Clean green superfood team

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Foods That Love You Back

Visit Byron Bay Northern Rivers-01
Clean green superfood team

Health activist Erle Astrup founded Foods That Love You Back in January 2021, and her business – which has created the world’s first affordable, alkaline shot of concentrated microgreens – is infused with the passion she has for driving it. 

“We need to understand the impact food has on our mind and body,” Erle says, who first became interested in holistic wellbeing through her study and teaching of yoga. “Our 21st century lifestyle is killing us – such a large percentage of the population suffers from chronic disease and mental illness. The solution is not healthcare; it’s our food system.”

The lead product of Foods That Love You Back is the Nrf2 Active 50ml shot of superfood, which has been shown to be absorbed by the body within 20 minutes and triggers healthy gene expressions in the body by activating the Nrf2 NRF2 (nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2) pathway. Thousands of medical studies have shown the health benefits, including improved metabolism, reduced inflammation, and promotion of healthy gut microbiome.

Erle has been immersed in this field of science for the past seven years ago, which began after her mother’s stage 4 cancer diagnosis. From Norway, she researched intensely and found a system of protocols supported by the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida, US, which offered a self-directed approach to healing chronic illness through enzyme-rich food. This ultimately led to her mother healing her body of its tumours in a story that’s been celebrated in Norwegian media.

The first iteration of Foods That Love You Back was selling punnets of live microgreens, packed with enzymes and growing on a hemp mat, which she sold locally around Byron Bay.

“A 30mg serve of broccoli microgreens has equivalent health benefits to 3.5kg of supermarket-bought broccoli,” Erle says. She was determined to make this easily accessible so people can tap into the transformative health benefits of these healing foods.

Scalability was crucial for these carefully prepared hemp mats of living organisms, and mid-2021 she began a collaboration with an innovative Ag-tech farm, as a way to produce enough live microgreens.

But the hurdles became insurmountable.

“COVID-19 and the Queensland border closures adversely affected our business, with the food industry essentially shutting down due to lock-downs.”

But it was the floods of February and March 2022 that forced a rethink.

“The floods completely wiped out our living-microgreen operations. We lost our AgTech farm-system, income and our business location in Byron Bay, which we needed to continue our research and development.”

“It is the mission of Foods That Love You Back to help people think, feel and perform better”

The business is innovative, by definition, with a pioneering product and global ambition, so the challenges simply meant a pivot.

“Developing Nrf2 Active was always part of our bigger vision, we were just forced to bring out this more advanced and innovative product much faster than we anticipated.”

The 50ml shot of Nrf2 Active, which has the superfood Sulforaphane as well as a list of vitamins and minerals, contains the equivalent health benefits to the microgreens (and 3.5kg of broccoli), in bottled liquid form.

The business has started a market trial in Sydney, testing 5000 shots, offering two shots a day for a month and tracking health progress. It is also in discussion with the National Institute for Integrative Medicine to run a placebo-controlled trial in 2023, and has collaborations with both Southern Cross University and the University of Queensland.

Erle is excited about what Foods That Love You Back, and Australia more generally, can add to this exciting field of global research, which includes a University of Washington peer-reviewed article that said: “Nrf2 is likely to be the most important health promoting approach in the foreseeable future … [and] may become the most extraordinary breakthrough in the history of medicine.”

With the product developed, three patent applications submitted, and trials underway, the business is now speaking with investors.

“It is the mission of Foods That Love You Back to help people think, feel and perform better,” Erle says. “We want to change the paradigm around food as medicine, and devote more resources to educate people on taking further responsibility for their own health.”

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