I’ve been thinking a lot about vegananism recently, following girls on YouTube and Instagram. I’m trying to make better choices for myself as well, though I haven’t taken the plunge yet, It’s great to look at other peoples perspective and have an open mind. That being said I just had to interview the woman behind the Facebook group Raw Food Asia, Mewsum Wong! Such an inspiring woman, she’s taken it on herself to promote and encourage people to become vegan. I met her back in Brunei when I hadn’t yet learnt anything about veganism.
Mewsum’s Facebook page has reached a fan base of over 62,000 members in just 2 years since its inception! So let’s pick her brain…Get ready to learn everything about veganism and raw food!
1. Tell us about yourself
My name is Mewsum Wong and I am based in Brunei. I am an Advocate & Solicitor by profession and am the founder of the largest natural health foods movement in Brunei called Raw Food Asia and I work with the Government of Brunei to promote health and encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables for health. I work with the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education. I am also a nutritionist and a dietician. I have given health talks around South East Asia, in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangkok in Thailand.
2. How and why did you decide to become a vegan?
From an early age I’ve always had a competitive streak in me, I loved to play football, do a lot of running and play various other sports. It became apparent that diet and nutrition was pivotal in my performance on the field so I started eating what I thought was at the time a healthier option. I’ve tried almost all fad diets over the years and looked in to an array of supplements too. First thing I did was to cut out fried foods as it is a traditionally held notion that they hinder health. Thus I went from frying to steaming my meals.
Nothing seemed to gel for me until I cut out the fish, eggs and dairy. This formed the basis for what I don’t eat today. Nothing fried and no meat. I scoured the Internet to find out if there were others like me and lo and behold there were millions of like-minded people out there who didn’t eat meat for varying reasons.
I came across some really hip YouTube videos of Western people creating some pretty slick gourmet meals. The colours alone were enough for me to salivate over. There seemed to be a new ethos spanning all videos – raw food. They were keeping it all raw and not cooking it. Now coming from a traditional Chinese background where cooking is a religion, it was tough to get my head around that at first. Surely these fine looking people were missing out on some tasty cooked vegan delights? But gazing at them, glowing with the zing of life I could see they were on to something here.
Dan Mc Donald, the Life-regenerator, who was later to become my friend, was a personal favourite. I was watching this lean individual with flowing locks slam down some fresh produce in a juicer outside his caravan, guzzle it down and then hit like a 10 mile run for fun. So then it began, I went and bought a juicer and began to take nutrition from fruits and vegetables primarily. My weight melted off, I found myself sleeping extremely deeply and for less time. My focus at work was pin sharp, my mind was able to recollect obscure facts like never before and my exercise regimen blasted past a plateau I was at for many years.
When you lift the veil of burnt, dead, cooked foods from your diet, you can be how nature intended you to be.
We are born to eat raw living natural foods, not processed dead, cooked chemically laced Frankenstein foods that play havoc with our innards and are engineered to give pleasure to the taste buds only. I find it my calling to spread this word against a backdrop of massive billboards promoting junk foods to bring the world back to its natural dietary origins – the fruit from a plant.
3. Walk us through a day in the life of Mewsum Wong.
My day revolves around everyone else. People from all over the world with health issues, questions and comments, are constantly showering me. I always wake up at 6 am and spend some time in bed trying to reply to as many fans as possible before I even begin my day. Then I’ll have some Chinese herbs in distilled water to start my ignition and get ready for work. Breakfast is always a high carb affair with lots of simple fruits; I’m known to even guzzle 15 bananas as a mono meal and head to court for work. Fruit mono meals are excellent, the body only uses one enzyme to break down the food and the rest of its energy is used on other processes to keep you running in optimal gear.
Lunchtime vacillates between more fruit or a salad if I’m having lunch with some friends. Sometimes I’ll have fruit dropped off from the farm at work. This ‘fruit & veg. delivery box’ concept works really well in the UK right now and I’ve introduced it here in Brunei too. There is no problem socializing on my diet contrary to popular belief. It’s always a moot point I find and people are intrigued by what I eat.
Evenings are when I normally have the most fun, I like to play with my food, decorate it, snap a shot and eat it with vigour. I’ll create a medley of weird and wonderful salads that are always pleasing to my palate. I must stress that I eat as and when I want, my blood sugar levels are stable so I never really get hunger pangs hence sometimes lunch could be at 5 pm for me with no snags. That is why I mention no times for breakfast, lunch or dinner because there really isn’t a set time.
There’s always some activity going on in the evening, from business meetings, personal consultations to private fruit potlucks. I do try to keep abreast of it all by making time to stay fit too.
4. What sort of training do you do?
Training is a measure of the effect the food I ingest is having on me. This is why I never bother go to a doctor, I don’t need to if I can do 100 laps of an Olympic pool without breaking sweat or do a half marathon and then go play badminton for 2 hours. Aside from training I do love to watch a lot of sport too and I’m a big boxing fan.
5. What is your least favorite fruit?!
Any fruit that is under ripe is something I would consider to be my least favorite. Ever had an unripe fig or a persimmon? They are unappetizing because the plant produces proteolytic enzymes that dissolve some of the lining of our mouths and make them go numb. It’s the plant’s way of telling us “hey don’t eat my fruit till its ripe so the seeds inside are mature enough to propagate.” Plants are more intellectual than we can ever imagine. They want us to disperse their seeds and so never eat an unripe one. Wait till it has ripened. An over ripe fruit would be recommended against an unripe one.
6. People always think vegans don’t get enough protein. What do you eat for your protein source? / 7. What is the most common question that people ask you?
Without a doubt the most common question I get asked for is “where do you get your protein?” People with a lack of fat are skinny, people with a lack of carbs are tired. Have you ever come across someone with a lack of protein because I never have! I was in a Government meeting with Michael Arnstein, the founder of the most famous fruit festival on earth, namely Woodstock New York. He was asked this by a health official to which he gave a bemused reply “I don’t eat protein!” He is correct. We don’t need to eat chunks of protein from animals that break down slowly producing a lot of metabolic waste that putrefies in the gut leading to illness. Both Michael and I take our protein in basic amino acid form from green leafy plants. To the person who eats beef from a cow, where does the cow get its protein? I just emulate and go to source too. Common sense really.
8. Healthy on the go meal?
Healthy on the go meal is a fruit, with bananas being a great one. Lots of carbs, fibre and trace minerals. Take it down with some clean water and you have enough to keep you going on the go. Freelee the Banana Girl famously eats 30 bananas a day and is as slim as a twig.
9. Any Holistic remedies that you use?
In searching for the elixir of life one must look into the wisdom of ancient civilizations. Thus I’ve looked in to Chinese herbalism, Ayurvedic remedies, Amazonian shamanism and traditional Malay ulam. I’ve gleamed so much, from Shilajit on the mountains of the Himalayas to astragalosides and ginsenosides in astragalus and ginseng on mountainous Chinese regions. Then the clues and pointers in Holy Scriptures like black seeds are remedies not to be ignored.
10. What do you have planned for the future?
The future is bright, the future is fruit! I intend to propagate the knowledge I’ve absorbed to others so that we can have a healthy, peaceful tomorrow.
Fruits & vegetable to unite us and to grow in to one global family irrespective of colour, creed and the frontiers of state and country.
To join the group click here.
Photos: From Mewsum