5 minutes with Rawnola

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You may remember  that in May I was sent a gift from the Northern based Paleo company ‘Rawnola’ and the product was something of a revelation.  

Well, since then I’ve learnt a lot more about the company, from how they set up there business to the highs and the lows of running your own company, and let me tell you, it’s inspirational.  They developed a company from scratch and within months were catering for some of the UK’s largest Crossfit gyms and athletes, which to me speaks volumes about their product and work ethic.  

I caught up with Rawnola boss Paul for 5 minutes and here’s what he had to say,

What were you doing before Rawnola and where did your inspiration for the company come from?

Many moons ago before RAWnola I was an athlete. I played Wheelchair Tennis for Great Britain, I was 54 in the world at my highest and 2nd in GB. I had shoulder surgery after a competing injury and this is what retired me from the sport….then I found Crossfit.  A buddy was setting up his own Crossfit and asked my help in guiding him in the right direction, he in turn opened my eyes to “clean eating” and “functional movements” which had changed our lives forever.

Who else do you work with?

RAWnola is a family business and I (Paul), my partner (Alison) and our daughter (Alice) all do our part. I have Brittle Bones and met Alison at a conference that I was convening regarding my condition, her daughter also has the same condition. I adopted Alice and this is where our journey began…..

How long did it take from initial conception to launch?

RAWnola happened so fast and it probably sounds like a movie but this is how it happened.  A Crossfit friend who is also a tiler was at our house tiling the bathroom floor, we got on to the conversation of being “a clean eater”.  He said “it sounds a good concept but for the normal working person breakfast is the hardest part. There’s nothing that you can grab and go.  If someone made a grain free breakfast that didn’t taste like sawdust it would be great”.

So I bribed Alison to come up with something just for myself, the tiler and a few others at our local Crossfit.  That night Alison sat down with a pen, paper, laptop and a glass of “the bribe”; the recipe of the first take of rawnola was made. The next day 4 bags evolved for people to try out….. Everyone loved it but when we worked out the nutritional value it was way to high in natural sugars and fat. Work on the nutritional side was done and the next day the new version was made, that was 25th May 2014.  In the first week we started off making 10 bags to see how it went, word spread on social media and by the end of June we had a factory up and running, word had spread at Crossfit competitions and the official launch was at the Rainhill Trials at the end of June 2014.

What’s been the most fun part of the process?

There have been lots of fun parts, to pick one would be hard.  The speed at which things have grown has been amazing, and we still can’t believe where we are a year down the line, but most of all meeting the stockists and getting to know them personally has been the best part. We feel that the most important part is that if someone picks up the phone…….they know who they’re talking to; they know that person by being a friend first. Understanding how a business works, its peeks and its pitfalls is very important in understanding your friend, stockist and client.

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What’s the most challenging part of having your own business?

Juggling business and family life has been the biggest challenge.  Our daughter Alice has been very very ill and in and out of hospital a lot over the past 2 years, weeks on end juggling a new business and hospital stays and appointments 90 miles from home has been a massive challenge. If we can manage to do so well in hard times and grow stronger as a business and family then we must be doing something right. It’s been crazy at times, driving from Sheffield Hospital back home to Wigan to pull off a 12 hour shift, leave the factory at 2am and be up at 5am to drive to an event has become the “norm”……be we do it. Life isn’t challenging, it’s the barriers people put up against themselves that are the challenges. If having a disability has taught me something it’s this “no matter what life throws at you, find a way past it. If life puts in front of you a step…..find a ramp, if life throws you lemons………find a bloody good Gin”

What advice do you have for other aspiring food/fitness entrepreneurs?

Be passionate! Know your market! Know your people. Think about who sells it and what they go through, how can you help them? What do people want, who do you aim your product at. How does your product differ from others on the market? How can you protect your product, if your product needs trademarking to stop others copying it then make sure you do that as soon as you can; but first make sure no one already has the trademark before you start to sell your product.

What is your diet/exercise routine like?

At the moment its air squats and burpees at the factory, we are in a very busy transitional period and almost every second is spent working. I see a day when we have more time to look after ourselves …… at the moment there isn’t much time. Being honest before Crossfit when I part of the GB team my regime was horrific, if I knew then what I know now……..I’d of kicked serious ASS! Cleaning up your eating and training correctly is KEY!!! Be functional, be flexible and feed your engine correctly. If I made a petrol in my shed and said “put this in your car…..would you?” You are the most important person so look after yourself and what you eat.

Finally, where can people buy your products?

You can find RAWnola via your local Crossfit, if your Crossfit does not stock us……….ask WHY! We do not sell direct to the public as our aim is to help others first………then us. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is where you can find us…….we will point you in the direction of who sells us.

You can also find RAWnola on:

Twitter

Instagram

Website

Paleo friendly bounty bites

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Coconut is fast becoming an obsession of mine – coconut meat, shredded coconut, coconut water, coconut milk, coconut oil; coconutty… that’s me!  It all started as a child when I was somewhat obsessed with bounty bars, not the usual number one choice of a minor – but then again I have always been slightly odd :) 

Sitting at my desk today dreaming of my future as a full time food blogger (I live in hope) and all the wonderful things I could create had me reminiscing about my favourite childhood eats and how they could be adapted to fit my healthier adult lifestyle, and I instantly knew I had to make my own Big Fit Bounty TONIGHT!  So, after walking the dog and taking care of the chores I delved into my cupboard and pulled out every coconutty ingredient I could find and got to work.  I poured a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a bit more of this, a bit more of that – all until I got the right consistency and taste and I have to say, the results were better than expected.

