Sage and Anna Blanca; The Inspiring Makers of Addictive Wellness Chocolate
It might be the old adage or expression “good things come in threes” that led me to the magic of Addictive Wellness Chocolates.The first time I came across these medicinal chocolates was at The Morrison Center, the wellness center I frequent with visits to see Dr. Jeffrey Morrison, for vitamin infusions and also where I purchase my prescribed top of the line holistic supplements. I also just recently read about Sage and Anna Blanca on the Local Rose, a lifestyle blog I follow for inspiration on holistic living. And finally on my most recent trip to Los Angeles, my soul sister Rita brought me the Love Addictive Chocolate as a gift. After having tried these raw vegan chocolate’s for the first time, I was literally addicted! There are so many ways to enjoy these chocolates. You can find recipes and inspiring idea’s on the Addictive Wellness Blog or Instagram.
How did you first get involved in the wellness movement?
Sage: When I was 15, my parents opened a wellness center in Thousand Oaks, CA which started out with Ceragem infrared-heated jade massage beds and evolved to incorporate Clearlight Infrared Saunas, TurboSonic sound vibration, massage, and a diverse offering of superfoods and tonic herbs. I took to all of this very naturally and was fascinated with the possibilities of slowing down the aging process and being able to experience so much more in life as a result. I loved learning as much as I could about the body and the way superfoods and tonic herbs affect it. I was constantly experimenting with these ingredients and feeling amazing from them! The better I felt, the more I wanted to learn, and the more I learned, the further I wanted to take my experimentation. After a few years, I started teaching regular classes at their wellness center and I absolutely loved sharing my passion with others. In school, I was always nervous presenting in front of a group, but now that I was presenting something I was excited about, this all changed and I was having so much fun.
AnnaBlanca: I wasn’t even aware of it but my entire childhood was part of my wellness movement. Lol… My siblings and I grew up in the countryside of Hungary on kombucha, bee pollen, royal jelly, fermented vegetables, raw milk, organic produce, infrared light, running barefoot and grounded every day, picking fruit from our own land, eating only home cooked nutritions meals and licking our fingers from the mud that provided some good earth-based probiotics. I had no idea many of these basics some day will become the staples of our own healthy lifestyle here in LA! I did have a decade-long detour though, living a rather unhealthy lifestyle but I found my way back once I realized how differently I felt when I did not take care of myself.
How do you navigate a growing business while managing the balance your personal and professional lives as a couple?
Sage: By being dedicated to cuddling and all forms of oxytocin-building activities! We feel that we’re so fortunate to be able to work together. Many couples might not do so well working together all the time, but fortunately, we are super-compatible in that way. It’s almost always the case that my weaknesses are her strengths and vice versa. Working together allows us to spend so much more time together than we would be able to otherwise. Many couples might only get to spend 2-4 hours per day together when you factor in commuting, work, exercise, and other commitments, but we get to spend 12+ hours together each day and we love every moment of it!
AnnaBlanca: If I haven’t read what Sage wrote above and just started replying the question I would have written the exact same thing. Word for word.
What Is your process of creating your raw chocolate and elixir blends?
Sage: I first learned to make raw chocolate in Costa Rica when I was in my late teens. I recognized that raw chocolate was a rare crossover between super healthy foods and foods that people everywhere love and crave. It seemed like the perfect “gateway superfood” to lead people into healthier diet and lifestyle without feeling that they were being deprived of enjoyment. Chocolate is also such a great delivery vehicle for the best herbs and the perfect way to sneak them into people. Over the years, my herbal knowledge and chocolate knowledge continued to improve and finally AnnaBlanca gave me the inspirational push I needed to make the chocolate sugar-free. I always wanted a chocolate that was raw, sugar-free, and incorporated the most powerful herbs and it was never available. Now it’s so much fun being able to share it with everyone.
I also love making delicious hot, creamy herbal elixirs. This is another one of the most powerful ways to consume tonic herbs. But if you’re just getting into this and don’t know what you’re doing, it might not come out tasting pleasant. For years I wanted to figure out a way to make an easy, fool-proof way for people anywhere in the world to enjoy these herbs and make their taste-buds do the “happy dance” at the same time. Like the chocolate, it took years to refine it into what it is now and it makes me so happy every time I hear how much people are enjoying them.
What does your logo of a golden unicorn represent for you and how did you come up with it?
AnnaBlanca: The Unicorn throughout history has been a symbol of purity, protection, magic and longevity but in recent years it started to represent self confidence, uniqueness, individuality and the ability to realize our dreams. When we chose a golden, strong Unicorn to symbolize our company’s philosophy we didn’t even see this new role of the Unicorns emerging yet!
In medieval times the horn of the Unicorn, called “alicorn” was believed to possess magical powers: detecting poisons and turning them into healing elixirs. Our intention with our creations are the same, we turn commercial, chemical-laden products nto the healthiest, most beneficial treats. Of course we love and appreciate the many layered meaning behind our powerful Unicorn. He means much more to us and our brand than just a logo.
What inspires you and your business?
Sage: I’m getting to live the real life version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- it doesn’t get much more inspiring than that! Bringing together exotic and magical ingredients from all corners of the world into a creation that puts smiles on peoples faces and builds their health on many levels is incredibly motivating and inspiring for me.
