Busting common myths about raw food

“Eating raw food means eating like a hamster.”

“How do you live on raw foods alone? You won’t have energy, right?”

These are two common misconceptions about raw foodism. Not only are they not true, but living on raw foods alone is an extreme that is not being promoted here. Instead, simple open-mindedness about a raw food diet is what matters most.

The December article “Mood for Food: Afterglow surprises with a raw vegan menu” introduced readers to Afterglow, a local farm-to-table organic restaurant. The co-founder and manager, Carmen Low, was eager to bust some common myths about raw foods.

Myth #1: RAW FOOD IS JUST PLAIN VEGGIES

Question: What do you think raw food/clean eating is?

Student Responses:

“Sashimi,” answered sophomore Avery Kwik.

“Just unprocessed stuff with no genetically modified organisms (GMOs). You grow your own veggies, nothing from the supermarket. Pure fruits and veggies and homemade stuff,” said senior Jessica Allen.

Myth busted by Carmen Low:

“Contrary to the popular belief, raw or healthy food doesn’t have to be boring. Sure, organic fruits and veggies are at the base of clean eating, but they definitely don’t define it.

For example, at Afterglow, the most popular dish is the Kimchi Nori Rolls, which are made with homemade seven-days aged kimchi and crushed almonds instead of rice. Another restaurant favorite is Raw Lasagna, which is made of thinly-sliced zucchini instead of pasta, cashew cream that replaces cheese, and marinara sauce instead of processed tomato sauce.

Also, if you’re following a raw food diet, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have dessert. Chocolate Salted Caramel Fudge is here to prove this: it’s made of cocoa, avocado, tahini spread, and walnut crust.

Surprisingly, all of these dishes are fully raw and as you can see, none of them are boring salads.”

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Kimchi Nori Rolls

Myth #2: RAW FOOD IS FOR VEGETARIANS

Question: Do you think that raw food is mostly for vegetarians? Would you personally go to a raw food restaurant?

Student Responses:

“I think that there could be many meat eaters that would be interested in what raw food has to offer and the ideas behind it, but vegans/vegetarians would most likely be the ones who actually do the diet. However, I’d love to try going to such a restaurant,” answered senior David Riegger.

“I think other people can have raw food, but I’d say that it’s mostly for vegetarians,” said senior Hayley Sparrow.

Myth busted by Carmen Low:

“A lot of people who come to Afterglow don’t know about the food that we make and most of them are not vegans or vegetarians. The whole concept of farm-to-table raw food restaurants is not about converting anyone and I, myself, am not a vegetarian, but I do enjoy healthy food tasting good. I don’t think that eating clean means eating like a hamster.

So if healthy food tastes good, I don’t see why people wouldn’t want to eat it on a regular basis. Not every night out should mean burgers and fried foods. Instead, it can mean ‘tiramisu with cashew cream’, ‘deconstructed sushi bowl’ , and ‘raw taco bowl’. Not only do these sound new and exciting, but they are also a good alternative to an old plain burger.”

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Raw Lasagna

Myth #3: RAW FOOD IS JUST ANOTHER HIP TREND

Question: Do you think that creators of raw food restaurants have first-hand experience with food issues that might have inspired them to share this knowledge with others or are they following a new food trend?

Student Responses:

“I think they’re just following the people and the trends and what’s hip,” said sophomore Izak Arwan.

“I think that the creation of healthy, raw food restaurants has to do with people getting more educated about what they should be eating. Nowadays, even at regular restaurants, healthy options are being demanded by the general public. Therefore, knowing what the public wants is the trick to any successful business,” answered senior Rafaela Peterson.

Myth busted by Carmen Low:

“The inspiration behind the creation of this particular farm-to-table raw food restaurant has to do with my own person experience. My partner and I spent the last four years in China, still a developing country, where there were a lot of food scandals. It’s different from Singapore where the authorities are strict about hygiene safety.

In China, on the other hand, the source of the food should always be questioned. I worked in the communications industry so I did a lot of socializing and got a chance to see not-so-safe food factories. This made me realize how much better it is to eat farm-to-table foods, which became the reason to visit organic farms and to do research on how to make healthy food taste better. “

Chocolate Salted Caramel Fudge
Chocolate Salted Caramel Fudge

Myth #4: THERE ARE NO ORGANIC FARMS IN SINGAPORE

Question: Do you think there are organic farms in Singapore?

Student Responses:

“There aren’t a lot of farms in Singapore, but there are some and I’m guessing there is at least one organic farm,” said senior Gabby Leow.

“I think there are natural plants like coconuts that grow in Singapore, but I don’t think they have any organic tree or animal farms on such a small island. Singapore imports all of its organic plants,” answered junior Maggie Bryan.

Myth busted by Carmen Low:

“We work with a lot of organic farms in Singapore; however, this makes us depend on the weather. Although this can be difficult, it also allows us to be creative. Our menu changes constantly since our ingredients are whatever is in season at the moment. Another benefit we get from personally going to the farms we work with is the exchange of knowledge that happens there. Farmers and I often tell each other what we know about growing organic crops so in a way, this is an exchange of not only crops, but also information.”

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After eating at Afterglow and interviewing the owner, this reporter feels more knowledgeable and excited about raw food than ever. Not only is it anything but boring, but it’s also just as accessible and affordable as your typical PS Cafe burger.

Author: Anna Sorokina

Anna Sorokina is a first-year reporter on the Eye. Originally from Russia, this senior enjoys writing poetry, reading novels, and cooking. sorokina45401@sas.edu.sg

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