Today we interview with Alissa Cohen, Raw Food Expert, and… coach.
Our first question, Alissa, is for the people who don’t know who you are — can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Alissa: Sure! I teach people how to eat raw food, and how to be healthy. I have published a couple of how-to recipe books, and I do a teacher training for people who want to teach “raw food” to others. I also do a lot of spiritual work, which is all about raising your vibration in any way that you can.
I started off with food and I have been doing that for 30 years, but the spiritual side is a huge part of [what I do] as well.
Nufoodi: What is the difference between a paleo diet and raw food diet?
Alissa: Well, the paleo diet consists of a lot of meat and protein, but I do a raw vegan diet. A lot of the concepts of paleo and raw diet are similar. I think there are a lot of good things about the paleo diet — I mean it’s [about consuming] fresh vegetables and all really clean food: nothing processed, no grains, no dairy — so paleo practices a lot of the same concepts as a raw food diet, except raw food is vegan. That’s the biggest difference.
Nufoodi: Thank you for clarifying that! Can you tell us a little bit about how you started? It seems like this is a pretty special kind of diet.
Alissa: I went vegetarian when I was 16, and I’m going to be 50 this year. So I’ve been into health for a long time. I was working out a lot, and I was thinking about becoming a bodybuilder, so I went vegetarian. A few years into [vegetarianism], I started going vegan.
When I was 19, I started working at a health food store. The owner of the health food store had a friend who used to come in all the time with her daughter, who was 3 years old. The family was 100% raw. Keep in mind, ~30 years ago, there was no information about raw food — there was no internet, there were no [raw food] books. There were some really, really old books like “Ann Wigmore’s Recipes for a Longer Life.” But, basically, nobody had ever heard of it.
I started learning about [raw food] through this woman and her little girl — three years old — who had never gotten sick, never had an illness, never had a stuffy nose, or an ear ache. She was the healthiest kid I’d ever seen. It just kind of resonated within me, that “wow they’re eating raw food.” It was just the next step for me.
So I started [eating raw food] and experimenting on myself, and I didn’t really know what I was doing, since there were no recipes out there. I had no one to talk to about [raw food]; there was no one to learn from. I would [eat raw] for a couple of days, and I would eat all dates and walnuts one day, and the next day all fruit, and I could only stay on it for so long. But, when I did it, I felt incredible — I mean, I felt my aches and pains go away. I felt more clear, I felt happier, I felt like there was something special about this diet. Then, I went off and on [raw food] because I really didn’t know how to sustain my new diet; no one around me was doing it.
I thought I was eating a healthy diet because I was vegetarian, but I eventually just got sick of feeling sick and tired, and not great. By this time I was in my early 20’s, I had opened up my own health food store. I was always experimenting, but I never forgot about the little girl and the raw food diet, and how good I felt.
When I found out I had fibromyalgia, I said to myself “okay, this is it, I’m going to really go raw and do it for a couple of months straight and see how I feel.” I took my two best friends, and I turned them onto it. One of my friends had like 100 pounds to lose. I said, “I’m going to make all your food for you for two weeks, I want you to see how you feel.” She lost… It was crazy, she lost like 14 pounds in two weeks! I said, “Okay there’s something about this diet,” and I started to feel better and I just saw miracles. I started turning people onto it and seeing miracles happen, and I really felt like I’d found the fountain of youth. So that’s pretty much how it started.
Nufoodi: That’s pretty powerful. Starting with the little girl and losing 14 pounds, in two weeks? People would pay and do almost anything to make that happen. Would you say that 3-year-old was the catalyst to this whole transformation?
Alissa: Yes. I do think that. I used to sit in the health food store and I’d bring in my salads and she would eat salads with me. Then I would take her across the street where there was a grocery store, and we would go over for something to eat. She would grab some green beans… You know how kids normally grab for junk food and chocolate and gummy bears? This was amazing to me, and I thought, “Her taste buds aren’t polluted, so she’s naturally gravitating towards healthy foods.” She really was the catalyst, because she opened my eyes to all of that.
Nufoodi: How were you able to convince your first two friends, “Hey, let’s give this a try.” How did you do that?
