Oooh do I have a treat for you today! When I began experimenting with eating just raw food, there were a few sites that I found myself stalking on a regular basis and today, we have the honour of getting to know the brains (and beauty of course) behind one of those sites that is Sweetly Raw. Heather Pace is a classically trained chef from Canada who runs her own raw vegan dessert business as well as working as a trained yoga instructor.
What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?
Free spirit, creative, passionate
What does wellness or wellbeing mean to you?
To me, wellness means living in a way that satisfies my soul and nourishes my body. I do the things I’m passionate about on a daily basis, I walk in nature, do yoga and other exercise, and feed my body healthy, whole foods. I also surround myself with wonderful, loving people.
What was the catalyst that turned you onto living a more natural and holistic lifestyle?
When I was 14 years old, my mom gave me the book Fit For Life. I was perfectly healthy but it resonated with me and I became a vegan. I started cooking for myself and experimenting with recipes. This is when my passion for food really developed.
You were vegan and raw for a number of years before you completely changed your diet. Can you tell us what led to the change and what your food philosophy is now? Does what you eat now serve you much better?
Yes I was vegan for 13 years and raw for a few of those years. Unfortunately a serious health crash led to a 180 in my diet. I ended up with a lot of deficiencies, fatigue, digestive problems, weakness, hormonal issues, and headaches. My friend who’s a homeopath put me on a healing plan which included homeopathic remedies and a diet of wild red meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, plain yogurt, and berries for a while. I had to cut out all sugar (meaning all healthy sweeteners including fruit), cacao, and super foods. It worked very quickly to heal me. These days I am quite flexible with my diet. I try to tune into my body’s needs to feel out what I need instead of eating something just because a diet guru said to.
You’re an amazing chef and make the most delicious looking desserts, cakes, chocolates, cookies – you name it! What’s your favourite thing to make and why?
Thank you! My favourite thing to make is probably chocolate because I love to eat it, lol. But I also really love to make raw cheesecakes because it’s my favourite dessert to feed people who are new to raw food. They’re always amazed at how great it is and can’t believe its dairy free.
If you were to convert someone with one of your recipes, what would be your first choice?
That would depend on the person. I like to find out what their favourite dessert is, and then make a raw version of it for them. If it doesn’t matter to them, I make my triple chocolate brownies, berry cheesecake, or caramel apple cheesecake. For savory, people always like my raw pizza and have a new view of raw food after eating it.
What does an average intake of food consist of for you per day?
My daily food intake varies according to the season, but generally I have eggs with spinach, avocado, tomato, and turmeric for breakfast. I like to have a smoothie for lunch or in the afternoon and I like to base my dinner around a salad or zucchini noodle dish. Occasionally I eat meat/fish/chicken (organic of course – that’s really important to me) with dinner when I feel like my body needs it. I eat raw dessert everyday depending on what I’ve made and usually some raw chocolate too.
What are your non-negotiables everyday?
A salad or some other veggie dish, avocado at every meal (including being blended into my smoothies), and raw dessert.
Who are your dream dinner guests and what would you serve them?
I would love to have dinner with Oprah and I’d serve her some of my favourite things: raw Caesar salad, raw pizza or lasagna, and an assortment of my desserts.
What lessons have you learned in the last few years since starting your health journey that have improved or enriched your life in some way?
I’ve learned that its better to listen to myself and tune into what I need instead of listening to what someone else eats. I’m still quite picky about what I eat but I’ve learned not to be so anal about it. In social situations I’ve become more flexible with what I eat and I do eat at “normal” restaurants now.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I’ve just finished writing a raw vegan dessert book that will be published in January 2015 so stay tuned I’m so excited about it!
What is your favourite quote or saying to live by?
“Everything happens for a reason” is my favourite saying. It has helped me many times and when I look back on experiences in my life, I see that it’s so true.
Lemon Berry Swirl Cheesecake
Makes one 12″ cheesecake
- 1 1/2 cups almonds
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
Grind the almonds into a flour in a food processor.
Add the raisins and continue grinding until broken down.
Add the coconut and vanilla. Grind again to incorporate.
Add another 1/2 – 1 teaspoon water if needed to keep the mixture held together when pressed in your hand.
Press evenly into the bottom of a 12″ spring form pan.
- 3 cups cashews
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
- 2/3 cup agave or other liquid sweetener
- Pinch of salt
- Lemon zest (from all juiced lemons)
- 1 cup melted coconut oil
- 4 cups mixed berries
Blend all except the oil and berries in a high speed blender (may need the tamper).
Add 2/3 cup of the coconut oil and blend again until completely smooth.
Transfer 1/2 – 2/3 cup of the mixture to a small bowl.
Add all the berries and the remaining coconut oil (1/3 cup) back to the mixture in the blender and blend until smooth.
Pour the filling evenly over the crust.
Pour blobs of the lemon cream on top.
Using a chopstick, push each blob down into the berry filling before swirling it into the berry cream on the surface.
Chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Garnish with berries or whatever else your heart desires!
Check out Heather’s site here