KOJA is an Australian made and owned range of wholefood breakfast and salad toppers which were created as a real food alternative to synthetic supplements. KOJA was founded in October 2013 by Melbourne local Kate Johansson whose mission is to “get real food back on the shelves for Australian consumers.”
It was this passion for healthy, real food that lead to the creation of KOJA Health, a company on a mission to provide a wholefood solution to better health for all Australians. KOJA Toppers are a highly nutrient dense mix of nuts, seeds and superfoods which can easily be added to breakfast, salads and snacks. They are made in Australia and are 100% gluten free, dairy free, vegan, paleo, raw and sugar free with no added preservatives or chemicals.
We’ve just started stocking these beautiful Toppers in the Angea Clinic and they have been flying out the door! We wanted to share the KOJA story with you, so we sat down with Kate, the founder of KOJA Health to find out all about the inspiration behind KOJA and hear Kate’s tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle…
How did KOJA come about and what was your motivation for starting the business?
I’ve always had a passion for natural, holistic health and eating wholefoods is a big part of that.
Before starting KOJA I was working with a professional sports club here in Melbourne to develop a range of sports nutrition supplements specific to elite athletes. During this experience I learnt a lot about the way synthetic supplements and vitamins are made. I think too many of us don’t realise that most supplements are highly processed, synthetic and packed full of additives that our bodies don’t need.I strongly believe most Australians will be healthier if we focus on eating better food, and getting all the nutrition we need from good food, instead of synthetic supplements. I met so many Australians seeking a simple solution to better health, and wanted to create a real food alternative to supplements… so KOJA was born.
I’m inspired every time I visit a supermarket and see aisles filled with food products that don’t represent what I consider to be food. Even the “health food” aisle is full of overly processed food products! I want to continue to create products that are made from wholefoods and are truly good for us. Our mission at KOJA is clear: To do whatever it takes to get Australians eating better food.
What does KOJA stand for?
The name KOJA is actually a word created by the first two letters of my first and last name. I wanted to create something that I was proud to put my name to. Doing this reminds me never to compromise on quality or ingredients, because I always want to be proud to put my name to our work as a company.
What does KOJA value?
Our brand values are about encouraging everyone to be better. It’s about starting wherever you are on your health journey, and doing what you can each and every day to be better. It’s not about being perfect, but we’re focused on encouraging Australians to make small but long lasting changes to better their health. We love supporting and encouraging people on their health journey, wherever they may be in that process.
What makes KOJA different?
What makes KOJA unique is the ingredients list. We are very proud to say that there are NO fillers, no preservatives and no added nasties.
Unlike the majority of breakfast products, we don’t use any grains or carbohydrates such as oats, wheat, puffed rice, buckwheat, or other fillers. Our focus in on nutrient density, as most Australians get enough carbohydrates in other sources of daily food, but we need more vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and proteins in our diet.
We are committed to providing a quality, healthy product to our customer. We don’t compromise on health.
Is there an inspirational quote that inspires you?
At university I studied entrepreneurship because I’ve always wanted to solve the world’s problems! I’m often inspired by the quote “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
What are your top 5 tips towards leading a healthier lifestyle?
- Drink lots of water! This seems like an obvious one, but it’s really easy to forget to drink water when the day gets busy. I always keep a water bottle with me to remind me to keep on sipping!
- Know your body. Understanding that everybody is different and getting to know yours is one of the best things you can do for your health. Ignore fads and what other people are doing. Learn to listen to yourself and what your body needs. Learn what foods work for you, what makes you feel good and what doesn’t.
- Make exercise a social thing. I like to go to the gym with friends. It makes me look forward to the session rather than dreading it! At the moment I’m training for the Oxfam Trail Walker, which means my Sundays are spent with friends walking very long distances in preparation for the 100km walk. Walking and talking is so much more enjoyable, and especially when you’re working towards a goal!
- Make your workspace healthy. Here at KOJA Health we’re all about living our values and this translated into our office life. We encourage standing desks, walking meetings and yoga classes at lunchtime. If you don’t have the opportunity to do all these things in your workspace, then start by making sure you’re not sitting all day. Get up and move around frequently and try to squeeze some movement into your lunch break.
- Find a way to reward yourself in a non food related way. Too often we associate rewarding ourselves with unhealthy indulgence. Ditch the chocolate cake and reward yourself with something else. For me, this means a monthly massage, a weekly body scrub or face mask at home. Find something that feels good for you and make it your new special treat!