We meet all kinds as we weave our way through the world of wellness. AnnaBlanca and Sage, co-founders of Addictive Wellness, are two of the most hard-core wellness lovers we’ve met in a while – and that’s saying something.
The pair met over Erewhon’s original Tonic Bar, back when it was a free-wheeling scene of elite shoppers and some of the most educated nutrition pros you could encounter in the wild.
They’ve since built a business around super-dark chocolates laced with functional herbs and adaptogens and a few potions and elixirs that are staples on our top shelf.
Try their unicorn-emblazoned chocolate cups here, if you’ve never tried, then sit down for a thorough read of their feature from our In My Fridge series.Watch for more of these two all summer on TCM.
Food philosophy in one sentence:
Remain close to nature and eat the diet that makes you a more loving person and empowers you to do the greatest good in the world.
Always in my fridge:
A variety of fresh organic vegetables, lemons, fermented foods, black sesame tahini, ripe avocados, DHA/EPA oil, pasture-raised eggs, Grindstone Bakery Sprouted Seed Gluten-Free Bread, home brewed chaga, a canister of sugar-free chocolate-coconut whipped cream and always fresh leaves and flowers for last-minute Instagram photo ops!
7 recipe staples always on hand:
Icelandic sea salt; coconut, cassava, and almond flours; full-fat coconut milk; leek; ghee; coconut oil; lentil pasta.
If we are out and about and don’t have time to stop for a bite, AnnaBlanca’s purse is always stacked with our sugar-free raw chocolates, (not just for us – she also loves to share it with anyone we run into!) and we also love to munch on Dragon Herbs’ naked walnuts, Hermit Mix and goji and longan berries.
Coconut aminos (lower sodium than soy and it is non-GMO!), raw almond butter, Beekeeper’s Naturals bee pollen, Jerusalem artichoke syrup, capers, jalapeño slices, AnnaBlanca’s pumpkin and hemp-seed vegan arugula pesto and Sage’s guacamole made with avocados from the Ojai Valley Farmers Market.
Ingredient that makes everything taste better:
If you ask AnnaBlanca, she’ll say sprinkles of cayenne pepper and our heirloom cacao powder.
But for Sage it’s Styrian pumpkin seed oil – it has such incredible flavor and goes with anything. It’s the most nutritious variety of pumpkin seed and has much higher levels of antioxidants than most other oils.
Our diets are a bit different, but our foods get along just as happily next to each other in the fridge as we do when we sit down and share our meals. Sage’s choices are hemp protein and pea protein. AnnaBlanca’s favorites are grass-fed whey protein in her morning tonics, lentil pasta with ghee, wild-caught salmon and, when rushed for time, Vital Choice wild sardines with chili and macambo beans.
AnnaBlanca: We’re enormous fans of Thrive Market. We fill our entire pantry from there once a month (where else could you find cornstarch-free baking soda?!) and we love that most items are 15% – 40% off.
Sage: Also, there are so many things people can do for little to no money that can powerfully impact their health. Drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water (maybe with a few drops of stevia), practicing intermittent fasting and making your own chaga tea are all powerful tools.
Best label-reading tip:
Sage: Most of the food you eat shouldn’t have a label.
AnnaBlanca: Check serving sizes on the top of the label. This is where some companies get tricky! They arbitrarily decide what is considered one serving size and that means that even if the label declares there is only four grams of sugar per serving, in reality, the entire container could deliver ten times that much or even worse. Multiply the numbers on the label by the number of the serving size to get an accurate idea of what you would eventually consume from that package.
Fave veggie + what you make with it:
Sage: AnnaBlanca makes the most unbelievable curry-roasted cauliflower.
AnnaBlanca: Baby bok choy sautéed with fresh ginger, garlic, coconut aminos, green onion, cashews, chili peppers and black bean spaghetti. Sage makes a fabulous, spicy version of a gluten-free, MSG-free chow mein.
Must-have pantry staples:
There are the ready-to-grab staples: Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips and Heirloom Purple Potato Chips, SeaSnax Nori Sheets, Maine Coast Sea Vegetables Dulse, pitted dried Peruvian black olives, coconut wraps, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, almonds and walnuts.
Pantry stuffers we rely on: black tahini; black, yellow and red lentils; sweet potatoes; onions, black rice and sushi rice for homemade made-to-order sushi dinners; sprouted mung beans; quinoa; Irish oats; chia seeds; hemp seeds; birch xylitol; frozen fruit for making ice cream; vanilla powder; and lots and lots of spices! AnnaBlanca is Hungarian and since being with her, Sage has also grown accustomed to eating a variety of extremely flavorful foods.
The adaptogenic herb shelves are also part of our pantry since we use our herbs not only in our chocolates and elixirs, but also in our cooking and baking! We are well stocked on cordyceps, he shou wu, eucommia, cistanche, shilajit, rehmannia, morinda, lion’s mane, shatavari, tremella, astragalus, white peony, gelatinized maca, reishi, goji, schizandra, albizzia, zizyphus, mucuna, pearl powder, polyrachis, chaga, ashwagandha and CBD.
