Wellness with Emma Sawko
by Editorial Team
For those who frequented the art district (pre-Covid-19) in Dubai (otherwise known as Al Serkal Avenue), there’s no place more authentic than Wild & The Moon. 'Authentic' is possibly the most appropriate synonym to describe this contemporary eatery that has fast become a fan for the jet-setting yogis, holistic healers and anyone with an interest in clean living.
Emma Sawko, co-founder of Wild & The Moon and Comptoir 102
Since its inception, Wild & The Moon has focused on serving food in its most natural state plucked straight from nature (as both the menu and wait staff will tell you) with a focus on wild, local, gluten-free, ethically sourced, seasonal and plant-based ingredients and an ethos that not only promotes goodness for the consumer but the planet as well. As purveyors of conscious living, we here at TGC are often exploring the many alternatives to living a life without compromise. As is evident with the launch of Superbites; our Vegan plant-based protein snack that has no added sugar and is completely gluten-free. It is no surprise then that when It comes to extracting knowledge on veganism and a sustainable lifestyle we would look to an expert for advice; Emma Sawko, co-founder of concept cafes Wild & The Moon and Comptoir 102 is one such individual. Today on The Goodness Journal we discuss all things plant-based wellness and sustainability in honour of World Health Day.
What constitutes a vegan diet?
Veganism is more of a lifestyle than just a diet. It excludes any kind of animal exploitation for food, clothing, testing, etc. As far as the diet is concerned, I prefer the term “plant-based”, which focuses more on the food we put on our plate and which is missing in conventional standard diets. It is true, that we avoid animal products, we’d rather emphasize the abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits, plant proteins such as cereals and pulses, but also nuts, seeds, mushrooms, seaweed and the use of many herbs and spices.
What is sustainable living?Sustainable living has two orientations:
- Sustainable for the planet, thus bypassing conventional farming practices and rather choosing environmentally conscious, local, plant-based food
- Sustainable for the body, choosing food for true nourishment and optimizing health
For both these paradigms, we are discovering that a plant-based diet, based on organic and fresh seasonal and local food, is what works best, for the planet as well as the body.
What are the most common misconceptions people have of vegan-based diets?
If your idea of a meal is steak and fries and you go vegan, you would be left with just the fries on your plate, which isn’t appealing! A plant-based diet is not a standard diet minus meat. On the contrary, it’s a balanced diet with endless possibilities.
What are three super-foods everyone should consume regardless of their dietary preferences?
Everyone’s body has a unique ecosystem and needs, so not everyone will benefit from the same food in the same manner. That being said, a good boost of antioxidants won’t hurt, and acai is a perfect choice. Mushrooms such as Chaga, Reishi and Shiitake are good immunity boosters. Spirulina is a great addition to our diets too, with a good protein profile, antioxidant activity, vitamins and many other benefits.
Wild & The Moon stocks an extensive list of wholesome plant based foods.
Our Superbites are sweetened with superfoods (hence the name) and contain no added sugar. What are your favorite vegan alternatives to refined sugar?
Natural sugar from fresh fruits is all you need in a healthy diet. For sweet bites and comfort smoothies, bananas, dates (or other dried fruits) are perfect, but a drop of maple syrup, full of flavors and minerals, won’t hurt.
In your opinion what are the advantages of a Vegan diet versus the standard omnivores diet?
Scientists now start to agree with what Ayurveda theorized for centuries: a balanced vegan diet may be the best way to optimize health, immunity and body functions. But it’s not just that, we must reevaluate how we mistreat our planet with ruthless agriculture practices, animal handling, pollution… A plant-based diet is a way to realign with nature and become conscious of our environment.
One thing we should all do to live a more Conscious Life…
Shop only organic, fresh, local and seasonal. It seems simplistic but once you force yourself into being conscious of what you feed your body, you will become more aware of your surroundings too, and many of your daily habits will slowly start to change. It’s the first step on the path of happiness and wellbeing.