Tuesday Chats: Interview with the lovely Grace Culhaci; founder & CEO of Zk'in Organic Skincare
I am really excited to introduce you to the wonderful Grace from Zk'in Organics today. She is a wonderful woman on a mission, an inspiration, and a game-changer! I was lucky enough to sit down with Grace at the launch of her amazing Organic Skincare range; Zk'in. She has an incredible story to tell and I thought it would be great to have her as our first interview to begin our "Tuesday Chats" feature full of inspiring woman and businesses again. So here goes... 1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your business. How did it all start? I faced life-changing health challenges during both my pregnancies - firstly, a skin condition, and then an inoperable tumour on my optic nerve. To improve my wellbeing I examined my diet and beauty regime, and adopted a healthy organic lifestyle.
I observed that while many women make healthy food choices they are willing to compromise on their skincare and use synthetic ingredients – the equivalent to a junk food diet for our skin – because they feel organic skincare, while safer, might not deliver the results they are looking for. I wanted to develop a range that would offer genuine safety but was also results based and thus the zk’in (pronounced skin) range was born.
Everyone faces challenges but deciding which skincare products to trust should not be one of them!
2. What Does Organic Skincare mean to you? To me organic means certified organic. Many manufacturers making organic claims for their products bypass the certiﬁcation process making their organic percentage or ingredient safety claims nothing more than self-declarations. Certiﬁcation is important as this guarantees the consumer that all product claims have been independently veriﬁed.
The zk’in certified organic skincare range offers 12 products to address every skin concern and life stage. Every product proudly bears the COSMOS logo – the new international organic beauty standard. COSMOS becomes compulsory for the major European certification bodies in 2016 but we are already there – making us true pioneers.
I believe organic skincare should be good on the inside and out, so all our packaging is BPA free, recyclable and food grade. Most of the fancy shapes achieved for beauty packaging is made with acrylic which is non recyclable so we worked with manufacturers to develop recyclable versions of packs for us that are free from acrylic and PVC.
3. What are your non-negotiables when it comes to your diet and/or skincare? My diet non-negotiables – I understand the connection between animal products and inflammation and therefore eat a mostly plant based diet, with some fish. I do not eat gluten, and must sprout all my grains. I buy organic produce and drink only water or coconut water – fizzy drinks are not allowed in our house!
My skincare non-negotiables – If I’m buying organic food to avoid petrochemicals and pesticides I certainly don’t want to be rubbing those on my skin either! The ‘z’ in the zk’in brand name ties in with our zero tolerance policy to anything less than the best. There are no parabens, no sulphates, no petrochemicals and no unnatural ingredients in any zk’in certified organic skincare product, achieving naturally beautiful and clincially proven results, free from worry about toxins or synthetic ingredients.
The formulations feature a unique 100% natural preservative system, which earned the company a research and development grant from the Australian Government for contributing new knowledge to Australian Science – that is something I am very proud of.
4. Do you have any advice or inspiration to send out to any of our readers that are thinking about starting a organic way of living? Green juice every day – this has been part of my life for over 7 years and I truly see the benefit in my ability to keep going despite a very busy lifestyle. My other big tip would be to write a meal plan – it works! I buy only what I need for the meals planned for each week, so no matter how tired you are when you come home, you know what to make and all the ingredients needed are on hand. At the end of the week your fridge will be empty with nothing wasted. Simple, keeps you healthy and saves you money.
5. Food; If you had half an hour to cook dinner and realised you didn’t have anything planned, what would you cook? Normally I work from a meal plan which is kind of essential as I sprout all my grains and need up to 3 days lead time to make a simple rice dish – but if I couldn’t do that and had to make something super fast on the spot I would resort to my fridge and cupboard staples and make zucchini fritters (no sprouting required – phew!). I always have zucchini in the fridge, and you can add frozen peas (every freezer seems to have a packet of those!) plus gluten free self-raising flour, eggs, fetta cheese, soy milk, and olive oil.
6. What’s your favourite juice or smoothie? My green juice every morning varies to ensure a good rotation, but essentially the recipe is:
Spinach / or silverbeet
Banana / or apple / or pear/ or kiwi - whatever you’ve got on hand
Orange / or orange juice / or camu camu powder
These ingredients help detox my system, give me energy as well as aiding in glutathione production to keep skin healthy and free of age spots.
7. Do you have a recipe you would like to share with us today?I’ve been experimenting with raw food this year and love chia pudding – great any time of day – I eat it for breakfast with fruit and gluten free museli, as morning tea topped with dates and maple syrup and even served as a dinner party dessert topped with homemade frozen fruit sorbet. Lots of variations, easy to make and super nutrition.
Here’s the basic recipe:
1 cup water
½ cup coconut milk
1 cup fresh or frozen organic berries
¾ cups chia seeds
Splash of organic vanilla extract
Blend the water, coconut milk, vanilla and berries in your vitamix until nice and smooth
Pour mixture into a large bowl
Slowly rain in the chia seeds, stirring to incorporate
Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight
Serve for breakfast topped with dates and maple syrup or gluten free museli
Notes: You can use 1 ½ cups water if you want a lighter option, or add ¼ teaspoon xylitol (from beech not corn) for sweetness if you desire
The variations are endless! I also freeze the pudding once the seeds have expanded and make chia ice blocks in summer.