Sunday, April 5, 2015

Real Food Works and Sally Ann Spivak (Gold)

Easter morning. Reflections on life, death, and my past, present and future. Thoughts turn to one of my current projects and how it grabs an important piece of my past and brings back some very interesting memories that I have yet to write about. The movie "When Harry Met Sally" came out in 1989. My mom, Sally, passed away in June of 1988, so we never got to use that as a joke or pop culture reference. For those few of the readers of this blog who knew her, you will remember what a unique and amazing person she was. I will write more about Sally some day, but for this post I'm going to cover our family's adventure in eating that began in 1971 and how it is now a part of my daily work life.
The original Electric Factory, 22nd & Arch.
Quick background. My father and his brothers (and others) opened the Electric Factory in 1968. Shortly afterwards they hired Marguerite Gaffney, who quickly became my mom's best friend. Already trending towards accepting the new and different, Sally embraced the new counter culture as well as many of the enlightenment aids that had become very popular. When Marguerite moved to California (Big Sur), my parents visited and mom decided that we would all be moving west soon. If we were going to move west and be Big Sur hippies, well then we would have to eat like it. So, no more meat in our house. I was 12 at the time and the vegetarianism wasn't near as big a disruption as moving west, but I kind of had no choice. Once we moved and I got in the California flow, it was an amazing experience, and my love of many things that I hold dear today began in the year and a half we lived there. The diet thing became more and more restrictive though. Marguerite and Sally had become convinced that a book called "The Mucusless Diet Healing System" by Arnold Ehret was to be our diet. So we gradually removed all the "mucus causing" items from our diet until we were left eating only fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and rarely, legumes. Even more radical than a vegan diet, I totally adhered to it. To convince my younger sister not to cheat when in the company of others (she was only two when we moved to California), Sally called all the food we weren't supposed to eat poison. Incredibly funny conversations would occur when sister would ask people questions like ""do you eat poison?"
A bunch of mucus free Spivaks in 1973, Bucks County. I used to have a neck!
We moved back to Pennsylvania in the fall of 1972, but the diet stayed the same. As my dad built his restaurant empire (HA Winston's), mom was always haranguing him to make the menu healthier and add vegetarian options. Eventually I segued out of the diet as I began driving and spending lots of time away from the family. Mom stayed a vegetarian until the last year of her life when the cancer had caused so much weight loss that her oncologist convinced her she needed animal protein. Ironically, I spent the last 9 months of her life desperately trying to put weight on her with mostly chicken and pork concoctions.

Now it's 2015 and I recently started doing some consulting work for Real Food Works, a company dedicated to improving peoples lives by helping them eat a more nutritionally dense, plant based diet. Sally would be proud. From their website here is some company history.

Real Food Works started simply. Lucinda Duncalfe just wanted others to experience the same benefits she had from shifting to a whole food, plant-based diet: weight loss, increased energy, and, most importantly, improved long term health.
Lucinda’s passion for great-tasting food dates back to early childhood. Although raised in New York City, Lucinda came from generations of family farmers and she has fond memories of shopping for produce when visiting her grandmother, driving from farm to farm – one for peas, another for raspberries. Sometimes they waited, talking with the farmer, for a just-picked batch to come in from the fields that would meet her grandmother’s exacting standards. As an adult, Lucinda ended up in Philadelphia and continued her culinary life in the same vein. She joined her local CSA, and settled into a healthy epicurean lifestyle, eating lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, but also lots of white flour, sugar, oils and meats.
Then, in 2011, Lucinda’s 80-year-old mother urged her to watch the documentary Forks Over Knives which describes the virtues of eating a whole foods plant-based diet. She was intrigued, and gave it a try. The result? Lucinda was transformed. Always relatively active, Lucinda lost a quick 10 pounds while eating as much as she wanted. Her already high energy level went even higher. The pain of her arthritis almost disappeared. People commented on how great she looked – the food was giving her a vibrancy she hadn’t had in years. Over time she went on to lose 22 pounds.
As easy as it was for Lucinda to enjoy this new way of eating, it was incredibly inconvenient. A busy working mom, Lucinda found it challenging to find enough time to cook, and take-out options that met her nutritional standards simply don’t exist. Tapping into her entrepreneurial background, Lucinda saw an opportunity in her own need: high quality nutrition and taste conveniently delivered.

Real Food Works. Delicious, nutritious, and delivered. What else do you need?
Contact me for more info.
Most of Real Food Works business is home meal deliveries, but the major reason they wanted my expertise was to help grow the corporate catering drop off service. So very conveniently, my blog is now a way to let you, my readers, know that you have a great new provider for your sales meetings, client appreciation lunches, office birthday parties, etc. Now, you can show your guests that you really care about them and their health enough to pay a little extra for the highest quality, nutritionally concerned catering provider around. Whether you want to have vegan, vegetarian, or include some low fat animal proteins, our culinary team at Real Food Works will provide you with a huge variety of menu choices. You can order from our existing menus or we can custom create meals to exactly fill your tastes. I can tell you this, even if you don't convert your diet completely, adding more plant based meals will improve your health, give you added energy, and make my mom, looking down on us, very happy!

Click for Real Food Works website. or contact me for menus and more...