"Super foods are things that have been around for ages, going back to Mayan times. Things like maca, goji berries and cacao," Miller said. "People know these thing are good for them and they know they should have them but they only know one or two ways to use them."
The Plant Lab classes are designed to help people learn to incorporate those foods on a daily basis. The sometimes hard-to-find ingredients and equipment used in the lab are available for sale at the café.
Classes are offered every other week. They last about two and a half to three hours. Students can expect not only to learn how to replicate the foods they enjoy at the Mission Savvy Café, but they will also learn why the foods are important, as well as proper handling and care.
Some of the classes available now are "café cheeses," "café crackers" and "café breads." Miller said these are some of the café's most popular items and people really want to be able to make them at home on a regular basis. They also regularly offer classes in "juicing" and raw vegan desserts. The sessions cost between $60 and $70, with a maximum number of 10 students.
The Plant Lab also offers a more intense training session taught by Miller's mother, Sally Miller, who holds a degree as a Nutritional Educator from Bauman College and is a three-time breast cancer survivor. She credits her current good health to a raw-vegan diet.
The class taught by Sally Miller is "Get Life from Your Food." Miller describes it as "a hands-on course in raw and living foods. It is a place for people to learn what healing foods are, how to use them, where to find them, how to prepare raw foods and the benefits you gain from eating nutrients in your daily life."
Miller said she, and her staff of six, want to give Charleston what they are hungry for. In addition to the café and the Plant Lab, Miller offers one, three and five day cleanses. A person can sign up for the cleanse and then everything they need is prepared daily, all they need to do is pop by the café and pick them up each morning.
She is also participating with a group of local female business owners to offer vegan retreats. The group just returned from Mexico and is planning the next retreat in March. Participants can expect to learn how to prepare vegan food, focus on their bodies with yoga and pilates, and just generally be pampered.
"Ultimately what we want to do is change the landscape of food in West Virginia. We want it to be fun and exciting, we want people to walk past this place and see this is where it is going. We want people to realize, if they eat these foods they'll feel good."
Reach Autumn D.F. Hopkins at autumn.hopk...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.