By Mary Duggan

Everyone seems to be buzzing about a story in the Los Angeles Times entitled, “Access to grocers doesn’t improve diets, study finds.” It references a study that confirms what I have long said about healthy eating – access to grocery stores is not enough. Yes, food deserts are immoral and problematic. Yes, economics figure largely into obesity. But, apparently from the results of this substantive study, proximity to fast food seems to be the big determinant in being too big. If it’s there and it’s cheap and it’s fast and it’s delicious who can say no to fast food. WHY? Because fast food is addictive, just like cigarettes, and so we need to call this bad boy by its real name DRUGS, and JUST SAY NO!

I am a huge fan of Dr. David Kessler. Kessler is the former head of the FDA largely responsible for taking on the tobacco industry. If you have not read his thrilling book, A QUESTION OF INTENT: A Great American Battle with a Deadly Industry then I strongly suggest you do. If you enjoyed Russell Crowe in the film The Insider, and you are willing to take on a substantive and thrilling read, then you will love this book.

Mary meets Dr. David Kessler and gets her book signed in 2003

Mary meets Dr. David Kessler, San Diego, 2003: Back in the pre-raw days of too many Cinnabons!

Okay, I am in the nerd category where I actually have an autographed copy, but that is a story for a different day. I bring up Kessler in this discussion because now he has taken on the deadly fast food industry in his bookThe End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite.If you haven’t read it yet, I urge you to do so before you eat even one more fast food meal layered with fat, sugar and salt – the Bermuda Triangle of addictive additives.



My job, as I see it, is to protect my family (and hopefully yours in the process) from these drug dealers by keeping my family off the streets, out of the malls and eating at home where I create as many meals as I can that meet my definition of fast food: available, affordable, delicious and nutritious. Fast food that is not junk food is a challenge; but it is do-able. I think the food system, if you will, that is most able to get the job done is raw foods.

When Annie first trained as a raw chef, we could not get her out of the kitchen. The meals she prepared were incredibly complex, extremely labor intensive, layered with rare and often expensive ingredients and for the most part delivered to the table hours after I had passed my limits of patient endurance. Awaiting raw foods, I almost starved. Crabbiness was ever-present. Important work was left undone.  I knew if we were going to be successful raw foodists that I would have to find a different and I think better way. I still struggle daily with food choices and food preparation and grocery shopping and the incessant call of oh so available take out food. But, I am miles from where I started. And raw soups have been a big help to me on my personal journey to eat food that my brain recognizes, food that satiates my family and me, food that switches the hunger switch to off.

SOUP QUEEN KRISTEN SUZANNE arrived in the nick of time.


Two years ago my work life was so all consuming that creating enough time for our preferred living foods lifestyle was damn near impossible. Fortunately, Clare stepped into the abyss and presented me with just the tiniest little raw cookbook. Authored by raw chef, Kristen Suzanne Helmstetter, and one of many available on her website, Kristen Suzanne’s EASY RAW VEGAN SOUPS met my primary criteria for raw recipes: authentic ingredients, quick prep time and DELICIOUS. I now own lots of Kristen Suzanne’s itsy bitsy cookbooks and I consider her a raw goddess as I enjoy lots and lots of her imaginative and FAST recipes. We pair her soups with any number of wonderful salads and they easily become satisfying main meals. If I am really pinched for time, I pack our raw soups into three go mugs and the Duggan Sisters hit the road with quick and restorative fast food.

TOMATOES: Eat ‘em now while you can actually taste ‘em.

We make ORANGE TOMATO soup once a week all year long and it’s always great, especially paired with a savory salad and creamy rosemary dressing. But, when the tomatoes are summer delicious and I can grab the basil from my own yard then this recipe really knocks my socks off.  Note: when I am preparing this in the middle of the winter and the juice oranges are sweet, but the tomatoes are mealy, I add a squeeze of agave nectar to help the pitiful winter tomatoes hold their own. I have even substituted dried basil in a pinch; but the recipe definitely suffers from a lack of fresh basil. I have also found that Roma tomatoes are a must; any others just make a mess of the smooth, silky texture that makes this soup light enough to serve as a beverage.  Also, this recipe doesn’t make a whole lot; so after you’ve tried it once, if you really love it, double it. We call this ORANGE TOMATO SOUP but Kristen Suzanne named it after her nephew and I would never want to get between the love we aunties feel for our nephews so here’s a page right out of Kristen Suzanne’s book.


Yield 5 cups

This soup is named after my adorable nephew who is always telling me “knock-knock” jokes. Our favorite is the joke about “orange-you-glad…” hahaha, I’m laughing even now as I write this.

1 pound Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 cups fresh orange juice
1 – 2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons shallots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
1/2 green onion, minced (white and 1-inch of green)
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
black pepper, to taste

Blend all of the ingredients, except the green onion, basil, and pepper, until smooth. Pulse in the green onion and basil. Season with black pepper. Pour into serving bowls and enjoy this high-energy soup.

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