July 15, 2020
Meet Georgie - Mindful Foods
Next in our mindful conversations series to celebrate Plastic Free July we talk to Georgie of Mindful Foods.
Leading by example and striving to create a better future this inspiring foodie is creating healthy solutions that connect you to the earth, and improve your energy and overall wellbeing.
Expand your world by delving into the conversation we had with this exciting change maker...
WHAT WAS THE CATALYST FOR LEAVING THE CITY AND CREATING MINDFUL FOODS?
The catalyst for leaving the city - Nature.
I needed wide open spaces on which to gaze. I needed to feel the calm in my being by passing grazing cattle or horses. I needed the dramatic landscape of rolling hills or bush soothing my eyeballs every day! Cityscapes just were not cutting it for me. A few of my friends recognised my awe whenever we went bush, and their reflection helped me make the move to Byron.
I am so fortunate to now live in Possum Creek, where there are horses in the fields surrounding my house, a creek which I pass by on the way to work (and occasionally splash my face with), wide-open spaces, rolling hills, and an organic vegie garden. My being feels more settled here, and I am grateful I finally made the move.
The catalyst for creating Mindful Foods was the joy in making and sharing good food with friends. Pretty simple. Actually I didn’t set out to start a business. I just joined a food co-op where I could buy and share organic food and my home-made granola. But it was very well received by the community there, and requests kept rolling in. My desire to share more and more meant I had to make a “business” out of it. So I did. I went to the health food shops, “spreading the good mues!” one by one, and still do to this day!
HOW HAS MINDFUL FOODS EVOLVED?
We started in our home kitchen, making food we like to eat, sharing it with friends.
We still make food in a kitchen, that we like to eat, and share it with friends - some of the friends we just haven’t met yet!
And we do it on a much bigger scale to fill all those hungry mouths!
Now we hire a kitchen, as well as a crew to help us out, and we put a fair bit of effort in making new friends! These new friends are the legendary store owners who believe in us! We nourish that relationship, and they nourish theirs with the customers/regulars who shop at their store.
We have expanded our range from a humble 2 lines of activated organic granolas to 4. Then we added 7 types of activated nuts, 1 sprinkle, 4 teas, 5 nutrient powders,
4 snacks “munchies”, the Mindful Pantry (30+ staples, superfoods and spices), and soon, a range of Native Nut Butter Clusters for breaky, or for snacking.
We have lots of other ideas, but we need to take our time in developing them – and making sure we can keep up!!
We have always used reusable, refillable, glass jars, but in 2019, we transitioned all our refill bags to compostable bags, as the technology just then became available in Australia. So no more plastic in our packaging. Woohoo! That was always our goal.
We also have been focussing more on Australian grown produce, and have searched high and low for organic, sustainable farmers that we can work with. We have recently found Aussie farmers for walnuts, buckwheat and sunflower seeds. We’re using native Australian bush foods in our new clusters, and have chosen to have our labels printed either in house, or in Australia.
We have evolved in so many other ways, from 2 kids in the kitchen, to managing a team, to the way we structure our days, creating systems, etc, but that’ll do for now!
WHAT INSPIRES YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS AND DRIVES INNOVATION OF PRODUCTS IN YOUR RANGE?
Haha, yes honestly, and the desire to have nutritious, flavoursome, HEALTHY food!
This is a big question and I feel a little daunted by being able to succinctly give insight into the process. But I will give it a go!
I am often inspired by something I see or taste, that I know I could make healthier, more nutritious, and tastier.
Take for example – chips. Yummy right? Crunchy, salty, mmm, but they’re a treat food that don’t leave you feeling awesome.
So I think, how can I get that same satisfaction of the crunch, or the saltiness, but make it wholesome, and nourish my body? Our munchies, for example, are my salty chip alternative. A super snackable, nutritious crunchy morsel that goes ridiculously well with a beverage or cheezeboard.
We play with iterations of flavours until the cows come home, to get the balance just right. We trust our intuition, our tastebuds and our bellies. How does that flavour sit in the mouth? Does it need more spice? Garlic? Tang? Saltiness? Smoothness? How does that feel in my belly?
We’re also inspired by different cuisines from around the world, food we eat when out, or dream up in some saucy conversation.
“Oooh this is great, can you imagine it with xyz??” Ya know, get creative!
“Maybe lemon myrtle…. with payaya and coconut! Or coffee with wattleseed, date and hazelnut. Caramelly.. mm”
Sometimes I dream or day-dream flavour combos or ideas. Like the Nut Butter Clusters range, that was a 5am download. Haha! I’m sure James does the same. We’re foodies at heart.
It’s what brought us together, and I hope Mindful Foods philosophy infiltrates nursing homes and food delivery services, so we can have good wholesome food when we’re old n grey.
