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On this episode of The Raw Food Podcast, we welcome a special guest to the show, Em von Euw of This Rawsome Vegan Life. Em von Euw is the author of three successful cookbooks.
In this episode, Em and I talk about Em’s own food journey from raw to whole foods vegan, we share tips for how to incorporate better food choices into your own diet, and we also talk about how Em juggles being a university student and published author.
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Welcome to Episode #49 of the Raw Food Podcast. I am your host, Laura-Jane, the Rawtarian, and on today’s episode I interview vegan cookbook author Emily von Euw from thisrawsomeveganlife.com. Emily and I talk about Emily’s own food journey from raw to whole foods vegan. She shares tips for how to incorporate better food into your own food diet, and we also talk about how Emily juggles being a university student and a published author of three successful cookbooks. Stay tuned, and Emily and I will be back with you shortly.
Laura-Jane: Thank you so much for joining me on another episode of the Raw Food Podcast. I’m very excited today. We have Emily von Euw from thisrawsomeveganlife.com here on the podcast. Emily, hello.
Emily von Euw: Hi. Thank you for having me.
Laura-Jane: Thank you for coming on the show. We were just chatting before we hit record about how we’ve both known each other for a long time, so it’s exciting to have an excuse to chat together.
Emily von Euw: Totally.
Laura-Jane: Maybe for some of our listeners who don’t know who you are, just tell us a little bit about you and how you’re involved in vegan foods, et cetera.
Emily von Euw: Sure! First and foremost I’m a blogger. I have a vegan recipe blog, This Rawsome Vegan Life, and I’ve also written some vegan cookbooks over the past few years. Mostly what I do is develop recipes and do the photography for them and share it on my blog and social media.
Laura-Jane: Excellent. Well your photography is definitely so beautiful, and I know I have your most recent book, and I’m looking forward to talking about that as well, but I would love to hear a little about how you got into vegan eating yourself and even a little about your parents. Were they healthy when you were growing up? That side of your story would be interesting to hear.
Emily von Euw: Sure! Thank you so much. My parents were always into the home cooked meals and generally into healthy eating, but we were still pretty mainstream as far as the foods we were eating. We’d get frozen burritos sometimes and occasionally go for fast food. I think we were still weighted toward more homemade and healthy food, though, and I was always interested in being healthy, but I was also really into baking with lots of butter and stuff like that too. I wanted to open my own bakery. And at the same time I was like, “How can I be healthier and fitter?” I think partially the focus on being healthy or being fitter was definitely influenced by society’s pressures on women to look a certain way. That has definitely evolved into something way healthier. My mom had been vegetarian in her twenties - I think mostly because she had no money. She was kind of a hippie. My parents met volunteering in Thailand. They’re pretty open-minded. I decided to go vegan. I honestly don’t remember why that well. I was sixteen and I remember thinking, “Wait, why are we drinking cow’s milk if we’re adult humans? This doesn’t make that much sense.” I love animals. Who doesn’t love animals? Oh, yeah; they have to die for me to eat meat. Maybe that’s not cool. And I started learning about the environmental consequences of animal agriculture, which are huge - more impactful than all transportation combined (which I think a lot of people don’t know). So it just was the logical decision. I made a thirty day challenge for myself and I remember thinking a few days in, “This is the way I will be for the rest of my life. This just feels so good. I have no cognitive dissonance, or not as much as I had before.” My parents were pretty on board with the vegan part, but at the same time I had gotten into raw food and they were a little concerned - especially my dad - about getting enough protein and eating enough calories. I think, by and large, as long as you’re watching out for your calorie intake, your nutrition intake (which we all should be; that shouldn’t just be a vegan thing. We all should be watching that, making sure our bodies are getting what they need to survive and hopefully thrive), you’re fine. I think in my case - though I didn’t think it at the time - they’re probably justified in worrying. I definitely went into it wanting to be a certain weight and look a certain way. It wasn't one hundred percent for the animals or for the environment. I was a young girl wanting to conform to society’s expectations. I definitely wasn’t eating enough at first. That was kind of a rough time. I was so excited about this new way of living and the fact that I wasn’t supporting animal exploitation anymore and all these things, but I just wasn’t really eating enough. I was getting too obsessed about trying to eat raw all the time. Fortunately, that has developed into a much healthier way of life and I’m all about not restricting now, and it’s all good. And my parents saw that too. They’re quite happy with where I am now. And over the years - it’s been around six years - they eat mostly vegan themselves. They said that they eat vegan ninety nine percent of the time. Sometimes they’ll call themselves ‘flexitarians.’ It’s totally true. Our freezer is just full of gardeen. They’ll only bring out real fish when we have relatives staying with us, but usually they’re just trying to preach the vegan message to anybody who will listen. My dad prefers tofurkey dogs over processed animal meat hotdogs now. I love that! I kind of take it for granted, and I think, “I’m so proud of them. They weren’t super skeptical at first, but I don’t think they ever expected that they would get as into it as they are.”
