I caught up with Toronto’s very own Mariam Ekram, founder of Kewaza, last weekend at CHFA East, which is Canada’s largest conference and trade show for the natural health and organics industry. Mariam was showcasing the Kewaza line of energy balls which are made with the simplest of organic ingredients and are free of gluten, preservatives, GMOs, soy and dairy.
I like healthy snacks that are quick for grab and go, but most importantly made with few ingredients, especially those which I can pronounce. So it was no surprise that Kewaza was my top choice for fuel when I was writing the Ontario Law Society Licensing Examinations - or bar exam for short. The bar exams last two days and Kewaza had the perfect combination of plant-based ingredients to get me through the long days and keep me alert and present during the exams.
The line includes 3 delicious plant-powered vegan flavours:
Dates, semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts
Red Banana Bread
Red banana, dates, semi-sweet chocolate chips and raw almonds
Peanut Butter Cookie Dough
Dates, peanut butter and semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mariam and I had the chance to chat about Kewaza and her on going commitment to give back to non-human animals, as well as the local community through her company. I’ve included an interview below where she shares how Kewaza got its start and the choices behind using the cleanest ingredients and eco-friendly packaging. Additionally, LoveWildLiveFree will be hosting a Kewaza giveaway this week! I have included all of the details on how you can get your hands on a Kewaza prize pack at the end of this article.
How did Kewaza get its start?
I started Kewaza in my kitchen. I would make the snacks for myself and then started brining it to the gym where I worked. When I started to share them with my colleagues and they began asking for them regularly, I thought I may have something I could possibly sell. From there, I went store to store trying to see the product and it picked up from there.
What does the name Kewaza mean and what is the significance?
The name was inspired by two Japanese words; Kaizan, which means change for the better or continuous improvement and the other word Kamiwaza, means godlike or purest self. I took those two words ( because I am inspired by the message behind them ) and created the word Kewaza.
I understand that your new packaging is recyclable. Was this something that was important to you when creating your product?
Absolutely! It is essential that we reduce any negative impact on the environment our packaging may create and that is why we encourage people to recycle. We are also members of Live Green Toronto and look forward to working with amazing companies, such as Terracycle, in the near future to help better our overall businesses impact on the environment.
Tell me about the ingredients that you have used in your products?
I carefully select organic, all natural ingredients that people can pronounce, understand and want to eat. The ingredients I use in my products are purchased from ethical, local Canadian businesses who share the same values and ethics I do. I chose to go this route because food is most delicious in its purest form. It is very important for me to offer food to people I love and want to eat myself, and that means offering people pure, organic, non-GMO snacks that contain no preservatives, chemicals or junk. Three of the Kewaza flavours are Vegan and the dark chocolate flavours are vegetarian (they contain honey).
I understand that you are committed to making a difference within the community. What type of initiatives is Kewaza affiliated with?
I absolutely love animals and want my company to stand behind the support of people, animals and our community. Kewaza has adopted a penguin and I also started an organization calledWoman Empowering Women to help women, like myself, empower other women by helping each other, supporting one another in any/every way we can. Once a month we visit a women's shelter and show them our love and support by buying groceries and other essentials the shelter may need. We also donate a portion of our sales to organizations that empower women ...it is a deep passion of mine.
Instagram Giveaway Details
Thanks to Kewaza one lucky winner will receive a Kewaza Prize Pack with an assortment of Kewaza vegan energy balls!
Two simple steps to win:
1 - Follow both @lovewildlivefree & @kewazaenergy on Instagram
2 - The word KEWAZA is inspired by the Japanese word Kaizan which means continuous improvement. In the comments below today's Instagram post of the Kewaza Energy Balls, let us know what steps you take, both big and small, to make positive improvements to lead a healthy life.
Contest closes Sunday, October 3, 2015 at 11pm EST & is open to residents of the Greater Toronto Area.
Click here for more info about Kewaza and to learn where you can find Kewaza Energy Balls at your nearest Noah’s Natural Foods, Healthy Plant, Foodland and other shops as well.