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So what do you need –

Filling:

  • 1 cup desiccated coconut 
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 3/4-1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Chocolate:

  • 1 cup dark choc drops
  • splash of almond milk
  • Or use my raw chocolate recipe here but make sure you up the quantities  
  1. Mix all dry ingredients 
  2. Add the coconut milk a little at a time until you get a good consistency – it should be sticky but not too wet
  3. Add your vanilla essence
  4. Form mixture into balls (I used my Joseph Joseph tbsp measure)
  5. Tap out onto a parchment lined tray 
  6. Add chocolate drops to a heatproof bowl and sit over a pan of simmering water (a bain marie) until melted.  I added some almond milk at this point to thin the chocolate but be careful not to add too much
  7. Coat your coconut mixture in the chocolate
  8. Place back on your parchment paper and pop in the freezer for at least an hour – I left mine overnight
  9. Keep in the freezer and take out 20minutes before consuming

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I’m definitely going to be making these again and again and again.

Let me know if you try them out and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Twitter (below)

Enjoy!!

3 ways meditation can improve your workout

 
No, meditation isn’t just the new fad, in fact archeologists found evidence of meditation in wall art dating from around 5,000 to 3,500 BCE.  The wall art included drawings of people in similar yoga poses to those we would recognise today.  Meditation has been around for centuries, yet your average modern man is only just starting to give it airtime.

So, what do we know about meditation, it’s good for your mind right?  Of course we all know that, but what some people might not know is the effects meditation can have on your body too.  That’s why every athlete should consider meditation as a part of their regular training programme. 

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My big fit diary’s favourite juices for healthier skin

Juice

 

I finally got my hands on a juicer and I couldn’t be more excited!  I’ve spent what feels like ‘forever’ debating whether or not to buy a juicer.  Yes, it’s one of those things that sounds like a good idea, however, the reality is often ‘will you actually use it?’, the constant washing of said product, the novelty factor – plus the whole, me being a typical indecisive girl and all that!  However, I started to read more and more articles on juicing and the positive effects it can have on not only your health, but your body and mind too.

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Raw Pecan Snack Bites

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This simple and delicious recipe will satisfy even the sweetest of sweet tooth’s!  I’ve made a variety of these types of energy bites in the last twelve months from my Key Lime bars to my Jaffa balls but these are by far the simplest yet.  They require just 4 simple ingredients and a wee pinch of salt.

Shortly after making these little balls of deliciousness, I was casually reading my Womens Health magazine and noticed a very fitting article that I wanted to share – WH says,

‘A cocoa-rich diet may reverse memory decline, say sweet-toothed scientists from Columbia University. They found that cocoa’s flavanol content affects the area of the brain where memories are formed.  Just 900mg of cocoa flavanols daily for three months helped study participants halve their memory age.  Just remember:  heat damages flavanols.  Get yours intact by mixing raw cocoa with dates and nuts for a healthy take on a brownie.’

(Follow them on twitter @ukwomenshealth)

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15 things I learnt from the 2015 Crossfit Open

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Well Crossfit friends, I don’t know about you but it’s been a looooong achy week for me. The Crossfit Open 2015 was definitely a learning curve and one hell of a battle (both physically and mentally). I went through a roller coaster of emotions over the 5 weeks; from excitement to frustration, from apprehension to joy and all the way back to frustration again – but I’m sure you will agree with me when I say – it was worth it!

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Paleo Granola

GRANOLA

There’s not much I miss since moving to a a Paleo diet – or at least a Paleo friendly diet.  

Bread… nah, Peanut Butter… Almond is better, rice… maybe, oats… not anymore; but there is one thing I miss every now and again and that’s Granola.  There’s nothing more satisfying than a big bowl of crunchy Granola with Almond Milk or yoghurt and fruit.  You know the Crunch I’m talking about right (even the word is satisfying to say!)

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10 steps toward a better diet

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 Having a healthy diet isn’t about restricting calories, eating chicken and broccoli five times a day or making yourself stick thin.  It’s about feeling good about yourself, inside and out, having better health in order to lead a better life and enjoying the foods you eat.  Good nutrition can often feel like a minefield, with so much conflicting information out there – what should you eat and how should you go about changing your lifestyle?  It all starts with eating real foods… but if that’s not enough, I’ve put together my 10 top tips for starting to eat a healthier diet (1).

(1) Diet:

noun – The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats:

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Break the habit – Sugar Addiction

That white powdery substance that you just can’t get enough of, sneaking off to get your next hit, it’s all you can think about all day long and simply makes you feel oh so good.  The crashes are awful but you just want more and more, the harder you deny it; the more you want it!  And no, we’re not talking about that white powder – sugar, we are talking sugar.

I know what you’re thinking, it’s hardly some dangerous, hard hitting illegal drug, but there is one thing they have in common – they can both become addictions.  The more you have, the more you want and no nasty side effect can stop you from getting your next dose.

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