Gluten-free, no refined sugar and dairy-free. We’ve heard these words, but what does it really do for us? Do we need these in our lives? Find out as we chat with Ramya Ragupathi, founder of Oh My Goodness! on the inspiration behind her deliciously, guilt-free snacks and her passion for conscious eating.
Moving away from her corporate job, jumping into consulting and finally falling into social entrepreneurship, this has been a heckuva journey for Ramya Ragupathi. With a show-stopping recipe for chocolate cake that she developed when she was away, she was asked to sell her delicious creation.
Working in an impact fund and business development, she thought there was no way she was going to be an entrepreneur. It’s funny how life works sometimes, and girl-boss Ramya’s Oh My Goodness! is here to stay.
A lot of the food allergies we are experience now isn’t due to the food itself. It’s about how we are growing the food. – Ramya Ragupathi
In this interview, we speak to Ramya about:
> Why she decided to start her own health manufacturing company
> Why the Big 3 – gluten-free, no refined sugar and dairy-free are so important
> The story behind ‘Conscious Manufacturing’
Being in the corporate world for such a long time, why did you decide to start your own health manufacturing company?
RAMYA: I started by health and wellness journey in 2011 as I fell ill a lot. I had acute rhinitis, acute sinusitis, and I learned a lot about how food could help me through it. In 2013, due to stress, dehydration, and mineral loss, I lost a lot of my hair. I started seeing a doctor who advised me against the consumption of wheat and dairy. I then left for France, subsequently Germany and the UK and it was very easy for me to go off wheat and dairy. When I came back, there just weren’t any good options. I also changed by baking portfolio while I was there (and I’ve been baking for 16 years) and I brought back an amazing chocolate cake recipe which people told me to sell and I thought no way!
Part of your philosophy is in the Big 3 – gluten-free, no refined sugar and dairy-free. Why did you choose to tackle those?
We talk a lot about being gluten-intolerant and gluten-free. These are terms we are familiar with. The real problem, however, is with lectin. Lectin exists in grains, seeds and a lot of dairy products. Having a product that is gluten-free isn’t going to solve the problem, it has to be dairy-free as well. White table sugar is the worst for you as it strips your body of minerals and you can’t really digest it. It’s awful. When you remove the Big 3, you really get a better quality product for your body.
You mentioned you were looking at something called ‘Conscious Manufacturing’. What’s that?
It’s the way we manufacture where we focus on being a no waste company. There’s a lot of by-products and stuff that we don’t use and for regulatory reasons, it can be hard to put these to good use. Hence, we always try to repurpose everything and reuse as much as we can. We don’t throw things away if we can salvage it. We also recycle all the materials that come into our factory. We get a ton of packaging and we do what we can. We also look at employment, where we hire 2 specific groups of people, ex-offenders and persons with intellectual disability (PWIDs).
How big is the food waste problem and why is going zero-waste such a passion for you?
Even in our day-to-day interactions with our customers, we try to talk to them about reducing food waste. We talk a lot about freezing and customers seem very bothered with the concept of freezing where they think it reduces the freshness or takes away the flavour. That is really really not true. In fact, for baked goods, freezing is the best way to retain the moisture and flavour. We teach our customers how to wrap the goods!
Ramya’s #LittleGreenSteps that people can take to wake up to the idea of conscious eating
- Educate yourselves on the language and terms food manufacturing companies use. Not everything that seems healthy truly is healthy.
- Go beyond the superficial glance at the packaging.
- Get rid of the stigma around freezing. It’s a great way to keep leftovers for longer, and for baked goods!
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