It’s a pleasure to introduce you to Maz Valcorza. This gorgeous girl is behind the incredible Sadhana Kitchen, a raw foods wonderland I was so grateful to experience a few weeks ago. It’s raw, clean, vegan whole food cuisine at its finest. Learn more about Maz’s motivation and why she’s a believer in raw foods and a committed yoga practice.
NAME: Maz Valcorza
OCCUPATION: Director & Wholefoods Jedi at Sadhana Kitchen
LOCATION: Enmore, New South Wales
Tell us a little about who you are, what you do and how you got here:
I’m one of the co-founders and the director of Sadhana Kitchen, Sydney’s first organic, raw & vegan wholefoods café. Prior to opening Sadhana, I was a nurse and then later worked in pharmaceutical health and marketing, so I’ve always had an interest in healthcare (and have been exposed to various facets of it too!). I began my raw vegan journey after studying to become a yoga teacher. Through yoga, I learnt about the principle of ahimsa, which essentially means non-violence, and I adopted a vegan lifestyle in order to do the least possible harm whilst moving towards ultimate health and happiness. Raw food was a natural progression from veganism because I was searching for a way of eating that tasted incredible while supporting my wellbeing. It just so happens that creating raw recipes fueled my creative fire, and the lifestyle really resonated with me. These days, Sadhana Kitchen has an amazing team of chefs and passionate employees that make magic for our customers to enjoy every single day. I spend most of my time running raw food workshops, creating new recipes, working on our upcoming book and spreading the organic, plant based, raw & wholefoods love.
What does “health” mean to you?
Health means being happy and experiencing each moment as fully as possible. To do this, we need to cultivate wellness in our minds, bodies and spirits – so that this vehicle we use to experience life, can do so freely and joyfully.
What brings balance to your life?
My yoga practice. I practice ashtanga yoga daily and it allows me to disconnect from all of that which is impermanent and be at peace with myself. In the same way, eating organic plant based raw foods keep my body and mind healthy and free to experience every moment completely. Of course, my satsang, the people I spend my time with including my family, friends and Sadhana Kitchen family help make every day so much more fun.
Can you share your food philosophy?
My approach to food is that it can be used as a powerful tool to connect with our own personal wisdom and take sovereignty over our health and happiness. Sadhana is Sanskrit for conscious spiritual practice and at Sadhana Kitchen, we believe that what we put into our bodies each day can help to nurture the body, mind and soul. I also think it’s important to accept and be mindful of the fact that every single person is unique and experiencing a distinctive aspect of their journey at any moment. So rather than being told how and what to eat or how to be as healthy as possible, everyone should have the opportunity to receive information freely and openly and use that to cultivate their own culture of health and happiness. Personally, I believe that being mindful about what we eat not only helps us look after our own health, but also that of our world.
What is your favourite way to stay active?
Yoga is a daily practice, I also enjoy hitting the trampoline, running, dancing and just being outside – walking or riding around.
How do you silence that inner critic?
It can be hard sometimes, especially when you are working for something you are so passionate about, you want to make sure you’re being and doing your best all the time. Meditation helps, and my daily practice. Meeting any negativity with light, love and positive thoughts until that becomes your inner voice. I’m not there yet, but the practice is very helpful nonetheless.
Who is your greatest health inspiration?
When I first started on this journey, I read and followed Kimberly Snyder. She’s an amazing nutritionist that provides easy to follow, accessible and powerful information about health and wellbeing. She’s awesome!
Where is your favourite place on earth?
Bay of Fires in Tasmania. It’s pretty spectacular there, and peaceful. It’s paradise.
What quote best sums up your wellness philosophy?
“Already know you, that which you need.” – Yoda
What is your favourite healthy snack?
Green smoothies! Supercharged with superfoods like hemp seeds, reishi, maca, all the good stuff. I’m also pretty fond of Sadhana Kitchen’s sweet potato chips with our house made guacamole and some of our coconut bacon.
What is next on the cards for you? Your goals and aspirations?
Our book will be released in August and Sadhana Kitchen will be opening for dinner soon too. My goal is to keep working towards Sadhana Kitchen making conscious food accessible to more and more people, filling bellies with organic raw vegan goodness and helping our customer’s connect with their own personal wisdom and cultivate their own brand of health and wellbeing.
Please share the recipe you make when someone needs convincing that healthy food tastes amazing:
This dish is super simple yet absolutely delicious and packs a nutritional punch. It’s perfect for a healthy lunch or dinner and it’s oh so good. Kelp is rich in more than 70 minerals, including potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and iodine. Iodine is a mineral that is essential for glandular health. Iodine deficiency can lead to poor thyroid function, and the thyroid is responsible for many important bodily processes like metabolism. It also contains enzymes, vitamins, trace elements, and more than 21 amino acids. With all of these nutrients packed in, kelp noodles make for a healthy alternative to pasta or rice.
Connect with Maz:
Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time. My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.
With kindest regards Samantha
I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.
When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.
I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.
Hey Jessica! I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again
I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!
Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.
Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!
I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).
I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud
My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.
I want to empower you to make good choices, every day. I want you to enhance your understanding of health and nutrition. I'm committed to making sure you live the best life. Because you deserve it. Are you ready to start feeling great?
Let me know your email address so I can send you an eBook '7 Days on my plate' - a little gift from me to you!