Hunger is never fulfilled by the quantity of what we eat, but the quality of our food. Raw foods are considered as the healthiest option to heal yourself from the inside out. However, learning how to prepare food this way—as with any other cooking (or rather un-cooking)—is of utmost importance considering the key it unlocks to this amazing and healthy world. Meet Irene Arango, Co-founder and Director, NAMA—who has dedicated her life helping others find that perfect balance of good health and high energy levels; whether they wholly embrace raw food or simply add a little to their existing diet.
Bringing the Wonders of Raw Food to a Wider Audience
Her enthusiasm for raw food started through her search for better health and more energy. The raw food lifestyle worked a treat, and she’s been captivated by it ever since! Irene aims to bring raw food, and all of its advantages, into the mainstream, demonstrating exactly how exciting raw dishes can be when both your creativity and imagination is utilized. Opening NAMA with fellow raw food chef, Rich Havardi, has enabled her to joyfully seek after this aim—bringing the miracles of raw food to a wider crowd.
Leading NAMA from the forefront, Irene still considers her path has just started. However, she feels proud of where she has reached so far and strongly believes she has a lot more to share. Irene’s career in the raw food industry started before there was even a market in the UK for it. “I do feel that at that time it took a lot of confidence to feel capable to create the demand for what we were offering. I feel that was the biggest challenge those of us who were at the forefront of this trend,” Irene affirms.
Enriching, Inspiring and Nurturing
Irene believes raw foods to be a growing industry where nothing is set in stone, as there are multiple ways to evolve the trend. One such aspect frequently exploited by herself is the opportunity to recreate food products, but made raw vegan and healthier so people than follow NAMA’s food philosophy and can also enjoy them and don’t feel deprived of anything in any way.
Founded in 2013, NAMA is a pure raw vegan restaurant in London, which has been capitalizing on this growing raw food trend. NAMA was created to enrich, inspire and nurture. Situated in the heart of Notting Hill, NAMA provides savory and sweet dishes, catering, juice and food cleansing programs and more. NAMA also teaches raw food un-cooking classes, sells raw vegan products which the team manufactures, makes bespoke raw vegan cakes for celebrations and other occasions, and delivers raw food packages around London.
Finding Balance and Peace with Who You Are
Irene considers an empowered woman as someone who is happy with where she is in both private and business life; who has the support she needs to stand strong and grow her business. She also believes that empowerment comes from finding balance and peace with who you are and where you are at a particular time as that’s the base for both personal and professional growth.
Talking about her own personal life, she asserts “Since having kids I have to say that I have very little time for myself, so the best I can do is a warm bath before bedtime and a little yoga session in the mornings a few times a week. As the kids grow older I expect to have more time to dedicate to myself. It is simply a period in the life of a woman where children take priority and I am ok with that.”
Encompassing Hard Work with Dedication
There has been a great deal of diligent work behind the scenes. Irene thinks a lot of people neglect to understand that achievement, for the most part, originates from living and breathing a topic or a business for a long time. She goes ahead and adds, “I can see that women are natural leaders and, historically, we have been nurturing society. I genuinely believe that women have a very important place in the business sphere- we are natural creators and nurturers and being an entrepreneur essentially encompasses those qualities together with hard work and dedication.”
The best advice Irene gives to people who bring social change to the society is it would be to make sure they believe so deeply on their purpose that they are willing to loose themselves to it for a while. She believes to bring about change, you have to truly live the change.
Running in NAMA’s fifth successful year, Irene hopes to launch a product range into the UK market in the next year. She also wishes to write a un-cooking book and start organizing international retreats. The fact that the up taking and understanding of raw vegan food is growing is something that really empowers Irene to work on the mentioned ideas. Her concerns are related to growing competition, although most of it; it’s not with NAMA’s offering, but for those not knowledgeable, it can be confusing.