Between the reality of modern life, the challenge of fussy palates and the drama that can so often accompany mealtimes, it's no surprise that at the end of the day, we can often look back and wonder if our children have eaten a bite of anything with nutritional value.
On the other hand, we are increasingly aware of the importance of good health, optimal nutrition and raising conscious, ethical and healthy eaters.
As mothers with demanding careers, Chrissy Duigan and Teresa Palmer were acutely aware of these realities, but knew that wholeness and health started from within. This is why they set about to create a range of supplements for families (particularly children) that would be sourced from organic, fair-trade, plant-based and environmentally kind ingredients.
The result? Lovewell. A beautiful new brand dedicated to bringing your children – and yourself – the best in nutrition in the form of delicious, chocolate-flavoured supplements that are packed with nutrients and vitamins. In other words – a smoothie (or dessert bowl) that packs in the day’s nutrients for our little ones so we can feel a little less worried about what the rest of the day’s meals have in store.
We spoke to Chrissy and Teresa about Lovewell, what mealtimes look like in their homes, and how they manage the juggle of life, work, children and their exciting new adventure.
Tell us a little bit about Lovewell.
Lovewell is founded on a belief in the innate healing power of the earth and the knowledge that true wellness, vibrancy and health is sourced from organic, fair trade, plant based, and environmentally kind ingredients. The Lovewell range comprises two core plant-based vegan powders, designed specifically for mothers and their busy families: BLOSSOM, a nutrient-packed supplement smoothie created especially for women, and GROW, a milkshake that delivers all the necessary daily vitamins and nutrients to our little ones. Lovewell is designed to be enjoyed daily and to provide everything our bodies need in a single, convenient product.
What inspired the launch?
We developed Lovewell simply because there wasn’t anything like it on the market that delivered on flavour, quality, nutritional value, practicality and cost. Lovewell began with a conversation about how, as mothers, we felt that our days seemed to run out of hours and that our self-care was taking a toll. We have 7 children between us, and Lovewell was really born out of a need for an easy, convenient way to ensure the nutritional needs of ourselves and our families were met each day. So, we asked ourselves a question: “what would make life easier?” and the answer was simple: a quick, daily pick-me-up that would provide our whole family’s daily nutrition essentials in a single dose. The seed was planted and that’s where Lovewell began to grow! It’s a problem that a lot of mothers can resonate with and a key reason why we are so proud of Lovewell; we’re helping to make nutrition, health and wellness easy and accessible to busy families like our own.
You’re both very busy women when it comes to career and family. How have you managed to carve out space to create this new brand?
Being such close friends, we have always shared so much time together, even before we became business partners. We’re both Adelaide girls and have recently moved home (previously, Chrissy had been living in London and Teresa was based in LA) and loved being in our hometown again and watching our children experience all the things we did here growing up. Lovewell began in such an organic way, through our ordinary daily discussions; catching up on the phone while cooking dinner, sharing the peaks and valleys of motherhood over text and chatting while our kids played together. Our conversations turned into concepts and we began putting the pieces together wherever we could – often while at the playground or doing school drop off! We were incredibly lucky that Chrissy has been in business and, specifically, has owned and managed businesses in the wellness space, for many years. Her experience, industry knowledge and established relationships enabled us to take Lovewell from concept to creation in such a short period of time. The concept for Lovewell first arose in September 2018 and we had launched by April 2019, so it was certainly a fast-tracked process. We were both so committed to Lovewell and its philosophy since the beginning, and this belief in the business drove us to be proactive in every stage of the process, even when it sometimes meant early mornings, late nights and time away from our families. We had so much faith in Lovewell and what we were setting out to do, and our belief in the potential of this simple concept provided a driving force and constant source of inspiration to find the time, and energy, to see it through.
How did you go about developing Lovewell? Did your children play a role in the testing?
We began with setting out some guiding philosophies for Lovewell: to provide optimum nutritional value from quality, natural, plant-based, vegan sources; deliver a product that was effective, efficient and practical for busy families; offer everything our bodies need to thrive each day in a single, daily hit of health; provide the best quality product at the most affordable price; encourage conscious living and making positive, holistic choices for our bodies and our planet; and to build a safe, open community of like-minded women. These concepts are at the heart of Lovewell, and everything we have done, and continue to do, comes back to these principles.
