Sara Siso, Part Two
Growing up in Israel, Chef Sara had a head start on a healthy lifestyle. The traditional Israeli diet is chock full of fruits and vegetables. Although much of what she ate then, she wouldn't touch now, she still has a sense of gratitude for the diet she grew up with.
"It was a good beginning. It was healthy. And when you ate a chicken, it was a real chicken, from a farm, without hormones or antibiotics," Chef Sara states.
Years later, after moving to the United States and settling in Florida and then Arizona, Chef Sara again encountered cancer, only this time it was her own diagnosis. Without wasting time, she set out to cure herself through her diet. In one months time, to her doctors amazement, the tumor had disappeared. It was at that moment that Chef Sara decided to create a program that could provide healing and health management to others on an affordable scale. And it only takes going to her website and read the multitude of heartfelt testimonials to know that her work is appreciated.
I feel like our conversation has been kind of heavy so far, so let's lighten it up for a moment. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would be the one food you would want to have?
That is very easy to answer. Wheatgrass. Wheatgrass is amazing. I would chew on it 'til the cows come home and it would keep me alive and give me everything I need.
Do you make wheatgrass juice at home?
Yes, every day. I do it here at home with a masticating juicer.
Would you ever open a restaurant?
You know, people ask me, beg me all the time, "please, please open a restaurant", and I keep saying no only because it's so much work. But I hate to say absolutely no because you never know. Maybe one day I'll change my mind. Maybe I will be in the right place at the right time and I'll see the cutest place that would be the perfect spot. It may happen. I actually looked at a place recently that I think would really work, and I know it would be successful. In California there are a lot of raw food restaurants, but nowhere in Phoenix is there a raw vegan restaurant.
Any recommendations for people who want to try a raw foods diet but are on a budget?
The way I look at it it's not expensive. If you know where to go, you can buy cheap and live cheap. Number one: Shop at a farmer's market. You'll be getting local and you'll be getting organic. When products come from out of state they are automatically sprayed with pesticides. So even if it's grown organic in California or Mexico, by the time it gets to the Arizona market, it's been sprayed. It's always cheaper to buy at the farmer's market and there is a farmer's market somewhere in Phoenix everyday of the week.
And the Raw Foods diet is cheaper than buying meat, cheese, fish or chicken. It's cheaper than going to the doctors. I don't have health insurance, I don't want it. The money I'm saving on insurance, the money I'm saving on not going to doctors, the money I'm saving by not buying animal products goes into fruits and vegetables, grains and nuts. It's all in the knowledge and how you choose to look at your health and lifestyle.
And finally, what was your favorite food growing up?
Fresh figs. They're hard to find here, but in Israel they grow everywhere. Yes, fresh figs, definitely.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.