I’m not going to give much of an intro here, as I’m pretty sure most of you will have heard of the international brand, Protein Pow. I’m absolutely honoured to share with you some insights from the creator herself, Anna, who talks about how Pow first came about, her main influences and where the protein power concept is going next…It’s fair to say, there ain’t no stopping this superwoman!
So Anna, you’ve been an inspiration of mine for a while now. For those who don’t know, please tell us: how did you first get into recipe creation and blogging?
Aw thanks so much!!!! I come from a family of hardcore foodies. My Grandpa was a professional chef. And both sides of my family have always LOVED cooking. We get very passionate when we talk about food! So I’ve been in the kitchen for as long as I can remember.
What led me to start creating recipes based around protein powder – and what led me to start blogging about them – was falling in love with nutrition and the gym when I went to Uni! I’d create (and demolish!) my recipes before and after every workout and it all grew from that really.
The more I learnt about nutrition and educated myself about different foods and their impact on our bodies, the more I experimented with nutrition-rich foods to create recipes that could satisfy my tastebuds (and my fierce post-workout appetite, hehe).
Another thing that led me to pioneer this entirely new way of cooking (i.e. ‘protein cooking’), is the fact that I have pretty high standards when it comes to the food I eat in terms of taste and texture. So I hate how there are so many healthy foods, diet foods, or even some ‘protein foods’ out there that taste (and feel) like eating rubber. Or tasteless bland blaaaah. Protein Pow is about making healthy food taste AMAZING. Like the ‘real deal’. It’s about making foods to make you go WAAAAAAA!!!!! And levitate a little with every bite:-)
Who would you say your core audience is; or those you’d hope to reach out to?
It started out being primarily consumed by people into fitness and training – personal trainers, athletes, fitness competitors, etc. But as the world of protein has expanded into more of a mainstream market, the audience of Protein Pow has too. So we get moms, dads, busy working people, diabetics, vegans, people who follow gluten-free diets, vegetarians. People of all ages and backgrounds. Basically anyone and everyone interested in eating healthy and protein-featuring versions of the foods they love the most. Who doesn’t fall into that bracket, right? 🙂
In your book, you talk a lot about the community built up through your brand. How was social media impacted this over the past few years?
It’s been really fun to connect with like-minded people! And build a community around this new way of cooking – and eating. I love how social media allows one’s recipes and ideas to cross-pollinate. I also love how it brings people together that may have previously felt isolated in their passion for fitness and creative healthy eating. It’s one of the things I love the most about Protein Pow as a brand actually, and about our workshops too: that it brings people together around a love for healthy living, having fun in the kitchen, and eating GREAT tasting food.
With over 1,500 recipes on the Protein Pow website, where on earth to do find inspiration for new ones?
Inspiration never ends! It’s seriously an endless well. I have dozens of ideas floating in my head all the time, I just wish I had time to bring them all to life!
If you could only have one ingredient with you at all times, what would it be?
Chocolate, darrrrrk chocolate 😀
Do you have a favourite, fail-safe recipe you always go back to every so often? Please share it with us!
Probably protein bars! When I was pregnant last year, I made soooo many protein bars. And before that too. And since then! I make them using our Protein Pow mixes now though – just because they have the best quality-protein, no artificial junk, all the flour ingredients added in so all I add to them to make my bars is some kind of nut butter and agave, date syrup, or fresh dates! And coffee or milk to bind. Absolutely delicious. Try it!
We’ve all been there: kitchen disasters. Could you share with us a time when things didn’t go according to plan when baking?
Just this morning actually! I was making a chocolate and raspberry protein fluff. Not baking exactly but definitely protein cooking. Well, I used unflavored whey protein (because I no longer like using flavored powders) and frozen raspberries, which are normally quite tart. I then added cocoa powder. The whole thing was REALLY sour! So I needed to sweeten it but I didn’t want to add too many carbs so I added some stevia drops. Oh, fufffff. It was NASTY. I’d send you a picture of the whole thing but it looks gross and it tasted even worse than it looks.
Your recipes have been featured in magazines worldwide – congrats! If you could go to any country purely for the food, where would it be?
Hehe, awesome question! Gosh… I would probably say Greece! Or Spain. Or France. Because the fresh produce is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. So full of flavor, oh la la! That being said, the half Mexican part of me is nudging me right now to say ‘Mexico’ because I absolutely ADORE Mexican cheeses and tacos and avocados. AAAAH!!! The avocados!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Recipe creation, cooking presentations, workshops, and now the launch of your new protein mixes. You’re a busy lady! How do you fit in healthy eating, workouts and life outside of work?
The gym is a lifesaver for me. I have a small baby at home and am running Pow full time so things get pretty hectic! But the gym is where I go to unwind and regroup, and pump myself up for MORE. I love to lift weights, sweat, and leave it all on the weight floor. There’s something amazing about lifting a heavy barbell when you feel weighed down, you know?
What has been the biggest thing you have learnt over the past few years as the Protein Pow brand has grown so rapidly on a vast scale?
That the best teacher is experience. I actually enrolled for a part-time MBA and completed the first year before I had my baby. It’s now on hold though (because Pow + baby + MBA would have been madness) but to be honest with you, what’s taught me the most about business has been experience. Trial and error. I learnt everything from scratch!
Because my BA, MA, and PhD are in the humanities. I trained to be an academic or researcher in the social sciences. But I ended up in a world faaaaaaaaar away from that! So I’ve had to learn a lot about everything in the world of business. Building a brand. Hiring. Managing growth. Legals and finances. It’s been intense! But a really exciting journey that I’ve enjoyed every second of.
I hope that it’s a journey that can inspire a lot of people to chase their dreams too, and go after what they love to do the most, even if they have no background in it or haven’t trained for it or feel in any way intimidated. You can do whatever you set your mind to, you know? Just focus, persevere, and at it with all your might!
Finally, where would you like Protein Pow to be in the next couple of years? It’s always good to have a goal, and it’s pretty clear your brand is only growing bigger and better!
Our new cooking mixes launched just last week! They’re sold at proteinpow.com, Protein Pick & Mix, Predator Nutrition and will soon arrive at Tesco’s Nutricentre and Ocado. That’s been HUGE for Pow because it’s a totally new chapter for the brand and one that I think will have a big impact on its direction. We’re aiming towards a very mainstream market with the mixes, introducing people to delicious healthy foods. When people taste the foods that they can make with them, oy! A whole new world will open up for them, you know? A world of ‘clean’ (i.e. junk free) snacks and treats.
The two mixes we launched with – the whey and the vegan pea mix – are the first two out of a line of five cooking-focused mixes that will be launched by the end of next year. The next mix will come out early next year and I cannot WAIT to share it with you guys because it features a very little-known yet absolutely incredible protein powder! Eeeeeek 🙂 Lots of excitement ahead 😀