Revitalive Café: A Unique Spot for Vegan & Raw Food Dishes

Anna Forkan, Kristen Overlock, and Ted, the official greeter dog at Revitalive Health & Healing LLC.

Revitalive Café opened in Massachusetts in fall 2009 to rave reviews. Offering raw, vegan foods, the café is an outgrowth of Revitalive Health & Wellness LLC, a holistic healing center located just outside of Boston. Revitalive Health and Wellness was founded by Kristen Overlock and Anna Forkan, two entrepreneurs and healers with impressive credentials. Kristen holds a B.S. in Nutrition and is a Certified Colon Hydrotherapist, Raw and Living Foods Lifestyle Educator, and I-ACT Certified Reiki Master. Anna holds a BSE in Engineering and is a Certified Microscopist and Certified Raw and Living Foods Educator. LovetoKnow caught up with Anna and Kristen to find out more about the unique health concepts and delicious raw, vegan cuisine that customers can't get enough of at Revitalive Café. They are passionate about bringing the raw and living foods lifestyle to their customers through their healing work and the delicious vegan foods available at the café.

Raw and Living Foods at Revitalive Café

First, Kristen and Anna shared more information about their new café which opened September 25, 2009 at The Tannery in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

What is Revitalive Café?

Revitalive Café is actually an extension of our healing center. We had a kitchen at our wellness center where we prepared living foods for our clients that were cleansing. As more people began to cleanse with us, the need for a bigger kitchen became apparent. Many of our clients had requested a cafe where they could bring their friends and family to socialize and enjoy safe, healing foods. An added bonus is that we are able to reach many more people in the community with the Cafe. Education is our passion and a necessary component to understanding the benefits of live foods. We also wanted to respond to the trend in the raw foods movement away from pure whole, healing foods. It seems as if the point of eating simple, whole foods has been lost in an effort to make a product that sells. We believe that greens are the cornerstone to healing. We also do not believe in harsh herbal cleanses, exclusive juice or water fasting but rather consistent healthy daily habits that eventually turn into a lifestyle.

What makes the café unique?

Everything on our menu is raw and living foods, vegan and gluten free. We support local farms and seek out the very best organic ingredients from socially and environmentally conscious suppliers. We refrain from using gluten, soy, refined sugar, honey, mushrooms and all animal products. All our packaging is compostable or reusable. And we're housed in the solar-powered Tannery building - very green, and very much in keeping with our philosophy! Our menu offers both take out and dine in foods, so you can stop by and hang out with us and have your meal or take it home or back to work.

Holistic Healing and Raw and Vegan Living

Next, because Revitalive Café and Revitalive Health and Wellness are so intertwined, we asked Anna and Kristen for more information about their health and wellness center and how it supports the raw and living foods lifestyle.

Please tell our readers more about Revitalive Health & Wellness. What do you do there?

Revitalive Health & Wellness offers both complete wellness packages as well as individual, a la carte services. Our wellness packages are more like healthy lifestyle programs, which include food prep classes, daily support, consultations, all meals and services. We take people on a journey inward to reconnect with themselves and learn how to heal naturally. We also offer ongoing support, lectures, colon hydrotherapy, consultations, nutritional microscopy, books, equipment and food supplies to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Our goal is to help clients restore balance and achieve vibrant health and vitality. Our intention is to guide our clients to listen to the needs of their body. The goal is not for everyone to be 100% raw; rather we want our clients to be 100% healthy. Our bodies are so wise and know how to heal when given the chance. Once the body is restored to the proper balance (which includes pH, friendly gut flora, electrolytes, emotions and alkaline mineral reserves) people really start to thrive on many levels.

Why is colon health so important?

A proper functioning colon is necessary for physical and emotional health. Ideally, people should be eliminating 2-3 times a day. Constipation and diarrhea are a frequent occurrence in our population and often considered by mainstream to be a part of life. If you have constipation or diarrhea this is a symptom that your colon is not functioning optimally.

Poor dietary habits, lack of exercise, stress, and exposure to environmental pollution lead to toxin build up in the colon. In addition, eating dairy, cooked animal protein and cooked grains leads to excessive mucous production in the body. This mucous acts like glue in the colon, leading to constipation; over time, the colon can become impacted with layers of mucous, old fecal matter and toxins.

