Got a foodie idea you’d like to turn into a business venture? Siân Lewis and Eve Boggenpoel talk to three women who turned a healthy eating passion into a career.
The juice guru
Kara Rosen, 36, is founder of fresh juice company Plenish Cleanse (plenish cleanse.com), stocked in London’s Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Liberty.‘What inspires me about juicing is the total transformation it can bring. When 1 lived in the US, 1 developed strep throat and my doctor couldn’t shift it.1 felt like an old lady with all the pills I was taking. Then a naturopath suggested I try a five-day green juice cleanse and, by day three, I developed this amazing sense of clarity, kicked the strep and haven’t taken antibiotics since.’
’Four years ago, when 1 came to the UK, the only juices available were really high in sugar and didn’t have the chlorophyll levels I was looking for, so I imported a cold press from the US and made my own. At the time, 1 didn’t know whether there was any demand for them, I just really wanted healthy juices in my life. I developed six recipes and brought in a nutritionist to make sure they had the right balance of nutrients.‘it was at my pregnancy yoga class that things took off. Everyone wanted to sample the juices, so I said, “Ok, 1’11 give you a cleanse if you give me some feedback on it”. Then their husbands wanted to try it, so 1 made more. And then one of the guys said, “My entire trading desk at Canary Wharf wants to do a cleanse, can we have eight of them?” It was really homespun at this stage, I was putting the juices in jam jars or asking people to supply their own jars!’
The Detox Diary with Plenish Cleanse Photo Gallery
‘The guys on the trading desk were super blokey about the cleanse, keeping tallies on how many times they went to the bathroom, and so on, but they had amazing results. One night a few of them even went to a yoga class instead of going to a club. It was with this final group that 1 really saw what cleansing does for people. It was such an amazing feeling,‘Although we haven’t done any advertising, Plenish juices are now in London’s Harvey Nichols and the Natural Kitchen, on Marylebone High Street, plus a few yoga studios and gyms around London. And we home deliver three levels of cleanses, plus six-pack juice boxes, anywhere in the UK.‘Every day brings its challenges, so it’s a real labour of love; the juicing sessions go right through the night! But the business is continually growing. We’ve gone from one to a team of eight, we’ve just launched in Selfridges in London, and there’s a book in the pipeline.‘The challenge I’m faced with now is that 1 don’t want this to be just about a cleanse. My goal is to make cold-pressed juices available to everybody on a regular basis – whether you’re buying them from me or making your own at home. Cold-pressed juices are much more nutrient-dense – their oxidation levels are lower as there’s no spinning blade and it’s bottled immediately – and because the process doesn’t heat the product you get a much higher enzyme, vitamin and mineral count.
FIND A MENTOR
‘If you’re thinking of setting up your own business, my advice would be to talk to as many people as you can, then use your gut to decide what’s relevant to you. There are so many people about who are so smart and are willing to share their knowledge and experience.‘When I started out, 1 called everyone from the guys at Innocent to healthy food businesses. If you have the passion,and your gut tells you it’s going to be good, do whatever it takes to get there. Of course, there’ll setbacks, but it’ll be the most fun thing you ever do.’
NEED A JUICER?
‘I like the Hurom Slow Juicer HF-SBF06 (£299.99; uk juicers.co. uk),’ says Kara. ‘But if you win the lottery and can afford a cold-press juicer, the one you’d want to buy is the Norwalk Model 280 Stainless Steel ($2,495; norwalk juicers.com).’
Try Kara’s DIY Sexy Green Juice Makes one litre
♦2 large cucumbers (peeled if not organic)
♦1 big fistful of kale
■1 big fistful of sweet pea sprouts or dandelion sprouts
♦4-5 stalks of celery
♦1-2 big broccoli stems
♦1 inch piece of fresh ginger
♦1 pear or green apple (optional)
Wash and juice all the ingredients, then store in the fridge for up to three days in a tightly closed jar.
The fridge filler
Natasha Corrett, 30, is founder of healthy food range and home delivery service Honestly Healthy (honestly healthy food.com) and author of Honestly Healthy (Jacqui Small, £20)
‘My business started with a passion… and a struggle. I was like approximately 90 percent of women in the UK, having tried many fad diets in my youth. My weight would yo-yo, and I’d put on and lose two stone every six months or so. My skin was horrendous and my hormones were all over the place.’
‘Roughly four years ago, I was organising yoga and meditation retreats as I had left a career in PR behind in search of a slower pace of life. I coordinated clients, locations, massage and yoga instructors. On one retreat the chef didn’t turn up, so I had to cook for our clients. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, having worked in my dad’s restaurant kitchen since the age of 16. My food went down well, so from this point forward, 1 cooked for all the retreats, using only the freshest, seasonal ingredients. Back in London, the clients asked if they could continue enjoying the food by having it delivered to their homes, so 1 began offering this service too. I called it Fridge Fill, and delivered healthy meals to my clients’ homes once a week.‘Around this time, I hurt my back and sought advice from an ayurvedic practitioner, Dr Joshi (joshi clinic.co.uk)He told me my body was extremely acidic, which was causing inflammation and preventing me from losing weight for good. He recommended a two- week alkalising cleanse, and so 1 did some investigating. As I learnt more about alkaline eating, I began to experience less bloating, my skin was clearer and the weight fell off. 1 dropped two dress sizes and I started making my Fridge Fill Meals more alkaline.‘One of my clients enjoyed the food so much she contacted a friend who had connections at Harrods. 1 managed to set up a meeting, and on the morning I worked hard in the kitchen to pack my homemade recipes into crates to take with me. That’s when my food range Honestly Healthy was born, and soon became available to customers in the Harrods Food Hall.’
