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Good Change Conversations

How to Pass on your Love Through Food with Rosa & Margo - Two Raw Sisters

by Rowena Yee 14 Feb 2022
Two Raw Sisters
YOU CAN LISTEN TO OUR CHAT WITH TWO RAW SISTERS BY CLICKING HERE.

Good Change

So this is a power duo we have followed for a few years now and we can't wait to grab hold of some of their wisdom and pass it onto our followers. We're talking about plant-based entrepreneurs, Rosa and Margo, otherwise known as Two Raw Sisters. Rosa and Margo have come through a plethora of personal health issues, such as chronic fatigue, endometriosis, gut issues, and battles with being an underweight elite athlete, popped up the other side and created the most inspiring brand Two Raw Sisters from private workshops, online workshops, corporate events, to their own cookbooks and brand, Hello Raw.

One of the many things we admire about these ladies is their personal involvement in helping each individual in their many workshops and events. It's not outsourced. It's the real deal.

Rosa and Margo. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome!

So, tell us a little bit about your journey. Let's go right back to the start, your upbringing. What led you down this path?

Margo

We grew up on a farm in Rolleston, back then it wasn't a huge residential area. But we pretty much had a very normal upbringing. Mum and Dad certainly weren’t super health focused, you know, Rosa loved a good old KFC chicken and her Copeland's pies and things like that.

But it was our health journeys that really changed a lot of things for us personally, and kind of the way  we eat.

Rosa

So for me, I was an elite athlete for about eight years. I started quite early on when I was about 14 years old and that went through til I was about 20 years old and throughout that time I gained a training obsession. I was doing very well for my age and Athletics New Zealand took that on board and I was heading overseas and doing some amazing races and having a great time. And then it kind of got to a point where I hit rock bottom and I literally got told, you know, if you don't do anything about your situation now it’ll affect you later on in life.

So, I was diagnosed with REDs, which is Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport. So that's where you don’t have your period before you're 20 years old, you've got low bone density and low energy availability. I had to pretty much stop competing professionally and focus on my health and wellbeing. And I had a lot of gut issues as well so parasites all in my gut, and that was affecting my absorption of all the nutrients. So, talking about it was a big thing for me in my recovery journey. I realised through doing that, that a lot of young females are going through the same issue, whether it's directly related or it doesn't even have to be sport-related obviously.  A lot of people voiced out to me. I did a lot of talks around it and it was pretty incredible the feedback that I got from that, and that kind of urged me to talk more about it and to also educate people. And Margo kind of did the same with her journey as well.

Margo

I had a very different journey to Rosa. I was definitely not an elite athlete. Complete opposite. I had chronic fatigue syndrome. I got diagnosed when I was. 17. We both kind of missed a lot of our year 12 and 13 years at school. I think that may be led to us being so entrepreneurial and I think we grow up really fast.

We had to, you know, we had to learn a lot about our bodies in terms of the power of food. And like Rosa was saying gut health and things like that really made us come together to grow our passion and love for food and what we do now. And then we're always, always growing. I got diagnosed with endometriosis last year and from then on that's kind of changed slightly or opened a new direction within Two Raw Sisters which has been really cool. So we're forever evolving and I think that's what we really want to do is stay super real and not be super 'striked down' on one thing that we do. We're all about helping people and we've got a platform where we can speak and be that person for people to relate to. Like Rosa said that's really important to us.

Good Change

Yeah. I think it's that vulnerability too. And as you said, showing your emotions, people can really relate to that and feel it really start to pull on your heartstrings.

Margo

It's also very motivating for us as well, to really continue with what we're doing and because as you see so many people and they’re, like, ‘thank you so much for sharing your story’. It's really inspiring for us.

Good Change

And I think, you know, you can sell a brand, but if you've got something a little bit more heartfelt where you're actually giving. You're taking what's happened to you and you're giving it back and offering advice and knowledge and recipes etc, to people who have gone through the same thing it’s so much more heartfelt and empowering. So, I’ve been reading your website and you can see your parents have got this amazing involvement in your business, and you can really see the warmth of your family resonating through the website actually. Tell us about their involvement in your journey.

Rosa

Well, Mum’s always done the accounts and stuff like that. So, thanks mum! Appreciate that! Don't know how to do my taxes or GST at all. Dad kind of came on board last year during lockdown actually. Dad had a stroke about five years ago and it's been really interesting and really cool to see Dad's recovery through food. It’s definitely helped a lot. He's obviously done a lot of other stuff but foods maintained that. Dad used to be a huge meat eater and now he really loves plants. And I think it's simply taking our philosophy of teaching people, how to cook parts in a more fun, exciting, inventive way and actually showing them how you can cook them rather than just stir frying. So, since we released our second book, we kind of go by the motto, ‘all eaters welcome’. We believe you don't have to be vegan or vegetarian to be healthy. Everybody's body is totally different and getting people, you know, a big thing for us is getting people to start their meals with their plants rather than their meat and getting good quality meat. So, dad's kind of come on board with that.

Good Change

There seems to be a worldwide shift towards plant-based. And I know as you mentioned, you incorporate meat into your meals as well, but so many people are shifting to a more raw whole foods type diet. Why do you think that is?

Rosa

I think New Zealand is a farming nation, right? So, I feel like we're not ahead of the game, but we're definitely moving.

Good Change

In terms of that connection between love and food. I know that when I eat something that's had a whole lot of love put into it that's healthy and fresh and you can just tell that there's been some energy put into the food it just makes me feel really happy. What are your thoughts about that?

