Eleanor Ozich is a bestselling author, lifestyle writer, and mother of three. Five years ago, she embarked on a journey to better her family lifestyle. We meet Eleanor in her home to talk slow life, wholefoods and sustainability.
Story photographed by Greta Van Der Star.
How do you fill your day?
My days are made up of joyous little rituals. I believe the things you choose to do each and everyday are not only an indicator of the quality of your day to come, but the quality of your life. I usually wake with the sunrise, open the front door and breathe in the fresh, cold air. I'll enjoy a light breakfast around the table with my family and send the older two off to school. My youngest, Archie and I spend our day pottering around at home, and when he sleeps, I'll get stuck in to work. There'll be countless cups of tea and music always playing in the background.
Who or what inspires you?
The tiny happenings in everyday life. Whether it be the contrasting shadows beneath my feet or the painterly display of an autumn sunset. Over the past two years, I've felt a strong yearning to slow down, rather than rushing around trying to do a million and one things. Since making this shift in lifestyle, I've been noticing extraordinary beauty in the most simplest of things, and it's so inspiring!
What is your philosophy around food?
Food to me, is all about using good quality, wholesome ingredients, and doing as little as possible to them. I've never been one to fuss around cooking for hours on end. I would say simplicity is most certainly my greatest virtue in the kitchen!
What inspired you to start working with whole foods?
It all began about five years ago, when our daughter Izabella developed a severe skin condition and food intolerances. We visited countless doctors and specialists, and then finally, a naturopath who explained how she was struggling with an imbalance of gut flora, causing toxins that were resulting in her skin condition, among other issues. This revelation made complete sense to us. We embarked on a journey to heal her skin through eating a wholefoods diet, and adopting a simple way of eating that many seem to have lost sight of. Needless to say, we've never looked back!
What was your most common or unusual food craving while you were pregnant?
It's not that unusual, but bread! Toast with butter for dinner was something I devoured more often than I like to admit.
What was the last kind thing someone did/said to you?
A few days ago, my mother in law sent me a txt reading 'Darling Eleanor, you are doing an incredible job with your family'. They were words I needed to hear at the time, and helped me so.
How would you give the world kindness?
I see so many women who are always pushing themselves to the limit, in all kinds of directions. I would encourage those women to be kind to themselves, to take a moment to step back and consider what truly the makes them happy - and let go of the rest.
What does sustainability mean to you?
To me, sustainability is taking notice of the ebb and flow of things that come in and out of your life. Being intentional about the things you choose to spend money on, and learning the story behind them. I also believe that eating seasonally is one of the simplest ways to tread lightly on this earth. It really does seem bizarre that we buy in produce from far flung corners of the world, when we can grow such beautiful food right here in New Zealand.
How do you practice sustainability in your work?
Buying locally grown produce, and sharing simple, seasonal recipes through my blog in the hope that other's will do the same. Most weekends, we head to the farmer’s market with an empty woven bag and hungry tummies to fill. It's a lovely family ritual that revives the soul and inspires meals for the week ahead, and also, the best way to meet the growers and artisans who produce the food we eat.
What is the best thing your children have taught you?
I'm always astounded by how forgiving my little one's can be. They never hold a grudge, and it's refreshing! How great would it be if us adults could do the same!
What are you doing for Mother’s Day?
I'm hoping to spend an extra hour or two in bed with a cup of tea, and something yummy nibble on. For lunch, we'll head out to my husband’s parents place for a large family-style feast. He's Croatian and comes from a big family. It's always loud, fun and delicious! Dinner will be a small affair with my parents, sister and her husband. A lovely way to end the day.