It’s tough to make friends in adulthood. Without the confines of a classroom to force you together, forging new friendship relies on extending out beyond your comfort zone. Enter Vancouver Neatos interviews, where I introduce you to a new face in Vancouver every week (ish). Want to take part? Drop me a line.
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in North Van, so I am one of the very few people that are from Vancouver. My mom moved here from Hong Kong when she was 21 without knowing the language. My Dad was born on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
When I was out of high school, I very badly wanted to work in the film industry so I decided to volunteer and learn that way. I would work two waitressing jobs back to back so I could do deferral (free) jobs in film. After 15 years into that career, I decided to quit my full time career and go back to school to study raw food culinary and nutrition.
The film industry is still very much a part of me and it’s still something that I love. I just love healthy desserts more :) I also love that I am helping people get healthy if they desire to do so!
Living Lotus Food & Nutrition Inc started in 2013 and last summer we built our own gluten free vegan kitchen. We make plant based, gluten free, vegan desserts free of refined sugar without compromising taste.
What drew you to the art of sweet whole food?
In 2007, I was put on an alkaline diet. there is a lot more information out there now, but back then I REALLY didn’t know what I was doing. I had already eliminated sugar and meat from my diet so getting a new list of foods to avoid was daunting. Someone had given me a raw food cookbook as a gift two years prior and I had never really looked at it until then. That was when my way of eating changed. It was also a way to satiate my sweet tooth without damaging my health.
Is there anything that particularly influences or inspires your work?
All Food! That is a very broad answer, so I’ll explain. I like to take conventional food and find a way to make it raw gourmet. You’d be surprised at the amount of things that are possible by using blending, dehydrating, and sprouting methods.
Travel also helps inspiration. I’m also a big fan of Pure Wine & Food in New York and Plant Food in LA. And, cookbooks of all varieties–I would just sit and read them all day if I could. They get my creative juice flowing for sure :)
What advice would you give someone with a sweet tooth who wants to incorporate more whole food?
Switch to raw desserts. That way you’re not eating all the empty calories and wreaking havoc on your digestive system. I always say it’s not about raw. It’s more about what you can add to your nutrition . If you switch out one raw dessert a week/month/day you are adding so much more nutrients into what you are eating and by default cutting out a whole bunch of other additives that your body doesn’t need.
Do you have a favourite sweet recipe go to?
I have been making these chocolate cookie dough balls at home. They are amazing.
What are the biggest challenges for female entrepreneurs? How do you think we can overcome those challenges?
I can think of many challenges of being a entrepreneur. Mostly the rollercoaster is challenging, but I find since I’ve started Living Lotus, community is a big piece of being able to navigate the ups and downs. Also, shifting my perspective has been valuable–everything is a lesson, that’s the fun part!
Where’s your favourite spot in Vancouver to set up a laptop and get shit done?
Kafka’s on Main Street they have Hojicha there–which I love.
Can you share any resources you’ve found most helpful in your career?
The best resource I’ve found most helpful is the community around me. Meaning the other food businesses that I have met and will meet along the way. Our kitchen is inside Makerlabs (where we have been part of the community there for a long time) and there is a good group of makers there as well.
What’s in the works for you right now?
Since building the kitchen and moving in last summer we are wholesaling to a growing number of stores. I’m starting to grow the catering side of Living Lotus.