Exploring the raw food movement in San Diego


Raw food is more than a few carrot and celery spears tossed on a plate, and with the vegan movement alive and well in San Diego, the raw food diet is gaining traction among proponents of clean-living and sustainable eating practices. While it may seem obvious that raw food is simply uncooked food, it actually can a have a smidge of heat involved.

Raw foodism, aka rawism, refers to eating unprocessed, mostly uncooked foods, specifically nothing cooked at more than 115 to 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Generally speaking, most raw foodists are vegan as well. The concept behind the movement is that heating destroys vital nutrients, enzymes, and life force contained in the fruit, vegetable, nuts, seed, legumes, and grain.

While it sounds like a drastic diet change to some, proponents argue that raw food can help weight loss, high blood pressure, diabetes, constipation, clear up skin and allergies, and improve sleep and energy. Beyond just smoothies and salads, raw food can encompass a range of dishes, including burgers, tacos and pasta.

Ready to dive into the world of raw food? Head to these San Diego locales to check out the movement for yourself:

Peace Pies

Along with being gluten-free, vegan and soy-free, this funky locale offers raw menu items across the board from salads to entrees. Try the Bliss Burger, a sundried tomato and walnut burger topped with “cheez,” pickles and homemade ketchup, or Loving Lasagna, with zucchini noodles, hemp seed pesto, cashew alfredo, marinated veggies, marinara and cashew parm.

Ocean Beach: 4230 Voltaire St., 619.223.2880; Encinitas: 133 Daphne St., 760.479.0996,

Cafe Gratitude

It doesn’t get much hipper for scarfing down raw food then this L.A.-based restaurant nestled in San Diego’s Little Italy. Known for their encouraging mantras and delicious vegan eats, Café Gratitude also offers raw food for interested takers. Kick off the dining experience with Inviting, a raw zucchini cilantro hummus, then munch on Terrific, the raw Pad Thai kelp noodles with thai almond sauce, carrots, red bell pepper, kale, toasted almonds and sprouts. Wash it all down with a range of pressed juices, smoothies, spritzers and wellness shots, with ingredients ranging from blue spirulina to fermented probiotic kimchi juice.

1980 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy, 619.736.5077,

Trilogy Sanctuary

After hitting up a yoga session, then treat yourself to raw delights to keep the body clean at their rooftop cafe. Choose from 12 smoothie options to quench the thirst or keep it light with one of five acai and pitaya bowls. If hunger strikes, start out with the Ginger Spring Rolls with mango, mint, quinoa, cucumber and peanut sauce in brown rice paper, and topped with hemp seeds and shredded carrots. Then opt for the Raw Summer Wrap with avocado, kale, peppers, beet and red cabbage sauerkraut, coconut yoghurt tzatziki, and drizzled with basil and pine nut pesto.

7650 Girard Ave. #400, La Jolla, 858.633.3893,


On the go? Head to this drive-thru, fast-food spot for raw options, like the Raw Burger GFO with a seed and nut herb patty, cashew hummus, tomato, lettuce, and sprouts on a cabbage leaf. Or opt for the Raw Tacos GFO with two cabbage shells filled with walnut and pecan taco meat, cashew hummus, guacamole, pico de gallo and lime.

2965 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill, 619.550.1818,