Healing Through Plant-Based Eating, Superfoods, and Nourishing Self Care
Healing Through Plant-Based Eating, Superfoods, and Nourishing Self Care

"Start focusing on what you are missing in your diet. I think that’s sometimes more important than what to cut out right now. Let’s start eating more fruits and vegetables and focus on that piece." 

- Kristel De Groot

Elizabeth welcomes Kristel De Groot, the co-founder of Your Super, one of the biggest superfood brands in the US and Europe. Kristel talks about her love of plant-based eating, what exactly superfoods are, and how they can help us with everything from our skin to hormones and supports lower inflammation. She shares her personal journey into wellness and how she launched Your Super from her own experience helping her partner, Michael, heal from cancer. Throughout this inspiring conversation, Kristel talks about the importance of incorporating a variety of plants and superfoods into your diet and how Your Super is making it easier and more accessible to do so. She shares tips for making plant-based eating easy, healthy, and delicious and highlights how the brand sources its ingredients directly from the farm. Kristel also talks about her newest project, the launch of her first cookbook, Your Super Life, which features over 100 plant-based recipes that are quick, easy, and super nourishing.

Get the Your Super Life book at your favorite book store: Barnes & Noble, Booksamllion, Target, Amazon, Walmart, etc. Follow them on IG on @kristelandmichael and @yoursuperfoods. Learn more on kristelandmichael.com and yoursuper.com.


    Elizabeth Stein 00:00
    Hi, everyone. I'm Elizabeth Stein, founder and CEO of Purely Elizabeth. And this is Live Purely with Elizabeth, featuring candid conversations about how to thrive on your wellness journey. This week's guest is Kristel De Groot, Co-Founder of Your Super, one of the biggest superfood brands in the US and Europe. A force to be reckoned with Kristel is the mastermind behind Your Super formulas packaging and branding, and has been named among the 30 under 30 by both Forbes and Inc Magazine. She is a nutrition coach with certifications in plant-based nutrition from E Cornell University, and my alma mater, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. In this episode, we talk about Kristel's journey launching Your Super from her personal wellness journey helping her partner and now husband feel better after his cancer diagnosis. She shares about the importance of a variety of plants and superfoods in our diet, how they sourced ingredients direct from the farm, tips for making plant-based eating easy, healthy, and delicious and her newest project the launch of her first cookbook Your Super Life. It was so great to connect with Kristel, keep listening to learn more. If you haven't had the chance to try our grain-free granolas yet, head on over to Walmart to now find them in the gluten free Healthy Living aisle in select Walmart locations. Our grain-free granolas have crunchy clusters of nuts, superfood seeds and creamy nut butters. All baked with organic coconut oil and sweetened with coconut sugar. They are gluten free paleo and keto certified, use the link in the note section to find Purely Elizabeth products at a Walmart store near you. Kristel welcome to the podcast. It's a pleasure to have you on as we just were starting this off, I can't believe we've never met over the years. But I'm so happy to be connected.

    Kristel De Groot 01:53
    So happy to be connected and excited to be here. And I can also not believe it after all those years. And I'm sure we pass each other in expos and everything that we just have not actually met in person

    Elizabeth Stein 02:05
    100% 100%. Well, let's start with your personal wellness journey and really what inspired you to start Your Super?

    Kristel De Groot 02:14
    Yeah, started the company for very personal reasons. So this is already 10 years ago, which is crazy. Michael...

    Elizabeth Stein 02:21
    Congratulations! 10 year milestone.

