a different kind of coffee break with Gerry and Ray Coffey

Disease-Free Living Through Fitness and Nutrition


Published in the DECATUR (AL) DAILY, Sunday 7 April 2002:
by Victoria Boutenko
169 Pages, Paperback, $15.95
Reviewed by Gerry Coffey

The "12 Steps to Raw Foods" is Victoria Boutenko�s effort to share the key to life she vows brought her and her family back from an abysmal pit of physical and spiritual despair.

Today Victoria Boutenko personifies the quintessential Earth Mother. Were she able, she would surely embrace all humankind to her bosom. This was not always the case, as Ms. Boutenko and her close-knit family will attest. There was a time when Victoria Boutenko felt so completely diminished she was suicidal.

Morbidly obese (334 lbs) and suffering from heart arrhythmia and numerous other associated maladies, Ms. Boutenko said she knew what to do, but lacked the will to do it. Self pity changed to horror when 10-year-old son, Sergei, was diagnosed withType I Diabetes. Her son�s "death sentence" shocked her into action.

Summoning all her faculties, Ms. Boutenko engineered a dramatic overhaul of their lives based on a raw, vegan (plant-based) diet. The family members initial rebellion, gradual acceptance, and eventual embrace of the diet is described in their first book (reviewed elsewhere on this website) "Raw Family: A true story of awakening."

"The 12 Steps To Raw Foods" takes up where the first leaves off. Victoria, who became a certified Living Foods Practitioner, Iridologist, and Health Minister, now teaches Living Nutrition at Southern Oregon University, and is Head Chef at Oregon's Spring Garden Caf�.

Due to popular demand, and inspired by the success of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program, Ms. Boutenko developed her own "12 Steps to Raw Foods" to address the problems of people addicted to cooked foods.

"I tried it for one year in many classes, and students who have taken this program are staying successfully 100% raw," says Ms. Boutenko. "They are experiencing no temptation to eat cooked food. It works! And many of them are using this program to organize their own weekly support groups"

Dr. Gabriel Cousens, MD, Psychiatrist, Family Therapist, and 100% Live Foodist since 1983 says "This book is a breakthrough for the many people who are literally addicted to cooked food!"

Jesse Schwartz, PhD, agrees: "The woman who wrote this book is a lover, she is in love with humankind�here is a book that teaches that by following a live food diet one can enhance one's health and well-being. "

Having had the benefit of spending a week with the Boutenkos,and also hosting them here in Alabama, I can fully attest to their boundless energy, warmth, generosity and love for their new calling and the benefits it brings to those ready to embrace it.

"12 Steps to Raw Foods" treats the reader as though s/he were in a classroom with Ms. Boutenko. She asks the reader questions and requests honest, sincere answers. She explains why raw foods are superior to cooked foods and then goes into basic backgound on the workings of the human body and its magical ability to heal itself given the right circumstances.

The education part is followed by the 12 steps and what to expect along the way so there are no surprises. She forewarns the reader, for example, that symptoms which ordinarily might be thwarted by medications are to be welcomed. It means the body has enough vitality to "clean house" and is ridding itself of toxic substances.

"12 Steps" is a refreshing re-education for those willing to keep an open mind. And in view of the almost daily recommendations to "Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables" provides some of the Boutenkos famous raw food recipes to tempt even the most jaded palate.

For ordering information send an email to: [email protected]
-Gerry Coffey, Health Educator, Councilor

International Vegetarian Union &

Vegetarian Union of North America

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