Brian Hudson Smith, celebrated mastermind behind Bliss Raw Café's Elixir Bar, recently parted ways with his creation. Why did this happen? Because of a little thing called water.
See, as with most fads and trends, this new one--raw foods--is changing faster than most of its devotees can keep up with, and in the case of Bliss, that's meaning big bumps in the road just when the journey's getting underway. The bumps (and Smith's decision to leave) has to do with "processed" water.
"[Raw foodists] talk about going away from processed food," says Smith. The most advanced rawists these days follow diets low in solid foods and receive most of their nutrition from liquids "elixirs, " such as Bliss' "Chocolate Bliss," which incorporates cacao, maca, several berries, and an additive called tocotrienols, a vitamin E complex.
This is where things get really weird.
"The definition of [an elixir] is a liquid medicinal preparation bestowing health and longevity on those who consume it," says Smith, whose obsession with pure liquids has crossed into General Jack Ripper (Dr. Strangelove) territory. He and other raw superfoodists disagree with the methods used at Bliss. They believe an elixir can only be called an elixir once certain criteria are met. And the biggest focus is on water.
But not just any kind of water--living water.
"They're still drinking processed water" at Bliss, Smith notes. "[The water] is in air conditioning and heating...and under fluorescent bulbs."
Hmm. Bliss does, in fact, use Ozarka water that has been stored under such conditions. So what's the difference? "The structure," Smith explains, "The way the atoms are in formation." Drinking Ozarka and other processed waters, he says, is "pretty much like [drinking] pencil lead.
"If you're drinking water straight out of the spring," on the other hand, "it's actually like drinking a diamond."
Those things can tear up your internal organs, but never mind. Where does one find such water in Dallas? Nowhere. Smith travels as far as Canton, Frankston, and Oklahoma to fill up his personal tanks with fresh spring water. He claims that "basing your elixirs on real water, you can't even calculate how much more powerful that is."
Matt Porco of Bliss admits making the drinks with living water "would take their effects to a higher level." But he still believes the elixirs at Bliss Raw Café & Elixir Bar are worthy of the title. Smith acknowledges, "they're just doing the best they can with the resources they have available. But it's not really personally where I am with that.
"This is more about really getting connected with nature. And getting our health back to that level of a wild animal,"
The last time humans did that, life spans could be counted on four--maybe five--hands.
Could this new trend of "getting connected with nature...back to the level of a wild animal" be the reason some once vegan rawists are also turning to non-vegan foods such as deer antler extract? This strange new fad is spinning heads in the raw foods community because not only is deer antler extract not vegan, it isn't raw either.
According to Porco, "If you just chopped it up and drank it, you wouldn't be able to get any of the minerals from it. So they actually have to do heat extraction."
The purpose for consuming this new supplement is to balance out hormone levels in the body that tend to go out of whack on a purely raw foods diet. The extreme rawists are now claiming a certain amount of heat is needed for optimum health. Bliss Café's Elixir Bar, at one point, did offer deer antler extract under Smith's lead, but has been unable to restock their supply since his departure.
But even without her celebrity alchemist, Dee Pisarro, owner of Bliss Raw Café & Elixir Bar, is moving forward with her plans to open two more locations in the next few months. Considering how quickly trends change in this wild community, one has to wonder if Dallas is truly ready to play ball.
Oh, they may join up with raw foodists for a little antler huntin', but...
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.