Craziest thing I buy:
Sage: Polyrachis mountain ant extract. I have half a teaspoon once or twice a week and it makes a huge difference in the way I feel. Known in the Chinese system as the “herb of kings,” these ants are the highest natural source of zinc and do wonders for ATP production.
We also love to order the delicious Gaia Herbs’ sambucus syrup for pancakes. It contains a full-spectrum black elderberry extract, which is a very powerful anti-viral and it tastes just like blueberry maple syrup! It brings me right back to my childhood having tall stacks of pancakes with my family at IHOP!
AnnaBlanca: Gynostemma tea from Dragon Herbs – it is also affectionately called “ginseng for a tea price” or “magical grass.” It is a delicious herb that has even more saponins than the famous ginseng root.
Aloe vera leaf is a great addition to our smoothies and cold drinks, it is one of nature’s greatest beautifying foods and is so incredibly soothing for the gut.
Activated coconut charcoal by Schizandu helps us make fabulous black ice cream, homemade toothpaste and face mask. Not to mention, in case of an emergency, it is highly effective at pulling toxins out of your digestive tract.
Sweets and other indulgences:
We live in a Willy Wonka heaven so our daily indulgences are our Addictive Wellness raw chocolates and Elixir Blends. Add to this our homemade sugar-free ice creams, layered chia puddings and sugar-free coconut whip cream… what more can you ask for in life?
Dairy or non-dairy faves:
Sage: Grass-fed ghee is a staple for us; it’s such a fantastic food for the brain, nervous system and building healthy hormones. On the non-dairy side, I love indulging in Kite Hill’s Chive Almond Cream Cheese – it’s almost impossible for me to open up a container and not finish it.
AnnaBlanca: I keep experimenting with the flavoring of our home-fermented cashew cheeses and Sage makes an incredible ice cream from it. I am in love with the chocolate cheesecake flavor the most!
Skip labels that read:
Any form of sugar (including coconut palm sugar, cane sugar and agave), canola oil and milk.
Besides the obvious sources of GMOs – such as sugar, wheat, corn, canola and soy – also avoid grain-fed animals and dairy products from GMO-grain fed cows. And any label that claims “natural” deserves some good research. It sounds like they are trying to smoke-screen something.
Sage: Tonix Coconut Water Kefir – it’s so probiotically alive that it takes several minutes to successfully open the bottle without it completely exploding! It’s one of the most satisfying drinks.
AnnaBlanca: Our own custom blended tonic herbs that we keep adjusting for what I need at the time. I use a big spoonful of it in my morning tonic and it makes me feel truly blessed to be able to have that.
For last-minute entertaining:
We head straight for the Vitamix and start making ice cream! Sage is always up for a good challenge to nail requested flavors, and it can get really exciting to see what he creates next! These ice creams are always a big hit and so much fun to blow people’s minds with! If you want to give it a try at home, we have tons of ice cream recipe videos on our YouTube channel.
Favorite places to shop:
The legendary Erewhon Natural Foods is right around the corner from us – and it’s also the place where we first met! AnnaBlanca always jokes that the main part of our social life is grocery shopping there. Also Sage’s parents live in the magical Ojai Valley. When we spend the weekend with them we go to the Farmer’s Market on Sunday morning and fill up at least two coolers with the freshest produce you’ve ever tasted.
Simple go-to recipe:
Sage: Toast four slices of Grindstone Bakery Sprouted Seed bread. Then in a bowl, mash together 1 avocado, 1 tablespoon caprylic acid MCT oil, 1 tablespoon grass-fed ghee, 1 tablespoon Styrian pumpkin seed oil and 6 tablespoons hemp protein. Then just put this on top of the toast with a little bit of sea salt!
AnnaBlanca: Pan-grilled endives and radicchio in coconut oil. Slice them and grill them! The slight bitter flavor is incredible with a bit of goat cheese or vegan cheese. I also love to soak kelp noodles with fresh lemon juice and Thrive Market’s baking soda overnight, wash and drain it and you get the softest kelp noodles to use in so many ways! It lasts for a long time in the fridge, add it to salad, mix it with pesto, use it as a base for any dish.
Best food memory:
AnnaBlanca: My entire childhood is one great and exciting food memory. My siblings and I grew up in the countryside of Hungary on kombucha, bee pollen, royal jelly, homemade fermented foods such as vegetables, kefir and apple cider vinegar; also raw sheep milk and cheese, organic vegetables, fruits and meat. We ate home-cooked meals, ran around barefoot all day long and licked our muddy fingers, which provided some good earth-based probiotics. I had no idea many of these basics some day would become the staples of our own healthy lifestyle here in LA.
Sage: In 2011 after spending a magical week teaching about nutrition, chocolate and tonic herbalism on a yoga retreat in Bali, my good friends and I went to the beach, started the day with yoga, great surfing and then came in to a spectacular durian feast. The durian fruit really serves as a metaphor for many great opportunities in life – spiky and dangerous from the outside, very difficult to get into, but then once you do, it is absolute euphoria on every level!