‘While I worked on the launch of Honestly Healthy with my godmother nutritionist Vicki Edgson, I was still taking orders for Fridge Fill and delivering 47 lunches in my Mini Cooper. It’s incredibly hard to mass produce homemade food, but I’ve never compromised on quality. The growth of Honestly Healthy has been totally organic and I’ve never had investment – one deal just fed another. Instead of forcing my philosophy down peoples’ necks, I feed it to them. My alkaline food can now be found in Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, and Vicki andI have just completed work on our second cookbook, Honestly Healthy for Life (Jacqui Small, £25), out in February.‘In the future, I’d love to own a couple of cafes or a restaurant, but I love writing recipes and we’re already planning book number three. I try to spend as much time in the kitchen as possible; it’s where I’m my happiest.’
NATASHA’S RAW CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Melt one tablespoon of coconut oil in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of hot water, then transfer to a blender with the flesh of one avocado and a teaspoon of water and whizz until smooth, Add two heaped tablespoons each of raw cacao powder and agave syrup (or honey) and whizz. Put the mousse in ramekins and refrigerate for an hour before serving.
EAT ALKALINE LIKE NATASHA
♦ Breakfast: A green smoothie made with spinach, broccoli, pear, basil, spirulina and flaxseed oil. I make a litre and drink this throughout the morning.
♦ Lunch: Roasted aubergine with sumac, pomegranate and tahini dressing
♦ Mid-afternoon: a fresh green juice
♦Dinner: Nettle soup, followed by beetroot and red rice risotto
The online stockist
Jenna Zoe, 26, is founder of healthy snack business Cupcakes (upcakesuk) and healthy ingredient store Foodstolove.co.uk, and author of Super Healthy Snacks and Treats (Ryland, Peters & Small, £14.99)
‘When I was in my late teens, I had terrible acne and suffered with Candida. Despite my doctor dealing out pills, antibiotics and steroid creams, nothing seemed to work. My mother took me to see a nutritionist as a last resort. I was given the most restrictive eating plan you could imagine – processed food was out, alcohol, gluten, dairy and sugar were also strictly forbidden. I couldn’t even eat fruit Told to “stick with it”, I gradually saw improvements, not just my skin, but in my overall health, during the course of the next 18 months.‘Then, four years ago, I moved to the States. Given the meat in the US didn’t taste great, I decided to try a vegan diet. It was at this time that 1 retrained as a nutritionist. I felt so enlightened and inspired by the way food had been able to heal my body, I wanted to help other people do the same. I studied hard at weekends and eventually qualified, before returning to the UK.’
‘1 continued to follow a plant-based diet, but still craved sweet foods such as brownies and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups which are so popular in the US.I began experimenting with recipes for cakes, biscuits, brownies and “naughty” bites, using the healthiest ingredients 1 could lay my hands on. That’s when I started my business . Available to order online, from £4.95 per pot, are my three favourite nibbles – Choc Bites, Peanut Butter Cups and Sports Bites. These healthy treats are designed to enhance your health, not leave you in a state of self-loathing. Instead of giving your blood sugar a spike or aggravating intolerance to dairy, wheat or gluten, my recipes work in harmony with your body.Upcakes.co.uk As more and more people found Cupcakes online, I became inundated with questions from customers asking me where they could find ingredients such as almond meal, coconut palm sugar or raw cacao. That’s when I had the idea for a one-stop-shop of healthy baking ingredients. 1 wanted to give people a destination where they could find the highest quality ingredients in their purest form to make their own treats. My mission was to make my customers’ experience less overwhelming, so they could enjoy the occasional indulgence without feeling guilty.’
T now run both businesses alongside one another. In my online store you’ll find all my favourite ingredients, plus recipes and my nutrition blog. I’ve tried to avoid confusion, so you’ll only find one type of coconut butter, one bottle of maple syrup, one brand of almond milk and so on. These are the products I use myself with great success.‘Having started Cupcakes in my own kitchen, I never thought to write a business plan. I hope both websites continue to grow and in the future cafes and petrol stations will offer a healthier snack alternative, such as one of my Choc Bites, alongside the high-sugar and high-fat junk, so that people can at least have the opportunity to make a better choice.’
JENNA’S TOP SELLERS
♦Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Chocolate Protein Powder, £40, 1kg. With pea, cranberry and hemp protein, this powder provides 16g protein per serving at 84 calories.
♦ Engevita Nutritional Yeast, £2.59, 125g. Enriches the flavour of soups and salads with 50 percent protein, plus zinc and folic acid.
♦ Good Hemp Company Shelled Hemp Seeds, £2.99, 200g. With omega-3, protein, magnesium and iron – sprinkle on salads, add to smoothies or make into hemp milk