I had the pleasure of interviewing master raw chef, Dr. Aris LaTham of Sunfired Foods while he was here in Atlanta teaching about preparing living foods at Tassili's Raw Reality. I have also included an excerpt from a video Nana Kwaku took during the interview.
Ama: Tell me how you came to be a raw vegan and why.
Aris: Strictly through analytical exposure from becoming a vegetarian in the early 70s and reading, just reading about it and applying what I read. Through studying the whole science and the art. I got into for self defense.
Ama: What do you mean by that?
Aris: Well you know To defend my health and defend my life and not kill myself, make my self sick through eating. Ever since I have been into it, it's been 37 years now of eating completely raw, I have not had any kind of medical ailment what-so-ever.
Ama: How old are you now if you don't mind me asking.
Aris: I'm 66.
Ama: You don't look 66 at all. Or this is what 66 is supposed to look like.
Aris: Actually there are people who are 66 but they don't look it. They are a wreck. It like you could have cars from the same year. You know, use and abuse will make the difference.
Ama: How did you get introduced to the whole notion of raw food?
Aris: Reading. Just reading. Reading about it.
Ama: Was there a particular author?
Aris: I read quite a few. Because when I got into it I was in school. I was on the college campus. I was ready to learn everything that was out there. And learning about live food struck a big chord with me and so I started applying myself to it. But I read people like Hilton Hotema, Dr. Raymond Bernard, Dr. Alvinia Fulton, Dick Gregory, Ann Wigmore, you know a lot of the old school stuff that's been written in the 1800s early 1900s. The foundation of living foods.
Ama: You call it Sunfired?
Aris: Sunfired Foods. You know it's just basically giving credit to the Creator, to the sun because the food is cooked by the sun. So the whole growing period is the cooking process. So my ready to eat kale are well cooked, perfectly done. Ripe plantains are cooked to perfection.
So it's really the sun is the chef. If it's not ready to eat then it's not ready for us. If it's not cooked by the sun then it's not food. And then if it's food that's been cooked by the sun and people try to improve on it so-called because they think nature made a mistake so they wanna fry, bake, broil, jerk, barbecue or something like that, basically they are cooking the sun out of the food. So that's what we do at Sunfired foods, we don't cook the sun or the life out of the food.
Ama: Why is raw food better?
Aris: The bottom line is that as human beings, as living entities, like all other living entities, animals and plants, we function on a enzymatic level. And any time you cook food you destroy the enzymes of the food. Without enzymes the bodies metabolic process is challenged because we have to now produce an excessive amount of digestive enzyme in order to process the food that comes to us without any enzymes. So in producing excessive digestive enzymes we compromise our production of metabolic enzymes. We compromise our immune system. We tap our immune or enzyme bank ridiculously trying to process food that can't help in their own digestion and it's just a poor investment, eating cooked foods. Because the amount of quality energy that could be generated from eating cooked food, most of it is actually expended in the process of digesting the food, if it ever gets digested.
Ama: A lot of people have a hard time maintaing a raw food diet. They end up going back to the cooked food. Do you have advice?
Aris: The only way to maintain the raw food diet is not to have the just one bite of cooked food. You have to resist that one bite. Because cooked food is very addictive. There are some people who practice the 80/20 or some other ratio. You can not hold cooked food to any certain percentage. Cooked food is a drug. So the body is going to demand more and more once you get it into the body.
But the whole thing is allowing the body to be detoxed. Change the whole chemical structure of your body system because the body can only demand what it knows. So if you haven't fully cleared all of the residual remnants of the cooked food out of your system and you're not understanding when it's coming out of your system. You know, that you may get a craving for a particular cooked food because the remnants of it is passing back through your eliminatory channels, coming back into the blood stream and you get reacquainted with it and you call it a craving. So you want to go satisfy that and you're back on the cooked again. So the thing is to resist that one bite because it's easier to be 100% raw than to be 99.9%. There is no such thing.
Ama: When someone is just starting out what advice would you give?
Aris: The main thing is that they need to put the animal that they live in, this so-called body, they need to put it in its place. The mind being ready and the mind being capable of making that move is more important than just the physical desire of it. So if the mind is ready the dumb animal should follow. Because that's the way it really works.
But what is happening is that the animal is leading the charge and is in cahoots with the mind who helps it to grab that bite and then we as spirit beings are out of control. Because we can't rest, we can't relax, we can't meditate in an animal that's farting and coughing and doing all these things. So we need to get the mind working for us, working on our behalf, rather than being an enemy of ours. Our mind needs to be our best friend. And it needs to guard that body and keep that animal in its proper place.
But you know, you can go from one day to the next from eating cooked food to eating all raw food. Raw food doesn't hurt anybody. We may only experience a healing crisis, you know, which your doctor may call a disease or a flu and short-circuit the healing process then you're back where you started from all over again. But you know, some people may choose to go the gradual way which is more lengthy and eliminate certain things at a time. That is fine.
The first thing we need to eliminate more critical than anything else, after we have gotten rid of the animal products, is cooked starch. All your grains, all your roots, and all your beans and your legumes. You need to get rid of that group of food because your body can't do anything with it. And if it does anything with it then you won't be able to enjoy your fruits. Because the body cannot enjoy fruits and starches at the same time. Because once there is fruit sugar in the blood stream the body is not going to secrete digestive enzymes to digest starch. But if you get rid of the starch and supply all our sugar needs with from simple carbohydrates, which is taken care of through our fruits, then we don't need to complicate our system by eating complex carbohydrates which are complicated carbohydrates which are all starches that need to be converted into sugar. So we get rid of that monster then half the battle is won right there.
