selection-holy-berry-products

Kickstart your day with our 3 new, feel good Açai bowl mixes

Hurray, hurray, there they are at last! Blood, sweat and the occasional tear (from Stephen) this project has cost us but we are very proud of the result: 3 delicious Açai bowl mixes with which you can conjure up your favorite Açai dish on the table in less than 3 minutes. Why the development of this range was so challenging, we tell you briefly in this blog.

The Açai berry challenge

Açai, a fantastic berry species with a special nutritional profile. The berries grow wild in the Amazon forest, which helps explain why this primordial berry is so nutritious. What nutrients there are in Açai, we do not have to repeat here. We have already dedicated a whole page to it on our website (about Açai).
You can vary endlessly with these top berries and they are so nutritious that hunger will stay away for hours. BUT … there is one aspect of Açai that poses a great challenge: in less than a day after picking, the berries are spoiled.
Specifically, there is not a minute to waste during the processing process. Picking, pitting and freezing the Açai pulp or grinding it into powder. It goes so fast that even many Brazilians (who have the Açai palms in their backyard, so to speak) have never eaten fresh Açai.

De Açai pack challenge

If you are reading this blog, you may have already heard, seen or tasted our Açai pulp packs.
These are the Holy Berry originals, for the Açai pioneers of the first hour. They come in 2 varieties: 100g packs with pure Açai pulp and 100g packs with Açai pulp and some guarana juice. The packs are the size of an average cell phone and when they come out of the freezer they are so hard that you could smash a door with them. Making an Açai bowl with these packs is not difficult, you just have to get the hang of it. Here’s a well thought out tip: Let the packs thaw for about 5 to 10 minutes before you start working with them. From the moment you can break the pulp into the pack, the pack is “ready to mix” and the preparation goes very smoothly. You mix this semi-frozen Açai pulp with other (fresh or frozen) fruit and some juice or vegetable yoghurt (/milk) to a delicious fresh and creamy whole that you finish off with granola and other toppings. You can also let such a packet melt, then it becomes more like an Açai coulis, which you can easily mix under yogurt, oatmeal, add to a smoothie or…. pour into your mouth in one gulp (yes, there are people who actually do this). These 100g Açai pulp packs can be found in most health food stores (check our points of sale) and are the real deal for anyone who wants to build their Açai bowl in complete freedom.

Our challenge

Now this all seems easy and stress-free but from the many testimonials, questions and “cries for help” it doesn’t always seem that way. People, at home or in the kitchen of a restaurant, are sometimes so enthusiastic or in a hurry when making an Açai bowl that mixing the frozen Açai pulp sometimes causes some problems. Well, dear (impatient) Açai lovers, for this situation we wanted to find a solution.
We took a close look at the process and asked a few Açai addicts in our immediate surroundings which proverbial barriers they experience in the preparation of their favorite Açai dish and this was our top 4:
1. Either they didn’t let the pulp thaw enough which made mixing difficult or they let the pulp thaw too much which caused the granola they sprinkled on top to sink to the bottom of their bowl after 1 minute (read: too liquid).
2. There are many ways to cut open the bag of pulp but they still had not found the right way (result: clothes and kitchen full of Açai)
3. Choice stress or no choice: Which fruit do we add to the Açai?
4. Time is money and especially in the morning so points 1 to 3 are 3 too many.
Great success !
With this input we started experimenting, tasting and mailing back and forth to partners who could help us and yes, we did it! We developed 3 Açai products that are so easy to use that you can start your day full of energy but also completely zen.
We removed the first threshold by giving the Açai pulp its berry-like shape back. These Açai pulp balls mix so smoothly and are easy to proportion.
The second threshold has been eliminated even faster because now you can just cut open the bags and pour them out.
For the third threshold, we didn’t take any chances. The question “Which fruit goes best with Açai?” was answered differently by several people, which did not make the final choice any easier. What we did know for sure was that – for the 2 Açai bowl variants with other fruit – at least 2 thirds of the product had to consist of Açai. Only then do you get the health benefits of Açai and a delicious, strong, healthy drink.
And the fourth barrier was nicely wiped away by tackling the first three with the result that you can make delicious Açai bowls and smoothies for the whole family in less than 5 minutes!
All you have to do now is run to one of our Delhaize points of sale, choose from our 3 heavenly Açai bowl mixes andstart the morning full of healthy energy!

 

Interview with Miriam Melchers of Plant Ahead

Who? Miriam Melchers, founder van Plant Ahead

Where? Amsterdam

 

For our third interview we’ve chosen to go beyond the national borders, more specifically Amsterdam, to the wonderful story behind Plant Ahead. Because Açai is ideally eaten from beautiful coconut bowls (and on an idyllic beach), we often come into contact with brands that offer these bowls. However, it is very important to us that they are sustainable and not just a nice gadget on Instagram. Critically searching for the most sustainable yet beautiful coconut bowls, we ended up with Miriam and her company Plant Ahead. Read & get inspired!

ABOUT PLANT AHEAD

Hello Miriam, would you like to introduce yourself briefly?

My name is Miriam and I work every day to make the world a little more sustainable. I lecture on how to live sustainably, sell sustainable products and, as a partner in The Footprint Challenge, help companies and their employees to reduce their footprint.

I have been involved in sustainability for years, working for Tesla in California, among other things. It was then that I became aware of my impact on our planet and realised how much difference each individual can make, just by eating plant-based. After three years, I decided to return to Amsterdam to realise the dream of my own business and share my insights with others.

Why did you start up Plant Ahead?

From my passion for sustainable and plant-based living. I especially want the positive customer I want to highlight the positive side of plant-based and sustainable. It started with the sale of sustainable products including coconut bowls. The bowls are made from coconut flakes, a waste product of the coconut industry, which we give a new life as a beautiful bowl to be enjoyed every day. We have since expanded our collection with products such as coconut candle holders and straws, we organise cooking workshops together with a plant-based chef and I give workshops on how to live sustainably.

