You’d be forgiven for thinking Wazoogles were, well, quite frankly anything other than a nutritional supplement. Founded by two creatively oriented brothers, Gavin and Warren Goodman, the packaging alone—bedecked with prancing unicorns—breaks all rules of convention on protein powder conformity. What it is, however, is attention grabbing, and this product doesn’t waste your time doing so. These brothers are not known for playing in mediocrity—not in life or approach to business. And once they discovered the ‘why’ behind Wazoogles, they became the brand (or rather, the brand became them). I was curious about the product that seemed to embody all beliefs of absolute value, nutrition and flavour rich convenience, and above all else: the pursuit of a unicorn worthy, magical lifestyle.
What was your life (specifically your diet) like before Wazoogles and what life event brought about the birth of Wazoogles?
Hmmm… Life before Zoogs? Well, I only started eating veggies in first year college; I was a bit of a late bloomer. But my diet wasn’t terrible, it was what I would consider normal for most people, normal yet uneducated. About 5 years prior to the launch of Wazoogles, I had found myself regularly at my GP for sinus related flu and was automatically prescribed antibiotics every 3–4 months. Honestly, I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired! And when western medicine and all their specialists couldn’t figure it out, I turned to natural medicine for answers, and I found them in my diet and way of life.
After moving over to a plant-based lifestyle, free of rules and motivated purely from a place of passion, curiosity and adventure, I fully immersed myself in self-education for 6 years. I read every label, every article, every book I could get my hands on and started to understand what was broken in the industrialised food system. I spent more time exploring this passion in the kitchen and during the process, I fell in love with real food and found my true passion.
The deeper I dug, the more dirt I uncovered, I was intrigued, inspired and driven like never before. This ended up changing my life. 12 months ago, I left my decade long career in the 40-year-old established family diamond business for my 12-month old baby passion project, Wazoogles. I’ve never looked back.
How does one easily explain to someone what pea protein is?
French grown yellow Pea Protein, is a low carb, high protein plant-based supplement for those looking for a bit of extra oomph to their diet. It’s one of the least controversial and in our opinion, best lean proteins out there.
Like most things, not all pea protein is created equal. Look out for processing method during production.
Our pea protein is one of the finest available on the planet, it is taken from French-grown yellow peas and produced by chemical-free water extraction, it’s easy to digest and doesn’t play games with your gut.
And why does it now only seem to have become a buzz word in health circles?
With the drastic rise in excessive amounts of highly processed, industrialised foods and chemicals introduced to the mainstream food system, food allergies have become a hot topic.
Pea protein has one of the lowest allergen profiles of all protein, as one must understand, allergies stem mostly from the attack of proteins on an immune system, so it’s important for protein specifically to be a non-allergen.
Why pea protein over other sources of vegan protein?
Pea protein contains an ideal combination of essential amino acids for enhancing sports performance, providing both a pre-workout energy boost and improved post-workout muscle recovery. Most plant-based proteins on their own don’t cover as many amino acids, so this is a definite win for the PEA!
I have to ask—with other strong competitive superfood brands already in the market—what gave you the insight/ confidence to think your product would be a hit? (…because it totally is!)
“They” say, how do you know when you’re really in love? And the answer is always, well, you just know. I felt the same about Wazoogles. I am the consumer, like FUBU, made for us, by us. I knew this space better than most and I’m lead by passion.
Created with quality over cost in mind
We strive to source superfoods from the purest origins, making our ingredients superior to most other products on the market. Many people start to make bad business decisions as soon as the business starts to make money. This is something my brother and I have never prescribed to, our first priority has always and will always be to produce the BEST quality and most unique products on the market.
Organic: Most people are unaware of these facts, but our Peruvian superfoods are certified organic by the three highest certifying bodies in the world. EU Certified (Europe), USDA Certified (USA) and most interestingly JAS Certified (JAPAN). Don’t confuse Japan with China, Japan has the strictest organic certifying body in the world.
