Addictive Wellness Chocolate with Sage & AnnaBlanca
I loved spending time with these two, the makers of Addictive Wellness Chocolate! It's a raw sugar-free chocolate filled with herbal adaptogens and medicinal mushrooms, currently with three different flavors. Energy, Beauty and Tranquility, each containing its own blend of herbs. We ate lots of yummy chocolate and had a refreshing probiotic aloe drink recipe that they share below! Ojai was the setting for this magical meeting, with a beautiful view of the valley and mountains for sunset. You will find photos below documenting the process of making this wonderful drink, and our fun times together!!
What does Dessert Medicine mean to you?
Sage: I love it! It means we get to have the most amazing life having our cake and eating it too! Its possible to create the most exquisite treats to delight the senses, enliven the spirit, and add so much happiness into life while simultaneously doing deep powerful work on our physical, mental, and spiritual health so we can just have the most incredible experience in both the short and long term.
AB: I love that you came up with that term Julia! It really embodies the philosophy of our every day lives, not to mention our business concept as well. Allow me to quote a great mind of the last century, Mary Poppins who said “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, in a most delightful way!” Well, we are just expanding and even surpassing this very same idea. We take the most beneficial tonic herbs in the world and trojan-horse them into treats that are truly enjoyable to consume. Often I have ice cream for breakfast and it has more life enhancing effect on my body than half a bottle of multivitamins.
How have herbs and superfoods inspired your vision, personal and professional?
Sage: For 18 years I didn’t know that herbs and superfoods existed. What a revelation it was when I found out how life enhancing they can be! I really had no idea that I could feel this good all the time. And of course, the better I felt, the more inspired I was to research deeper and continue learning more and more to help myself and hopefully help others to live their own version of the ultimate life. This whole health lifestyle has led me to evolve and grow as a person, but certain herbs in particular, such as reishi mushroom, have had profound spiritual effects on me. Anyone who hasn’t had the experience of taking a good dose of a potent reishi for extended periods of time has yet to discover the true power of this herb! When you build your mind and body from these herbs and superfoods, you feel limitless, so naturally you dream bigger! When I was 17, my dream was to finish college and go to work as a mid-level employee for a surf clothing company, which would have been deeply unfulfilling. Instead now, I’m building my dream company and loving the adventure!
AB: I was traveling the world for many years, working for several different companies and having a time of my life but slowly, undeniably I was burning out. You cannot be switched on 100% of the time, adjust to different time zones day in and day out, spend half of your life on airplanes, eat foods that you are able to find when you get hungry and dine out at different restaurants all the time without damaging your health. Eventually I moved back to LA and became part of the crowd that hang out at the famous Erewhon Tonic Bar. That is where I got the tonic-bug and once I got a taste of my own health potential there was no turning back. I was there every day, learning and eating and drinking and learning more. It was incredible. My life was changing to levels I never even dreamt it could. It was by this bar where Sage and I met as well and the rest is history.
My introduction to tonic herbs and superfoods expanded my horizons, uplifted my heart, my mind, my spirit, improved the health of my family, brought the ultimate love into my life and simultaneously lead to a meaningful and purposeful business opportunity for us as well.
Tell me about Addictive Wellness, how did you come up with the concept and what are your goals with the company?
Sage: It was really quite a natural evolution from my previous projects setting up elixir bars in 5-star hotels in Paris and Sydney. Those were both amazing experiences introducing the novel concept of healthy indulgence to the market of world travelers. I realized that creating a retail product would allow me to reach even more people and open them up to this amazing lifestyle. I had first learned how to make raw chocolate from the grandmaster himself, David Wolfe many years ago in Costa Rica and over the years I had been getting better and better with my skills in both chocolate making and herbal alchemy and the two kept co-evolving. Then when AnnaBlanca and I started dating, she really inspired me to take it to the next level. Goes to show- good things can really happen when you inject love into the equation!
AB: So I met this guy who was a yogi-surfer-herbalist-chocolatemaker-dreamboat and I was having a blast with him. Naturally… I mean he was making me the best chocolates I have ever had in my life! We were having so much fun we realized we make a pretty awesome team together no matter what project we dipped our toes into. Things progressed with our plans and as you can see, no scary stories about startup companies were able to deter us and we embarked on the adventure of “Addictive Wellness”.
Our goal is having no limits. Yes, that statement may sounds like an oxymoron but we have so many more ideas of what we would like to add to our lines of offerings! We want to keep seeing those incredible smiles when someone tastes our chocolate for the first time…..
I know you love the sugar-free style desserts, what propelled you into that idea?
Sage: Healthy savory food is awesome, but I really love desserts. So naturally once I realized that healthy dessert was possible, I wanted to figure out how to eat healthy dessert three meals a day with no downside! (Side note: This was part of my learning journey- I do believe that it is wise to have foods of all flavors, not just sweet. Most of my personal diet now is more on the savory side.) If you’re having dessert all day and it’s sweetened with honey or coconut palm sugar, the sugar just becomes too much. Of course honey has some amazing healing properties, but dose is a very important factor.
Actually, the story goes back a little further… before I got into health, I took antibiotics every day for 5 years to control teenage skin problems. I didn’t know any better and I guess the doctors didn’t either. As you can imagine, this left me with some pretty intense candida and bacterial imbalance. Removing all sources of sugar in my diet was a huge part of regaining control as I consumed tons of probiotics and fermented foods to reintroduce the beneficial bacteria to my body. Over the course of this adventure, (less than 5g of sugar per day for about 18 months) I realized that I actually prefer the way my mind and body function without sugar. Once I trained my body to burn healthy fats as an alternative fuel, I found that they provided me with more stable energy as well as greater focus and mental clarity. The possibility of slowing aging by minimizing glycation is very attractive to me as well. So these days my diet is high fat, medium protein, low carb- basically I’ll have a little fruit or sweet potatoes a few times a week. Everyone’s body is unique though, so we each have to seek out our best point of balance.
