Innovation Stories

Agathe Mathieu | Sprightly Plant Power

Agathe Mathieu

It was almost eighteen years ago when a friend loaned Agathe Mathieu a book that would end up changing her life. It took just one evening for Agathe to read 12 Steps to Raw, a book about the many health and environmental advantages of eating a diet made up of only raw foods. The next morning, Agathe switched over to an organic raw diet. Three months later, she says the positive changes in her health included the disappearance of all pain from the rheumatoid arthritis that had plagued her hands, left ankle, and hips.

“Imagine that!” said Agathe. “My biological mother dealt daily with the challenges of this chronic and hereditary illness but I don’t suffer from it anymore.”

Agathe was so impressed and pleased by all of the improvements to her health, including the loss of some excessive weight, floaters that had been bothering her vision, and dry skin, soon her children followed in her footsteps and the whole family was sold on the idea of raw food.

After her friends encouraged her to open a restaurant to feature her recipes and new ways of preparing food, Agathe finally opened a café in 2012. Although Covid-19 forced her to shut it down in April last year, she found a new way to stay in the food processing business.

“I never intended to be a chef. The café was a window for showing people how this food could help them, but now what I’m doing with my website is so exciting!” Agathe says it’s exciting because her website offers her the opportunity to also educate the public about all of the enormous advantages of an organic raw food diet.

“Food is your cure, so I’m very excited about being a food processor. It’s a new approach. People don’t know how to do this. I don’t use ovens, or stoves, or pots and pans: I use a food processor, dehydrator and blender!”

Today, Sprightly Plant Power sells organic vegan crackers, quiche, cold-pressed juices, Mesquite bars, and Parfaits direct from Agathe’s kitchen in British Columbia, at local cafes, and online.

“We pride ourselves on making everything from scratch,” says Agathe, “which includes soaking and sprouting brown nuts, pseudo-grains, legumes, and seeds.” This process is part of Sprightly Plant Power’s innovation, says Agathe, explaining that the process is called activating, or, sprouting. “Only then do legumes, seeds, and brown nuts become a plant. It increases the nutrients’ bioavailability, nourishing, and supporting our body’s phenomenal power to heal and regenerate.”  A process used by many generations previously but new in the Food Processor world.

With her two part-time employees, Agathe prepares all kinds of different dishes with raw foods, including pâtés with a food processor, blending dressings, and spreads for crackers. They also use a blender to create creamy desserts. Instead of an oven, the business uses dehydrators to make vegan burgers, falafels, protein bites, granola bars, and pizza crusts. Agathe admits this new healthy way of eating is a long way from how she used to approach food and eating.

“I’m from Quebec where there’s wonderful lovely food with lots of butter, lots of cream, and a lot of sugar,” says Agathe, then adds with a laugh, “All part of my heritage, right?”

When asked what others might be able to learn from her, Agathe says if Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s how crucial it is to buy local.

“The current pandemic has taught us to truly appreciate how local is so important and if we support our local economy, when we go through times like this, we will make it through. But if we don’t support local economy, the world is going to fall apart, our neighbourhood is going to become a ghost town and our community is not going to be healthy. So, I always buy local first, no matter what.”

Agathe says there are a few other unexpected advantages to eating all-organic, raw food as well. For example, her trips to the grocery store have become much simpler. A quick visit to the produce aisle, spices, herbs, and oils.

“I get out of there in no time. My kitchen cupboards went from cluttered to spacious, with no more hard-to-clean oven, pots, and pans. Feeding my family has become so easy and to add to the simplicity of it all, washing dishes used for plating raw cuisine is beyond easy. A quick wash and rinse, et voila!”

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that in addition to promoting health, the food from “Sprightly Plant Power” happens to also be incredibly delicious.  “It really is,” says Agathe.