When I heard that nutritionist/author/happy person Lola Berry was coming to Westfield Knox as part of its health and wellness weekend, I used my media contacts to organise a meeting (insert sneaky laugh here).
She cooked up some blueberry muffin smoothies and halva “brain balls” for the crowd and signed books and took photos with fans.
She also spent 10 minutes chatting to me, which could have been longer, really!
I’m a fan, and she was so lovely. So here is the 10 minutes I spent with her, talking health, food, and her crazy busy life!
Hello! So first: what have you been up to?
That question always gets me because I live day by day and I can tell you what hotel I stayed at last night, but what have I done?
I’ve finished shooting book number eight, I’ve got a new book coming out November 1 so I’m kinda in book mode in my mind at the moment.
I’ve also been to LA and been at my smoothie bar (Happy Place by Lola Berry)
I have so much respect for ppl who run businesses. I took it for granted, and I thought I’d be fine.
The first two weeks after opening I think I was living on two to four hours sleep a night because a manuscript was due and we were opening. I really wanted to be there, hands on deck, in that first chunk.
Now I always try to get down there (to the smoothie bar) and be around and it’s really cool to be there.
Opening a smoothie bar in winter was a good lesson. We had to really think about things like turmeric lattes and bone broths, to cater for a really cold town.
Turmeric lattes are one of our biggest sellers, and we have mushroom lattes, which are good for the immune system; beetroot and hibiscus lattes.
Bone broth is also popular, then the salted caramel smoothie, which is insane, and the pumpkin pie smoothie as well.
If I feel like breakfast, the “I love oprah” smoothie is awesome, and infused with flower essences.
And everyone gets a crystal.
Are you going to open any other smoothie bars?
Site two is looking like Melbourne, then Sydney, then I’d love to open one in LA – that’s my goal.
The next one will be in the city, but I’d love to see it somewhere like here (Westfield Knox) though, I think it would be great.
I want to make it accessible to everyone, not just people who live on south side or anything like that. Everyone should be able to access the happy place!
What do you like most about doing these cooking demos?
It’s just really nice to meet people. I can talk underwater so it’s just another chance for me to talk really.
I don’t do many food demos. I get booked more for speaking, about motivation and health. So it’s nice to mix it up and get in and it’s also awesome to show people how bloody easy it can be to be healthy – sorry to swear – how easy it can be to be healthy. So I do like that.
What’s your favourite ingredient to cook with?
Can I have one sweet and one savoury?
I probably couldn’t live without avocado, so I love making crispy salmon with avocado salad, that’s like my go-to.
My favourite other thing is probably blueberries, because I use them every single morning in my smoothies.
I’m a bit of an OCD person so I have the same thing a lot, even though you’re not meant to. For health reasons it’s better to mix up what you eat, but i just love this berry smoothie that I make every morning.
Then if I need a treat at night time and I wanna stay really healthy, I’ll just get a bowl of strawbs, blueberries and raspberries and melt down coconut oil with some raw cacao, cinnamon and a few drops of stevia and turn it into a sugar-free treat. I just melt that over the top of the berries.
What’s the most common foods you get asked about?
Do you know, the most common thing I get asked is what dress am I wearing? Or about my braids.
People more want to know what do I cook the most. They want to know what I’m doing at home.
I love brussel sprouts, they’re so yum. I make an omelette up and chop them into discs so it looks like baby cabbage, saute them off, then add kale, eggs.
What’s your top tip for someone who wants to get a bit healthier?
My first thing would be switch to real or whole ingredients as opposed to packet stuff.
If you buy something packet and it has fifty million ingredients in it, it feels like you’re in Year 12 chemistry class with words you don’t understand.
There’s a good chance that food can outlive you and it’s not going to nourish you.
You want to come back to real food the body can thrive on. Don’t worry about being on a diet, don’t worry about following any plan, just switch to real unprocessed food.
There’s that famous saying – buy from the outside of the supermarket.
I don’t know about you, but when I eat something processed, which I definitely slip up and do from time to time, then I know about it. I feel rubbish the next day.
Well, I have read your story and get a lot of inspiration from it!
Thank you! My rule is just to be real. I’m going to have stuff-up days and fall off the wagon. I’ve fallen off the wagon loads.
I’ve openly spoken about having different types of eating disorders as well. I’m not about hiding my past because I think that just hopefully that’s something people can go “I’ve had stuff-up days too” or “sometimes I don’t like the way I talk to myself, too”. So my whole motto is just to be real.
If that inspires people then job done; I’m rapt.
Photos: Ben Johnson from Capturepoint Media.