The joy of (not) cooking

Natalia Karoway-Waterhouse

(Excerpt from CLARK Magazine Fall 2012)

By Anne Gibson

Unless you’re immediately prepared to make a shopping list and head to your local farmer’s market, don’t visit Natalia Karoway-Waterhouse’s website. There’s no boring, beige food at nataliakw.com. Instead, the vivid tropical colors of her beautifully photographed appetizers, entrees and desserts will make your mouth water even if you’ve just eaten.

And no stovetop, oven or microwave is required to make her luscious-looking recipes. Karoway-Waterhouse ‘03 is a chef, photographer and cookbook author who maintains that adopting a raw-food diet changed her life.

Desperate to find relief from a variety of physical ailments plaguing her in her early twenties, the studio art major switched to a raw-food regimen at the urging of her brother.

“I transformed my diet,” she recalls. “All of my health challenges disappeared, and all aspects of my life significantly improved. Not only was I thriving physically, but I was so much happier and found all of my goals so much easier to attain.”

Karoway-Waterhouse, a former Americorps VISTA volunteer and textile designer, also discovered a whole new way to be creative. Her enthusiasm for raw foods shines on her website, and she doesn’t seem to be at a loss for new recipe ideas. She’s also written two books, “Pure Pleasures” and “Cupcake Heaven,” and coauthored a third, “Raw Food Juice Bar.” Her husband, and fellow Clarkie, Adam Mills ‘01, designed “Pure Pleasures” and “Cupcake Heaven.”

“I am blessed with constant inspiration to create new dishes,” she says. “Sometimes I recreate classic comfort foods with a fun raw-food twist. Other times I’m just deeply inspired with the fresh produce I find at the farmers’ market or with a certain herb or spice that catches my eye. I’ve definitely had my share of random ideas just popping into my head and having them work out beautifully.”

Karoway-Waterhouse admits it took some rethinking to learn how to substitute raw foods like coconut oil and agave nectar for common staples like canola oil and sugar, and to find raw versions of old favorites like nut butters. A blender, food processor, and dehydrator are must-haves for the raw-food practitioner, she notes.

“It’s so important to be prepared when you make a lifestyle change,” she says. “With raw foods, you can chop veggies for salads and make your own dressings so that you can always grab a healthy meal when you’re in a hurry. You can make energy bars with nuts, dates and chocolate to keep on hand for snacking. I always keep desserts tucked away in the freezer for when I want to indulge. Dehydrating is also a fun way to enjoy crunchy snacks. You can make seed-based granolas or kale chips and keep them for quite a while.”

Adhering to a raw-food diet has also transformed Karoway-Waterhouse’s shopping routine, admittedly made easier by living in Florida, where she can get fresh organic products almost year-round. Since the bulk of her diet is fruits and vegetables, she does most of her shopping at farmers’ markets, venturing to the store for nuts, oils, sweeteners and spices. Some specialty items she purchases online.

Check out her website, join her mailing list, and get her free collection of breakfast-smoothie recipes. For those new to the raw-food diet, she recommends starting with the Cherry Chocolate Truffles. Eat dessert first. Life is short.