By Glennis Taylor
Whereas eating out was once considered a rare treat or special occasion, today it is an everyday event for many. As people’s awareness awakens to the importance of fresh wholesome plant based food, there is a growing surge of folk looking for places to dine that provide healthy fare in a friendly, comfortable environment.
There are delightful cafes and restaurants now appearing that meet the requirements of the most discerning health seeking diner. There is one gem in North Vancouver that excels in every aspect of a healthy and welcoming organic, vegan, GF eating establishment. Tao Organics offers Raw Vegan Cuisine that is so tempting and deliciously satisfying. The mother and daughter team who operate Tao Organics shine at providing customers with a wide selection of completely organic plant based food. Those who frequent this cafe are amazed at how tasty and varied the gluten friendly menu items are. Agathe, along with her daughter Chrystelle, have created and perfected the raw food recipes that tantalize the palate at Tao Organics cafe.
When speaking to Agathe, I was carried along with fascination as I heard her story and her dream to bring the many benefits of a raw plant based diet to the neighbourhood in the form of a quaint little restaurant. Coming from a French Canadian family and well versed with cooking as she grew up, Agathe ate what she considered a healthy, mainly organic diet, but was still experiencing some health issues that she thought were just a natural part of aging. In 2003, after reading a book extolling the virtues of a raw plant based diet, Agathe decided to try it and within several months she noticed her arthritis, rosacea and inflamed skin as well as floaters in her eyes that made it seem she was looking through the wings of a fly, were almost gone. Weight loss and a marked increase in energy were an added bonus.
Seeing the results she experienced, her family followed suit and her three children saw significant positive changes in their health. As her understanding of a healthy raw vegetarian lifestyle grew, and she refined many scrumptious recipes, Agathe knew it was time to bring her dream into reality. In 2012, Tao Organics Cafe opened its doors to an enthusiastic clientele. Her business has grown by leaps and bounds ever since.
Agathe in her vibrant, inspiring way of speaking, tells of her strong belief in supporting locally. Her ingredient suppliers and farm sources are as local as possible. From garden to plate, everything that goes into each dish and recipe is totally organic. All the ingredients are used raw or are not exposed to temperatures over 115 degrees F. To make things like crackers and bars and other morsels, they use food processors, blenders or dehydrators. Many seeds, nuts and grains are sprouted to increase the nutritional value.
Another aspect of using close-to-home local produce, besides the freshness and nutritional aspect, pertains to community. Supporting local farmers and suppliers enriches the community in many ways, providing an economic benefit to the area through employment as well as bringing people together in community awareness.
Agathe is enthusiastically educating customers who eat at the cafe and those who take part in her online courses. She wants people to not only enjoy the food at the cafe, but to see how easy it can be to incorporate this way of eating into a healthy overall lifestyle. She points out how varied and yet simple it can be to eat this way at home. Many question whether this system of eating incorporates enough protein and Agathe assures them that indeed it does. Preparing raw vegan food is less time consuming than you may think and uses less resources in the kitchen when not using the stove as often and only purchasing fresh food and avoiding processed food that sits in our cupboards and fails to provide the life giving essentials that allow us to thrive.
Amazingly, the Tao Organics cafe generates only the smallest amount of waste. Agathe said if her suppliers stopped using twist-ties and other packaging her waste would even be less than the five gallon bucket that the cafe generates per week in garbage. She says that they give the approximately 120 gallons of compost weekly to local groups for garden-beds. That is impressive. Her respect for the planet is exceptionally evident in the way the business is run. The hours are long, but Agathe calls it effortless effort as it brings her so much joy to provide a healthy variety of dishes for her customers to delight in. The presentation of her dishes allows you to “eat with your eyes” as she passionately exclaims.
From a satisfying breakfast to smoothies…from wraps to salads…raw soups to her famous rawsanga…hot and cold beverages and her fabulous bars and desserts, there is so much to choose from.
Love is the first ingredient in every recipe. The staff is fully committed to the concept of great food and healthy sustainability. Customers are called by name to further their belief in personal connection. It is an experience that many come for back to time and time again: bringing family and friends of all ages in to enjoy the Tao Organics Cafe.