In his late teens, Tehuti Maat had an awakening to develop a healthier lifestyle as well as addressing other aspects of his spirituality. To this end, he stopped smoking, drinking alcohol and eating meat.
Tehuti faced a number of challenges in adjusting to his new lifestyle. Being way ahead of his time, there were no structured vegetarian restaurants to dine at. However, early in the day he was able to get vegetarian meals from a shop downtown owned by renown dub poet Mutabaruka. Later on more options opened up with Mini’s and Lyn’s Vegetarian Restaurant coming into existence.
As a sociable young man, Tehuti faced misunderstandings from people about his new lifestyle. He also faced questions from those interested in vegetarianism. He would go to social events but was unable to eat what was being offered. Sometimes, he ended up taking his own food. Other times he would make prior arrangements with the food preparers at events where curried goat and chicken were the norm. At that time, people’s idea of vegetarianism was rice and vegetables minus the meat.
Tehuti began his career as a computer engineer for NCR, winning engineer of the year. He also worked for IBM. During that time he started travelling to Florida and buying vegetarian food from Tree of Life, the largest health food store in the United States. He brought the goods to distribute to local health food shops creating a sideline business. Dissatisfied with importing foreign goods, he founded Natural Way, drying local herbs,spices and fruits.
Inspite of Tehuti’s success in the corporate world and doing something he loved, he felt that his job was not his life’s calling. He wanted to work with animate rather than inanimate objects so he walked away from his job to pursue his passion full time. Natural Way then moved from being his sideline to his mainline.
During the 1980s, Tehuti was president of the Vegetarian Society of Jamaica. In the 1990s he organized some expos on healthy lifestyles called “Oneness”. He went back to the University of the West Indies where he was accepted into the Medical faculty to do a post graduate degree in human nutrition. His thesis focused on obesity, lifestyle and vegetarianism. It can be found on all three campuses in the medical libraries.
After graduation, Tehuti worked in hospitals and clinics as a nutritionist. He discovered that eating is only one aspect of the healthy equation. With his experience in research, lecturing islandwide and internationally combined with his his 10 year experience as a yoga instructor, Tehuti evolved his practice to a Lifestyle Transformation consultancy. The consultancy is founded on Tehuti’s belief that true healing arises out of transforming one’s lifestyle. He truly believes that food is medicine and medicine is food. Tehuti says “to be consistent in all aspects of my being is the only meditation.”
Now a Lifestyle Transformation Consultant, Tehuti’s journey took him to raw foods. He says that cooking food deprives it of some of its nutritional elements. He began to teach people prepare raw foods. With a dearth of raw foods preparers, his clients encouraged him to make a business out of it. To this end, he opened Tehuti Cafe in New Kingston in September 2014. However, parking problems for his growing clientele caused him to relocate the business to Barbican.
The main day to day challenges that Tehuti faces are training and managing the personnel who work for him. Consistently accessing high quality raw materials also remains a challenge.
A wide variety of food and beverages is on offer from Tehuti Cafe. Fruit pies are created using fresh produce of bananas, passion fruit, mangos, pineapples, papayas and other fruit. Tehuti produces 20 different types juices using herbs like moringa, mint, turmeric and others. A variety of nuts and seeds are used in various food preparations.
Future plans include opening up another small cafe locally as well as franchising his brand internationally. Tehuti has received a firm offer regarding the latter.
Interested persons can call 420-9737, 414-2870 and 413-7553 to check for availability of items.
(C) A. Pierre Sobers