About three years ago, Elyn Poh realised that she wasn’t as healthy as she should be. Despite doing a ton of exercise, she found something was missing in her pursuit of a clean bill of health. After some deliberate searching, she found the solution to her health woes: healthy food. And since then, she’s never looked back. In 2015, this fitness powerhouse and mum-of-two began Rawsome with the intention of providing people with healthy alternatives to guilty cravings. Since its creation, she has seen her business grow into a community of like-minded, health-conscious individuals working together to promote the importance of clean eating and an active lifestyle. We sat down with Elyn to talk about her views on business, motherhood, and what the future holds for Rawsome.
Tell us a bit about you – how did you first get into the healthy food movement?
It started almost 3 years ago, when I noticed that my sugar levels were disproportionately high, and I was only 37 years old! It hit me that I am not young anymore, and despite the amount of exercise I was doing I still wasn’t able to burn off all the sugar. That’s when I realised how important food is, and that what we put inside our bodies matters a lot. It doesn’t mean that if you exercise regularly, you are guaranteed good and clean health – what we eat is crucial. I do have a sweet tooth, though!
What are some of the basic principles you use to guide your business?
Running a business with ethics; I truly believe it’s not just about earning, but about giving back as well.
Your menu boasts a broad range of healthy meals and raw desserts. What goes on behind the scenes of coming up with all these delicious recipes?
We try to turn the local food scene into a healthier one through our recipes. I’ve noticed that Malaysians are creatures of habit. They love their Malaysian food, so here we try to make it less guilty while at the same time making it tasty. Since we do not have a chef, I am the one who comes up with the recipes – which is a good thing because at least I know what has gone into each dish I’ve created, like the amount of sugar, salt, oil, etc.
How did you balance being a mother and professional? What have you sacrificed (both personally and professionally) at each stage of your career?
I’ve got a 6 year old and a 14 year old, so I am lucky that I have a helper and my parents to help look after them when my schedule gets really busy. Since my children come back around 3pm, I try to make sure everything gets done while they’re at school, so I can spend time with them when they’re back. I also start my mornings really, really early. During the weekends, I make sure to spend time with them just doing things that they want to do.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
I’d guess it’s the need to be strong and opinionated. The current nature of the working scene forces us as females to be bolder and stronger to be considered a good leader.
You recently began hosting yoga classes at Rawsome on the weekends. Is this something you’d always envisioned for your business?
We wanted to convey a message that eating healthily while not adopting a healthy lifestyle does not have any benefits, and vice versa. We also wanted our customers to experience what we feel like right after some exercise followed by a healthy meal. So we started classes on the weekends at really affordable rates (RM10-RM20) to attract those who would like to try this experience.
Every great businesswoman needs a rest day. What are some of your go-to de-stressing techniques?
I love working out to destress!
Rawsome makes over 20 different varieties of raw, guiltless puddings – which pudding is your personal favourite?
My favourite is the mango jelly with coconut water – the lowest in calories and very refreshing.
What is the best decision you’ve ever made?
My best decision was to make Rawsome a community-based business. We are so blessed to receive support from our customers, and we are committed to running Rawsome this way.
Which female icon (past or present) would you most love to have a chat over a Rawsome pudding with?
I would love to meet Serena Williams, because of how strong she is – both physically and mentally.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
I think the biggest challenge is that the scene will become more competitive, because I see more and more women really going out there to get what they want. With everyone actually trying to outdo each other, I think it’ll be a healthy competitive scene that pushes us to be the best.
What do you think the future holds for Rawsome and the raw food movement in Malaysia?
I would love to see how Rawsome can grow, and become more accessible to everyone through having free community classes at every Rawsome location. Just like our Rawsome Gleneagles which is scheduled to open in May; there we will be hosting weekly community classes for the doctors and nurses in the hospital.
Check out Rawsome’s website, where you can get your hands on some of their healthy meals and guilt-free dessert jars! Psst – you can get Rawsome’s food delivered right to your door! Just check if your area is covered by their delivery services here.
Looking for more of our Spotlight features? Check out our interview with Jenn Low, founder of ultra-chic jewellery line Wanderlust + Co, where we talk to Jenn about strength, being a role model, and why it’s important to believe in the journey.
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