Plant Ahead has a double meaning. On the one hand, because I see a vegan future ahead before me. That, I believe, is the only way to guarantee a future for people at all. On the other hand, in order to realise this vegan future, we must plan ahead and not stay behind.

You motivate and inspire people to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle”. What does such a lifestyle entail?

A lifestyle in which you see yourself as part of the earth’s ecosystem. This means that you consume consciously and make decisions that are not only in your own interest but also in the interest of the planet. The ultimate goal is to Eco-Positive which means minimising your footprint and increasing your handprint – that is your positive impact on the planet. So you do more good than harm. Sounds good, no? [laughs]

You have a wonderful range of products, from coconut bowls to candles and straws. What makes your products so special? What is the common thread throughout your range?

Thank you (laughs). All my products are made of sustainable materials. They are handcrafted and given beautiful and unique designs by our local team in Vietnam. You literally bring a piece of nature into your home. With this, I want to show what beautiful things our planet has to offer. In addition, we work in a fair way, with fair prices for everyone in the process; From our farmers and craftsmen in Vietnam, to our Plant Ahead team in the Netherlands. In this way, I also want to set a new standard. Many products are far too cheap. And if you don’t pay the price, someone else will…

WELL-BEING & MORNING RITUAL

What does well-being mean to you?

For me, well-being means feeling healthy and happy. This is only possible if you take good care not only of yourself but also of the world around you. Our current lifestyle is often focused on wealth, economic growth and pressure to perform. But it’s already known that happiness does not increase proportionally with material things. On the contrary! More and more people suffer from stress, burn-outs and psychological complaints. I believe that nature is the basis for human well-being. And as nature gets more and more out of balance, people also get out of balance. We can counteract this by adapting our lifestyles and reducing our footprint. I can enjoy nature so much again now! We live on such a special planet and if you pay more attention to that, you automatically start making more conscious and better decisions.

How have you experienced this corona crisis so far?

Yes, what a strange time! At first, I did panic, because I followed the news from China and Italy closely and saw that the virus was also coming our way. At the same time I felt very strongly that this did not just happen, that Mother Earth has a clear message for us. The earth is slowly becoming exhausted. I hope that this crisis will bring about a lasting change. One thing is certain: we cannot continue to drive, fly, eat meat etc. this much. For me, this crisis has made me work even harder on my mission and it has also brought me a lot of peace. I’ve started to think more about the things that are really important and I go out into nature a lot more.

Do you have certain rituals, habits, … to keep cool during stressful times?

I have been doing a lot of personal development lately, because I am really a workaholic and can work non-stop. But I did not become an entrepreneur for nothing. I want to stay in control of my own life and therefore I want to create more peace and schedule time for that as well. For example, I really enjoy having a morning ritual, consciously taking a breath every now and then, doing a dance when I get stuck doing something or going for a mindful walk.

Do you have a morning ritual and if so, what does it look like?

Yes, for sure! I have had several international jobs over the past 10 years, but no matter where I was, and how busy I was, I always had a morning ritual to get ready for a busy day.

At the moment, I start the day with a glass of water with lemon juice and a coffee. Meanwhile, I watch the news. I often secretly check my e-mail but I’d rather not! Then I turn the music on and do a 30-minute HIIT workout. I immediately cross that off my To Do list. Then I jump in the shower, put on my working-from-home outfit and, with a healthy juice in my hand, open my laptop.

In weekends, I always make a breakfast bowl, like an Açai or other smoothie bowl. Served in a coconut bowl, of course. With a coffee on the side. Delicious, the combination of a strong hot coffee with a sweet cold breakfast bowl.

What is your favourite recipe with Açai?

Açai Bowls are really my favourite! When I lived in the US, I made a green Açai Bowl every day and at the weekend I always went somewhere to buy one. There are lots of smoothie and juice bars there, with the best Açai. In the Netherlands, I still find it difficult to find really good Açai. I hope Holy Berry will come to the Netherlands soon!My favourite recipe: Açai, banana, spinach, bimi broccoli, lemon juice, a bit of ginger and some vegetable milk. Start blending! En as topping some homemade granola with peanut butter. LOVE IT!

 

Discover the full range viathe Plant Ahead webshop or get started with Miriam’s delicious recipes (and no, they are not all Açai bowls :)).

ellen-charlotte-marie

Interview with Ellen Charlotte Marie. An inspiring healthy foodie and mom of 4.

Hey Ellen! Hi Ellen! Would you please introduce yourself?

I am Ellen Demeulemeester but most people know me by my Instagram name “Ellen Charlotte Marie”. These are my 3 names and since Ellen Demeulemeester was already taken when I started my food blog, I chose to use them. Not necessarily an exciting story, but that’s how it went (laughs). I am mainly into recipe creation, photography, styling, and writing books. I am now working on a new book, which is completely different from my previous books, but I would like to keep the topic secret for just a little while longer (laughs).

We are very curious to hear how it all started.

My blogging adventure started about 8 years ago when I started an Instagram page with mainly photos of my kids. It was a period in which I was very tired and I wanted to do something about it at all costs. I started looking for sources from which I could get energy and that’s how I ended up with my diet. Little by little, I started to change things in my diet and I started to eat more plant-based foods and really, I felt the effects immediately! I started experimenting a lot, and since I am a photographer by training, I was increasingly capturing my meals. And that is how the ball started to roll. So, we can speak of a hobby that got out of hand.

Your beautiful photos and tasty meals motivate people to cook delicious and, above all, healthy meals. Would you like to tell us more about your vision on nutrition?