Laura-Jane: Was it a slow evolution for them? Was it because they saw how it was impacting you? What do you attribute their change to?
Emily von Euw: My mom is awesome. When I went vegan she wanted me to still be included at family dinners. (And she was excited too. She would try to make us eat tofu when we were younger and stuff. I thought it was gross, which is funny.)
Laura-Jane: I know. I have the same story with my mom. Keep going.
Emily von Euw: Yeah! I thought tomatoes were gross, pineapples were gross, and now I love all these foods. I think when you eat more whole foods your palate changes, but that’s another thing. And she was excited to try new foods, too. She would make vegan dishes for the family for our dinners, so I could eat them with everybody else, and honestly my dad and she were like, “This is really good, and I don’t feel gross after.” I slept really well. My mom started taking back - not her health, though they both definitely felt way better - but she has had three kids, and she was a stay at home mom (although now she’s killing it; she’s a coach for acting and she had her own production company now; theater and film are her passion) and she had gained a lot of weight. She’d had so much trouble getting it off, but when she started eating vegan dishes, it just fell off. She felt so good in her new body. My dad, he always talks about when he eats meat now he can’t sleep, and he’s really stinky. So I think for them it was very gradual. They just started eating more plant foods, and they started noticing that they felt better, and they started getting more experimental with the kinds of vegan foods they would eat. It was definitely over time that they made their changes, at a very comfortable pace. Even now they aren’t that strict. They pretty much eat whatever they want. They just usually prefer to eat vegan foods. I think like with most vegans. When I’m eating out or with people who don’t necessarily know me as well as my family or close friends, they’ll be like, “You can’t eat that if there’s eggs in something.” I’ll be like, “I can eat whatever I want, I just want to eat vegan foods.”
Laura-Jane: I love that story. I can definitely relate. My mom was a somewhat hippie as well. I thought, “Ew, lentils, that’s gross, Mom. Get that away.” I know, I know. I know you have brothers. Are they on board with this as well?
Emily von Euw: No. I have an older brother and a younger brother. My older brother is in law school a few hours away from here. My little brother still lives at home with me and my parents. My older brother literally sticks his nose up when there’s vegan food. I don’t know why, but that’s his two cents on it. My younger brother is actually a really cool smart guy. He gets why I’m vegan. He totally respects it. For a while, he was like, “I can see myself being vegan or vegetarian eventually.” Frankly I can still see him transitioning into that kind of a lifestyle, but for the time being, he really likes frozen pizza and tater tots and things like that. I guess tater tots are vegan, actually. And he also likes making his own food. He’s an intelligent person. He gets the vegan thing. He just hasn’t adopted it himself at this point.
Laura-Jane: I think everybody - you and I both are cases in point - has their own food evolution, so he’s probably just part way in his journey. I did want to ask you: you said you started out with a thirty day challenge of some sort when you vegan to go vegan. Ws that generally a vegan challenge? What did that challenge look like right when you were starting out?
Emily von Euw: Again, I wish I remember this time of my life better. I just remember marking it on a calendar “vegan for thirty days.” I don’t remember if I got it from a website or if I’d started researching things about being vegan at that point. It was mainly me reading this book called Fit for Life, which was very influential at the time. Looking back, it’s kind of pseudo-science-y, and I would not recommend it. At that point, I was sixteen, trying to be a healthy person, and I was like, “Oh, almond milk, whoo.” So the next thing I remember, I was like, “I’ll try to be vegan for thirty days.” And I think I just started eating a lot of fruit. I remember bringing a lot of sliced fruit to school and being super excited about it, and being like, “I’m vegan now, everybody!” in high school. I don’t remember if I tried to go all raw right away, but since the beginning of me getting interested in vegan food, I was interested in raw food because Fit for Life was all about eating raw food as well.
