Turmeric is set to be one of the big wellness trends of 2016 but until very recently it was almost impossible to find it anywhere other than ground up in a jar in the spice aisle of the supermarket.
Zoe Lind Van'T Hof, co-founder of fledging Notting Hill-based functional food brand Wunder Workshop, was determined to see that change and has created a collection of artisanal products, each with turmeric at its heart. Starting with their signature Golden Mylk – a delicious vegan-friendly blend of coconut milk, organic turmeric and black pepper – the range has expanded to incorporate turmeric tea, turmeric-infused honey, instant turmeric latte and a raw cacao turmeric latte.
I caught up with Zoe to talk about the benefits of turmeric, travelling to Sri Lanka to source organic ingredients, meditation, memorable meals and more...
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START WUNDER WORKSHOP?
I have always been passionate about nutrition. At university I began to understand the impact of our consumerism and the importance of conscious consuming.
It was actually whilst travelling in Sri Lanka that I came across the concept for Golden Mylk. It was offered to me to restore and heal my aching muscles after long yoga classes and it worked a treat! I had always wanted to combine my knowledge of nutrition with my belief in health education and well-being; Golden Mylk was a means to combine all of these. But I see it just as the beginning and we have a number of goals we want to achieve, thus Wunder Workshop was born.
Turmeric is an ancient healing spice, the health benefits of which have been known for thousands of years. It only really seems to be breaking into Western society now, even though over 4,600 studies have been published on its effects! Its active ingredient is curcumin, a powerful anti-oxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent cancer and treat depression.
FROM WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR INGREDIENTS?
We source our turmeric directly from a small, organically-certified farm in Sri Lanka. I visited the farm before we chose to buy their produce because provenance – and knowing that the growers are benefiting – is at the heart of Wunder Workshop's philosophy.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR WUNDER WORKSHOP?
We are now importing turmeric for wholesale and will be providing this superior quality spice across the UK. We also have a number of other exciting turmeric-centric products coming soon!
WHAT IS YOUR FOOD PHILOSOPHY?
Food is functional and every meal is an opportunity to nourish your body. I stick to a vegetarian, organic, sugar- and dairy-free diet at home but I am flexible when I am out and about. I don't think this is hypocritical because I believe a healthy body comes from a healthy mind and allowing yourself to enjoy a glass of wine with sweet potato fries in a nice restaurant now and then is just as rewarding for the body and soul as a kale salad. Obviously, everything in moderation...
BEST MEAL YOU EVER HAD:
There are many amazing meals, but we eat with all our senses and the company is just as important. My best meal was my twenty-fifth birthday meal near where I was born in Palm Beach at The Boathouse. The vibrant colours of the tropical fruit platter with the ripe yet firm avocado on toast, followed the typically Australian banana bread. All of this accompanied by the warm, salty sea breeze running down the dunes, surrounded by the view over Pittwater Bay and of course with my favourite people at one big table. It made for an amazing meal.
YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO EAT IN LONDON:
Despite the long queues, I adore the service and the food at Granger & Co. in Notting Hill. Also, Wildfood Café for the best raw, vegan cheesecake. And Golborne Deli for the atmosphere and delicious Matcha almond milk latte.
YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO BUY FOOD IN LONDON:
I love shopping in markets as you get to interact with the stand owners and it is nice to build a relationship with those from whom you purchase your food. However, I love how I hardly need to do any research when I shop at Planet Organic or Portobello Whole Foods – all the work has been done for you! I try to live by Anne Lappe's philosophy that, "Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want". Therefore, I avoid spending my money in the big supermarkets and try to shop in small, independent stores. I love the concept behind Hubbub, which supports local stores and small businesses. However, when I have a busy week ahead, I order a veg box from Riverford – such a treat and full of surprises.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING?
I believe you can only have a full, healthy self if you have a healthy mind, too. I consciously take time by myself to meditate or to walk and practice awareness. I get my exercise from doing yoga, and cycling and dancing around London.
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Dancing to beautiful music with friends. When I immerse myself in the rhythm of the music, my mind rests and I feel absolutely free. I feel the same way when I go surfing. The power of the waves creates a sense of freedom and being at one with nature.