Source Local: Raw Food

By: Tiffany Janay

It’s a new year, which means New Year’s resolutions have been set.  It’s almost guaranteed that most of you reading this are planning to get healthy and lose some weight. If this isn’t the first time this has popped up on your list of resolutions, then it’s probably because you were unsuccessful with the methods you tried in the past to achieve your goals. Well, it’s the perfect time to introduce new ideas and thoughts into your life, and to finally mark this resolution off your list so you can focus on other areas of your life, like personal growth.

If you truly want to lose weight and become healthy, you must start by exercising the heaviest part of your body – your mind.  It’s important to learn about the different resources available to you that will assist you in living a better life. In our city, there are lots of resources available to support an organic and clean lifestyle. If eating healthy is something you truly desire, but find it difficult to shop and to prepare those types of meals, there are people in San Diego that are available to help you.  For example, there are CSA’s and companies that take raw produce and create already prepared gourmet meals that you can purchase weekly.

In San Diego, we are very fortunate to have beautiful, year-round climate that provides great conditions for harvesting.  There is a plethora of local farmers in our area that we should be taking advantage of.  They’re doing great things with the abundance of life that is being harvested in our city.  Why buy food from a grocery store chain that has been shipped from half way around the world and support unknown farmers, when we can buy produce grown right here in San Diego.  There are farmer’s markets 7 days a week throughout the county where you can meet the actual farmers or farm workers, which allows you to get a feel for who is feeding you.

Suzie’s Farm is one local farm that practices all organic farming.  They are located right near the border in San Ysidro and have over 40 acres of land.  The company is owned by husband and wife, Robin Taylor and Lucila De Alejandro, who also own Sun Grown Organic Distributors, a sprout and wheatgrass farm.

In 2001, the USDA took over organic farming and put into effect a nationwide regulation that defines what organic farming means. They hire certain private companies to certify farms for organic produce because the USDA doesn’t have enough inspectors to make sure farmers are keeping up with requirements.  Those inspectors come out about once a year to check the farms, making sure everything is in compliance.

Organic farming means that there is no use of synthetic pesticide or fertilizer applications allowed.  It has been reported that the use of such chemicals have caused serious illnesses to people such as cancer.  Instead of using harsh chemicals to protect their crops, they opt for more organic options; for example, to control rodent and gopher problems, they have a lady who comes out occasionally with a falcon that chases down different rodents that naturally affect the crops. Also, as part of organic farming, there is no growing of genetically modified crops.  Although a farmer can’t look at a seed and tell that it’s genetically modified, they know because there are only certain companies that will sell it. It is also extremely expensive since it is patented life and not readily available to just anybody.

A CSA is a community-supported agriculture. When people buy shares into a farm, what they receive by helping the farm is freshly grown local produce.  People prepay and every week, or every other week, the farm provides them with a box of in-season produce, and at Suzie’s, a week of produce is as low as $25. You can also decide how often you want to receive the boxes. However, the farm always decides what is in the box, so it’s always a surprise and an opportunity to be creative. There are several different pick up spots throughout the city for your convenience.  Financially, the best way to support a farm is by being a part of their CSA. It is a consistent stream of income for them and it helps to pay their employees, which keeps the farm effectively running.

Eating in season is best because you are eating what is growing in your area, and it’s what nature is providing for you at that time. We should take advantage of that and go with the natural rhythm of nature. Currently in their box is: gold, Chioggia or Detroit dark red beets, blue scotch kale, red Russian kale, lettuce, broccoli, onion, parsley, turnips, chard, spinach, red frill, pea shoots, and spicy salad mix (mizuna, tatsoi, red mustard).

Veggie Vibes is a unique weekly meal provider company that is a customer of Suzie’s Farm and buys their produce regularly along with other locally grown crops from farmer’s markets. They create culinary art without cooking the food above 118°.  This is called eating a raw food diet.

The reason many people opt to eat raw food is because it’s the way nature intended.  It is said that once food has been cooked over a temperature of 118°, many living enzymes in the plants die and become inactive.  For instance, if you eat a carrot because of the beta carotene, which can help strengthen your eyes, but cook it, then you may no longer receive those benefits because the enzymes that provide those nutrients are no longer active.

Raw food is beneficial for such things as detoxifying your body. It is also easier to digest, which gives you more energy and vitality, and of course, it has the highest nutritional value.  It’s important to keep our bodies in an alkaline state versus acidic.  Highly processed foods and fast foods are acidic.  It is said that diseases such as cancer cannot survive in an alkaline body.  By eating raw fruits and vegetables, you are helping to create an alkaline environment in your body.

Veggie Vibes’ menu changes every week, and they are truly creating art with their food.  They look forward to a new week because it gives them the opportunity to vibe with the plants and exercise their creativity in preparing gourmet cuisine to please the palates of their clients. They deliver their fresh food to your home in SD County every Monday.

They are producing real works of art and are creating gourmet raw food.  For as little as $100 per week, they will prepare meals for you for up to 7 days, including desserts.  Everything is made from scratch and perfectly crafted by Chef Perkunas.

Working with raw foods and creating the type of gourmet art that they do, is a very intensive process. Everything is made from scratch.  To make a meal, they have to begin preparing several days in advance by marinating, sprouting seeds, and dehydrating.  All of their food is free of dairy, gluten, soy, cholesterol, refined sugars and flours; it is organic and there are no artificial flavors or preservatives.  They only use fresh raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and natural seasonings for raw food preparation. The taste and texture is always changing because it is dictated by nature, so every meal is a new experience to savor.

Erika from Veggie Vibes is also the organizer of San Diego’s Raw Vegan Meet Up group, and they meet regularly with fun community events such as potlucks or movie nights.  Sign up to immerse yourself into the culture and experience something new.

Once a month, Suzie’s Farm hosts a farm tour where you and your family can come out and get a guided tour of their farm, and at the end of it, take home a bag of their freshly picked produce for around $10.  Also, if you want to learn more about organic farming and possibly begin your own garden at home, you can volunteer with a friend of the farm through Wild Willows Farm.

To find out more about these companies and become involved with your new lifestyle change, log onto and, and tell them NUG sent you.  Lucila from Suzie’s adds, “One of the things I like about the magazine is that you would never know who smokes marijuana.  Just because you like to smoke pot doesn’t mean you aren’t intelligent, into politics or social issues, or being vegan; that’s one of the cool things about NUG Magazine.”

When you pick up some fresh produce from Suzie’s and make a nice big salad, here is a recipe using hemp oil to make a good healthy salad dressing:

1 cup Hemp Oil
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup freshly peeled and chopped Ginger
6 Tablespoons Maple Syrup or Raw Agave Nectar
2 Tablespoons White Miso
2 Tablespoons Water
Pinch of Cayenne

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth and enjoy.  Top your salad with Chia and hemp seeds for an extra nutritional benefit.

To see a video on how to make this, log on to and click on recipes.

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