Laura-Jane: I would love to hear you talk about your own evolution. I know you eat a lot of raw food, and you’re basically vegan, but how has that process evolved for you, incorporating more cooked foods? I would love to hear you talk a bit about that. I don’t know if you know, but from my perspective, I was essentially militantly one hundred percent raw for about five years, and I hacked that. I was like, “Oh, cashews, you’re one hundred percent raw. Let’s go.” So for me, I had gotten to a point with one hundred percent raw where it didn’t feel very good, because I was eating too many nuts. So I started to eat some beans and cooked lentils and other foods as well. I feel like a lot of people who have been really into one hundred percent raw have started selectively adding foods that - I know you’re really into this - foods that make you feel good and that suit your body. So I’d love to hear about your evolution where you were really into raw and then moving a little bit more into cooked.
Emily von Euw: Sure. Like I was saying before, when I started getting into vegan food, it was very much raw food. That really resonated with me. It’s the cleanest way to eat. It makes more sense. We’re the only species who cooks their food. All of these arguments you hear in the raw food community. But I was sixteen, and I was kind of naive, and I was like, “Oh, yeah, this all makes sense.” And I bought into it all. I tried to be all raw for at least two years, maybe three. I guess I’d have to look back on my blog. I started my blog, and I was this young girl, and I was like, “I’m not all raw now, but it’s definitely a goal of mine.” I never really was one hundred percent raw. For a long time I was just trying to be, but the thing was, I never ate enough. I would eat a banana, and, in my mind, I’d think, “Two bananas is too much, though.” So I’d eat a banana, a mango, a kiwi, and then go run for an hour and eat an apple, and then eat some raw carrot bars that I made, and I’d be so hungry that I’d binge on whatever cereal or rice and broccoli that my mom had made. And then I’d feel so guilty and gross because I’m like, “Oh, I ate cooked food. I don’t have self control.” It was really not good. It was definitely disordered eating. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I developed this really unhealthy relationship with food. I was so obsessed with being raw that I wasn’t even being healthy anymore. It wasn’t like, “What can I eat to make me strong or feel good?” It was like, “I need to eat all raw, period.” That’s not a good way to do anything. And then I started feeling weak, and I would feel faint if I walked up stairs, and I just felt tired all the time. And then it got to a point where my weight was very low, my parents were concerned, and I think I started reading more books that were based on actual science and peer-reviewed studies within a vegan context, like Dr. Joel… I can’t remember.
Laura-Jane: I’m terrible with that too. Don’t worry.
Emily von Euw: I know! I’m always telling people, and I can’t remember any of them right now. But a lot of those books are recommended on my website. They’re based on actual legit studies, not just someone’s idea like, “The kiwi has the most energy.” They’re based on actual facts that we have been able to study. And of course these books were like, “Rice is good for you. Steamed vegetables are good.” I started thinking, “Maybe this is right.” And I was growing up, too. I was getting older. I’m twenty-two now. Between sixteen and twenty-two is a very formative point of my life and probably a lot of peoples’ lives where you grow into adulthood in a sense. I started realizing all this stuff I thought about raw food - is it really true? It’s not really based on anything. I did feel good when I was eating raw food, but I never ate enough. I thought cooked food is poison, which is just completely not true. I started incorporating cooked foods in a way where I didn’t feel guilty about eating them. I was trying to be really kind to myself and take it slow. Basically, over time, I started putting more of those foods back into my diet without feeling bad about it. It was more about me emotionally becoming okay with it. I had never really stopped eating cooked foods. It’s just that when I did, I would feel bad about it. Over time I stopped feeling bad about it. I also started feeling better and having more energy, which is very important, and it’s the reason we should eat whatever foods we’re going to eat anyway - if they make us feel good. What else is there to say about that? Now I eat half and half; it depends. Lately I have been eating a lot of smoothies during the day and I’ll usually have rice and vegetables for dinner. I’ve also gotten a lot less restrictive with the cooked foods I eat. Even when I started letting myself eat cooked foods again, I was like, “You can’t have processed foods.” But over the past year, I’ve gone on some trips to the States and stuff with my partner, and we had access to all of this vegan junk food, and I let myself eat it, and we found out there’s a place you can get vegan donuts in Vancouver, and I just took down those final barriers that I’d built for myself in my mind of what I’m allowed to eat and what I’m not allowed to eat, and I’m just like, “Screw it. I’m going to eat donuts; I’m going to eat pizza. Fine. It’s my body and I can do what I want with it.” That’s nice. To be honest, I don’t feel really that amazing after I eat a fried donut or three pieces of pizza, but it’s nice. I think I put a post on Instagram about it. I said, “It’s not necessarily particularly healthy for my body, but it’s good for my mind, just because of my history with food.” It’s very psychologically healthy for me to allow myself to eat these more processed foods. Having said that, I don’t really want to eat them all the time because I just feel groggy after a while. They don’t make me feel that good physically. So I let those foods into my diet, but whole foods definitely make me feel the best. I still really like raw food. It makes me feel energized, and it’s great for the day. It fills you up nutritionally but it doesn’t make you feel bogged down, like the density of it or anything.