    Kristel De Groot 02:24
    It's 10 years ago, Michael had cancer. He was 24 I was 22 at the time and it was really such an AHA moment for both of us. I think Marina we were both athletes. We play tennis growing up, we were traveling the world young, wild and free right and nothing can hit you. Well, and it did. And I think there were a couple of things that happened. So I watched a movie Forks Over Knives while he was going for chemo. And that was such an aha moment for me where I was like, okay, so you're telling me if I eat plant based, I can actually reduce my risk of getting cancer quite significantly, actually. And it was like, oh, okay, then I'm plant based now. So literally the next day I turned plant based I had no idea what to eat. I was vegetarian. So it was not like the biggest, you know, change but still, like, you know, cutting out eggs, dairy, no more fish and everything. So it was it was still a bit of a change. And for Michael, it was really more after his chemo where you know, like he was cancer free, but not healthy. And that's like where I kind of more could do my magic and I kind of came in it was like okay, so I have this cabinet of superfoods here. And I have spirulina, I have wheatgrass, you know, like I had maca. I had like chia seeds, and I had all of it. And I was this crazy person every single morning, scooping, right, everything in my smoothie. And like I came with the weirdest colored drinks to get you know, I was in college still. And people were like, What are you drinking? You're crazy. He was like, this is expensive, and what are these things and I had an empty jar threw a bunch of things together. And I told him just take this every single day. For him like using the super foods. I basically put him on like a plant based detox. And he just started to feel really good really quickly actually too right like actually really, truly becoming healthy again. And that was really the moment where like, okay, there are a lot more Michaels out there. Meaning people who do want to be healthier, but don't necessarily know where to start. And I think super foods for us, I've always just been there nothing new by the way, right? If you look at ayurveda, if you look at Eastern medicine, South America, any of these ingredients have been used for thousands of years. So like it's nothing new that we're doing, we're just making it easier, more accessible for people by mixing them together. And there were a lot more people you know, who want to improve their health but don't really know where to start. Nine out of ten people don't eat enough fruit and vegetables, which is crazy and we're talking about the minimum required amounts, we're not talking about the optimum, we're talking about the minimum required amounts. So it's just a very convenient way of just getting more nutrients into your system. And that's really where you know our journey started. And my mom and aunt were from Clara nutritionist So together with them, we created that line of mixes of different superfood mixes each with their own function five, six ingredients. We never used any stevia or sweeteners flavoring. It's just nature. And that's it.

    Elizabeth Stein 05:11
    Love it. So going back to when you first watched Forks Over Knives, do you remember at that time was it like were you watching it because of what was happening with Michael? Or what was really the impetus for you on this your own personal journey? Yeah, to get healthy.

    Kristel De Groot 05:27
    I was on a big journey for a long time already. So because I had eczema growing up, and I had this already since I was basically born, I was born with a C section. So that was probably why right. But

    Elizabeth Stein 05:36
    so your gut was not learning good gut bacteria.

    Kristel De Groot 05:40
    It was very interesting. So I think like in my teenage years, right, I would eat a and I would get a rash. And I would eat B and I wouldn't get a rash or the connection between food and my body. You know, I really saw it firsthand. So I think that was like such a blessing in a way. And then I went, you know, through years and years and years, I went through more holistic doctors, right, because my mom was also working on the holistic side, but also do more traditional things. And nothing really worked. And you know, I had periods where it was better. And then I was you know, I think sometimes also was very emotional, right? So if you're stressed like eczema flare up again. And then

    Elizabeth Stein 06:15
    In all this you're playing tennis?

    Kristel De Groot 06:17
    Oh and playing tennis, I'm living live, right it was there again, there were periods where it was really bad. And there was periods right where it's manageable. But often then it was a little bit of steroid cream, right? So just always supressing. And I came to the point where I was always experimenting, trying different things. And as I turned plan days, I was also at a point where it's like, I'm done with any pills, whether there were holistic Whole Foods, probiotic pills, or I was just like, I don't want any of it. I kind of just threw it all out. And I was like, I just want to you know, heal this naturally with food. It's not just going vegan, right, which a lot of people are like, Oh, you're vegan, you must be healthy. It's like it is about eating actual whole foods, right? So yes, I was juicing, I was doing all the smoothies. So having like a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Still also obviously cooked food. But just like very, very clean. And it took me still two years, right. So when I was basically 25, I was finally got rid of the eczema. And it's interesting when I started your super, I look at some of those pictures. And it was so bloated, right? I could just see in my face that how much inflammation I was still holding in my body actually. So that is something by really changing my diet really actually got rid of inflammation, because that's, you know, with a lot of you know, autoimmune diseases as well. It's so often is inflammation.

