We interviewed Sarah Cadji, founder of Roots & Bulbs, London’s first standalone cold-pressed juice bar and nutritionally balanced takeaway. We talked to Sarah about the launch of her first store, her pregnancy, and the importance of being healthy.
We’re huge fans of Roots & Bulbs, what made you take the plunge and open the first shop?
My husband and I love eating healthy, in a way that makes us feel good after each meal. Although we cook and eat mostly at home, during our busy days during the week, it became impossible to maintain a healthy diet with the food that we could find in the London streets. That is why we decided to open a shop, with all the recipes that we have trialled and tested at home for us, and offer it to the busy customers that face the same problem we did: The fact that it was impossible to eat healthy with organic and locally sourced ingredients, in a take away manner.
You’re pregnant with your first baby, how are you feeling and have you had any unusual cravings?
I had a difficult first 2 months, but now almost 6.5, I feel amazing. I crave more salt than I have ever craved, and more deserts. This baby will definitely have a sweet tooth!!!
Has your diet changed since falling pregnant, and do you eat most of your meals at Roots and Bulbs?
Yes…I was very strict with my diet before I became pregnant. No dairy, no sugars, no meat, very few fruits and no gluten. This pregnancy has taught me that I need to be a bit more balanced. My approach to food was very dogmatic, and it would be impossible to raise a baby inside of me, if I continued this way. I have had to let go of food beliefs, that I am sure I will bring back when I give birth, but for now it makes more sense to me for the baby to be abit more lenient. I almost always have lunch in the shop, and take my snacks such as the healthy fire power balls with me on the run. Juicing has been hard for me, as some vegetable tastes are too strong for me, but I have incredible people in the company that make amazing juice flavours, that I can tolerate. I am very grateful.
Do you have a favourite family recipe?
I am Greek, so I love all vegetable recipes that have been cooked in tomato sauce. My favourite is lentil soup with fresh tomato and basil.
Where is your favourite restaurant?
I love finding small restaurants that serve local fresh food. I would say that my favorite restaurant in the world is a farm in South Africa, where they only cook with ingredients that they grow.
Why is being organic so important to you?
I have read a lot of books on how destructive human beings have been to our soil, and just how many essential minerals are missing from most of our produce that we eat. Illnesses, allergies and intolerances make a lot of sense to me, when I look at what we eat as a whole..
I feel that the very least I can do for my family’s health and well being, is try to buy and cook with organic ingredients that I know where they come from. When I don’t buy organic, I will sometimes opt for local producers that I know, which makes me feel more comfortable, than buying produce that has travelled far to get to me.
From farm to table is a concept that I love and I try to incorporate in all parts of my business…
Did you learn about being healthy from an early age, or is it something you embraced later in life?
Absolutely not! I grew up in the midst of cheese, meat and sugars! Greece has an incredible cuisine, but you have to play around with the ingredients to make it healthier and more digestible. I started learning about being healthy about 4.5 years ago, when I saw the difference it made to how I felt and how much easier and better my body operated after a good healthy meal.
You always look so incredible, what’s your secret?
No secret! I try to juice as much as I can in the early hours of my day, and I try to eat a balanced diet. I am very blessed to have an incredible support system at home, so I am certain this has a major effect in my well being and attitude towards life.
What’s in the pipeline for you next?
We are constructing our second shop in South Kensington which we hope to have opened by September 2014. We are looking into our 3rd site in central London and how to expand our business the right way, but the most important thing next is the birth of our little daughter!
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
Demanding, stubborn, fair, loyal.
Sarah Cadji, Roots & Bulbs