(published May 24, 2013 itsalwayshome.com)

What’s In Your Fridge: Earthcandy’s Jamila Crawford

Chef Barr was invited to share a meal with certified alchemist, lifestyle consultant, and renaissance woman Jamila Crawford. Crawford fuses her culinary skills, eye for style, and all-around creativity to transform the world around her into a multi-sensory, mind-altering experience via her lifestyle brand Earthcandy.

Chef Barr, and Crawford were joined by her partner, artist Fahamu Pecou and their children. This blended family is more akin to a combination of “The Cosby Show” and “Partridge Family” than the somewhat conventional “Brady Bunch”. Crawford is one of the women spearheading the ethical, and raw food movement in communities of color. Three years ago she chose to live a raw lifestyle so host, family, and guest sat down to a freshly prepared raw meal.

Suzanne Barr: What made you decide to become raw, and how long has it been?

Jamila Crawford: It’s been almost three years, and I decided I wanted to do raw food because I was tired of the soy protein; the fake meat. I was tired of chewing that type of stuff. I was excited about veggie drumsticks and stuff like that but I began to feel heavy. That’s why I became vegan. When I was eating meat I was always tired so I said, let me change my diet. Overall it was a bit much, I needed to take a break from processed food. I just wanted to cleanse and give my body; my system a break.

SB: What does the day look like for you, from when you wake up?

 JC: I am always thinking about food . . . I will come downstairs and make a fruit salad with tropical fruits; a combination of pineapple, strawberry, kiwi, coconut milk and agave. I’ll eat something like that or kale salad. Kale salad is a staple. I eat kale salad just about everyday.  My days consist of preparing raw meal as well as cooked meals everyday. I’m the only one in the house who is raw.

SB: Are you worried about the sugar in your diet?

JC: No, not really. I balance it out with vegetables. I’m always eating something green. I take a raw powder; chlorophyll, and all kinds of sprouted nuts and seeds, and grains as a  supplement because I’m sure I’m not getting everything my needs.

SB: Do you physically feel like you’re missing something in your diet?

JC: I don’t miss it that bad . . . I will eat it again one day. I will get back to it. A lot of times I try to recreate the things I used to enjoy raw, but a lot of it isn’t obtainable.

SB: Give me some of your favorite things that you like to recreate.

JC: I like my rawrrito [burrito]. I love Mexican food. Instead of the flour tortilla it would be a collard leaf or cabbage leaf, and nut meat with kale. I still make guacamole, and salsa because they are raw anyway. My kids will tell me it does taste like a real burrito.

Crawford asserts that a raw diet is no more expensive than an omnivorous cooked food diet as long as shoppers seek out bargains, and use expensive ingredients including nuts on a less frequent basis. While many raw foodists focus on organic food, Crawford mixes it up depending on the cost, and type of food item. For instance, she’ll buy a non-organic avocado because it has skin that’s thicker than other fruits (less permeable), and can be washed easily. Her essentials for the raw kitchen include dried goods, agave, coconut and olive oils, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and nutritional yeast. She visits the DeKalb Farmers Market to purchase spices. When she can’t shop at the Sevandana Natural Food Market she’ll grab healthy options at Kroger’s.

2013 is going to be a big year for Jamila Crawford. Fans can expect a book, with a mix of cooked and raw recipes; and more from her accessories and lifestyle lines. If you can’t wait until then to get your fix of healthy vegan fare, fashion, lifestyle and culture visit the Earthcandy blog, YouTube channel, and follow Jamila Crawford on Twitter.

C’est toujours à la maison.