Yesterday, I took my mission to get back on the vegetable train very seriously. What’s the healthiest kind of food I could possibly think of eating? Raw vegan, that’s what. If I’d tried to find some a week ago, it wouldn’t have been possible, but Rawk the Planet – Richmond’s only raw vegan restaurant – just opened on Sunday! What beautiful timing.
Raw vegan food contains zero animal products and hasn’t been heated above 46 degrees celsius. The principal behind this diet is that raw foods retain far more of their nutritional value than their cooked counterparts, and benefits are said to include improved digestion, weight loss, increased energy, and clearer skin. I know I’d miss cheese too much to eat raw food exclusively, but I think it’s wonderful that Richmond now has a café offering it. You don’t have to ‘convert’ completely to enjoy this kind of food – it can be beneficial and tasty in any quantity!
Rawk the Planet café is owned by Vanessa and Rick Campbell, and is located just above Mary’s Ice Cream and Outpost Mini Donuts in Steveston. The shop is bright green and full of good things, including fresh organic juices, smoothies, sweets, and savoury entrees such as a the raw vegan burger ($9.25) and ‘tuna pate’ with flax crackers.
I had a bike ride-induced appetite, so I asked for the burger, a Mango Spin smoothie ($7.95), and some snacks to eat later in the day.
My meal was excellent, and just the thing to ring in summer. The smoothie had mango, banana, spinach, almond milk, hemp seeds, cinnamon, and a date or two. It was thick, creamy, and satisfying, and if I worked in Steveston, I’d find it hard not to get one of these for breakfast every day.
The burger was a tower of avocado, a nut and sprouted seed patty, tomatoes, chickpeas, root vegetable slaw, cashew mayo, and sprouts, all wrapped in lettuce. It was served with flax onion crackers and raw cashews, and the whole meal was PACKED with flavour.
The patty, which I think had been seasoned with tamari, was especially nice.
They also gave me a taste of their “Two-Nuttish” (tuna) pate, which despite being raw and vegan, tasted unbelievably of tuna. I think the addition of green onion, combined with a similar texture and mayo-like flavour, is what does it.
Of course, all meals deserve dessert, and Rawk the Planet has that covered too.
I will be honest – I’ve tried some raw cacao snacks before, and not all of them had me reaching for seconds. I would have described them as good-“ish”. I therefore wasn’t expecting much of Rawk’s “raw almond cacao ice buttons” ($2.75), but here’s the verdict: they weren’t good-ish, so-so, or even alright. They were FREAKIN’ AMAZING.
They melted in my mouth like a truffle, and there was a bit of crunch hidden in there, and the flavour was smooth and sweet. I woke up this morning wanting another, which really is the ultimate compliment my appetite can give.
I also bought a Chocolate ‘Roon ($2.25) and a Power Up Energy Orb ($2.50) to snack on later.
The ‘Roon was a raw vegan take on a coconut macaroon (chewy, chocolatey, and delish), and the Energy Orb combined maca, chia, hemp, almonds, Brazil nuts, spices, coconut, agave, and spirulina to make one truly wonderful nugget of power – the PERFECT snack. Next time I’m there, I’ll try the chia seed pudding, which apparently has all the comforting appeal of rice pudding – one of my favourites!
Vanessa and Rick have a genuine passion for what they do, and a true belief in the healing powers of a raw vegan diet. Six years ago, Rick was diagnosed with cancer and given 15 months to live. Instead of chemotherapy, Vanessa put him on an intensive raw vegan diet, and six years later they’re both happy, healthy new business owners.
This isn’t to say that what has worked for them will work for everyone, but they’re advocates of healthy eating and want to share their food and knowledge with Richmond. You need not adopt a full-time raw diet to enjoy it – just pop in for a snack. And for those who ARE raw vegans in Richmond or anywhere else in the Lower Mainland, now you can dine out in Steveston, too!
12240 2nd Ave, Richmond BC (Steveston)
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian and vegan friendly!