We talk superfoods, fad diets and finding balance with clean eating gurus and Pollen+Grace founders, Steph Johnson and Kris Komlosiova.
Getting in shape for summer? Ditch the strict diet because we’ve found a better way. Pollen+Grace is the London’s new health food delivery service which is helping busy nine-to-fivers feel their best possible selves.
Handmade Pollen+Grace breakfasts, lunches and snacks not only fill your body with energy-boosting nutrients, they taste amazing too, and can be ordered in a jiffy straight to your desk. Dishes have been designed to help you make healthy and sustainable food choices long-term, to avoid fad diets and to give you a more convenient option if you can’t escape your desk. All dishes are free from gluten, wheat, dairy and refined sugars, plus they’re approved by an in-house nutritionist.
But what exactly is clean eating? Does fat really make you fat? And how can raw foods benefit us? We caught up with Pollen+Grace founders, Steph Johnson and Kris Komlosiova, to find out.
Could you tell us a bit about your background and what inspired you to create Pollen+Grace?
For as long as I can remember, my world has revolved around food. Once of my earliest memories was actually trying to decide what I’d call my restaurant when I grew up – at age six. So I always knew my career would be in food, what I didn’t know was that it would be healthy food! Straight out of school I completed my apprenticeship as a chef in Australia working in fine dining French restaurants – queue A LOT of butter. Fast forward to four years ago and I discovered through health issues that I was intolerant to wheat, gluten and dairy.
I had to completely change the way I ate and cooked, I also had to cook absolutely everything for myself because back then there were no options I could pick up on the go. I’ve also always had the dream of starting my own business, so when all my colleges and friends started asking me if I’d make them lunch too, I had the lightbulb moment. My aim at the time, which is still our aim today is to create healthy, truly delicious food which is accessible to everyone.
Can you name a few of your favourite Pollen+Grace dishes?
I am obsessed with our RAW Beauty Bar and our new Mango + Turmeric Chia pot which will be part of our new collection launching in May. My favourite lunch has to be our Probiotic Box – it really helps keep my digestive system in check.
What does ‘clean eating’ mean exactly? Do you think it’s a fad?
To me, clean eating means eating 100% natural food, which hasn’t been processed and without any preservatives or additives. I think the term ‘clean eating’ is a fad which has had a lot of negative backlash because of the extreme ways in which people have approached or marketed the concept. I don’t think that healthy eating is a fad though – people are now more educated on what our bodies need, and the benefits of it.
What are the benefits of raw food?
By eating raw foods you preserve the nutritional value of the food. Through the cooking/heating process, important nutrients and antioxidants can get destroyed reducing the full nutritional value/benefits. Eating raw means your body can better absorb and benefit from the nutrients in the food.
There’s been a lot written about fat in the news recently – does fat really make you fat?
Despite fat having more calories per gramme than protein or carbohydrates, diets that are high in fat do not make people fat. In human experiments, those who ate high-fat diets had a much faster metabolism. Low-fat, high-carb diets spiked insulin, subsequently slowing their metabolism and storing belly fat. The higher-fat diet group had a faster metabolism, even eating the same amount of calories. We should eat a quality fat, whole-food diet that’s lower in refined carbohydrates, low-glycemic and high in fibre. That plan would include healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds and eggs.
Do we really need to get 10 fruits and veggies a day?
In our opinion, the more the merrier! By eating whole-food diets it’s amazing how easy this is.
Which superfoods should we incorporate into our diets?
At the moment, we’re excited about ‘adaptogens’ superfoods, they aren’t the most well-known of superfoods but have huge benefits. The word ‘adaptogen’ refers to the fact that these foods help you to adapt to stressors better and bring balance to your body by heightening what needs to come up and lowering what needs to come down. This is particularly helpful for those living a busy and stressful city life. We’re using Ashwagandha powder a lot in our new range, as we feel that balance is exactly what busy Londoners need more of.
What are your favourite in-season ingredients for spring and summer?
For spring it has to be asparagus, and for summer its peaches – actually ALL the stone fruits.
Do you have any luxury kitchen gadgets you can’t live without?
Without a doubt – my Magimix and Vitamix.