When I first discovered Addictive Wellness I thought it must be too good to be true. A sugar-free chocolate, made with raw cacao, superfoods, herbs, fair-trade and free of any ingredients I was allergic to? This was a rare find and I knew I had to taste it to believe it! Sage and AnnaBlanca were kind enough to gift me their chocolates and upon arrival I immediately made a pot of tea to sit down and taste-test. The feeling of euphoria that washed over me after the first bite was priceless. High-quality, nutritious and and insanely delicious, I knew I found my go-to dessert and diet staple that was going to satisfy me and nourish my body. Sage and AnnaBlanca are both extremely bright stars, passionate and fun-loving in changing the way we think about chocolate. I adore them both and am thankful for the work they do. This is the food of love and it is time to enjoy it without the guilt or afternoon energy slump. One bite of Addictive Wellness and you will be hooked for life (I know I am)! Now let’s get to know the beautiful couple behind this truly addicting treat!
Sage & AnnaBlanca of Addictive Wellness
When/how did you meet?
Sage: We met back in 2011 at the legendary Erewhon Tonic Bar in Los Angeles. That place is such a vortex for amazing health enthusiasts and we both spent so much time there that the odds were pretty good we would meet our life partner there!
AB: Yes, it was a post-Longevity Now Conference event at Erewhon with David Wolfe and Truth Calkins, both legendary health experts spinning the Vitamix behind the Tonic Bar. They were making drinks for everyone and I was there with Joy and Jay, the JingSlingers. Sage walked in and it ended up being one of those amazing evenings going down in history.
Photo by: David Aragon of The Rose Journals
How did the idea for creating Addictive Wellness come about?
Sage: Prior to starting Addictive Wellness, I was setting up tonic elixir bars at five-star hotels in Paris and Sydney, introducing the novel concept of healthy indulgence to the market of world travelers. I really wanted to create products that could bring this experience to an even wider audience. And of course we’re both crazy about chocolate and tonic herbs, so that’s where we started!
AB: Before going on his trip to Paris Sage made a week supply of the chocolates for me but in two days I was calling him that they were gone! Prior to his next trip he planned ahead and hid different boxes of the chocolate around the house so when I ran out he just directed me to the next secret stash! I knew I was addicted then and there…. But not only me, our families and friends as well and having an immediate fan base is always the last push when deciding if you want to make your passion available for a wider audience.
What drew you to incorporating herbs into your chocolates?
Sage: Traditionally chocolate was always consumed in conjunction with the herbs. Because chocolate is both a vascular dilator and an MAO-inhibitor, it essentially magnifies the power of the herbs. And eating chocolate is generally way more fun than swallowing capsules!
AB: Ron Teeguarden, the founder of Dragon Herbs always says that the number one rule of tonic herbalism is compliance. Well, having your herbs in a delicious treat you will be taking them for sure and not leaving them on the shelf in a bottle!
What is your philosophy on food and wellness?
Sage: In the world we live in today, there’s really not much of a middle road with food- if you’re not actively mindful, there’s so many ways you can get yourself into trouble. I feel that either you’re eating to make yourself stronger, and increase your adaptability and awareness or you could be sliding down a slippery slope, limiting your potential in ways that you may not even realize. But it’s equally important to remember that having the ultimate diet isn’t the end goal, it’s just a key step in creating a life where you pursue your bliss in a way that also activates others to do the same.
AB: Many people don’t even know how good they should or could be feeling. They get used to a general feeling of “making it through the day” using all kinds of crutches. Admittedly it has become quite a bit of work to live a basic healthy lifestyle. Who has the time to keep seeking out current information and incorporate them into their already busy lives?! Also, there is so much contradictory information out there about what is helping and what is harming you that lots of people throw their hands up in the air and just give up. Sage and I want to help and that is the reason why our social media is not only about our chocolate – it is about our entire healthy lifestyle, sharing tips, stories and recipes.