Laura-Jane: I think what’s really interesting about your story - and I can relate as well - is that when I got into raw food in my mid-twenties, at that point I really didn’t have a lot of experience cooking. I think one of the things that’s really appealing about raw - especially if, either you’re not experienced cooking or you’re not experienced eating healthily - is it’s this little sandbox - it has clear lines - which I know for me was really useful for a while. I was like, “Okay, these are the things I can play with. These are my ingredients.” And then it got to a point for me where I was kind of bored with this and wanted to add some additional ingredients in there to make it feel more healthfully balanced. But when some people are just starting out, it can be useful. I know a lot of people get really overwhelmed when trying to think, “What should I eat?” I think people are always evolving with the way they eat and what they feel comfortable eating too.
Emily von Euw: Yeah, so true. A lot of the time I like to eat raw because it is so simple. You’re not cooking the food; you’re just blending or throwing things together. It’s always delicious. That probably is very appealing for a lot of people. It’s clear to see what you’ll be working with, what your guidelines are for yourself.
Laura-Jane: I don’t know if you have this in your life - if you have friends or family who sometimes might ask for help, or for whom you want to offer advice. A lot of the listeners of this podcast might be people who want to make a positive change in their eating, whether it’s going from trying to eliminate meat from their diet or just trying to improve their diet somewhat. What would be a key tip or one thing to focus on that would be good advice that you would give to somebody that wants to clean up their diet?
Emily von Euw: I would say just don’t necessarily take anything out right away, but start adding things in. I don’t want anyone to feel like they need to restrict anything. I don’t want people to take calories out and then not replace them sufficiently, which is a problem for a lot of people. I had a friend who actually went vegan years before I decided to, and at the time I was like, “No, don’t. You’re going to be low on iron.” We were fourteen, and she was like, “I’m going vegan. I love animals.” I think a lot of people took out a bunch of calories and didn’t replace it with anything, or only replaced it with the same weight in vegetables, which is going to be forty calories - it’s not enough. That is going to make you feel tired and not as energetic, and you’re probably going to not feel that good. You’ll think, “Oh, it’s the vegan thing,” but really you’ve just not been eating enough or you may not have been watching out for your nutrition. Sorry, you were going to say something?
Laura-Jane: I was going to jump in and say that I agree with you. And maybe I will jump in. This is something that I was thinking about when you were talking a little bit earlier. You were eating a lot of fruit and not getting enough calories. Of course, you’re going to binge because your body is trying to get some food and trying to keep itself alive healthy. I think that’s common problem people have. They will try to not eat enough. January first they’re trying to lose some weight. They’re not eating enough and then feeling like a failure because they have to eat something because they’re starving. That’s totally not the way to go about it, because it is really important to get enough food and nutritionally balanced food in order to keep up your healthy eating. I don’t want anybody to beat themselves up for that. But anyway. Side tangent.