Alissa: That’s a good question, because honestly, one of my friends is older than me and he’s actually living in India right now. He was vegetarian already. He had heard about raw foods, so it wasn’t a hard sell and we would go out to dinner all the time. One day I said, “From now on, you’re going to have to come over and I’m going to make you food.” And he came over and he loved everything. One day he dug up this really, really old cookbook. It was real earthy-crunchy and he gave that to me and told me he just loved the food that was in it. I started experimenting. My friend who was overweight — I said, “Just buy the food and I’ll make it for you, and I promise you’ll lose weight.“
It wasn’t a hard sell with them but I did lose friends because I was young and I had a certain lifestyle and I was used to going out and partying on the weekends. A lot of my friends were like, “What are you doing? .” And I thought I can’t… Some people can do that and feel fine. I got to the point where I kept trying. I would be raw all week and then on the weekends I would say, “I have to have a social life.” So I would go off of it but then I’d wake up on Sunday morning feeling like a truck hit me and feeling hungover. And finally after a years of going back and forth I thought, “I can’t do this anymore.” If my friends don’t like it or don’t support me then those aren’t people I want to be friends with because my good friends are going to want me to feel good. So I did lose… Some of those people fell away because I was changing my environment and the way I lived, and my thought process about how I wanted to live my life.
Nufoodi: Was the health food store your first real job?
Alissa: I did have other jobs, but I never did well with them. I remember working at Friendly’s for about a day, but I knew I had a bigger mission in life. People know me for raw food because I’ve been doing it for 30 years, but I originally started with the spiritual stuff. I became a polarity therapist, and a craniosacral therapist when I was in my young 20’s. Nobody knew what that was, and I was also studying metaphysics and the nature of reality, 30 something years ago. Now, people’s consciousness has changed tremendously especially in the last few years. It’s the big thing now.
Nobody really knew what I was talking about, but that’s how I was living my life. I was pretty conscious and trying to find my direction in life, and knew that I wasn’t working a mundane job for someone else. I knew I wanted to do other things and to help people. The food was just a part of it. It’s a little easier to initiate change with food, because everyone wants to lose weight, and feel good, and it’s more of a physical thing. So it just grew from there.
Nufoodi: Was opening up your health food store the first step in your raw food lifestyle?
Alissa: Yes. I did that when I was really young. I worked at the health food store I was telling you about when I was 18 or 19. My first business I created was holistic fitness, and I was training people. I’d go over to their houses and train people and talk to them about food. It was basically like life-coaching but I didn’t call it that at the time. I’d always wanted to open up a health food store, so I did that when I was about 22/23. It was very cool because I got into more of the food stuff and the supplements and the health stuff.
Nufoodi: That’s very interesting that you mentioned supplements. Are there supplements that go along with the raw food diet, or is it just raw food?
Alissa: It depends, people do things so differently. Some people are really into supplements. I’m not, because I feel like I’m eating healthier than a lot of people. When you take [supplements] they have to be filtered through your liver, so I don’t like to take them. I think half the supplements people take really don’t get processed, and they’re not really usable. So I like taking things in food form, like Chlorella. I add a powdered Chlorella to my smoothie every morning. I also take enzymes, and maybe a B12 supplement. But other than that, I really don’t take a lot of [supplements].
Nufoodi: How were you able to get the first 5-10 people for your first few personal coaching jobs?
Alissa: Well it’s funny because I teach people when they’re on their path, it shouldn’t be a struggle. And that’s kinda how it was for me when I really decided that I was supposed to be helping people in this way. I hung up a few flyers and that’s how I started getting people for my holistic fitness business.
I thought, “What am I going to do? I don’t seem to have the personality where I can work for someone else.” And a friend of mine said, “Just write down everything you’re good at.” And I wrote… “Food, helping you create a business, and spiritual stuff.” I just listed everything, and I got five phone calls in one day. That also confirmed my belief that when you’re on the path, the people will show up. When you’re teaching from your heart; when you’re doing what’s in your heart and what you love, that’s when it happens easily. That’s how I started doing all of this.
