One of the best raw food training programs I have seen is the one offered by Lillian Butler, and her husband Eddie, through their wonderful restaurant, Raw Soul, in Harlem, in New York City.
I have followed a raw food lifestyle pretty much since the early 1970s. Among the earliest books I discovered on the subject were Ann Wigmore’s and Viktoras Kulvinskas’ books, so I have always felt fairly well versed in their theories.
I signed up for the Raw Soul program in the fall of 2006, as soon as I discovered it, as it was a Wigmore-based program, and, also, because it was the only raw food program in the City. Attending involved a trek to a new neighborhood for me (always a nervous-making experience – will I get lost? Will I arrive late? Will I be able to locate the place once I am in the neighborhood?) I needn’t have worried – Raw Soul is less than a block from the 145th Street Station on the E train,, and the Raw Soul sign is big.
That first lesson, an introduction to the living foods lifestyle, was very informative. While it was structured and targeted for people who might or might not understand the concept of living foods, and likely had little background, I found a great deal of inspiration. The materials Lillian provided (an extensive training manual, actually), were thorough and well-written. Lillian was a gracious and patient instructor… It would have been difficult for anyone not to be infected with and inspired by her joy and enthusiasm. I eagerly looked forward to the next lesson, even though I was giving up my beloved yoga classes to attend this program!!!
The program, delivered weekly, over four Monday nights, thoroughly covered the raw food lifestyle, and an added benefit was that we were all treated to a raw meal each time we came!!!!
There was homework – not just reading, but actually doing!!! We even had to make Rejuvelac and bring it in for critique!!! As an instructor, myself, I was thoroughly impressed with how Lillian had managed to incorporate hands-on training into such a compact program!!! She somehow managed to not only get all of us to understand Rejuvelac and wheat-grass growing basics, but also to have a healthy knowledge of the various things that can be done with a food processor, a VitaMix, a dehydrator, and a spirooli (I had never heard of one before). Lillian even covered more esoteric program basics (like enemas– no, we did not have hands-on practice in class). In the last class, we received recipes, and all of the students worked cooperatively to make our “graduation dinner”. What a treat!!!!
One of the nicest things about the training, for me, was to meet, in a warm atmosphere, “real-time” people from all walks of life who are interested in a raw food lifestyle. That experience, alone, my first since I began to follow a raw food lifestyle, has been tremendously inspirational (I simply never knew that so many people were doing what I was doing).
There are no words to recommend the Raw Soul program highly enough. Lillian, like many others, took an Ann Wigmore-based training, yet she has been inspired to bring what she has learned to the community in which she lives, in an accessible, do-able way. I cannot thank or praise her enough for her work. There is, as far as I know, no other work such as hers. Her company is very aptly named “Labor of Love”.
While the price has risen since I took part in the program, it is still a bargain. Each night, participants partake of a delicious raw food meal before the lesson. This pleasant feature of the course offers students a chance to hobnob with classmates, and learn what each other is doing, has discovered, or wants to check out next. Those moments were priceless for me.
Raw Soul is located at:
348 W. 145th Street (btw St. Nicholas & Edgecombe Aves.)
145th St. Station on the E line.
New York, NY 10039
348 W. 145th Street
(between St. Nicholas and Edgecombe Avenues)
New York, NY 10039