    Elizabeth Stein 07:34
    Yeah, absolutely. I actually just had on podcast. Dr. Akil, I don't know if you are familiar with him, but he just came out with a book on an integrative approach to healing autoimmune disease. So curious, what was there something like super specific in your diet that you had changed? Or was it a number of things?Kristel De Groot 07:55
    I, I think it was really going plant based. That's something that really, really worked for me. And I think for a lot of people, right? I mean, there's a reason why so many athletes also turn to plant based diets, because you know, your recovery time is also like, the faster you reduce your inflammation, the faster you recover. And it was going plant based eating whole foods, and I started eating super foods too. So I think it was a combination of it, you know, have it all together. But just really focusing on what what is in nature and like, what is my body missing? Obviously, you know, going plant based, you can start focusing all I cannot have this, and I cannot have this but I think for anyone listening, right? Even if you're not ready to go like, Oh, I'm turning plant based tomorrow, like you're like, No, I'm not doing that. Like just start focusing on eating more fruit and vegetables start focusing on like, what are you missing in your diet? Because I think that's sometimes more important than what to cut out right now. Like, let's just start eating more fruits and vegetables and like focus on that piece. What do you need more of in your life versus what maybe you don't need but just leave that alone for now.

    Elizabeth Stein 08:56
    Yeah, I love that approach of filling your plate with more of the stuff and then the naturally crowding out bad. Yeah. Alright, so getting back to you come up with these mixes and ultimately, start Your Super 10 years ago. What do you think was really, as you said, like, you didn't bring anything new. You brought these ancient superfoods to the world, but you've created such a successful, amazing brand. What do you think was really your approach to building a brand that really worked and resonated with people?

    Kristel De Groot 09:29
    Yeah, so I started this business, right? I was like 22, 23 together with Michael was also pretty young. I never had actually a real job before just some internships. So I had no idea what I was doing. Let's set out and foremost and The best way to start having no idea. Best way to start. I had no idea.

    Elizabeth Stein 09:48
    And were you guys married at the time or?

    Kristel De Groot 09:50
    No. We were together already for quite a long time we met when I was like, 18 Right. So you know, we were together for like four or five years, which felt like a long time. Now we know each other for 15 years. So like five years doesn't feel that long. No, I think for us a really dead journey of doing everything step by step, right? The first because people always look at the brand now and they're like, Oh, that's such a successful business. But I think it's way more, you know, like, there were so many years where there was like, it was so slow. And it was there was basically nothing right? We started in Europe, we used to mix everything by ourselves together by hand in a little certified organic room. And we learned a lot along the way. And one of the things we learned was also like, Hey, you had your sourcing really matters, like a wheatgrass from I remember so vividly a wheatgrass from Germany versus wheatgrass from China. And wheatgrass from China was like yellow didn't smell like anything. And then wheatgrass from Germany, really literally smelled like like grass, and it was like vibrant, green. Ah, so we really need to be so specific, where we source things from because they're gonna taste different and smell different. And they're naturally right. If things taste and look and smell different, they're also going to be better for you, by the way. That's something that became one of our core values of like, hey, you know, where do we source one, as we grew, we basically build up, you know, direct relationships with partners in those countries where we source from that has been really important. And I think in the end, really, we're super passionate about this. We live this lifestyle, we use our own products every single day. And I know that sounds funny, but I don't think everyone who starts a superfood business actually does. So I think it's just having that story. And just like really living this lifestyle ourselves is like really what helped us in the end grow the business, I think building a business is very hard. Also a lot of fun, right? It's the duality of both all of it. Yeah, all of it. But if your heart is not in it, it's those hard moments, you're not going to continue. So I think that's really has been the key and, and just really being able to share of like, Hey, this is how we're living our life. And we can do it. So you can do it too. And I think that has helped us and we went from We started small Europe, we're still very small already went to the US and everyone was like, What are you doing? You shouldn't? You're like, no, no, we're here. And then I'll just like trust our gut instinct. And just figure it out. And I think one of the most important things, there's not one way of building a business, right. And I've also fell on the trip over the years, where it's like, oh, you should do business this way should be done this way. And what I've learned is like, you know, you can just, it's a career. It's also every, you know, so many pieces in the business are so creative, where like, just figure out your way and you don't have to do everything, just figure out what feels right for you. And even if you think about marketing, you don't have to run 100 different marketing channels, right? Just focus on maybe a handful where you really go deep and do a really good job.

