The Whole Story on Sydney's Wholefoods obsession

ABOUTLIFE is a favourite destination for foodies in Sydney, Australia. Since opening their first store in Rozelle 18 years ago, the company has grown as has our search for whole foods. They recently opened their fourth destination in Double Bay and the response has been beyond expectation! - cementing them as one of Australia's fastest growing holistic lifestyle hubs.

Aboutlife offers a one-stop shop for natural products and wholefood nutrition featuring a supermarket with deli, café and natural pharmacy for all your body and beauty needs, cooking classes and a catering service.

Their café is a busy meeting place where you can indulge in delicious dishes (without any guilt!) such as Coconut quinoa porridge, Raw Raspberry Chia Jam, Kale and Carrot Salad with Tahini Dressing, Rainbow smoothie (not to be missed!) and the Brown rice nourishing bowl (see recipe below).

Health Bird spoke to Aboutlife representative, Vladia, about the company's ethos and the importance of making a difference to people's lives through offering clean and locally sourced produce. 

How is About Life different to regular food stores/markets?

We are a one stop shop for all your natural products. We offer a unique shopping experience where you find all the things good for you under one roof while enjoying the best and cheapest  100% organic coffee in Sydney! And if you are not into coffee we have everything covered from green smoothies to raw cacao chai’s or self-serve salad bars. Each of our stores offers a natural grocery, wholefoods café, wholesome catering and thousands of products we guarantee to be safe and healthy for you and your family. Our stores will provide you with all the items you need to make healthy food and lifestyle choices for yourself, your family, the environment and future generations. We have a range of take home prepared meals made by our production kitchen not to forget the raw desserts which are nutrient dense and absolutely delicious. The raw caramel slice it is out of this world!  

What’s your philosophy?

My philosophy is living a balanced life. As far as diets go I believe we are all different with individual needs and that’s why all our menus are designed to cater for every dietary need.

We should not compromise on the quality – I believe that the body is the most important asset in our life so we have to fuel our bodies with only the best, most natural ingredients as close to nature – money well spent is money on good quality natural  food - that is looking after your future. Eating well is like a well planned retirement plan. What is in your retirement food bank now??

Who is your customer?

Our customers vary from  families, professionals , foodies,  celebrity chefs,  hard core organics, people with dietary requirements, health conscious and educated towards better lifestyle choices. We have had a recent increase of ‘newbies’ that are trying out our stores  and the response has been great - we have very competitive prices in organic products called “ GOOD STUFF FOR LESS”. These prices are lower or equivalent to other big chain supermarkets. New customers cannot believe that the organic lifestyle is much more accessible nowadays. As organic farming becomes a larger industry in Australia, prices will continue to fall, and we are dedicated to supporting local growers, increasing demand and lowering prices of organic food for everyone. The stigma of organic and natural food being expensive is really not true at all.

What’s your most popular dish from the cafe?

This has to be egg nourishment - it really is the most delicious dish and avery satisfying start to the day. Organic quinoa scrambled with organic eggs, served in a bowl with cherry tomatoes, kale and raw pesto topped with flaxseeds. We have so many customers re-creating this recipe that we have included it in our wholefoods for wellness cook book.

How important is locally sourced food?

Well, luckily for us (and all Sydneysiders) some of the best organically grown produce is grown within a couple of hours drive from the city. A lot of the time, the farmers themselves jump in their ute with their muddy boots and drop off all their gorgeously fresh fruit and veg to us still wet with the dew from that morning - it doesn’t get much fresher than that! At Aboutlife we support a lot of small local farmers that we have close and extensive relationships with – about 60% of our fresh produce is certified organic and the rest is chemical free local produce.

How do you personally begin and end your day?

In the morning I religiously have a glass of warm water with lemon and probiotics – digestive system is very important to overall health, it  is where immunity is built so looking after your gut makes sense.

I end my day in bed with Zinc- no that is not name of my boyfriend ha!, a warm cup of herbal calming tea and a good book.

How important is food to nurture the body and soul?

Very important. When we eat food that complements our composition we feel at our best- we feel happy, healthy, full of energy,  strong, determined,  clear minded and more creative. By choosing natural ingredients, chemical free, hormone and antibiotics free, we not only nurture our body and soul, we also support the welfare of animals and nature. It is important that we care for our environment – we are only renting this planet not owning it so we have to take care of it! At Aboutlife we have 0% tolerance to food wastage – food waste has a big impact on the environment and we feel very passionate about reducing our impact on the planet.

Has eating right become as much of a holistic practice as yoga has for example?

I would say even more holistic – food has always brought families and people together – through food we can extend love and connect with one to another. In the last few decades buying food has become more convenient, with many products pre-packaged ready to go. Everyone knows how they feel when they have fast pre-packaged breakfast versus a good nutritious meal - more people now understand the value of eating right and are ready to go  back to basics, enjoying natural food.

Would you agree that we are on the cusp of a wellbeing revolution? 

YES! The revolution has started! It is obvious through media that there is so much information out there – and so many health and wellness experts are voicing messages of wellbeing and eating well – it is all about spreading the passion and education on eating wholefoods. More than half of Australian consumers are tired of being told what not to eat and are instead looking for a more constructive guidance to assist their food and beverage choices – that is where our FOOD PROMISE comes in. Aboutlife guarantees NO ARTIFICIAL PRESERVATIVES,, NO ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERSNO ARTIFICIAL FATSNO ARTIFICIAL COLOURSNO HYDROGENATED OILS, NO BLEACHED FLOUR NO ANTIBIOTICS OR GROWTH HORMONES IN OUR FRESH MEAT, SEAFOOD OR DAIRY

People are sick and tired of felling sick and tired – good clean nutrition is the key to wellbeing

Brown Rice Nourishing Bowl

Brown Rice Nourishing Bowl

Brown Rice Nourishing Bowl - VG, V, WG

Serves 2

Ingredients

3 cups brown rice, cooked

1 cup red onion, diced

3 cups mixed green vegetables –snow peas, green beans,

Broccoli and kale

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp tamari

Juice of one lemon

2 tbsps raw tahini dressing (see page 36)

2 sheets dried nori, torn into small pieces

2 tbsps white sesame seeds

Preparation

Sauté onion in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and cooked brown rice and stir until heated through. Add green vegetables and tamari and mix well. To finish, fold through the kale, making sure you keep your vegetables crunchy. Squeeze lemon juice over the rice. Add a drizzle of raw tahini dressing and top with sesame seeds and nori pieces.

Serving Suggestion:

To make this dish creamy we have added raw tahini dressing. Tahini can be used as a spread on toast, in salad dressings or in a smoothie. It adds a nutty flavour and is full of calcium.