Who/what/where do you draw inspiration from:
Sage: For me, the most powerful source of inspiration is the magic and beauty of nature. It just makes me feel inspired, enlivened, and limitless!
AB: To me my family and also our entire health community are an inspiration. We have our local, LA-based Vortex and we all love, know and learn from each other, but there is also a world wide health-conscious community that we found on Instagram and it is just mind-blowing how much creativity and caring and support is out there! Loving every minute of the sharing of energies and I know we are all changing the world for the better one post at a time.
Best business advice you ever received:
Sage: Rather than endlessly trying to perfect your product and business before going to market, create the best you can in a short time and get out there! The business, market conditions, and product will never be 100% perfect and you can actually improve them much better once your lab model becomes real. You have to make it work as best you can and get really good at adapting on the fly!
AB: Do something you love, do it with someone you love and you will never work a day in your life. It is how I feel. We work, oh boy how we work! (laughs) but we are having so much fun as well and that is the way to succeed with what you decide to build your business and life on.
Style/beauty/health/fitness professionals you can’t live without:
Sage: My amazing parents! I most definitely would not be alive without them!
Style: Diane von Furstenberg, recently I sorted through my closet and turns out she dominates the racks!
Beauty: Damone Roberts salon in Beverly Hills. I don’t get many beauty treatments but I love getting my eyebrow shaped to perfection. That is one more trick that helps me get ready faster when I have to run out the door. A good frame is important!
Health: I love David Wolfe and Dave Asprey since they give health information in such an incredibly entertaining way that you cannot help but absorb what they teach you and Dr. Mercola because he is a warrior.
Fitness: Richard Enion. He just finished writing his fitness book co-authored with Jeff De Peron, Ryan Seacrest’s personal trainer. Check out RichEats.tv!
What is a typical day of meals?
Sage: I’ll start out first thing with a hot tonic with herbs like reishi, lion’s mane, cordyceps, astragalus, he shou wu, tremella, ashwagandha, shilajit, and gynostemma blended with caprylic acid and ghee. Then after my yoga practice I’ll often make a superfood pudding- as you’ll see, I love really dense foods! The base will be either chia gel or irish moss gel, then I’ll blend that with hemp seeds, mesquite, lucuma, spirulina, chlorella, ashitaba, hemp protein, ghee, coconut oil, caprylic acid, and stevia. Top it off with bee pollen and it is the most amazing meal. Then for lunch I’ll have a big salad with a variety of greens, more spirulina, chlorella, and ashitaba, sea vegetables like dulse, a whole avocado, tomato, cucumber, black olives, lemon juice, olive oil. Sometimes I’ll add a little raw goat cheese, but only occasionally. Then I’ll have a bit of chocolate mid-afternoon and finish the day with one of AnnaBlanca’s amazing vegetable dishes for dinner! Some of my favorites are roasted cauliflower, curried cabbage, and lentils with leek. I’ll usually have some black beans or kidney beans for some extra protein too.
AB: Sage is the blender chef and I am the cooking chef in our kitchen! We divide and conquer. I collected some interesting, easy dishes and keep them on our shared google drive under “Planned Meals” – so when Sage does an Instacart order he can get the ingredients for that week and I make several lunches and dinners ahead of time. We eat simple but very healthy and since saving time is a huge factor sometimes a meal is a fabulously creative salad or a superfood icecream!
What are the staples in your kitchen that you can’t live without? (food, appliances, etc.)
Sage: Spirulina! (laughs) Actually I try to cycle through everything so I don’t become completely dependent on any one food. I use either the VitaMix or Nutribullet almost every day, but I’ve gone for periods without them too, so if electricity stops working tomorrow, I know I’ll survive without blended foods.
AB: I love, love, love my whipping cream dispenser. We had one in my native Hungary as well while I was growing up so I learned how to make whipped cream with the cartridges when I was 6…. But this one is an upgrade! I only use organic coconut cream and Omica Vanilla Stevia, so I have sugar-free, dairy-free, fat-burning whipped cream! I travel with it! (laughs) oh and I love my knives. Good knives are essential and I would never put them in the dishwasher! Learned that from my mom…. She is the best cook in the world hands down.
