Healthy Raw Eating at Eco-OasisMarch 15, 2011
Words and Photos by Ariel Chew
Mention ‘healthy raw eating’ and most people would immediately think of bland, unappetising and generally ugly looking food. I was no exception. Except for sushi and the occasional salad, I prefer my meat and vegetables cooked, thank you very much.
Cheerful and airy, Eco-Oasis is perfect for leisurely chats over a nutritious meal
But an afternoon spent at the Eco-Oasis, Bangsar in the very pleasant company of its founder Elke Wollschon soon threw my apprehension towards the raw food movement out of the window. The parade of food that came out of the kitchen was lovely to look at and most importantly, absolutely scrumptious!
Established in May 2010, Eco-oasis offers vegan and non-vegan, raw and cooked lip-smacking options in their menu ranging from Western, Mediterranean and Asian cuisine.
Made from the freshest and top-quality produce, the raw dishes came out looking as if they were just harvested from the garden. And speaking of gardens, the one-storey bungalow that is Eco-Oasis is surrounded by a lush green one. I could almost picture myself doing morning exercises there in perfect serenity, hair blowing gently in the breeze and all.
Pardon me for digressing but I couldn’t help myself – it is such a gorgeous and cosy place!
Raw is Tasty
Eco-Oasis is very eco-friendly. The green Tropical Relaxer and red Purple Purifier come with pretty glass straws.
But let’s get back to the food. We began with the raw stuff – salads and smoothies. The reason for that is two-fold – being raw, they still have most of their nutrients and enzymes intact. And since they are easily digested by our system, it is always good to consume them before meat.
The Mixed Greens, Raw Veggies, Sunflower Seeds come liberally drizzled with the highly appetising and creamy Avocado Basil Dressing.
I tried the crispy and saltish Flaxseed snack which Elke (pronounced as Ell-kee) recommends – “If you need something savoury and substantial to accompany your salad”. The snack was indeed savoury and went well with the salad.
Our second dish was the hugely popular Black Quinoa Mango Salad. A lot of locals order it because black quinoa is not a common sight in this part of the world. Sourced from the Andes region in South America, the gluten-free seed is rich in protein, iron and calcium. On its own it tastes bland, but mixed in a salad with mango, spring onions and a dash of ginger juice, it was transformed into a zesty and invigorating treat.
We quenched our thirst with the refreshing and spicy Tropical Relaxer (Mango, Pineapple, Ginger, Spinach) and the sweet and tasty Purple Purifier (Beetroot, Watermelon, Banana).
“It is not enough to eat salads in our meals,” says Elke. “So green smoothies (a smoothie combining vegetables and fruits) are a great and convenient way to get all the vegetable and fruit servings our body needs.”
They taste great, too. Now, I am not a fan of beetroot. But when it is mixed with other fruits in smoothie form, its strong taste is hardly noticeable. Plus it makes the drink look pretty in purple.
Cooked and Wholesome
I was in the mood for lemon grass that day, so we had the Lemon Grass Soup with Seafood and Chicken for soup and the Lemon Grass Fried Bee Hoon as the main dish. The soup was incredibly clear – not a drop of oil can be seen floating on its surface. Suffused with the sweetness of prawns and squid, hearty chicken and oodles of vegetables, it is incredibly flavourful and nutritious at the same time. The Lemon Grass Fried Bee Hoon was light and tasty – something I can imagine eating every day and never grow tired of.
Light and tasty – Lemon Grass Fried Bee Hoon (RM18.50)
Refreshing – Mixed Greens, Raw Veggies, Sunflower Seeds on Avocado Basil Dressing (RM17.50)
Zesty and nutritious – Black Quinoa Mango Salad (RM11.50)
Flavourful goodness – Lemon Grass Soup with Seafood (RM15.50)
The savoury and filling Flax Seeds Snack
The organic shop at Eco-Oasis sells organic Chia Seeds which is an excellent source of omega-3, minerals and dietary fiber
Cooked or otherwise, you can be assured that Eco-Oasis never uses anything artificial whether they be preservatives, MSG, flavourings, microwave, trans-fats, Teflon-coated cook ware, etc. Only natural salts and filtered water are used in the food and beverages. Simply put, everything you consume there is as nutritious as it can possibly be for your body.
Food for the Mind and Soul
The lovely Elke Wollschon
Unlike most pro-raw food/vegan restaurant operators I’ve met, Elke is not pushy in her ideals. She cares for the health of her patrons and friends but she doesn’t judge. And she certainly does not believe that one size fits all.
“Each one of us has different reactions towards different food types. One person can be a complete vegan and blossom in health while another person cannot function without meat,” she explains.
So, hopping onto the raw bandwagon may not be everyone’s cup of tea? This is certainly good news to omnivorous me!
“We have to listen to our body. Through the process of trial and error, and observing how our bodies react to certain foods, we will know what is truly good for us,” she said.
Hence, the vast and varied menu at Eco-Oasis is flexible enough to include curries, rice, desserts, tea and even coffee.
A Passion for Health
Organic Products available at Eco-Oasis
Elke, a certified Nutritional Consultant and NLP Master Coach, is constantly experimenting, learning and growing and has a million ideas on how to help others practice a healthier lifestyle.
“I am passionate about healthy living. To me, there is no point in living a long life if the last twenty years of your life is spent being bedridden or suffering from dementia.” It would be exciting to see how she incorporates this passion into Eco-Oasis in the days to come.
The soft-spoken German-born nutritionist cum entrepreneur laments the fact that most people only start thinking about incorporating healthier choices into their lives after they fall sick or have unhealthy blood test results. “People tend to think that as long as they are not sick (suffering from flu, terminal illnesses, etc), then they are healthy.”
“That is a very short-sighted view of what good health is. You can have a flu-free body but if your mind is depressed or you suffer from constipation, then you are not healthy in the fullest sense of the word,” she explains.
Looking at her glowing good looks and smooth skin, it is hard to believe that she is 52 years old. She is a living, breathing and vibrant testament to what good raw and healthy eating can do to your body.
Soon after that one healthy and tasty meal, my body got busy flushing out toxins leaving me feeling energised and rejuvenated. I left Eco-Oasis a changed woman and have started incorporating more raw food options into my diet. And I’ve never felt healthier.
Eco-Oasis, a smoke-free establishment, is located just off-Jalan Maarof at 7, Jalan Riong, Bangsar Baru (GPS Coordinates: 03,07,643 N, 101,40,479 E). Opening hours are from 11am to 8.30pm (Tues to Sun).
Educational and inspiring events take place regularly in the enchanting place. For more information of their latest happenings, call +603-2284 2393 or visithttp://www.eco-oasis.my (Website) and http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=207852613395 (Facebook).
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