“I’d been eating a lot of raw food myself and just started to feel amazing. Amazing as a woman and kind of looking around and wondering ‘why aren’t we being told that actually as a woman you can feel great and as you get older it just doesn’t have to get any worse?” Kemi Nekvapil.
Kemi Nekvapil’s enthusiasm for life is compelling. She’s best known as one of Australia’s most popular raw food advisors but it’s her mission to empower women that also captivates me.
She worked as a baker and a chef in the UK, trained as an actor with The Royal Shakespeare Company and has launched Raw Beauty Queen weekends to encourage women to nourish themselves; internally and externally.
Kemi Nekvapil believes the secret to a happy family – and running two businesses – is that she has learnt to NOURISH herself.
Martine Harte: Kemi you’ve been embraced by many people across Australia as an advisor on eating green, I’m intrigued as to what characteristics you feel you possess that helps people trust your message?
Kemi Nekvapil: From the very beginning I was doing a lot of work with refugees, migrants and also families around adding whole food to their diets. I’d been eating a lot of raw food myself and just started to feel amazing. Amazing as a woman and kind of looking around and wondering ‘why aren’t we being told that actually as a woman you can feel great and as you get older it just doesn’t have to get any worse?’
I’ve never been a fundamentalist around food and I think the raw food movement can be very fundamentalist and very joyless. I’m up for joy. So from day one I thought, “I want raw food to be acceptable for everyone.” I’m a mum and it has to be acceptable that the ingredients I use make the meals quick and simple and taste great.
Have you noticed there seems to be a bit of an on-line movement for women in relation to empowerment?
Kemi Nekvapil: Oh I think it’s so exciting! One of my clarion calls is I fear the majority of women are going to live their lives with their main goal to lose five kilos. It makes me angry, it makes me quite emotional cause I think there’s going to be all these women dying and there’s the idea that the woman who dies thinnest and with the least wrinkles wins.
You’re on the planet to contribute something unique and you spend your life waiting for the next bloody new improved diet. Before you know it you’re going to be dead. So my whole thing is; how about living a great life with those five kilos?
You seem to be quite moved by it?
Kemi Nekvapil: I grew up in England as the only black kid in my neighbourhood. (Kemi’s middle class Nigerian parents sent her to England to study as a child) When I was sixteen I was like, ‘oh my god, I don’t look like anyone around me and if I keep comparing myself to my friend’s, things aren’t going to go well for me.’ I call it my first divine down load. I said, ‘stop comparing yourself to other people otherwise you’re not going to be happy in life.’ I heeded that whispering and have never compared myself to other people. I just think I can do the best I can with what I have.
Take us back to when you started as a baker in London. What advice would you give yourself?
Kemi Nekvapil:I have loved my life for a very long time, I loved it when I was baking. I think what I would say is keeping getting out of your comfort zone, which I’ve done. Just keep stretching and don’t believe you have any idea what’s possible. My Raw Beauty Weekends are a dream come true. I give women practical tools to feel reinvigorated in the areas of: body nourishment, self-love, creative expression, joy creation, elevating relationships and communities, living your passion and contribution.
Women who are put on pedestals in the media often give the impression that life is perfect one hundred per cent of the time. Are you inspirational 24/7?
Kemi Nekvapil: Oh yeah the moment I wake up. (Insert ironic tone) One of the things I’ve learnt over the years is to be more vulnerable in my sharing. I say it’s hard, it’s hard to live the dream life. I could never imagined when I was eight years old the life I’m living. There was nothing, no one told me as a young black girl what was possible for me – except I could be a nurse, maybe a drug dealer’s girlfriend or work in the local supermarket. I had no judgment on that it was just what my options were.
What would you like other women to know?
Kemi Nekvapil: When people say, ‘you’ve changed’ that is the biggest compliment anyone could ever pay you. It’s dished out like it’s some kind of negative thing but that’s their way of saying you don’t fit into a box that works for me. If you’re not changing, you’re dying somewhere, you’re dead.
In relation to your next chapter, you have your raw beauty weekend coming up but what’s the bigger picture?
Kemi Nekvapil: I would like to empower as many women as possible all over the planet. I’m going to Uganda with the hunger project organisation in November. That’s with a leadership and immersion program. Women who are stepping into their own empowerment and getting their own kids out of poverty. I don’t – as an African woman – subscribe to the whole thing of, ‘Little African children they need our help.’ I’ve found this amazing organisation where it’s all about training and mindset.
I’m also very passionate about mentoring African Australian youth here and letting them tap into their unique raw beauty. They have something to contribute and they’re worthwhile and they are here for a reason. I’m travelling and presenting and sharing with women that life can be what they make it.
Her number one tip for more energy? ……. (drum-roll please) …… THE GREEN SMOOTHIE
GREEN SMOOTHIE SUNRISE
- 2 Kiwi Fruits
- 1 Cup Fresh Pineapple
- 1 Passion Fruit
- 1 stick Celery
- 2 Handfuls Spinach, Silverbeet, Swiss Chard or Kale
- 3 Cups Water
Blend in a powerful blender and enjoy. This will last in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Sometimes it’s the chopping of a salad that stops us making one. But this is where modern technology is very helpful. In this recipe, the salad and the dressing are all made at once in the food processor.
- 2 medium carrots
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 apple
- Small knob of ginger
- 2 cups parsley
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salad onion/Spring onion
- Juice ½ lemon
- 2 zucchinis
Simply place all ingredients in the processor and pulse to desired texture. I like this salad pulsed 4-5 times.