AnnaBlanca: I wake up each day happy and excited knowing we’re building a company that does something that has never been done before. There is not other chocolate that incorporates all the aspects and benefits ours does. It is sugar free, non gmo, no soy or corn derivatives, no chemicals, gluten free… We use organic and wildcrafted ingredients, the purest available superfoods and superherbs… – and those tonic superherb -formulations really add to the quality of the life of those who enjoy them. Plus they taste wonderful! I eat so much of them I wonder how we stay in business! Lol
What is the ultimate way to experience chocolate?
Sage: Crazy as it may sound, there’s really a technique for doing this that takes the whole experience to the next level. First, make sure you have a clean palate. If you’ve just eaten something bitter, the chocolate will taste too sweet. If you’ve just eaten something sweet, the chocolate will taste too bitter. If you’re storing the chocolate somewhere cold, allow it to come to room temperature. Temperature has a huge effect on the flavor experience because cold chocolate won’t melt fast enough in your mouth and won’t release its flavors as much. Then break off a piece and put it in your mouth or take a bite, but don’t chew any more! Leave it on your tongue for 30-60 seconds to warm up more and come up towards body temperature. Pay attention to the first flavors you pick up as it starts to melt in your mouth. Then, when you can’t wait any longer, start chewing. Keep your mouth closed, breathing through your nose, as this way gives you the full sensory experience of the aroma and flavor. Everyone should try this at least once with their favorite chocolate!
You mention on your Instagram that you both incorporate the philosophy of the Chinese Three Treasure System into your lives: Jing, Chi, Shen. What is this philosophy and in what ways do you incorporate this philosophy into both your daily lives and into your business?
Sage: From the Taoist perspective, we are composed of Jing, Qi, and Shen. The metaphor of a candle is often used to explain these. The Jing is the wax and wick of the candle, its basic essence and form. Jing is like our energy savings account or our energy reserve. We inherit a certain amount from our parents and slowly use it up over the course of our life, eventually running out of jing at the end fo life. Depending on how we live, we can use up our jing quickly or slowly. Basically, all forms of living in excess are jing “leaks.” For example, poor diet, overtraining, drugs, alcohol, and stress all cause us to use up jing at an accelerated rate. Certain yogic practices and tonic herbs are able of helping to rebuild the Jing.
The next treasure is the Qi- this is the flame, the active part of the candle. It represents our moment-to-moment active energy, vitality, and cognitive function. It is basically our ability to extract energy from the air we breathe and the food we eat. But the ultimate purpose of candle isn’t just to have a big flame, but to give off great light. The third treasure, Shen, is the light given off by the candle. This is the light that we give off in the world, our higher self, and our ability to positively affect those around us. But keep in mind, if you don’t have much jing and you’re just a little birthday candle, you’re not going to be giving off very much light, so its best to start out building your Jing.
The principle of cultivating the three treasures is a real part of our lives. Even though we work incredibly hard, often 16+ hours each day, we are mindful of doing it in a way that doesn’t excessively burn out our jing. We also take tonic herbs that help with cultivation of these three treasures every day. Being totally realistic, I think getting a startup business going without donating some jing to the cause is pretty much impossible, but we do our very best not to burn ourselves out!
You donate 5% of your net profits to environmental organizations, how do you decide which organizations to donate to and for how long on average do you donate to each non profit you choose?
Sage: We try to focus on the organizations we feel are doing the most impactful work to save the world. We are very passionate about protecting the oceans and the bees. We perceive these as two major linchpins holding things together in our precarious situation here on earth. For the most part, we have been supporting many of the same organizations for the past three years, but we are always on the lookout for new and promising opportunities to ensure a future of a happy earth with plenty of jungle-grown chocolate!
AnnaBlanca: Sage is as passionate about the ocean as i am about bees. Our respective childhoods set the course for us: Sage grew up in sunny California, in Los Angeles and learned to appreciate the waves. To him it is the most fundamental way he love to enjoy nature. I was brought up in the countryside of Hungary where the acacia trees nursed, protected and provided to the beautiful bees. I love them with all my heart. They are the gentlest creatures and do so much for us humans. Without bees our food supply would whittle away. I always made sure to have beads on my bathing suit so tired, thirsty bees can land on it and drink some water…. When it came to choosing which environmental organizations we would like to donate to, we didn’t take too long to decide.. Donating to those who are doing the heavy lifting within these organizations is a practice we will continue as we grow and we’re really happy to be able to give back to mother nature.
As a chocolatier and a business owner, what continuing education practices do you use to stay up to date with all the different avenues of holistic health sciences that you incorporate into your work?
Sage: I’m an avid reader, whether it be articles, studies, or books about the areas of health that have caught my interest over the years. Also, lots of my information intake these days is in audio form, because often times the schedules of startup founders don’t afford a ton of time for chilling out and curling up with a thick nutrition book!
AnnaBlanca: We’re continuously living a learning experience and surrounded ourselves with experts. We’re living in an amazing age when an infinite amount of information is accessible by anyone, you just have to be motivated and hungry to go get it!
What feels most joyful in your lives?
AnnaBlanca: Sage! (yeah, we’re that predictable!