Author Interviews

Interview With Kamilla Omarzay

The Snack Society is so much more than just a brand for entrepreneur Kamilla Omarzay it is a way to help people discover the lifestyle changes that helped her cure her health conditions. The self-taught chef’s recipes for clean eating snacks are documented in her forthcoming book, sharing the knowledge of nutrition which helped Kamilla recover from chronic digestive complaints in her teens.

Kamilla was born in Kabul Afghanistan, but the Russian invasion led to her family seeking a way out of the escalating situation in the country. She said: “My family lived there and life was great until the Russians invaded and there was a war, and then the Taliban regime happened. I was born at home as my mum couldn’t make it to the hospital because everyone was given slots to leave the house, they couldn’t leave the house all the time, and she went into labour and they couldn’t make it. So they had to bring a midwife to the house and I was born there. My dad was a trader and he used to travel to the Middle East a lot for work so he heard that there was a lot of potential in Dubai, so we moved there when I was about three in 1989.”

As the family settled into Dubai life Kamilla’s father created a successful business in the paper industry supplying a range of products such as napkins and toilet rolls. Buoyed by her father’s entrepreneurial spirit, Kamilla sailed through school and university in the country and went to work in the media as a salesperson as well as teaching yoga and becoming a certified personal trainer. But throughout her teenage years, Kamilla had been plagued by chronic heartburn and had tried a whole manner of medications and fad diets to cure it. She said: “I suffered from all kinds of digestive problems including bloating, heartburn and stomach cramps. In May 2015 I was diagnosed with a long list of foods I am intolerant to, including wheat, dairy and sugar. It was without a doubt very challenging to bring about a complete change in my diet. Staying away from brownies and biscuits! Removing these things was made even harder when I visited the ‘free from’ section at my local supermarkets. to find that the available products were full of refined sugar, artificial preservatives and additives.”

So Kamilla started her process of trial and error: “I tried everything, everything was and some things made it worse. I went on chronic medicines and antacids, I didn’t know any better.” She said.

But then one day an internet search would change her life forever. A recipe suggestion for coconut, date and almond balls with all-natural ingredients. Kamilla made up the recipe and was hooked, and this would start the ball rolling for The Snack Society, a successful product range of all-natural treats, which don’t compromise on flavour. She said: “Two things I’ve been scared of are sharks and baking without butter and flour. However, the more I experimented with different ingredients and free-from recipes the more I was amazed that there was a healthy solution out there for every naughty food craving.”

In 2016 Kamilla was made redundant and decided to put all of her energy into The Snack Society, using her sales and marketing background to launch her business. She said: “For the last three years I have focused on gaining a good social media presence and working on launching my first product. After 18 months of product development, I launched a range of energy balls in five different flavours. They are all free from gluten, dairy, eggs and refined sugar, made with all-natural ingredients and with no added protein powder or preservatives.” And the entrepreneur credits Dubai’s ‘can do’ culture, and a gap in the market in the country, with the trajectory that her business is headed on. She said: “Dubai is a very safe place and secure, and they used to say America was the land of opportunity, but I think right now that Dubai is. You have such a melting pot of people from all different nationalities and because it’s small if you have a good idea it gets championed.”

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