Annie Lawless is the kind of girl we want to hang with on the beach all day. Her easy demeanor and fun-loving personality, coupled with her serious business prowess (she's a co-founder of Suja, a juice company that is single-handedly changing the game in fresh-pressed juice) make her a force to be reckoned with.
As our newest contributor here at Bikini, Annie will be weighing in on healthy lifestyle choices, sharing delicious, gluten-free holiday recipes, and tons more. We sat down to chat and learned all about her triumph over celiac disease and the inspiration behind her super-fun blog. Read on to learn more about the newest Bikini gal.
First things first: is it safe to say that juice change your life? Yes! I grew up with celiac disease and I had terrible eczema all over my body, and it was actually caused from the celiac that I didn’t know I had. I was having a really hard time absorbing nutrients from food, and everything I ate seemed to irritate me — I felt really sick after eating. I started juicing as a way to easily access all of the concentrated plant nutrition without having to break it down— it made a really a huge change in my energy levels, my skin, my hair, my general well-being. I just felt more vibrant. I was sleeping better. And I’ve stuck with it ever since.
Wow – that’s amazing. How old were you? I was an early teen. So, I was like 12 or 13. We didn’t even have a Whole Foods in our state, and gluten-free was not a well-known thing like it is today. So, there really weren’t a lot of gluten-free products available. And that was why I basically got every nutrition book I could, and that’s when I discovered the benefits of juicing and learned about it’s effects in terms of healing the digestive tract and helping to cure all sorts of different diseases and ailments. I thought, I’m gonna give this a try! And it really worked for me.
What are the biggest challenges for you now in staying on track? Does traveling so much make it difficult? It’s really hard for me to have a routine, because I have gotten so much busier and I’m traveling all over the place. I don’t always have any idea what I’m gonna be eating for the next meal. It’s not like I’m making almond milk in my kitchen — I’m eating out a lot. The contamination is the hardest part for me. So, like, I’ll ask if something is gluten- and dairy-free and it’ll turn out the waiter has no idea that there was actually soy in it. Or, if there were bread crumbs in a soup or that something was flashed fried in the same fryer as batter. So, that’s probably my biggest challenge.
In addition to your juice business, Suja, you also have a blog that’s so engaging. You cover a wide variety of content. How do you make your voice stand out? Yeah, so, there’s so many blogs out there! I started Blawnde two years ago. I knew nothing about blogging! I think that the fact that Suja was my main thing made it easier— the way I look at it, I can post about whatever is going on in my life, whatever I’m feeling that day—I share a lot with my readers about my personal life and my struggles, with zero expectation of what the blog has to be. The pictures aren’t perfect, it’s just me and my real life, and people seem to really connect with that.
Can you tell us what’s on the horizon for Suja for 2016? We're continually innovating and always looking to get our original mission of having a bottle of cold-pressed, cold-pressured organic non-GMO juice in every single hand. We have a probiotic water launching in February that’s really exciting. If you don’t like kombucha or that fermented flavor, a lot of probiotic drinks – this is the answer. It really tastes like water, with a little bit of hint of flavor to it.
What's an ideal day like for you? Even if I’m traveling, I meditate every morning. When I have free time I try to do it for an hour, which can be challenging. But, for me, it really slows down my mind and helps me center. I always do yoga in the mornings — I used to teach yoga. Once I knock that out in the morning, I feel like I’m good to go. Then I usually like to walk on the beach with my boyfriend and have breakfast; we like to go for a 30-minute walk the whole way up and down the beach and then hit a little place in our neighborhood where we always go to for breakfast. I usually get poached eggs, smoked salmon, and avocado. Or an omelet with avocado and a little bit of turkey. Then I’d get a massage. Maybe steam. Sauna. And then I’d probably have lunch with my girlfriends after, because I love my girl time. Have a little rosé and hang out in the sun all afternoon, be outside. After that I’d probably go do a little shopping, I’m always shooting new looks on the blog and getting inspired — I’m totally somebody that could shop for hours. Then I’d go out for dinner. Since I have a specific diet, I love going to places where they know me and I can really get what I want. My favorite dinner, believe it or not, is a steak. I like a medium rare steak with some spinach. That’s like my go-to when I’m really having an indulgent meal. That’s it!
You're so well-traveled. Can you tell us what your favorite beach is in the whole world? I would have to say my favorite is the black sand beaches of Greece. I was there last summer and it was just so breathtakingly beautiful. The sand is so black, it just looks molten and the water is so clear. There are tons of fun beach clubs you can lay out all day and drink cocktails and everybody looks beautiful and it’s just such a fun vibe.