Social Icon Interviews: Raoum
On culture changes, healthy vegan food, and the importance of sleep
Named after her favorite variety of dates, Raoum’s blog Sukkari Life is filled with beautiful and healthy Middle Eastern inspired vegan food (like Za’atar Bliss Balls, can you say Yum!?). On her popular YouTube channel, Raoum shares her perspectives on everything from her food adventures to sustainability, travel, and what a typical day in her life as a young woman in Saudi Arabia is like.
As we interview Social Icons around the world, it’s such a great reminder that we are all unique — there is only one YOU and that is what makes you special — but also that we are truly more alike than different.
It fills my heart to see passionate women around the world who are sharing the same collective visions for a healthy, vibrant world.
Q: What inspired you to start your blog and YouTube channel Sukkari Life?
A: I wanted to spend my time learning about topics I’m interested in, and create beautiful content that inspires and educates others without boring them. And, being able to work from anywhere is a plus!
Q: In the past several years there’s been a huge growth of the plant-based/ vegan movement…. How have you seen the culture shift to support more plant-based eating both locally for you in Riyadh and globally online?
A: Oh I can’t begin to describe the shift! Just a few years back when I was vegetarian, I used to get so much crap from people for not eating meat. Now when I tell people that I’m vegan they are actually supportive right away regardless of their age and background. It makes me so happy to see more people making conscious choices and to see businesses making it easier on those who make the decision.
Q: What topics or causes are you most passionate about sharing right now - something that could really help the world if everyone did it/ got on board?
1. Going vegan and keeping it healthy!
2. Mental Health Awareness
3. Plastic. I’m still in the process of eliminating plastic (in my life), but I believe the issue is bigger than that.
(Check out Raoum’s video on Minimal Waste shopping in Saudi!)
Q: If you could speak to young girls everywhere today what would be your greatest hope for them?
A: Believe in yourself. I know it sounds cheesy, but once you believe in yourself it changes how you treat yourself and how others treat you too.
Q: You have some great posts and resources on your blog about ethical fashion, zero-waste, yoga and more! Of all that you’ve shared, what has been the thing you’ve gotten the most positive feedback on? Is there anything you’ve gotten negative feedback on or that you’ve been challenged in sharing?
A: I’m grateful to say that I’ve gotten really good feedback on all of these topics. I was surprised about the huge interest in going zero-waste I got from many people living in Saudi.
I haven’t really gotten much negativity but, again, I rarely talk about sensitive topics or very personal matters. It can be hard sometimes not to talk about everything but given the culture I come from, I have to hold back sometimes. Well, at least for now.
Q: What is the biggest change you’ve made in your life to be happier and healthier?
A: I can’t name one thing — it’s an accumulation of many actions I take daily.
Eating a healthy balanced diet, making my own food, being active (from practicing yoga to lifting weights and moving in general), waking up early and, of course, getting enough sleep! Even being nice is hard when you haven’t gotten enough sleep. So get some sleep!
Q: What is the biggest change you’ve made in your life to make the world better?
A: Starting Sukkari Life.
Q: What is the one question you wish people would ask you more often?
A: Nothing, to be honest. I don’t mind being asked things, but I prefer to listen.
Q: What does being a Social Icon mean to you?
A: It's a big responsibility, but it’s what keeps me going. Having the chance to inspire others to take care of their health and the health of the environment - that’s what keeps me going.