IT WAS once considered the domain of health freaks, but the raw vegan diet looks set to take a leap into the mainstream after a Byron Shire raw food company was commissioned to train staff at a local private hospital.
Later this year Rosebank chef Dianne Horton of Raw Ecstasy will stage a raw vegan food preparation workshop for staff at the Gold Coast's John Flynn Hospital.
Genevieve D'Adams, from The Ramsay Group which owns the hospitals and 64 others around Australia, said they saw raw food as playing an important role in achieving healthier and happier staff.
Ms Horton said the popularity of the raw vegan movement had been growing steadily, but recognition by Australia's largest private hospital company was a big step forward.
"It will just snowball from there because other health care companies will want to keep up," Ms Horton said.
Raw vegans eat from 70 to 100% raw "living produce" untreated by heat, including fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, to promote all round health and wellbeing.
Many raw food proponents report effortless weight loss and the healing of a variety of health conditions.
Ms Horton, 52, said she felt and looked younger since transitioning to an 80% raw diet five years ago with a recent test showing that her biological age was a decade younger.
Ms Horton said there was an abundance of information on healthy living available and it was often just laziness and a lack of self love that was driving the health crisis in Western countries.
"Be responsible for your own health and stop giving the responsibility to your doctor," she said.
While fruit, salads and vegetable juices form the backbone of the lifestyle, it has also spawned a gourmet raw food movement.