WOMAN ALMIGHTY FIVE: ZOE LIND VAN'T HOF of WUNDERWORKSHOP
Zoe is a long lost soul sister - entering my older sister, Matisse's life when they were but little 6 year olds, and re-entering our orbit in the incredible city of London, circa '15.
The way meeting her fell into place can only be attributed to a perfect alignment of the cosmos and Universe. The conversations we had were profound, covering everything. Each breath was scattered with giggles, featuring passionate declarations of distaste at the state of the meat/agricultural industries, speaking on spirituality, the power of woman, and our eternal love for tuned in, conscious mums.
We met in the hub that is Neal's Yard (a hot spot of natural health in Covent Garden), and dined on raw food at Wild Food Cafe, as well as having a "follow up" at Nama Foods in Notting Hill, followed by a "follow up" at Shoreditch House. We just had so much business to attend to. So much food to eat. So much juice to drink. To say we enjoyed each others company would be the understatement of the century.
Zoe is the creator of WunderWorkshop and Golden Mylk, a Notting Hill based brand focusing on disease prevention and the cultivation of health through the understandings of Ayurveda. Her knowledge is multi-generational; she too was born and educated of the importance of health and nutrition by a strong, WUNDERFUL mother and she continues the lineage by offering her drink to her customers London wide through the magical Selfridges Food Hall.
Golden Mylk is alchemy in motion, using only the finest, organic and ethically sourced Turmeric from Sri Lanka, Golden Mylk assists in creating Alchemy and vitality in the body, and it tastes like pure, pure heaven. Londoners, get to Selfridges stat. The best investment you can make is in your health.
Golden Mylk, made by a Golden woman.
If her knowledge of ayurveda and alchemical mylk prowess doesn't impress you, then her other creation, Boob's Essential, will. The premise behind Boobs Essential has been to place emphasis on daily self-massage, harnessing the power of frankincense and myrrh (and other pure essential oils) and allowing a space of checking your boobs for lumps to be a part of every woman's daily routine. Its about nourishing the skin, preventing disease, creating a space for self-discovery and self-love and normalizing the act of checking up on our lovely, magical, life-giving boobs. It also smells like everything good, earthy and healing in this world.
So, Zoe is a powerhouse. She is a dream girl. She has the hugest heart, compassion and consciousness oozing out of every pore and I'm lucky to call her a friend. Get to know her, below.
Ondine: What do you call yourself?
O: Zodiac Sign?
Z: Libra, and my moon is Pisces.
O: Would you describe yourself as a classic Libra?
Z: Yes, it always surprises me when I look deeper how accurate my signs are. Especially being energetic, non-conforming and intuitive which are some of the classic characteristics of my Zodiac signs.
O: How do you define Alchemy?
Z: The first thing what springs to mind is the merging of powerful entities to create something magical.
O: What do you do and why do you do it?
Z: I do many different things but all for the same reason: to be happy in the now. I don’t want to look forward to the weekend or hate Mondays. I tried a 9-5 job for 2 years and I couldn’t conform to having such a rigorous routine that I decided to do my own thing. Most of my energy goes into Wunder Workshop an Ayurvedic health food brand focusing on all things turmeric. I launched with an organic drink called Golden Mylk, which is a blend of our own coconut milk and turmeric, based on a traditional Sri-Lankan recipe. We also just launched Turmeric Tea and Turmeric Powder, which are all sourced directly from a small, independent and organic farm in Sri Lanka which I visited last year.
I have also just launched Boobs’ Essential which I founded to focus on prevention rather than cure in relation to breast cancer. My mother has recently been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, so I began extensive research into the various alternative therapies.One of the topics that stood out was the scientific research on the role of essential oils and their use in the prevention and treatment of tumours. Massaging your boobs with Boobs’ Essential oil as part of your daily routine enables you to both check your breasts for lumps and enables you to nourish them with these essential oils.
O: For the people who don't really know you, how is it that you originally came to be interested in the power of Ayurveda, nutrition and health?
Z: I personally, come from a line of people who were passionate and focused on the wondrous power of health foods and nutrition. That important wisdom gets passed down from grandmother to mother and to me! I'm so grateful to have this knowledge.
My mum has been in the wellness industry for over 40 years and since I can remember she has taught me all the things she knows, plus our house was filled with interesting books, both health and spiritual related. So I am very blessed to have such a background although it took me a while to realise that my calling is within that same industry. Life is so interesting, as all the things my mum has taught me have been exactly what she needed since she has been diagnosed with cancer. It is as if a circle has been closed and I give back what she has taught me.
O: How has the Australian/Dutch lifestyle influenced your appreciation of health and overall life?
Z: Both countries share one big thing for me, and that is the feeling of casualness and carefreeness. I am sure that is pretty different when it gets down to their current political systems, but just the feeling of the warmth from the sun and the people in Australia and their closeness to nature has been something that has given me a big appreciation of the outdoors and neighbourliness. The Dutchness in me is my honesty and reason for carrying my heart on my sleeve. The Dutch speak their mind.However, the Dutch food hasn’t done much good for my health as they fry everything.
O: Australia is such a laid-back country, with focus placed on the importance of nature, the sun and sea! Do you think that Wunder Mylk has a little bit of Australia in it?
Z: Oh definitely, the drink symbolizes the golden sun and all those things that brighten up your life.
