The clever Grand RAWpids
brand name of Grand Rapids entrepreneur Christine Despres' packaged raw foods business is a good indicator of the creative juices she brings to her original raw foods taste treats.
Despres, an IT manager by day and certified raw food chef by night, says troubleshooting computer glitches for customers is much like helping people figure out what's going on in their bodies. She says snacks made from raw foods retain an optimum level of nutrients, unlike foods that are cooked at high temperatures.
"The body uses less of its own digestive energy to process the foods because raw foods are alive and have their own enzymes for the digestive process, so you're left with more energy," Despres says. "Nothing is heated above 113 degrees. The goal is to find snacks that people are going to enjoy and convert them into a raw food."
Despres says Grand RAWpids foods are organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, and are naturally sweetened without sugar.
She uses the kitchen at Nourish Organic Market
(634 Wealthy St. SE) to make her products, which include Cacao Mint Brownie (sprouted buckwheat flour, Medjool dates, pure peppermint oil, raw cacao powder); Raw Energy Cookie (raw almonds, Michigan organic honey, raw coconut, Medjool dates, topped with a drizzle of raw chocolate); and the fruit-leather-style Strawberry Soother (raw in-season strawberries, lavender oil, and sometimes agave nectar).
Her latest creation will be available in January -- a raw cereal called Squirrel Stash (gluten-free oats, a non-peanut nut butter, and a drizzle of raw chocolate).
Grand RAWpids foods are available online
and at Nourish Organic Market, Harvest Health Foods
(Cascade store), and at Conlee Oil Company
Source: Christine Despres, Grand RAWpids
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor