Making the World Lighter Through Healthy, Gourmet Raw Food : by Guest Author Cherie Soria

Thursday Apr 5 | BY |
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Cherie found her purpose when she discovered
she could create tasty raw vegan cuisine.

I learned about death and disease at a young age. My mother died when I was four, and my sister, who was two years younger than I, passed away at the tender age of ten. I saw other family members die of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Even I was not a robust child; in fact I was very thin, weak, and often sickly.

Today, I am healthy, athletic, and strong at the age of 65. I get up early every morning filled with the spirit of life and eager to do the work I was called to do. How did I get from there to here?

A Journey Toward Raw Vegan Cuisine
A lot of people know me as the Mother of Gourmet Raw Vegan Cuisine. They assume I will credit raw food for the energy and prolonged youth that I enjoy. While I do think that diet is a key factor, I also know that health is multifaceted. We are not only our bodies; we are also our minds and our spirits. We have to live fully and love fully in order to be truly healthy mentally, physically and spiritually.

I am honored and humbled to be the founder and director of the world’s first and most prestigious school of gourmet raw vegan cuisine. I won my first cooking contest at age twelve and by the time I was in my early twenties, I was experimenting with vegetarianism and teaching cooking classes. What began as response to a genetic predisposition to disease became a lifestyle choice and career. As I was teaching vegetarian and vegan cooking, I became aware of the spiritual connection between holistic well being and a plant-based diet.

Changing Bland Options to Tasty Ones
I was first exposed to raw food when, in 1992, I went to Puerto Rico to study with Dr. Ann Wilmore, who was using a raw food diet to heal terminally ill patients. I had no idea how profoundly that trip would change my life. At the time, raw food was really just energy soup and salad—a diet difficult to stick to regardless of the benefits.

My path had already shown me that people would rather die than change their diet and eat foods they don’t like, and the food Dr. Ann was serving was completely bland—certainly not something people would want to eat everyday. So every night, after the other students went to bed, I began experimenting in Dr. Ann’s kitchen and found that I could make delectable alternatives using the ingredients she allowed us to eat.

Dr. Ann was so impressed with my creations she claimed I would become a “beacon of light for her teachings.” I began devoting my life to creating the dishes that would soon become known as gourmet raw vegan cuisine.

Starting the Living Light Center
It was a few years later that Viktoras Kulvinskas convinced me to open my own school dedicated to teaching chefs as well as individuals this new culinary art. I knew that I would also need to teach teachers if my ideas were to spread around the world and “go mainstream.”

So in 1997, I founded the Living Light Culinary Institute. The name incorporates Dr. Ann’s “beacon of light” prophecy as well as my own personal dedication to living lightly on the planet. After seven years of teaching workshops on the road, my husband Dan Ladermann and I opened the Living Light Center here on the beautiful north coast of California. We now have a staff of 40 people who share in the delight of meeting people from over 50 countries, of all ages and all walks of life, who travel here to learn how to make healthy living delicious. Many want to become chefs and raw food instructors, spreading the light in their own communities, and others just want to learn how to make great tasting foods for themselves and their families. Over the years, our students have cured themselves of disease, written books, started restaurants, become celebrity chefs, created healthy meal programs in hospitals and schools, and made a difference in our world.

Much More Than Cooking
Over the years, as I evolved from student to teacher, I’ve been blessed to witness life transformations. Not only are my students learning to make the life affirming food for which we are famous, they also gain the confidence it takes to become beacons of light themselves. That they will become confident chefs and instructors is a given, but what is not expected is the self-realization and the confidence they acquire as they realize they can live their truth. Immersion into our world of unconditional love and acceptance is life transforming, empowering and for many people, the first experience of the body-mind-spirit connection.

As I reflect on Dr. Ann’s vision, I feel that we are carrying her message forward in ways even she could not imagine. I feel confident she would be happy that together, we have made the world lighter.

Cherie Soria

Cherie Soria

Cherie Soria and her husband, Dan Ladermann, own and operate several raw food businesses besides Living Light Culinary Institute, including the Living Light Cafe, Living Light Marketplace, a retail store providing gifts for chefs and products for healthful living, and the historic, eco-friendly Living Light Inn, all located on the beautiful Mendocino coast of northern California. They travel extensively around the world promoting the raw vegan lifestyle and have received numerous awards and accolades for Living Light International, which is recognized as one of the leading raw food businesses in the world. It is Cherie’s mission to spread the benefits of gourmet raw cuisine throughout the globe by training teachers and individuals to inspire others. She is the author of several books, including the classic Angel Foods: Healthy Recipes for Heavenly Bodies and The Raw Food Revolution Diet: Feast, Lose Weight, Gain Energy, Feel Younger (co-authored with Brenda Davis, RD and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD.) For information about Living Light go to Cherie’s website, or find her on Facebook. You may also check out her blog, Food for Thought, and read about the Living Light Chef Experience.


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  1. bryan says:

    Cherie Soria has taken raw cuisine to another level. Her presentation and flavor profiles catch the attention of other food professionals. Right now it tends to be performed in places that Neuvelle Cusine and Haute Cusine were en vogue. Kind of like Chipotle Aiole was in the 80’s and after a while it was on food shows and then Burger King was making a special flaming burger around it.

    Let us hope raw catches on in a medium slow burn, to limit the damage the fake food providers can do before folks realize you don’t have to be part rabbit to enjoy a lot of raw food in your diet.

    Oh, BTW, the immediate webinar popped up a “replay is expired” notice. 🙁

  2. satori says:

    she’s so good and her food looks so inspiring. she should be an iron chef!!!

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