Vogue Supernatural Woman

by Rhea Peake

Renée Loux-Underkoffler belies the belief that vegans are lightweight or anemic. This energetic and athletic young woman recently spent several weeks cycling down the west coast of the US from Seattle to Santa Barbara on a tour to promote Simple Organic Living. Together with actor Woody Harrelson (of Cheers fame) and six other cyclists, she cycled 70 miles each day, sleeping in an ecologically sustainable bus modified to run on a hybrid of solar power and refined hemp oil. The group stopped at university campuses along the way to speak about "leaving a light footprint" on the earth. Clearly, this is a young woman who lives her ideals.

Renée mainly eats raw food, and is eloquent in explaining her lifestyle choice: "I chose living foods because I wanted to redefine holistic well-being. I chose integrity with my body, with animals, with the earth. Raw food fills me with health, energy, and joy, says Renée. "It has all of its nutrients intact, without being cooked to death." Fresh, organic ingredients, usually bought directly from farmers, are an essential part of every dish she prepares. A keen gardener, she knows when vegetables and fruits are peaking in flavor and she includes lots of fresh herbs and spices in her food preparation.

According to Renée, everything the body needs comes from plants. "The right combination of organic produce is all it takes to get your essentials." Renée starts the day with fruits and greens, including Spirulina and green algae. She eats her biggest meal for lunch, fuelling up on proteins for the most active part of the day. She dines lightly, mainly on greens. "Rather than vacillating between indiscriminate consumption and punitive dieting, I treat myself to regular meals and never feel guilty about snacking when the food contributes to my well-being.."

Practicing yoga and eating fresh, organic food are the pillars of Renée's health. "I attribute much of my vitality, energy and flexibility to yoga," she says. "I practice every day. It is the time I give myself. It is one of the greatest joys in my life." Her main mission is to enjoy life thoroughly. "Feeling healthy in my body and mind is a priority. Eating well, exercising, resting and relaxing are fundamental aspects of feeling good and looking great."

At home on the Hawaiian island of Maui, Renée is very active, and enjoys surfing and hiking as well as cycling. "The warm sun and ocean and fresh frit year round are certainly part of the allure. I love the Pacific Rim fare of the islands and I like twisting convention in my cooking." One of her favorite dishes is nori rolls, complimented by a sweet dipping sauce. "A few select elements in a dressing, marinade or sauce conjure a really notable dish."

Dessert is a specialty with Renée. "I believe we can have our cake and eat it too, yet so many people deny themselves." She uses fresh succulent fruits for sweetness, plenty of fresh ground spices, and raw organic nuts which, she says, are richly satisfying and an important source of healthy oils.

For Renée, following her lifestyle in the tropical paradise of Maui is relatively easy, but she travels a good part of the year, teaching and holding workshops. "Most restaurant kitchens are happy to prepare what I want when asked respectfully," she says. "I check with the locals in different areas to find out where the organic produce is available and freshest. I seek out farmers' markets. In Los Angeles, for example, there is a farmers' market almost every day of the week. When I travel abroad, I take some staples, Spirulina, shoyu (soy sauce), seaweed and so forth to supplement the local produce."

Renée brings flair to the food she prepares. "With the right seasoning of fresh herbs and an artistic touch, the tastes and textures can be satisfying and filling without being heavy. When I eat raw foods, I am immediately gratified. There's nothing usual about a completely natural diet, this is living proof."

For more information about Renée and living foods, go to www.euphoricorganics.com (now www.reneeloux.com). For details of the Simple Organic Living tour, see www.voiceyourself.com, which has links to sites about nutrition, organic agriculture, textiles, and alternative energy sources.