I had the pleasure of sitting down for tea and date shakes the other morning with Angelica Xavier, Raw Foodie extraordinaire and founder of raw snack company, GOODBITES. She shared her thoughts about everything from living a self-described “High-Raw Lifestyle” to what it’s like to deal with the ups and downs of launching a company in Los Angeles.
In terms of Raw Foodism, “raw” is considered to be unprocessed food that among other requirement, is never heated above a relatively low temperature (ranging from around 100-116 degrees, depending who you ask). It sounds intimidating but whatever this woman is doing, she makes me want to do it too. She has an aura of incredible calmness, skin that absolutely glows, and an insatiable love for raw chocolate (See? I knew you’d love her).
She was totally generous when it came to dropping knowledge – so of course I’m going to share the goods with you, my healthy little love bugs. Read on.
Do you exclusively eat raw foods?
I make exceptions for occasional dinners out and special events; I love to try different types of food for flavor and texture so I definitely make exception for research and development. The other night, my son and I went to Supurba [Snack Bar] and we split a few plates, but that’s rare. Most of what I order is vegetable based.
What prompted a switch to a raw diet, and how long have you been eating raw?
Fives years ago I was faced with a health challengeI was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. It could not be adequately treated with Western medicine. I read about people curing themselves of very serious diseases through a raw diet and decided to try it. I read up and was primarily self-educated
Did it happen all at once or was it something you eased in to?
It was definitely an all at once experience. I was a vegetarian, primarily vegan, and went Raw Foodist overnight. I thoroughly researched it, went for it and 30 days later is was my lifestyle. I complied lists of ingredients and equipment that I needed such a a Vitamix, a juicer works, and a dehydrator, and in a few days had set up a raw kitchen. It helps to have a stocked kitchen so that you don’t have to run out and buy funky ingredients, like Maca, every time you make something new. Once you stock your kitchen it becomes much easier to just prepare.
Tell me about some of the obvious and less obvious health benefits of going raw.
The energy, clarity, and focus are the ones that you hear about, and it’s all true. Improved energy was the benefit that was most profound for me. I did not realize how my much my sleep would be affected. I sleep really well on the raw diet. I take medicine for my autoimmune disease, and it keeps my test levels stable, but on the medicine alone I don’t feel great. It’s the food that actually helps me feel great.
What’s the biggest misconception about raw diets?
A big misconception is that being a raw foodist will encumber your social life. Many people have told me that they can’t eat raw because of business lunches or social dinners at restaurants. I have not found this to be true -you can order a salad just about anywhere. Looking for possibilities in such situations is a must, but I would never skip seeing friends- I will find a way to eat just about anywhere if I’m with good company.
Favorite raw restaurants/chefs in Los Angeles (or elsewhere)?
Pure Food and Wine in New York City is my favorite raw restaurant. The food is excellent and the environment is gorgeous – they make a mint sundae that is divine. At one point, Charlie Trotter collaborated with Raw Foodist Roxanne Klein on a restaurant outside San Francisco (called Roxanne’s) which was a favorite of mine until it closed. I was going to Chicago [home of famed Trotters] and I called the restaurant to ask if [Charlie] would make a raw meal for me – I got a phone call back and was told he’d be delighted to. It was incredible.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in going raw?
Start with the snacks. Salads are easy, but finding raw snacks is often a reason people derail from this lifestyle. They’re more difficult to find, and most people don’t just want carrot sticks anymore. Start by mastering the snacks. Sugary processed packaged snacks are such a drag on energy and general overall health. Raw snacks leave you with the energy that you need and not a sugar crash an hour later
What did you do prior to starting Goodbites, and what was the motivation to start the company? What advice would you give someone who is interested in starting her or his own company?
Be patient and prepared to be the whole company for a while. Talk to people in your industry, listen to people in your industry.
I have worked with artists and entrepreneurs to assist them in business for 15+ years. I ‘m an entrepreneur myself so that was a natural evolution and rewarding. That eventually crossed over into consulting and coaching people on health and personal issues. I love this work and seeing positive change in people’s lives. Over the past 5+ years I have organized group and personal raw food detox programs. This led me to start a raw superfood company.
My biggest challenge, as well as an asset, is that I move very quickly so waiting has been difficult. GOODBITES is going into 3-4 LA Whole Foods in August. We will be in approximately 20 locations by the end of August. We are also adding a second product in August. In addition our website is going live and we will have a snack box and a raw detox box available for delivery or shipping.
How is your product being received by your non-raw peers and friends?
I’m so pleased with the response. The non-raw crowd loves GOODBITES and loves the idea that a raw snack is so delicious. That is fun to see.
What are some of your favorite superfoods to cook with?
I have several but right now I am using hemp seed to prepare with. The are so versatile and have a great nutty flavor. I use them in a wide range of recipes from chocolate to salads. I love them!
What other snacks do you grab on the go?
Raw chocolate, raw chocolate, and raw chocolate.
I must admit something. I tried a GOODBITE Truffle in the middle of tea and the moment I got in the car I immediately scarfed down the remaining three. I even bought a few packages for a friends and I received a text within an hour of sharing that said “Those are freaking unreal.”
My favorite place ever (Whole Foods) has committed to selling them in several LA locations. She’s currently in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a larger kitchen so she can expand to more locations. ((I happily backed it cause frankly, I need more of these in my life. So if you want to contribute, just hit up her Kickstarter website. ))
Homemade Almond Milk – Recipe from Angelica Xavier
Soak 1 cup almonds in water overnight.
Rinse almonds & put in blender with 4 c water.
Drain thru a nutmilk bag (available at Whole Foods) and pour the liquid back in blender
Add 1/4 tsp of pure vanilla powder, a pinch of Himalayan salt, 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup, or drops of liquid stevia to taste.