For this weeks #WellnessWednesday I’m chatting to the owners and founders of Leaves, Italian chef Nico Olivieri and his wife Sabine, a dutch health researcher.
Leaves is an Irish based artisan company that have recently launched their unique and exciting range of high protein pasta made from buckwheat and chick peas.
When Nico realised he somehow become wheat intolerant he realized that – No wheat meant No pasta! Being a half-Italian family he simply had to find a solution to this problem.
He tried out many gluten-free alternatives and quickly realised that there was little-to-no options that provided high quality, had nutritional benefits (almost all pasta in the market is fast-dried, a process that kills all the good inside the grains and returns a dull empty carb container) and convenience.
So they took the old hand-powered pasta machine in their catering kitchen, and started experimenting and boy am I glad they did! Not only is their pasta delicious, but it’s also nutritious too. It cooks quickly so it’s perfect for our busy lifestyles and the kids won’t even know the difference.
But I wanted to know is how they are balancing being new parents to Aidan as well as running a brand new business….
How would you describe your lifestyle?
“Unpredictable”… Life as founders of a start-up and new parents of a one year old means a lot of running around, the day is never similar to the day before and many sleepless nights. It is exhilarating but at times can be tough. For this reason we have to think out of the box to include healthy choices in our day-to-day life.
What’s your favorite food? Naughty or nice.
Nico is crazy for nuts, it’s almost an addiction. Sabine loves Lasagne.
In general we are more into savoury than sweet. No day goes by without a good plate of wheat-free pasta on our table!
Our sweet tooth appears when chocolate is involved, we absolutely love it in any type or form!
Do you exercise and if so what do you do to keep fit?
We walk a lot. We do not own a car and if we have a commitment in the city we would most likely walk there. Walking 6-7 Km in a normal working day is not rare.
We would love to have more time to exercise more consistently. We do our best to allow time for hiking and running whenever we have some time off. Sabine squeezes some yoga into her breaks.
How do you find balance in your day-to-day life?
We don’t :) At the moment what we can do is being extremely aware of how we spend our days, trying to “force” ourselves into some “us” time. Hopefully we’ll get better at this and we’ll have more opportunities to reach a good balance in our days.
How do you manage stress in your life? Do you meditate? Have you ever tried it?
We find relief in the little things, a Sunday morning with a guitar singing songs while Aidan dances can help a lot to recharge and forget the stressful things for a little while. Reading is also something that luckily we both love.
Also, any time we can spend some time in nature we feel immediately better.
People often set goals or intentions as they go through life. Is this something you do?
We love to dream a bit, thinking about our life in a few years from now, imagining how it would feel to get where we want to. Setting goals is something very important for us as it is the fuel that keeps us going through the difficulties. This is true both in our business, where we have a clear picture of where we want Leaves to be in the medium and long term future, and in our private life, with the milestones we set for ourselves and for our family that we don’t want to miss.
How do you unwind after a busy day?
Playing with Aidan. Spending time with him after a full day of work is the highlight of our evenings!
It’s the weekend, what do you do for fun?
We’d love to say that we sleep in, but for the past 14 months this is not possible anymore.. but early start on the weekend comes with many benefits: for example we would go to a playground close to home quite early and we’d have all the park to ourselves! And sometimes we’re more excited than our little one.
Visiting fresh food markets, and then cooking something special together at home is another thing we love to do when we have a bit of time.
What’s your top health tip for our readers?
Eat loads of fresh fruit and vegetables, be aware of the importance of a balanced diet and try to reach your nutritional needs avoiding additives, chemicals and supplements whenever possible
Finish the sentence – Being complete for me means…
…being able to live in the moment, appreciative of all you have and of the people you love, feeling good and strong in your body and rested and peaceful in your soul.
Leaves offers a first in the world range of Pasta with Benefits – it’s naturally gluten- free, made with two ingredients only – chickpeas and buckwheat.
Leaves also choose the highest quality ingredients and the process ensures that the nutrients remain. The pasta is made following the Italian tradition, it is slow dried at low temperatures to preserve its texture and nutrient value.
But what makes Pasta with Benefits by Leaves so special?
Health: High protein, high fibre, containing all essential amino acids – amongst lots of others!
Taste: Available in three delicious flavours: original, garlic & sage
Convenience: Single serving packaging. Cooks in minutes.
As an ambassador for Make-A-Wish I was delighted to hear that Leaves very generously donates 10% of the proceeds from every pack of their delicious pasta to help makes dreams and wishes come true.