Emily von Euw: No, totally! I have just become such an advocate for eating as much as you want, and really eating whatever you want, because I’m tired of the food policing and the body policing that is an issue within pop culture but also within the vegan movement. It’s like people have their own bodies; they should have total control of what they’re going to do with their bodies. If someone wants to eat a pack of donuts, eat a pack of donuts. people should be able to eat whatever they want and how much of that they want. For me, when I first went vegan, I was like, “Oh, I can’t eat too much rice because it has too many carbs,” and now I’m just like, “i’m going to eat as much rice as I want until I feel satisfied.” It makes me feel better when I eat as much as my body’s telling me too. That’s what my body’s telling me to eat. I think that there’s an issue with the focus on weight in our society and culture because there’s this assumption or implication that if you’re thin you’re healthy, and if you’re not thin, you’re unhealthy, and that really is not true. There’s actually - I can’t remember details about it - but there’s this group of scientists or whatever - I hate not having details for studies - but basically they have found that people who are a normal weight according to whatever that means in the U.S., like BMI or whatever, people who are a normal weight versus people who are slightly overweight - people who are slightly overweight live longer and have better protection against chronic illness. I really don’t want to misstate this study, but it was basically like people who are a little overweight are actually healthy and sometimes do better than people who are a normal weight. Sure, why not? Because I know a lot of people who are very thin who eat instant noodles all day and don’t drink any water and don’t exercise .And I know a lot of people - myself included - who have some good fat reserves on the bod, and I feel great all the time, I exercise regularly, I eat tons of whole foods. I hope that we can all do away with this idea that how your body looks - especially the weight on your body - determines whether you’re healthy. It really doesn’t. You can’t tell a person’s health by their body weight. I hope we can all let that go and realize it’s not about how you look; it’s about how you treat yourself. That was kind of a tangent, but back to your question a while ago: as far as people trying to get healthier and incorporate more healthy foods, just add them to whatever you’re eating. If you’re eating steak and potatoes for dinner, add more potatoes, or add a delicious wholesome salad with lots of beans and some almonds or a delicious sauce or whatever.
Laura-Jane: I really love the tangent you’re going on in the sense of adding more healthy things rather than being concerned with removing the bad things. I think adding more of the good stuff that you love to eat is a wonderful piece of advice for anybody who wants to improve their health.
Emily von Euw: For sure, because then you don’t feel like you’re restricting. It’s not as intimidating or scary because it’s not too much of a change. I’m not going to tell anybody to totally erase their normal diet and start eating kale chips. I wouldn’t want to do that. That seems alien and limiting, and of course you’ll miss the foods that you’re eating because psychologically we have emotional connections to foods we eat regularly. So add in foods and make sure that they’re good. Like raw carrots - I definitely like to snack on raw carrots; they’re delicious and sweet and juicy, but for someone who’s used to more processed food or salty food or meat and dairy, that probably doesn’t seem very appealing at all, so just find foods that you think are delicious but that happen to be vegan, and add those in. For breakfast, add in a fruit smoothie or some avocado toast, or oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon, and as the days go by and the weeks go by and you keep incorporating more of these plant-based meals and healthier whole food-based meals, you’ll probably want to keep eating them as well. Go at a pace that’s comfortable for you. You’ll probably find that over time, however long it takes, you’ll be eating mainly these vegan foods. The other foods that you were eating before might not taste as good anymore. They might taste too salty, or you might not digest them as well. They might make you feel less energized than the vegan foods.
Laura-Jane: I love it. I want to switch gears, because I am looking at your beautiful book on my desk here, The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook. I want to talk photography for a little bit, because you’re a superstar. We talked about your food story. Were you interested in photography before you got into food? Tell me your photography story.
Emily von Euw: Sure, so I was into photography. I’ve always been into various forms of art, whether it be writing or painting or drawing or photography. I really liked abstract photography and landscape photography. When I started my food blog, I’m like, “Oh, okay, I’ve got to get this together, because these photos are not looking good.” If you go back to some of my earliest posts, the photos are so… I think I thought they were good at the time, but now…
Laura-Jane: That’s the nature of any creative pursuit. I think we’re always looking back at whatever that thing was and being like, “Oh no.” And then that’s something I’ve come to expect. When I look at something that I’ve done today that I think is amazing, I know in five years I’m going to look back at this and be mortified. That’s how it is with something creative. Sorry. Keep going.
Emily von Euw: No, that’s totally true. I started my blog because my parents were trying the recipes I was making with the raw food, and they were like, “Oh, this is so good. You should put it on the internet.” So I did eventually. I don’t really believe in horoscopes, but I am a virgo and I am really virgo - like I fit the definition to a ’t’.
Laura-Jane: Remind me what virgo is known for?
