Inspiring Roots from Europe’s 1st Exclusive Organic Tumeric Brand
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ~ Hippocrates
This month I feature beautiful entrepreneur, Zoe Lind van’t Hof, founder of Wunder Workshop, whom I met one and half years ago at a Serene Social Shoreditch House event I hosted as their (then) London Lead. Paired together during the workshop I remember how warm, friendly, yet unassuming she was. It wasn’t until after, upon exchanging emails I learned of Zoe’s budding business, right in my (then) backyard of Notting Hill! It’s no “wunder” why it’s Europe’s first exclusive organic turmeric brand available in the likes of London’s high street shops Selfridges and Content Beauty. For centuries people have been using spices for the treatment of various ailments and serious illness, but recently with scientific analysis more people are seeing the wonderful effects of the ingredients found in such super foods. And Zoe’s story behind the brand and her late mother make it all the more loveable. For those of you interested in trying one of their lovely products keep reading for a chance to win their most popular product!
1) What’s your story?
Before I started my turmeric business – Wunder Workshop, I had completed a Master’s in International Relations and Political Science, and worked as a photographer and as an interior design assistant. It wasn’t until two years ago, in my mid-twenties, that I realised I want to create my own health-food brand. Sometimes it takes a while to see what is right in front of you, as it can seem too straightforward. In my case, it was my interest in health and ancient medicine that guided me in this direction.
2) How did you start your journey in wellness and conscious living?
I was very lucky to be born into a very health focused family. My late mother had been in the wellness industry for over 40 years, so I grew up eating organic food and a low sugar, vegetarian and mostly dairy free diet. It probably sounds very hippie, but since my mother had her own holistic beauty spa all our skincare and cleaning products were natural too. So from an early age I was fascinated by the power of plants and learned so much from my mother. Our little house was filled with interesting books about plant based medicine, vegan cooking, meditation and yoga, which I always found myself reading, subconsciously soaking up all the information. Of course there were moments during my teenage years, where I too wanted to eat a chicken burger or Haribo, but I soon realised how badly my body would react to the sugar, meat and dairy. So my “rebellious” times were only very short lived. During my early twenties I also started caring about where my clothes came from. I really try to take to heart what Anna Lappe once said which is that
“every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”
3) What inspired you to create Wunder Workshop?
As part of my 2014 New Year’s resolutions, I set a deadline that if I was unhappy with my life and job in six months’ time I would hand in my notice and start my own thing.
This coincided with the amazing experience of visiting Sri Lanka for the second time with my mother; we were privileged to spend a lot of time with Ayurvedic doctors and learned so much about herbs and the power of the food that we ate. Turmeric, as it turns out, is one of the most powerful foods we can consume. Shortly after my visit to Sri Lanka, I followed through with my initial plan and started Wunder Workshop – piecing together what I had learned about Ayurveda and the knowledge I had gained from my mother. When I look back, I am grateful for whatever courage resided in me at the time.
4) What are your most popular products and how do you recommend pairing/ complementing them?
Our most popular product is the Instantly Golden Turmeric Latte, which can be used in various ways. My personal favourite is simply 2 tsps of the powder with some homemade hot oat milk to create a soothing cup of sunshine, or an iced version shaken up with some ice cubes for the hotter days. The Instantly Golden powder is also a delicious addition to porridge or smoothies. A customer even said he uses the powder to marinate his chicken pre-BBQ. So all kinds of things can be done with this wonderful spice blend.
5) Tell me more about Tumeric and the health benefits.
Turmeric is a funny looking rhizome that belongs to the ginger family. There are many different types, and they all have beautiful flowers and green leaves. However, the golden orange root is what we are using and is most known for its medicinal properties. Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, is the compound which carries both the many medicinal properties and the vibrant golden orange colour.
The list of turmeric’s health benefits is very long. Traditionally, in Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric was used for indigestion, infections, common colds, liver diseases as well as for wounds and skin problems. However, more recently there have been numerous findings on its positive effects on more serious inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, in the treatment and prevention of certain types of cancer, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. All in all there isn’t another herb or supplement out there that impacts our body in so many diverse and positive ways.
However, one important thing that many people don’t realise is that our bodies can hardly absorb the curcumin by itself. It is very important to combine turmeric with black pepper and a fat such as coconut in order to increase the amount absorbed into our blood stream. This is why all of our products are designed in order for your body to have maximum absorption.
6) What advice can you give someone that’s just starting their journey in health and nutrition?
Balance. I think the most important thing is not to take it too seriously and not to dive in at the deep end as it can be a bit overwhelming. Integrating little changes into your daily life will feel much easier and less radical. Also, I am worried how being healthy has become a “fad”, as it certainly isn’t. It should be a conscious decision made for the right reasons and not because it seems to be trendy. On social media one can easily be made to feel that you aren’t perfect if you don’t eat vegan, sugar/dairy-free, start your day with yoga or drink green juices all day. Allowing yourself to have a balance of wholesome organic food, regular exercise but also allowing yourself to indulge on wine and chocolate occasionally is far healthier for your mind, and thus your overall wellbeing, than denying yourself such cravings.
7) Where can someone find your lovely products at London or abroad?
We are slowly but steadily spreading our turmeric love across England, we have just launched in 14 Revital Health stores across England and are available in various cafes and shops such as Selfridges, Sourced Market, Content Beauty, Modern Baker, Albion, Jago Restaurant and many more. Abroad you can currently only find us in Ici Selfcare Paris and we ship internationally. We are hoping to launch in more European cities soon and maybe even the States. Watch this space.
8) What are your favourite places in London?
For finding my peace and for taking a step out of hectic London I love going for a swim in the ladies pond in Hampstead Heath and for a walk around the Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park. In these places I can truly snap out of all the busyness for a little bit and recoup some energy and clarity in my mind. For turmeric lattes and people watching I go to my local Golborne Deli and for catching up with my friends I head to Shoreditch House.
9) What advice would you give to your younger self, now that you’ve had all these life experiences?
My advice would be to care more about living in the moment than always worrying about the tomorrow, looking forward to the weekend and the next holiday and stressing about little things like what other people might think of you. They all feel like a waste of time. I am now practicing to fully live every moment of the day and appreciate the little things. Especially since my mother died, I have found it so important to spend time with the people I love and to tell them exactly how I feel. Some say that I wear my heart on my sleeve, but I think that is a good thing which I could have started doing much earlier.
THANK YOU Zoe for your amazing work – inspiring others with your holistic and healthy roots that are growing beautifully in London and the world over!
For more information on Wunder Workshop and their lovely products click here.
As always, I’d love connecting with you and hear about how you began or who inspired your journey into health and nutrition! Or let me know if you or someone you know would be great to feature for my community. Head over to the comments section below to share your thoughts.
With love and gratitude,
p.s. Interested in winning Wunder Worshop’s Instantly Golden Tumeric Latte blend? There are 2 ways to enter:
ONE: Follow @lesliesaglio and @wunderworkshop IG accounts and when you see one of our Tumeric posts, tag 5 of your friends in the comments!
TWO: Answer the question below:
What is the main ingredient in Wunder Workshop’s lovely organic products?
A) kale B) turmeric C) goji berries D) cumin
Basically every time you do either of these things, you will be entered one time. The competition ends September 8th and a winner will be announced September 9th.