Many of us seek to live better lives through healthy eating. How we go about it is unique to our lifestyle and beliefs. For Margarita Restrepo, living better did not stop with changing her own ways. She set out to educate her community and the world about the connection between eating, our health and the planet.
A true renaissance woman, Margarita brings boundless energy to a number of projects that center around Whole Food Plant Based living (WFPB) and sustainability. As founder and editor-in-chief of the award-winning magazine Naked Food Margarita keeps her finger on the pulse of the latest trends and innovation in clean living. But her involvement extends far beyond the editorial front. As founder of the International Association of Reversive Medicine – a non-profit organization that promotes sustainable health for humans and the planet through plant-based living- she is arming others with the tools and resources to bring wellness through WFPB living to their own communities.
As part of our Hispanic Heritage Month featured Latinx vegan leaders, vKind spoke with this dynamo about the meaning behind her work.
What would you say is your life’s mission?
My life’s mission is to re-educate the world. A bit of an undertaking, lol. But yes, I believe we need to start over, from zero pretty much. Go back to basics and, evidently, take a better approach to education. Most of the things we’ve learned as true are not, and that includes many vital areas such as nutrition, health, spirituality, well-being, and many others.
Even the subject of the essential connection between everything that exists. We’ve compartmentalized everything and we’ve divided it all, thinking all parts work separately. Instead, it should be understood from a cohesive perspective where we treat the whole and not the part. Furthermore, humans, the universe and all living things are built from the same matter and are intrinsically connected and part of that larger whole.
Nutrition is one of those subjects that should be taught to children in school, from Kindergarten to 12th grade. We should also teach humans how to live in their home, the planet. It seems like we just have no clue. We need to create new generations of conscious people who would understand this, and therefore be more aware and conscious about everything. They would, naturally, shake the status quo and be themselves the game changers of the future.
Because of this, I am launching Anima Mundi, a plant-based, sustainable, and conscious virtual K-12 School that offers this type of education. In addition to the regular academics, the school teaches children nutrition, health, and sustainability all throughout the entire curriculum. The subjects are not only taught separately but rather as part of all the academic subjects. This is a ground-breaking and unique approach to education and my opinion, exactly what we need right now.
How does being a Latina influence your work?
My roots are grounded in everything I do. I’ve always been extremely sensitive to the pain and need of others and that I believe is part of who we are as a culture. I care a lot for the future of children and those who are less fortunate than me. I give a lot because I know I will always have what I need, no matter how much I have.
I’ve understood that the real wealth is within, and I’m eternally grateful for the values and principles I received from my parents—a couple of hard-working, sweet, and caring Colombians who have supported and loved me unconditionally. What else could I have asked for?
Being a “foreigner” makes you more sensitive to social and cultural labels because you become one automatically. This has made me even more open and loving to all– other cultures, languages, and roots.
I find myself doing a lot— I currently run a non-profit, membership-based organization, that has several initiatives, all based in education for everyone. We do community kitchens, workshops and whole food drives for those most vulnerable, a business and service WFPB Certification program, and a wonderful quarterly publication called Naked Food Magazine among others. I also develop scientific papers such as the Universal Guideline for Human and Planetary Health; and the upcoming Reversive Medicine Curriculum designed for clinicians and medical students. I try to cover all sides of the spectrum because these tools help guide people in regard to a plant-based lifestyle and its benefits toward human and planetary wellbeing, all presented through a cohesive, coherent, complete, sustainable, conscious, and evidence-based approach.
Who is your main inspiration?
My main inspiration is nature. I trust nature more than anything else. Our body is a perfect machine and if we feed it with the right fuel it gives its best. The human body heals itself if given the right food and nourishment. That concept scales out to human relationships, the environment, and if you think about it, to everything else. Nature is our biggest gift. Animals are angels on Earth, if you haven’t realized that, you need to. Plants are everyday miracles, their seeds, fruits, and flowers.
Show a child how a plant sprouts and they will see the miracle.
What do you see as the future of Whole Food, Plant-based living?
Without wanting to sound idealistic, whole food, plant-based living is the future. People are waking up to a new reality because of everything that is going on, some, for decades now. More and more people will see that their health is in their hands, not in anybody else’s hands. For some reason we believe that something external or someone else is in charge of our wellbeing, our future, our spirituality, our success, etc. But we need to realize that we in fact come equipped with the whole package—state-of-the-art. We just don’t have a manual so we need to discover it the right way, understand it, and maintain it. I see a bright, bright future for plant-based living, and I will definitely do my best so that that future is today.