I participated in the Chicago Green Fest at Navy Pier this year on the Earth Balance panel, as a keynote speaker and as a guest chef on the Good Food stage. I spoke at Green Fest on the Main Stage and had a good crowd. People had flown in from all around the country for the festival and I was excited to be asked back to speak. Last year I had standing room only so I was happy to return. I spoke about the benefits of a plant-based diet as well as why cow secretions, I mean dairy, is causing a lot of problems in our body and I think my message reached a bunch of people.
Earth Balance Panel on The Benefits of Plant-Based Diet
Something interesting did come up after my lecture. At the end of my lecture I opened up the floor for questions and there was a woman who asked me why I needed to wear leather and eat honey. Let me preface this by saying that whenever I speak, I explain that I am not a vegan in the true sense of the word because I wear leather and I eat honey. Agave is hard on my system and diabetes runs in my family so right now honey works for my body, although I am cutting out all sugars including natural (that will come in a later blog) this is where I am right now. I explained to this woman that I wasn’t perfect and that it was part of my process and maybe down the road I wouldn’t wear leather and eat honey but right not it is comfortable for me and I’m not ready to get rid of all my shoes.
This woman, mind you a vegan but did not a healthy looking one, reminded me of when the Chicago Vegan community attacked me several months back. They said I was sneaking honey into their food at my raw restaurant and made some other hurtful accusations and tried to protest my businesses. I am not perfect nor do I claim to be, but I do try to make a more conscious environment for those looking to live healthier. Since those accusations and hurtful comments were made, I no longer refer to myself as a vegan. It is my understanding that vegans are kind to all animals, both two and four-legged. I now refer to myself as someone living on a plant-based diet.
With Jeff Golfman at Green Fest, Navy Pier
In reply to the Chicago Vegans, I wrote this letter:
I've been verbally attacked by some members of the vegan community in Chicago. I welcome the chance to get us all thinking about how we lead our lives and how it affects others. It has come to my attention that I have offended some people in the vegan community. The following is a response to accusations made about my business ethics, my personal morals, and me.
For the past 43 years I have not eaten meat, fish, chicken, or dairy and it has been my mission and vision to be a positive bridge and place of comfort and growth for people to facilitate any change to better themselves and our planet.
I have gladly gone into extreme debt and consistently worked 16 hours a day six days a week for as long as I can remember to keep this dream and vision alive. My mission has been to provide a place where people can make changes small and large in an environment where there is no judgment. Through my restaurants and wellness center I’ve sought to create a space for people on their journey to wellness and to the light. To offend anyone on this mission has never been my intention.
It was mentioned in one of your forums that someone named Matt had reached out to me several times and that I knowingly did not respond. Each week I get hundreds of calls, emails, Facebook messages and inquiries and I do my best to reply to each one. I did go back and check my cataloged phone logs and found no messages from a Matt—the only conclusion I can make is that he called Karyn’s Cooked or Karyn’s On Green and they did not relay the message. Please note that I can always be reached at Karyn’s Fresh Corner, through email at Karyninfo@karynraw.com, or on the phone at 312-255-2590.
In each lecture that I have given over the past 35 years, I am upfront that I am not a vegan in the true sense of the word. I wear leather shoes and I use some honey in my restaurants. We purchase our raw honey from a local beekeeper—some of you may be familiar with Ugi and his father. Friends, I am in my process and working each day on myself to do better and achieve more. In the meantime, I will continue in my devotion to the people who have made the choice to eat a plant based diet and uphold the mission that we are all apart of.
Let it be known that Karyn's On Green has zero items on the menu that contain honey. Karyn's Cooked has one dessert that does and Karyn's Fresh Corner does have some foods made with local honey and agave. Many of my customers have a strong objection to agave therefore most of our smoothies use dates. It has always stated on our menu at Karyn’s Fresh Corner and Karyn’s Raw Bistro that some of our items contain honey and to please ask. We encourage our guests to know exactly what is going into their bodies through the food they eat and the products they use.
That said, I would like to extend a heartfelt apology to those I've offended and applaud you all for the choices that you continually choose to make this a better planet for all.
Back to Green Fest, after my speaking on the Main Stage I did a food demo that drew in many spectators. I made my Green Meal Shake (important to break the fast the right way!), Raw Fruit Cake, Raw Spinach Ravioli, Raw Pasta with Marinara, Raw Pizza, and Raw Lasagna all out of just a few ingredients! The crowd loved it and I did promise to post the recipe:
-3 plum tomatoes (cut in half)
-1/2 cup soaked sundried tomatoes
-1 red pepper (cut off ends, de-seed, and quartered)
-2 cloves garlic
-1 tablespoon Himalayan Pink Salt
-1/4 cup olive oil
Blend in Vitamix. I prefer it chunky so, add sundried tomatoes first. For a more liquified sauce, add more tomatoes which are filled with organic water.
'Ricotta' Nut Cheese:
-4 cups soaked cashews
-2 cups soaked macadamias
-1 1/4 cup olive oil
-1/2 cup water
-2 cloves garlic
Blend all ingredients until smooth. This cheese is absolutely delicious!
-2 cups chopped spinach
-high quality olive oil (I like Carothers)
-Himalayan Pink Salt to taste
Mix in medium sized glass bowl. The longer the spinach sits the tastier and more "cooked" it will feel.
Layer nut cheese with thinly sliced zucchini (this is your pasta) with marinara sauce, marinated spinach, and marinara sauce.
Turn into a raw pizza by spreading sauce, spinach, cheese on raw white bread like we have at Karyn’s Fresh Corner.
Raw Pizza in seconds
Hi - I'm very excited to try and make this recipe at home this week. One question I have is on the Ricotta Cheese - how long should you soak the nuts for? Thanks for sharing! - Leigh
This message is so important as in all things we need respect and tolerance ~ wherever we go whatever we do. Thank you for your frankness and continued vision, Karyn. It actually reminded me of an interesting story from Buddha. At some point he asked his disciples to eat 'meat' when it is offered to them. As he said it is more harmful to disrespect the soul of the giver rather than to eat meat. On my journey I never forgot this message as it is so easy to overlook this living connection when pursuing ones ideals. Blessings and thank you for courage. More then inspiring.
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