I moved to California in my mid-20’s, after I sold my health food store. I wanted to do more raw food, because I was making a lot of food, and I was always making up recipes and sharing them with people. When I moved to California, there were a lot of raw food potlucks. Nobody on the east coast had heard of these yet. I started sharing my recipes and I to this day, I don’t really know how this woman found me, but a woman in Palm Springs called me and said, “Can you come and live with me for a week? I went to the Hippocrates Center and I feel great, but I don’t know how to make the food, and I don’t know how to sustain this and live on this.”
So I went down [to Palm Springs] and spent a week with her and her husband, and it was like 180 degrees out so we basically stayed by the pool and made a ton of food, and we were just eating all day, off and on. We became best friends, and I’m still friends with her. She said to me at the end of the week, “You really need to write a book about what you’re doing. What you just did with me and what you can do with people.” When I went home it just kind of stuck with me, and I thought okay, I really have to write a book with the recipes and the how-to [live and eat raw food].
My first book was 600 pages, and it’s a four-week guide that really walks you through [raw food]. It was basically everything I did with her that week, and [releasing the book] was when I started really reaching a lot more people.
Nufoodi: Where did you hang up the flyer to get five responses in a day? That’s pretty good.
Alissa: I know. I hung it up at a grocery store.
It was just kind of a confirmation… I felt like it was the Universe telling me, “You’re on the path of what you’re supposed to be doing.” And now that I’m talking about it, I remember when I sold my health food store, I was doing miscellaneous jobs. I said, “Okay, I can’t do this,” and I remember calling my two best friends — the same two people I turned onto raw food — and I said, “I’m not working anymore for a living.” I know they were kind of horrified because they were like, “Are we supporting you? What’s going on?“
And I said “I can’t do something that isn’t me.” And that’s when my friend said, “Well why don’t you write down everything you can do?” And that’s when I called it ‘holistic fitness,’ and it just happened. So that confirmed within me, “Okay, I have to live my truth.”
Nufoodi: You mentioned the path earlier, right? Can you define that, what the path is to you?
Alissa: When I teach people in my classes, I always say, “You either know what you want but you don’t know how to get it, or you don’t know what you want.” And that’s a thing that we’re all searching for. For me, it was really tapping into not thinking, “What do I want to do to make money, and what do I think will be a success?” But, “If I had all the money in the world, what would I do? What’s going to make me happy?” And I think that when you’re lined up with that, then people are naturally drawn to you.
I tell people when they come to my class for the teacher training, “You can give people all the information that they need, you can give them all the technical information, tell them about the structure of the buckwheat cell, the acid-alkaline balance in the body…“
But now, especially now, people can get that information online. They can read books. But, there’s a reason they come to you, and that reason is because they’re resonating with your heart. They’re resonating with who you are. They’re coming to you because of the vibration of who you are and what you put out there. And that’s why certain people are attracted to certain people.
When you really put your heart out there, and you’re true to who you are, then the people who are really supposed to be learning from you can find you. That’s why I always say, “I teach from the heart, and it’s not that I know everything or have all the information, but I just teach what I love and who I am, and try to put my whole self into it, and be true, and real,” because then the right people can find me, because they resonate with that.
Nufoodi: Was there a specific moment when you realized there was a spiritual connection between food and spirituality? We know that you’re shifting direction a little bit, so can you tell us a little bit about when you first made that connection, and what your new direction is?
Alissa: Sure! I think I’ve always had that connection. The spiritual stuff is who I am, and even when I was little, I was playing with crystals and channeling crystals, putting energy into the crystals, and doing tarot card readings for people. So that’s who I am. When I started doing food — I think why I’d gotten turned on to the food — was because of the spiritual stuff. When I started eating raw food, I felt like I became so much clearer. So I tell people, “It’s just like when you’re eating cooked dead processed food, it’s the same to me as doing drugs or alcohol, it just numbs you out.“
You’ll see people who go raw, and it’s not just eating raw food, it’s a whole lifestyle change… If they really get into the diet, and go 100% raw, sometimes they’ll leave their spouses, or quit their jobs, and it’s because it just takes that veil off, and it really cleans you out emotionally and physically.