Our Peruvian superfoods are also certified by the Control Union for Social and Fair Trade Standard “CU Fair Choice”, this is based on human development, social, environmental and economic principles. Certification under the Standard CU Fair Choice constitutes a guarantee that companies are committed to sustainable development and improving social conditions.
Unique in its convenience
We could be selling our organic superfoods packaged individually, and for sure, 100%, make more money. But, personally, what excites us about what we do every day is walking the path less taken. There is no product like Wazoogles on the market, we believe it fits a perfect gap bringing health and convenience together, in a nutrition without compromise mindset.
We want to innovate and have all of our Wazoogles products lead from the front, and the only way we will do this is to continually do what makes us excited. For I believe, it’s not doing what you love that makes you happy, it’s doing what excites you.
To elaborate—why would I choose Wazoogles over all the other health food/ superfood combo brands? The packaging alone is pretty tempting—but give me more. 🙂
We believe, that from a nutrition, convenience and taste perspective, Wazoogles ticks all the boxes.
We have conveniently packaged five delicious flavours in a product that takes no more than 2 minutes to make at home for yourself before work or for your kids before school.
Every product is packed with plant-based whole food, nutrients and minerals, that satiate your body at a cellular level, reducing cravings and staving away hunger during the mid-morning internal hunger strike!
On a protein level, we use a combination of French grown yellow pea, chia and hemp seed protein, as well as some protein from other organic superfoods to combine every single amino acid on the spectrum, making Wazoogles a stronger performer for your body than any protein product we have seen on the South African market today.
And from a taste perspective, vegan protein powders are renowned for tasting terrible—it took us more than a year to get the formula right and if made as per the packaging, Wazoogles is damn delicious!
You say all your ingredients are from organic, ethical, small-scale farms. How did you verify this information? Travel the world? (I would have taken any reason to!)
At Wazoogles, we had humble beginnings and didn’t have the budget to travel the world to 7 different countries and sample all these foods before we had even begun. However, knowledge is power and that has no doubt been the key to our quality and success. I have educated myself to a level, where I not only understand what is integral for human health, with regards to diet, but I have also researched the production methods in depth from how the plants are grown to the time they reach our production. Generally the production process is key to quality.
There are many companies around the world that import superfoods and sell them with no understanding of how and when the phytonutrient degradation occurs from the moment the plant is harvested to the time it reaches their warehouse, and every plant is different in this regard. I make sure that our plants are kept as nutrient dense as possible during these processes and that we are aligning with the right farms and processors in each and every country that has an understanding of the internal production methods that keep the product as close to the source as possible. We also always tend to support small and or local farmers with programmes that give back to their communities.
Here are a few examples of our dedication to quality and sustainability (most of which no one knows):
Heirloom Cacao: Our Cacao is one of three heirloom seeds left unmodified from its original state today. We use criollo, one of the original and untouched heirloom seeds.
Permaculture supporting moringa: Our moringa is grown via the methods of permaculture farming in a small and sustainable local co-op in Ghana. Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered on simulating or directly utilising the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems, this process falls above organic on the agricultural quality system. This co-op additionally empowers Ghanian women and provides jobs to support their families within the poor, rural community.
Wild harvested mesquite and baobab: Harvested locally from South Africa, our farmers go into the wild and collect fallen mesquite pods and baobab fruit and harvest directly from nature, which is the purest and highest quality of harvesting food possible. It falls above organic and permaculture, as nature always knows best.
Our baobab farm also has an outreach program where they help under-resourced pre-schools where the baobab harvester’s kids go to school and run a project that supports the conservation and growing of baobab trees in that area of South Africa.
India sourced, certified organic spirulina: Our spirulina is sourced from the world’s leader in blue-green algae. It comes direct from the rural plateaus of India and is the best quality certified organic spirulina that we know of on the planet. Spirulina, being blue-green algae, is very exposed to environmental contaminants like toxins, pesticides and heavy metals, thus the growth process is almost more important than all the other superfoods we blend into our range.