Margo

I think everyone, these days, is so stressed out with work and so focused on following a recipe word for word, and that's when cooking just gets stressful. But our love and passion in the kitchen has come from using a recipe as a guideline and just using what we have at home and being confident and just going with the flow.

And I think that's when the love and passion comes into the food because you have just created it on your feelings and what you feel like and what you want, what's in season, what's in the fridge rather than, you know, a lot of people at the start of the week write an ingredient list on what they need and it's three pages long and it's expensive. And then you just have that thought in your head that this was really expensive, I've got to follow this recipe, whereas just by getting what's in season and what you feel like can be really empowering.

Rosa

One big thing for people is that they just lack a motivation on what to cook and they end up just doing the same thing every single night of the week. And that’s when cooking becomes a real chore.

Margo

I think like anything, it can be overdone and that's where the love just drains out of it. So, we're big advocates with all of our recipes. They last three to four days, so people only do have to be in the kitchen two to three times a week. And every time you get in the kitchen, you actually look forward to it rather than doing it three times a day, seven days a week. It can get very draining and it's just a drag.

Good Change Store

I love everything that you guys do, but if you we're talking to our listeners and giving them a bit of an idea of the key staples that they should have in their kitchen to cook like this, are there some staple ingredients?

Two Raw Sisters

A big thing that we find people do is they over clutter their pantries and have say eight different grains and eight different nuts and seeds and all these flours and spices, and it's just overwhelming. And then they don't use everything up. They might use a quarter of a teaspoon or something and never use it again. So, we've refined the pantry, and cut it down to what we feel is the most essential ingredients to have. And we use them a lot throughout our books.

You don't have to get it all at once. You can slowly grow it over time and that's where the substituting comes in. If you don't have Quinoa use brown rice instead. If you don't have Turmeric use Cumin Powder. So, it’s just making it really flexible. There's a lot of people when they think of plant-based,they think it's expensive ingredients and superfoods that I've never heard of before.

Whereas, all of our pantry staples are ingredients everyone will be familiar with. They're what you’ve used thousands of times before and they're really cost effective as well. It's not like you're going to pay $30 a bottle for something and never use it again.

Good Change

I think it's good because a lot of us have that traditional ‘meat first and then add the grain’ so it is a little bit scary to all of a sudden think ‘plant-based first’. So, for those who want to start being plant-based where do we start?

Margo

So salads is probably our most popular workshop. They're a great way to start in terms of starting a meal with your plants. A lot of people think of a salad as lettuce, cucumber, tomato and if you're lucky, a little bit of feta but all of our salads are  substantial enough that you can actually have them on their own as a plant based meal. We do encourage people to add some meat on the side, if they do choose to too.

We continue to do the workshops because a lot of people look in a recipe book and see the effort behind a recipe and the styling and the photography and although its meant to look beautiful that can put a lot of people off. They're like, ‘oh God, I can't make it’.

Whereas a lot of us are visual learners. The workshops are so great because we're physically teaching people and giving them the confidence and they can ask us questions there and then and that follows onto the cookbooks. When people were starting with their meat options, they like filling themselves up with meat and then because they're having lettuce and tomato, that's not really going to fill them up enough. So, try to start with the plants and then you'll naturally decrease your meat intake.

Good Change

Through all the workshops that you're doing and the event you’re doing, you're bound to run into the odd skeptic.

Margo

We always get that. A wife will come to us and say ‘my husband never eats salads. He hates vegetables and now he's constantly asked for me to make the certain recipe from your cookbook’. I think it's knowing how to cook them in a different way like adding a grain, adding spice to your roasted veggies and really yummy dressing, nuts and seeds. We need to come up with another word for salads because they're really not salads, they're meals.

We’re open to things like if you don't have a coconut yogurt use Greek yogurt; if you don't have plant-based milk use dairy milk. So, we're not so much around ‘it has to be dairy free’. It's more those extras, like Margo said, your spices, a really nice, easy dressing that takes two seconds to make vegetables in a more appealing way rather than just boiling and stir frying all the time.

Good Change

So can you tell us three takeaways that you could give our readers to help enhance the love of cooking in the kitchen?

Margo

Yes, firstly, meal prep on a Sunday so you only have to cook two or three times a week. Its good especially for busy moms or people working. It can become a breakfast and a lunch. So always on a Sunday making a salad, a big salad that's going to last you four days. So, all you need to do is put it in a container in the morning and for breakfast as well, making a big Bircher or a porridge at the start of the week.

Secondly, not being so strict on following your recipe step-by-step so not necessarily measuring things.

Thirdly, shopping a little bit more for spice or nuts and seeds. And then just be a bit more fluent with what you're chucking in. Just being a bit more creative with the recipe and not getting stuck on having to have every single ingredient that we list. If you don't have a pumpkin, but you've got a cucumber and a potato chop that up, chuck it in the oven. Absolutely fine.

Good Change

Yeah. Wow. And so guys, you've released your next book!

Rosa

Yes. This one is fully on salad. So, if you're wanting to start some plant-based meals, salads are your best way to start. Kind of incorporating that into your lifestyle.

We've also got another really exciting thing which is a Two Raw Sisters app which will have loads of recipes on there. We're doing meal plans, workshops etc.

Good Change

Amazing fingers in pies, so to speak. Thank you guys. It's so inspiring. It’s so wonderful to actually hear how you can incorporate some better habits and refine our love for food. Cause as you were mentioning earlier, it can become quite tedious when you got a family and you're going through the drill every single time. So thank you for sharing all of your tips with us!

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