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May 9, 2013

A raw natural and balanced diet on Healthy Living

Every health related issue is linked to lifestyles; a healthy way of life includes exercise and a balanced diet. Some people are making the switch to all protein, less carbs, more wheat, juice diets, cabbage diets, detox diets and the list goes on and on. Tonight on Healthy Living we sit one-on-one with a certified Live Food Chef, who eats and prepares all her meals with nothing but raw natural products. You heard right: raw – no bake, grill, fry, steam – no heat at least not higher than one hundred and seventeen degrees Fahrenheit. I caught up with her at her newly established café in Belize City to find out more about the raw food diet. Here is Chef India.


Chef India Camiel, Certified Living Food Chef & Detox Specialist

“I’m vegan. I’m a living foodist and that is what I eat and it has changed my life. I want to bring this knowledge to Belizeans because a lot of Belizeans are suffering from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, from obesity. And they don’t necessarily know what to do to get rid of it. And there is nothing here; you can’t find a vegan restaurant in Belize. So I figured why not try it out, why not come back to my mother’s country and offer the public and the community something that is healing and rejuvenating for their bodies, minds and spirits.”


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

It was five years ago when Belizean national, India Camiel, decided to make a radical switch in her diet.


Chef India Camiel

“I was sick and I went under surgery. That was when I was twenty-three. No diary and eat wheat. So that started my transition into eating a vegan consumption.”


Marleni Cuellar

“What did you start to eat before you were sick?”


Chef India Camiel

“Oh lawd, I used to eat a lot of bread, fresh baked bread. I smell bread and I am like OMG, I want it. I don’t really eat a lot of meat because my system couldn’t handle meat because I had a cut in my digestive system from the get-go from the start. But I ate a lot of bread, a lot of refined sugars and I ate out a lot as well.”


India Camiel

India admits that living in California made it a lot easier to make this kind of change in lifestyle based simply on the availability of different food. India is not a vegetarian, she is a raw food vegan. For meat eaters, it may sound like one and the same but it certainly is not.


Chef India Camiel

“Vegan really means no animal products at all. Some people call themselves vegetarian but if you eat vegetables. You can still eat meat and be a vegetarian. But vegan means that you don’t have any animal product. No milk, no cheese, no butter, no dairy and there are different levels as well. So raw food technically means we don’t warm our food for more than one hundred to a hundred and seventeen degrees for more than three minutes. This has been scientifically proven to put a lot of nutrients and enzymes. So with vegan food, we are not cooking at home. We used dehydrators, blended, food processors to process the food without compromising the vitamins and the enzymes and the futures and all of this stuff. When I transition into raw food I felt great…and so I started to feel like this is the way to eat, I didn’t have constipation; I don’t have low energy; the sist min; I used to have horrible minces. I guess this was the way to eat because now my body is getting fed and I didn’t have weight issued. I tried it out and I noticed the difference.


Within the first two years of her new diet, she lost over sixty pounds and maintained her weight through to today. One of the criticisms of raw food diets is that it is difficult to meet the daily caloric requirement with only uncooked food or that cooking food is necessary but India isn’t it simply isn’t so.


Chef India Camiel

“Some people may say well you have to do this; you have to have some cook this—we have to kill the parasites and the germs. When it comes to the nutrients in the food, the actual nutrients in the food…people may not recommend it but you can feel the difference. Some people move into a raw food lifestyle no necessarily because they don’t like meat or because they are animal activities. But mainly because their body can’t take it. And all of this comes from the consumption of the consumption of animal products because the body cannot break down animal products and it builds up in the system as waste. People are addicted to food, different foods, different unhealthy foods. That is the biggest challenge is being able to detox the system off of those chemicals and junk foods to get that real taste of natural foods. Once people move past that, they don’t get that craving and all of that.”


India went further than just switching to the lifestyle she is now certified as a living food chef & special nutritionist and a detox specialist. Now, she is introducing raw food veganism to Belize. She recently opened back-2-live Café Delight in Belize City offering a daily special of uncooked meals.


Chef India Camiel

“So many people say you’re crazy nobody is gonna like it. What’s going on. People in Belize here love their meat. They come in here and go fourteen dollars for a plate, ten dollars for a smoothie, eight dollars for a juice; that’s crazy. That’s crazy because they are spending two or three dollars for juice and it’s because it is full of water and sugar and does not have that nutritional aspect. In our juice, you get straight juice; in our smoothies you get straight fruit, no additives, no sugar. That’s the first response that they have, but once they taste it, they are like oh wow I am going to be back. And then I hear it from other people. Oh I wasn’t hungry yesterday. I didn’t have any headaches. One of our clients, she started with it three weeks ago—she lost fourteen pounds, she doesn’t have swollen feet anymore; she feels great. It is an investment and it is a new thing. But Belize is ready for it.”


Her daily menu specials may feature a sunflower seed crust pizza with cashew cheese or sundried tomato paste or a burger sans the beef, a nut burger to be precise with patty made of walnuts. Her burgers are outfitted with organic condiments all done minus the oven or grill.  Her kitchen is equipped only with a dehydrator, juicer & blender – all the tools she needs to prepare her meals. So far she says the burgers and pizza are top sellers as well as her smoothies –without dairy products of course.


Chef India Camiel

“It is an investment especially is a place like Belize because Belize doesn’t necessarily carry a lot of the stuff you’re gonna find in the states. On the other end, Belize is full of natural stuff; supreme nutritional fruits and vegetables and it doesn’t need to be expensive. But you eat less, you may spend more, but you’re going to be full for the rest of the day. You are going to feel better and your investment needs to go into yourself. Not in your car, not in your house, but into our body because that’s the most expensive vehicle we have.”


Chef India Camiel prepares live food meals from Tuesday to Friday from ten to four at her café: back-to-live café living delight at the Bliss Institute in Belize City.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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4 Responses for “A raw natural and balanced diet on Healthy Living”

  1. Storm says:

    Wow, I’m surprised, impressed, and happy!

    I’ve been vegan [but not raw food vegan] for 20+ years, so I definitely have to check out the cafe. She’s right, sometime it’s hard to find the necessities for the vegan diet here, so my family grows a big part of our daily food four ourselves. Not hard to do, most of it grows in an 8×8 foot planter box.

    I give my personal guarantee that anyone who tries a vegan diet will feel much better, healthier, and more energetic in days. And you’ll avoid diabetes, many kinds of cancer, and many heart problems that are all the products of the rich “Western” or “American.”

    I’ll step off my soapbox now, and go over to Back-to-Live Cafe for a meal.

  2. GrigaMan says:

    I could never understand why there are such high incidences of obesity, diabetes and hypertension in Belize with all the healthy fruits and vegetables growing everywhere. I usually eat meat only once each day, but I eat fruits and vegetables multiple times each day. I wish you the best, Chef India; perhaps you can help educate Belizeans on the benefits of fresh fruits and veggies.

  3. Tiffany says:

    I am a raw foodist n it has completely changed my life!! Kudos to her for brining Belizeans back to basics!!

  4. Larry says:

    I am a hi-raw vegan thinking of moving to Belize in the next 6 months. It’s good to know that there are other vegans there!

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