The Magazine for Vegan
Click here to Advertise on VegFamily
Behind the Scenes
Vegan Cookies from Allison's Gourmet
Personal Development for Smart People
Matt Amsden of RAWvolutionInterviewed by Laura Bruno
A big thank you to Matt Amsden of RAWvolution, who agreed to this interview for VegFamily!
Matt, you've often shared that you first went 100% raw in 1998 after hearing raw food leader David Wolfe speak on the Howard Stern show. That's a pretty dramatic shift for a bachelor omnivore to make overnight! What specifically captured your attention?
I immediately realized the pure logic that informs the concept. Raw foods simply contain more nutrition and more enzymes than cooked food, more "life force" if you will. Eating foods processed with heat is like pushing the vacuum cleaner over the carpet without having it turned on; your body has to do all of the work to digest the food but it's receiving only a small fraction of the benefits. Humans and domesticated pets are the only species on planet Earth that consume cooked foods. They are also the only species that suffer degenerative disease en masse. The logical conclusion is that they are linked- cause and effect!
Some raw foodists continue to eat raw dairy, raw meat, and/or honey, but RAWvolution—your restaurant, (un)cookbook and meal delivery program—offers 100% animal-free meals. What led you to choose a completely vegan raw food diet?
It was the same sort of logic I mentioned before. Animals in the wild instinctively eat only foods that suit their physiology. As humans, our digestive systems and other physical attributes (teeth, hands, forward-facing eyes), are most similar to herbivorous animals. At this point in time; there are also mountains of scientific and empirical data to show that animal foods promote ill health, obesity, degenerative disease, destruction of the planet and massive suffering to animals.
Matt, you have quite a long list of celebrity clients. What, in your experience, makes the raw food vegan diet so attractive to the Hollywood set?
The same thing that makes it attractive to everyone else! It helps the body maintain a healthy weight and clear skin and promotes higher physical energy levels and greater mental clarity. It's a win-win situation- everybody loves that. This truly is the lifestyle that everyone has been searching for- and it's been here all along!
What role do you feel superfoods play in helping people to maintain a healthy vegan diet? (Please define "superfoods" for clarity, since they mean different things to different people.) Do you have any easy, favorite recipes that people can use to bring more superfoods into their lives?
Superfoods are those that contain a greater concentration of nutrients than what is the standard for food today. Goji Berries for instance, are a complete protein source, contain 18 different amino acids and all 8 essential amino acids and typically contain 2-4 times the amount of antioxidants found in blueberries! Raw chocolate is equally powerful! Maintaining a healthy vegan diet is certainly no more challenging than maintaining a healthy diet of any kind, but superfoods provide such unparalleled nutrition that they can be of great benefit to anyone. In my book I have a great recipe for a superfood shake that tastes amazing!
Many people would love to try raw foods but balk at the cost and preparation time. How does your meals program help to address these issues?
It makes both cost and preparation time non-issues. When you order "The Box", you spend no time shopping, nearly no time preparing food (save perhaps your morning meal or a supplemental salad) and the cost is extremely reasonable for 100% organic, hand-made food that is fully-prepared and delivered to your door anywhere in the country.
What inspired your raw food cookbook?
I was developing the recipes that would eventually comprise the menu items for the RAWvolution food delivery service ("The Box") and it occurred to me that a great way to get healthy food in the hands of more people that are interested in raw foods world-wide would be to create an attractive, easy to use recipe book. It empowers people to take the responsibility of healthy eating into their own hands! I brought the idea to Harper Collins and they loved it! The book is now in its second printing and people that I meet tell me they really love it.
It's wonderful to have a partner interested in a similar healing and spiritual path. Did you and Janabai meet through raw foods, or did one of you help lead the other on this path?
Janabai and I met through raw foods. She came to me looking for a job in raw food preparation at a restaurant where I was renting kitchen space. We met, fell in love and were engaged within a year.
We're now married and own the very restaurant where we first met and have turned it into one of the world's most successful raw food restaurants.
Do you have children, and if so, are you raising them on this same raw vegan diet?
Janabai and I plan to have children within the next few years and their first food will of course be breast-milk. Once they are weaned, we absolutely intend to raise them on a raw, vegan diet. As a lifestyle, we believe it's the best so of course we would want the best for our children. We're lucky because in a few years, the raw food infrastructure will have grown stronger and more broadly-based just as it has in the last few years.
What do you find most challenging and most blessed about the raw vegan diet?
What I find most challenging is not any aspect of the diet itself but the medical mainstream communities' unwillingness to acknowledge the healing power of the diet (lifestyle). It illuminates their disinterest in eradicating disease and promoting health and well-being in favor of their interest in marinating the status quo and cashing in. They continue to blanketly prescribe surgery, radiation and chemotherapy when the overwhelming evidence is that these options don't work and actually cause more harm. What I find most blessed is that it is not a man-made paradigm. It was given to us by God, Mother Nature or Spirit and placed right at our finger-tips! This unfortunately, became the best place to have hidden it. We have however, rediscovered it and that is a blessing within itself.
Matt, what's your vision for RAWvolution? How do you view your food as potentially changing our world? (Please feel free to share any stories to help illustrate your transformative message.)
RAWvolution (the food delivery service, restaurant, book etc.), are just small components of the larger RAWvolution that I believe is already in motion and that will spread like all good revolutions built on truth do and create a significant change that takes place over time. Arthur Schopenhauer said this about 'truth': "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident
Thanks so much, Matt, and continued blessings in your wonderful work to spread vegan living!
Photo of Matt and Laura courtesy of Cecilia at www.rawglow.com.
Listen to Matt Amsden and David Wolfe