In the beginning, I mainly wanted to eat as healthy as possible. My focus was on unprocessed food and on avoiding “empty” food. Gradually, this changed into eating plant-based food and now, I eat completely vegan. Through my photos and recipes, I want to show that eating as much plant-based food as possible only has advantages, both for their health and for the well-being of our planet. Because in addition to health, animal welfare and climate issues have also become increasingly important factors in my food choices. You can hardly be an environmental activist without also being vegan. I want to prove in a fun way that plant-based food is delicious, and above all that you don’t have to miss out on anything. And all of this without finger-pointing or without being too extreme. I want to raise awareness among the general public and make them think about the impact of their food choices.

In addition to your food blog, you have also published a couple of beautiful cookbooks. They are all little gems. One of them is called “One healthy family”. There you emphasize healthy food for the whole family. What was the motivation for writing this book?

The main motivation for writing this book was to share recipes that both young and old would enjoy, always with plant-based ingredients in the leading role. As I started to eat more and more plant-based, I realized like no other that it is not easy to cook a separate meal for each member of the family. The second reason was that I noticed in my environment that eating plant-based was often associated with having to miss out on dishes that you like. That is not the case at all! For example, you can make a perfect white “cheese sauce” but then completely plant-based, and also mashed potatoes can so easily be made vegan by using olive oil or vegetable butter instead of butter. You can also use a lot of vegetables in it to get extra vitamins. These are two vegan dishes, but they are very easy to make. You just replace the animal ingredients with a plant-based alternative, and that’s it. This may be a challenge at first, but if you take it one step at a time, it quickly becomes doable. After all, you can’t change everything from day one to day two, especially when you have children who join you at the table. Guiding and inspiring people to make this transition easy and fun, was the aim of this book.

As if all of this was not enough, you have also developed an app called “Effortlessly healthy”. In this app, you’ll find lots of delicious recipes for every moment of the day. How did you get the idea to develop an app?

Many people don’t know this but actually, my app was first, even before my books. The idea for an app came because my Instagram page was exploding and I had a big international audience, not so much Belgian. And because releasing a book in Dutch, when far fewer people knew me here, didn’t seem logical, I automatically landed on an app. You can easily create an app in two languages and you are not bound by national borders or shipping costs. I did have my doubts for a while because it was a big investment, but in hindsight, I am very happy that I took this step because a lot of people still use my app.

Where are most of your followers from?

Mainly in the United States and Australia. In Belgium, I am growing, but it goes a bit slower. Maybe this is because I always communicate in English and I am not so active on Facebook, for example, to share recipes there in Dutch. But I have a hard time focusing on multiple channels and communicating in multiple languages. That’s why I’m sticking to Instagram and English for now. (laughs)

Besides healthy food, sports also seem to be a passion of yours. We are seeing more and more videos of your workouts. Tell us more about your vision on sports, what you like to do and how you see the combination of nutrition and sports.

In addition to healthy recipes, I’m indeed starting to share my workouts more often, because I want to communicate that one is inextricably linked to the other. It is so important for your body and mind to move, no matter how healthy you eat. Sport can be so much fun, it doesn’t always have to be hard work. This brings us in the direction of my new project… It will be about the combination of exercise and nutrition but this is the only thing I’m going to give away (laughs).

No problem, we are waiting in suspense!

Now that we know a bit more about your professional activities and plans, we would like to talk about the person behind the blogger. Because that is at least equally important!

What does well-being mean to you?

For me, wellbeing means first and foremost to feel truly healthy and to be aware of where my limits are, and to set them. You can’t compare yourself with people around you because everyone has different limits when it comes to health, resilience, needs, and goals. It is just important that you know where yours are and that you’re able to stop in time. This allows you to maintain inner peace and to have enough energy to do the things you like to do. Also, your boundaries can shift throughout your life, along with the different phases of life. For example, I am a mother of 4 and especially when my children were young, it was not always easy to set boundaries. But I realized that this was a phase, a period in which you forget yourself a little and that later on, another period would come in which I could focus more on myself and on the things I like doing.

Covid has a huge impact on our lives. How do you experience this period and are there things you will take with you after corona?

The impact of covid is indeed enormous. I try not to dwell on it too much and consciously push it away from me. For example, I avoid the news and focus mainly on making myself and my family strong by going outside a lot, eating healthy, and not allowing too much stress. It has also been a period during which I started thinking about which path I want to take, professionally speaking, and about what I want and do not want anymore. It’s a big challenge to do this when you have full-time kids around you, but I try to make time for this thinking exercise. What I also notice is that I am more aware than before of who I really miss and who is therefore important in my life. This realization will make me look for these people even more after covid.

Do you have any rituals, habits…to keep your cool? I think many people are looking for concrete tips so if you have any, please share.

I exercise every day. Tonight, for example, I’m going to swim, tomorrow I’m meeting a friend to do sports outside. Sport is something I make time for every day, but always with a lot of variety in what I do. Sport is my outlet and could be anyones. So, even if the weather is bad, just go outside. That’s my most important tip! I also recently put a meditation app on my mobile phone and I now meditate every day. I usually do this before I take a bath or shower. I just close up for a moment, it doesn’t have to be long, but it works and it makes me feel good!

You regularly use our products, thank you very much! How do they usually appear on your menu?

I usually use your products in a smoothie or add them to my protein shake. I drink similar smoothies every day. It’s a really easy way to vary and get all my vitamins, fiber, fats, etc. in. I enjoy it every time! Both your Açai products and your pitaya and passion fruit packs are regular items on my menu. Smoothie bowls are also very popular among my children. I have two very difficult eaters and I can get them to eat all sorts of fruit and even vegetables, such as spinach, without them even realizing it (laughs). And in the summer I make nice creams with it every day. Besides smoothies and bowls, I also really enjoy experimenting with your products. For example, I recently made a jelly of pitaya, which was very tasty and original, if I do say so myself (laughs).

