January’s – ‘The Confidence Issue’ – Download Now

Emma Sawko, Co-Founder of Wild & The Moon on creating a plant-based haven.

What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?

I start the day with some herbal tea, to rehydrate after the night and then incorporate some yoga into my morning routine or go for a boxing session with my trainer before a shower and breakfast on some days. Sport has always played a crucial part in my daily routine and it allows me to start the day with a full battery.

Wild & the Moon

What inspired you to start Wild & The Moon and how did you scale the brand globally?

When I moved to Dubai, there was clearly a lack of healthy restaurants and awareness around good food. As I opened my concept store, Comptoir 102, I realized I would have to open a healthy café with it, should it be just for my friends and me. Unexpectedly, it was a huge and immediate success, and I soon had the choice to develop the Comptoir 102 cafés, or to push the concept a little further and create something new entirely. I went with the latter. With Wild & the Moon, I wanted to create the first global brand of super healthy, plant-based food gathering a community of mindful eaters around it. We started with one restaurant in Dubai, and a few years later, we have 10 restaurants in 4 different cities, with more coming up.

What is your own personal approach to wellness?

Wellness is about feeling good, eating healthy food in good company, sharing life pleasures, having fun and doing the sport you like. I see too many people forcing themselves into eating healthy bland food or following a boring exercise programme, because they have to. Wellness is inhabiting your body and treating it well, not punishing yourself.

Emily Sawko

Do you take supplements or add protein on a daily basis?

I believe in real food to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs. A well-thought plant-based diet is loaded with vitamins and nutrients and gives you more than enough complete protein. Rather than supplements, for add-ons, I like to use superfoods, which are whole-plant powders such as spirulina. I love to use it as a spread or with one of our homemade mixes with pure plant power.

You have an effective detox programme – can you tell us more about this?

I strongly believe in the power of fasting as a way of regenerating the body. Not just because of the science behind it, but because I experienced it many times myself. Each time I do a detox, I feel much better, lighter, my skin clears up and brightens, my digestion improves, my mind is sharper, and I feel completely re-energized. It is magical. For our detox program, I didn’t want people to feel hungry, frustrated or deprived. With a team of experts, we developed a tasty detox program with a massive boost of vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, and joyful colors, which, I think, is the reason for its success.

Wild & the Moon Juices

How do the Middle Eastern preferences for vegan food differ from those in Europe?

French people tend to be a little conservative when it comes to food, while Middle Eastern are more adventurous. But maybe it is just an impression and the fact that the Middle East has a younger demographic profile. The vegan movement is spreading globally, and for many, it is not necessarily dogmatic, nor is it about giving up anything, but simply about eating more consciously, being aware of the choices we make, and re-introducing more whole, plant-based food onto our plates.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

I wouldn’t go back and give my younger self advice. Life is also about embracing your own experiences, and with it, its fair share of mistakes, for we only succeed by trial and error. I prefer being grateful for my imperfect youth because it took me to where I am now. I am happy with the choices I made and lucky my parents taught me to believe in myself and go for it.

What recommendations would you make for anyone thinking of adopting a vegan or part-vegan lifestyle?

It’s important to realise you can keep on eating the things you love. Being plant-based does not mean renouncing your favorite dish and replacing it with seed porridge and purple dragon fruit. You could start by replacing just one of your weekly meat-based meals with a plant-based one that you love. Be it pasta with a rich tomato and basil sauce, a steaming bowl of soup with crispy bread, or a warm pita and falafel sandwich. The more conscious you become about the food you’re eating, the easier it will be for you to experiment, have fun, without giving up on the pleasure of food.

Wild & the Moon cafe

This is ‘The Confidence Issue’ – what makes you feel confident?

I have a lot of feedback from people who tell me I helped them change the way they feel about healthy food. Women who hated cooking and started writing cookbooks. Men who had told me they hate bird food and now organise all their business lunches in my restaurants. People who were sick and recovered with the healing power of food. Along with the clients who discovered healthy food through my restaurants and came to me to hug and thank me, I think I might have done something right.


January’s – ‘The Confidence Issue’ – Download Now

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