Raw Food Event at the Collingwood Lululemon Outlet

22 Jun

Or as James titled it: Haha You Went To A Crazy Hippy Dinner.

Yesterday night the Lululemon outlet in Collingwood hosted a raw food event with Kemi Nekvapil (who incidentally, I recognised from a segment on Gardening Australia, which I watched back when I was garden-obsessed). I signed up because I like the idea of incorporating more raw vegies into my diet. I don’t know anything about the raw food movement, but in general I prefer to minimally cook my vegetables because I’ve always assumed that it helped retain most of the nutrients. Also because grey beans make me shudder.

In the spirit of being healthy, I walked from my place to Collingwood, which took about 30 minutes each way. I like to think it was a fairly heroic effort because it was a very cold night. I’ve never been to a Lululemon event before, and I wasn’t sure if everyone else was going to show up head to toe in Lulu. I didn’t want to jog there since I was bringing my camera, so I just wore normal clothes with my new Scuba hoodie since it’s one of the warmer jackets I own. Good call. Nobody (except the Lululemon staff) was dressed in Lululemon. I would have looked like some crazy fangirl (which I kind of am. But still. And yes, I know I worry about stupid things.)

It was definitely the sort of night where a nice big bowl of carbs would have hit the spot. And I confess, I did bring my wallet in case we were presented with a lettuce leaf and a radish, and I needed to make an emergency stop at Maccas afterwards.

But anyway, to the food! Check out the Vitamix. It was the first thing I noticed when I walked in.

Actually that’s not true, the first thing I noticed was how swish the Lululemon office is! Their kitchen is to die for, and the space is gorgeous (you can see part of their main office behind the kitchen in the first photo), and it’s all wooden floors, open space and exposed beams. There was also a meeting room filled with Lululemon clothes on hangers, and I kind of wanted to roll around in them like Scrooge McDuck.

OK, OK, now onto the food. Kemi started off with a couple of green smoothies. I make these in Summer a fair bit, so they weren’t that much of a revelation. A green smoothie is basically where you add greens like spinach and silverbeet to your smoothies. If you choose mild-flavoured greens you can’t taste them at all (especially if you use strong-flavoured fruits). The second smoothie had some ginger and parsley in it, along with pineapple and orange, and probably some other stuff I can’t remember. It had a bit of a kick that the first one didn’t, almost like a cold soup. Kemi said that ginger was a good addition for cold weather, since it has some heat to it.

We all got samples, but I was fiddling with my camera and spilled my smoothie on the floor. =( Luckily one of the lovely Lululemon girls gave me another smoothie. This is a photo of the replacement smoothie (I was a lot more careful with the contents this time).

Next we moved onto salads, which involved using the food processor to chop raw vegies. It has actually never occured to me to make salads that way, and it is definitely going into my repetoire. The beauty of it is that it’s not so much a recipe as a method – just add whatever is in season (or whatever you like).

From recollection, this salad had sweet potato, carrot, zucchini, red cabbage, parsley, coriander, spring onion, and corn. Maybe some cos lettuce too. There were also some seeds, dried fruit, and ground coriander. Similarly, the dressing is a mixture of  oil with something astringent/sour (lime juice, vinegar, mustard) and something sweet (maple syrup, pomegranate molasses). This dressing was thrown together with oil (a lot of oil – I don’t like too much oil in my salads, so I will probably use less), some apple cider vinegar, and an apple juice concentrate.

And for dessert we had chocolate balls, which was a mix of cacao, nuts, raisins, seeds and honey, with water to bind. It was pulsed in the food processor, and the Lululemon girls formed the mixture into rum balls.

It tasted like nutty dark chocolate. =) Obviously you can make it sweeter if you add extra honey or vanilla extract, but I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so I liked it as-is.

So even though I entered with some trepidation (and my emergency Maccas money), it was a surprisingly tasty experiment. I’m not convinced by some of the more extravagant health claims, but that doesn’t really matter one way or the other. It’s kind of like yoga – I don’t believe that yoga flushes out my body’s toxins, but I do it because stretching is good for my body. The raw food night definitely gave me a few ideas on how to better incorporate raw vegetables into my diet without sacrificing flavour.

So thank you to Kemi and the Lululemon staff for a great night. It was the first event hosted by the Collingwood Lululemon, and hopefully there will be many more to follow.

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