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Raw Force

By Meghan Baker

As the Caribbean-style music tangoed around the tropical-themed décor of WOW Raw Café in Guelph, Ontario, I couldn’t help but vibrate with a new, strange sense of wonder.

Raw food, to me, is usually vegetables in a salad, so I wasn’t completely sure what to expect in a restaurant catering to completely raw food ideals. I read pizza on the menu and was immediately perplexed.

The chance to sit down with owner Carin Reinhardt and talk about her philosophy and culinary art, is a chance to relax, breathe slowly and come to embrace the depth of the raw food way of life. With her smooth skin, soft voice, big brown eyes and long brown hair lacking any gray, she belies her age.

“When people don’t know how old you are, they don’t judge you,” the 54-year-old smiled when I asked her to relieve my curiosity. She even took a few moments to do the math. “We are accepting in our culture that when you are over 40 you are old. That’s crap,” Carin laughed. “That only happens if you don’t know how to take care of yourself.”

Carin describes her youth as fraught with illness, she was constantly on medication and she was a smoker. “I didn’t get it, me and my children were very ill. I bleached stuff, used disinfectant sprays, went to the doctors and went on antibiotics,” she explained, shaking her head.

Her sister introduced her to naturopaths and Carin started reading about healthier alternatives. Her daughter inspired her to become vegan and life changed dramatically; “we were experiencing good health,” she said.

The next step was a raw food diet, and for the past eight years, she hasn’t looked back.

“I thought; bottom line is who are we to think we can improve on what the creator gave to us?” To adjust to eating everything raw, Carin simply replaced everything that pleased her palette in the cooked world and replaced it with a raw alternative.

Carin became a devout believer of the power of raw food after the results she had when she ran a treatment home for children a few years before opening the restaurant. The children had various issues such as ADHD, asthma, eczema and cases of hairloss. Carin would adjust their diets, and the difference ended up inspiring her even more. She found that all of their symptoms were treated including a young boy who after three months was taken off his two puffers for asthma and began playing soccer and baseball.

“Raw food is one of the components, spirituality, exercise and sleep are also important,” Carin adds.

She and her husband Thomas of five years opened the Café three years ago. The WOW stands for Wild Organic Way. The menu includes salads, an Almond Cheeze Burger plate, quesadillas, tacos, Mediterranean Pizza, and my personal favorites, Berry Cheesecake and Chocolate Dream Cake. The ingredients are varied and creative, including cashew cheese for the cheesecake.

Carin believes that much of the power behind the raw food diet is in the nutrients, enzymes and, perhaps most importantly, the bioelectrical energy which “increases life force and elevates vibrations.” During her research, Carin read about Dr. Ann Wigmore and her studies on the effects of cooked and raw food. Carin decribed Dr. Wigmore’s research “scientifically proved that cancer cells died on living foods, but thrive on cooked food,” she said.

Carin tells a story of a guest who came into the restaurant with an inoperable brain tumor, close to death. She suggested switching to foods that were full of the life force that she strongly believes exists. “He came in a year later with a full head of hair. He is cancer free and he beat the worst kind of cancer.”

Join Carin for one of her raw food classes or visit for more information
Guelph, Ontario