Living in world full of plastic surgery and “quick fixes” it’s a rarity to meet someone like Karyn Calabrese. Karyn is a fabulous 73 year young beautiful woman with no botox, plastic surgery, or fillers. She isn’t against those lifestyle choices, but as a holistic healer and teacher, Karyn wants to use herself as an example of what’s possible when leading a healthy raw/vegan lifestyle. Karyn wears multiple hats as not only a holistic healer but a model, author, trendsetter, entrepreneur …. and the list goes on.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Karyn and trying out her tasty dishes at the brand new “Karyn’s Cooked” pop-up. If the name sounds familiar…you are correct. 🙂 Karyn’s Cooked was once a staple in the River North Neighborhood. Now, Karyn’s Cooked is partnering with Logan Square neighborhood favorite, Jam, to offer takeout and delivery options available via DoorDash and UberEats.
The meal options demonstrate that flavor does not have to come at the cost of nutrition. Cooked will be offering comfort dishes with a vegan twist, including macaroni and cheese, chili, lasagna, and black bean burgers. Karyn intends to not only provide health-conscious items to the city, but also provide additional support. Leftovers will be repacked and donated to the National Program, Meals on Wheels, providing older Americans with nourishing meals.
Make sure to check out my Instagram Live with Karyn on Thursday, September 24th at Noon. We will tackle a recipe from her cookbook “Soak your Nuts.” In the meantime, read on below for our one on one interview. (UPDATE: Due to a scheduling conflict Instagram Live originally scheduled for Thursday, September 24th has been moved to Thursday, October 15th at noon. See you LIVE on the Gram @KarynCalabrese Insta handle).
Karyn Calabrese and Tavi J. One on One Interview
As a single mother you started your first business as a wheatgrass juicer? What brought about this business choice and your journey towards healthy living?
The women in my family died overweight and very young. My mom died at 47, my grandma at 50, and my great grandmother at 60. Cancer, diabetes, and other depilating diseases runs in my family. Here’s the deal though only 20% comes from heredity. The other 80% comes by what we eat and put into our bodies. I used to be very sickly, I was constipated all the time, and I had terrible skin. My mother introduced me to carrot juice and that changed my life because I started going to the bathroom and my skin cleared up. I don’t recommend everybody to start with carrot juice though because it’s way too much sugar. That was just what I knew at the time, but what I learned is that it created my internal environment because we all intuitively know what’s right. We just forgot and build up so many blocks of negativity around ourselves. We forget and everything out there is pointing you in the wrong direction. So I would say the carrot juice awaken something in me putting all the natural foods in my body reawaken something that I obviously knew from another lifetime or something.
I didn’t set out to be who I am. I am a great cook and I love to cook, but I’m not a chef. I learned from my great grandmother. One day I was cooking chicken soup and I looked in the pot and I just started thinking how barbaric. These are animals like us. I believe the carrot juice is what awaken my humanity to think this way. I was repulsed and never ate chicken again or red meat and I gave up fish. I’ve been meat, fish, chicken, and dairy free for 50 years now.
I have taken that to another level the last 35/40 years and I eat everything raw. I’m probably 99% raw foods now because that’s the way God intended every living animal to eat. We are the only animal that cooks our food. No other living animal cooks there food.
Mental health is a huge issue? How does eating well relate to renewing our mind, body, and spirit?
That’s a beautiful question because we tend to compartmentalize the body but everything is housed into one thing. So whatever you do is creating your stability, mental, physical, and emotional health. It’s like how people who eat a lot of sugar have a lot of ups and downs. It isn’t just the weight gain, but it affects you mentally and emotionally. Eating food with chemicals it’s soaring through your body and affecting you.
Do you agree with giving into indulgences here and there? What are yours?
My indulgence is a cooked potato every so often. But it wasn’t always like that. You have to set intentions and goals for yourself and then find the bridges to cross over to get there. You don’t go from A to Z overnight. In the beginning I was a pot smoking vegetarian back in the 60s. That was where I was at the moment. It was the best I could do. I tell people don’t beat yourself up. Set an intention to get there.
For those new to the Vegan lifestyle or considering it….what advice would you give?
If I fed you for two weeks only raw food and juices you wouldn’t recognize your body, thought process, or anything. Most people don’t realize how they can feel. They think their healthy just because they haven’t been diagnosed with something. You have no idea what raw eating can do. It’s like this light that comes on inside you. I haven’t been sick in 45 years. I don’t get sick, I don’t get sore throats, and I don’t get colds. Those are all manifestations of the body detoxing itself. When your body doesn’t have a lot of stuff to detox you don’t get sick.
The advice I give though is giving up dairy is more important than giving up meat. Vegan is even better than a vegetarian. If you want to lose weight you need to give up the product that is meant for an animal to grow a 1000 pounds the first year of its life (Dairy). God created the cow. The calf milk is for the animal to grow very big within one year, so what do you think it’s doing to you every time you have a little bit of it.
Do you need dairy at all?
No…the cow isn’t drinking milk to get calcium it’s eating greens. Other cultures don’t eat dairy. It’s a myth just like eating breakfast every morning is the worst thing to do. The body just needs water in the morning with a little baking soda.
Can you tell us a little bit more about detoxifying? How essential is it to a healthy lifestyle?
It’s everything. Even though I’ve been Vegan for 50 years (Raw mostly) I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs. I detox 4 or 5 times a year because we’re living in a very hostile environment for humans.
There’s so many detox’s out there. A specific program like what I teach needs to be done three or four times a year. With my program I gradually get you off the foods you’re used to eating and put you on mine. I’ll give you certain herbs and vitamins to balance your blood sugar or enzymes to help you break down your food faster and it doesn’t sit in your system so long.
There’s many roads to the top of the mountain. You have to find someone that resonates with you. Like I wouldn’t go to a fat nutritionist, I wouldn’t go to a stiff yogi, I wouldn’t go to a bald hairdresser, or a toothless dentist. So a lot of people are out there teaching it, but you need to find someone that’s doing it themselves to see how well it’s working. I have a book out and classes on how to detox. I call it sacred healing time. It’s a time to do things differently than what you would normally do. My program makes guarantees and there’s not a lot of programs out there that do that. I had one woman that lost 100 lbs in eight months. It works not because of my program but I’m just bringing you back to God’s program so how could it not work and that’s the truth. It’s not me…I’m just helping you get to where you were intended to be.
Congrats on the revival of Karyn’s Cooked which is partnering with Jam in the Logan Square area. How long is the pop-up running through?
We don’t have a specific time, but hopefully forever! I’m actually in the process of opening my Raw Restaurant in my other space on Ashland.
Can you tell us more about your new IG Live Series “In the Kitchen” and what we can expect?
We’re going to be doing a lot of recipes from my book and I do cooked and raw. I just want to show everyone how easy it is. I don’t like to spend more than 15 minutes making something. My recipe book is very easy to follow.
Make sure to tune into Insta Live on Thursday, 10/15/2020 at noon. Karyn and I will be cooking up something delicious!
@Karyncalabrese and @Chiataglance
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