Quality trumps profit with our spirulina: Just to give you an example, we have access to EU certified organic spirulina at a third of the price elsewhere, but we choose to pay 3 times the price to source the best from India. I believe it’s integral to doing our utmost in sourcing the best quality wherever possible, so that our customers can always trust our brand and products.
No nasties in our spirulina: Wazoogles Spirulina is pathogen-, toxins-, PAH, PCBS, dioxins, irradiation and allergen free as well as being non-GMO. And is guaranteed to be low on heavy metals (very important). It is regularly tested for heavy metals in internationally acclaimed third party laboratories.
If there’s only one bit of advice/ or piece of information you can share with an audience of sceptics about why the decision to go with a plant-based protein lifestyle is a must – what would it be?
I would say, going with a 100% plant-based diet isn’t a must. I believe in balance, and moderation being the key to balance.
Having said that, there is a book called The China Study, written by renowned global nutrition research experts T. Colin Campbell and Jacob Gould Schurman, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at the internationally respected ivy league Cornell University. The book covers the longest study ever conducted on cancer with regards to food and protein in relation to the disease. It was the first time in the history of the global medical search for answers in cancer, that these professors were able to figure out how to turn cancer on and off from rats who had already been diagnosed with cancer and had malignant tumours.
The long and the short of it is this: Casein protein intake has been shown to activate tumour growth.
Whilst feeding the rats a standardised diet, not excessively high in protein and similar to the percentages that humans would on average consume, that by switching their protein from casein (dairy) to plant-based protein, for periods of 3 months at a time, they figured out how to deactivate and reactivate the growth of the cancerous tumours. This was a first in cancer research!
Most importantly, this research project was not industry funded, it was government funded and was conducted on Chinese people in rural communities, meaning that everyone’s DNA was from the same origin, unlike studies in western contexts. Additionally, people from rural communities in China are far more likely to stay in the same community where the research was being conducted over the 27 year period than city folk. Thus, making the rural areas far more scientifically consistent for medical research study.
There are so many other topics I could go into, but I don’t have the space in this interview to divulge. 🙂
Let’s talk children and protein shakes—one probably wouldn’t be advised to give a child a regular run of the mill protein shake (which says something) So, can kids drink Wazoogles?
Should children eat their greens? Yes, absolutely! All of our flavours except of course the Kungfu Coffee, are fantastic for the developmental health of children. Proper nutrition helps in brain development and allows them to concentrate better at school. In a time where ADHD is prevalent, you would be doing your children a massive favour by swapping out their sweetened processed cereal or toast with a Wazoogles smoothie, smoothie bowl or oat bowl every morning. Hell, you can even make them Wazoogles Chocolate flapjacks for breakfast! #Winning!
Speaking of getting creative with Wazoogles, I assume this means it’s not only for post exercise shakes? What else can we conjure?
Wazoogles are best used as a fully nutritionally dense meal, ideal for breakfast. It can then also be used in the context of athletics or weight training, as a post recovery protein blend. The options are endless and creativity is the key. We have made:
- Wazoogles vegan ice cream
- Overnight oats
- Smoothie bowls
- Superfood flap-jacks
- Chocolate omega bowls
- Creamy superfood porridge made with nuts and seeds
- Chia pudding
- Wazoogles cashew and coconut yogurt
And the list goes on and on!
So on the horizon for Wazoogles I clearly see (or rather taste) ….?
Watch this space! We have been developing and shooting recipes for the past 6 months and are releasing all of them this year as we build our new website and launch our blog – www.wazoogles.com.
One thing you cut out of your diet and avoid like the plague?
Any processed and packaged foods with non-nutritive sweeteners like aspartame or acesulfame K.
And what would you never go without? (tell me it’s craft beer)
Haha, weeeeeeeell, an ice cold beer on a hot day after a surf is a tough combo to beat! I would say my one desert island food of choice would have to be ripe creamy avos. Ahem, and Wazoogles of course.
PS: Some people call me a unicorn, but I must admit, I really do have Wazoogles every damn day and I ain’t afraid to tell ya that I’m in loooooove.