Olivia Scott’s passion for raw food inspired her to go a step further – studying nutrition, perfecting her recipes, and founding The Raw Kitchen restaurants in Auckland. A true believer in holistic wellness and a proud raw vegan, Olivia has recently released a book The Raw Kitchen filled with 120 delicious, nutritious recipes; perfect for raw food beginners.
I caught up with Olivia to find out more about her own raw food journey and what you can expect from her book (which I might add is worthy of being permanently out on the kitchen recipe stand or coffee table, and is filled with beautiful photography to accompany the recipes).
Where did your interest in raw food start?
I began eating 100% raw whilst living in Wellington, in my final year of studying business at Victoria University. I had spent a few years eating unhealthily and partying, and I decided to make an extreme change, and cut it all out. I only ate raw vegetables and fruits, without doing any research and began to feel amazing.
I then realised that in America there was a movement beginning called ‘raw food diet’. I studied this much further and became fascinated with this way of living. I spent my final year at uni fully immersing myself in this way of living, and felt a million bucks. I woke up with tonnes of energy, I lost weight, my skin cleared up, I had crystal clear thinking and my relationships improved.
How did The Raw Kitchen come about?
My business began as an online raw cake business. This branched out further and I began wholesaling cakes and had a stand at a busy weekend market, La Cigale. About a year into the business, I had run out of room in the kitchen I rented, so decided to expand and open a physical store. My partner, Joss helped me as he has had vast experience in the hospitality industry.
What are the difficulties in eating raw food all the time and how do you deal with them?
Usually finding a meal when eating out is a difficulty – however I don’t restrict myself if I am in a restaurant that doesn’t cater for what I would usually eat at home. I now eat raw about 70% of the time. I believe balance is incredibly important and eating what is right for your body.
Everyone is different and thrives on different diets, some people are best eating only 40% raw. Preparation is key, I always spend about 30 minutes each evening preparing food for the next day. I also usually make extra dinner so I can take some for lunch the next day, which takes no preparation time (except for making dinner!)
What are the benefits of choosing to eat raw food?
There are so many! It tastes so much better! Healthier skin, hair, teeth, nail, greater energy, clarity, more in tune with your self, in tune with nature, a more alkaline environment means an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, can help aid inflammatory diseases, helps digestions, helps relief constipation, lowers blood cholesterol, aids in high blood pressure, can assist in constipation, and so much more!
Can people benefit from eating raw food sometimes, or do they have to be all in to see the benefits?
Each experience is different. I recommend starting with a two-week raw food detox (this means cutting out meat, dairy, gluten, coffee and cooked/baked foods), and noticing how much better you feel. Then incorporating foods slowly back into the diet to see the effect these foods have on your body and noticing how these foods make you feel. Then carefully evaluate the balance of raw, and cooked foods and eating to what makes you feel healthy, balanced and whole.
Do you need a lot of kitchen appliances to make raw food?
Start out with a chopping board and a knife, and a blender that you can make smoothies in. Eventually, add in a food processor. You can make a lot of foods with just these appliances. Eventually you could invest in a dehydrator or high spend blender, these enable you to get really creative and make interesting things like dehydrated crackers, breads, cashew cheeses or soups.
What does keeping yourself healthy mean to you?
Maintaining a healthy body and mind. Doing yoga and meditation is just as important to me as keeping a healthy body with food. It’s also important to maintain balance i.e. enjoying a wine with girlfriends and having some dark chocolate with a movie.
What do you splurge on when it comes to health and fitness?
My vice is dark chocolate, I make a delicious one called ‘Rose Chocolate’ which is in my book, and is an easy go-to when you have that niggling chocolate craving.
How do you wind down at the end of a busy day?
I usually take my dog, Luca, for a walk, I get in the kitchen and make food, or have a mini meditation if I need to clear my head.
What can readers expect to find in your new book?
A large variety of different raw foods, from breakfasts, lunch, dinner, entertaining and sweets, to how to make sauerkraut, kombucha, and kefir. I also included chapters on meditation, balance, self love and there is a 10 day detox plan developed with nutritionist Annabel Roydhouse.
What are your favourite recipes in the book and why?
I really love all the recipes in the book, however the Moroccan Salad is one of my most favorite, as well as being a popular in the café. The caramel slice is another favourite, I think it tastes even better that the traditional caramel slice!
What are a few key tips for Kiwis who are thinking about creating raw food?
Quite often, people are inspired when starting out in raw sweets. For example, make a sweet raw slice (cold brew brownie from my book is an easy one) and see how amazing it tastes. This is just the beginning of what is possible in raw food and how delicious it can be. Not to mention good for you!
The Raw Kitchen is available in hardback for RRP $59.99. For more information on Olivia and The Raw Kitchen, visit www.therawkitchen.co.nz.