Your favorite dish to cook at home:
AB: I love to throw sliced eggplant with a tomato/garlic/basil sauce and bake it through- it smells and tastes divine but Sage’s favorites are sliced baked sweet potato or curried cauliflower crisps so I like to make these as often as possible.
What role does fashion and personal style play in your life? How does this tie into your view on wellness?
Sage: I think it’s great to dress in the way that makes you feel the most confident, as this will have positive repercussions throughout your whole day. For me it’s also equally important that my clothes not impair my full range of motion so that I can move as freely as possible in a natural fashion. If a shirt looks great on me, but forces me into less-than-ideal posture, it really has an effect on my well being. So it takes a bit more effort, but it’s totally possible to cultivate a wardrobe that is both stylish and functional. AnnaBlanca has definitely been a great influence on me in the style department!
AB: If you are healthy inside you will glow outside. Your skin, your eyes, your hair shines and your move with ease and your entire body and aura will be a reflection of the energy that pours out of you. When you have excess energy you can shine that into others and it is a form of caring that will make you even more beautiful.
What is your go-to outfit that you feel most comfortable in?
Sage: That’s easy! My birthday suit- it doesn’t get any more comfortable than that!
AB: Oh I love my clothes. I have a sizable walk-in closet and some truly beautiful outfits but my favorites are those sexy, elegant, deceptively simple dresses that are made of soft stretch cotton. They are so comfortable and with some wicked accessories they take me to any occasion I choose them for. I have a floor length, backless, light gray piece that follows the body and made entirely of super soft t-shirt fabric. It was a runway item and sadly it does not have a label and cannot find the designer who made it. I will wear it til it shreds!
Favorite stores/places to shop? (Online or in-person)
AB: If someone wants to see me smile they should let me lose in an Intermix. They are always just one step ahead of finding the coolest new designers. I have never been disappointed in any of their stores. Oh and in Europe and NY I am a huge fan of Zara’s, but their LA stores are sadly anemic in style- comparison.
Favorite piece of jewelry and the story behind it?
Sage: I have a jade Pixiu pendant that was blessed by an enlightened Taoist master. Pixiu is a powerful dragon said to attack demons and evil spirits, draining their energy and converting it to wealth.
AB: Hmmm… I have two kinds of jewelry – one is purely for fashion statements and fun and the other is with history and heart. These are my favorites: a family diamond ring that has been in our family for hundreds of years and I am taking care of it for the next generations, a silver locket that one of my sisters Sofi made for me with both my mom’s and grandma’s wedding photos, a charm necklace about my life with precious stones and symbols designed by my other sister Réka and I absolutely love the jade bracelet that Sage brought for me from China and got it blessed by an enlightened Taoist master.
What are your favorite products in your holistic beauty cabinet?
Sage: My favorites are Poetic Pits, Neem Tooth Drops, Ozonated Gum Gel, and Zen Shave from Living Libations, Dragon’s Blood, various clays, and apple cider vinegar. I guess you could count aloe vera, tremella, and pearl too, but those are working from the inside out!
AB: That is easy! Our Beauty Chocolate! It has tremella, chaga and pearl in it so I can’t do anything better than that!
What is your skincare routine?
Sage: I love making masks with mixes of clays and apple cider vinegar. The vitality, circulation, and cleanliness that it brings to the skin feels so good!
AB: It is really quite simple…. baking soda 2-3 times a week to wash my face in the shower and then a bit of apple cider vinegar, otherwise baking soda can have too much of an alkaline effect. Prada Lab Dewy Skin Hydrate and Glow Facial Lotion twice a day, Isun exfoliant once a week. If there is an occasion I wear a bit of Vapour Beauty Luminous Foundation. I usually have Jane Iredale Pommisst in my bag for a refreshing extra glow and chocolate Hurraw for lip gloss. Sage doesn’t like me to wear makeup at all so that works out really well for both of us!