    Elizabeth Stein 12:47
    Absolutely. What do you think looking back at particularly, you said like you didn't have a job you I mean, your job was you were playing tennis or tennis player. So what in your tennis has really helped you in business today?

    Kristel De Groot 13:01
    Yeah. So I actually was injured. I didn't play anymore. I had I got a slip disc in college, which is a whole other story. But I think what I learned growing up playing so much tennis is it's so many things, right? It's the discipline, the winning and losing, I just said it Which is huge. The winning and losing. It's huge. it's so important. I think it is it's the tenacity of just like keep showing up every single day, which I think is so important. So there's so many things. I mean, obviously I was competitive. I play sports, right. And I think I found that in business too. And it's funny, because I think the only person I'm competing with actually myself I agree. But it's fun, right? You know, there are moments where sometimes you take it too serious. And I think now also 10 years in, and now we've also a little baby, it all gives a different perspective, right? Like, why am I actually doing what I do, right? It's because a I want to really help people and you know, I just want to have fun with it as well. And I think it's a good reminder for everyone is to you know, whether you have your own business, and I also always really liked it too, like a lot of people have jobs and I think that's amazing. It's just like just take a step back also for yourself like what is your mission in life? What are you passionate about? And like what is it that you know, whether it's changing something in the world or editing something in a world or how you want to help people because we often all want to actually help people and if you notice from yourself and your personal level then find a job that also you know is aligned with that and that's also an such an amazing way to fill your own cup.

    Elizabeth Stein 14:35
    Yeah, I cannot agree with that more. I feel so grateful. Having my purpose, my passion be one in the same and being able to find that is is so key to longevity, really.

    Kristel De Groot 14:49
    I agree. It's almost hard to imagine not to have that but I think I know not everyone has that right? So if you're not there and it's it's also not easy, right? Like, just even the question of like, oh, figure out what your mission in life is? That's a huge question. And maybe it also evolves over time. So it's also like, check in with yourself maybe every year, you know, maybe even if you do it every couple of years, but check in with yourself like, hey, is this still true? Are there things I'm learning in my life and other things that I want to share? Right. So I think it's, it's just interesting. And I think not everyone else, some people look at the founders, like, they should have the mission and everything. But also, I think it's everyone can think about it this way. Right? It's like, what do you truly care about? And are really passionate about sharing, you know, with the world and then finding a job that's aligned with that.

    Elizabeth Stein 15:37
    Yeah, absolutely. So getting more into your passion and talking about sourcing ingredients, because I'd love to touch on, on that. And first of all, maybe that's identify what superfoods are. Because I think that's a term and we use it, certainly, but it's a term that can be confusing, and really, like, how do you guys define superfoods, and we'll get into some of those.