Thank you so much for this fascinating interview Ellen!

Discover Ellen Charlotte Marie’s beautiful creations on her Instagram page and get all her books or download her appEffortlessly Healthy to make the step to a plant-based kitchen extra tasty and fun!

Ellen’s favorite recipe with our Açai can be found here!

 

 

 

Interview with Stefanie Baert from FOODLOVE

Who: Stefanie Baert

Hometown: Ghent

Although these are bizarre times, we want to keep a positive note and share stories about special people with you. We at Holy Berry spoke with Stefanie Baert. A great and inspiring lady, who has managed to turn her passion for healthy food into a wonderful business.

Can you tell us briefly about FoodLove?

I started FoodLove five years ago to encourage people to eat healthier, both at home and when going out. In the meantime, I have written a cookbook “Ready Set Go”, I give workshops and I organize “food tours” in Ghent where I take people to healthy hotspots in the city. Soon, I will also launch FoodLove Academy, an online platform where you can learn everything about healthy food and food photography.

Quite a big (and tasty) job! You clearly lead a busy life. Can you share your morning ritual?

I make a cup of tea with my sleepy eyes and if I’m really serious I do some stretching or yoga, haha. That’s sometimes only once or twice a week, I won’t lie about that. I then immediately start working; I do my mails and write down my daily to-do’s. I only have breakfast when I am really hungry. That can be at 9 o’clock or just as easily at 11 o’clock, depending on what my body is asking me. With breakfast recipes, I try to vary as much as possible, and there is both sweet and savory on the table. A colorful, fresh smoothie bowl with pitaya and passion fruit is not uncommon.

We are speaking at a, to say the least, strange time. How do you keep cool and healthy during the time of covid?

I just try to put things in perspective and try to see opportunities rather than only see problems. Because yes, I have seen my income disappear, I have had to cancel all my workshops for the coming period – for who knows how long – but I have taken this as a moment to finally work on new projects. FoodLove Academy is something I have wanted to do for a long time but unfortunately put off too often. My focus is on the positive!

We often see new concepts and beautiful photos appearing on FoodLove. Where do you get your inspiration from?

By traveling and eating out, I get the chance to steal away with my eyes, taste, and discover new ingredients. Once back home, I really get to work on this. I cook with what I have tasted, and I am not afraid to experiment.

I also carry this through in my business: I listen to the people around me as much as possible and convert their feedback into new projects. Someone came to tell me that she really wanted to follow a workshop, but unfortunately never had time to get here. A light goes on in my head: time to start experimenting with online workshops!

You live in the lovely city of Ghent. How do you experience the evolution of healthy food there?

For me, Ghent is simply the epicenter of healthy and vegetarian food. The great concepts you see abroad are the first to appear on menus in Ghent. The range of healthy vegetable, veggie, and vegan places is incredible. I feel very lucky here.

Then we’d love to hear about your favorite places in Ghent!

If I may choose three: PLUS+ is a favorite for delicious salads and açai smoothie bowls. The two owners have a great dynamic. GUST is a fun brunch spot and my second home where I do a lot of cooking workshops. O’yo and their vegan pancakes with pitaya coulis are my regulars in Ghent. I’ll also throw in a fourth one if I may: Aroy Aroy. They do not necessarily focus on healthy but I go there when I crave tasty and original Asian food.

“Well-being” means different things to different people. What does “well-being” mean to you?

Well-being for me is mainly finding balance and living according to the “no obligations” principle. It’s not well-being for me if I force myself to go to the gym every day and feel guilty if I skip a session. Wellness for me is just being kind to myself, not getting too caught up in the latest health hype, and not going to extremes.

What is the next step on the horizon for FoodLove? Is there anything exciting in-store?

My next big thing is to launch and further develop the FoodLove Academy. In time I want to integrate not only food photography workshops but also cooking workshops. Maybe I will work with a videographer to take everything to the next level. Up to now, I have figured everything out 100% by myself. There is still a lot to be done!

If you could choose one favorite product from Holy Berry, which would it be and how do you like to prepare it?

I don’t have to think about that for long. The pitaya pulp is my absolute favorite for a smoothie-bowl. The color is incredible. I mix the pulp with The Holy Berry passion fruit for that “acidity” and some yogurt for smoothness and top my smoothie bowl with homemade ‘speculaas’ granola. For me, the ideal way to keep me going.

Pay attention now!

Are photography and food really your thing? Then be sure to register for Foodlove’s e-course Food photography at foodlove.be/food-photography-e-course

A very informative and qualitative course that you can follow whenever it suits you! Highly recommended!

And because we like to support each other, you get a 10 euro discount by using the code: HOLYBERRY10

Also, check out the website of these top entrepreneurs:

https://www.foodlove.be

https://www.plus.gent

http://www.gustgent.be

https://oyobar.be/en

https://aroyaroy.be

Meet the founders! Margaux & Stephen from Holy Berry

For our THB interview series, the tables may turn once in a while. We are usually so occupied with mails or deliveries in our açai-mobile that we don’t have time to introduce ourselves properly. That’s why we asked our interviewer on duty to throw some unfiltered questions at the both of us. So here it is, raw and pure, as it should be for good açai, our THB interview – The Holy Berry edition.

Preliminary round

– Who? Stephen and Margaux, founders of The Holy Berry

– Hometown? Ghent

– Favourite travel destination? Portugal

– Favourite dish? Shakshuka

– Morning or evening? Morning

– Favourite sport? As much variety as possible

Hi Margaux and Stephen! For those who don’t know you (enough), can you briefly introduce yourselves?

