Yesterday I had the pleasure of going over to the kaia foods factory in Oakland, CA and chatting with founder Nick Kelley. kaia foods produces a great buckwheat raw granola that uses vegan, organic, and raw ingredients. Growing from 20 handmade bags per run to 400 bags per day (still handmade), the granola is made with buckwheat, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, flax seeds, agave nectar, dried fruit and seasoning.
It all got started when Nick realized how much food was processed to bits. There are so many foods baked, cooked, ground, and jam packed with chemicals, additives, and who knows what (basically fortified candy bars or as Nick calls it, "processed schwag"). But inspired by his aunt and uncle, Nick began adding more raw foods into his diet (now he eats about a 75% raw diet). "I started eating that way, adding a lot of raw foods to my diet and felt way better right away. I thought this is it. I'm going to start this company. I dreamed about it for a long time...raw foods are it, there's a health crisis in America. So that was the inspiration," said Nick.
kaia's granola fills a hole in the granola and cereal world. Given that enzymes start breaking down at 118 degrees (and are entirely gone at about 140 degrees), this granola is dehydrated below 118 degrees to preserve the ingredients' enzymes, antioxidants, and vitamins, while keeping the glycemic index low. kaia distributes directly to about 250 stores and also works with Dove Distributors - in Northern California, you can find them in Whole Foods (and even in bulk at Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco). Of course, you can also buy their granola online at their website. Soon you might even be seeing a new kaia foods organic and raw snack on shelves (but Nick is keeping exactly what that snack is a secret for now).
And a few more bonus points for kaia...they donate 1% of sales to the UN's World Food Programme. What's more, the granola is delicious!
Below you'll find the video interview we took with Nick with lots more information about kaia, their granola, and showing off the creation process.
Nick also is working on raw recipe booklet called Eating Au Naturel. Most of the recipes just take some hearty, wholesome ingredients, and maybe a blender (or a food processor). Nick says they all take just a few minutes to make, and they range from salads, to dressings, to soups, to smoothies. You'll be able to find the whole booklet on the kaia foods website soonish, but for now, check out the recipe for Nick's Tart Green Smoothie:
Tart Green Smoothie
1‐3 leaves kale or collard greens
½ cup water
small chunk of ginger
lime juice to taste