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What is Culinary Healing? An Interview with Culinary Healing Chef and Expert, LaMana ML

Updated on March 22, 2012

What is Culinary Healing? The Interview

What is Culinary Healing? An Interview with Culinary Healing Chef and Expert, LaMana ML

Culinary Healing Chef and expert, LaMana ML advocates a diet of live foods, as well as a Vegetarian and Vegan lifestyle. The numerous benefits of eating a live food diet include healing from diabetes, acne, back and neck pain, asthma, high blood pressure, arthritis, gas, obesity and cancer, just to name a few. Weight loss, is often just a side effect.

Who is LaMana ML? LaMana ML has her master’s degree in engineering. However, she decided to switch careers in 2006. She did a 4 month live food apprenticeship at the 'Tree of Life' in Arizona with Gabriel Cousens, followed by culinary school at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in NY.

I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying one of her live dishes (see photo below) and also participated in her 21 day detox - without hunger - because I found out from LaMana ML how the right juicer will help eliminate hunger (this I will ask her to explain in the interview).

CG - You gave up a career in engineering to pursue this love of culinary healing and to be a culinary chef. Why the career change?

LD - You know, it's really simple. My only requirement in life is to be happy. This makes all of my decisions quite easy. I worked with computers for 7 years, a career that I loved, but at the same time I had a growing passion for cooking and ... well... not cooking (live foods which I will get into later). One day I realized that my love for cooking outgrew my love for computers, so switching careers was just the right thing to do to meet my happiness quota.

CG - What does a culinary healer do?

LD - Unfortunately, the modernization of the food industry has created a breeding ground for disease in our bodies. With "foods" being created instead of grown, the inhumane treatment of animals that go on to be used for food, the genetic modification of fruits and vegetables... don't get me started. It is just a scary situation. As a culinary healer, we use natural foods to help people heal from and avoid the onslaught of diseases that are becoming so common in our society. We prepare whole foods, which are foods as close to nature as possible, in a delicious and healthful way to help support life, health and longevity. My company, Culinary Healing, offers detox programs, personal chef services, menu planning services, and classes to help people reclaim their lives through the food choices that they make.

CG - Can you give us a little background information on culinary healing?

LD - This concept grew out of my own personal experience with food. I stopped eating meat and dairy about 6 years ago and as a result I started to see the world more clearly. I became less stressed, thought clearer, balanced out my emotions, gained more energy and lost 20 pounds! I was so amazed with my transformation as a result of my new diet that I became an evangelist. I wanted everyone to eat healthier. But being from the south, I knew my folks would not trade in their "finger-lickin' soul food" for celery without a fight. So I needed to give them some health food "with my foot in it" as my grandma would say... which means that it had to be delicious. This concept was the birth of culinary healing. Healthy food, good for you, and outrageously delicious.

CG - What are raw and living foods?

LD - Raw and Living Foods are uncooked fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Because they are uncooked they still contain enzymes that help the body function properly. Raw and live foods used to be "hippy" food consisting of boring salads with no dressing, or trail mix... but recently, it has become a very trendy cuisine. Raw food chefs are becoming increasingly creative in transforming fruits and veggies into the most elegant and impressive dishes. In many cases, you may not realize that you are eating raw foods, and the taste is so amazing that you will not care!

CG - This lovely meal that I had the pleasure of enjoying (see photo), which was very filling, please describe the ingredients.

LD - This torte is an Italian dish with several intensely flavored layers of goodness. The "pasta" is made of thinly sliced squash. This is topped with the tomato layer which is made with fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and other herbs, followed by a spinach and pistachio pesto layer and finally a "cheese" layer made of macadamia nuts. The good thing about this dish is that it is made of several components that can be use together to make a complex entree such as this torte, or they can be used individually to make much simpler dishes.

CG - When I did your 21 day detox, I had absolutely no hunger! But first, what does that diet consist of over the 21 days?

LD - There is a very specific schedule that we follow throughout the 21 days, but basically at any given point your diet will consist of Whole foods, Live foods or Liquids.

Whole foods are simply whole, unprocessed foods that exist as close to their natural state as possible. The foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Live foods are most whole foods but eaten uncooked. This includes fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, sprouted, and fermented foods.

Liquids consist of all the fresh fruit and veggie juice, herbal tea, broths, fermented non-dairy drinks and water.

CG - Then when we got to the juicing portion, I thought I would be hungry because I have been in the past; a 3-4 day detox was all I could do - and it left me hungry. Explain, please, why the juicer made all the difference.

LD - The thing with fasting is that you want your digestive system to drastically slow down so that your body can use that energy to repair itself. Fiber keeps your digestive system moving, which ultimately causes you to experience hunger. If you can completely remove fiber from your diet, your digestive systems comes close to a halt and you will experience less and less hunger. The juicer is important because it separates the juice from the fiber, and the better your juicer is at doing that the less hunger you will experience. Juicers that press the juice out like twin gear, single gear or masticating juicers, as opposed to the shredding and spinning done by centrifugal juicers, are the best kinds for fasting purposes.

(Personal comment - this is so true! In the past I have used the inexpensive juicers, the centrifugal kinds, and I was constantly hungry. But with the professional kind of juicers like the kind Lamana ML uses - I had no hunger at all! In fact I had to force myself to go back to eating the whole fruit. Never could I have imagined living through a 21 day detox that included several days of juicing but with Lamana's guidance it was easy and enjoyable. I lost 11 pounds also and felt great.)

CG - Why do you advocate a 4x yearly detox?

LD - A seasonal detox is celebrated by many traditions as a way to purge your mind, body and spirit and start the new season off refreshed.

CG - That makes sense. When is the next detox scheduled?

LD - The traditional winter fasting season is between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I have been doing this detox for about 5 years now, and I have found that people are more successful with the detox after the holiday season as opposed to during. Because of this, we offer our winter detox in January. Our next detox is January 9 - 29, 2009

CG - Where can further information be found about culinary healing?

Thank you, LaMana ML, for sharing this very timely, and healthy information.

See links below for other healthy eating suggestions:

Live Food Torte



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    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks for commenting hybridjohn! I like that this culinary chef is equally informed about nutrition and can share that!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You're welcome alexandriaruthk! She's an amazing lady - and vegan chef!

    • alexandriaruthk profile image

      alexandriaruthk 7 years ago from US

      awesome BK, thanks for the information, I never know this before,

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I'm so glad you found the information useful PWalker281. I've been lacto-ovo for almost 35 years and am doing fine. But then I'm blood type A - and should never eat meat or chicken so I suppose this works for me.

      You're in such a great place to try so many great foods - good for you.

      Thanks for writing!

    • profile image

      PWalker281 8 years ago

      Very enlightening interview. I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for 8 years (from around 1975-1983), lost a lot of weight but I lost muscle mass too. Not sure why since I had the eggs and dairy in the diet. Reading this hub and the one on enzymes is making me consider changing some of my eating habits again. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      Christine Fryer 9 years ago

      I must be honest and say that it sounds fantastic! I know in my heart of hearts that it is exactly what my body needs but I really cannot imagine no cheese or ice cream in my life! But I am very proud of you and will doing one of your detoxes shortly!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      It's a good idea and the fast was so easy...21 days and I did it!

      Thanks for writing!

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      Live Wire 9 years ago

      Impressive - to give up engineering. But health is everything. The food looks good. It's a new year so maybe...