When I started doing the raw food, I felt like I was reaching higher states of awareness, and more clarity in my meditations. I felt like it was all connected. For me, it wasn’t about doing a diet to lose weight — for some people, it is. For me, I can’t differentiate between raw food and spirituality, because whatever raises your vibration, gets you high into that place. We’re three-dimensional… We’re not one-dimensional human beings. We need all of it. And if one part isn’t working, you’re going to be off balance.
And, the whole shift… It’s funny because it’s not really a shift. I switched my website around, but when I do my four-day trainings, which I’ve been doing for around 14 years now, The Raw Food Teacher Training, what happens is they come on a Friday night, and I do a little teacher training exercise, like team-building. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, during “learning readiness,” I go around the room and I say, “Before I fill your head with information, I want to make sure you are ready to learn, so if you are worried about a sick mother at home, or your dogs or work, I’m not going to be able to fill your mind with information, so let’s process that out so that you’re present.” Then, I go around the room and I ask people how they are — when I’m standing in front of someone I can read, I can tap into their heart, and I kinda know what their life mission is, and I’m seeing all this stuff.
So it usually takes a couple of people, then someone kind of breaks open and stuff comes out… I’ll say “Is anything bubbling up?” And they’ll say, “Well I’m worried about this…” and I’ll say, “Tell me about this, do you know what your compelling vision is?” Then, we’ll start a dialog, and by the third or fourth person, the whole room is crying. People come up to me on Monday and say, “Oh my God! I thought I was coming to a raw food training. What just happened? My whole life got blown open.“
I’ve been combining all that stuff with people over the years, and so many people come up to me after the four-day training, asking if I can do just the spiritual stuff, and if I’m having a class for just the spiritual stuff. I just finally decided that I’ve gotta have more of this on the website and stop hiding it.
Nufoodi: So would you say that you’re more about spirituality now than food?
Alissa: I mean, I’m still going to do the food, because it’s so important to me, but yes. I’m definitely bringing the spiritual stuff into focus, so people know that’s part of it. I’ll be doing some of [the spiritual stuff] separately too.
Nufoodi: It sounds like food is obviously an important part to fuel your spirituality, right?
Alissa: Right. Yup. It’s all connected, so it’s been hard for me to keep them separate. I’m excited about bringing them together now — being able to teach both.
Nufoodi: Can you reflect on a particular spiritual moment that occurred during one of your classes which has particularly stuck with you?
Alissa: Yes, there’s actually quite a few, but here’s a cool one: this happened years ago. There was a woman in my class who looked like she just walked off the beach in California. She was blonde hair, blue eyed, beautiful, really sweet, loving person. But when I went around the room and asked “How are you? What’s bubbling up, anything going on?” She started telling us her life story, and it was literally the most horrific story I have ever heard. I was getting nervous, because when somebody does that in the middle of a class, it can be shocking for some people.
Everything that could have happened to this woman did. I won’t go into it all, but basically she was locked in a closet with her dog most of her childhood. Then when she grew up, she married a horrible guy who got her addicted to drugs and put her in an insane asylum. Then, she ended up on the streets, and ended up in jail. Literally everything bad that could have happened, happened to this woman, and she told us the whole story.
I don’t know why I say certain things in class, I was just guided to talk to her. Then, she had this amazing [revelation]… There was something that happened that turned her life around, and that’s why she was at the class.
So everyone in the class was crying, and she said, “I don’t know what to do with my life now, I finally feel like I’m ready to give back to the world, and be the person I’m supposed to be, but I don’t know what that looks like.”
Then, I said to her, “The first thing you have to do is stop telling this story. Never tell the story again, unless you are writing it down. This is who you are, you’re supposed to be inspiring people through your story.”
So she said, “Well I’m not a writer, I don’t know how to write.”
And I said, “Well you can record it, you can just talk into a recorder and hire somebody to transcribe it.”
And she said, “Well I don’t even have a recorder,” and it went on and on and on. She said, “I can’t even do a website, how would I get this out there?”