We wanted Lovewell to be supported by science, so we worked extensively with leading nutritionists and naturopaths around the world to develop the formulas, and we’re proud that both BLOSSOM and GROW are now recommended by many health professionals both in Australia and internationally. However, the real test came from our families! Our children played a huge role in Lovewell’s journey, and our families acted as guinea pigs throughout the development of the range. Lovewell’s GROW shake was originally vanilla flavoured, but our little taste-testers demanded chocolate, so we decided to change it to ensure it was something kids would devour. Teresa’s son, Forest, was the first kid to try the finished product and he absolutely loved it. It was such a beautiful moment for us and such a win as Mums to see him enjoy something so good for him. If our kids had any idea how many veggies are in Lovewell they’d be shocked, they think it’s their dessert!
How does Lovewell form a part of your children’s everyday diets?
Lovewell is great for us, as we know that we can give our kids their smoothie every morning and have the peace of mind that they have had all their nutritional needs met for the entire day. We both travel a lot for work and love that Lovewell can be taken anywhere and everywhere, all we need to do is add water. Before Lovewell, Teresa was finding that, because she was so busy, she took shortcuts in terms of the kids’ food and wasn’t meeting their needs as well as she should have, especially because they are vegan. Lovewell takes the pressure off us as parents, and gives our families such a good head start each and every day.
We designed Lovewell so that it can just be mixed with water and still be a delicious and nutrient-packed smoothie however, we have both been experimenting and now our families have so many different, exciting ways to enjoy their Lovewell.
C – I keep it simple and blend Lovewell with almond milk, then drink it alongside poached eggs and toast for breakfast, and, since my kids are sweet tooths, I’ll make them a Lovewell milkshake with some frozen berries and chia seeds for texture.
T – I’m always encouraging my kids to try more fruits and vegetables as they grow, so I’ll often blend some baby spinach or kale into their GROW shake. My favourite Lovewell smoothie is with banana, coconut water, two heaped spoons of BLOSSOM and a dollop of peanut butter.
When we have time on weekends, both of us love to blend our Lovewell really thick and make smoothie bowls, topped with granola, fresh fruit and cacao nibs – it’s like eating chocolate for breakfast!
What do mealtimes look like in your families?
C – Being married to the author of a bestselling cookbook, mealtimes are always a highlight in our house! We always try to find new ways to make healthy food taste irresistible and cook creative, nourishing meals that our kids love. My favourite breakfast is the ‘Clean & Lean’ ricotta pancakes, which I finish off with cinnamon, fresh berries and natural yoghurt. I usually snack on roasted nuts and chopped carrot, celery and capsicum during the day, before having a grilled salmon salad topped with lots of lemon juice and coriander for lunch. For dinner, we can’t go past an easy stir-fry with all our favourite veggies. I usually add in some cashews, chia seeds and lime juice for extra flavour and nutritional benefit.
T – My husband, Mark, is the cook in our home. He is an avid watcher of any and all cooking shows and loves to replicate vegan alternatives to what he sees on TV. Mark has such a knack and a love for cooking, and is always whipping up delicious, adventurous meals. Our family is vegan so mealtimes usually involve lots of fresh, organic vegetables and plant-based proteins. We love smashed avocado from breakfast, homemade sushi for lunch, juices and smoothies throughout the day and, since I love Italian food, our dinner is often a hearty veggie pasta.
What tips do you have for encouraging really healthy attitudes to food with our children?
We both agree that the best thing you can do for the health of your family is to lead by example. As most parents know, our kids watch our every move and absorb our behaviours and routines. We try to practice what we preach as much as possible and be good role models to our children, so that they are able to develop positive and healthy relationships with food. For little ones, it’s also about making healthy food fun and enjoyable. Finding fruits, vegetables and healthy snacks that they love is such an important way to ensure that they build healthy eating habits.
We have both worked in industries where we have felt the pressures of looking a certain way and experienced problems with self-esteem. We’d love to raise our kids to be strong and proud of themselves and try to encourage them to find self-love. We try to talk about food, exercise and our bodies in a positive way around our children and hope that they grow to love themselves as much as we love them.
What worries you most about food/meal times/diets within your families?
