Smart Snacking With Kitchen and Soul - Behind The Balls
What Are Soul Balls?
Kitchen & Soul Balls give you all the natural raw energy you need to keep your soul happy. They are a healthy energy snack option for anyone looking for Gluten-Free, Vegan, Dairy-Free Good Mood Food!
New In at the LBE Shop, show your body some love with 5 delish flavours including:
- Lemon Pop (Apricot - Lemon - Poppy Seeds - Ginger)
- Chocolate Bomb (Cocoa - Date - Chia - Turmeric)
- Tahini Surprise Tahini - (Macadamia - Date - Cinnamon)
- Nut Nut (Peanut - Almond - Cocao - All Spice)
- Zest For Life (Coconut - Cashew - Orange - Cardamom)
Behind The Balls - Interview With Nadra Shah
My name is Nadra and I am the founder of Kitchen & Soul. K&S is about promoting positivity and mental well-being through food. Good Mood Food. We produce a range of natural energy balls, five flavours in total, each one has been blended with spices based on the Indian practice of Ayurveda.
What is ‘Wellness’ to you?
Wellness to me is feeling comfortable in my own skin, feeling connected to myself and to other people. I think there is too much focus on obtaining a certain state, whether it be a certain physique or to have a constant strategy to be grateful. There is a lot of pressure to “do” rather than to “be”.
If you strip it back, smile, think about what you have achieved and concentrate on the happiness you can bring to others rather than always turning inward, I believe that is where wellness begins. It wouldn’t be right without mentioning mental wellbeing, being out of my head creates wellness. It isn’t always easy but when it happens the light shines.
Tell us about your wellness journey!
I suffer with depression and have done so for a number of years. I’ve had a very difficult relationship with food and my body image in the past and have fought and lost quite a few battles.
In 2012 I was in a good place, I felt really happy in my life – however upon seeing a photo of me on holiday I realised that I had gained weight. Rather than think my life was over and that I was going to be miraculously happier if I lost ½ stone, I approached it from a balanced (pragmatic) place. I started weight watchers because that’s is all I knew and over the course of about 10 months I had lost a stone. I continued to lose weight more than I ever anticipated but I felt it wasn’t sustainable and that actually in the process of doing the “diet” (horrible word), I hadn’t gained any knowledge about what my body needed.
That started a journey of education around food and nutrition and I changed what I consumed. Where on weight watchers an avocado was the devil, I learnt that good fats were essential to so many aspects of our internal function.
With the desire to learn more I enrolled on a course to study nutrition and qualified as a nutritional advisor in Jan 2017. To further understand food culture, I left my job in London and completed the Ballymaloe Certificate in Ireland. The cookery school is based on a 100-acre organic farm. You literally pull the produce from the earth and cook with it! If that didn’t confirm that whole food in its natural state is gloriously nutritionally abundant, I am not sure what could!
The connection between my mental state and what I consumed was something I’ve learnt and experienced along the way. The truth is, if I eat well and eat what my body and brain needs, I feel better. It isn’t the cure for depression but it helps and if it helps then why on earth wouldn’t you do it?!
What is your inspiration behind Kitchen & Soul?
Creating a brand that is humorous, approachable, informative and people can feel connected to. I always say the Soulballs are a product of the ethos of the brand. I definitely have felt frustrated in the past that many health brands take themselves too seriously and the products are too functional, leaving you feeling disappointed and cold.
The idea was to create something that put satisfaction first and the nutritional benefits were a given. The vision for Kitchen & Soul is to create a physical space that brings together good mood food and a platform for people to connect with one another. A co-work space if you like but focused solely on supporting mental wellness and connection.
What are your favourite spices that you include into the soul balls?
Oh that’s a hard one. I love that people are surprised by the use of turmeric with chocolate and that it works so well. Using spices that are typically associated with savoury and mixing it up is fun (turmeric, allspice). I like that there are layers in the textures and flavours; a crunch and hint of orange in the chocolate bomb, the cinnamon coming through the tahini with the tahini surprise and apricot and ginger in the lemon pop.
What's your kitchen look like on a typical day?
Messy! My mixers are worked quite hard.
How do you test your products? Who's the lucky peeps that get to devour them first?
I have a couple of trusted people, both chefs and my first stockists who have been fantastic in giving me honest and constructive feedback. Some come really easy, the lemon pop I literally dreamt up in my sleep and made it the next day and went straight into production with it. I wouldn’t necessarily say that is how you should approach creating a new product but so far it has been very well received and people seem to like it!
Your fave type of workout is...
I love yoga. I have flirted with doing a teacher training but I need to reign myself in as I could be doing a course every month. I train with a great trainer called Jonny who entertains my need to be ridiculous and not take it too seriously. He says that I have an emoji face!
I also love a bit of HiTT – I am not sure whether it is because it is really challenging or it is over really quickly!
What tunes do you love playing when you are working out?
Got to be a bit of euro dance trash.
Where are your fave places to workout or ideal wellness location?
I am outside of London now but when I lived in the city, I loved, loved FRAME, Pscyle and Good Vibes for yoga. Now I go to Yoga Hook in Gerrards Cross, a lovely studio with great teachers.
What tips do you have for a successful mindset when it comes to health?
Surround yourself with people and things that make you feel awesome.
Do and eat what you enjoy and what makes you feel good and feeds your body in the way that makes you feel energetic and vibrant. What works for you might not be what works for the next person or might not be what the current trend is. That’s okay.
Make yourself laugh. You can often find me having a lovely little natter with myself in my kitchen. I find myself hilarious!
Who are your business inspirations, collaborators or ambassadors you would love to work with?
I love what Pollen & Grace do their ethos and how they have grown.
I would love to collaborate with High Mood Food, how they are bringing their brand alive through collaborations and events joining people together in an intimate way is really interesting.
I have a lot of respect for Joan and Pip from FRAME and I would love to collaborate with them as I think they are inspiring business women, they are jolly nice and I think the brands would sit really well together.
Ambassador. Hell, lets throw it out to the universe, not so much an ambassador but if someone like Anna Jones or Gizzie Erskine were to say that K&S rocked then I’d be a happy lady. As I said I want them to taste amazing so an endorsement from a chef would be pretty awesome.
What are you most proud about in terms of your brand?
That Lifebox said yes to putting K&S in their July 17 subscription boxes 4 months after I launched and working with me again in December 17 with the limited edition Christmas Ball Ball flavour.
Securing a Virgin Start Up loan in August 17.
Surviving my first year (it is our 1st Birthday at the end of February!).
Continually championing mental health and the connection between nutrition and mental wellness.