So literally, it was like by magic it appeared. The woman next to her said, “Its funny. I just bought this recorder for the class, it’s brand new,” and I still get choked up telling this story, but she said, “I want you to have it,” and she handed it to her. Then, the woman next to her said, “I’m actually an editor, and I will transcribe the whole thing and edit it for you once you tell your whole story. You can just send me the tape.“
And [this lady] also had no money, by the way. Somebody had given her the class as a gift. She was really, really broke. Then, the next person stood up and said, “I’m a photographer, that’s what I do for a living. I’m going to take pictures of you so you have it for your book.” And the next person said, “I’m going to buy your website domain for a year,” and the next person was like, a website designer. I mean, literally, we went around the room, so that every single person had a part in her book and was going to help her. It was the most powerful thing.
Nufoodi: So, everything fell into place for her in that moment?
Alissa: Yes. And that’s the power of doing groups, because it’s not just me doing it, but it’s the collective consciousness.
Nufoodi: That’s a great story. Thank you for sharing. Let’s shift gears a little. Do you think that there are specific foods that are particularly helpful for raising your spirituality?
Alissa: Yes. There are different foods that raise your vibration, but I think most of the foods that are raw will do that. So, foods that are light and contain a light energy — fruits and vegetables — those are the biggest two. Sprouts, to me, are a superfood. Some people say raw cacao and Acacia berries and all that are superfoods, but I think sprouts are a superfood. Any living food — because there’s a difference between raw and living food — and people don’t always realize that. People think nuts and seeds, or sprouted grains and beans are raw food, but they’re not. Once you sprout them and activate the enzymes, then they are living food. So, anything that would rot on your counter if you left it out is considered a living food. The more living foods that you can eat, those are definitely going to help raise your vibration and you’ll become lighter and clearer.
Nufoodi: You mentioned that you believe sprouts are a superfood. Are there any other foods you consider superfoods?
Alissa: Like I said, all the superfoods now are a big thing, and I just think a lot of those are powders and stuff like that. I just think any living food is good, but especially alfalfa sprouts or sunflower greens. But once you sprout those, they increase their vitamins and minerals 20-fold, and they can contain so much good stuff in such a small amount. I just think those are really the best foods to eat.
Nufoodi: What do you think is the most common spiritual challenge when you do your sessions in the groups?
Alissa: I would say that when you’re with a group and when you’re in that energy, it’s so much easier to be in that space. People always ask me after four days, “This is great and I’m high from being here, but how do I go home and implement this into my normal life?” And I always say, “Well, that’s the trick.” Because that’s when we want to be able to do this. We all want to be able to stay in the space, even when we’re with our family and with our kids, or we’re at work. The biggest thing, is people being able to leave the group and create an environment or a community where they can keep doing this and exploring and growing.
Nufoodi: So, they want to continue to be able to do this on a consistent, sustainable basis, given the reality of everyday life craziness?
Alissa: Everyday life, right. How do you sit in meditation when your kids are screaming, or when you’re late for work. Really creating the environment to say, “Okay, I’m going to implement all the stuff that I learned,” and to keep going instead of getting sucked into what most people do.
Nufoodi: What advice do you give them when they say that?
Alissa: I just say that they should find other like-minded people. Whether it’s a group once a week that they go to [for support]; the less you’re around [your like-minded group of people], then you start getting sucked into what most people consider the norm. If you can stay connected through a group or have friends over to meditate, you can really set aside time. Instead of waking up at 6:00 in the morning and hopping in the shower and getting ready for work, wake up at 5:30, whenever that quiet time is, and really carve out some time for you.
Nufoodi: So, you have to find a way. It’s not going to happen on its own, you have to put the effort into it?
Alissa: Right. And that’s what I say to people, “It’s not magic. If this is the reality you want, you need to create it. But when you do, the rest of your reality, the part when you are at work or you’re with your family, it’s going to be so much better,” because, you’ve taken that time to do that.
Nufoodi: Shifting gears a little bit, it sounds like you’ve done a lot of amazing work, and you’ve experienced a lot of amazing things. I think one of the most powerful things a person can do is turning somebody’s life around or give somebody’s life meaningful direction, which I think that’s more or less what you do on a daily basis. Would you say that’s what you’re most proud of?
