What could a practicing attorney teach me about preparing raw vegan foods into magically delicious treats that taste like my sinfully decadent favorite dishes? Not much I thought.
Every once in awhile we come across special people with a combination of charisma, professionalism, and real talent and enthusiasm that become unforgettable in our lives. Just maybe they even help us alter our course. Joan Jackson is one such lady who has gone from law to raw. While many may consider her a gourmet cook, she never cooks, but rather “prepares” mixtures of healthy, living raw fruits and vegetables that incredibly fool, but absolutely delight our palate. Located in Lemon Grove, California about ten miles east of San Diego, Ms. Jackson runs a most interesting raw food center of education called “The Healing House.” Once there, you will depart with new, and quick and easy ways to prepare healthy foods that can, no make that “will” inevitably change your life.
Many might call Jackson a gourmet vegan chef, but she will quickly correct them. She is a professional organizer and educator that makes things simple as well as quick and easy and this is where the fun and that education kick in.
My introduction to Joan was that a group of us attending the renown Optimum Health Institute just barely two miles away were to attend her weekly late Saturday afternoon presentation.
In 2005, Joan weighed 320 lbs. and suffered from several chronic illnesses. The future did not look bright; something had to change. First, she attended the nearby Optimum Health Institute just down the road that has had more than 180,000 serviced on its grounds since 1976. She became acquainted with the benefits of a largely raw and nutritious vegan diet and quickly lost some 60 lbs. (Be aware: not all vegan diets are healthy and Jackson doesn’t necessarily espouse a total raw vegan diet.) Almost immediately upon changing her diet, her symptoms disappeared. As a single mom and practicing attorney who hated to cook let alone spend time in a kitchen, imagine how could she devise a system for a non-cook; and then effortlessly begin preparing a plethora of yummy delights in less than fifteen minutes? Well, this is where her gift and passion kicked in. Ms. Jackson is one helluva organizer!
Since then she has developed a complete system for kitchen dummies like me. Once a month, Joan may spend three hours or so preparing items for storage for her family that includes two boys as well as her food prep business. Then once she comes home from her law practice, she can then easily create healthy gourmet-style dishes in typically ten to twelve minutes or less Think this a bit far-fetched?
Joan is far from dogmatic about a raw organic vegan lifestyle – she practices about 60%, but she also shares that the two main reasons that people don’t adopt such a diet is time and money. I’ll add the issue of taste. In her Saturday presentation, she succinctly and completely addressed all three issues. Problems solved.
Spending four weeks at the Optimum Health Institute, the idea of continuing to eat like a rabbit to stay healthy didn’t exactly fill me with excitement, and my kitchen knowledge had developed little more than early homo sapiens. How would I transition my newfound knowledge back into the real world without too much difficulty? Attending a Saturday class at Joan Jackson’s Healing House, changed all that. I quickly realized that this is not magic and I could do it… and if I can, anyone can. Whether a larger group of a couple of dozen people or a more intimate group of 6-8, Joan handles her late afternoon Saturday food prep exhibition with all the aplomb of an experienced courtroom litigator never getting off-track while seamlessly educating and entertaining her audience. She typically gets much of her audience from this nearby Optimum Health Institute and she teased them with “What would you like me to prepare?” After OHI’s mundanely bland detox diet, the responses range from brownies, fudge, chocolate, pizza, pasta, hamburgers, and the like; things not recommended on the raw vegan diet. This, however, is no tease. Equipped with her VitaMix, bowls, trays, paper dishes, tasting sticks, and some previously hydrated items, the Raw Kitchen Magician proceeds to effortlessly produce all the requests and usually more, and they are TASTY! Her ceviche made from coconut meat is “to die for!” And the chocolate or fudge presentations typically have everyone bowing down to Joan. The magic has been done and the amazing thing that as she proceeds through the very different dishes, she never has to rinse or wash out her VitaMix container. What’s more, unlike cooked items, you discover that you can’t make any food mistakes mixing raw vegan ingredients. That is reassuring to someone like me, but what about my appetite? The best part was that my taste buds had a picnic with all her offerings and except for observing everything, would never have ever realized that they had been fooled with the “good stuff.”
Now I had heard of this “Joannie Lady” for a couple of weeks before I made my reservations to attend her Saturday presentation. As I drove with several others to her place, I happened to loudly profess that I had heard of her “Cookbook” (all is raw, nothing is actually cooked) and that there was no way on God’s Green Earth that this man would ever purchase one. Fifteen minutes after the start of the presentation, I was tightly clutching a sample of “The Raw Kitchen Bible” in one hand and my clenching my credit card in the other. It’s not just a food prep book, but this indestructible, lavishly illustrated, laminated, spiral-bound masterpiece proves a complete kitchen-organizer to take a raw beginner to making a gourmet meal including what equipment to buy and how to organize your kitchen. It even worked for me at home on my very first try! Along with my VitaMix and a newly purchased dehydrator, this book is now yes, my food Bible and I’m all set to go – almost like having Joan Jackson at my side. (The book also comes as a DVD.)
Now I can assure you, no book or DVD will replace Joan Jackson, her humor, ease, knowledge, and enthusiasm, not to mention her charisma and infectious smile. She is an organizer and remarkably special teacher. One gal called her “the Oprah Winfrey of Raw Foods.” She doesn’t begin to tell, but rather sells the delicious ease and benefits of the raw vegan lifestyle, making good health much easier and less expensive – a transition I might have earlier resisted, but not when I witness Joan. I could go on, but if you want to improve your healthy and vitality while still savoring all the flavors of healthy alive food, this is an area you should research. My own experience of attending the Optimum Health Institute (www.optimumhealth.org) and topping it off with Joan Jackson’s instruction at The Healing House has already noticeably improved my life and that’s why I have been so anxious to write about them.
Besides her Saturday class, Joan Jackson has an array of services extending far beyond her free monthly Internet tips or blog. Not only does she have a charming historical home in which you can participate in a week-long, hands-on training in her very kitchen, but she can also teach you at your home and even completely redo and organize your kitchen… or even also teach your chef if you have one. She will help you throw raw vegan parties that will absolutely astonish your friends. Traveling? That is no problem; Joan has the complete package of equipment and recipes to fit any kind of travel challenges. For all this and more, refer to: www.rawkitchenmagician.com.
Yes, Joan Jackson and her message are truly special; I rate Ms. Jackson and her offerings a “Double-Mega Two Thumbs Up!” And be sure to tell her that Bob Fagan, her unabashed fan, sent you…
P.S. I was so impressed with my experience with Joan and her class, I returned 8 months later for an encore, and look forward to yet another whenever I return to that part of the world. And another yes, I am exercising the knowledge I learned at The Healing House. Indeed Joan Jackson is “The Raw Kitchen Magician!”
CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO of JOAN JACKSON by copying and pasting this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dq1S0d7muZk. There are other videos featuring Joan Jackson on YouTube as well.