Emily von Euw: Very controlling and I have to have it my way. I don’t work well in groups because I need it to be done my way, and I need it to be as good as it can be in my own opinion, make it perfect in my own eyes, and I’m sure there are other aspects to it to. I’m very organized and clean, and these things are very important to me. So when I started my blog, I was just like, “Okay, I need to make this better, because this looks really basic.” So I started improving my photography and my recipe development. Again, my first post photos are not good. The recipes aren’t even recipes. I’m just like, “Yeah, I threw this in here or did this,” but I don't give amounts or anything, because that’s never the way I did recipes either. Even though I was into baking, I never really measured things. I just went with my intuition. Same with when I started doing more raw food vegan recipes. It wasn’t obvious to me that I should write down the amounts, because that’s not how I did things, but I quickly learned that if I’m going to have a recipe blog, I should probably actually be giving recipes. So I started sort of measuring things and writing down what I was doing. I transferred that to my blog. I would look at other food blogs and take note of what they were doing with their food photography, and I tried to work on my own as well. It was sort of a synthesis of the photography that I liked online and my own preferences and skill level at various times, sort of like the situation that I had at home: I definitely had certain limitations (the lighting in our kitchen isn’t very good) and, frankly, I love our house, but it’s not how I would have designed my house -
Laura-Jane: Virgo. Virgo alert.
Emily von Euw: I’m quite the minimalist as well, so just the colors and style of our house are not my vibe. I’ve over time created my own little space. Our dishes and stuff aren’t really my taste. I realized this when I started having to use these objects and spaces for my photography. I was like, “I’m not really into this. This doesn’t really suit me.” So I’ve just sort of developed my own plate and cutlery collection and made my own tabletops and my own tables and got some backdrop curtains. I have this weird little area in the rec room by this window, and it’s this table with another tabletop on top, depending on what I want to do for that day, and this giant backdrop of curtains. I have piles of plates and forks around the kitchen. I’ve developed my own little world for my food photography, which hopefully will transition into my whole kitchen or my whole home when I eventually have my own place. Okay, another tangent. I don’t even remember what your question was.
Laura-Jane: We were just riffing on photography-ness.
Emily von Euw: Right.
Laura-Jane: You said you’re twenty-two, and you’ve had three cookbooks out, and they’re beautiful and doing really well. You’re still in school?
Emily von Euw: Yeah, I’m in my fourth - oh, wait, is it my fifth year? I have been in university for a long time. I went straight to university right after high school, but it took a while for me to decide what I want to major in, because who knows what they want to major in when they’re a teenager? I think I’m going to major in history, but I’m also interested in a lot of different things, so I’ll be like, “Oh, gosh, that humanities course sounds so cool. Oh, no, I need to take that gender studies class.” So it’s taken me a while and I’m still in school right now.
Laura-Jane: It must be hard to be juggling school and your cookbook life and your blog and everything. Is that a challenge?
Emily von Euw: I think I kind of take it - I don’t want to say I take it for granted; I feel like there’s a better way to put it - but it’s like, this is my life, and my blog has gradually become what it is. When I started I didn’t think this was going to be my job, that I was going to write cookbooks and give speaking presentations and fly to Toronto to promote my cookbooks. It’s amazing and I sometimes can’t believe it, but because it happened over time and during this transformative period of my life as well, I don’t really realize the situation a lot of the time, and I definitely experience imposter syndrome. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that, but I learned what it was -
Laura-Jane: Tell me more because I feel like I would benefit from listening to this.
Emily von Euw: Yes! I feel like a lot of public figures and successful bloggers like yourself… it might be more common than we think. I learned about it this year. It’s this thing where you don't think - for me anyway - I don’t think that I deserve the success that I’m experiencing. It almost feels like someone else has done all my work, and I’m just saying I did it, but someone else did it. I get emails - I’m sure you do - of people being like, “Oh my gosh, I love what you do. You inspired me to go vegan, or you inspired me to do this, and I’m so grateful to you.” And I honestly feel like I’m someone’s secretary, and I’m passing on the message and they don't actually mean I made them feel this way. It’s somebody else. It will be interesting to learn if it’s a gendered issue, because I feel like women, by and large, are socialized to believe we don’t deserve as much as men. I wonder if that would be something that we could look at in studies. But that’s another thing. Anyway, a lot of the time I feel like I’m not even this person who’s writing my blog and doing my books. It’s somebody else and I’m just taking the credit or going along with it.