Alissa: Yes, definitely. I mean, that’s what fills me up. I always ask people, “What really fills you up, spiritually, emotionally, physically,” and that’s when I get an email from someone or a phone call that says, “Wow, you’ve changed my life,” or, “This had a huge impact on me.” I don’t really know what else could be more rewarding than that. That’s what’s kept me going for so many years.
I’m really proud of my first book, because that was a labor of love. I had no money, I had no idea how I was going to get that published. I just started writing, because the drive was so strong to get the message out and to help people, so that’s kinda my baby. That’s where it all started, just getting the message out, and being able to help people. I‘m just really grateful that I’ve been able to touch people’s lives, because then I get that energy back every time I do it.
Nufoodi: Writing a book is — if anyone out there has ever tried to do it, it sounds great in theory when you say it — but actually sitting down, it’s a huge accomplishment.
Alissa: Oh, yes. Yes.
Nufoodi: So, is there one valuable insight, lesson, or a piece of advice you can share with our audience?
Alissa: Again, it’s like everything that we’ve just talked about: it’s about living your passion. I’ll have people stand up and talk in my classes. One woman stood up one time and said, “I’m a homeopath,” but she was talking so softly, and she was sitting in the back of the room, and she just had no life energy in her. So, I told her to stand up, and I didn’t even know why I was saying that. I didn’t know what I was going to do with her. Something told me to tell her to stand up.
I said, “Start telling us what’s in your heart.” She said, “What do you mean?” I said, “What do you love? Do you love your dogs? Anything. Do you love your flowers?” She just started talking and talking and talking, but she was talking in this very monotone quiet voice.
But then, she started saying, “And I really love recipes,” and she came alive, literally. She started talking about how she creates these amazing recipes, and that she’s already written a book with 50 recipes, and it’s on her computer, but she’s never shared it with anyone.
I said to her, “Okay, wait a minute. Can everyone see her face right now?” Then, I said, “Who wants her recipe book?” And everyone raised their hand. I said, “No, we’re playing for real. How much you selling it for?” She just laughed, and I said, “No, I’m going to be your agent. How much are you selling it for? How about $20? Okay, who wants the book,” and most people raised their hand, and I hooked them up with buddies, and had her buddy write down everyone’s name, and I said, “Okay, go get your money,” and this woman made $400 right away.
And she said, “I just never thought I could do this. I never thought I would be good enough to do this.” I said, “Well, you just made $400 in five minutes. If this doesn’t prove it to you, what would?” And she didn’t want to take the money, and I said, “You don’t have to take the money, but let me invite you to have a different experience. Because if you take the money, then you have a different experience, that’s going to give you a new belief system.”
The only way to really change someone’s belief system is to give them a new experience. I can tell you you’re good enough, and I can continue to tell you daily that you’re good enough, and that you can write a book, and that people will love it — but when I give you the experience, it happens instantaneously. Now you have a different belief system because you can’t keep telling yourself you’re not good enough or that you can’t write a book or that it won’t sell. It just did, right?
So, everyone has it in them. Whether it’s fear or not feeling good enough. My point is, when she stood up, she was a brilliant woman. And she was very sweet and loving. Everyone liked her. But she was talking about Homeopathy, and what she did for a living. And nobody was paying attention, people were looking down at their notes. They were crinkling their water bottles and nobody was that excited.
It wasn’t that raw food recipes are more exciting that Homeopathy. I mean, she was talking about some really interesting stuff. But the reason people got excited when she was talking about the raw food was because we could feel her passion, we could feel her joy, and we knew it was from her heart. So it just goes back to when you show people what’s really in your heart and who you truly are — however weird it is or different — that what’s going to make you successful, because you can do everything else that you think you’re supposed to do. But, if it’s not truly who you are, then you’re never going to feel that passion, and you’re never going to get other people excited about it, because it’s not real.
Nufoodi: You just gave a great example of how you were able to spark courage in another person to make their life happen. What does it take for somebody to find their direction, and then to actually go in that direction?
Alissa: Right. I do think it’s different for everyone. Sometimes it can be blocks from childhood or it can be so many things. Your inner child or inner adolescence is tripping you up. In my groups, I start talking about how I live my life in four stages.
