Jane Karuschkat, born and raised in New York, now lives in the rural community of Chuckey with her husband Glenn. Their half-acre of property sits atop a hill with a magnificent mountain view.
“We love our view of cows, horses, the garden and the beautiful mountains,” Jane said.
The Karuschkats have a garden filled with zucchini, herbs, corn, onions, peppers, beans, asparagus, sweet potatoes, kale, cauliflower, cantaloup and watermelon.
The duo loves their country surroundings and both have adopted a lifestyle change.
“We are healthier and happier than we have ever been,” Jane said.
Jane, known as the raw chef, explained, “We are eating ‘pure,’ eating food the way it’s supposed to be. We are eating to fuel our body with good nutrition.
“We eat nothing cooked or processed,” said Jane, who stood in front of her stove (which isn’t even plugged in) and her microwave, both of which are used as storage units.
Jane has been a vegetarian for 39 years. She gave up meat at the age of 25.
“Meat just physically made me sick,” she said.
Jane became quite serious about being a raw vegan chef after undergoing two bouts with breast cancer. She admitted that it took a little longer to convince Glenn to join her in the lifestyle change, but he has and, in doing so, has lost 115 pounds.
Jane has become a certified nutritionist. She says that her clients have “lost weight, lowered their cholesterol, gotten off diabetes medication, banished migraines, healed acid reflux, gotten increased mental clarity, better vision and have increased their energy.”
She says that everyone would be healthier with this lifestyle and said, “Even if someone wants to make a few changes, it would help them to think ‘plant-based’ diet, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. And if you want to eat meat, choose only organic chicken and wild-caught salmon.
“Those few changes can make a difference in your health,” she said. “Our human body is amazingly resilient.”
It may sound drastic to some.
“You have to have a shift in your thinking,” Jane said. “In my opinion, you need to give up meat entirely and give up dairy completely.”
Jane offers small classes in her home on raw eating.
“I love teaching people about raw food prep, and I’ve met some amazing people. People are used to learning about food one way, and often initially feel this new raw lifestyle is dauntingly difficult,” she said. “I love seeing the light bulb go off when they realize how much better it is for them. And really, it’s so much easier.”
Although she was a vegetarian when she got cancer in 1992 and again in 1996, she had to have massive doses of chemotherapy, making her realize she wanted to go for optimum health — raw!
“In fact,” said Jane, “cancer might be one of my greatest gifts — my world totally changed. God gave me my raw food life. I got my health back; my husband and I became closer. I was shown how self-healing your body is.
“With my knowledge, I am able to help people with cancer and to teach people about a lifestyle change for better health.”
Jane often has a smoothie for breakfast or blueberry scones, breakfast bar or sprouted buckwheat.
“There is no typical lunch or dinner in this house,” she said. “This time of year we eat what we are growing.”
She added that area grocery stores provide good produce year-round as well.
While in college, Jane studied music. She loves to sing and can play a wide assortment of instruments — harp, piano, guitar, accordion, trumpet and violin, to name a few. She has even composed a couple of pieces.
Jane also loves dancing. She became a professional dancer, choreographing about two dozen shows, and she taught dancing lessons.
After college, she worked in a variety of jobs as a legal secretary, office manager and became a management consultant.
She admits a “thirst for knowledge.”
Jane has also become a non-denominational fully-ordained minister.
“I love marrying people, counseling them, and working with people to get them started on a happy life,” she said.
She has also become a life coach.
The raw chef does have a Facebook page and is frequently seen on Daytime Tri-Cities and Good Morning Tri-Cities. She has two e-books — “The Simple Stuff” and “It’s Not Just Salad.”
Her hobbies include sewing, knitting, crocheting and needlepoint; she even made area rugs at one time.
She enjoys growing vegetables and flowers.
How did Jane and Glenn end up living in Chuckey? While living in Pennsylvania, they had been traveling often together with Glenn’s audio company, flying frequently across the country.
About four years ago they decided to make a road trip out of one of their business trips, and around Nashville they started having air conditioning problems with the car. They ended up getting off at Exit 93 Jonesborough/Fall Branch and picked up a Greene County Partnership tourism brochure.
They drove the backroads to Greeneville, looking around at how beautiful the countryside was. In doing a bit of research, they realized how much lower the taxes and housing were here. In less than a year, they were situated in Tennessee.
“When we found the land in Chuckey, it just felt right,” Jane said. “But we didn’t want to stay in Pennsylvania while having our Clayton home completed, so we found an apartment on McKee Street in Greeneville and came on. We love it here.
“I do have many interests and I do the things I do from my heart and soul out of love,” she said. “I really do want to make the world a little better, and there is no greater joy for me than helping people.”
For more information about Jane, visit rawchefjane.com or call her at 423-823-7303.
Jane shared the following recipes:
RCJ’s Zucchini Chips
Slice a large zucchini carefully, using a mandolin. Put into a large mixing bowl with a tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, then sprinkle with some Himalayan salt and a clove of garlic that has been pressed. Make sure that each piece of zucchini is covered with a little oil, salt and garlic. If you have to add a little more oil, that’s fine, but add it a little bit at a time.
Place the zucchini rounds on a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate for about 24 hours, more or less, until crisp.
RCJ’s Summer Pasta
1-2 zucchini per person
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed
Sprinkling of Himalayan salt, or flavoring of your choice
Fresh basil, chopped (You can also use some fresh oregano and other herbs that you like.)
One chopped Roma tomato per serving
Spiralize zucchini and set aside. In a bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Put on top of zucchini and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
RCJ’s Pineapple with Basil
Cut pineapple into bite-sized pieces. Finely chop basil and add to pineapple. Mix, refrigerate, eat and enjoy.
This is a magical combination if you ask me!
RCJ’S RAW VEGAN CHOCOLATE CAKE
2 cups raw almonds
2 cups pitted dates
1/3 cup raw Cacao powder
Pinch of vanilla powder
Pinch of Himalayan salt
Put all ingredients into food processor and process until the mixture holds together. Press into a springform pan, lined on the bottom with plastic wrap, making it as even as possible. Put into freezer while making the frosting.
Frosting: (This is not my recipe, but it’s one that’s floating around in the raw food community.)
1/2 cup raw Cacao powder
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
1/4 cup raw agave nectar
Put ingredients into high-speed blender and blend well. The coconut oil should melt with the warmth of the blender.
Remove the cake from the freezer. Put frosting on top of the cake. Freeze until firm enough to remove from springform pan, remove plastic wrap from bottom and place onto serving plate. Best if refrigerated.