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Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram: How a Medical Crisis Inspired an International Food Movement [VIDEO]

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Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram, a pioneer in the local, organic food co-operative movement. The founder of the largest raw, organic produce co-operative in the U.S., she has been 100% raw for over nine years. An exemplification of all that she wishes to create, she is a leading visionary in the raw movement, especially in Houston, TX.

Kristina’s inspiration for being FullyRaw came after she was able to rid herself of Hyperglycemia at the age of 18 eating nothing but a low fat raw vegan diet consisting solely of fresh fruits and vegetables with few nuts and seeds. After being a direct understudy of 20+ year raw fooder John Rose, she interned and worked under Dr. Graham at his health events in Seattle and in Costa Rica. She has lived in the Dominican Republic and in Costa Rica, and she has become an avidly enthusiastic runner who runs at least 6-8 miles a day!

At the age of 20 before she graduated college, she started the non-profit organization called Rawfully Organic. This organic produce co-operative in Houston, Texas grew from 12 people in her living room to over 15,000 families in the greater Houston city limits. Rawfully Organic feeds over 800 families each week and focuses on the benefits of eating diets high in raw fruits and vegetables while making organic affordable for all. The nonprofit grosses more a million each year, and it stays true to its mission to support families in the Texas community to supply an abundance of organic produce to help them achieve their raw, vegetarian, or vegan lifestyle. To this day, the coop is 100% volunteer run, and not even Kristina chooses to write herself a paycheck.

​Besides being the chief goddess co-operator of Rawfully Organic, Kristina has made a living coaching and inspiring thousands of others to be FullyRaw for the past few years. She also enjoys frequently speaking and lecturing to the Texas community. She even offers raw classes where she prepares food for her audiences! Kristina’s mission is to simply REACH PEOPLE with the message of RAW. She wants to inspire people to find their rawness within so that they can find their own health freedom and zest! You CAN be FullyRaw, and Kristina wants to help you get there!​​​​ (From: fullyraw.com)

Q: In recent years the raw food movement has grown in popularity. You’re a self-proclaimed “pioneer.” What inspired you to adopt a raw food lifestyle?

A: I was inspired to adopt a raw food lifestyle after being hospitalized with hyperglycemia. Through research and a chance meeting with John Rose, juicing master, he imparted the knowledge to me that fruits and vegetables in their raw state are the most effective way of leveraging nutrition for healing.

Q: In just the last two years you’ve gained a tremendous social media following with over 1.2 million fans spread across all of your social media channels. At what point in your career did you feel that social media was a worthwhile endeavor to focus your time on?

A: I initially decided to start building a social media presence after patrons at Rawfully Organic reached out to me for recipes for the fruit and vegetable boxes we sell. I decided to start posting recipes and tips and things grew from there. I also knew from the onset that I wanted to be a part of a health and wellness community that was not bound by geographical location. Social media was the best way I knew how to connect with a global community and create a positive environment that everyone can engage in.

Q: Dedicating the time and money to produce high-value social media content can be frustrating, especially considering that it takes time to grow a following. How did you stay committed to content development?

A: I was an art major in college. When it comes to my FullyRaw lifestyle, I consider it an art, so the time commitment isn't a big deal because it's therapeutic working on my craft. I also feel like I am always changing and discovering something new. I am inspired every day by so many wonderful people, stories of health and healing through raw foods in addition to simple things such as nature. That inspiration fuels me to use YouTube to impart my experiences, share new recipes, share motivational moments and so much more. The investment made to produce this content is just priceless in comparison with the opportunity to create community.

Q: In your YouTube videos you seem to be very comfortable on-camera. Were you always this way or did you adapt to the camera over time? Any tips you can provide to those who want to start a YouTube channel but may be camera-shy?

A: I have always felt comfortable on camera as I also sing professionally and love the stage. As far as tips, the best advice I can give is be confident and be yourself. Your message will come out naturally and your audience will love you for it!

Q: You’ve built an incredible multi-faceted business and seem to have started years before the raw food lifestyle grew in popularity. Having started a business in an industry that initially had limited mainstream adoption, were there ever times you wanted to quit? If so, how did you persevere through the rough patches?

A: I have never wanted to quit and feel that the movement for slow food and organic and local food is more popular than ever. I think we are all aware of the nurturing aspects of going back to basics and feeling good about it.

Q: There’s a saying in business, “don’t waste time convincing the unconverted.” In other words, an entrepreneur’s focus should be on seeking out those who already embrace their business, industry, concepts, etc. I don’t imagine this mindset would have been possible in your business. Your business seems to rely upon convincing the unconverted. Would you agree?

A: I am not set out to convert people necessarily but more to educate inform and inspire. Health and wellness comes in many forms for many different people and I am here just to offer my love and passion for health through raw foods.

Q: Many entrepreneurs struggle to find the opportunity to transition from their day job to running their business full-time. What did you do prior to launching FullyRaw and how did you transition to run your business full-time?

A: I still run Rawfully Organic, a Houston based organic and local co-op of fruits and vegetables which is the source of inspiration for me everyday. I run both brands, Rawfully Organic: rawfullyorganic.com and fullyraw.com. I am quite busy but look to volunteers, my circle of supporters and my family to help me achieve all my goals. My power green smoothies don't hurt either!

Q: If YouTube and social media in general didn’t exist, how do you think this would have impacted the growth of your business?

A: I think that we would be going back to basics like word of mouth and networking, which in essence is the beginnings of social media today.

Q: What does the future hold for you? Any interesting upcoming projects?

A: I am always working on ways to communicate with my audience and have been testing recipes for 2015.

Q: What advice could you provide to others looking to leverage social media to help establish their brand?

A: Be true to yourself, your vision and your audience. People want to connect with you on various levels and the best way to do this is to take time, respond, engage and listen to your audience.

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