Laura-Jane: It’s funny. I don’t know if you’d like it, but I’m reading this book right now called Big Magic, which is about creativity, and it’s really easy to read. It’s by Elizabeth Gilbert, and she’s a really successful fiction author. She talks a lot about creativity and she talks about the history of it, that people in the old days, two thousand years ago, used to think that there were - what does she call them? - kind of like creative inspiration. It was out there and it was almost a spirit, and inspiration would come and visit you, and you have this kind of like a fairy that comes to you and is giving you ideas, basically. In the old days they used to call those geniuses, so you would have a genius come and visit you, and when you did something amazing like put together a beautiful cookbook, it was like, yeah, you did it, but you really had to give credit to your genius. But then also when you get a bad review or something, it helps to deflect the criticism. I’m not a particularly spiritual person, but there’s a lot of stuff in that book - Big Magic - it’s really easy to read - that is helping me, because I also sometimes feel weird too. It’s like, “Is this the real me?” because there’s this persona that we put out especially as… you know what I’m talking about. I think it’s an interesting book if you want to pick that one up. It’s a good read.
Emily von Euw: Yeah, that sounds incredible. Magic is the theme for a podcast I’m going to listen to later about the intersections about magic and feminism and women through history. I’m so stoked for that. For me, I’m definitely the kind of person who thinks we should all give ourselves more credit. I feel like we’re living in a society and culture where it’s totally - not expected - but fine and good to compliment everyone else, and we aren’t allowed to give ourselves credit or say, “Hey, I did well on this” or “I deserve this success,” which is silly and I think we all need to give ourselves more credit and be comfortable with saying, “Hey, I’m amazing. I did this.” And some days I’ll be like, “Wow, I am so amazing. I’ve done all this at this young age. I’m so proud of myself. I’m a unicorn.” And then other days I’ll be like, “I don’t even know who I am. Did I even really do this?” And going back to your question about balancing school and my blog and books, again, it happened over time, so I never really realized. It never happened overnight. When my publisher first emailed me and asked if I’d want to make a book, that was a big moment and I’m like, “This is going to be my job. I’m going to do this as a profession.” Besides certain moments like that, it was never an overnight thing, so I’ve just come to accept it but I never really realized what was happening. It’s never seemed like a challenge because it’s just been my situation in life. Also I feel like that’s a reason I can’t accept that I really have done all this work because it never seemed that hard. People don’t really know I’m not as amazing as I seem.
Laura-Jane: Of course you are!
Emily von Euw: Yeah, so I’ll have that thought and we all work hard and are amazing people. We need to give ourselves more credit and let self-love in and high five ourselves and pat each other on the back. On days when I’m feeling very confident and proud of myself, and I project that or express that, I’m worried the people I’m around will think I’m egotistical or whatever. And I hate that because celebrating ourselves and the hard work that we do and our success shouldn’t make me worry that I’m coming off a certain way. I wish everybody could be like, “Wow. I am amazing. People need to know.”
Laura-Jane: I can relate to that too. I find that I don’t want anyone to think… people will be like, “Oh, what do you do?” and I’ll think, “I don’t know.” It’s just weird for me. I do think, too, you really should read that book Big Magic. One thing I do really have to commend you for - and I think something that is useful in terms of food and in terms of creative pursuits like photography and blogging and stuff - is when you show up everyday and you’re making healthy food choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday, when you are blogging on your blog consistently, things do add up. If you think about how many recipes you’ve created for three books and your blog, that’s a ton. But I think what you’re saying is, “This is what I do. This is part of my day and my daily routine,” and that’s how things get done. That’s how people eat healthy consistently and people create really great things, by lots. There’s no magic bullet. It’s little things everyday that are repeated.
Emily von Euw: Yeah, that’s so true. That’s a really good way to put it. That’s a lot of the time why I feel it, because when people hear about what I do and what I’ve done, they’re always so impressed. And the fact that I am relatively young or whatever. On paper, or when I explain what I’ve done, I understand why it would sound so impressive, but - and this is probably the same for you, because you’re successful as well - it’s just kind of like how we live. It’s day to day little things. It’s not like, “I’m going to create this thing over night, and it’s going to be amazing.” It’s like, “Okay, I made a smoothie today, and I made brownies and photographed them and put them on my blog.” That just happens for like six years.