Of course! I (Stephen) did top sports and Margaux studied psychology in Ghent. We have been a couple for 14 years now. After our wedding in 2015, we traveled to Australia together and from there, our challenging adventure in frozen superfoods started. Oooh! And two years ago we had our beautiful daughter Asa. An even more challenging adventure if possible (laughs)!

A psychologist and a top athlete… At first glance, that seems to have little to do with superfoods. Why did you create Holy Berry?

Hmmm, more than you would think at first glance. Our trip to Australia was all about our first business idea: a practice that combines nutrition, psychology, and sports. Far too often, each element is looked at in isolation, although the three are inextricably linked. In Australia, we followed intensive courses in personal training and nutrition. It was there that we first came into contact with Açai. I still remember my first Açai bowl as if it were yesterday; very fresh and a flavor I had never tasted before. Instant addiction! When we came back from Australia, we had found a property for our practice. We wanted to serve açai to our guests… and to ourselves (Margaux laughs). Only there was no good quality açai to be found in Belgium.

After a first, difficult attempt to distribute an Australian açai brand, we had to make a big decision after 8 months of trying very hard. We either could quit açai or start something ourselves, but this time according to our criteria of quality, sustainability, and product development. And the rest is history 🙂

Wonderful! Of course, I am curious to know how your story continued…

From the very beginning, we had a very good connection with our Brazilian partner, a committed and passionate lady who lives in the Amazon forest and with whom we still work today. Her vision and motivation (maximum protection of the Amazon forest) were very inspiring and step by step we started building our açai brand. From designing the açai boxes to searching for the few people who knew that açai is not pronounced “Akai” nor that it is some kind of flower. In short, we worked our butts off. Our very first customer was Aula in Ghent, a butcher’s shop! At first glance, this shop could not be further from our target group. But we gave them so many tastings that even the most conservative eater had to give our açai a try. The owner of the shop at the time eventually became a super fan himself. Every day, he drank a bag of defrosted Açai in one gulp, just pure from the bag! Isn’t that great! At our very first event, we sold 2 (two!!) açai bowls, one of which to my mother-in-law. We got so many “no’s”, but we kept going. The real turning point was probably our presence at Tomorrowland. That gave a lot of credibility towards catering businesses, which from then on dared to put a dish with açai on their menu.

Five years ago, no one had heard of açai bowls – apart from a few passionate travelers – how do Belgians now view smoothies and açai bowls?

We feel that we have contributed to the success of such bowls. At one point, we were doing tastings in supermarkets every Saturday. In the beginning, you convince people by word of mouth, and over time you create real fans. During the lockdown a few months ago, it exploded on social media. People spontaneously showing us how they like their smoothie bowls best, is the most heartwarming thing for us! Not once have we had to pay for a post with influencers. These are people who are just sincere fans. Açai is a product that lends itself to that. It looks good in the photo, it is super healthy and tastes great too. How can you not love it? We still get up every day with an appetite for açai.

What also helps enormously is that people are traveling more and further. Bali is a popular destination and they serve smoothie bowls everywhere. Or Brazil, where açai is part of the food culture. But it can become even more mainstream as far as we are concerned. In Hollywood, for example, they could make açai bowls appear in more series (laughs).

Talking about series! For some couples, choosing what to watch in the evening is already a struggle, what is it like to run a business together?

We wouldn’t know how to do it any other way! Doing it alone is far too much work (Stephen laughs). As a couple, you have much more respect for each other’s professional life, because you know what the other one is going through. You also have a bit more freedom and can fill in your schedule flexibly (which is nice when you have a two-year-old daughter). The disadvantage is that there is little security and that you take the same risks. Fortunately, we are also very complimentary. Margaux is strong in “front of house” and communication. I am better at practical tasks such as product development, the supply chain, imports, etc. If you can also build a team with super professional and committed people like our CFO Philippe and, since January, our sales force Stefanie, then you have hit upon a good formula.

You sound like a perfect combo. How do you take care of yourselves – especially now? Do you have any particular wellness rituals?

We derive relaxation from the combination of family, friends, travel, sports, …

However, our greatest wellness factor, however cliché it may be, is our little daughter Asa. Raising and caring for her requires a lot of effort and is sometimes very intense, but you just get so much out of it. It is our greatest source of happiness. We also try to make sure that we don’t plan too much during the weekends so that we can spend a lot of time together. So in terms of social “commitments”, we tend to keep it low-key on the weekends.

What is the ultimate dream for Holy Berry?

Our very first goal was to change the frozen food aisle, which is now often full of peas and croquettes. In the beginning, our slogan was “We’re here to spice up the health scene”. Meanwhile, this is no longer a dream, but we have the feeling that we are doing it.

What we now dream of most is that we can continue to grow without having to sacrifice quality or sustainability. We notice that price pressure is sometimes imposed if you want to grow, but all too often this is at the expense of sustainability and quality. We are never going to be the cheapest brand, but neither do we want to be. We want to offer the best quality, while not putting pressure on our partners in the Amazon jungle. Because ultimately the farmers suffer, with all the consequences this has for the forest.

Of course, we hope to grow abroad as well. Belgium is small and so critical, so if it succeeds here, we suspect that Holy Berry could become a success abroad as well (laughs).

What is your diet like?

We try to eat as much plant-based food as possible and put as much color into our food as possible. Admittedly, we are not holier than thou. When we go out, we do eat a piece of meat once in a while (Margaux sticks to chicken and fish).

With Holy Berry, we want to inspire people and get them moving in what we believe is the right direction. We want to encourage them to choose plant-based options more often. For example, we always say to make our bowls with vegetable yogurt or milk. That way they can try something different and probably enjoy it too.

Most beautiful Holy Berry memory?

Stephen: One of the moments that I still remember very clearly is when we were tasting at a Bio-Planet, not in Ghent or so, but at a branch far from here. In the distance, I saw a couple walk in a straight line from the entrance to the freezer section and take four boxes of our açai in one go. They had not even seen me! That was such an overwhelming feeling. That people go out especially to buy a brand that you have created yourself.

