For this week’s LADIES WE LOVE post we caught up with a little blonde pocket rocket who has health and well-being totally dialled. Meet Electra Tomasino, owner of the hugely popular Heal.Thy Self Co. cafe in Yarraville (I keep asking her who is doing her PR because the cafe is written about EVERYWHERE, but she insists they just keep calling), who also holds a Masters of Organisational Psychology.
Electra, along with her partner Dylan, are building an empire based on holistic health and proving that it’s the little things that count. Every day the menu is bursting with goodness to nourish your body and with your personalised inspiring smoothie message, you can’t help but leave The Heal.Thy Self Co. feeling better – in more ways than one!
You have always been fit, healthy and active. What inspired you to create Heal.Thy Self Co?
We all like to think we were ‘super humans’ growing up. Yes I worked out a lot, but I also ate a lot. My idea of health was based around eating a lot of wholegrain bread, low fat yoghurt, biscuits and low fat cheese and stir-fries from sauces in a bottle.
When I started having stomach pains and the Doctors just wanted to give me a band-aid solution I became a research nerd and started educating myself about what I was putting into my body. My degrees in Exercise Science & Psychology also helped me understand the mind-body connection and I knew I had to help those around me by sharing my knowledge in a non-evasive manner. I was in awe of what was actually hidden in these ‘foods’ and the long-term ramifications of consuming products that are stocked on supermarket shelves (I could talk about this for days & will be offering coaching in a few months!).
Heal.Thy Self Co started out as an online blog, which you and your partner Dylan have now turned into a cafe in Yarraville of the same name. At what stage did you decided to take the leap of faith and open a cafe? How have you found the first six months?
It was a crazy journey. The idea was born after I was nearly in tears in a café because I couldn’t eat anything on the menu knowing something would contain processed food or Canola oil. Surely if I found it difficult to eat out others would too?!
I chose to put my negative energy to good use and bring my partner-in-crime Dylan (aka the renovating machine and head taste tester) along on the journey.
I have minimal hospitality experience, I never wanted to run a café but I want to help people have access to fresh healthy food that is going to help them thrive. The food we eat can be the most powerful form of medicine and help us heal and thrive in our lives, or it can be a poison that will result in long-term disease. Unfortunately for me I have seen how stress and long-term exposure to chemicals can affect an individual very close to my heart. I never second-guessed opening Healthy Self Co. Everything about it feels right.
I am obsessed with your Antiox Acai Bowl and Raw Pad Thai, and would visit the cafe everyday if I could. Is it possible for you to choose a favourite dish, or is that like asking a mother to pick a favourite child?
Man oh man. Haha! I am a serious foodie. I can’t pick a straight out favourite as it changes depending on the weather. But at the moment I am loving our Passionate Smoothie with the additions of fresh organic green leaves and Super Greens Powder. As the weather is hot I love a tropical tasting smoothie and always like to start my day with an alkaline meal. I also can’t go past our Granola or Acai Bowl because I am pretty damn obsessed with the granola we created. Lastly, to finish off my perfect meal I would need a raw Raspberry ‘Cheesecake’ or a Raw Snickers Slice. I have a serious sweet tooth!
A lot of people would like to eat better and be more active, however find it ‘too hard’ or ‘too time consuming’. What is your advice for those wanting to make healthy changes to their lifestyle, but not sure where to begin?
You don’t need to make drastic changes. For those who are time poor I would advise they start by cutting back on as much processed or packaged food as possible and don’t be afraid of eating too much good stuff. I can eat 8 bananas in one sitting, drink a litre of coconut water, eat a massive stirfry or salad that half of our customers need take away containers for.
I eat more than I ever have but am leaner because my body doesn’t hang on to excess weight because I am nourishing it with the right things. Your body only stores fat if it is not functioning properly.
Finally, the most important part of being healthy is managing stress levels. Your body won’t digest food properly or work efficiently if it thinks it is in danger (insert: high stress levels!).
Take care of yourself – the most important thing in your life is your health and the health of those around you.
In addition to running a successful cafe, you are also in your last year of studying Master of Industrial & Organisational Psychology, whilst simultaneously working as a Business Development Assistant at Biggin & Scott Real Estate. What is your secret? How do you find balance whilst wearing so many hats?
HAHA. Geez you make it sound like I don’t sleep!
I just finished my Masters last year but am putting my work as a Psychologist on hold because I am trying to regain some balance after a stressful few years. I want to focus on making the café and our events the best they can possibly be.
Prioritising my health has been key. No matter what I am doing I find 30 minutes to organise my meals for the following day (raw treats from the café!) and stay active. Exercising has become more of a stress reduction technique for me rather than something I do to look good. With the amount of energy I expend during the day, I don’t need to go for a run, you’ll often find me at Australian Yoga Academy in Seddon in a ‘Happy Baby’ Inversion J
You can’t consistently function at a high level if you’re not fuelling your body correctly.
Would you mind sharing a typical day in the life of Electra?
Rise and shine at 5.30am (the early bird gets the worm!)
I either head into the café or am lucky enough to get to a 6am Yoga Class to help set me up for the day.
I aim to start the day with a glass of warm lemon water and a 1 Litre Green Smoothie, followed by an Almond Milk Latte.
I usually spend the morning in the kitchen preparing salads, nut milks and raw treats for the café (mandatory taste testing) . When it starts to get busy I head out the front and help with service. I am also lucky enough to chat to all of the friendly faces that come through our doors J
The day can be pretty hectic but I usually have a mixed salad from our salad bar whilst running around like a headless chook. I am usually the one who accepts food deliveries to ensure we are getting the best quality produce available.
I head home from the café around 5pm and see my family. I usually try to give my mum and brother a big hug and sit and spend 20 minutes with my dad before getting onto all of the fun bookwork or experimenting in the kitchen for the cafe.
I always spend evenings with my boyfriend Dylan and never get around to the housework or cleaning as intended (sigh!).
My days off are usually spent running around for café, meeting inspiring individuals within the wellness industry or heading down the surf coast for a session with friends.
What are your go-to stores, online stores, blogs?
For shopping I love Spell Byron Bay, Glue Superstore or East Bay.
For blogs I am obsessed with My New Roots, Golubka, My Darling Lemon Thyme & Green Kitchen Stories.
What about Instagram accounts?
@showandtell (but honestly I love their website better for all of the Hollywood goss – sucker!)
Last questions… What are 5 foods every kitchen should have?
Fresh Fruit & Veg (all my meals are based around these rather than a piece of meat etc.)
Frozen Bananas (for smoothies)
Raw Cacao Powder (hello healthy chocolate)
Coconut Oil (high smoke point and healthy fat)
Grains (My favs are Quinoa & Brown Rice)
Visit The Heal.Thy Self Co. for your daily dose of goodness at 26 Ballarat Street, Yarraville or check out their website at: www.thehealthyselfco.com.au.
+Questions by Hayley / +Written by Carly