Laura-Jane: Exactly. And I think, too, just coming back to creativity, I’m on this tangent where I’m trying to think of myself and be more creative in all areas. I really enjoy playing music, so I’m trying to do more of that. A lot of people have an idea of what they want to pursue, but they have a blockage and don’t put themselves out there, so I think just starting - and going back to what we were saying, too, about how when you look back on your old photography, there’s always stuff you can improve - but that’s part of the fun. I think if you can approach things - again, coming back to this book, I think she says something like, “Creativity is super important and it’s also not important at all.” At the same time, you can take it really seriously but you can also just have fun with it and play. I think your sense of play really comes through in everything that you do and I think you’re a really special talent, and I really admire your photography. I’m so glad you’re putting yourself out there and I hope you continue on this track. Do you think you will? More books? What is coming up for your future?
Emily von Euw: Thank you. Yeah, what is coming up for my future? I think I’m going to take a break on the books for a little bit because my publisher came to me when I was eighteen or nineteen, and since then they - what’s the word? - consecutively, one after the other, offered me two more book deals after that one, so basically back to back. I’ve basically just been writing books since I was a teenager. I don’t want to say it’s been bad for my blog, but my readership has gone down a bit because all that time I would devote to making recipes and photographing recipes for my blog was put into books. And that’s totally fine. It’s great, really, because books are fun, and they’re a new channel for my creativity, but I want to focus more on my blog, and focus more on my personal life. Nurturing the relationships I have with people is really important for me, and focusing on my mental health, which I’m realizing is very important - I’ve been neglecting that for most of my life - and then just trying to be less problematic in my life ad my perspectives on things. I’m learning a lot about justice issues - human justice issues, animal justice issues - and their connections with how the world is actually run and how things like veganism are awesome, but they also require a certain level of privilege. The life I live and promote requires a certain level of privilege, and that’s totally interconnected with all kinds of different things. I just want to keep learning about that and try to be more inclusive and more open minded about everything and just more accepting of everyone, realizing we’re all coming from different places and trying to promote the idea that we should all basically be doing what we want and trying to live the best lives we can while also being conscious of changes we can make to make the world a better place for everyone.
Laura-Jane: I love it. I really think you’re special, in a good way.
Emily von Euw: So are you!
Laura-Jane: I do want to be mindful of your time and the day that you have, so, Emily, where can people check out your beautiful recipes, get your books, et cetera? Tell us where people can find you on the interweb.
Emily von Euw: I’m basically all over it. My blog is like the homepage, essentially. It’s where I stated and where everything goes. That’s thisrawsomeveganlife.com. There’s all my recipes and a lot of tore information. I’m on all social media. Instagram is a really good one because I’ll put things on Instagram that I don't necessarily put on my blog. Facebook too, Twitter, everywhere I’m rawsomevegan or thisrawsomeveganlife.
Emily von Euw: Oh yeah, and my books are in most bookstores. I think the distribution in the states is better than Canada, but even in Canada they're in a lot of mainstream places, but you can always just go online on Amazon or wherever you buy books online and they should be there. If you google my name, Emily von Euw, or just “rawsome vegan,” they’ll probably come up too. The fist one’s called Rawsome Vegan Baking, the second is 100 Best Juices, Smoothies, and Snacks, and the most recent one is The Ransom Vegan Cookbook.
Laura-Jane: I love it. Emily, thank you so much for coming on the Raw Food Podcast and for doing everything that you do and putting your beautiful light out into the world. I should let you go, so, thank you so much, Emily.
Emily von Euw: Thank you! This has been lovely.
You have been listening to the Raw Food Podcast with your host, The Rawtarian. Be sure to visit me at therawtarian.com where you can browse over 100 of my absolute favorite simple, satisfying raw vegan recipes that you’ll find pretty quick to make and with just a few ingredients and that taste amazing. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and once you’ve signed up for that, you’ll automatically get a PDF copy of eleven of my most favorite, most satisfying, most delicious recipes, including raw vegan alfredo sauce, raw brownies, and a whole host of other delicious recipes that you can make at home that are raw and taste amazing. ThankThank you so much for joining me and I hope to hear from you very soon. Until next time, enjoy your raw adventure.
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