By Tali Haller
With 34% of the adult population classified as obese, America is now ranked as the most obese country worldwide, according to the latest study conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. In response, many people are advocating for a healthier diet. Author of the best-selling book The Beauty Detox Foods, Kimberly Snyder, C.N. recognizes the importance of eating fresh, raw, and organic. “The connection between food and beauty is incredibly powerful,” Snyder writes. “Just by changing the foods you eat, you can radically change the way you look and feel.”
Not only are organic foods more nutritious, but they also don’t contain the pesticides present in conventional farming, which can contribute to a whole host of health problems, she explains. Luckily, Olympia offers a variety of healthy eating options.
Nestled in downtown Olympia at 111 Legion Way, the Peace, Love, and Raw Cafe is completely raw, vegan, and organic. Everything on the menu is made from fresh, nutritive ingredients and is completely free of gluten, corn, soy, and other common allergens. “My big focus is creating food that makes people feel good,” emphasizes the owner, Nicole Obermire. “I want to show people that eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring and rigid. It can be exciting and full of satisfying, delicious foods.” Over the years, Obermire has experimented with a variety of ingredients, challenging herself to create a menu that combines nutritional value with great taste.
The Peace, Love, and Raw Café is a family enterprise. What’s more, Obermire’s children, Blueberry and Cerulean, act as her inspiration. “My kids have been a huge motivation because I want to give them a model for healthy eating. They inspire me to make things even more nutritious and beneficial,” she explained.
“I love the challenge of taking something considered ‘unhealthy’ and making the same thing with raw ingredients. That’s why I do a lot of ‘cheesecakes,’ ‘cinnamon rolls,’ and other desserts,” explained Obermire.
The Peace, Love, and Raw Café started as a wholesale business with the idea of selling healthy desserts in bulk to local eateries, health stores, and co-ops. Currently, you can find their products all around town, including the yoga studio around the corner, Breathe. In April 2013, the business expanded to a store front, and now, expanding further, they have started to teach cooking classes. Example classes include raw “cheesecake,” soups, and coconut ice cream. To stay updated on class information, check out the PLR Facebook page or sign up for their newsletter. The cafe is also open during Arts Walk, featuring tasty treats, local art and music.
Although the Peace, Love, and Raw Café began with a dessert-based menu, the expansion of their business has led to a growing menu as well. Customers can purchase a variety of fresh juices, smoothies, salads, soups, snacks, and, of course, an array of amazing, health conscious desserts. The menu at the Café is constantly fluctuating, changing with the day and season. Sometimes customers may see sushi rolls and falafel, other days gluten-free onion bread, curry rice, or RawNola.
For customers wanting a quick pick-me-up, the juices are a great choice. They’re light, nutrient-rich, and easily-digestible. What’s more, each juice on the menu has beneficial properties. For example, ‘The Remedy’ combines a high source of vitamin C from lemon and orange juice with the healing properties of cayenne and ginger to rejuvenate skin and promote a faster metabolism. Other favorite juices include the ‘Pineapple Fling,’ with pineapple, carrot, and ginger; and the ‘Hydrator,’ with cucumber, apple, celery, and cilantro. Customers can also buy single juices (apple, carrot, cucumber, orange, and seasonal options) or create their own juice.
Smoothies are also extremely popular. They’re made from pureeing house-made raw almond-hemp milk with different combinations of fresh fruit, vegetables, seeds, and special ingredients. Customers can experiment with exciting “super” foods such as Carob, a tree-growing pod that is similar to chocolate -without the caffeine- and encompasses antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Another “super” food ingredient is spirulina, a blue-green algae that acts as a wonderful source of vegan protein, B complex vitamins, and is packed with antioxidants. The ‘Green Crush,’ a best-selling smoothie, combines spirulina, dates, cacao, and banana for a sweet, protein-rich boost. Many of the smoothies on the menu incorporate these more exotic ingredients. The ‘I’m Yours’ smoothie is made with strawberries, banana, and Maca (a root that is extremely dense with minerals, vitamins, and amino acids). Once again, customers can customize their smoothie, mixing ingredients and trying out new concoctions.
By far, the desserts are their best sellers. The RawNaimo Bar, a three-layered confection of chocolaty goodness, is sold at many different venues all over town. The chocolate layer is 100 percent Raw Cacao, providing a rich source of Magnesium.
Although growth takes time, the PLR Café is continually gaining regular customers and has become a healthy stop along the way for travelers. In the future, Obermire hopes that the Peace, Love, and Raw Café becomes an Olympia hot-spot, where people can come to enjoy the pleasures of satisfying, healthy food.
111 Legion Way SW
Olympia, WA 98501