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12 June 2019 03:00 pm

Qommunity Voices: Rebekah Gomez brings vegan food to Qatar with 'Superheroes Eat Plants'

nabeela
nabeela
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Rebekah Gomez, former lawyer now certified in Plant Based Nutrition, mother of two and the Founder of Superheroes Eat Plants, is ‘Changing the Way the World Thinks, Lives and Eats in One Generation' through her online / offline vegan brand.

As a Founder of a start-up, she has many hats. But broadly Rebekah's role is to; maintain the brand's values, increase share in the food in education space, manage the outlets, product creation, PR and media and deliver talks and workshops.

Rebekah believes, for too long now, we've been hoodwinked into believing we need animal proteins to thrive, when in actual fact, it’s the opposite. Animal proteins = illness and disease. Plant based eating and especially whole foods plant-based nutrition = the healthiest and most vibrant way to live.

In conversation with ILQ, this vegan superhero, we learn all about Rebekah's journey from being a vegan to teaching other's the benefits of a plant-based diet through Superheroes Eat Plants. Here's what we learnt:

ILQ: What is Superheroes Eat Plants?

Superhero Rebekah: 'Superheroes Eat Plants' is about saving human and non-human lives through what we feed ourselves and our loved ones. When we consume the foods meant for humans, i.e., plants, it’s not just better for us but in actual fact we thrive. We reverse disease and illness and live longer and healthier lives. We become congruent with our values and kinder and calmer as a result. But here’s the thing, when we live like this we also help the planet, biodiversity and our fellow non-human animals. Now that’s what I call harmony.

Superheroes Eats Plants shows how vegan eating can have a positive impact on phyiscal and mental health and wellness by:

  • Raising awareness via our Facebook and Instagram sites;
  • Serving meals and snacks from The Middle East’s First Plant Based School Café at Doha College, Al Waab, two post-Eid pop-ups at The Swiss International School and Doha College, West Bay and via our Warrior Pops contract with Doha English Speaking School (DESS) as their ice lolly supplier of choice.
  • Delivering health, nutrition, sustainability and compassion talks and workshops to school and business communities.

Over the summer, Superheroes Eats Plants will also be offering Evo Sports Camp Members the opportunity to purchase a new concept food package called The Planet Saving Lunch Programme with their membership and from August we’ll be The Al Nebras, The Montessori Way pre-school food provider to their pre-schoolers.

ILQ: How did Superheroes Eat Plants come about?

Superhero Rebekah: When our family transitioned to a vegan diet and then a vegan lifestyle, I realised how little support there was out there and how Qatar was one of the most difficult country's to be vegan in. Hence, the Facebook page which has now morphed into Instagram, too. We have around 3,000 followers which of course pales into insignificance in comparison to most other brands but our engagement and support is incredible. I also now head up the Vegan Qatar Meet-up Group, we’ve had several great brunches with more on their way.

ILQ: Tell us about your journey with Superheroes Eat Plants.

Qommunity Voices: Rebekah Gomez Superheroes Eats Plants

Superhero Rebekah: Two years ago, I launched the Facebook page to support transitioning families by sharing my family’s journey. I soon realised that people needed more help with ‘what to cook’ and ‘where to eat’. So, I set about trying to work with food outlets on menus and staff training, but I soon discovered nobody wanted to pay me! They didn’t see the value in the service. Instead I began creating my own range of grab ‘n’ go foods and started selling them at Torba Farmer’s Market.

When I started at the end of 2017, I was the only vegan food service. By the end of March, every single vendor had at least one vegan product. It was incredible to see the demand! Alongside Torba, I introduced a lunchtime Meatless Mondays delivery service from my home. It became so popular I ultimately had to close-up and look for a more commercial solution.

I spent much of last year speaking with potential partners and then a chance meeting with Raw-Me Qatar led to them becoming the Superheroes Operational Partner. This wonderful collaboration allowed Superheroes to take-up the request from Doha College Principal Dr. Steffen Sommer to offer plant-based food to its students. We opened the café kiosk in March of this year and have continually increased the product lines. As of writing we have a selection of burritos, wraps, bagels, toasties, potato cakes, pastas, sushi, sweet treats, juices and apple bags from Raw-Me, iced coffee and our top selling item are the cold-pressed, no nasties popsicles named ‘Warrior Pops’ after our hero icon Warrior Girl.

ILQ: How long have you been in Qatar and how has your stay been so far?

