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Written by Alyssa Giacobbe

Photograph by Lauren Carelli

Before you knock it as a left-over hippie fad, consider that eating raw has been around since the birth of humanity. Modern day raw foodists, however, rally around the purported health benefits: increased energy, weight loss, improved sleep, and even a reversal of some more serious health conditions.

“We’ve seen people improve symptoms of diabetes, arthritis, Lyme diseaseÂ…,” says Anna Forkan, who, with Kristen Overlock, co-owns “raw food education center” Revitalive and the recently-opened Revitalive Cafe in Newburyport. Since going raw, the pair have lost a combined 140 pounds and reversed their own depression, peptic ulcers, and chronic fatigue.

By not heating food above 115 degrees, say raw foodists, it retains more nutrients, as well as enzymes that aid in digestion. But it’s not a life of rabbit food. Located in the Tannery and open for breakfast and lunch, Revitalive Cafe offers up such creative raw creations as Meetballs and Marinara (made of sprouted almonds, raw sundried tomatoes, basil, and sea salt), and Mock Tuna Salad, in which pumpkin seeds, celery, sweet onion, and sea veggies are impressively reminiscent of actual tuna on rye. Chocolate cream pie is made with raw organic cacao, coconut, and dates.

In addition to limiting temperatures, the cafe avoids all animal products, grains, soy, garlic, artificial sweeteners, and mushrooms, the last of which are common allergens. “Our aim is to make eating raw an easy thing to stick to,” says Forkan. “People can enjoy something that looks and tastes like a tuna sandwich. The reality is, you don’t have to starve, and it doesn’t have to taste horrible.”

“Our goal isn’t for everyone to be 100 percent raw,” she continues. “If people ate a salad every day, that would be awesome. Or even if they ate an apple once a day. We’re not dogmatic. We just want to be positive, because you can and you will feel better.” With a little help, of course, from a slice of guilt-free chocolate cream pie. 50 Water St.,?Newburyport, 978-462-1488,

In The Raw A guide to uncooked eating around the area.

1. Grezzo Organic and locally grown vegan and raw food in an upscale setting. 25 State St., Newburyport, 978-961-1676, 2. Rawbert’s Organic Garden Cafe-style breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including outstanding raw cookies and handmade chocolates. 294 Cabot St., Beverly, 978-922-0004, 3. Life Alive Raw and “flash-steamed” breakfast, lunch, and dinner for beginning or budding raw foodists. 194 Middle St., Lowell, 978-453-1311, 4. The Natural Dog Holistic pet products include raw meals and treats for animals. 155 State St., Newburyport, 978-499-9909,