Margaux: Tomorrowland was also one of the highlights. It was not profitable for us at all, but we just had a great time there. With all those Brazilians who – at one point – discovered that there was an açai stand on the site and came in hordes to get their portions super enthusiastically.

Stephen: And maybe one more! In the middle of her cooking program, Sandra Bekkari took one of our açai boxes from the freezer and prepared a dish with it. We knew nothing at all but we were so proud and grateful!

What is your favorite Holy Berry product? And your favorite way of preparing it?

Stephen: Açai with guarana (I take 2 packets), which I mix with half a fresh banana, a dash of vegetable milk, and a spoonful of peanut butter. My daily breakfast for the last 3 years! Sometimes I add a little plant-based yogurt if I’m in the mood for something creamy. That with a coffee on the side is just the best combo in the world.

Margaux: I love eating it in the morning or afternoon but with an ice cream texture. I mix 2 açai packets with 1 packet of our passion fruit pulp, some frozen raspberries, and about five tablespoons of plant-based yogurt. That light acidity is completely my thing.

What is the biggest misconception around Holy Berry products?

Oh, I can think of more than one misconception! The first is the cost: Many people think that preparing açai at home costs a lot of money. 1 packet of 100g wild-picked, organic açai costs on average 2.2 euros in the shop. This is often cheaper than organic blueberries in Belgium. If you mix it very simply with oats and plant-based milk, for example, the cost is not so high. Plus, if you eat açai for breakfast, you’re stuffed for a while, you leave out snacks, it gets cheaper again. Partly for this reason, we have chosen to package the packages separately. That way the barrier is lowered and it is easier to see the true cost. It is also better for nature, now that those boxes are no longer necessary.

A second misconception is that açai can only be eaten at breakfast, while the berries can be eaten at any time of the day; in smoothies, with yogurt, or in a workout shake, for example. We often prepare an açai bowl for dessert, like some kind of ice cream. With some chocolate flakes on top. Delicious!

A third and final big misconception is that you don’t need a crazy blender to make smoothie bowls. We make it every day with a simple hand blender and it works just fine. You just need to prepare the dish a few times (with the apron best) to get the hang of it. Add enough yogurt to make mixing easier and above all, let the packet thaw a little (you should be able to break up the pulp) before mixing.

Be sure to check out our demo videos, to avoid unnecessary mess and wasted time 🙂

 

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Our five tips for strong mental and physical immunity!

Amid all the chaos and the (justified!) caution because of covid, we would like to give everyone a shot in the arm (literally and figuratively). Young and old, from all professional classes, we stand together. The uncertainty during this period is strange, to say the least, especially at a time when we take so much for granted. For a start-up like ours, every blow is one that seriously threatens the still-fragile balance sheet and we hope to overcome this in one piece, stronger than ever!

For all home-sitters (team Holy Berry included) here is a list of 5 tips to take care of yourself and your surroundings during covid.

 

Be zen

Do you sometimes have trouble seeing the wood for the trees? You don’t want to panic, but when you see a horde of people running to the supermarket, it feels a little odd. Our advice: Be zen, stay realistic (shops will stay open and there is enough food for everyone), and don’t take unnecessary risks by going out too much. So postpone all unnecessary (shopping) visits and outings and stay inside as much as possible. Meditating (no kids allowed) can help you stay calm. The app “Headspace” is an excellent tool to get you started. Definitely worth a try!

 

2. Keep eating healthy

Now more than ever, it is important to eat healthy food. The stronger your immunity is, the less chance this virus has to bring you down. Rather skip those sugar-rich and fiber-poor foods and opt for the widest possible spectrum of fruit and vegetables, legumes, and grains. Deep-frozen fruit and vegetables retain their vitamins and preserve for a long time. Not unimportant in a period of lockdown.

Start your day off right with a simple but nutritious smoothie bowl consisting of frozen Açai pulp, fresh banana, half a packet of passion fruit pulp (a great source of Vit. C!), and a few tablespoons of plant-based yogurt. Mix in a blender or with a hand blender and top it off with “health-boosting” toppings such as nuts, cacao nibs, nut paste, coconut flakes, berries, seeds…

Nobody is saying that smoothies can kill the coronavirus, but they will give a boost to your immune system. And by continuing to pay attention to healthy eating, you will also feel more in control physically and mentally, a feeling for overall well-being that should not be underestimated.

 

3. Help your surroundings en show solidarity

If you are 100% healthy and would like to help others who are no longer able or willing to go outside, you can sign up via this link to help your neighbors: https://www.justgoe.be/bestebuur/

Nothing is nicer than taking extra care of each other in times when things are more difficult, and to pause and consider the idea of having this a bit more at other times as well. Nothing pedantic, just sensitizing.

 

4. Time for yourself

Now that many of us are sitting at home, it can be a good moment to take some time for yourself. ust set the alarm at your normal time and take off those pyjamas. Be chill but don’t slouch, darlings! Read that (business) book you bought for your trip, take a power nap, and roll out your yoga mat (guilt-free!) in the middle of the day. And don’t forget; Breath! This may sound obvious (and it is) but many of us breathe too fast or too shallow under stress. Being aware of this and taking a slow breath in and out once in a while can do wonders!

 

5. A dash of music

Finally, a little music tip, because making time for music and dancing once in a while can do wonders. Just look at Italy, where the incarcerated citizens express their feelings and communicate through music. We find this simply heart-warming and inspiring! So turn up the music loud once in a while and drag the whole family onto that improvised dance floor!