O: You've obviously been stimulated by Ayurveda with your use of the powerful Turmeric in your Wunder Mylk - where did you discover this ancient knowledge?
Z: I have been to Sri Lanka with my mum a couple of times and we visited very traditional Ayurvedic retreats on the south coast, where we stayed for over 3 weeks and had the privilege of spending a lot of time with Ayurvedic doctors. I learned so much about so many different herbs and the power of food. Turmeric is one of the most powerful herbs, it was there at the source of its heritage that I learned the most about it.
O: Wunder Mylk is literal Alchemy in motion; utilising high power ingredients to create a golden finished product that is nourishing for the whole body. Where do you source your incredible turmeric from?
Z: On my last trip to Sri Lanka, over a year ago, I went on my own to decide what I wanted to do with my life as I wasn’t happy with my job at the time. Whilst traveling through the mountains of Kandy, I decided to visit a Turmeric farm. The warm hearted people and beautiful surroundings made me decide then and there that I was going to import turmeric from them and start my own brand focusing on turmeric based products.
O: I've been incredibly inspired about this idea of a 21st century Alchemist, someone who is creating change in the world and alchemising their own lives. As a female entrepreneur, was there a specific moment when you knew you had to be an Alchemist in your world? What made you decide turmeric mylk was the path for you?
Z: This sounds pretty unromantic, but as I am a bit of a plan freak, I had set myself a deadline. I decided as part of my new year’s resolutions for 2014 (which I usually never make) that in six months’ time I would decide if I was unhappy with my current life and job that I would hand in my notice and start up my own thing. That is exactly what I did, I travelled to Sri Lanka shortly after I had made that decision to quit my job and whilst traveling through the heart of Sri Lanka I decided I wanted to do something with all the knowledge I had previously learned from this amazing country and from my mum. When I look back I am very grateful for whatever courage was residing in me at the time.
O: A lot of people become uneasy about this idea of change, but as Alchemists, we have to embrace it. How has change played a role in your life and your work?
Z: I love change and I find it very hard to stay in a stagnant position. I am somewhat impatient and therefore I naturally desire evolution, even though that change is perhaps faster than the rhythm that my path is meant to be. I trust my gut instinct which has been proven right more often than not so far.
I see change as a gift, as it teaches you how to respond to any situation and you can use it as a way to enhance your personal growth.
When I thought that my big change would be quitting my job to start Wunder Workshop, I became to realise that that wasn’t the challenge that was awaiting me, it was instead that my very healthy and energetic mum was to be diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in December 2014. It was as if everything was thrown off track, but in the strangest way it has made me more positive and happy to be able to care for her. Of course there are many moments, where I want to give up trying to run a business in London and caring for my mum in Germany, but I have managed to find a balance. If I look back a year I would have never ever believed this would be able to happen or that I would be able to cope with it, but I did and it has enhanced my life. It has taught me foremost to take nothing for granted, to expect the unexpected, but embrace everything that comes and to celebrate the uncertainty of life.
O: What would you like to see Wunder Workshop doing, or offering in the future?
Z: Foremost the message behind Wunder Workshop and Boobs’ Essential is to be aware that prevention is better than cure and that in all aspects of life we need to find a healthy balance. Our Western attitude is too focused on finding cures to diseases rather than preventing them in the first place. I think this is the wrong approach and I hope these two brands can create just a little more awareness for the need to find a healthy balance.
That said, I would like to see WW as a major turmeric supplier across the UK through a variety of healthy and organic products. I want WW to help spread the belief and demand for truly healthier food and drink options in our supermarkets, to enlighten the general public about the benefits of organic food, not only to themselves but the environment.
O: I call the women I see who are strong, capable, complex and epitomise all aspects of a woman, Girl Almighty's. When have you felt most like a Girl Almighty?
Z: The whole of 2015 so far! Being there for my mum whilst trying to run two businesses has been really tough mentally and physically. Only on the rare occasion when I get a moment to reflect do I truly feel like what I am doing is special and epitomises the daring and caring nature of a woman.
O: Who is your Girl Almighty? Living or otherwise?
Z: They keep changing and they are usually women I had the honour of crossing paths with in my life, they are strong but warm-hearted at the same time, open minded, brave, they speak up for their rights and the rights of others, and most importantly they do not have any fear. I would just like to list most of my friends here, but they know who they are J
O: What makes your blood boil?
Z: Selfishness and narrow mindedness in people, and worst when it is on a multinational corporate level such as the pharma industry, meat industry and so on, you know what I mean ;)
O: What are you most passionate about?
Z: The aesthetics of my surroundings, the power of nutrition and dancing.
O: What excites you and makes you happiest about tomorrow?
Z: The uncertainty and the infinity of possibilities it brings. I find life in general pretty exciting, I know it sounds cliché but the world is truly your oyster!
O: I love women. They inspire me daily, which is why this segment of my blog exists, as I love the wisdom each woman can impart on the world. What quality do you most admire in a woman?
Z: Empathy and warmth, there is nothing better than a good hug from a woman.
O: Similarly, what quality do you most admire in a man?
Z: Their naturally carefree nature and flexibility.
O: To finish, if you had a moment when the whole world was listening to you- what would you say?
Z: Have compassion for other beings and never stop growing avocados.