Cherie Soria in person is all the advertising and PR she’ll ever need. Meeting this slender, dynamic owner of four successful businesses and a mini-empire based on raw food, it’s clear that she’s been practicing and honing the science and has become an expert. She looks all of 45 and radiant, and then told me she’s nearly 63! She’s the light behind Living Light Culinary Arts Center, cafe and Inn in downtown Fort Bragg.
We met outside a kitchen area filled with students who were preparing a Mediterranean raw food menu. Twirling thin slices of zucchini, filling them with ground nuts and savories, and using a food dehydrator to give that texture of being grilled or cooked. The students prepare four courses and nothing ever sees the inside of an oven or is touched by heat. One hundred forty degrees in the dehydrator does the trick, though it can take as long as two hours.
I asked this healthy raw food guru for her tips…I mean, what are most Americans doing wrong with their diets? Her first tip was about water…unchlorinated, filtered water. Start drinking way more than you think you need, and don’t drink it with food. Her morning begins with fruit smoothies; she stuffs greens in with the raspberries, vegetables or other fruits plus chia seeds, and swears by this breakfast.
She always eats at least a few giant salads, full of leafy greens (‘make green your favorite color,’ she advised, along with all other food colors except white). Foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as flax and chia seeds, are especially high on her list, as are walnuts. She said that at home her stove is covered with wood, yet she will give in to cooked foods if she’s going out, she just asks to keep out heavy sauces and meat. The acidity coming from refined foods, coffee and alcohol is what we should avoid…and raw food provides the opposite– alkalines that help the body absorb nutrients better. The enzymes found in raw foods also help break down food better, Cherie said.
Her husband is also a raw foodie, she told me, and just recently she gave up gluten, saying that she felt a bit heavy from too much wheat. Heavy? You? At any rate, she has an eager following here in this part of the world and travels far and wide demonstrating her particular type of healthy eating.