For those of you who have been following us for some time, you likely remember our humble beginnings. In July 2014, we opened our doors as one of the first tenants in the Barlow. Our entire production was confined within the walls of our Sebastopol shop. When the opportunity presented itself to open a production kitchen, the decision came without question. In the fall of 2015, we opened our production space, known as “130” and from there magic unfolded into our offerings today. Regardless of production size, our focus has remained steadfast: provide nourishment and healing potential through plant medicine. For us, plant medicine is the form of organic, cold pressed juices, superfood smoothies and (mostly) raw, vegan food. We are minimalists, who maintain the integrity of the plants in both nutrition and processing. Today, we are delving into the culinary realm, to unfold our approach to health and wellness.
Before we dive right in, let’s talk about the healing power of plant-based foods. Countless accounts of anecdotal evidence exist on the feel-good power of plant medicine. These accounts are now backed by evidence-based research. Research continues to evolve the benefits of plant-based foods on a physiological and emotional level. In 2013, the Permanente Journal published an article calling on physicians to recommend plant-based diets (or components thereof) to patients at risk for or diagnosed with chronic disease. Plant-based diets have been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and HbA1C, a measurement used to assess risk for or diagnosis diabetes. More specifically, vegetarians consume more vitamins and mineral, and less total fat, as compared to the Standard American Diet. Vitamins and minerals are critical to maintaining internal homeostasis, from providing anti-inflammatory responses to maintaining healthy brain function to reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. If you like numbers, prospective studies have shown a 6% reduced risk of strokes associated with an increase of one portion of fruits and/or vegetables per day. Interestingly noted in this update to physicians was the idea that plant-based diets should be individualized; what works for one person may not work for another. Rather than create limitations around food choices, the overall goal is to increase consumption of plant-based foods, whether or not you adhere solely to a plant-based diet.
Think of our kitchen like walking through the grocery store – fridges full of dark leafy greens, root vegetables and organic fruits, shelves stocked with jars of almond or coconut butter, and bulk nuts, seeds, and rice. Day in and day out, we are creating our food from scratch, a process that often requires patience and time. These foods are free of refined sugars, gluten, dairy and soy. Primarily all of our food is raw; food that is full of life with an abundance of vitamins, phytonutrients and active enzymes. You might now be wondering about the gRAWnola, flax crackers or biscotti. Yep, those are raw too! Our kitchen is equipped with three Excalibur dehydrators. The “baked” goods we make are all cooked at or below 115 F, which removes the water from food but preserves the essential nutrients. There’s a balance to using the dehydrator, involving time, temperature, air circulation and food preparation. Even the temperature of the kitchen will affect the final product. Rather than ramble on the science of the dehydrators, a perspective from our chefs provides far more valuable insight into why we do what we do.
“Simply put, we at The Nectary believe that Food IS Medicine and making healthy choices about your nutrition is foundational to overall health. Conscious consumption involves more than what you put in your mouth... where were the ingredients sourced from? are they organic, local, nutrient dense? how was the food prepared?
At The Nectary, you can trust that every ingredient has been impeccably sourced and lovingly prepared to bring you the most nutritious and delicious offerings possible. We do our best to promote healthy lifestyle choices through our grab and go section in our shops that showcase a variety of sweet and savory offerings that are intentionally handcrafted every day to keep our community thriving.
The philosophy of "you are what you eat" definitely rings true in our kitchen, where we soak, sprout, dehydrate, blend, and infuse every living food we make with love. Beauty food is about enjoying food that makes you feel good from the inside out and encourages a healthy response in your mind, body and spirit.
We are in the blissness of creating Living food that invokes a beautiful response in our community and promotes a truly healthy and natural lifestyle approach in a modern world.”
– Gia Baiocchi
“I work as a raw food chef at The Nectary. I started my journey with raw food after experiencing some health challenges when I was younger. I experimented with a lot of different dietary approaches to help alleviate my health issues. What worked was a vegan, mostly raw diet. As I started to feel better and better, I was hooked. My passion for health has only grown as more and more people gravitate to healthier ways of eating and living. Raw food to me means vibrant, high water content, living, nourishing food. The cuisine we make at The Nectary goes the extra mile in delivering high quality ingredients with exceptional flavor, all the while remaining extremely nutritious for body, mind, and spirit.” – Meagan Ricks
“The way food is gathered, prepared, and eaten is such an important part of living vibrant, healthy, and joyful lives. In the Nectary kitchen, we use nutrient rich, whole-food ingredients to prepare healing, beautiful, and delicious food for healthy bodies and happy minds. It's so important to enjoy the taste of your food and simultaneously feel great about what you're eating, knowing that the food is truly nourishing for your body. This is hard to find in our fast-paced modern world, where people want quick fixes and quick pleasure, without looking at the long-term effects. The goal here is short term AND long-term pleasure!
We live in such an awesome time where we have access to superfoods, herbs, roots, berries and other ingredients from all around the world which can help us achieve greater health and longevity! It’s incredible. The best part about it is that we get to take all these ingredients and prepare food that becomes art for our eyes, yumminess for our taste buds, and nutrition for our bodies and minds.”
– Hillary Mendoza
And our fabulous team of kitchen assistants: Annabelle, Brenna, Lilli, Maggie, Maddy, Naia & Quoya
The only constant is change, which drives our constant tweaking of recipes, seeking the highest quality ingredients and discovering new ways to connect with our incredible community. Our “Food is Medicine” classes offer an opportunity to spend time with our chefs, diving deep into various nutrition topics. In these classes, our chefs teach or help refine raw food techniques, discuss various ways to support your health and provide delicious plant-based sustenance. If you are interested in learning more about these classes, please visit our website or Relish Culinary Center’s website. And as always, please do not hesitate to email or call us!
We are always here to support you with nutritious, plant-based foods but also support you in working with a medical practitioner or team to develop and guide your health goals.
In Good Health,
With gratitude, we get by with a little help from our friends ..
Gropper, S.S., Smith, J.L. (2016). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. (7th ed.). Boston,MA: Cengage Learning.
Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog is for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The Nectary does not provide medical advice or treatment nor it is a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider before consuming anything mentioned within these posts.