Ama: Why is this, or is this, important for us as Afrikan people?
Aris: We have not only been disconnected from our inheritance in terms of the wealth of our continent, you know the minerals, and the culture and all of these ancient ancestral legacies that we have been separated from, we also been separated from our food basket. The food that is grown on land that is rich in diamonds and gold, that kind of mineral will make us glow. So we don't have to be wearing it in the way of jewels. We wear it inside and we will be radiant as ever.
Ama: Tell us about the work you are doing:
Aris: Well I'm journeying. Traveling the world sharing the Sunfired arts and science. Really just answering the call. Because the people are demanding it. All over the world. You know humanity is waking up. They know there is something more to life than what is being sold to them in these packages.
So people are looking for fresh food. You know they need know how to work with it. They need to know how to make it enjoyable, how to make it interesting. And how to keep the nutrition in it. So I have been called through my students, and through friends and families, to come here, to go there, to share a recipe or two, and that's what I'm doing.
I am here in the US for a few months criss crossing the entire country, sharing with many brothers and sisters that I have been connected with over the years. And meeting new friends. It's really a joy to be here in Atlanta, its like coming back home. Atlanta is so green and the community spirit is so strong here in Atlanta, I love it. Atlanta is another one of my homes.
Ama: You've been teaching a long time.
Aris: My business is education. I have a master's degree in linguistics, I have a BA in education and I've studied bilingualism. I worked in the public school system as a teacher for 7 years. I also worked as an administrator curriculum specialist for 3 years in California.
Ama: Where can find out more about you?
Aris: They can email me at email@example.com or look out for my new website coming on-line later this month. The web address is www.sunfired.tv . It's a multi-media channel . It's actually a television channel. So they can beam me where ever I am in the world. It's going to have live streaming.
Ama: Sounds great! Can't wait to see it. Anything else you would like to share?
Aris: Well in the mean time they can follow me on Facebook, Aris Latham, or my page, Dr. Aris Latham and thats the best way to keep up with me right now.
But the main thing that I want to always share with people is to be conscious about life. You cannot get life from death. It's really not about the food in your life, but it's truly about the life in your food that nourishes. Nutrients, substance comes in colors and it vibrates, so for us to keep vibrating, for us to keep the rhythm and joy of our life we got to get reconnected, and we got to eat that sunshine whether it's in that liquid form or in the grassy form it's all about the sun. And if we don't transfer that energy to within our system through the scientific way of just processing the food minimally without disturbing the aura and all of the other vibrations that are within the food then we would be transferring that energy effectively and we'll be right there. You know, stepping along with the sun. So when it's hot we'll be cool as a watermelon.
Nana Kwaku: To me it's the life force. It's about why take something that's living and kill it before you bring it into your body to create life. What do you think about that?
Aris: Yeah, I mean that's right on point. You can't get life from death. To actually kill something, to kill an animal or to cause the death, say of a chicken, and to put that chicken into your body trying to get life from it, the chicken is going to kill you actually. [Nana Kwaku: gonna take you with it] It's gonna take you with it! Your death my not be as swift as the chickens but you're gonna be suffering, you're gonna be paining, you're gonna be hurting, you're going to be having all of the heart complications and all of these kinds of things in the dying process. Cause that chicken is not going to spare your life, because you violated the basic principles of life. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not participate in the killing of any life form on this planet. So it's about really if we want to live and we want to live in eternal glory, we got to preserve other life forms. We can't do it by ourselves.
Nana Kwaku: That includes plants don't you think? That's why you should eat plants living?
Aris: Absolutely, that's why we need to eat our plants living, sprouts in particular. But things like leaves that naturally have a short life span that will go back to earth and we take the leaf and we eat that leaf, we eat that lettuce, we eat that spinach, we eat the fruits, the meat of the fruit, of the mango of the apple and we send the seeds back to the earth but when we eat those foods then we have our excrements, that go back to earth. We have our urine that normally should be going back to earth to rebuild and to reconnect. But we also have our excrement in the way of the carbon that we give off when we breathe. And the plants absorb that and give us back oxygen. So there is a reciprocal relationship.
But it's been seen time and time again people who are on their way out with terminal disease and you feed them an eating system loaded with living foods, lots of sprouts onion seed sprouts, garlic sprouts, radish sprouts, sunflower sprouts, buckwheat, wheat grass and thees types of things and keep them away from rich fats, rich concentrated sugars, rich protein and definitely keep them away from all starches, these people are going to regain their life force. They're going to regain that vitality because of this energy of getting it direct from these forms that are bringing it to us in a concentrated way. And this is really where the sprouts come in.
Nana Kwaku: Clinically I do nutritional medicine. People come to us with diabetes, high blood pressure etc, you know metabolic syndrome and we fast them, put them on living foods to reverse their disease. Recently there has been a more popularization with that movie raw for 30 days, and Cousens book on there is a cure for diabetes. But this is nothing new. What is your understanding?
Aris: Well based on my experience my observation over these years, what I see what people mostly get off of the heavy rich concentrated processed foods. Whether its starches, or protein, or sugars we need to be careful with those three groups in a rich concentrated processed form. the refined sugar, the processed oils, and the processed starches, whether it's cakes or breads, biscuits and things of this nature.