So with the first stage, you gotta find your compelling vision. Some people already have it but they don’t know what the next step is. Your compelling vision is bigger than just a goal. A compelling vision can encompass way more. It’s not like a solid goal that you focus on and once you get there it’s complete. Focus on your compelling vision, and not on the details of what you have to do [to get there].
We meet people and we think, “They have so much potential,” but they’re stuck in the details. First, they need to get a website. That’s number one on the list. Number two, they need to advertise. Number three, they need to find the right people to help them. Number four, they need to find money. When you do that, it’s so easy to never reach your compelling vision. If one thing doesn’t happen — if you don’t meet the people who have the money that you need — then your whole plan goes down the drain.
If you have a huge compelling vision, it will suck people in. Then, you don’t have to focus on the plan because it automatically happens. You just draw those people in. If things change, then you don’t get stuck in it. Does that make sense? It’s kinda hard to explain. I give people different visual tools on paper when I’m doing it.
Nufoodi: That makes a lot of sense. So, is there a guilty pleasure that you have, that you could share with us?
Alissa: Well, the reason I have a hard time with this question is because I don’t do guilt anymore. So it’s not a guilty pleasure. If I eat chocolate… I mean, I make my raw chocolate, but if I eat something, I don’t feel bad about it. So, it’s a funny question. It’s not like I have no vices or I’m perfect, it’s just I choose not to feel guilty.
Nufoodi: If you’re balancing nutrition properly then it’s nothing to be guilty about, it’s not as if you’re eating seven bars of chocolate…
Alissa: Right. I tell this to people who come to my class and they say “Oh it’s weird. Once a month I have something bad to eat,” and I always say “There’s no raw food police. This is about you feeling good and doing what’s right for you, and it is about what you do most of the time and how you live your life.”
And if you look at it as guilt or something bad, that’s when we get into that mindset of like “I just messed up,” and “I might as well eat a whole large double-cheese pizza ’cause I already ate some chocolate.” Then you go down that slippery slope, so to me, it’s all good.
Nufoodi: Going back to the question before about advice, the way to start everything is to figure out your compelling vision. Can you give us one insight, or exercise, anybody can do on their own time to think about this a little bit?
Alissa: Sure. So there’s a couple. First, ask yourself what you would do if you had all the money in the world — billions of dollars — and you could do anything you wanted to do? I also do a lot of future self-work. It doesn’t have to be a big long meditation, you can actually just sit and think. I tell people to take a few minutes every morning and/or right before you go to bed, to try and get in touch with your future self. So it can be five years from now, 10 years from now, 15 years from now… just close your eyes and envision that and see what you look like and what you do on a daily basis. It’s a really good way to connect and allow your future self to bring in the energies of who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing. And you will get clearer answers the more you do it.
At first, it will be kind of weird and you may not get much, but you just keep sitting and asking your future self for answers.
I sit with her, I see her walk towards me. I’m sitting at a table. She slowly comes towards me, then she sits and she talks to me. I look into her eyes, she looks into my eyes and then she’ll hold my hands across the table and show me all the luminous futures that I have. We have more than one [path], we have free will and we can choose. That’s really how I created the meditation, because your higher self and your future self and your guides know, they already know what’s goin’ on. So if you’re trying to figure it out in your head, all the other stuff is going to get jumbled in there — your past, your upbringing, what people said that you should do, what society thinks is the normal thing to do… but it’s like channeling your creative energy. And I think one of the best ways to do it is by listening to your future self.
Nufoodi: I think that’s a great insight to think about yourself in 10, 20, 30 years — where do you want to be? Once you think about that it can fuel everything else and really get you there.
Alissa: Definitely, yes, yes for sure.
Nufoodi: Are there people who inspire you? People that you look up to and that you go to for inspiration?
Alissa: That’s a good question. It’s funny, I’ve been really inspired by people but not famous people. It’s more like I’ve been blessed with having amazing friends and people in my life who have always done their own thing, and I’ve just always done that too. I’ve always just followed my own path, connected with my future self — my higher self. I know it sounds weird, I tend not to really rely on other people to support my vision. We’re all human, so everyone has their flaws, and I’ve just tended to follow my own truth and my own path. It’s funny, because people ask me, “Are there books I can read, are there things I can learn, are there programs online I can do?” I’ve actually worked with this [spiritual] channel for 35 years, who gives really clear information.
