Meet Sarah Tanner - the GLO getter

With a career that started as a nail artist, owning a successful boutique in Newmarket, Sarah Tanner is no stranger to hard work opening a cafè, Greenleaf Organics, and now launching a self-published cook book. Trudi Brewer meets Tanner at home to get a a taste of her healthy lifestyle.

GLO co-owner Sarah Tanner.

GLO co-owner Sarah Tanner.

What’s a typical working day for you?
Most of my day at the Greenleaf Organics Cafè revolves around production and service. After 3pm and onwards, I focus on our social media accounts, emails, building relationships, doing interviews, and plotting and planning new projects.

What do you love most about your career?
I love that we have the opportunity to actively make positive differences in people's lives. I like to think we are providing a community service, not just a business, as we educate, inspire and provide the tools for change. We are in it because we believe in what we sell, say and offer. Service is always our top priority. Whether it’s in the café, out on the road doing deliveries, or supporting our growing family of wholesale accounts. We have a message to spread.

What has been your career high to date?
Launching my first cookbook for Greenleaf Organics, titled GLO. It encompasses everything I believe in, in terms of nutrition, and a little on lifestyle too. It is the first of many. I’d actually like to see it in magazine format as a bi-monthly publication one day. There is nothing like it in New Zealand, I’d love it to be the plant-based version of Donna Hay.

How was GLO born?
It all snowballed from a nasty bout of shingles which led me to explore food as medicine and as corny and common as it sounds, it truly was born for my daughter Stella. I wanted to create something real, authentic and needed in the world. I want to be part of something and be someone that she is proud to one day say, my mum started Greenleaf Organics. Like when a little kid says, when they grow up, they want to be a fireman or policeman. How cool it would be to have her say, I want to start a company like my mummy. That would rock my world. 

What does beauty mean to you?
I believe beauty is a confidence and energy that someone has. There can be an element of fake it till you make it, but there is nothing more attractive than someone who is confident in their own skin…no matter how they look.

What is your one beauty indulgence?
Seeing my gorgeous friend Caroline Hunt at Room Nine in Grey Lynn Auckland for a facial. She really has the golden touch. I always feel amazing when I leave there.

What do you always keep on your bedside table?
A pile of books that I flip between. I’ve never been into novels, it’s always themes of self-improvement, ancient philosophies, and inspiration. Lip balm and a foot balm to give myself a mini massage at night.

What would we always find in your beauty bag? 
Sukin Gel Cleanser, lip balm, Osmosis Stem Factor, Osmosis CC Foundation and concealer, Osmosis Highlighting Powder, and always Weleda Skinfood Cream.

What are your go-to nail shades? 
Kester Black’s new summer colour, a neon pink named Barbie Either that or the total opposite, black.

What’s the number one tip you’ve picked up from make-up artists?  
Focus on the eyes or lips, never both. I’m very lucky to be blessed with decent lips, and I tend to go for eyes so I don’t look like Janice from The Muppets.Do you have a signature scent?
Always Molecule 1 and I sometimes layer it with Diptique Philosykos or Costume National Homme.

What is your ultimate skincare essential?
A plant-based, whole food diet. No amount of billion dollar creams can substitute what you put into your body.

What products are always in your make-up bag?
Lip gloss - It never makes it out of my bag, because I’m often too busy to remember to put it on, but it's always in there.

What is your wellness philosophy?
Begin within.

How to you stay balanced and happy?
I don’t believe in “balance”, I believe in the full immersion of what you love doing. Success doesn’t come from part-time input. I do believe in happiness though and that can only come from inside. Sometimes I forget this, and I try to seek it in “things” and achievements…but it all comes down to me. I’m most happy when I am making a positive difference in the world around me. 

What advice would you give other busy working mothers?
Don’t push yourself to find that “balance” It doesn’t exist. What’s most important is that you feel supported at all times. The guilt is always there for not spending enough time with your kids, when you are chasing dreams. I think of the big picture, and what Stella will hopefully be proud of one day. I would hate for her to grow up and think that she held me back from anything in my life. Charge ahead…just be sure that when you do have those precious moments together that you are present. Like they say, presence is the best present for any child.

What have you learned about health and wellbeing from your GLO venture?
There is an old proverb that says, “Health is not all, but without health, all is nothing.” I am learning and seeing this more and more in life. So many of us are walking zombies, oblivious to the power we have to feel spectacular. We are fed health and wellbeing as a thing to buy into, a title to obtain. It’s so much deeper than that. I feel that for most of us, we need to feel or be unwell to have the wake-up call. If I can help people to realise how easy it is, without having to get to the unwell stage, then that is a bonus. Remember there is no perfection in perfection. Because it doesn’t exist. Being well is about living in our space of unique potential, not comparing to what we think it is from a picture of someone’s abs on Instagram.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to take a more natural/organic approach to their wellbeing?
I would say take it one step at a time. I mention in the GLO cookbook that I have come to be where I am through a process. I didn’t wake up one morning and completely change everything. If we try to do too much all at once, we are more likely to stumble. And like any plan, it’s good to have goals. Maybe it’s to include one plant-based meal a week, then the next week two, then three, and so on. It should feel really exciting and positive…not something that you dread.
If someone could change one thing about their morning regime, what would you advise from a health and wellbeing perspective?
Meditate for half an hour, do 10 rounds of sun salutations, and then sip on herbal tea while planning your day ahead, but that is just not a reality for me. It’s about welcoming things into your life that can be maintained. For me, it’s my GLO from within smoothie that I whip up while I’m getting Stella ready for daycare. The recipe can be found in GLO, and it truly is my mini internal ashram.

Tanner's latest project is GLO Cookbook. 110 fast, simple, affordable recipes for every meal of the day including treats. Here's our pick of sweet treats when entertaining over the summer break.

Maui Mango Chia Pudding

Ingredients – serves 6

180 gms dried mango cheeks

2 cans or 800 mls of coconut milk

1/3 cup maple syrup, or rice malt syrup if you prefer

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon lime juice

½ cup chia seeds

fresh seasonal fruit to garnish with a dollop of coconut yoghurt and chopped nuts if you wish.

How to
Soak and cover the mango cheeks in hot water for around 30 minutes, or until softened.

Place the mango along with 1 cup of the soaking liquid into a high-powered blender as well as the coconut milk, syrup, and the lemon and lime juices. Blend until smooth and thick.

Transfer to a bowl or container and stir through the chia seeds. Place in the fridge to thicken for at least 30 minutes.

Serve up with your chosen garnishes and be transported to golden shores with the balmy sun at your back.

Page 23 of GLO cookbook

Photography Milana Radojcic
Makeup Lochie Stonehouse for MAC Cosmetics