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Q and A with Valeska, founder of Health Riot



The story of Health Riot is a simple one.

“Hi, my name is Valeska. My husband, Christiaan and I turned to paleo in 2012 when our first child was born. She was so tiny and fragile and everything I ate seemed to affect her tummy and she suffered with eczema. I also had no energy and with the lack of sleep and new found motherhood, energy was definitely a commodity I needed in spades. I felt so tired, sluggish, boated from grains and in serious need of a good balanced diet. But what did that mean?

Soon I went on a journey of eliminating dairy, sugar and grains. Before I knew it, we were loving the paleo lifestyle and feeling great! Best of all, my little one no longer had cramps.

The more I researched, the more I found recipes that called for cassava flour, but I had no idea what that was and it was nowhere to be seen in South Africa. Then in 2015 we went on a family trip to Mauritius and I found cassava flour there, in a quaint store.

I brought as many bags home as my baggage would allow and immediately started baking. My kids were especially happy to eat pancakes and breads again that actually tasted like the real deal! We were over the moon.

It took no more than a few weeks for the valuable flour to run out and, back to square one, I started searching relentlessly for shops that sell Cassava flour. After no success, one night over a cassava-less dinner we decided that if no one in South Africa has it, we’ll import it!

An endless search ensued trying to find a high quality cassava flour that was not inconsistent, dull and musty or most importantly, not crunchy. We are happy to announce that the search was worth it and we are very excited to introduce Health Riot’s Cassava flour to you! Enjoy your baking!”

What was your uh hu moment that made you pursue your idea of importing cassava flour?
When our Mauritian-bought Cassava flour was nearly finished and I realised I was panicking about how to find more as we simply loved it so much.

Your advice on where to start for people who know they want to eat more healthily but are totally overwhelmed?
– Start with small adjustments. You never train for a marathon in a day 😊
– My starting point would be to become aware of how much sugar you are taking in. Try and ditch the sodas and sugar laden drinks and sauces.
– Have a look at food labels and start eliminating refined and processed foods. There is so much “invisible nonsense” in the foods we eat.
– Eat Free Range as much as possible – especially when it comes to dairy. The aim is to eat as unprocessed and natural as possible.
– Here are a few good swop outs that are easy to start off with:
– Sodas for infused waters
– Store bought bread for homemade
– Refined for natural, unprocessed real foods as much as possible
– Sugar for xylitol, raw honey or stevia

Tea or coffee?
Tea for sure! I make strong ginger tea everyday! Other than that, I always have a cup of hot lemon water with me.

What is your favourite indulgence of choice?
I am a sucker for milk chocolates and anything caramel! That said, I have loads of healthier choice recipes. I would rather make homemade brownies with Health Riot’s cassava flour 😊

Favourite quick fix recipe?
Flapjacks for me and the kids every time (try these “White Tray Flapjacks”)

Advice for keeping a good work-life balance?
– Having set work times and doing everything possible to stick to them. Otherwise I would work straight through to midnight.
– Prioritise taking time for yourself and family.
– Play to your strengths – not trying to be all things to all people, focus on your strengths and delegate the rest

3 foods you cannot live without?
Home made sweet potato chips
– Avocado
– Health Riot’s Cassava flour!

What is your go-to snack on the run?
I LOVE droewors! (Thank goodness I live in South Africa)

What makes you the happiest?
My husband and 2 little girls. I can be anywhere in the world, as long as I am with my people, I’m content and happy!