Raw food chef and owner of 118 Degrees, Jenny Ross has inspired and educated thousands of people to move towards a plant based diet. Her five star restaurant now has 3 locations; Costa Mesa, Laguna Niguel and Anaheim, CA where they serve nothing but the freshest gourmet living cuisine. If you are unable to eat at her restaurants, Jenny has several extraordinary cookbooks, The Art of Raw Living, Raw Basics and Simply Dehydrated. We are excited to bring you this interview and hope to inspire you to live a cleaner and healthier lifestyle!
Nourishment: What led you to discovering a plant-based diet?
Jenny: I started experimenting with plant- based diets in my late teens. I struggled with health issues and I was always looking for an answer to these challenges. I tried vegetarian eating and it improved my health, then I tried vegan and I felt even more improvements but it was not until I went raw that I really saw a change in my health. Raw vegan food changed my life, restored my health and offered so much freedom for me.
During this time I had a friend recently diagnosed with Celiac disease, as I was researching gluten free recipes online I found a website by David Jubb, I ordered his Life-food Recipe book online- that same day someone brought me the very same book I had just ordered and said I should read it! I read it cover to cover overnight- it made so much sense that the “living body would need living food.”
Nourishment: How did Orange County become your choice for opening a raw food restaurant?
Jenny: I was born and raised in Orange County. I had opened my first raw café in LA and then had an opportunity to come back to OC to open something here. At the time OC had little to no resources for raw living foods so I felt it was a needed service here and a great opportunity to stay close to my family.
Nourishment: What is your favorite raw dish to make?
Jenny: I love the artistry in working with a multitude of vegetables prepared using different techniques. I think this makes our Crepes 360 my favorite dish to prepare. It integrates marinated mushrooms, thinly sliced asparagus and carmelized onions, just talking about it makes me hungry!
Nourishment: Who inspires you?
Jenny: I am most often inspired by our community at 118. The experience of the team and how they grow as a result of incorporating living foods into their lifestyles and the health warriors I have met through 118 who as a result of their commitment to embracing this food choice have completely reversed their health and in some cases completely healed from issues like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Nourishment: What is your number one tip for the aspiring raw foodist?
Jenny: Start by adding “more of the good stuff”. I write about this in my second book Raw Basics. It’s easy to start experiencing the health benefits of raw foods if you make it fun and focus on adding more of this vibrant food to your diet. The other food that is not so supportive starts to fall away as you begin to check into your food and find what really is life-giving.
Jenny: This is a hard question for me because I really do believe that balance is key to success with living foods. For this reason I couldn’t just eat avocado all day or kale. So maybe the best answer to this is a kale salad! It’s perfectly balanced with kale, avocado, cucumber, walnuts and olives and it really makes me feel fantastic!
Nourishment: How do you start your day?
Jenny: I’m a light eater in the morning, I really enjoy superfoods in almond milk as a “supercharged” almond milk. I put healthforce naturals purity protein, vitamineral green and raw chocolate in mine right now.
Nourishment: We know you eat a healthy diet, but we’re curious for our readers to know what is your favorite form of exercise?
Jenny: Yoga is my favorite form of exercise. Yoga has such a powerful way of resetting the body and aligning the vital systems of the body. My best ideas come from right after an hour of hot yoga!
Nourishment: Where do you see your business in 5 years?
Jenny: 118 will be serving additional communities that need raw living food and trying to continue our education offerings in schools, boardrooms and the community at large. Our goal is to continue to help empower the members of the community we serve through a nourishing health offering that can help them be the best version of who they are and in turn contribute their highest talents back to the community in a powerful way!
Jenny Ross, the owner and executive chef of the living-foods restaurants, 118 Degrees, in Orange County, California, has been a pioneering spirit of the raw-foods movement since 2000, beginning with her first Los Angeles café. As a chef, her unique creations have captivated customers nationwide, and her product line is available in health-food stores throughout the country. Jenny travels and educates on the healing properties of living foods and the benefits of the living foods lifestyle.
Jenny works with clients of all backgrounds, motivating them toward more vibrant health while teaching them about the healing power of living foods. Her award-winning cuisine has drawn a celebrity clientele to her restaurant and has been a positive catalyst for changing many lives.
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