I went to an amazing, possibly life-changing restaurant in Seattle a couple of weeks ago. Thrive is located in the Roosevelt district, at 1026 NE 65th St., an address I think I could be happy to visit every day. As a vegan, I do a lot of cooking at home, and eating well while traveling is tricky. I often have to make compromises, and often find myself face to face with a boring bowl of lettuce. This is not what vegan eating is about. It's about beautiful, fresh, whole foods that nurture body and soul. Sitting down to a meal at Thrive, with my friend Sally, was almost a religious experience. They call themselves "Leaders in human refueling technology" for good reason. Their mission: "to cultivate environments designed to nourish, inspire, and awaken all people to their fullest expression of magnificence." You can't go wrong with that.
After eating some of the best food I've ever had, drinking fresh juices, and catching up with Sally, I practically skipped out of the place, humming with an energetic vitality I'd never felt before. I was hooked. I thought I felt good on a vegan diet, but this opened my eyes to a whole new world - the world of Raw Foods. I hesitate to even use the word raw, because I know some of you will just roll your eyes and back away, imagining a mound of carrot sticks with a side of bark and berries. But not so, my friends! Raw foods are also referred to as Living Foods, meaning they're either literally raw, or heated to low enough temperatures to keep all the nutrients and enzymes alive, which makes them that much better for your body.
I'm intrigued by this. I need to know more. I went back to my daughter's place that night and immediately fired up my computer. I wandered around Thrive's website for a long time, getting more and more excited with everything I read. I started thinking things like, I want to work there. I want to take classes. And I really, really want to go to the 8 Week Immersion. None of this is practical of course, since I live in Taos, but it was a starting place, the seed of an idea, with the potential of Something New that might grow from it. I've spent the last two days looking around for vegan/raw cooking schools, thinking it would be fun to learn some really good tricks, build some confidence, and maybe someday, take some kind of cooking show on the road. I could be a traveling personal chef, or do parties, or teach. Who knows? Endless possibilities.
As smitten as I am with Thrive - I went there 3 times, like some kind of food groupie - I decided to see what other schools and programs I could find. The one that stands out so far is VeganFusion. Mark Reinfeld and Bo Rinaldi have created a beautiful website and community, including classes, cookbooks, free recipes, and retreats. I'm inspired and encouraged, and I so want to go to the 10 Day Immersion in Portland. I can't really afford it right now, but it's very high on my Wish List. Another good alternative would be the online course, but even though it's super affordable, alas, my internet connection is so ridiculously slow I'd never be able to download the videos. So I'll wait a little bit, and order some more cookbooks, and learn what I can in my own kitchen, cooking, eating, sharing. I'm hungry, I'm excited, and I want to bring real food to the world... somehow. Treated properly, even a bowl of lettuce can be a very wonderful thing.