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Fit Feature: The Honest Leaf

What happens when you mix a cozy cup of tea with a brilliant Girl Boss? You get Shelby Kroach, a registered nutritionist and the brains behind the amazing Canadian tea company, The Honest Leaf. No, this is not just another “tea-tox” company that promotes rapid weight loss. Shelby uses her knowledge as a nutritionist to combine only the best, natural, organic ingredients to create teas that support so many different systems in our bodies. She has over ten flavours, each targeting specific goals and functions such as digestion, energy and balancing blood sugar. Her teas not only taste amazing but you can feel good drinking them knowing you are doing something amazing for your health. Keep reading to learn more about Shelby and The Honest Leaf:

Tell us about your background—how did you get into the tea business in the first place? After graduating from Kinesiology at The University of Western Ontario, I decided to enroll in nutrition at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition. It was there that I became fascinated with different ingredients that could help support various parts of the body. When I graduated, I started seeing clients one-on-one and noticed that most people had very similar health goals. Tea was always something I recommended because I was such a tea lover and knew how amazing the health benefits were. I decided to start formulating some blends that targeted what my clients were looking for… digestive support, reducing inflammation, balancing blood sugar, etc. And then The Honest Leaf was born!
Has health and wellness always been a big part of your lifeYes! From a very young age, I was enrolled in competitive gymnastics and then moved onto competitive dance. In high school, my favourite courses were exercise science, nutrition and gym. So it was pretty clear that I was destined for a career in the health and wellness world.
What makes The Honest Leaf different from other teas? The Honest Leaf is not only a tea company, but also a wellness brand. Our goal is to be one piece of the health and wellness puzzle while maintaining honesty, integrity and transparency. We pride ourselves on using whole organic and all natural ingredients without the addition of artificial flavours or preservatives. That way you are getting the best quality product in every sip!
What are the biggest benefits of drinking tea? For starters, tea is full of antioxidants, which help to protect our cells against damage. It is also great for our metabolism, digestion and energy. And with the addition of herbs and spices, the health benefits are endless!
What was the biggest challenge of starting The Honest Leaf? The biggest challenge was actually just getting started. Not knowing where to start or really how to bring a product to market. I’ve never taken a business class and hadn’t had any marketing experience at the time, so I kind of just went for it and hoped for the best. There was a lot of learning to be done in the beginning but no schooling could have ever prepared me for it. I call it “the school of real life” and it was the best thing I could have done.
What is a typical day in the life of ShelbyWow, that’s a tough one. My days are forever changing but they always start off the same. I wake up around 6:45 (that’s when my husband leaves for work and seems to always wake me up!), I make myself a cup of tea and try to fit in a workout…some days it happens, others… well. I check my emails and make a to do list of upcoming orders/deliveries/events. Some days I’m packing orders, other days I’m hammering out new social media and marketing posts and then there’s always sales that are part of my daily routine. I’m still a one woman show so I wear a lot of hats. 
Aside from drinking tea, what are some other things you do to stay healthyI LOVE walking and exploring the city. I take about 2-3 walks daily to help reset and refresh my mind. I try my best to get in a few workouts a week. I like a good sweat. Otherwise, I make sure that I have time for myself and my family. It helps to keep me grounded when life gets a little stressful. 
Any advice for entrepreneurs out there looking to start their own business? My biggest piece of advise is that you have to be prepared for a roller coaster. What I mean by that is that there will be days that are amazing and you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. And then there will be days where you want to give it all up (trust me, I’ve had many of those). But in the end, if you are doing something that you are truly passionate about, you gotta just go for it. Because if you don’t, you’ll always wonder about the what if. Make it happen!
Be sure to enter our Instagram contest for your chance to win three of your very own teas! 

Fit Feature: Vega Power Pilates

Are you one of those people that does not feel like you got a good workout unless you sweat a ton? I am too! This is why I tend to stray away from Pilates classes and choose workouts that are more intense. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are so many benefits of Pilates such as improved core strength and stability, but most of the time I just favour a good sweat session. That was until I was introduced to Vega Power Pilates. Ladies and gentleman, the name says it all – this workout is POWERFUL.  I was lucky enough to be invited to a class taught by the amazing owner, Cecilia, and she totally kicked my butt! All my Toronto readers and Pilates skeptics, I strongly recommend you check this studio out…if you are up for the challenge! Keep reading to find out more about Vega and Cecilia:

Tell us about your background—how did you get into Pilates in the first place? I got the Pilates bug while working for the STOTT PILATES cooperate training center/head office. I was exposed to the movement 24/7 – I fell in love from the first ab prep.

How long had you been doing Pilates before you wanted to open your own studio? I had been practicing as an instructor for about 2 years before I committed to my own space. First from home with a few clients, then to a rented space in a physiotherapy clinic to my first commercial space. It was a slow progression to having my own studio.

What are the biggest benefits of doing Pilates? Pilates is a great foundation to all other fitness modalities. Below are 6 key benefits of doing Pilates.

1. It’s amazing for your abs – Pilates hits your core unlike any other workout.

2. It can ease back pain – a stronger core equals a better back. Pilates alleviates stress on the area and ups mobility.

3. It’s Easy on Your Joints – Pilates is slow and the controlled movements put minimal impact on your joints as there is no jumping or high impact movements

4. It hones your focus 

5. It improves your sports performance 

6. Pilates makes you more flexible, which prevents injury and corrects posture.

What are your personal favorite Pilates moves? Everything we do is my favorite Pilates move. However I do love lunges/squats and planks on the reformer. The reformer makes everything fun.

What was the biggest challenge in opening Vega? The biggest challenge for me as a business owner was having had to relocate my first studio due to development plans. Vega Power Pilates is my second studio. Although many clients followed me to this location, I’ve had to rebuild loyal followers in this new space. It is a better location, brighter, spacious and very central. Class pass has definitely helped me in getting new clients into the studio.

What makes Vega Power Pilates unique? I think the style in which I teach my classes makes me unique. Clients will really feel the workouts. They see quick results from our style of training and they fall in love with the method. We focus on strength, endurance by providing fun energetic classes, while maintaining an authentic Pilates style in a very safe environment. We have found the secret balance clients are looking for.

What is a typical day in the life of Cecilia? Busy, busy, busy.

What are some of your favorite active-wear brands? I love Basil Sul, Margarita and Nike and currently working on my own line for Vega Active Wear.

Any advice for entrepreneurs out there looking to start their own business? Have a good business plan, do your research, begin with something small and grow it from there. It’s important to have good support through the journey. And lastly, talk to other entrepreneurs to see what their experience has been like opening a new business. And then go for it and believe. You will never know until you try.

You can sign up for a class on Vega’s website  or on ClassPass