Given that the colon is an absorptive organ, toxins that are not eliminated are transmitted to the blood stream via the millions of tiny blood vessels known as capillaries which line the bowel. These toxins settle in our tissues, contributing to a state of disease. Poor eating habits and excessive use of antibiotics both orally and in our food supply have devastated our immune systems and gut flora. Friendly bacteria in the gut are necessary to help break down material that wasn't digested properly and also helps keep bad bacteria such as Candida in balance.

Raw and Living Foods for Health

Next, we asked Anna and Kristen for more information about raw and living foods and how they benefit health, especially colon health.

How does a raw and living foods diet improve colon health?

Raw and living foods are loaded with fiber that acts like a broom through the digestive tract. The fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables absorbs fats and toxins and also strengthens peristalsis, which is the contraction of smooth muscles to move contents through the digestive tract.

Tell us more about your own journey with raw and living foods.

I started on my journey with live foods right out of college. I graduated with a B.S. in Nutrition and suffered from severe peptic ulcers. My hope was that studying nutrition would give me insight to heal my ulcers. Unfortunately, my ulcers worsened while I was in college. I thought I was eating all the right things suggested by our food pyramid. I knew my body was completely out of balance and also had a hunch that it was connected to my poor diet.

After graduating, I moved back home and connected with a women at a local health food store. She helped me to understand food combining and introduced me to fresh vegetable juicing. Over the next several months, I began to feel relief from my ulcers.

I wanted to learn more and so I decided to visit the Ann Wigmore Center in Puerto Rico for a three week cleanse. My experience at the Ann Wigmore Center was amazing. After my three weeks of cleansing, I decided to quit my job and work at the Ann Wigmore Center. I wanted to learn all that I could about this incredible lifestyle. The director took me under her wing and taught me everything she knew.

Over time, I noticed the trends of people transitioning to a raw vegan diet. I wanted to help people over time and work with them on a long-term basis to teach them healthy strategies to implement into their life. to So in March 2008, my partner Anna and I decided it was time to head back to the states and start a community center. We still stay within the confines of healing living foods, but have developed our own protocol to help people transition to a plant-based diet.

What is your own diet like?

Our diet today is simple yet delicious. I generally have a green smoothie for breakfast, green juice for a snack, big salad for lunch with an avocado-based dressing, and something fun for dinner like a mock tuna salad sandwich. We refrain from using most nuts (especially cashews since they are not meant for human consumption), mushrooms (fungus), garlic and most oils since they go rancid in the body.

China Study

How would you answer someone skeptical about raw and living foods?

We empower people to take better care of themselves and educate them on the benefits of adding fresh fruits and veggies to their diet. We have only seen good things happen when people consume more fruits and vegetables. A great book to read on the impacts of dairy and meat on our health is The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. We live in a fear-based society and people are so out of touch with their own needs, thoughts and feelings. We are more concerned with people advocating for themselves and learning to think critically. Turn off the TV, get some fresh air and surround yourself with positive happy people. Most people feel like they do not have the right to feel good.

Changing to Raw and Living Foods

Next, we asked for tips about changing to a raw and living foods diet.

If someone is considering changing to a raw food diet, what advice would you give them?

Listen to your body and transition as slowly or quickly as it feels comfortable to you. Find people that support your process and have the experience and expertise to help you. An easy first step is to begin with proper food combining. The basic premise is to never combine a protein and a starch at the same meal. Most of us are chronically dehydrated, so simply drinking more water is a great benefit. There is a lot of information on the web advocating that calories are irrelevant when eating a raw vegan diet. Overeating cooked or raw vegan food is still detrimental to the body. Also, colon hydrotherapy is very helpful while your body adjusts to the increase in fiber and improves the absorption of minerals and vitamins.

For someone new to raw and living foods, how can they get started?

Start with drinking more water and add a green smoothie to your daily regimen. We have found it is not what we add into the diet that heals us, but what we eliminate. While raw and living foods can help reduce cravings, there may be deeper issues that need to be addressed in therapy or alternative modalities, such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).

LovetoKnow would like to thank Kristen Overlock and Anna Forkan for this interview. Visit Revitalive Health and Wellness LLC and Revitalive Café for more information.

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Revitalive Café: A Unique Spot for Vegan & Raw Food Dishes