I'm so so so excited to introduce everybody to Meredith. Not only is she one of the coolest, most stylish, interesting, talented and healthy girls I know, but she is now an official PureMamas contributor. I'm so excited in fact that I just couldn't wait until Monday to tell everybody.
Stay Tuned for some amazing fresh juices, salads and wonderful surprises from Meredith in the upcoming months!
I hope you're as intrigued as I am. For now, sit back and get more acquainted with Meredith via our intimate Q&A.
Juli: So what got you into Raw or Vegan food?
Meredith: I have toyed with vegetrianism since I was about 12 and went cold turkey (no pun inteneded) when I was 16. I've always been drawn to the diet and lifestyle. It just made sense.
I was born and raised in South Carolina which was definitely not vegetarian friendly. I am sure that the influence was due to my close family and cousins all being strictly vegetarian, but it definitely resonated with me. I've always loved to cook so the challenge was fun for me.
I did my high school senior paper on vegetrianism and through that I learned more about vegan, and raw food. In college I ate mostly vegan, but also became very interested in gourmet cuisines and culinary arts- because I do appreciate all types of food I've always tried to steer clear of labels.
As a senior in college, while living in France, I actually became totally obsessed with raw food cuisine. By day I would shop the streets of Paris, and by night I would be on the internet researching raw foods! Not only was it fitting to my preferred way of healthy eating, but I also thought that it was a really interesting way to prepare food. I saw that there was so much potential to make it really cool.
With no solid plans after my college graduation, I asked for raw food culinary lessons at Living Light Culinary Arts in California. Everyone thought that I was crazy. "Hippie" Culinary school in a random town in Northern California was a complete stretch. I went, had the most amazing time of my life, and absolutely everything that has happened since then has been serindiptous. I stayed in California for a while and committed to making a career out of raw food.
Juli: Do you only eat vegan food?
Meredith: No. I have gone through periods of being strictly vegan, but I find that a balanced approach is much better. I don't really believe in "faux" foods and would much rather have the high quality real thing than something made with soy, or highly processed. The beauty about raw food is that the cheese, and milk alternatives are totally natural and easy to make at home. The nutritional benefits are totally different, and I don't consider those an alternative or compromise! I usually go for goat or sheeps dairy, and I don't eat any red meat or chicken, but will eat high quality fish occasionally.
Juli: What is your favorite drink?
Meredith: Green Juice and Wine. Wine and Green Juice. I don't know which comes first. (Well, the Green Juice does because I don't drink wine in the morning! ha) I am a certified wine educator, so wine is definitely a passion.
Juli: What else do you enjoy outside of food?
Meredith: Fashion and Design/Art. Until I went for raw food I always imagined that my career would be in one or the other. My enthusiasm for those things is probably equal to food.
Juli: I hear you've co-authored a few books? What were they?
Meredith: In 2008 I moved to New York and partnered with Matthew Kenney. One of our first projects together was Everyday Raw Desserts. Wow. I have learned SO much since then. Writing recipes, organizing photo shoots etc. was an amazing challenge, but a lot of fun! We then wrote Everyday Raw Express which was really great, because the concept of that book is something that I feel strongly about. My first official co-author was Raw Chocolate (but he will tell you I was the main player in all of the above ;-)
I am currently working on a book Design Your Detox that is about easily incorporating detoxifying foods into your diet . Including healthy foods into your diet shouldn't feel like an all or nothing challenge, even one healthy meal a day can make a huge difference!
Juli: Any other projects in the works?
Meredith: TOO MANY. We have Matthew Kenney Academy in Oklahoma City that proves to be very successful. We have students who come from all over the world to learn this type of cuisine. It is truly amazing. The students produce some of the most mind blowing food. The school is positioned to expand this year.
We are also opening a restaurant in Highland Park Chicago this spring, In the Raw. I am personally very involved with this project. It is a stylish casual concept that will offer an extensive program of juice cleanses.
What else? A lot. I am shocked every day by how many people are interested in raw food. I could have never imagined that the potential would be as great as it is.
Juli: Why is raw fresh food important to you?
Meredith: I like to feel good (Don't we all) Food is crucial to your feeling of wellness. When you start eating more fresh raw food you will be amazed at how much better you feel, and more energy you have. People are numb with bloated stomachs and have a lack of passion and energy. Aesthetics also play a part in it for me. To me fresh food is more vibrant, alive, beautiful and interesting! Think about the vibrant colors in a fresh salad vs. a monotone piece of cooked meat! Raw Vegan Food is ABSOLUTELY more beautiful to look at!
Juli: Where do you live and with whom?
Meredith: I currently live in an amazingly beautiful coastal town in Maine with my boyfriend and cat. My home is an old restored bank turned law office, that was built in 1876. My closet is an airtight vault so if anyone fights it makes a good threat. :-) Maine is full of amazing food, and is an easy place to live a healthy lifestyle.
Juli: What makes you happy each day?
Meredith: It sounds cliche, but the little things. I simply love waking up and having my tea and breakfast in the morning, juice in the afternoon, and wine with a delicious meal at night. Good company and a healthy routine is such a blessing! I feel very lucky in that department.
Juli: If you could go and do anything in the world right now where/what would it be?
Meredith: I would basically pick up my exact life and put it in Kelly Wearstler's designed Malibu Beach Home, or a modern Venice Beach bungalow. I love southern California and it fits my life and work very well.
Juli: Do you want to be a mama one day?
Meredith: Ah... this is a loaded question. Right now my baby has a lot of fur and a tail, but I imagine someday I'll want one that looks more like me :-) The concept of family is very important to me. I definitely believe strongly in the value of a family unit.
Juli: If so, name one important lesson you want to teach your child.
Meredith: My mom was the worlds best. She always treated us like people. I believe that it it is important to honor your children by educating them through your influence, and not be dictator.
Juli: Lastly, do you have a blog, interest or twitter account you'd like to share with us?
Meredith: I have a tumblr that I keep up with called BEInspired, it is all the random things that I like. I enjoy doing it
More professionally we have our company's website
And of COURSE... I tweet too. If you want to follow me, HERE I AM.
Juli: I LOVE YOUR BLOG BY THE WAY! It's so pretty and stylish! Thanks for sharing all of this info with us! Can't wait to get your first juice post up! +