Living Light Graduate Shining Her Light - Julie Van Den Kerchove

Living Light Graduate Shining Her Light - Julie Van Den Kerchove

1.) What was your first experience in the kitchen?

The earliest experience I can remember is making berry jam and baking homemade apple cake with my mom and sister. The best part was spooning out the last bits of dough... I’ve always enjoyed eating!

2.) What drew you to plant-based/ raw food cuisine?

I started reading about plant-based cooking because of health reasons. Raw food and the right supplements helped me to detox my body, overcome chronic glandular fever (Epstein-Barr virus) and regain my energy.

3.) When you attended Living Light, what did you enjoy about the school?

Everything! The cooking classes, the inspiring talks, the sense of community, the excellent food, the gorgeous weather and the beautiful surroundings, connecting with the teachers and fellow students at school and at the Living Light Inn, meeting all those passionate people from all around the world. Such a unique experience! Fort Bragg has something magical about it too. I can’t wait to visit again.

4.) Who are the culinary inspirations in your life right now?

When it comes to health, I am especially inspired by Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Jason Fung, Dr. Steven Lin from The Dental Diet… Experts in healing your body and increasing longevity through intermittent fasting and ‘keto’, a whole foods diet high in healthy fats.

When it comes to culinary inspiration, I really enjoy watching ‘Chef’s Table’ on Netflix, a show that celebrates renowned chefs and culinary geniuses from all around the world. One episode that particularly stood out for me was the episode with Zen Buddhist nun and chef of Korean cuisine Jeong Kwan. She is revolutionizing the international foodie scene by teaching chefs all around the world about how our energy impacts our food and how our thoughts can bring healing and health. It’s the perfect marriage between cooking and spirituality – taking healthy food to the next level!

5.) How do you feel attitudes toward raw and vegan foods have changed in the past 5 years?

When my partner Simon & I returned from culinary school six years ago, almost nobody in Belgium knew what raw food was about. Many people thought we were crazy hippies. Fast forward to today, raw food and plant-based cooking have become more mainstream. I’ve seen a great increase in salad bars, vegan cafés, juice bars... Lots of the people are now aware of the environmental impact of the conventional meat and dairy industry, and embracing plant-based cooking as a way to reduce their environmental footprint – or shall I say foodprint?  Like you have ‘Meatless Monday’, we have ‘Thursday Veggie Day’ here in Belgium.

It's also very inspiring to see how traditional Belgian and European cuisine have evolved. Many chefs are experimenting with sprouting, fermenting, dehydrating… and looking for new and exciting ways to cook with vegetables. In many restaurants, veggies are no longer the sad side dish on the menu. They’ve become the star of the dishes!

6.) Do you have any exciting projects going on that you'd like to share?

Earlier this year we released our third cookbook ‘Het Keto Plan’, all about the high fat low carb way of cooking and how you can turn your body into a natural fat burner. The book hasn’t been translated into English yet but we’ll be launching our new English ‘start to keto’ eBook this fall at JuliesLifestyle.com with a step-by-step plan to boost your fat-burning metabolism with vegan and vegetarian keto recipes – quite unique because most ‘high fat keto’ recipes and programs are very meat and dairy centered.

I’m also working on an exciting program that will offer more personal guidance for anyone who is interested in healing their body, increasing their energy and teaching their body how to burn fat for fuel with a plant-powered diet high in healthy fats. Later this fall, we’ll also be launching a new *free* eBook to get you started with keto so definitely subscribe to our newsletter at JuliesLifestyle.com if you’re curious to find out more and keep an eye on our Instagram @rawfoodchefjulie – I’d love to connect!

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