Megan May is passionate about the positive benefits – and deliciousness – of raw food. The author of The Unbakery: Raw, Organic Goodness and founder of New Zealand company, The Little Bird Organics, shared her food philosophy – and a recipe for her famous acai bowl – with MiNDFOOD.
What drew you to eating raw food?
I was unwell at the time and rather desperate to find a way to improve my declining health, having tried many things and spent a lot of money on healthcare I was keen to give anything a go. I hadn’t really considered that simply not cooking your food could impact your health significantly, I had always known a lot about health food growing up on an organic farm and having a family who was very much into eating a wholefoods diet. Most of what I was eating was cooked even if it was beautiful whole organic foods that we ate I was still missing out on a lot of the goodness you get from eating things raw. Once I started adding an abundance of raw food into my diet, in particular green smoothies with lots of veggies in them my health started to improve and my exploration of all things raw food began.
Raw food has become quite gourmet – and delicious – what’s driving this
trend? Also, what are the common misconceptions about raw food? Who are the
Health food was long overdue a makeover and the time seems to be right for it. It’s amazing how quickly the food scene is changing, several years ago we were one of the only people providing that experience in Auckland but now even mainstream cafes are serving some raw items. I think a lot of consumers are becoming more aware of what they are putting in their bodies as a result they want to go out and have an enjoyable café experience eating something that will make them feel good too.
Making the food delicious is the best way to get people hooked, for us that has always been extremely important, people are much more likely to give up their unhealthy vices if you provide them with a delicious alternative.
The range of people getting into raw foods is growing, predominantly it has been woman as they tend to be more health conscious. A more modern less dogmatic approach is helping raw food reach a wider audience, the raw food scene is not about people being all raw but more a focus on encouraging people to get more fresh raw organic foods into your diet in a way that works for them.
Why is raw food so good for you?
Raw food has so much to offer people, its food in its natural wholefoods state leaving it with all the goodness intact that our bodies so desperately need more of. No heating or processing has reduced its vitamin, mineral, enzyme & phytonutrient content meaning you get that all for yourself. A lot of the old school proponents of raw food called it living food and that pretty much sums it up, its full of life and you probably will be too for incorporating more of it into your day.
How is social media driving the trend, and do you think the raw food
movement is here to stay?
Social media in particular Instagram has really help drive the trend, with so many images of beautiful raw meals it’s hard to not want to get on board.
Food is much like fashion and generally comes with waves of popularity, which at the moment seems we are only at the beginning of it for raw food in NZ, I believe this way of eating is here to stay though and will evolve over time, the goal is that its popularity just increases to help it become more mainstream.
Its current popularity is helping a wide range of people experience the benefits of raw food and really encouraging them to make changes at home and incorporate more of this way of eating into their family lifestyle. Once you’ve experienced those benefits you are in it for the long term regardless of any trends that may come along.
What advice would you give to others looking to eat a raw diet?
Start slowly, increase the amount of raw you consume & any new ingredients in increments, smoothies are a fantastic way of getting more raw food into you day that’s easy and really enjoyable with ingredients that are readily accessible.
Focus on adding more whole fresh fruits and vegetables into your day. It’s amazing how much raw you can add into your regular meals by making a few tweaks to the recipe or by simply making sure you have a raw salad with each meal. You don’t want to go and spend loads of money on ingredients you’re not familiar with and might never use until you’re ready for it.