Today's Balanced Babe is following her heart and making healthy living just that little bit easier for people all over the world. Athanae Lucev is the co-founder of Green Smoothie Co., a company that makes ready-to-blend pre-mixed superfood sachets that take the fuss and confusion out of adding super-foods to your smoothies.
I'm super happy to have her here, so lets dive straight in!
01. Lets start with a bit of background – tell us a little about who you are and what you do.
When I was in high school I wanted to become a personal trainer and dietician and study psychology. I ended up studying law, politics and international relations, then worked as a journalist and also in federal politics in policy and media roles, before I decided to start my own business – quite a different path! My partner Todd and I launched Green Smoothie Co. about 10 months ago and it’s been the best and craziest thing I’ve done. I would find it really hard to go back to being employed full time, but I certainly wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s true that Green Smoothie Co. is an online health food store that sells our single-serve and 250g bags of premium superfood mixes. It’s our aim to make better and healthier lives easier. We started the business because we needed the product ourselves! But to be honest, the company has become so much more than that for me. Green Smoothie Co. is really now growing into a global community of people who we are helping inspire to do bigger and better things and to go after their dreams, especially health and fitness related ones. I love the idea of helping people to be the best they can, in whatever way possible. Building our staff too is something I’m really interested in. I want to have a company that's incredibly different from the 9-5, structured sort of work environment we see so often. I want people to want to come and work with us.
02. Describe what living a big, juicy, healthy life means to you.
Big: means throwing expectations and limitations you place on yourself out the window. I was a law student and I could have ended up a lawyer. While I have many wonderful lawyer friends, I instinctively knew that path wasn’t for me. My grades were fine but the passion wasn’t there. I called it early and quit studying for that degree. So the lesson there is don’t settle or put up with mediocrity for yourself.
Juicy: look at things differently. Keep a real perspective on life and how lucky we are. That’s what I constantly try to do! Cherish your friendships. Look for new opportunities all the time.
Healthy: it’s really all about vegetables, healthy fats and lots of exercise at the moment for me. I try to keep those as the constant parts of my routine. I need fresh air and good light to stay sane – I can be a bit of a sensitive soul so I need to make sure that if I need some time on my own, that I take it.
03. How did you get there? What made you choose to make health a priority?
I think for me it’s been a gradual revolution. That’s what tends to happen with me – I go with gut instinct and then look back and have the ‘aha’ moment where I figure out what the universe was trying to tell me. I struggled massively with body image issues and with the usual teenage angst around friendships and finding your place in the world way into my 20s. It’s only now that I feel comfortable to prioritise my health, and comfortable in my own skin. I turned 30 this year, and it sounds like a cliché, but it was like that big birthday gave me the permission to not care about what anyone thinks anymore. I tend to think of health quite holistically, so spirituality comes into it a lot too. I’ve had to give myself the permission to start putting myself first in some ways: making sure I eat good food, organic where possible; exercising, and taking time to make sure I’m edging closer towards being the person I want to be, and building the life I want with the right people around me is more and more important to me. I had lots of body image issues and pretty low confidence as a teen and into my early 20s, so to overcome those things was a huge hurdle.
Amelia: I just love this! Especially the idea of "edging towards the person I want to be", such a great approach!
04. Can you share a great piece of advice you’ve been given and who gave it to you?
Slow down! My mum has being saying it to me for years, and it’s really only in the last 12 months that I’ve taken it on board. Nobody wins awards for being the busiest. I’m learning to say ‘no’ to things and do a better job at what I am keeping on my plate.
Amelia: Oh yes! Amazing advice for many of us!
05. When are you most inspired? What gets you bursting with excitement, leaping out of bed, and losing track of time?
When I’m preparing for presenting; when I’m writing, planning, dreaming up big things for the business, or learning.
06. What does your perfect day look like?
Wake up, jump into the ocean, a green smoothie and a coffee, Xtend Barre, yoga, writing, working on the business, spending time with family and friends, walking my dog, buying fresh flowers, having dinner with my boyfriend Todd.
07. How do you reinvigorate yourself when you’re feeling a little less sparkly and vibrant than normal? How do you get that pesky inner critic to pipe down?
Usually when I am feeling a little ragged around the edges it’s because I’m not sleeping enough, so having a night where I can get a full eight or nine hours becomes a priority then. I am a reforming perfectionist, so the inner critic can be loud, and it’s hard to work out where the line between letting the little things be ‘little’, and throwing the towel in, lies. I try to remind myself of the things I’m proud of. I am really happy that I’ve had the courage to pursue a different path, and although it has been difficult at times I know it’s been the best way for me. So I guess in short I focus on the positives!
08. I love soaking up the knowledge of the people around me - what is your favourite question to ask people and what kind of answers do you get?
If I feel it’s appropriate, I like to ask people what they’d really love to do with their lives. It’s a tricky one and sometimes you don’t ask if you feel it might disrupt people too much, but if you can see they are on the verge of giving themselves that freedom of thought, I go for it. Sometimes I get shut down, or get told ‘I’d do ‘xxx’ but I have a kids/mortgage/my partner wouldn’t support me.’ I understand that. But I love when someone pauses to really allow themselves to ruminate on it for a minute.
One of the great things about the business is that I get emails from people who are inspired by the fact that I’ve started the business, and who want to make changes in their own lives. I love that by doing my best to be a walking example of what I preach, that other people can see that and maybe start to think about what they could do to really follow their own passion. It doesn't have to mean turning your life totally on its head either.
09. Do you have any tips for making healthy living easy?
You know what I’m going to say here! Our little packets of Green Smoothie Co. goodness are perfect for people who might be intimidated by the thought of coming up with their own recipes, or anyone who wants to dip their toe in the water of superfoods without spending hundreds of dollars.
Amelia: They really are the perfect intro to superfoods!
Weirdest healthy food or practice you’ve tried? Yoga Nidra
Favourite travel destination? Italy
Quote you love? "I believe we are who we choose to be. Nobody is going to come and save you. You’ve got to save yourself. Nobody is going to give you anything. You’ve got to go out and fight for it. Nobody knows what you want except you, and nobody will be as sorry as you if you don't get it. So don’t give up".
What cracks you up? Watching and playing with my dog. I know it’s a little bit lame. He gives me great joy though. We adopted him literally the same week we started the business.
Who do you think deserves a big high 5? Anyone who is trying to be better than they were yesterday.
Awesome book to read? Thrive, by Arianna Huffington.
Isn't Athanae a beautiful example of someone wholeheartedly following their passion, so inspiring!
Head to Green Smoothie Co. to learn more about what they do and grab a superfood mix to try yourself!