So in a nutshell… what inspires creativity and innovation of our nom noms… Our hearts, minds and tongues! And of course… the happiness we see in the faces of those who eat it!
WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
Because it is flowing right through me, wanting to be expressed.
I was born with these eyes, this creative mind, these capable hands, these lips, this belly, these tastebuds - and they are to be honoured!
I enjoy building relationships, feeling good in my body, having awesome food to eat and share, having a creative outlet, and pouring my heart and soul into something that brings great joy and wellness beyond my immediate surroundings.
But this Mindful thang.. has a life of its own! In some ways, I am merely the vessel.
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO LOW-MAINTENANCE RECIPE GUARANTEED TO BE A CROWD PLEASER?
Sparkling mineral water with a splash of apple cider vinegar and a squeeze of lemon.
Accompanied by any of our savoury munchies – Teriyaki, Korean BBQ or Chipotle. Nom.
Tri-coloured quinoa with roast vegies (must include roasted garlic!), avocado, tahini dressing, sprinkled with yummy beans or tha munchies (if any are left in the aperitif bowl!), tossed with lots of fresh greens from the garden.
And for dessert.
Coconut yoghurt with fresh fruit, sprinkled with hemp seeds, cacao nibs, Chocolate Davidson Plum Clusters or Maple Munchies. Tops!
HAVE YOU SET YOURSELF A PLASTIC FREE JULY CHALLENGE?
Yes, I am designing the packaging for another product line, in fully compostable, plastic-free packaging. I am testing the moisture barrier with a range of different brands, to see which retains the integrity (crunchiness) of the product the best.
I phased plastic out of all Mindful Foods packaging, as well as in my personal life last year, so I am continuing to stay committed to this in 2020 and beyond! It’s takes a little extra effort, and is a bit more costly, but my conscience is clear.
I choose to shop at the local farmers market, and local grocery shops, and keep a stash of jars in my car at all time so I can ask cafes to fill them up with juice etc instead of a throw-away cup. When Covid-appropriate of course.
IF YOU COULD REDESIGN THE FOOD PYRAMID WITHOUT ANY DIRE HEALTH CONSEQUENCES HOW WOULD IT LOOK?
1) I’d definitely put filtered chlorine-free water as the base necessity! 3-4L per day. (With a squeeze of lemon in it for absorption.)
2) Next up, a WIDE array of seasonal vegies as the next solid base! Pumpkin, beetroot, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplants, carrots, zucchinis, leafy greens, onion, garlic, heaps of herbs like parsley, coriander, oregano, basil, thyme.
3) Next tier up, Protein, like organic GMO-free tempeh and tofu, eggs, Aussie hemp seeds, and tri-coloured quinoa.
4) Animal-free fats like avocados, raw extra virgin olive oil, coconut flesh, nuts, seeds.
5) Seeds like quinoa, buckwheat, and linseeds. These are base essentials for making gluten-free breads and crackers. Which is a sometimes food that is deeply satisfying and delicious.
6) Legumes like lentils and beans.
7) Fruits, mainly sub-acid fruits like papaya, blueberries, poached apples, and pears.
8) Then I’d go gluten-free grains, like rice (and rice flour – which is good for GF baking), sorghum, uncontaminated oats, and millet. I keep away from glutenous foods mainly for my own health reasons and digestive health. Having gluten in my diet has never made a positive impact on my health– aside from short term happiness of a chocolate croissant!
9) Then I’d put sugars and treats in the smallest tier. There’s a place for it yo~! I like eating cashew ice-cream sweetened with maple syrup or coconut nectar, home-made vegan chocolate, and the occasional chocolate croissant! If my diet is 95% clean, my body can handle the occasional vice. Let’s be real! And not deny ourselves the odd dopamine trigger! Haha. But also let’s be real about it and not "treat" ourselves every day, twice a day! Depending on the treat, it can vary from once a day, to once a week or fortnight.
I feel to add a bit about my vice…
My vice is my home-made chocolate…!
I sweeten it slightly with maple syrup and use ceremonial grade cacao, cacao butter, salt, spices, and activated nuts. I LOVE sharing it with my friends and colleagues, and it has a life of its own, by spreading joy and pleasure to those who receive it. I must admit, I consume it most days. And I’m ok with that. 😊
THE FIVE SONGS EVERYONE SHOULD LISTEN TO RIGHT NOW ARE…
# 1 for sure. The finishing – Stavros EPIC!
Mr Answer Man – Dub Princess
Nectar Drop – DJ Drez
We’re never apart – Nick Mulvey
Pain and misery – The Teskey Brothers
Or stay connected with this delectable community at @mindfulfoods