[ Interview by Alex Pole ]
[ Photographs by Emma Groom ]
A hero ignites a dormant passion within you and inspires you to act upon it. My hero, Dr Libby Weaver, was the catalyst not only for my health but also for Honest Organics.
The Honest Organics story goes a little something like this: as a University student, I had no clue about the impact food had on the human body. I had constant stomach pains, average skin and mouth ulcers. After many trips to the doctor and rounds of antibiotics for non-existent stomach infections, one doctor mentioned a gluten-free diet and exploring a diet for irritable bowel syndrome.
Fast forward to my 21st birthday, the marker of my final gluten day (the cake was too epic to say no to!) and the day my diet changed for the better. My first gluten-free summer coincided with discovering Dr Libby’s book, Rushing Woman’s Syndrome, and her message struck a chord. After becoming obsessed with all things health, I contacted her team and learnt about the volunteer programme at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in Australia, where Dr Libby was a nutritionist.
Post Gwinganna and University, I began studying with the Naturopathic College of NZ, yet stopped due to Honest Organics and working.
Although my lifestyle got healthier, my gut still wasn’t 100 percent, so I ended up seeing a dietitian and embarking on a Low Fodmap diet. Basically, this removes fermentable carbohydrates from the diet. My body malabsorbs fructans (found in things like chickpeas, lentils, garlic, onion and so on).
After University and Gwinganna, I started Honest Organics at the Farmers Market because I couldn’t find many on-the-go, refined sugar-free, gluten-free and organic food items. The original item I was validating at the market was a chia seed-based breakfast bowl, topped with seed cereal. People demanded the seed cereal, so I sold that separately and it has really taken off. I am no longer at the market, but sell online and the product is about to become more readily available.
I hope to grow Honest Organics into a go-to health brand for New Zealanders. I want New Zealanders to be involved in growing this brand into something people want to be a part of. The brand will expand to become a lifestyle brand.