As working mums, our biggest concern when it comes to our children is not having the time and energy to ensure they nutritional needs are met each day. We all know it is crucial for their growing bodies to receive their daily dose of vitamins and minerals, and how important it is for this to come from fresh, organic ingredients as much as possible, however, the pressures of parenting can be overwhelming and we don’t always feel that can deliver. Raising healthy, happy kids is always our number one priority and, although it’s okay for them to eat junk food every now and then, we want the majority of their meals to be packed with fruit, veggies, protein and essential nutrients. We’ve learnt, through trial and error, that preparation is the best way to make sure our families are eating right. Finding simple, easy recipes that the family loves and ensuring that the fridge is always stocked with fresh, healthy ingredients makes our jobs as parents so much easier.
The juggle/struggle is very real … How do you both make time for relaxation and self-care?
T – I love my kids and being a mum gives me so much joy however, I’ve learnt that I need to look after myself in order to be able to look after my family. People always think that I exaggerate when I say this, but I have a bath every single day! My husband or mum watch the kids for 40 minutes while I have some uninterrupted relaxation and me-time. I add lavender salts and essentials oils to a hot bath, put my phone on silent and just enjoy the peace and quiet! Sometimes I’ll read a book, but at the moment I’m obsessed with podcasts so I’ll pop my headphones in and listen to an episode or two.
C – My favourite way of practising self-care is exercise. I find it so relaxing and a great way to clear my head. It doesn’t always have to be high-intensity, I really enjoy going for walks along the beach or even putting Netflix on and stretching in front of the TV. My husband, James, is a personal trainer so it’s also a nice way for us to reconnect and spend time together – even if it does involve doing burpees and box jumps!
What does a day on your plate look like?
T – I always start my day with my Lovewell BLOSSOM smoothie. It’s perfect because I barely have time to get myself ready in the mornings, so I can quickly shake up and drink my Lovewell and feel full, energised and ready for the day. I have it before the kids wake up and it gives me enough energy to get Bodhi ready for school, buckle everyone into the car and do the school run. Breakfast is my favourite meal and when I get home I like to cook a big breaky with smashed avocado, mushrooms and sautéed kale. When I was pregnant, I’d often follow that up with a slice of banana bread or a healthy breakfast muffin when I had a sugar craving! I usually opt for salads for lunch as they’re easy for me to whip up at home and I can toss in anything we already have in the pantry but during winter, I love a hot veggie quesadilla with fresh chilli for extra kick. At dinnertime, my husband will usually make us a vegan stir-fry with tempeh, broccoli, cauliflower, crispy onions, capsicum, rice noodles and a lemon soy sauce, or I’ll make a Mediterranean veggie pasta with olives, sundried tomatoes and vegan garlic bread.
C – I can’t go past sweet breakfasts and often have my Lovewell shake alongside peanut butter and banana on rye bread, or coconut oats with fresh fruit and chia seeds. If I’m in more of a savoury mood, I’ll make an egg white omelette with spinach, capsicum, zucchini and basil. For lunch, I like to have grilled prawns or salmon with a big green avocado salad and steamed broccolini, topped with olive oil. Seafood has so many fantastic health benefits so I try to eat at least one serve every day, but if I’ve covered it at breakfast, I’ll swap in seasoned turkey breast to my lunchtime salad. For dinners, we like to do something fun on Friday nights for the kids so we’ll often cook homemade burgers and fill them with hummus and lots of shredded salad. When we adults have a night to ourselves, James makes an amazing ‘green gnocchi’ with broad beans, spring greens and wild garlic.
What is your hope for Lovewell?
Lovewell is driven by passion, not profit and our hope is to bring families an easy, delicious, beneficial and accessible way to improve and maintain their health. We want to be a part of daily routines all over the world, and be a source of wellbeing and comfort to busy parents and their little ones.
In creating such a special brand, what are you hoping to inspire in your own children?
We have both been involved in various industries from Hollywood, health and wellness, modelling and e-commerce, but we hope that, through Lovewell, we can show our children and our communities that it pays to carry yourself with kindness, integrity and authenticity. So often we hear stories about big businesses making money through unethical practices, ripping off their customers and exploiting the ‘little guy’ – we hope that Lovewell’s story is testament to the importance of sticking to your morals, working hard, being genuine and caring about others and the planet. These principles can be applied to any industry and to our daily lives, and we hope that our children see that true success comes from passion and kindness.