certified whole food nutrition and life coach,” she explained. “I also have a master’s degree in education. My passion is education. I never wanted to make food for people I want to teach them how.”
For more information or to contact Arsenault go to pachavega.com
Danielle Arsenault typical raw food day
A smoothie loaded with bananas, spinach, one date, medicinal mushroom powder and goji berries.
A hearty salad with zucchini noodles, kelp noodles, cherry tomatoes and cucumber. She makes her own dressing with ingredients including apple cider vinegar, olive oil and garlic.
A plate of fruit.
When she’s craving something more she will often go for raw crackers and cashew cheese or make a raw chocolate smoothie.
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