Three years ago I took a trip from So Cal to Utah. I had looked up raw food restaurants in Utah and found one, Omar's Rawtopia ( http://www.omarsrawtopia.com/ ) in Salt Lake City's quaint Sugarhouse area. So, I was on a mission to get there. I've eaten at many, many raw food places all over the west and wondered what I would find in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have to tell you that I was VERY pleasantly surprised! Rawtopia is one of THE best raw food restaurants I've EVER eaten at!
I have since moved to Salt Lake City and I live barely one mile from Rawtopia! Yeah for me and my tummy!
The Culinary Guru of Rawtopia, Omar Abou-Ismail, has got to be one of the most love filled, authentic, spiritual and simply beautiful people I have EVER met! His food is amazingly delish and his hugs are the sweetest ever. He RADIATES peace and love!
I have such a challenge deciding what to order because everything is so amazing! But, a few of my favorites are the Sweet Basil Salad, Raw Pizza and the Bean Burrito. I ALWAYS get a Ginger Aid, which is the yummiest drink on the planet, lemon blended with ginger, goji berries and cayenne. And then, because my down fall is raw desserts, I ALWAYS order dessert.
As you read the interview with Omar, you can see what a beautiful and special person he is and can get a sense that all the food that is created here is filled with love.
So, with that said, meet Omar of Rawtopia.....
What made you go raw?
I felt inspired by a lady that taught meditation and only ate raw food. She looked really vibrant and told me that our diet is linked to our body and spirit. I also read John Robbin’s book, a diet for a new America and The Food Revolution. Then, after being Vegan, I got really sick one day and decided that I needed to go raw for the ultimate benefit of nutrition.
What are some raw food staples in your current diet?
Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, irish moss, bee pollen, all veggies, kimchi or other fermented foods, most fruit such as berries, mango, grapefruit, Utah summer fruits (apples, pears, peaches, apricot, plums…), raw cultured butter from grass fed sheep/goat/cow, herbal teas and chinese medicinal mushrooms, chaga mushroom…
Are you 100% raw?
I was from 2004-2012, however, now I don’t like to identify or label myself as 100% raw. I felt like I was just too extreme and had some sort of complex about food if it wasn’t raw or vegan. I’ve managed to get out of that label. I now don’t say I’m vegan, raw, or vegetarian, nor do I say I’m an omnivore, herbivore, or carnivore. I am a human, and I’m a conscious eater, I love eating live foods, and I respect and honor all traditions. I am not better than anyone, or healthier, I am in tune with my body and what the Universe provides me, as long as my food carries a healthy energy (sustainable, organic, loved) I shall partake.
What inspired you to create Rawtopia?
It’s sort of a long story, but I can summarize… I graduated as a geophysicist 2002, worked for 3 years as a geoscientist, then I was planning to go back to school and get my masters… However, my dad got ill with cancer (2004), and so I took care of him, and after he passed away (2004) I was convinced that I needed to be out there teaching people how to eat consciously and setting a great example through myself and my restaurant. So I opened in 2005, and it just happened, it was like the universe made it happen, I am just an instrument.. http://www.omarsrawtopia.com/
What's the best way for a raw newbie to get into raw foods?
Well, I say just start by making morning smoothies, with apple, pear, seeded orange, kale, chard, mustard, dandelion or whatever greens you’ve got, chia seeds, spirulina, chlorella, maca and water… and end your day with a nice big salad and a yummy dressing…
Can you share with us a favorite recipe or dish?
My favorite recipe probably is making a walnut pate… 2 cup walnut (soaked or dry, your choice) 1 red bellpepper, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ tsp salt (or more if you like salty), ½ tsp cumin, and optional: cayenne pepper, and/or (¼ onion, 1 garlic (if you are into onion and garlic like I am)) and a little water to puree, food processor them and then put on cabbage with some diced tomatoes, avocado and cilantro, Yummy, easy and delicious… I sometimes eat it with collards… or both : )
How is your spiritual life in conjunction with the raw foods lifestyle? How does it all relate for you?
So my thing is to feel connected to thyself, and to be connected to thyself it is important to be connected to the earth, and to be connected to the earth, it is important to eat of her food without the processing and fabrication of her food so that you are eating her living pure energy with all her magic, color and wonder. Then walk barefoot when you can, breath deeply, love truly, dance freely, hike/swim/bike/ski/be active in nature/ and star gaze… Meditate and Do Yoga! All this helps awaken our senses, oh and have intimacy with lovers, listen to audio tapes like The Power of Now, New Earth, The Four Agreement (so important), Deepak Chopra stuff, and all the cool positive stuff…
How do you come up with a recipe?
I just do, it’s like life just happens, flowers just bloom, creativity just flows…
What's one thing that most people don't know about you?
I love myself so much, so I can love you so much, so you can love you so much, so you can start loving me : )
Do you think it's vital to be 100% raw?
No, it’s vital to love, it’s vital to exercise, it’s vital to eat consciously and listen to your body, it’s vital to eat your fruit and veggies, fermented foods, do cleanses such as liver cleanse, colon cleanse, kidney, fasting… It’s vital to get sunlight, gaze at sunset, breathe breathe and breathe, stretch, dance, play, have fun, be the amazing creature that we are, cooperate with everyone, hold hands, we are all one, be free in your mind and body, pray for & love your enemies, pray for thyself…
If you were to eat any cooked food you wanted what do you think you would eat?
Eggplants, lentils, beans, quinoa, and wild rice, and medicinal mushrooms…
What raw principles do you personally embrace?
I love that raw food means living foods… And living foods generate life in our living body… Living foods for the living Body, yeah!
Have you experienced any deficiencies on the raw food diet? What does the optimum raw diet consist of and do you take any supplements?
Umm, not really, I mean if you read above what I eat, I cover a lot of foods I eat, so I feel great. Sometimes I’ll eat local eggs in the summer time when chickens are laying a lot of eggs for extra protein and B12… I experiment with fish oils as well for proper omegas…. But all this is really random and rare, I do it to be on the safe side and give my body what the Universe presents me with… I think the optimal raw food diet should consist of all seeded, unhybridized fruits, all vegetables that are edible to humans, wild food, wild greens, including fermented foods such as kimchi….
Do you ever get sick?
Very rarely, and when I do I’m better in a couple of days, but never been so sick that I can’t do my normal activities like working, working out, and what I normally do. A slight runny nose or a little throat congestion, but never serious at all… I remember before I started to eat consciously I would get really sick and it was painful, never could go out of the house… But I’ve never been down like that since I’ve been eating consciously and working out and being positive…
Not everyone can be a great chef or spend the time as preparing. What suggestions would you give for the simple person?
Think of what you love to eat, get the spices and herbs used in that dish, and try to create it raw. Instead of cheese, use cashews, instead of chicken/meat us mushrooms like crimini, or portabello, marinate things over several hours the veggies will soak up stuff and soften. Look on line, you tube, for recipes, books, and just follow your intuition or what you are feeling like and recreate it in a healthy way…
What is the last book you read?
Shaman Way of Bees
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I already am a superhero, my superpower is Love : ) mwa thank you!
Yes, Omar, you ARE definitely a Superhero! Thanks Omar for the amazing interview!~~~Lori
Rawtopia is located at 2148 S Highland Drive Salt Lake City, Utah 84106
I hope you all get a chance to experience Omar's Rawtopia! It's WELL worth the trip. And if you DO, let me know and I'll meet you for lunch!
In Love and Health,
Lori Clayton, LMT, CHHC