Friday, 21 June 2013

Ravishing Raw Food Desserts from Wanbun Ho of Zurich

Peeling, grating, shaping, pressing.  Kneading, cutting, squeezing.  Raw food deserts may take a large amount of work to prepare, but as my friend Wanbun Ho demonstrated at her first raw food desserts product offering on the 1st June in Zurich, they can be well worth the effort.

Why eat raw food deserts you may be asking yourselves.  What is wrong with a good old-fashioned home baked cake?  Nothing at all is wrong is good old-fashioned home baking.  Almost everything is okay in moderation after all, but you cannot beat raw food for the intensity of the flavours and the nutritional content of the food.  Cooking at high temperatures changes the molecular structure of food and some of the flavours are toned down in the process, as well as some of the vitamins and goodness being lost.

What is raw food?

Raw food dishes are prepared with organic, whole food with minimum processing and refinement. No nasty chemicals are used as preservatives, food colours, or flavour enhancers. Only the best goes into your body!

According to

"A raw foods diet consists of unprocessed raw vegan foods that have not been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius). "Raw foodists" believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost their enzymes and thus a significant amount of their nutritional value and are harmful to the body, whereas uncooked foods provide living enzymes and proper nutrition."

Some purists will not heat the food at all.  Others believe that freezing is an acceptable part of the raw food diet, although some reject this because of the lowered enzyme activity brought about by the freezing process.

The "enzyme" part mentioned above is actually still under debate. The human body produces active enzymes for digestion and other functions, so whether we need "living enzymes" is a different story. It is, however, proven that the process of cooking food - grilling, frying, baking, microwaving - produces various chemicals (called Advanced Glycation End Products, or AGEs) which is the result of interactions between sugar glucose and proteins. These chemicals can promote aging and cause other types of damage to the body. AGEs are made internally. However, it was found that even more amounts are already made in the cooked food people ingest (or from cigarette smoking). Foods from animal sources that were high in protein and lipid content were found to have highest content of AGEs. This point alone could be interesting enough to consider incorporating more raw foods into your diet.

Scott Jurek (7 time 100 mile Western state winner) mentioned in his book “Eat and Run”, that training with a vegan diet afforded him much faster recovery between training sessions and thus he could train for longer.

Wanbun's discovery of raw foods

Wanbun personally discovered raw food whilst training for her first marathon. She would love to explore raw food/vegan diet and sport performance further, and if any of you have done this before, she would love to hear about your experiences!  Feel free to leave a comment below.

My experience of raw foods

This is not the first time that I have come across the concept of following a raw food diet.  Here is an article I wrote back in 2010 after attending a yoga and superfoods workshop in Zurich organised by It is a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a superfood.  Till the present day I still continue to take raw foods such as chia, maca, bee pollen and goji berries.  They certainly can help to provide you with sustained energy.  The problem I find though, is that most of them do not taste that good.

On that note, this is where I was extremely impressed by the product offering on display at the Biomarkthalle in Niederdorf, Zurich that Wanbun had prepared.  The flavours were simply sumptuous and everything tasted great.  Even now, recalling that first bite of her tiramisu, fudge or cheese cake makes my mouth water.  Normally I do not even like cheese cake, but somehow her cheese cake was very different.

The future of Wanbun's desserts business

Wanbun's initial raw food desserts tasting event on the 1st June was a huge success.  In fact she had even sold out by early afternoon, around 3 hours after opening, surpassing all her previous expectations.

For this reason, her desserts will now be a regular offering at Vitus Biomarkthalle. Wanbun is also constatly experimenting with new recipes here and there, so stay tuned for another dessert tasting day in the future!

Currently the raw food desserts are a hobby for Wanbun, as she also works full time.  Maybe one day in future though she will be able to follow her passion and work full time providing raw food desserts to the people of Zurich and beyond.  Each of her desserts is lovingly prepared and packaged in a way that only someone who really cares about what they do can manage.

If you wish to keep up to date with future events from Wanbun you can check out her website Gourmet Rohkost.

On her website above, Wanbun will shortly be sharing with us her own recipes for making delicious breakfasts using chia seeds, maca, bee pollen and goji berries, in light of the fact that I mentioned to her they do not normally taste very good by themselves.

Kudos to you Wanbun!  Keep up the great work!