Lessons From Raw Chef Yin’s Vegan, ‘No-Cook’ Cooking Session That’ll Help Your Vegan Journey

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FEMALE: What was it that started your vegan journey?

Chef Yin:  I used to suffer terribly from eczema when I was a kid. The rashes on my hands and toes would just dry up before they crack and bleed. The piercing sensation I felt when I needed to wash my hands was so annoying too – not to mention painful! My parents took me to one doctor after another and I’ve been trying multiple creams all through childhood but nothing really made the problem disappear. It was when I tried raw vegan food that eventually the suffering stops and that’s also how I found out that eggs and milk come out as inflammatory for me. Let’s just say I have nice hands and feet now!


F: How do you explain being vegan to those who are new to it?

CY: I get that a lot! People find it easier to understand vegetarians but not many can do so for vegans. It’s more than simply changing your diet, cos it extends beyond just food – it’s a lifestyle. When it comes to clothes, it means no fur, leather nor silk. If we’re talking about food, vegans don’t take any milk, cream, eggs, honey and gelatine! Especially for raw vegans, take our food natural, unprocessed or minimally processed. Being vegan means no animal by-products cos we’re against animal exploitation in any way, and by all means, we don’t encourage wastages.


F: Walk me through how you would normally prepare food.

CY: Making raw vegan food means you get to cut, mix and blend a lot. There are many other techniques used as well,  like dehydrating, spiralising (making noodles out of zucchini and cucumbers!) and food processing. Soaking, too. You get digestibility, texture and taste points for soaking your food. Counting all these in, we’re not really cooking – basically, we’re ‘un-cooking’!


F: When you say uncooking, that means no frying or boiling; so your food’s going to be cold, right?

CY: It’s kinda common how people think that we always take our food cold! We can actually have our food warm or hot, cos ta-da! *shows dehydrator* I use the Excalibur dehydrator for that. It’s kinda like a raw foodie’s oven. I’m an Asian, so I love my food warm… and spicy. I don’t heat anything above 45 degrees Celcius though (cos the higher the temperature, the more it will take away the nutritional value of food) and no oil is used. If you wanna try it but you don’t have a dehydrator, an oven works fine too. Just remember to keep the temperature low.


F: What are the shortcuts – or should I say tips, for rookie raw vegans? Perhaps the healthier substitutes for ingredients that you hold on to?

CY: Use unheated coconut milk (santan), so that you can enjoy it cholesterol-free. Eggs are a no-no, so you can use chia seeds instead – they’re a wonderful source of protein. Fermented food will significantly build your gut flora and make you fell better, so I love putting tempeh and miso in my dishes. And for sweetness, instead of using processed sugar, use a low-GI, organic one instead. My personal favourite is the Masarang Arenga Forest Sugar. Or simply use dates – they’re among the best healthy sweeteners!

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