Kenyan entrepreneur spotlights the benefits of cold press vegetable juices.
Seeing the positive effects of consciously introducing more nutritious foods into her lifestyle, Kabuki Anyumba, founder of Scrumptious Eats Kenya, decided to share her expertise with others via the very methods she used to experience the goodness of nature’s bounty. Promoting wellness and health with fruit juices, cold-pressed vegetable juices and vegetable soups, she is leading the way, showing others the benefits of commonly found and locally available vegetables and fruits in boosting immunity and setting up the body for nutritional success.
Until 2013, Anyumba called the United States home. She completed her undergraduate studies in Florida and worked in the healthcare and hospitality industries in the country. Her focus on turning a healthy leaf took shape when a regular visit to her doctor turned out to be a wake-up call. Her cholesterol levels were high, she was borderline diabetic and her husband had borderline high blood pressure.
“I just started thinking how did I get this way?” she shares. “A lot of it had to do with how I was living my life and I started thinking about our habits.” With both herself and her husband leading busy lives and working long hours, health had taken a backseat. Citing her 70-year-old mother as an example, she shares that traditionally in Kenya, people walk a lot, eat what was is in season and consume more whole foods and greens. She wanted to adopt those habits.
Small changes over time produced noticeable results. Anyumba moved from fried foods to baked foods and incorporated more greens. She quickly admits, “It’s a bit difficult if you are not used to eating greens, it’s quite disgusting. I started with smoothies, then added a bit more greens and less fruit, and then your palate changes.” After three months, both she and her husband found their health markers had improved. “Food is medicine, that’s the truth,” she says.
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Wanting to be close to her family and aging parents, Anyumba chose to move back to Kenya in 2013, hoping to affect a greater impact in her home country. “It was not easy,” she says, sharing her challenges in setting up a business. “As much as I was from Kenya, there were cultural barriers. On this side of the world, Americans are seen as strong-minded and boisterous, expressive and opinionated and so was I. People found me a bit overwhelming. I had to tone it down some.”
Learning the ropes, she went on to establish her business in 2015. Expressing herself through food, creating to give and share with others and also inspiring others to create were her driving forces. is the first business in the country for cold-pressed 80% vegetable and 20% fruit juice. Anyumba started with her First Love fruit juices to introduce customers to healthy juices and smoothies. Then she released the Nurture brand of cold-pressed vegetable juices when customers requested an alternative to the sweet fruit juices. Eventually, she added Keyo Soups to her offerings as ingredients from the juices can be used in the preparation.
With eight to ten flavors in the fruit juices, seven in the cold-pressed vegetable juices and four soups, she has a pretty robust selection in rotation through the year. The products have no preservatives, chemical additives or artificial coloring and are cholesterol, dairy and gluten-free. She also offers detox plans featuring her products that are a big hit.
“The truth is what we are eating is the cause of 70% of our diseases. It comes from what we put in our gut and bodies. So if you start to change that, you will notice the difference,” Anyumba says. “When people cut off dairy, meat, processed foods and have wholesome, nutritious juices, that cleans out the gunk. It helps absorb food and gives the tummy a break so your body can repair itself.”
In the process of sharing her knowledge, Anyumba also turned into an author with a recipe book called “Juice It or Smooth It,” featuring some of her juices and smoothies. Published in 2014, it was her first project on the path to setting up her business and is the first and only cookbook of its kind. Historically in Kenya, recipes have been passed on orally from generation to generation and not as written or printed family heirlooms as is common in the Western world. Her disappointment at not finding many African-authored cookbooks at the bookstore got Anyumba started on that exercise.
“How can a country with so much bounty not have something celebrating it? I said I am going to do it.” Her recipes feature popular local ingredients such as banana, passion fruit, avocado and mango and the use of five pieces of equipment at the very most so anyone can easily create beautiful, healthy, nutritious juices. “It’s an appreciation of the flavorful ingredients that we have locally.”
Scrumptious Eats Kenya has grown in the last five years and Anyumba tripled revenues but lost about 70% of her business after the pandemic hit. “Where I am with my business right now is trying to figure out what’s next,” she says. Part of that pivot has included partnerships. “My life’s purpose is about creating, giving and inspiring myself and others. This is a good time to see how we can elevate each other.”
Given she has her factory, Anyumba is collaborating with others who are shutting down or been laid off, to produce with her until things pick up again. “I am passionate about seeing how we can create jobs, maybe reduce, in my little way, people becoming poorer. This an opportunity to give people a chance to create hope.”