Superhero Rebekah: I never want to leave Qatar! We arrived here six years ago with our, then, baby. We’ve subsequently grown to a family of two kids and four cats. We’ve seen so much incredible change during this time. I feel as though things are just getting started. There’s so much to do, places to explore, restaurants to visit – my must-see to do list gets bigger every week! From a vegan perspective I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to impact lasting culinary change. I was lucky enough to work with both Lulu and Megamart in streamlining their vegan offerings and with a number of hotels including The Ritz-Carlton and Kempinski brunches and the vegan afternoon tea at the former Shangri-La.

ILQ: When did you know you wanted to take up this kind of responsibility?

Superhero Rebekah: The first day I went vegan, I googled ‘the benefits of being vegan.’ It turned out to be a Pandora’s Box of actually why wouldn’t you want to be vegan? I knew I had to find an alternative way to get the message out there and make it as easy as possible to help others with their journey. I chose to focus on health and, later, moved into the environment. Now, Superheroes is more established; I’m selective about the information I put there about animals and tend to put a lot more weight behind times of the year we traditionally celebrate with meals centred around animal foods.

However, I am most passionate about the often overlooked dairy and fish industries.

ILQ: What most often inspires your journey with Superheroes Eat Plants?

Qommunity Voices: Rebekah Gomez Superheroes Eats Plants

Superhero Rebekah: Every vegan will tell you the happiest times are when a close friend, family member or in my case a follower becomes vegan and says to you “This is amazing! I feel incredible! I wish I’d done it sooner” That phrase ‘I wish I’d done it sooner’ is the most common phrase in a vegan’s vocabulary! That, and seeing customers enjoying food I originally created in my home kitchen.

ILQ: Why do you love what you do?

Superhero Rebekah: Mentally, I’m always calculating how much CO2, grain, forest, water and animals I’m directly or indirectly responsible for saving. It drives and motivates me every single day to work harder and longer than ever before. This is my life’s work; it’s what I was put on this planet to do and I’ll never stop, but I do believe that in my lifetime, I will see a mostly vegan world.

ILQ: How has the experience been, especially in Qatar?

Qommunity Voices: Rebekah Gomez Superheroes Eats Plants

Initially, it wasn’t well received amongst my peer group and decision makers in my generation and above. But as the movement has taken off around the globe, the trend has infiltrated Qatar life and, in just two years, we’ve seen a huge shift in the food scene here. That said, the treatment of animals and the environment still has a long way to go. I doubt we’ll see much change until the under 35s take over.

ILQ: Was it easy to set up something like this here in Qatar?

Superhero Rebekah: The food industry is highly regulated. So, if I was trying to do it myself, I would still be attempting to work through the regulations. I am forever grateful that I found a like-minded partner in Raw-Me Qatar who is ahead of me in terms of the do’s and don’ts of the industry.

ILQ: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Superhero Rebekah: On the food front, I follow all the major plant based and vegan news platforms. It’s so exciting to see what’s happening around the world. 2019 is definitely the ‘Year of the Vegan’. Environmentally, I follow Greta Thunberg the 16-year-old future Noble Peace Prize Winner and on the animals front PETA, Mercy for Animals and Animals Australia. I also follow and share lots of vegan comedy pages that give us a giggle.

ILQ: What is your biggest achievement so far in terms of Superheroes Eat Plants?

Superhero Rebekah: Opening the Middle East’s First Plant Based School Café. 100%.

ILQ: What is the biggest difficulty you have faced on this journey?

Superhero Rebekah: Not having the capital investment to open my own store or factory and knowing it’s unlikely to ever happen here. I guess it’s more of a mental acceptance.

ILQ: What do you think of the general eating habits in Qatar?

Superhero Rebekah: There’s an enormous amount of misinformation and lack of nutritional knowledge. As a result, food outlets supply to the demand and lifestyle; disease and obesity are rife. It’s not the case that disease is an inevitable part of getting older. It can mostly be avoided and reversed through a whole foods plant-based diet. And I must say this – keto might help people lose weight, but overall, it has worse health outcomes and causes premature aging. It is to be avoided at all costs.

ILQ: What’s next for you?

Superhero Rebekah: I have some secret plans up my sleeve but by the end of 2020, I would like to have a family cookbook underway.

ILQ: Do you have any message for the people of Qatar?

Superhero Rebekah: If you’ve ever felt just a twinge of uncomfortableness about the fact animals are killed to satisfy our tastes then watch the movie ‘Earthlings’. It’s a really hard watch but if you can’t watch it then how do you think those animals feel. And then think about the fact that every single day, we vote three sometimes more times a day for life or death. We either pay someone to save a life or take it away for us. What will be your vote today?

Contact Details

Website: https://superheroeseatplants.com/
Instagram: @superheroeseatplants
Facebook:
@superheroeseatplant
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