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Eating Out ... Naturally

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Many of us are cooking at home in the way Mother Nature intended. But is there a way to enjoy a really great, natural meal when we eat out? Absolutely!

Many of us are cooking at home in the way Mother Nature intended. But is there a way to enjoy a really great, natural meal when we eat out? Absolutely! Winner of the Vancouver Sun’s Best Vegetarian Raw Food category in 2001 and 2002, the RAW Health Cafe, located at 189 West 1st Avenue in Vancouver, offers a variety of juices and meals to please almost everyone.

“We want to offer the best nutritional value to our customers,” says owner Oliver Rothmann. “Our main focus is raw food combined with organic selections, although I do have a few cooked items as well.” He strives to maintain as many organic choices as possible, with most menu items using certified-organic ingredients. Rothman explains that sprouting greens, soaking nuts, and dehydrating food preserves enzymes, minerals, and vitamins. “Raw food gives you the nutrients to live a healthy, energetic life with clear thoughts, plus many other benefits,” he says.

Healthy is also tasty! RAW’s menu is a collection of colourful dishes for light eating or enjoying as a full meal. Choose one of three organic dressings to spice up a delicious spinach salad with apple, red pepper, red onion, mushrooms, almonds, olives, mint, and organic feta. Add the Eccentric Veggie Delight sandwich, featuring organic feta, artichoke, pesto Dijon, spinach, olives, and red pepper, and you’ve got a scrumptious lunch. To see RAW’s full menu, go to vancouverrestaurantguide.net/van_west/raw.

In cosmopolitan Toronto, dining naturally means visiting Organic Buddha at 443 Danforth Avenue. It credits its success to former Vancouverite Susan Sam, a self-taught macrobiotic cook and restaurant consultant, who set up Planet Veg on Cornwall Avenue in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood and Juice for Life in Toronto at Queen and Spadina. Now a basic meditation instructor and registered aromatherapy health practitioner in Ontario, Sam incorporates the Buddhist philosophy into her meals at Organic Buddha.

“We try to make our dishes with as many organic ingredients as possible,” says Sam. “We have eight Sacred Rice Bowls, each one recognizing a prominent Buddhist nation. Our macrobiotic cook has expanded her traditional sweet and savoury Japanese-based dishes to include those flavoured by the hot spices and peppers of other Buddhist nations.” Included are the Indonesian Golden Robe Bowl, the Tibetan Kalachakra Peace Bowl, and the Thai Forest Rice Bowl. Customers who want something a little more North American can order one of their seven winter salads: Citrus Salad with Bitter Greens or Marinated Wheat Berries and Avocado, or one of their seven hot items such as Buddha’s Chili or Mayan Pizza.

Back on the West Coast, rebar modern food, at 50 Bastion Square, has been serving up juices and funky natural foods since 1988. Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, its constantly changing menu items often come with a suggested wine pairing. Check out rebar’s culinary innovations at rebarmodernfood.com. Or look for the rebarModern Food Cookbook (Whitecap, 2002), which features more than 250 fresh and packed-with-flavour recipes. Vegans, vegetarians, and anyone looking for delicious ways to dine at home naturally will enjoy this book.

But make it easy on yourself. Take a night off and go out to eat. Dining out can be a healthy, tasteful experience for both newly converted and dedicated natural food enthusiasts.

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