    Kristel De Groot 16:00
    Yeah, I always like to keep it very simple, where superfoods are just very nutrient dense ingredients that have specific health benefits. I think that's the easiest way to describe it, that people are confused. I understand if you you know, anywhere like everything is that was super food. And I think it's interesting because on the other hand, how this is what I sometimes say like if you walk into a supermarket, there's so much packaged just stuff that it's just not great where I'm like any fruit and vegetable that is fresh laying there is already a superfood in itself, right. So I think that is on the other hand but like I mean, I understand where we're coming from, but I think it's it's really some of those ingredients that are such powerhouses, and it's not just the vitamins and minerals, right it's like the antioxidants and phytonutrients adaptogens are so powerful how they can actually help balance your body and you know, reduce stress. So there's just so much there. And those are some you know, some of the ingredients maybe you don't, you know, get to buy fresh every single day either.

    Elizabeth Stein 16:57
    So let's talk about some of your top favorite superfoods and maybe kind of dividing them into functions. So skin hormone, detox, immunity, anti inflammatory.

    Kristel De Groot 17:10
    Yeah, I think skin and hormone is super interesting. I think skin I love acai. I love maqui I think those are fantastic. Chia seeds doesn't sound really sexy anymore, but I think chia seeds are fantastic as graceful. Oh my guys also high vitamin E. And then for hormones. I love maca, right? Maca is for brews and amazing roots grows on a really high mountain. And it's an amazing hormone balancer. And also by the way for men right think Alpha when we say hormone balancing thinking right away for women and women but it's also really good for fertility in men rights and for libido and all those things. And then another one which is more from ayurveda, which is Shatavari. It's also a root which interesting, it's fantastic. And they're really easy to use. Interesting thing right often and this one we do like Shatavari taste so bitter, and really not good. If you buy it by itself, totally fine. Throw it in your smoothie, all good. But you only need small amounts. It's very powerful. And I always love combining if I think about our mixes right, we often combine two of those very, very powerful ones with other things that really complements right so like if you think about our hormone mix, it's just mood balance. We use Shatavari and maca, but then we'll combine it with for example beetroot that is like a blood builder but you know it's a little easier on the palate that they have up very high in vitamin C and also actually very hydrating which is also an amazing one right so we love combining some of the like I always say like the more bitter they are mostly to help you to food actually is with some of the things that are just coming from nature but it a little easier on the palate, detox,

    Elizabeth Stein 18:53
    detox immunity and anti inflammatory.

    Kristel De Groot 18:56
    I think detox and immunity Greens we all need more greens.

    Elizabeth Stein 19:00
    If you could only have one green superfood, what would it be?

    Kristel De Groot 19:04
    I want to say wheatgrass. And the second one would be more Moringa I think moringa is also fantastic, but I mean they're all great. I think spirulina is also great. So I think those are fantastic ones. I think wheatgrass is just so versatile and anyone who doesn't know Ann Whitmer check her out. She was in the 50s healed herself actually from cancer by just drinking so many wheatgrass shots whatgrass enemas, sprouts it's just like this amazing regimen which you can also go to Hippocrates Institute who still where you can follow the protocol if you want to. And I think it's it's a really amazing one and if you then think about inflammation, I think just always I come back to turmeric. It's so simple, but like add it to your smoothie make lattes with it, cook with it. It's such an really, really powerful one. But then always a good reminder is that yes, they all have specific health benefits but sometimes I remember when I was writing copy and stuff okay, I want to be very clear and give them one benefits right? I think it's really helpful but they all support also just your overall health because you know, we're one human or one body and everything's interconnected. So if something is not working in your skin, right and just skin is your biggest organ it's really just your body talking to you if like hey, something is not working. So I think it's it's just interesting to remember like, hey, just eating those things is going to affect a lot of different little parts and your buddy,

    Elizabeth Stein 20:29
    you're gonna feel a lot better and you guys do obviously such a great job by taking what could be overwhelming to go to the store obviously as you started and buying all these different superfoods, and so making your different mixes so you talked about the moon balance, what is your number one selling product?

