Yoko Inoue is the owner of Shoku Iku, a cafe in Melbourne, Australia which specialises in organic raw food and living cuisine. Yoko lives the wellness journey everyday and believes that the experiences we have and behaviour we exhibit have physical repercussions for us all. We asked Yoko about her cafe, her training in holistic nutrition as well as how we can all start our own raw food journey.
Your cafe, Shoku Iku, specialised in organic raw foods and living foods with an emphasis on food as a healing agent. What first inspired you to take this different perspective on diet and nutrition, and eventually open Shoku Iku?
When I was pregnant with my daughter 12 years ago I wanted to be healthy for myself and my daughter. Switching to more unrefined natural foods felt so good but major change happened because I went through a personal health challenge myself. There were many things I needed to do still, many things I needed to see, including seeing my daughter grow up and be there for her. I researched, studied and experimented with different diet, understanding that what I take in is a healing agent and every time I eat is my opportunity to nourish myself.
Food is a fuel to our bodies but it is more than that. I see them as messengers which deliver different energy and can alter our cells in such a powerful way. My health was improving but I felt alone and isolated. There were no places I could feel 100 percent safe and excited to try their food. It was not so much a certain type of food (raw food, macrobiotic, vegan food, etc.) that I was looking for but it was more about how the food was prepared. Consciously sourced and prepared meals were what I couldn’t find when I wanted to eat out.
Shokuiku is a place I wish I had when I fist embarked my health and wellness journey. A little place where people could come knowing our clear intentions. A place with a sense of community and integrity. A place that can guide, help and assist your well being journey!
You have studied macrobiotics and holistic nutrition, how do these differ or compliment each other?
Macrobiotic can be seen as a certain diet but it is not. It is more like a philosophy or way for living. In macrobiotic our goal is to live in a harmony with the nature and cosmos using and selecting foods based on their energy or yin and yang. Its philosophy can apply to many diets including eating seasonally, organically and whole foods. Mainstream medicine does not emphasise the importance of nutrition. Holistic nutrition recognises that the quality of the foods eaten has a significant impact on our well beings. Only natural and alive nutrients can really nourish us.
Shoku Iku also hosts cooking classes to teach the community how to better serve their bodies in their own homes. What do you find the majority of students are looking to learn? !
Learning to “cook” yourselves at home is one of the most important skills you can have. You know your body the best and can nourish the way your body needs to be. In order to do that many of us benefit by unlearning many things we picked up along the way. I used to think it is healthy to fry vegetables in olive oil. I used to buy fortified cereals at supermarket. There are so many new and old information and researches to pick up and can be confusing. Attending to a cooking class is a great opportunity to connect with like minded people, ask questions, compare and digest other people’s opinions and knowledge. It also inspires and motivates us to keep going on this journey.
Healthy and raw food seems to be very much in fashion at the moment, as does an active lifestyle. How do you think we can help this ‘trend’ to stick and not fade away to be replaced with something else when winter rolls around?!
Healthy food does not go out of fashion, no matter what season is, or wherever you are in life. However what is healthy for you changes all time (expect a couple of main things). When you reach out for something that may not serve you in an optimal way, do so consciously. A little bit of “comfort” food is okay as long as it can nourish our soul. But stop and feel how the body is communicating you after. When you practice this often you will soon learn to gravitate towards foods that can make you feel the way you want to feel.
Be forgiving and treat your body with loving thought: Yoko Inoue
For the unacquainted who may wish to try raw foods but are a little unsure about where to start, what is one simple way or starting your journey, or one tip you can suggest?!
Many people start adding a smoothie once a day, using raw organic fruit and maybe adding some green vegetables. It is also a good opportunity to try superfood or super herb which can be blended into the smoothie. Personally I didn’t start off with a smoothie but I committed eating one large salad full of raw green vegetables. Now I love cold pressed green juice to get a lot of alive nutrients. Raw desserts are always great for a raw food newbie but I recommend to have them in moderation.
It is not easy to generalise but most people need more colourful vegetables and nutritionally dense food in their diet. Eat things that are not from a package.
Photo credit: here