Susan:Well, I worked with John Robbins and a great group of people for several years during the mid-90s.
Prior to that I had learned raw food inside and out and completely was a raw food, lived on a raw food diet in the early 90s for a couple of years.
I think we were some of the very first people that ever were really advocates.
Although that isn't what we taught in the schools.
We just worked in the schools to get a plant-based option.
But for several years I lived on a strictly raw food diet and I thrived.
It was like erasing the diet prison that I had ever been living in prior to that.
It really just changed my life, as all of you may know.
It's such a vibrant diet, so full of colors and sensual aromas and such great tasting food and the way you feel is how the food looks and smells.
It's a whole new life.
So even though I had read a lot of nutrition books all my life and was always into food, this was something that really broke me open..
Then working with John and learning more and more about the environment, agriculture and that whole field, the whole green movement, which is a little bit more vibrant in the world right now than it was.
I just continued to travel and live on this really good diet.
But over a period of time it just didn't really sustain me all the way.
After a few years went by I began incorporating more cooked food into my diet.
Not a lot but quite a bit more than I ever did.
Then I got quite ill with kind of an autoimmune disease and started really investigating different diets..
I had quite a few friends, I was living in LA at the time, that were living on raw food diets and more of a primal diet, which was completely animal foods, which was completely different to anything that I had ever tried.
So I started incorporating more raw dairy into my life and more cultured foods - sauerkrauts and kiefer and all those probiotic-rich foods.
I never really went to eating animal foods because I just couldn't quite go there.
Over a period of time I found that what was really most important for me was to eat from the earth and not the factory.
That was really the bottom line.
Secondly, I was getting excellent fat into my diet and plenty of them.
I think that's why I thrived so well on a raw food diet.
For the very first time not only was I being nourished by food abundantly from the earth, but I was getting a ton of good fats into my body, which I think are so important.
So after lecturing to so many children and students and parents and teachers, just to get them to take the very first steps, if they could just get bad fats out of their lives and put good fats in, get sugar and preservatives and chemicals out of their lives and start putting natural sugars and whole foods into their lives, they would make huge strides in their health.
Then people started really taking note of my recipes.
People always really liked what I ate.
So I decided along with my lecturing series to start providing culinary techniques so that people could actually learn how to go into the kitchen and start practicing what they hear everybody preaching.
I found that everybody knows what healthy food is.
Ask any sixth grader and he'll say, "Fruits and vegetables, whole foods.
" Everybody knows but they really don't know how profoundly food is affecting their health today, their disease tomorrow and their longevity.
Food is so powerful, not just for our bodies but for the environment too.
So this became my new business in the last several years.
I've been developing cooking techniques that are for raw food and some of the basic cooked food that you can incorporate with raw food techniques and then cultured food.
So it gave me a way to chunk it down into something that was more palatable, so to speak, for mainstream people that really want to make some changes.