This week on Foodie Friday we introduce you to Elli Enneking, owner of Elli-vated Goods. As a nearly life-long athlete she has learned the importance of eating good food and eating well. Elli has developed a series of great-tasting and beautiful products she believe can help the rest of us eat better food more easily. She combines her commitment to healthy eating with yoga, meditation and the love of her two little ones to create a joy-filled life with her boyfriend and business partner, Jarett.
What is your role in the food industry?
At Elli-vated Goods our goal is simple: we strive to empower ourselves and our community by offering nourishing products that help people feel their best.
How did you first get involved in the food industry?
While I was sick with gastroparesis (paralysis of the stomach), I watched a lot of Food Network. Watching the Food Network and cooking proved to be a therapeutic way for expression. Coupled with a passion around health and wellness, I loved taking traditional recipes and putting a healthy spin on them because at the time, I had a lot of dietary sensitivities.
What/who inspired your current role in the food industry?
We have been athletes for most of our lives and been fortunate to be in an environment where proper diet and nutrition were encouraged. Therefore, we have always known how important diet is to our overall wellness. At Elli-vated Goods we are constantly coming back to the “food as medicine”, philosophy of Hippocrates because we both individually have used food to overcome our health issues when prescriptions failed to address our problems.
If you had one message for people who don’t live and breathe food like we do, what would that message be?
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”—Hippocrates
What food trends are most influential in what you do?
There is a category of herbs called adaptogens that intuitively support our bodies to adapt to stress, support normal metabolic functions, and restore balance. These herbs are well known in ancient medical practices like Ayurveda and in traditional Chinese medicine. They’ve been used for thousands of years so this is most likely a trend that is time tested. We use adaptogens in all of our blends and highlight their key application. My favorite adaptogen is ashwagandha because it supports hormonal regulation.
What is the most significant change you’ve seen in the food industry?
In our limited time in the food industry, we have been pleased to notice the shift towards holistic health conscious consumers. We say holistic because we have noticed that customers are asking questions about sourcing, sustainability, and service to the planet.
Tell us about an industry professional who influenced you most?
Suzanne Hall is a co-founder and editor in chief of The Chalkboard - A Guide To Living Well. I love the content that her publication puts out on a daily basis. This is my go-to and inspiration for everything wellness related.
Describe a food fad/trend you would love to start.
I love this question because it something that I am currently working on. I have been practicing the concept of intuitive eating by cultivating a healthy brain-gut connection. This allows me to adjust my eating habits to incorporate dietary adjustments based on my mood and lifestyle.
What's your big splurge food item? Any particular brand you're willing to pay more for?
Honey Mama’s Raw Chocolate. Their bars are delicious, especially the Mayan Spice— which just won a Good Food Award early this year in San Francisco. Honey Mama’s chocolate bars are full of bold, deep flavors, decadent textures, and are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and grain.
What keeps you motivated as a food professional?
My two girls, Eloise and Porter. I want to give them the best nutrition possible. Making this commitment keeps me motivated to research developmental diets. I love being able to provide them a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are helping their young bodies to grow strong, happy, and healthy.
What do you view as your greatest achievement to-date as a food professional?
Creating our own business. This was terrifying because we had to take the leap and leave our careers and jump into the unknown. There is a quote that we always go back to, “The bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity for growth”. Launching our business has been instrumental in learning about ourselves, and we love the growth we have made in such a short amount of time because whatever challenge that it presents (and best believe, there have been many challenges along the way) we are able to overcome it because we love what we do and are committed to making it work.
What’s your favorite food to make at home?
Roasted Vegetables bowls. Over the past 9 months, we have committed to a 95 percent plant-based diet (we eat fish 3 times a week). Roasted veggies have been a dietary staple of ours. Since we have removed meat and dairy from our diets, we have included a lot of beans and rice to give us the complete protein that is needed with this particular dietary combination.
What’s your favorite meal to order in a restaurant?
We really like to be in control of our diet so do not eat out at restaurants. However, we are suckers for the hot food bar at our local PCC, a group of local community-supported co-op food stores in the Seattle area. We love being able to see all of the ingredients that are included in our food because we both have made the commitment to eat sustainably, ethically, and organic. We love PCC because their values around community and food are so closely related to ours.
What three foods/ingredients could you not live without? Why?
Sweet potatoes, kale, black beans — we love these nutrient dense and satiating foods.
Tell us about food or ingredient would you never use or eat.
We could provide an answer a mile long from this question and thank you for asking because this is something we are very passionate about. There are many things that we have made a commitment to never using. Trans fats, cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, palm oil, sodium and potassium benzoate, MSG, artificial colors, preservatives… to name a few. Not only are these ingredients bad for us (based on scientific evidence), but they also do not make us feel our best. Therefore, we make a non-negotiable choice to avoid these products.
What cookbooks or cooking classes are most important to you? Why?
I love the classes that are provided at our local PCC. They have classes for people that have dietary restrictions, as well as fun cooking classes for kids and their parents. We love this because it helps us teach Eloise and Porter the connection between our planet and us — teaching them where our food comes from.
Where would you most like to live? Why?
From a foodie perspective, we would love to live in the Mediterranean. The cultures in this area have a strong connection with their food, family, and their community. This connection has led to long lives and happiness with the people that adhere to the aforementioned principles.
Please describe your perfect day.
Calm mornings are really important to me so I like to start my day in bed with coffee. After finishing my cup of coffee, my perfect day would include a brisk jog around Green Lake in Seattle. Then I’d head to the farmers’ market, go home with my haul and make a delicious lunch. I then would enjoy an afternoon cup of matcha tea while flipping through a good book. Currently, I’m reading Light is The New Black, by Rebecca Campbell and highly recommend it. After reading and sipping matcha, I would bake cookies with my kids and make a delicious dinner. After dinner, I would put the kids to bed and watch a movie with Jarett.
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