Known as Two Raw Sisters, they may be the country’s most adored foodie siblings right now, but until recently, fresh-faced Christchurch duo Margo and Rosa Flanagan were arch-enemies!
“Rosa and I hated each other until about four years ago,” laughs a glowing Margo, 22. “We were very competitive. Rosa was an elite athlete running for New Zealand and I felt like I had to be like her, but I physically couldn’t because I was bedridden with chronic fatigue syndrome.”
While Rosa, 24, trained for her middle-distance running, aiming for the now-postponed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, her younger sister was battling five years of the debilitating sleep disorder.
“I literally spent two years of my teens in bed,” says Margo, chatting to Woman’s Day ahead of the nationwide tour for their second raw cookbook, All Eaters Welcome. “I had the whole last year of school off because I’d pretty much walk 50 metres to the kitchen and was exhausted for the rest of the day.”
But while big sister Rosa seemed to be smashing her athletic goals, she was also in the depths of an exercise obsession and eating disorder. “I was on the cycle of training way too much and eating as little as I could for about eight years,” Rosa shares.
“Nearing the Olympics, I all of a sudden started getting lots of stress fractures, including six in my tibia and two in both of my hips. I had a lot of time out recovering and was told that if I didn’t do anything to repair my health, then they didn’t know what my future would look like.”
Not only had Rosa not experienced a period by the time she was 19, but she had the bone density of a 65-year-old. “I hadn’t developed into a woman, and they said I had to stop running and gain weight, so I gave up running. I was very lucky I got my period at 21, three years after I started my healing journey.”
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