Jessica Patricio, also known as: “Juice”, or, “Juicy Chef Jess” is a raw vegan chef, born and raised in Newport, Rhode Island to two Portuguese parents.
Growing up in a family, and society, where her dietary and career choices are far from ordinary, her lifestyle has formed her into her own boss – and she likes it that way. She marries her passion for raw food with her love of yoga, allowing her to become an entrepreneur of health and wellness.
While her cadence is calm, Jessica is equally as bright and vivacious as the food she eats and enjoys cooking for others.Her laugh is arguably one of the jolliest and most famous in Newport, it is expansive.
If she isn’t laughing infectiously, you can recognize Jess by her appearance. She will most likely be wearing wildly patterned yoga pants and smiling at the world with her big brown doe eyes. She has gauges in her ears (which she’s had before they were ‘cool’) and she rocks a nose ring harder than anyone on this planet. Did I mention that she smells like ylang ylang oil?
Before you read, it is important to understand what exactly dictates a raw vegan diet. By definition, it is exclusive of all food and food products of animal origin. The diet primarily consist of raw fruits, vegetables, plant oils, seeds, fresh juices, and other yummy and earthy things. To be considered ‘raw’ the vegan components of the dish cannot be cooked at a temperature below 118 degrees Fahrenheit. If that wasn’t specific enough …
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: “For my undergrad, I studied Writing and Literature at Lesley University and Culinary at Living Light Culinary Arts in Fort Bragg, California”.
Q: How long have you been eating like a rabbit?
A: “That’s a really good question, pretty sure around 2011 I went vegan, for most of high school I was vegetarian and in college, [giggle break] I ate whatever.”
Q: You’re Portuguese, what does your Mother think about this (and your friends)?
A: “My family still doesn’t understand, still. My close friends follow a similar lifestyle or make the same lifestyle choices but it is definitely hard when trying to ‘meet’ people because I do not tell people right away that I am raw vegan, I kind of let them figure it out.”
Q: Say, someone read this and decided they wanted to take you on a date. Where COULD you go?”
A: “First of all, it’s hard to impress me with food because I am a chef, but you usually can ask a restaurant to make something modified if you give them a 24 hour notice. The closest place [to Newport] I enjoy is Garden Grille in Pawtucket, Wildflower is also next door, so … I can get dessert if they want to buy me dessert.”
I thought Jess winked after she said this, but sadly, it was only my imagination
Q: Let’s get serious, what does a day in your ‘food life’ look like?
A: “I really don’t like using technical terms but, to really narrow it down: I do intermediate fasting. So, I eat from 11am-6:30pm and usually my first ‘type’ of meal would be a green juice or a tonic …”
Q: Wait, what is a tonic?
A: “Chinese herbs, cocoa … (a list of things that sound exotic and healing) that’s the big thing I do that isn’t raw. For me, personally, that is my medicine.”
“… usually a couple hours after, I like to do something kind of high in fiber and water content. Right now, watermelon and cucumber are big foods for me… dinner is usually some sort of salad (not one of those Dole bags you buy from the store), lots of shredded veggies in different shapes textures and it’s a Mama Bear hug size … “
Jess actually put her arms around to show me the circumference of a ‘Mama Bear hug’, which just made me want to hug her.
” … it takes me an hour to eat dinner because I really chew everything down. (I have eaten with Jess before and she eats so mindfully that it is contagious). It feels different in your body when you eat mindfully and slowly”.
Q: How do you feel when and after you eat, or when you make meals for others?
A: When I make meals for people I do every step. I have a connection to the food, it has touched every one of my fingers multiple times. Since the food is raw it has all of the oxygen, enzymes, it is pure. When I eat a meal or has a juice, I can feel the oxygen in my brain and blood cells. I feel more alive and it makes me feel good about the work I have done. Sadly, I think that that most people don’t feel great after a meal”
Q: Not to define, yourself, but how would you define yourself. What do you actually ‘do’?
A: “That’s really hard, I joke around with friends and all myself a ‘wellness hustler’ it’s really hard to think of it in a different way than that … now everyone is some sort of wellness or health coach and that’s not what I am going for. I just want to remind people that they have all the knowledge and bliss and they’re perfect the way they are – tha’ts why I like raw food and yoga, they’re perfect the way they are.”
If someone hasn’t trademarked the term, Wellness Hustler yet, it will be on a t-shirt within the next couple months.
Q: Ok, so you’re a Hustler, Baby. How many ‘jobs’ do you have?
A: “That’s really technical, I am not just a yoga instructor or just prepare food. I also teach private yoga classes, workshops and have my own website. There are few offices I clean, and kids I hangout with – I guess some people would call that ‘babysitting’. I need to have a flexible schedule so my priorities can stay as yoga and food…”
Jess smiles and takes a deep breath (I’m exhausted by your list too, Jess).
“…if it is someone I don’t know I just say tell them that I am self employed so I don’t have to describe all the jobs I have during the day.”
Q: How did you know that being a raw vegan was right for you?
A: “I was vegetarian but drawn to raw vegan recipes. My friend was a raw vegan so things just kind of naturally kept going in that direction, I didn’t wake up and decide to be a raw vegan, it happened gradually.”
Q: You have an awesome body …can people anticipate to ‘get skinny’ from eating vegan?
A: “Well, you can actually gain weight. If you are juicing but using a lot of sweet sugar fruit, like grapes, you will gain weight because you’ve removed the fiber from the fruit. Fruit does better in the body if you have fiber, if you’re doing a large amount of it.”
Q: As you’ve gotten more invested in raw food have you felt your yoga practice change?
A: “So, I’m trying to think of a really short way to explain it … it’s easier for me to pinpoint what’s going on in my mind, my mind feels clear. I can tell when it’s a good day to do a faster practice or to take things slower, I also just have more energy.”
Q: You’re trying to tell me that you feel more energized from eating only raw food?
A: “I have a connection to the food. It has touched every one of my fingers multiple times, since the food is raw it has all of the oxygen, enzymes, it is pure. I can feel the oxygen in my brain and blood cells. Sadly, I feel that most people don’t feel great after a meal.”
Q: Do you miss any foods?
A: “No, because I can make it raw and make it better.”
Q: Do you have any events coming up?
A: “I have a juice workshop at Gather on July 19th – explaining juicers, what to juice and why, raw foods, what food helps what organs. Sarah Berkman (the owner of Gather), will be discussing herbs that will compliment a juice cleanse. It is basically a workshop on learning how to take better care of your body.”
Q: “If someone wants to do a juice cleanse or a meal package with you, how would they do that?”
A: “Most of my clients get a meal two or three times a week for $15 for a meal (they’re generous sizes). Depending on what is seasonal and not too expensive, I will make things like: veggie pad thai with spring rolls or raw sushi with soup or a slaw – it is good, clean, healthy food. Most of my clients have been attendees of my workshops or have hired me to cook privately in their home.”
Cleanse kits from grocery stores don’t really do anything. Jessica isn’t a huge fan of the word ‘detox’. She tells me that we are naturally detoxing through the day while still staying toxic. A juice cleanse can be helpful if you’re trying to figure out what foods work and don’t work for your body – we all have our own special combination.
If you want some of Jessica’s raw vegan TLC you can contact her and read her natural goodness on her website: https://livinggirllivingfoods.com. Where she defines her style of eating as a ‘vivacious exploration’. Thank you for making the world a crunchier, and more plant filled place, Juicy Chef Jessica Patricio! We love ya.