There was a time, not long ago, when raw food was associated with odd people in hemp leggings and homemade sandals, but in the last while (thanks, in part, to Hollywood) the notion of eating food in its original form has become a lot more mainstream. And someone who seriously debunks the notion of a raw being tie-dyed-hippie-crap is ultra glamorous Dane, Beatrice Holst, a sought-after Copenhagen chef and caterer who recently arrived in the Mother City to open the sexiest of raw food outlets, Raw and Roxy in Woodstock.
The reason why Beatrice gave up animal products and stopped heating her food was personal. From years of carrying heavy trays she developed early-onset arthritis in her wrists and decided to treat her symptoms with food rather than drugs. And it worked. After a daily dose of her Lemon Ginger Blast which contains ginger, spinach, celery, kale, apple, lemon and cucumber – a combination which makes the body alkaline – her pain disappeared, her eyesight improved and her menopause symptoms went away completely. Amazed at the results this simple change made, she decided to go the whole hog and totally transform her diet.
Having eaten exclusively raw for a year, there is nothing you can tell this lady about how to make simple food taste delicious, and her cupboard is packed with unpronounceable things she brings back from Europe and adds to her sauces and salads. And it’s interesting to see who visits her shop in the Woodstock Co-op – she has big, macho truck drivers who eschew the burger joint across the passage and come, instead, for a cup of freshly pressed vegetable juice, knowing how much their bodies benefit from the vitamin and nutrient blast.
I started with a fabulous glass of pink stuff called the ‘Love Elixer’ – a combo of black grapes, pomegranate juice and holy rosewater she has blessed by the Imam in the mosque up the road (hey, we must take our blessings wherever they may come from) followed by linseed crackers, cumin-flavoured guacamole and tasty dehydrated kale. For mains we got a huge plate of delicious raw lasagna, courgette pasta and the tangy, I-am-Adventurous Asian salad. We were hungry and I am one of the greediest people I know, but the meal was so filling and plentiful I couldn’t even finish it, let alone enjoy the incredible dessert of coconut-flavoured fruit salad and rich, chocolately ganache made from avocado and coconut oil (I defy anyone in this world to know this isn’t made with piles of butter, sugar and cream). Luckily, we were allowed to take it home in a doggy-bag.
It’s not for everyone to go 100% raw, and personally (being the unevolved soul that I am) I believe there’s a place in the world for bacon, but I love eating this way and find myself doing it more and more because it’s delicious and you feel so damn good when you do it. And if you do it 80% of the time or even 50% or even 20%, it’s a whole lot better than not doing it at all. So, go and visit this place. You can’t miss Beatrice – she has waist-length blonde hair, a huge smile and will probably be wearing an LBD and heels while she makes fresh berry smoothies and whips up lunch for 100 hungry people who know good food when they see it.
Raw and Roxy is in the Woodstock Co-op at 363 Albert Road, Woodstock, a black and white building just before the Biscuit Mill if you’re coming from town. Or check out their facebook page (where I stole most of the pics because they were better than mine): https://www.facebook.com/pages/Raw-And-Roxy/620032644741554?fref=ts