I don’t really talk about it, but it’s where my whole start in metaphysics began. But he said, “We’re not your teacher and we’re not your guru. We’re friends, so take what resonates and use it for yourself.” So, that’s what I always tell people.
I teach people how to meditate and how to tap into their own higher power, because that’s where you’re going to find those incredible insights, and really be unique and put something creative and different out into the world that’s truly you. I think too many people are like sheep, following other people who have already created a path. And I want to teach people how to stand in their own power. When people come to my class, I always say, “Listen to what I say but don’t just do what I say.“
Alissa: Take what resonates with you, and then if it doesn’t make sense — then don’t do it — or find your own way. But if I spark you to go on and learn more or find other things that inspire you, that’s great, because what I’m really doing is teaching people how to stand in their own power.
Nufoodi: Agree with you 100%. Most people are probably thinking, “Oh, Alissa’s really got it together. What an amazing person. Tell me what you do on a daily basis, I will do what you do on a daily basis.”
Alissa: Oh, yes, absolutely.
Nufoodi: You’re trying to light that fire so somebody can go in their own direction. Because the things that work for you…
Alissa: It’s not going to work for everyone. And that’s what I tell people. People come to my four-day training class, and they’ve been reading my books for years, and I’m kind of up on a pedestal and I always say, “I don’t have a big ego in that way, and if you do, I don’t think it’s a great thing because I’m eventually going to fall off this pedestal.” There’s only one way to go, right? It’s down.
I don’t want people to fall, or to do exactly what I tell them to do. Even with raw food, I always tell them the best way to teach is to teach from your heart, and not just say, “This is the right way, this is the wrong way,” because who knows? I could be totally wrong. Like, at the end of my life I could be like, “Wow, I really messed that up, and that wasn’t the right thing.” But, for me it’s working, and I’ve seen it work for thousands of people. But for you, it may not work.
So, I’ll tell you all about what I’ve experienced and what works for me, but so many people say, “But no, I get it. But really, just tell me what to do,” and I always say no.
Nufoodi: “Give me the cliff notes.”
Alissa: Right. Yes, I always say, “This is what works for me, but I don’t know what’s going to work for you. I’m just sharing my experience.“
Nufoodi: Can you tell us a little bit about the biggest difference between what you were doing before and the shift that you’re making, and what that means for people who want to learn more about you?
Alissa: Sure, yes. The raw food classes are actually going to stay the same. I’ll have the raw food woven throughout the whole thing, and it’s amazing. I share some simple raw food recipes like pizza and enchiladas, calzones as well as all kinds of advanced stuff. The ice cream that I used to make at my restaurants, the fermented cheeses like Boursin, how to sprout, how to dehydrate, and then the spiritual stuff. So, that’ll still pretty much be the same. But, I’m doing a class in May called Breaking Through, and that’s all the spiritual stuff that we’ve been talking about. Because it’s not easy, and sometimes you need a guide or someone to help you through it.
So, I’ll be doing basically what I do in the mornings of my raw food teacher training. I’ll be teaching people how to connect to their own truth, and I’ll be processing people and helping them find their sole purpose. So, that is just a one day class, and it will just be solely that. Then I’m doing private sessions — which I’ve started doing a lot of those — and I’ll do them over Skype as well as in person. I’m doing quite a bit of that going forward.
I’m also going to South Korea in September to teach my four-day training. I trained this one woman, and she opened the first juice bar there, and she’s franchising. So she’s been asking me to come out.
Nufoodi: Last question. What’s the best way for people to learn about Alissa Cohen, and get more information about your upcoming event?
Alissa: If you just go to my website, AlissaCohen.com, my books are on there, the four-day training is on there, the one day class is on there, and I’ll be having other events as well. I also have a mailing list, so if you get on my mailing list I’ll send you information.
Nufoodi: Thank you, we appreciate your time.
Alissa: Great. Thank you so much, I appreciate it!