Eating in the Raw

Memories of holiday gatherings are often surrounded by the rich comfort foods shared among family and friends.  Whether it's the famous sweet potato casserole or a slice of Grandma’s old-fashioned apple pie, Thanksgiving welcomes an elaborate feast celebrated in homes across America.  

Imagine preparing a nourishing, yet traditional meal accompanied by corn cakes with jalapeño cranberry sauce, stuffing loaf, and a pumpkin dream pie topped with cashew whip using only the simplest and freshest ingredients from the natural goodness of the earth.

Meet Chef Mandilyn Canistelle, a charismatic and down-to earth raw foods enthusiast whose versatile cooking style can satisfy a variety of palates and spice up any occasion.  Living each day to its fullest, Mandy's awe-inspiring journey as a professional dancer, expert chef, and devoted mother to five energetic children has led her to the road of good health and happiness.

Raised in an environment that emphasized the importance of nutrition, Canistelle was inspired by her parents to pursue a health-conscious lifestyle at an early age.  Popular trends like the fat-free diet allowed her to link the connection between the nutritional content in foods and the effects on the human body. Since "fat-free" often meant processed foods high in sugar, salt, and other hidden ingredients, she experienced health issues as a result of the foods she was consuming.  

“I was struggling with allergies and digestive disorders and knew that I needed to change my diet to feel better and to live longer," said Canistelle.  "I wanted to be healthy for my children."   

Through extensive research, Canistelle decided to attend the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in California.  There she embarked on a life-changing path to becoming a certified Raw Food Chef and Instructor.  

“I discovered that if I let go off all the SAD foods (Standard American Diet) and take on all the natural foods again—return to the basics of adding good foods that actually digest in the body, I could have all the flavors I wanted—the sweet, savory and pungent.  All those flavors are in our own fruits and vegetables.”

The raw food lifestyle involves eating organic based foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and soaked or sprouted grains) that have not been cooked above 110 degrees in order to preserve enzymes, vitamins, and nutrients.  “Protein can be found in all fruits and vegetables,” said Canistelle.  “It may be small amounts, but it’s the right kind of protein that your body can recognize, digest, and assimilate.”

Chef Mandy describes her food as “simple, raw gourmet cuisine promoting life and energy.”  Discovering innovative techniques to cultivate unique raw food recipes, Canistelle’s creative concoctions produce an aromatic array of flavorful colors and textures in her soups, salads, entrées, and desserts.  Kitchen essentials include a food processor, dehydrator, high-speed blender, juicer, and special gadgets like the spiralizer, which can instantly transform zucchini into a wholesome pasta dish.

Mandy has a natural way of enlivening her kitchen into an atmosphere that makes the raw food experience educational and fun for the entire family.  It’s a team effort to create raw favorites such as fruit roll-ups, invigorating smoothies, crackers with cheese spread, hazelnut milk, and homemade banana ice-cream, topped with a healthy chocolate or strawberry sauce.  

“I’m very flexible with the kids," Canistelle said.  "I try to live an example.  I have some that absolutely love it and I have others that are very challenged by it so I’m just like any mother out there wanting to get fruits and vegetables in their bodies.”


Chef Mandy conducts live demonstrations at her Hands-On Workshops.  She offers a certification course and hosts a monthly Saturday Evening Dining Club event.  “The raw food concept is just a brand new way of preparing food and it has to be learned,” expressed Canistelle.  She also collaborates with world-renowned chefs and provides personal chef/instructor and catering services.

With several books in the works, Canistelle is more aware, focused, and balanced than ever before.  She aspires to open a culinary school for children and adults as well as a culinary deli that nurtures healthy food production.  

“I’m enjoying the place where I’m at right now,” she said. “What drives me is seeing the sick state that Americans are in and the sick state that I was in.  Being healthy has given me so much energy and joy.  It’s hard to get rid of the junk in any area of your life—to say goodbye to the wrong and hello to the right.  It’s always going to be a transition but the rewards are well worth it.”

Presently, Canistelle is working with Edmond Certified Organic Co-op on a fundraiser for a local food drive.  Passionate about promoting awareness, her mission is to encourage people to donate healthy, organic foods.  

Chef Mandy’s fall recipes feature a scrumptious Pumpkin Pie and a savory Chipotle Butternut Bisque.  You can see her in action on Jordan Rubin's national television show, Extraordinary Health, in a segment called the "Perfect Snack," every Monday at 6:30 CST. For details about November-December events and programs, visit www.eatingintheraw.org.

CHEF MANDY’S RECIPES

PUMPKIN PIE WITH TOASTED PECAN CRUST AND CASHEW WHIP Serves 12
INGREDIENTS
TOASTED PECAN CRUST
1.2 cups pecans, soaked and dried
2.1 cup macadamia nuts
3.2 Tablespoons Agave
4.1 teaspoon cinnamon
5.½ teaspoon Celtic or Himalayan salt
CASHEW WHIP
1.3 cups cashews, soaked two hours
2.1 cup creamy raw honey
3.½ cup virgin coconut oil
4.2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
5.¼ teaspoon Celtic or Himalayan salt
PUMPKIN PIE FILLING
1.2 cups pie pumpkin, peeled and chopped
2.2 cups Cashew Whip
3.1/3 cup Date Paste
4.¼ cup virgin coconut oil
5.1 Tablespoon lemon juice
6.¼ teaspoon Celtic salt
7.2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8.½ teaspoon nutmeg
9.¼ teaspoon ground ginger
10.1/8 teaspoon cloves
INSTRUCTIONS
To make the crust, process nuts in a food processor until crumbly.  Pulse remaining ingredients.  Press crumble on the bottom of a spring form pan.  Set aside. To make the Cashew Whip, blend ingredients.  Reserve two cups to make the pie filling and freeze the remaining until ready to serve. To make the filling, blend ingredients until creamy and smooth.  Pour over the crust.  Refrigerate or freeze to set.   Remove pie and whip to soften for 10-15 min.  Serve a slice of pie topped with Cashew Whip.

CHIPOTLE BUTTERNUT BISQUE Serves 8
INGREDIENTS
1.1 cup butternut squash, peeled and seeded
2.½ cup pine nuts, soaked
3.1/3 cup apple cider vinegar or orange juice
4.2 stalks celery, chopped
5.1 Roma tomato, chopped
6.½ cucumber with skin, chopped
7.½ Granny Smith apple, diced
8.½ red bell pepper, chopped
9.2 cups Nut Milk or filtered water
10.2 Tablespoons Chickpea Miso
11.1 Tablespoon Tahini
12.½ – 1 teaspoon Chipotle pepper seasoning
GARNISH
1.2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
2.2 avocadoes, diced
3.1 small onion, minced
4.Sprinkles of Spirilina
5.Sprinkles of Chipotle powder
6.Drizzles of Pumpkin seed oil
INSTRUCTIONS
Blend soup ingredients in a Vita Mix until smooth.  Warm on the stove to 100��������������  Garnish with ingredients and drizzle with oil.  Serve along side other raw dishes that will be featured during Eating in the Raw’s November and December programs

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