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1E4B3M4xwJzdik?si=LDcluqpyTaCFO0S2N1haeQ&fbclid=IwAR2Z_LQ7ZyxAL1nTanSSfIMjEyUQRtevTNOx0Ounbltkl1V4jPvqLXvr9R8

 

Big shout out to our catering partnerswho do everything to let you enjoy their healthy and tasty dishes via take-away formulas! Açai bowls and smoothies “on the go” is so New York’ish, just do it!

Also special thanks to the shopkeepers who do their utmost to complete their range so that everyone can make delicious Açai breakfasts, snacks, lunches, and desserts at home and for the whole family!

Take care, be kind & hang on!

Holy Berry team

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Açai as breakfast for children? That is a healthy and stress-free moment for young and old!

Do you make it a habit to prepare a breakfast for you and the apple of your eye every day? According to nutrition experts, breakfast is still the most important meal of the day for children. And the healthier, the better. Yet for a lot of mommies and daddies breakfast is a particularly stressful moment of the day. And who are we kidding? Even without children, it is often a rush to find time for a healthy breakfast in the morning. Still curious how açai as breakfast for children can ensure a healthy and stress-free moment? Good.

 

A new year is perfect for a fresh start and is the ideal time to get rid of bad habits. So if açai is not yet on your list of healthy breakfast recipes, this blue super berry should be added right away. Not only will it please the smallest of mouths, but it also contains 25% of the recommended daily intake of fiber, is very high in antioxidants, and contributes to good brain development thanks to its high dose of omega fatty acids. The result: enough energy to get through an entire morning at school or work in full concentration without snacking.

 

“Isn’t it too time-consuming to make an açai bowl or shake? And what ingredients do we need for it all?”, we can already hear you sighing and thinking.

All you need is 5 minutes of your time, a few packets of slightly defrosted açai, vegetable milk or yogurt, and some fresh banana, preferably all organic! Mix everything in a blender or with a hand blender and finish with some low-sugar granola… et voilà! If you want it to go a bit faster, put a packet of açai & guarana in the fridge the night before or in lukewarm water the morning after and mix it with (plant-based) yogurt. PS: we won’t tell if your açai bowl or shake doesn’t look Instagram-perfect.

Discover our simple recipe for a classic açai bowl here.

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Antioxidants to the rescue!

Jogging, squatting, swimming, mountain biking, yoga… Whatever sport you practice, your body will thank you for it time and time again. You will know that when you feel those endorphins racing through your body after your intense activity. But do you also know how antioxidants can play a role in how you feel after exercising and how fast you recover?

 

What are antioxidants?

An antioxidant is a collective term for all substances that have an antioxidant effect. This means that they have the power to neutralize free radicals that circulate in the body and may cause damage. Vitamins E and C are great examples of antioxidants. Another one is flavonoids: the substances that give color to our fruits and veggies.

 

Free radicals and sport

Free radicals can, among other things, originate from smoking, stress, and an unhealthy lifestyle. Interesting to know is that also, (endurance) sports create free radicals to a certain extent. When you exercise, your body needs more oxygen, which in turn causes oxidation and thus free radicals. That can sometimes cause you to suffer from inflammation or tired muscles.

 

Antioxidants to the rescue

In sports, of course, there is nothing to worry about! The disadvantages far outweigh the advantages of your sweaty activities. Not only does your body naturally produce antioxidants, but you can also get the substances from a good diet.

 

Colorful smoothie bowls

Our general rule is: the more colorful and natural your diet is, the more antioxidants you get in, and the better you boost your sporting career. That is why recipes with açai in the leading role are becoming increasingly popular with professional athletes.

Our beloved açai berry has, in addition to a quantity of protein, one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants you can find in fruit or vegetables. If you top off your açai bowl with colorful fruit, you can be sure that you have received a complete bouquet of antioxidants.

So be sure to try an açai bowl or smoothie after your next sports session. The hungry athlete in you will thank you!

 

Here is the first step towards your ideal workout shake;

  • – 1 packet Holy BerryAçai & Guarana, melted
  • – 300 ml (plant-based) milk
  • – 1 serving (plant-based) protein powder
  • – 1 tbsp cocoa powder or cinnamon
  • – 1 shot of espresso (when you need to go hard)

>Pour all the ingredients into a shaker and shake well. Delicious before or after a hard workout!

 

 

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Do nothing and watch from the sidelines? Oh no, we didn’t!

Mid-March, everything in lockdown. Not being allowed to see our family and friends, what the hell? All right, keep a cool head and think. What can we do to help protect them? CCurious about what we have developed for them and now want to present to you? Keep on reading!

Protection of the Amazon rainforest

ourfood choices can achieve(or undermine) a great deal in terms of health. And that the best immunity boosters come from nature, is no secret to us.

Vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fibers, proteins, and essential fatty acids are all nutrients that originate from nature and each contributes to good health. You already knew that our Açai berries are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids. But in the Amazon forest, where our Açai comes from, otherbeautiful and nutritious fruits with powerful nutrients also grow. These can have an extra protective effect in periods of stress and can support theimmunity system. Not unimportant in this covid era. One of those nutrients isvitamin C. It strengthens the defense mechanism, which can help if one runs into a virus. Moreover, it is said to speed up recoveryafter an infection. Pretty cool, no?

Vit C lesson in a nutshell

Vit C is a powerful antioxidant, whichis a collective name for substances whose purpose is to neutralize(a surplus of)free radicals. Too many free radicals, due to illness, can damage healthy cells and prevent them from performing their functions properly. Vit C also plays a crucial role in the healing process because it facilitates the migration of immune cells to affected tissues.

Small Fact: Unlike most other mammals, humans cannot synthesize Vit C and must consume this water-soluble antioxidant in their diet. There is no question that it is best to obtain this vitamin from natural food sources, rather than from the synthetic products found at pharmacies. “Natural” Vit C always comes together with many other nutrients from that particular fruit or vegetable and it is this combination that your body needs to optimally absorb and use Vit C.