    Kristel De Groot 20:47
    That is nowadays. Yeah, it's super interesting. I think another one is very popular Plant Collagen. So obviously mostly collagen is actually made of beef or fish bones. Right? It's animal based. So what we've done and I think are two mixes that are fantastic for this blend collagen is great. So you have rice tocos in there, but also for forever beautiful which has berries, but then also uses acerola acerola is very high in vitamin C, they have actually the super foods out there so acerola camo camo, and I'm not very those are really hot, naturally highest sources of vitamin C nature. And vitamin C is such a powerful antioxidant and it actually helps your skin you know, produce more collagen by itself. So I think that's always a good reminder, like, Hey, you don't necessarily need to eat collagen there are also things you can do and give your body to just make sure it produces its own collagen as well.

    Elizabeth Stein 21:40
    Smoothies are one of our favorite meals or snacks here at purely Elizabeth. But you know what we love even better? a smoothie bowl. That's why we've partnered with Smoothie King to add our organic, original granola on top of their new smoothie bowls for the perfect salty, sweet crunch. All six new smoothie bowls, features an acai or pitaya base with a variety of fresh ingredients such as locally sourced fruit, dried coconut, goji berries, honey or peanut butter and our granola. It's super easy to order directly through the Smoothie King app. Or you can order in store starting April 6th. I can't wait for you to try it. I know you're gonna love it. Enjoy getting back to this sourcing has there been a favorite superfood ingredient where you've gone to visit the supplier, the farmer and seeing that you've been just like, oh my god, I can't believe how cool it was to see x.

    Kristel De Groot 22:35
    So any of the farmer trips we have done and any farmer I meet I'm basically their biggest fan. Yeah. I don't know if it's the same for you. But it's just like, as a city person just like being there. And just like understanding how much love and care goes into growing these foods and harvesting them. It's just it's incredible. And we just forget that like with just the food always on our fingertips. What I love seeing is how they use also the superfoods themselves. For example, we were in Amazonia in Brazil for visiting acai which is actually wild acai and then they harvested and I was like okay, so how do you like show me your acai bowl What are you guys doing, right. And they have that to be fair, it isn't acai bowl but acai is actually very bitter and they eat it bitter so it's just the acai paray basically, they have it next to their meal. So the eat of savory foods for example. Interesting sooner lunch, and it's just a very bitter puree. It's very interesting because it's also high acai is so fascinating because it's also high in omega so it's almost a little creamy as well. But yes, so different than what we think acai should.

    Elizabeth Stein 23:49
    Right cause they're not like drizzling it with nut butter and honey

    Kristel De Groot 23:52
    No none of that

    Elizabeth Stein 23:55
    And putting granola on top

    Kristel De Groot 23:56
    No, I mean I think I like a good acai bowl like don't get me wrong, but it was just so interesting right to be there and see how they do make obviously if you go like in cities, they have acai ice cream and they obviously do all that like a lot of those things with it but like really in like the more like the native Amazonia community. They're like no, no, we just eat it's plain like next to our lunch, which was by the away. They're not plant-based, but they eat 99% plants, right. So I think that's always a good reminder and it's a Blue Zone, right where Yeah, you don't have to be 100% plant based but just make sure you eating a lot. A lot of pieces of your diet is just actually plants

    Elizabeth Stein 24:36
    so let's dive into plant based eating and your new cookbook, which is out, Your Super Life. Let's talk about a little bit about the book and Your Super eating philosophy and pillars of why.

    Kristel De Groot 24:50
    Yeah, so the book is out. It's called your super life and it's basically 100 Plan 100 over 100 plant based recipes very easy recipes because we're all busy and another chef so I also just like to throw things together but still have them taste good and and always optional super foods. I love showing people that you can also put it in savory foods where we just talked about right like so also even, can you put acai in a dressing or hey, you can hide some greens in your pasta sauce, or hey, you can use some of this amazing like Reishi and Chaga. Right in a mushroom stir fry. So I love showing that. But then the first 80 pages of the book is way more educational. So obviously, we talked about superfoods and explain some of the history of like the top 25 super foods, and th

Mix & Match
Build Your Own Bundle