Nicky Duenkel Raw Food Educator

After being vegetarian for over 30 years, the onset of chemical sensitivities a dozen years or so ago led me to working quite intensely with my diet, and deeply exploring the relationships between food, health, and joyful living. This journey revealed to me the powerful negative impacts of some of the things we choose to take into our bodies – both food and drink, as well as media and challenging relationships. At the same time, I discovered the healing power of food and began to make more conscious food choices and more mindful consumption in all realms.

Along the way I became a certified Raw Food Chef & Educator through the Raw Food Foundation in Vancouver. I believe adding more nutritionally dense, raw plant based foods to our diets can be beneficial for everyone, yet I have chosen not to eat 100% raw. The truth is, I enjoy potlucks and friends’ food creations far too much to miss out on a scrumptious cooked meal and the joy we have in sharing food we love! After several years of intensely immersing myself (and my partner!) in raw food experimentation, we’ve settled with a highly raw and completely vegan lifestyle. We’re also gluten free and generally free of caffeine and refined cane sugar. It is my experience that a healthy vegan lifestyle can include both cooked and raw foods.

Each of our bodies is different and the key for me is to be able to listen to what my body really wants and what feels truly, deep down, nourishing to me. I also believe that what meets these criteria can change over time and can be impacted by the seasons and where we live. And I'm  pretty sure that what’s best for me may not be for you, so I have no intention of pushing eating raw foods as a way of life. And yet I ask, "Why not try to include some more nutritional dense, easy to digest & prepare, and delicious foods into our lives?"

The hardest part of shifting from being vegetarian to vegan for me was cheese. I’d let go of all other dairy 10 years prior but every once in a while I’d still have a craving for really old cheddar. Since I’ve discovered how to make fermented nut cheezes, that pull to eat dairy cheese doesn’t really happen for me anymore. I’m really excited to be able to share my journey with you, bringing my 30 years of delivering educational experiences to this new venue so that you can craft satisfying artisanal nut cheezes in your own kitchen.

My focus these days is on easy to prepare, yet gourmet, raw foods. My vision for our workshops is to offer sustainable organic raw recipes that nourish and heal body, mind, and soul with information about nutritional benefits, how to prepare them, and how to source the ingredients. I particularly love having fun experimenting with raw chocolate and fermented nut cheese!

In bringing together raw food creation with increased mindfulness around eating and food choices, RAWareness was born.

RAW + awareness = RAWareness

In addition to being passionate about raw and/or vegan foods just by themselves I also love to chant and sing and often find my food preparation includes these vibrations, melodies, or songs that have come into my mind and heart. It is my experience that, since we function through biology and electrical impulses, those foods and drinks that are best for us vibrate at a level that feeds us nutritionally as well as energetically. Think about it. When you walk into a grocery store are you most attracted to the produce displays, or the boxes of non-living food? Maybe you’ve never had this experience, but pay attention to your body’s responses next time you go shopping. That is, become more aware through the instrument of your body/mind/spirit. Look for the freshest, shining (probably local) foods. As you tune in, you may find that your whole attitude towards food gradually changes!

RAWareness Wholesome Food Wholesome Spirit