Daniel Ceballos, Head Chef of Juice Press

on eating simply, what lead to his spiritual path and cooking for Juice Press

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I first met Daniel Ceballos at Juice Press when he was showcasing their new menu.  I knew as soon as I heard him start speaking how passionate he was about cooking nutrient rich meals and had to learn more about him.  His lifestyle proves, it's all in his soul.

If you were to set each morning with a daily intention what would it be and why?

It’s an interesting question because the way we take care of our morning, from the moment we wake up, we set the tone and intention(s) for the entire day, consciously or unconsciously. With that said, I begin my morning giving thanks for my life, slowly waking up by body, have a warm glass of water with lemon, take a cold shower and do my kundalini yoga practice with my wife. We end our yoga practice with a meditation and in the meditation I begin to set intentions for the day. My highest and most important daily intention is to be of service wherever and however I am needed and to remain in a continuous state of gratitude.  From there I set the more mundane intentions that are more specific to my family and work life, things I need to accomplish etc…

What inspired you to start eating raw food?

Wow, I could write a book, it’s been a wild wild journey but here’s the short version: 

I was born in Mexico City and due to economic difficulties my family immigrated to the states when I was 10 years old. We came as "tourists" and never returned. We moved to a suburban town in the Jersey Shore and my parents took minimum wage jobs.  As I got older and begin to realize my dreams and aspirations to further my education and go to culinary art school were totally out of reach, I became discouraged and started playing the guitar. In the depths of my soul I felt there had to be more to life, I refused to accept the future which had been seemingly paved for me.   

 My prayers were answered and I joined a band from NYC who was about to tour the states. While on tour in St. Augustine, FL I met a great man who imparted wisdom and encouraged me to explore spiritual life and never stop searching for the truth. Once I begin to align myself with the spirit and started to become more conscious I naturally began to make life changes. I became vegetarian, and shortly after I was introduced to raw foods. Raw foods reignited my passion for preparing food.  It made a lot of sense to me at the time and although I’ve been 100% raw at times as I continue my eternal search for truth I now know there are some benefits to cooking certain foods properly.   

What’s your ideal food diary like?  

Before I answer this I will say that I like to switch it up constantly, I get bored of food by the time I am done eating it.  Not kidding.  I guess that is why I’m great at what I do.  I start the day having warm water with lemon in the morning to flush out the kidneys, encourage a nice bowel movement and kick start the metabolism.  The teaching from the spiritual elders is to not consume food until you have emptied yourself from the previous day’s food otherwise it mixes in your digestive system and has a weakening effect.    

When I get to work I have a mildly caffeinated tea, I like to switch it up as there is an infinity of tea! My favorites are guayusa, earl gray, chai and yerba mate. Avocado toast is a quick and easy breakfast. For lunch there is always something delicious cooking at the Juice Press innovation kitchen, but a big salad for lunch is always great. Dinner at home with my family is always exciting.  My wife and I switch off cooking and we usually make veggie tacos, macro plates, stews, soups, a lot of salads in the summer months.  Quick and easy meals, but always full of flavor.  The bulk of our diet is fruits and veggies, a variety of grains and legumes, and nuts and seeds in small amounts.  DESSERT.  I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so French press decaf coffee with almond milk and coconut palm sugar is usually it. Oh and don’t let me forget about the JUICE at least 2 throughout the day. The Romanian and OMMM are my go-to’s.  

If you were to cook for anyone in the world who would it be and why?   

God, I love cooking for ANYONE that I get the opportunity to cook for it’s more of a service from the heart freely given to anyone that is around to receive it. I would however, love to cook for more children. They are our future so inspiring them to eat healthier and spending time teaching them is the ultimate service.

Tell me about the creation process for the new food menu at Juice Press. 

The creation process is essentially two fold. The first is just having fun trying new things, conceptualizing from scratch, shooting ideas back and forth and the second is much more mathematical and pragmatic based on sales data, social media, etc. There is always a nice balance of both but it’s always a disciplined and focused effort.

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Eating raw isn’t practical for most people, what advice do you have for those who want to be eat healthily? 

Simplify, simplify and simplify.  Study food combining (this is where we make a lot of unnecessary work and strain for the digestive system). We are all different and we all require different fuel to run optimally, but simplicity is good for everyone. The Macrobiotic diet is great and based on simplicity.  Leave out all processed foods and flesh, have most of your diet be fruits and veggies (LOTs of leafy greens) accompanied by a variety of grains and legumes (ideally only one of each at time) small amounts of nuts and seeds.  Experiment, have fun and use lots of fresh herbs for flavor.  

 What are your favorite on-the-go snacks?  

Grapes (fruit in general), popcorn, ancient grain crackers and dried fruit, nuts and seeds

Besides eating healthy, how else do you live a beautiful life?  

Sharing the gifts that you’ve been given, spending time in nature and living very simply.  We all have inherited certain negative behaviors and patterns from our parents as they have inherited from theirs. Our society in general is backwards in a lot of ways.

I believe the first step to living a truly happy and beautiful life is to embark on a healing journey. We are all to some degree starting to become aware and through this awareness comes a realization that a lot of the garbage we carry is not at all who we truly are. Concepts, desires, needs most of them were inherited or taught by force.  So how to begin to clean and unlearn all of this?   Send a very clear and direct prayer from the heart when you are ready to heal and the right teachers will come.  The right practices will show up and instructions will be given, then it is up to each one of us to be disciplined with the work. I am very grateful for my teacher Maestro Manuel Rufino and the community Golden Drum a very beautiful healing community in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. They are a great example of living a beautiful, service centered life.   

What’s the biggest trend in healthy food right now? 

Everything and anything that is GREEN.  Which makes sense (to me at least) because the color green vibrates with the heart and we are all yearning to connect back to our Heart.

 Beauty is _______.   

That which you create with love and freely give from the heart.