AB: I think Sage made a very interesting point. Most people will only make a definitive diet choice to change their lives if there is a very strong reason to do so. I was no exception!
We all need to move away and also move towards something to make a lasting change and I had to find what were these motivators for me.
When I moved to Japan my biological terrain was so different from the locals’ that I got both bacterial and parasitic infections that weakened my entire system. I also thought I could live on pizza, ice cream, whipped cream, bagels, cakes, touristy sushi, the sadly crappy kind…and wouldn’t pay a price. I thought I was in charge but I was on a slippery slope to be incredibly unwell.
I was developing disturbing symptoms and after a year long search I finally I found a great health practitioner in LA (Feline Kondula, Nutrikon.com) whose gentle but hyper effective care eventually put me back on track. After studying my test results we discovered I was only a couple of years away from developing Type II diabetes, and, for good measure, she also found my intensely overgrown candida.
Outside I was still looking good but inside, not surprisingly, I was a serious mess. It was hard work to get out of the clutches of sugar and claim my health back. Heavy sugar consumption is an addiction and many people need help to break away.
Can you tell me about the last dessert you made, and what inspires you?
Sage: I made a neon-yellow turmeric chai ice cream- one of my favorites! I use a super-potent turmeric extract powder that is very high in curcumin and I really notice the anti-inflammatory benefits the next morning during my yoga practice.
I love being able to open people up to a world of possibilities that they previously never even knew existed in terms of health, peak-performance, and culinary ecstasy. Being able to impress people with something you can make in the kitchen brings great satisfaction, but of course it would be pretty disappointing if this was my deepest driving motivation in life! There’s two main things that really drive me on the deepest level- an innate curiosity for the mystery and adventure of life and a desire to improve the world by protecting nature and helping people to cultivate more love and compassion so that we can all experience heaven on Earth.
AB: I have to admit I am not the creative force in our culinary dessert creations ;-)
I cook our lunches and dinners, spend time mostly doing the savory dishes and Sage is the one who is the blender and otherwise inspired chef in the family! My creating forces would go as far as scooping some of our mixed chocolate flakes into a cup, cover them with coconut whipped cream and I am good to go! LOL… So Julia, you have absolutely no idea how much I admire your genius when I open up one of your cookbooks. They are absolutely ridiculously amazing. I am planning to make one of your cakes soon! (just need to find a bit of free time… ;-)
Give me three words of wisdom for those on the herbal path.
Sage: Learn from nature. Everything that we are now re-learning either through modern science or passed down from ancient tradition was originally figured out by shamans and sages through their connection with and observation of their natural surroundings. This raw source of knowledge is still out there and available to all of us and shouldn’t be taken for granted!
AB: Heart, Intuition, Guidance… Heart: you must love what you are taking into your body, soul and mind. You have to accept and love it. Intuition: not everything works for everyone and would not work in the same way. Listen to your own intuition and dose it as you feel you need it. These are not pharmaceutical drugs so no doctor will yell at you if you won’t finish your antibiotics. The herbs have higher intelligence and will work with you. Guidance: if you need advice, ask for it! Within our world/ vortex of amazing, open hearted guys and girls there is always someone who can answer you. If you need to ask, don’t hesitate. Knowledge is power and you need to learn before you can take charge of your own health and life. It is good to ask for guidance so you can find that path faster.
You work as a couple, how does that dynamic feed you and the growth of your business?
Sage: It’s so great to be able to work together. We actually sit side by side at the same desk. On a personal level, it’s really special because for me, AnnaBlanca is like dessert medicine in human form! We can cuddle and kiss anytime we want, which is both sweet and medicinal in terms of the hormonal health benefits. Plus she’s incredibly talented when it comes to keeping me laughing all the time!
Its also great for the business because we have very complementary skill sets and things that we enjoy doing. Whenever a challenge comes up, we are always able to devise the perfect tag-team approach to sail smoothly right through it.
AB: Our partnership is the greatest adventure of my entire life. I never knew this kind of relationship existed. Yes, we do kiss and cuddle a lot, even in the office so thank god we are our own bosses or it would get problematic! (giggle) Although one can argue that it is such a great way to diffuse startup company-stress! LOL
Those who know us and seen us in action say that we are really a great team and it is fun just watching how we handle things together, how we divide and conquer tasks, share our individual knowledge and constantly learn from one another. We also have great communication and even if we approach an issue and would not agree at first how to tackle it, very quickly we find a great compromise without much challenge. Not sure how that happens but we are happy that our private life and business life are equally smooth.
Probiotic Beauty Margarita
Makes 4 servings
Blend the following ingredients on high:
Inner gel of 1 large aloe leaf
1 teaspoon Turmeric Extract Powder
1 small piece of fresh ginger
4 dropperfulls Dragon Herbs Goji & Schizandra Drops
Juice of 1 medium size lemon
1 large pinch Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Custom Probiotics 6 Strain Formulation
2 bottles Kevita Mojita Probiotic Drink
25 drops Omica Sweet Blossom Stevia
Serve in glasses, and chill if desired.
Learn more about Addictive Wellness >> HERE