I have been dreading this moment. When Beverly Pugh hands me the green and vicious-looking concoction, saying something like “It’s good for you,” I know I have to drink it. And I know it will probably kill me.
Ever since I ran away from Norway’s 1970s hippiedom with its Afghan embroidered dresses, tie-dyed T-shirts and corduroy trousers, I have nurtured a deep suspicion towards lentils, whole grains and sprouty things. Above all, I have avoided dark green, opaque drinks. But now I‘m a writer and must know that of which I write.
I lift the glass to my mouth, fully expecting to choke. It’s difficult to express my relief and gratitude when I find it’s actually – delicious! Despite its somewhat un-beckoning exterior, the drink is fresh, slightly sweet, a bit tangy, and doesn’t taste of grass at all. What a metaphor!
I am in Pugh’s restaurant Vegan & Raw; a bright and colourful interior complete with ferns and a rather incongruous bright blue budgerigar who has decided to move/fly into Vegan & Raw on this very day.
“He has been really good for the restaurant, a good omen,” Pugh enthuses. “Our luck has turned since he’s been here.”
The last few days she and her daughter Lila have been holding the fort on their own, struggling with a broken air conditioning system and the security grille not closing properly. Add that the entire staff has gone on holiday, and you get one busy family Pugh.
Indeed, it’s a wonder I could catch her sitting down at all. But now, together with the budgie, a strapping repairman has appeared, and all is going in the right direction.
“Now I only need and investor and someone who can market us to get us into the mainstream,” Pugh sighs.
One wouldn’t think marketing would be on top of her list of needs. Pugh is known all over the world of alternative medicine as Raw Food Plant Based Chef, and her approach to lifelong health and healing through eating raw, organic food, is well documented. Not to say the least through her book La Comida con Vida, published in 2012 in Spanish and now translated to German.
“We have so little time! We have to act now. We must get vegan food into schools, into hospitals. This is the future! We can’t keep killing off the animals. There will be no future for our children and grandchildren if we keep using up the earth’s resources like this. Everything will be extinct. We have to stop eating meat to save the planet.”
Pugh certainly walks the walk. 38 years ago she was at death’s door, struck down with a mysterious Hepatitis B-like illness.
“But being sick saved me! I had always been interested in the healing properties of food, and when the doctor even said: Stop eating meat, I didn’t hesitate. And sure enough, when I dropped the meat intake and began a transition to a more vegan intake my health slowly returned. At the time, I thought: When I get better, my goal will be to help people to help themselves and heal.”
Recovered from her illness, Pugh set about distancing herself from her old life. This included divorcing her entrepreneur partner, with whom she had had a daughter as well as a series of companies dealing in things like cars, sports goods, and garden furniture.
We are the opposite of McDonald’s!
“We had been pioneers here in Mallorca; the first to do so many things on this island. Do you know, I was the first girl to ride a motorbike on Mallorca, wearing trousers! Up till then, girls had only been sitting “side-saddle” as passengers. Yes my partner and I pioneered a business empire. But I walked away from it all.”
Pugh then trained as a reflexology/Reiki master (energy healing) in the first health medicine spa in the USA, in California and Florida . There she met other raw food pioneers and started what was to become her life’s work, in earnest.
“I became a pioneer in the medicinal food/raw food market in Spain, but it was 20 years too early, too soon. Now I see that Spain is just beginning to wake up.” Apart from running Vegan & Raw, (the only vegan certified organic restaurant on the island), writing books, giving seminars, personal one-to-one training, private consultations and food courses with titles like “Raw Food Uncookery Class,” Pugh runs online courses such as Raw Food for Beginners, and Gourmet Dinners.
“I’m now looking for a venue where I can start a detox retreat. I need somewhere with 15 to 20 beds. And I really need someone who can market all my ideas. I can do the creative bit, and he or she will take care of the business side of things. I have so many ideas! But I will need investments to make them reality. I need someone to believe in the project.”
Pugh already has a line of products such as juices, cakes, gluten free crackers and Essene bread, named after an ancient Jewish tribe who made bread without the use of fire. The process includes four days of sprouting and two days of dehydrating, so it is notexactly a game for those seeking instant gratification.
“Yes, you can say we are the opposite of McDonald’s!” Pugh smiles. She also sells seeds and nuts that even those with allergies can eat “because they have been treated so they no longer contain the enzyme inhibitors that protects them in nature ”
Being sick saved me
Pugh looks decades younger than her age, a testament to her own theories. “But actually, I don’t eat 100% raw anymore lets say 95%. I sometimes eat quinoa, millet and lentils. But soaked, sprouted and lightly cooked, The higher the temperature, the more the essence of the food is killed. Whatever is cooked over 42º loses nearly all its enzymes, vitamins and minerals.”
Interestingly, she also claims to have friends in Australia who live on nothing but air. Yes, air.
OK, I can go against my prejudices and drink dark green smoothies, but living on air, without chewing and swallowing food, glorious food – I doubt I will ever go down that road. Not even to become immortal, which Pugh indicates is another of her goals.
“Yes! I believe you can create your own reality no matter what. I believe in physical immortality. Change your thinking, change your being! But I’m still looking for someone who can market my ideas – right away. The time has never been better! The wake up call is now.”