Eating food au naturel

Once a month, Kamloops resident Mary Dunsdon and about 20 others gather for a potluck in Kamloops. There won’t be any hamburgers here. Instead you’ll find fresh fruits, salads and green smoothies.

That’s because the group follows what’s called a raw food diet. Raw food practitioners believe food should be uncooked and consumed as nature intended. By doing so, you ingest the food’s natural enzymes that help with digestion and maximize the nutrients absorbed into your system.

The raw food diet consists mostly of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Because high heat kills enzymes, food is not cooked but it can be warmed up to about 48 degrees Celsius. To reap the benefits of this diet, the ideal goal is to eat 75 per cent of your diet raw.

“Enzymes in your body are exactly like spark plugs in your car,” said Dunsdon. “If you don’t have spark plugs, your car won’t go anywhere. If you fuel your car with the wrong fuel, your car will go about a block away and your car will stop on you. So when you’re eating raw food, you’re getting those enzymes that your body needs for get up and go.”

Dunsdon said this diet keeps her energetic despite being in her late 60s. “It’s the first thing people notice before they see the wrinkles on my face,” she said.

While there aren’t many raw foodists in Kamloops yet, a growing number of people have expressed interest in this type of cuisine.

Just ask Julie Bayman, a raw food chef in Kamloops. Bayman’s raw food treats at The Art We Are café are flying off the shelves and interest is high for the raw food classes that she offers.

“It’s been crazy,” said Bayman. “The response has been ridiculous.”
“My classes were full and people kept saying to me, ‘When are you going to open a restaurant?’ Well, now is the time!”

Bayman is opening the restaurant in Kamloops on Sept. 13.

If you think going raw means being deprived, think again. The menu of the bistro type establishment will include familiar items like pizza, pasta and burgers but with a raw food twist. It’ll also have an extensive salad bar and desserts galore.

“We’re gonna be doing carrot cake, coconut cream pie, cakes, and brownies.” Need we say more?

Bayman’s raw food classes will also be offered at the new restaurant on Victoria St. Going raw doesn’t mean spending hours in the kitchen, she said, as the dishes introduced in the class are prepared in minutes. It’s a three-hour dining experience where participants learn how to prepare eight different dishes—from appetizers and smoothies to entrées—and taste them afterwards.

“I’m always encouraging people to just be more raw,” said Bayman. “This isn’t a religion. It’s just about feeling better. So the more raw that you eat, the better you will feel.”

To join the potluck, phone Mary at 250-579-8011. To sign up for classes, call Julie at 250-851-8194 or visit

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