RawFoodz products are a staple in my kitchen and I am thrilled to be featuring their organic, vegan, immunity-boosting products as my first giveaway of 2015! I only share products that I whole-heartedly stand behind and RawFoodz tops my list. Their products are designed to increase the metabolism and aid in digestion. The complete line of products includes salad dressings, spreads and sauces which are totally raw, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and preservative-free - so basically anyone, with any food sensitivity can happily enjoy this product.
One of the biggest shifts that I experienced in making the transition to a vegan lifestyle was creating meals free of animal products. It seemed that in order to enjoy a leafy-green salad, especially when I was dining out, my options were limited as dressings and toppings often include dairy. Dairy has become synonymous with salads and if you are someone who is focused on clean eating it is likely that you have also noticed this absurdity.
When I discovered RawFoodz it seemed as though my dairy-free prayers were answered. RawFoodz has not only mimicked traditional style comfort foods, but they have taken them to a whole new level of healthy convenience. Their line includes classic dressings like Caesar, Ranch, Greek and Italian, and even butter and cheese spreads - all organic, made with integrity and sustainably packaged in glass bottles.
I first met RawFoodz co-founder Michelle Cass, a holistic nutritionist, in November 2014 after listening to her speak on a Female CEO panel at the Whole Life Expo in Toronto. She was joined on the panel by Julia Kirouac, also a holistic nutritionist and founder of NudFud (another product that I absolutely love!). The panel demystified food product labeling and certifications, and in particular, the stringent USDA Organic and Ecocert guidelines.
A common argument that I have heard against organic certification for years has been that you cannot trust the certification process. Michelle and Julia certainly demystified this sentiment. They described the strict guidelines and annual onsite inspections required in order to maintain their various certifications.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Michelle to chat about RawFoodz, and well, food in general. Herein, she spills on how RawFoodz got its start, the skinny on healthy fats and clean eating.
How did you get your start with RawFoodz?
I was coming out of holistic nutrition school and my sister-in-law Sher Kopman approached me with the idea to market and sell my salad dressings. We had done business together in the past and we had good energy working together, but I was hesitant at first because there were already so many salad dressings on the market. Then it hit me that we could reinvent salad dressings as the majority on the market were made with unhealthy ingredients. We decided to create organic, vegan, and raw dressings using superfoods, like dulse, chia seeds and goji berries, as well as clean ingredients to mimic classic dressings.
The first store to carry our product was the Big Carrot in Toronto. Five years later, the Big Carrot consistently orders massive amounts of RawFoodz products. Today we are in 300 stores across North America and we currently manufacture seven styles of salad dressings, two buttery-style spreads and two cheese-style sauces. Our operations are in Canada (Toronto, Ontario) and the USA (Inglewood, California). Our distribution is always growing and we are always innovating new products.
What were some of the initial challenges you faced in creating your products?
One of the roadblocks we encountered in the beginning was that we were using agave nectar as a sweeter and at the time there was no controversy surrounding this ingredient. I wanted to take another route and tested out other sweeteners but nothing was working. We were at a standstill, and then I stumbled across coconut sugar which is a low glycemic sweetener, derived from the coconut palm tree. At first we found that it was turning our dressings brown because of its natural caramel colour, but through a lot of trial and error we got it right.
Another challenge we faced was with respect to using olive oil. Dressing manufacturers do not typically use olive oil because it hardens in the fridge. When we were first starting out we would have to tell customers that it is a natural occurrence and easily solved bringing the bottle to room temperature and shaking it up. We have seen a progression over the years and today most people understand that olive oil naturally separates and it is evident that this kind of education is growing through the masses.
Why are your products raw?
Our products are raw because this ensures that all of the enzymes in the ingredients we use are left in tact and are as digestible and as healthy as possible. I don’t think people realize that when manufacturing food products what you put into a product is not necessarily what you get in the final product.
Special thanks to Michelle Cass for her time and generosity. For more information about RawFoodz please visit www.RawFoodz.com.
This post was in collaboration with RawFoodz. This is an unpaid endorsement and the products used in this post were kindly gifted for review. I only share products that I personally use and that are made with the highest integrity.
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*Government of Canada, Food and Drug Regulations (C.R.C., c. 870), B.07.042. [S]. Salad Dressing. <http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/C.R.C.,_c._870/page-86.html?texthighlight=salad#s-B.07.042.>