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Restaurateur promotes plant-based eating

Erin Curtin has had a passion for food since she started working in the restaurant business as a teenager, but her interest took an unconventional turn a couple of years ago. She became a proponent of raw veganism, which she prefers to call plant-based eating.

Her food passion has since added a new dimension to the menus at Lake Effect Diner, Dug’s Dive and The Steer, three restaurants she owns with Tucker Curtin, her husband of 18 years. Today, even The Steer – a steakhouse – touts a growing collection of meat-, dairy- and mostly gluten-free dishes.

This weekend, she will give a plant-based workshop at the first HEAL Buffalo yoga retreat and wellness fair (register at HEALBflo.com).

“Eating shouldn’t be torture,” said Curtin, 41, the mother of three teens. “Food is to be celebrated and should be good for you. It should work for you, not against you. That’s really my whole message of eating.”

Q. What is your philosophy of eating?

Cleaner, faster, quicker recovery. Your body should be spending time healing itself and not digesting unwanted, processed foods. It should be fun and taste great.

Q. What’s your favorite raw food right now on The Steer menu?

A crab cake, which is a combination of nori – a seaweed – and hearts of palm mixed in with a little bit of cornmeal. Everything is raw. It’s 100 percent plant-based and there’s no seafood in it.

Q. What do you generally eat for breakfast?

I’ll have a raw oatmeal. You take your steel oats and mix it with dried fruits, nuts and pour in almond milk, and stick it in the refrigerator overnight.

Q. You don’t boil the oats?

Nope, it’s all raw.

Q. What does it taste like?

It tastes like oatmeal, but it’s cold. I put bananas on top.

– Scott Scanlon

On the Web: Read more about Erin Curtin’s nutrition habits at refresh.buffalonews.com; learn more about a new service she has started for those who want her to prepare raw takeout weekly at curtinrestaurants.com.