Soho Needs A Raw Vegan Snackery

I met a vegan lifestyle entrepreneur, Tristan Hollingsworth, at an Eva Shaw Designs happy hour in April 2014.  Ever since, I have been thinking that Soho Needs A Raw Vegan Snackery.  (Below are a few pictures from the event…I am in the pink coat!)

Divine Foods At Eva Shaw Designs

Soho Strut with Divine Foods

Calling myself a meat-eater, I was fascinated to learn more about being vegan and what it means to eat “rawfoods.  I had the opportunity to sit down with Tristan Hollingsworth, founder of Divine Foods, last week to learn about building a Raw Vegan company and his growing presence in NYC.

Tristan is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to the vegan lifestyle.  He has an active meditation practice, teaches yoga, and has been a raw vegan for the past 6 years.  He has become an expert in the raw vegan niche, first experimenting with his own recipes sourced from organic ingredients sold at farmer’s markets and grocery stores like Commodities Natural Market, Westerly, and Whole Foods.

Currently, he is building a network of vegan companies that produce products he enjoys consuming (ahem…eating) and is working with these companies to have them available in NYC.  Here are a few brands he represents:

Divine Foods Hazelnut Raw Cacao

Divine Foods Coconut Meat

Divine Foods Coco Jack

Divine Foods Chocolatl

Tristan explained that the west coast, specifically California and Oregon, are ahead of NYC with raw vegan product offerings at grocery stores and specialty shops.  Seeing the gap as an opportunity, Tristan has been working with local Soho businesses (and greater NYC) to supply the raw vegan products he enjoys the most.  His products are currently offered at Dean & Deluca and The Butcher’s Daughter, and will soon be in all Whole Foods in NYC.

The current landscape of Soho has been evolving, with several “juiceries” opening over the past few years.  This trend is complemented by a number of successful vegetarian-friendly, vegetarian and vegan sit-down restaurants that have sprouted up.  {Click to read more about Juiceries, Vegetarian-Friendly, Vegetarian and Vegan in Soho}

I read more about the “Raw Vegan Craze” happening in California (read herehere and here).  Since Soho is a hotbed of juiceries and healthy restaurants, but it lacks grocery stores, Soho needs a Raw Vegan Snackery.

See below for the Soho Strut (SS) interview with Tristan:

Tristan Hollingsworth

SS:  When were you first exposed to the raw vegan lifestyle and how long did it take you to fully adopt?

I was first exposed to the vegan and raw vegan lifestyle about 7 years ago. My interest was heightened as I developed a personal Yoga and meditation practice. It was through this practice that I became more compassionate and willing to let go of the foods society taught me to eat. I found that as I eliminated foods that caused suffering, I felt better both physically and mentally. It was then that I realized that true healthcare comes from positive personal choices. Eventually, I began to look forward to an entirely different menu featuring: the many colorful fruits and vegetables, green juices, salads, superfoods and gourmet raw food.

SS:  How did you come up with the name “divine foods”

The name Divine Foods was inspired by my Yogic beliefs and practice. All food (energy) eventually leads back to the sun as its source. For me, raw food is the closest to that “divine” light. Meat, for example, would be considered a secondary source as we eat the energy of the sun after it has been processed by other animals.

SS: Where do you see Divine Foods in a year from now?

I see Divine Foods expanding the selection of organic raw vegan products to a larger audience beyond the expected health food stores. We spend a lot of time partnering with the highest quality sustainable brands and continue to expand our catalog as we find more companies that meet our criteria. One of the goals of Divine Foods is to allow for more collectivity between each brand represented and the sources of ingredients with the hope of reducing the cost to the customer.