Go-to homemade beauty recipe?
Sage: Mix 1 teaspoon rhassoul clay, 1 teaspoon bentonite clay, and 1 teaspoon French green clay with 1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar and apply to the face. Let dry completely and wash off with warm water. Your face will be bright red for 30-45 minutes after… don’t be alarmed, its just the circulation doing its thing!
AB: Sage mentioned above that he regularly makes us a clay mask and we wear it together. The rule is that we are not allowed to make each other laugh once it dries since it gets super tight and and uncomfortable when it stretches your skin! Oh and you can’t kiss properly when it is on so that is a temporary bummer…
Mind, Body and Soul
Daily rituals to keep you grounded?
Sage: I take this one quite literally- sleeping on an electrically grounded sheet! It allows your body to replenish its electrons, which you are losing all the time. This allows for deeper rest, accelerated healing, and lowers inflammation. I also feel that there’s a deep wisdom that comes from being electrically connected to the rest of the world rather than being isolated.
AB: Sage and I meditate together at night before going to sleep. Would be great if we could do it in the morning but that time of the day gets really hectic and this way we can be sure to fit it in.
A book that positively influenced your life?
Sage: I feel I’ve really benefitted greatly from the works of Joseph Campbell, David Deida, Mantak Chia, Malcolm Gladwell, Eckhart Tolle, and Deepak Chopra. Lately, I’ve been especially enjoying “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell.
Favorite quote or mantra:
Sage: “The soft overcomes the hard. The slow overcomes the fast. Let your workings remain a mystery. Just show people the results” – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
AB: “If you don’t live on the edge you take up too much space!” – it was almost a mantra during my many years of traveling and adventures….. I created amazing memories and collected meaningful experiences during those times. But this saying now took up a different meaning for me: take a chance and go for something entirely new, don’t be afraid and create a dream with someone you love!
Current favorite ways to stay active?
Sage: Daily ashtanga yoga practice, tai chi, and surfing all make me very happy in mind, body, and spirit!
AB: I love my bike and I love that I live in an area where it is so easy to use it as transportation! Her name is Electra, she is a black beach cruiser with a basket in the front and also in the back. She is quite a girl! Also, Sage and I love going on hikes with his parents in Ojai, they are absolutely magical and fun and spending time with them is a treat on it’s own.
How do you unwind?
Sage: All of the activities mentioned above plus extended cuddling with AnnaBlanca!
AB: I need to work on that!! (Laughs) Oh what an oxymoron to say “I have to work on finding time to relax” Still, it is true…. For now our “Addictive Wellnes”s-baby needs our full attention but I am focusing on incorporating more unwind time and so happy to have a great support group around me who is helping to find the balance between work and play.
What are the “jewels” in your life? (i.e. your passions, favorite topics, people, places, etc.)
Sage: My life is full of jewels! To list a few… AnnaBlanca, yoga, surfing, nutrition, herbalism, my family, the ocean, wild animals, and chocolate.
AB: Besides Sage – my sister’s children. They hold the strings to my heart and I love them deeply. They live quite far so I don’t seem them as often as I would wish but we are really close and they know I am there for them always. Zerind, Tiván and Édua live in Calgary and Viggo and his little brother (who is arriving in November) live in Brussels.
What do you see for the future of Addictive Wellness?
Sage: Remember the Lau Tzu quote? “Let your workings remain a mystery. Just show people the results.” (laughs) But I can tell you that there will definitely be more functional herbal chocolates and other amazing treats that people never imagined could exist in a healthy way. Also, as the company grows, I really look forward to being able to do more to support causes that are vital to protecting nature and the health of the planet.
AB: On social media we keep getting messages from amazingly supportive and lovely people not just from different cities in the US but from different countries as well asking when will our chocolate be available there…!? My dream is to be able to tell them: it is in your local store!