That this important vitamin is now more than ever in the spotlight should come as no surprise. In fact, intravenous Vit C doses are currently being tested as part of the anti-covid treatment.

Our Vit C superfruits

Fortunately, we don’t have to take such a drastic approach, because a high concentration of Vit C can go a long way. The question now is from which sources you can get thesehigh concentrations bestand easily. Healthy food is our thing, and we have a direct link to one of the places in the world where fruitswith the highest Vit C concentration grow. So we went to work!The result: sachets of 180g filled with highly concentrated Vit C powder, originating from the 3 “Vit C super fruits”. The composition of this product is, as you would expect from us, quite straightforward and transparent. Feel free to check the list of ingredients if you still have doubts.

  1. Camu camu; A red berry from the Amazon rainforest
  2. Acerola; A type of cherry also found in the Amazon rainforest with a red exterior and orange-yellow flesh.
  3. Rosehip; This may come as a surprise to many but this fruit of the beautiful rose has a special nutritional profile.

These 3 fruits contain a lot more Vit C than other, better-known Vit C-rich fruits, and once dried and crushed, a serving provides the majority of the RDA of Vit C.

Please note: We are definitely notfor the “either-or” story! Natural Vit C can’t be eaten in excess (unlike the synthetic forms), so don’t forget to put those tasty oranges, grapefruits, or Brussels sprouts on the menu! Our aim with this product is not to capitalize on this crisis, nor to promise that with a few teaspoons a day you will be decisively protected against this terrible virus, but rather to make an extra contribution to this fight.

How, when, and how much vitamin C powder to take?

3 teaspoons spread over the day, don’t overthink it.

Just dissolve in juice or water or add to your smoothie or bowl!

Ordering?

For orders, please mail margaux@theholyberry.com.

 

Enjoy and keep on hanging strong,

The Holy Berry team

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Holy Berry’s New Year Letter!

Good intensions, everyone has them. Whether you set them at the beginning of a new year or during a moment of reflection (or even frustration), they have their merits. Because, why not strive for a little change here and there? Working consciously on those points in yourself or in your life that you would like to have done differently.

INTRINSICALLY & MILDLY

We at Holy Berry are pro good resolutions. They provide a bit of a challenge 🙂 But on one condition: They come from an intrinsic motivation and are not shaped by external expectations. Not from social media, the press, television or even from yyour closest friends or family, but coming from yourself, from what you find important. And above all, listen to your intuition because it will help you to set achievable goals.

A good intention does not have to be big. Better a few small ones than one very big. Because big intentions usually spread out over too many aspects of your “being”, often making them unattainable. Also, resolutions should not be too radicalif you want to succeed in them. The word “mildness” is very important for us here. A few small, defined and gentle resolutions are the way to go! Here are some of our good intentions. Because oh yes, we also have a couple!

HOLY BERRY 2.0

As a small company, Holy Berry wants to take another step in its fight against deforestation. For a startup, such a long-term commitment is made in steps, as resources are very limited and survival is still the highest priority.

As you may already know, our main Açai supplier is deeply committed to the preservation of the Amazon forest and the well-being of the people who live there. A part of our Açai incomeis directly reinvested in a fund that uses resources for infrastructure, education and other social projects within the forest. The next step we will take this year is to start cooperating with Go Forest. Go Forest is a fantastic initiative that wants to inspire and motivate individuals and companies to act in a future-oriented way, with an emphasis on nature restoration. They do this through strategic tree planting, actively preventing tree felling and restoring the soil through regenerative agriculture. We are going to donate part of our turnover to the planting of oh yes, Holy Berry Açai palms in the Amazon forest!How cool is that!

We will tell you all about Go Forest, the people behind it and the cooperation in our next blog!

PERSONAL RESOLUTIONS

Now that you know one of Holy Berry’s most important resolutions, you might also be curious about the one made by the team members behind Holy Berry. Because apart from the work-related resolutions, there are also a lot of personal challenges this year. We are happy to share some of them with you!

Stephen

Going to sleep earlier is one of my most important, but unfortunately also one of the most difficult resolutions to realize this year. I have been dragging this intention with me for several years but I am not giving up. Working until late or just finishing that one episode – reasons enough to crawl into bed too late. However, when I go to sleep early, I feel so much more focused. It also increases the likelihood that I will be able to tackle my other good resolutions effectively and efficiently. I also want to read more, cook healthy meals for myself and my family every day, start making music again and build in a sports routine.”

Margaux

“This year I want to tackle the efficiency (or lack of) in my private life. In order to realize this, I will have to spend more time on this aspect of my life, which means that work will sometimes have to wait. I would like to try out home deliveryservices for household purchases, order a food boxfor a few days a week and do some proper weekly planning. A second intention is to reduce my screen time, which is not easy with a job that often requires you to be active on social media. After all, personal contact with our fans is extremely important to me, but limiting social media to a few moments a day must be doable. Finally, I want to go out into nature more, in good or bad weather, and preferably with my family or a close friend. Then it’s cosy at the same time.”

Stefanie

“In 2021, I want to enjoy every moment we havemore consciously, with the people we love. The fact that this resolution is high on my list of good intentions is probably the result of the difficult corona year. I am a very sociable person and being limited in my social contacts is hard for me. Secondly, I would like to give even more compliments, because I’m very aware that with small beautiful words you can make the people around you feel just that little bit better. A third and more classic resolution is to do more sport. The closure of fitness centres and the cold weather make it more difficult for me to incorporate sport into my routine. But I do 15 minutes of yoga every morning. Luckily I have that habit built in and I am very happy with that.”

These are our good intentions for 2021! Let us know what you think of them and what your good intentions are. And no, they do not necessarily have to include Açai. It may but it’s not a must 🙂