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The ‘raw truth’ about food

Jennie Moran teaches clients how to improve their health by changing their diet to include raw foods

Posted: April 3, 2009 1:17 a.m.
Updated: April 3, 2009 4:55 a.m.

"Jen's Guiltless Brownies" are prepared without any cooking. Instead, raw almonds are soaked and processed with dates, carob or cacao powder, stevia, cranberries and a superfood supplement called Mila before being pressed into a pan and chilled for at least an hour before serving.

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Meals with Jennie Chester Moran are raw affairs. Literally. At a cooking class held March 25, the owner of "Jen's Raw Truth" showed students how to make everything from soup to brownies without the use of a stove or oven. Instead, Chester Moran used her trusty Vitamix and dehydrator to avoid raising temperatures above 115 degrees, the point at which many raw diet proponents believe food's inherent nutritional properties are destroyed. The results were decidedly positive among the 18 students.

"It was so far out of my comfort zone, but it was a lot better than I thought it would be," said Alexis Cissell of Palmdale.

The reaction pleased Moran, a certified Hippocrates Health Institute health educator. "What you eat can have a powerful impact on whether you live long and well and it is my intention to help my clients realize that it's possible with raw foods," she said. "Food should take little time to prepare and be as nutritious as possible."

During her 90-minute "Party in the Kitchen" class at the Canyon Country chiropractic office of Dr. Carolyn Griffin, Chester Moran ran through the health benefits of each recipe. She tossed handfuls of spinach and romaine lettuce into the Vitamix, along with stevia, lime, lemon, agave nectar and filtered water for the smoothie, which blended into a brilliant emerald green.

"You get iron and folic acid from the spinach and fiber from the romaine, which is also very relaxing to the body. This is a great alkalizer for the body, which will keep your PH balanced, so it's a fantastic thing to drink first thing in the morning. It'll give you energy throughout the day," Chester Moran said.

Chester Moran, a former actress who also works at in the marketing department at Whole Foods Valencia, was a vegetarian at a young age, but turned to raw food after a health crisis. She and her sister had visited Peru and drank a local corn beer that left her with a parasitic condition. Ignoring the warning signs until she literally turned green and developed painful boils, Chester Moran was eventually diagnosed with toxoplasmosis.

When traditional medicine failed to keep her symptoms under control, Chester Moran turned to a naturopath who referred her to the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Fla. Often called "the father of medicine," Hippocrates believed people should "let food be our medicine." Chester Moran signed up for a four-month course that relieved her condition and changed the course of her life forever.

"I loved being an actress, but found I didn't have the passion for it that I did with raw food," Chester Moran said. "It was a light at the end of the tunnel. I made a pact with myself that by healing myself, I would show others how they could do the same."

Now Chester Moran, who maintains an 80 percent raw diet, shares her passion with clients during individual consultations that range from nutritional analyses to shopping trips, as well as popular "There's a Party in My Kitchen" classes held at a host's home.

For $30 per person, with a minimum of six people, Chester Moran offers raw food variations of tasty cuisine from across the globe - Italian lasagna, Mexican burritos, even all-American "burgers." Recipes and instruction are included during the two-hour class.

She envisions recipes during the day and perfects them in her well-equipped kitchen at night, often waking up her husband at 3 a.m. to share her latest creation. Ultimately, Chester Moran strives to be the Rachael Ray of raw foods.

"These recipes are definitely 30 minutes or less and they're so easy," she said. "Also, when it's hot in the kitchen or you're tired and don't want to cook, you can make a healthy, easy-to-digest meal in no time and with no heat."

One such recipe is the carrot avocado soup - a cold, creamy concoction that blended carrot juice, avocado, fresh ginger, cilantro, green onions, olive oil and an all-natural version of soy sauce called nama shoyu.

According to Chester Moran, the soup is an excellent way to improve the immune system, eyesight, and overall health. She seasoned it with dulse flakes, a healthy alternative to table salt and served with tasty flax crackers.

While she makes her own flax crackers as well as fruit roll-ups in a dehydrator, Chester Moran recommended Ezekiel breads and wraps for those without the technology.

"They're a sprouted grain and have more life force than regular breads," she said. "Cooking takes out the nutrients. Raw food and live grains lock in enzymes."

When one thinks of raw foods, salads certainly spring to mind.

Chester Moran's version exchanged traditional greens for kale - she then "massaged" in olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper to coat the hearty leaves.

Next, dried cranberries and diced tomatoes were added.

"I took this to a baby shower and it disappeared within an hour," Chester Moran told the audience.

All attendees appeared to enjoy the salad, while the more adventurous sampled rehydrated sea vegetables cut into ribbons and seasoned with nothing more than dulse flakes.

"I like it all," said Sarah Outlaw, Saugus resident and founder of the Holistic Moms Network. "I try to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible, with no processing. I wouldn't say I'm a raw foodie, but I definitely incorporate raw food into my family's diet."

Chester Moran said the way to get people to try raw foods is by targeting their sweet tooth, which she has successfully done over the years with "Jen's Guiltless Brownies."

The recipe combined soaked and dehydrated walnuts, pitted dates, raw carob or cacao powder, cranberries, stevia and Mila, a seed-based superfood supplement that's high in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber and phytonutrients.

After the ingredients are finely ground in a food processor, the mixture is transferred to a brownie pan, chilled for an hour or more and cut into squares.

"You can get all your Omega-3 in a brownie. How fun is that?" Chester Moran asked.

For more information on Jen's Raw Truth, visit www.jensrawtruth.com or call (818) 968-2298.

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