by Jim Harris
Did you know that there’s a raw foods vegan cafe right here in Northwest Philadelphia? Beverly Medley would like you to know. Ms. Medley, along with her daughter, Nyeisha, opened “All The Way Live” at 6108 Germantown Ave. in 2010. “By changing the way you eat,” she insists, “you can change the way you think and feel.”
Beverly, 62, has lived in Germantown for 32 years. She grew up in North Philadelphia and attended Bok Technical high School in South Philadelphia, where she took clerical courses. “I was never interested in any kind of food prep,” she says, “so It’s amazing to me that I became this preparer of raw and vegan foods. But once I decided to change, I had to learn. I’ve been vegan for 35 years now and have not strayed from that diet.”
According to the Medical News Today website, the essence of the raw foods diet is the consumption of unprocessed, whole plant-based, ideally organic foods. A minimum of three-quarters of the person’s diet should consist of uncooked food.
According to raw foodists, if you consume mainly uncooked foods, you will achieve significant desirable weight loss. They also believe that a raw foods diet enhances the body’s ability to prevent and fight diseases, especially chronic diseases. Raw foodists maintain that raw foods contain essential food enzymes that are destroyed if the food is heated to above 116 Fahrenheit (47 Celsius/Centigrade). Needless to say, these claims are controversial and have been disputed by several doctors and nutritionists.
It was reading a couple of books that inspired Beverly to try something new: “Cooking With Mother Nature,” by comedian/social activist Dick Gregory, a discourse on the ubiquitous mistreatment of the digestive tract, and “Sugar Blues,” by William Duffy, which claims that sugar is a harmful, addictive drug and that the sugar industry has conspired to keep people addicted.
“Like many Americans,” she said, “I had an addiction to sugar and fast food. I had some health problems. Those books made me want to change. Once I did, my health problems cleared up, and I lost 25 pounds, which I never gained back. Eventually I began sharing my passion for healthy foods. I raised both of my children as raw food vegans. Surprisingly it was not tough keeping them in line, even though all their friends were going to fast food places. I educated them, I talked to them about it. I gave it to them good! In fact, it was my daughter’s idea to have the first raw foods vegan cafe in Philadelphia. We opened in 2008, near Wissahickon Avenue and Manheim Street. It was just intended as a fun thing. Two years later, we moved to our present location, which is much larger.
“All of our food is soy-free and wheat-free. We make a sea moss drink that is rich in minerals. It keeps bones strong. It tastes fruity. We also sell dried sea moss in bulk on our website for folks who would like to prepare it at home. Also through our website, we offer weekly boxed meals. On first Fridays, we have poetry, dancing (it’s a big space) and all sorts of fun activities.
“We also have a healthy eating support group once a month on the Sunday closest to the new moon — new moon for new energy, and a new beginning. Since the date can change, anyone interested should contact us through the website, and we’ll put them on our mailing list.”
Beverly, who considers herself spiritual rather than religious (“Religion would confine me”), believes that “God put natural foods here for us. When we go outside of that diet, we have problems. There’s too much suffering going on unnecessarily. If you can find what’s in agreement with your body, you can become well. You don’t have to suffer.”
It is a BYOB establishment. “I would not want to deprive people of that pleasure,” said Ms. Medley, smiling. “And even if your child’s a fussy eater, bring him in. I’ll give him something he likes. I always do.”
The space is large (capacity 125), including a back room, which is available for private parties. They have an extensive menu of salads, entrees, desserts, beverages and soups (a few items are cooked), which can be perused on their website at www.alllivefood.com.
All The Way Live is open Thursday, noon to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 9 p.m.; and Sunday 2 to 7 p.m. More information at 215-821-RAW8 (7298).