Raw food: taking Berkeley Farmers’ Market by storm

BERKELEY, Calif. — Upon walking into the downtown Berkeley Farmers’ Market, an overwhelmingly delicious aroma wafts over all visitors. The Raw “Fun Cone Food” booth promptly to the left is the culprit. Recently, blogger Nick Polizzi, from Raw for 30, visited this local hot spot to taste-test this new food phenomenon. His positive review on his website led to the scores of visitors on a recent Saturday.

Vegetarian cone in hand, Sica enjoys hers filled with fesh vegetables such ascabbage and pepeprs, perfectly seasoned with the right complementary herbs. RawDaddy foods, the delicious and nutritious way to reduce one's carbon footrprint!

Vegetarian cone in hand, Sica Bajada enjoys hers filled with fresh vegetable,s such as cabbage and peppers,  seasoned with complementary herbs. Photo by Mallika Singh.

Polizzi’s goal in Raw for 30 was to take diabetics and place them on a raw food diet for 30 days. At the end of his experiment and the trial period, he noticed how his “patients,” a term he used loosely, did lead healthier lives and had a better relationship with the food they were using to nourish their bodies. RawDaddy cones, an  innovation in raw/vegan nutrition, boast they are “not your ordinary fast food,” and they offer “great taste without the junk.” Owner James Hall was the mastermind behind this latest trend in nutrition.

When hearing the word “cone,” one’s mind flickers to childhood memories of ice cream cones; but Hall’s cones aren’t used to hold the usual sugar-filled scoops of ice cream. These multi-seeded cones, made of sprouted flax, quinoa, buckwheat and spices are used to hold entire meals instead.

It was world-renowned author and journalist Michael Pollan (author of Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual and The Omnivore’s Dilemma), that inspired James Hall to begin his journey with raw food and bringing people the health benefits that accompany the consumption of a  raw diet. Once Hall’s busineess actually took off and he began attracting attention from all around, thanks to his  blogging of the food truck and it’s journey, it eventually reached Pollan himself. Intrigued by the mysterious cone food, Pollan traveled to Hall in order to taste-test the phenomenon that was sweeping California. The verdict: he loved it, said Hall.

Hall took some time to step aside and explain the basics of eating a raw diet, its impact on the body and what to be cautious of. Since raw food can only be warmed to 118 degrees Fahrenheit, far below regular degrees at which food is cooked, the food has the ability to retain all of the nutritional values that cooked food lacks. In Hall’s words, raw food “has all the enzymes intact.” However, even though the nutrients and vitamins are not cooked out, one has to be wary of the fact that not all foods, such as mushrooms, may be consumed, safely, completely raw. In this case, Hall and other raw food enthusiasts either cook the foods to 118 degrees Fahrenheit, or they use special contraptions that warm the food to an eat-able level where the consumption would not hurt the consumer. The difference between processed food found in retail stores vs. raw food found in nature is that the benefit of a raw lifestyle helps the body instead of harming. In most cases, the body rejects processed food, or at least is slow in breaking it down, because of all of the uneccessary chemicals and additives, whereas “the body actually wants to process the [raw] food,” said Hall.

Although Hall does not eat a diet of entirely raw food, he has managed to consume about 90 percent raw food and 10 percent other food that requires cooking (such as grains, among other things). “Chinese medicine says not to eat raw food,” said Hall, buever since transitioning into this new lifestyle, Doug Hall,  James’ brother, has noticed how he has more energy. The most important thing, he says, is “you have to stay hydrated.” This is because raw food is usually dehydrated (another form of “cooking” for raw foodies), which takes away any natural juice or water the food may contain. Hall said raw foods are easier to digest than processed ones, but added that it’s still important to drink lots of liquids.

Hall used to rely on meat and fast food as his primary source of sustenance; now, as he transitions into eating more and more fresh produce and raw foods, he notices how much more energy he has and that he actually enjoys the food he is eating, he said. Frequently, Hall has to drive an hour to and from the farmers’ market in order to provide his customers with his cone food. When his main diet staples were fast-food menu items, he would notice how he would drive for a while and then crash, leaving him drained of all energy. However, in changing his diet, he said he no longer has that problem.

RawDaddy food trucks are in farmers’ markets in Berkeley, Palo Alto and Campbell, and on Hall’s website he said he hopes to soon be able to expand his innovative food into the restaurant business to reach a wider consumer base.