Josh Sparks THR1VE Interview
THR1VE, the revolutionary healthy fast food chain has launched their new lunch menu, which has been designed to create all our favourite meals with a healthy twist! Here THR1VE together with a Michelin Chef has recreated some of the most indulgent meals with fresh seasonal and locally sourced produce. And, what's more they use all fresh herbs and spices to add flavour and omit anything artificial.
Interview with Josh Sparks
Question: How would you describe the food served at THR1VE?
Josh Sparks: THR1VE is deliciously all natural real food - the very best of local seasonal produce and proteins, with no added sugar or chemical nasties. Ever.
Question: What was the main inspiration behind the Autumn/Winter 2017 THR1VE menu?
Josh Sparks: Our mission is make extraordinary health, deliciously simple. So the Autumn /Winter menu is the next evolution of our take on comforting and crave'able favourites, made as healthy as possible, by us. We wanted to draw on the best of global food trends, combined with the latest in nutritional science, to deliver the perfect combination of seasonal flavours sourced from local farmers. All designed to make you look, feel and perform your best.
Question: Can you tell us about the Michelin Chef who joined with THR1VE nutritionists, for this menu?
Josh Sparks: Steffen Achtmann joined as Executive Chef in January, and has had extensive training in Europe, including a number of years with the 3 Michelin Star restaurant Dieter Mueller outside Cologne. Though their food is substantially more expensive than that at THR1VE, we share a passion for seasonal offers and local farmers, and Steffen has brought a creative flair to our ingredient combinations, sauces and seasonings that we are looking forward to further exploring in future menu's. The key for us will to draw on the best of global food trends, including fine dining elements, while ensuring it is tailored to a much more casual Australian environment, and made welcoming, accessible and unintimidating.
Question: Why is it so important for you to provide Australians, with meals that have fresh seasonal and locally sourced produce?
Josh Sparks: Australians have such a passion for health and wellness, an active outdoor life is hard wired into our DNA, yet our best intentions are too often let down by the food we are served when we eat out. Our mission, which I mentioned before, is genuinely our complete and absolute focus. We believe all Australians deserve to THR1VE, to enjoy the vibrant, energised and sexy body they were designed to have, through the incomparable power of high performance nutrition. And above all it needs to be delicious, satisfying, and accessible. Real, all natural, and nourishing food is capable of quite literally transforming your life, and those of the people you love. It's a powerful and wonderful thing.
Question: What is your favourite meal, currently on the THR1VE menu?
Josh Sparks: I would have to choose two. For breakfast I love making up a custom bowl including sweet potato waffles, scrambled eggs, smoked salmon with chives and avocado. For lunch it's a toss-up between the Hungry Like the Wolf bowl with extra slow cooked beef cheeks and fermented veggies or the Market Bowl with Butter Chicken Curry.
Question: Can you share the bowl you often create, at THR1VE?
Josh Sparks: We do all day breakfast, which I love, so another favourite is the superfood GF toast with avocado and pea smash, scrambled eggs and bacon. There is no time of day this doesn't suit just perfectly!
Question: What are five things you do, that we can do today, to start a healthier lifestyle?
Josh Sparks: The most critical success factor in shifting your lifestyle to one that better serves your health and wellness priorities, is to replace bad habits with good ones. We are creatures of habit, and if some of your routine behaviours, that have been ingrained over many years, are holding you back from looking, feeling and performing the way you want to, you have to ensure you replace each one with what will become new and better ones. You can't just stop, and expect the resolve to hold, without a replacement.
However, to answer your question with five small shifts that result in outsize benefits to your health:
Stop eating processed foods that's almost everything in a packet, or better put, everything in a packet with an ingredient that isn't a whole food. Processed foods are nothing more than dead food, created for maximum shelf life, and subject to various forms of modification, designed to extend shelf life and company profit but destroy most micro nutrients. They fill you up, but leave you starving for nutrients, which drive renewed hunger within a couple of hours.
Stop adding sugar assuming you have stopped eating processed foods, you have already dramatically cut back on added sugars. The key now is to stop adding it to everything else. It will take time for your taste to adjust to what all natural, real food actually tastes like. For me it was a good four weeks before normal food started tasting anything but under sweetened, and you realise just how messed up your palette has become by fake food. Excess carbohydrate is problematic, but it is excess sugar that is particularly harmful, driving everything from weight gain, to systemic inflammation and premature ageing, to lifestyle disease including diabetes and heart disease.
Walk every day and not just to the car and back! We are designed, and our DNA expects, us to engage in lots of daily low level movement punctuated with brief periods of all out exertion. That is the movement pattern of hunter gathers, and when we mimic what our DNA expects, genetic signaling optimises our health. Everything from the lymphatic system to the digestive system, both critical to health, completely depends on movement to function properly. Walking boosts our mood through multiple pathways, improves our immune function, and aids weight management, the list goes on. It is also the simplest, cheapest, and 'excuse free' form of movement imaginable!
Engage in strength training and sprinting at last twice per week men and women alike are both designed for infrequent and brief explosive movement. It could be in a gym, using some simple kettlebells or dumbbells at home, or even body weight only. This pattern of daily movement, lots of low level activity, and brief and infrequent all-out effort 2-4 times a week, underpinned our evolutionary success - it is literally hard wired into our operating system, at the genetic level. If we fail to provide our operating system with the signals it expects through millions of years of successful evolution, the system begins to break down. In practical terms, you can maintain much of what we associate with youth - a lean and strong body, a sharp mind, optimistic attitude, and high sex drive - simply by mimic'ing the beneficial nutrition and movement patterns of ancient ancestors. Use it or lose it, and that got for mind, body and soul.
Get brief full body exposure to natural sunlight of course we understand the risk of getting burnt, but what many of us don't realise is that low levels of unprotected exposure to the sun optimise production of Vitamin D, which has powerful cancer fighting properties, plus a bunch of other benefits to our health and wellbeing. Furthermore, low level exposure on a regular basis has been proven to be much less damaging to DNA than the less regular extreme exposure that many of us get on our annual holidays. I protect my face with daily SPF 30+, as the face gets so much more exposure than the body, but I try to get 10-15 minutes of full body exposure 2-3 times a week. At the height of summer as little as 5-8 minutes is sufficient. So don't be silly and burn yourself to a crisp, but do you own research on Vitamin D and the benefits of low level regular sun exposure - and make your own decisions.
Question: Who are your food and health inspirations?
Josh Sparks: Nutritional science is a relatively new branch of science; it is only around 100 years old as a recognised discipline, which compares to hundreds and even thousands of years for maths or physics for example. As a result, at this point in time there is simply no single universally accepted paradigm for nutrition. Consequently, there is a lot of confusion, and sadly to say many companies and individuals taking advantage of that confusion, to the very visible detriment of the rest of us.
On the other hand, evolutionary biology is a very established branch of science, and it is through the framework of evolution that I think we can best appreciate the many lifestyle variables that best serve our health and wellness, including nutrition. Accordingly I am most inspired by the pioneers in the field of evolutionary biology, anthropology, genetics and more that are increasingly connecting the dots between these distinct but overlapping areas of study.
We live in a very exciting time - we have never known more about the functioning of the human body and what constitutes optimal biological function, and yet we have never faced greater health challenges in the form of epidemic levels of lifestyle disease. My hope is that an increasing number of people in our community will be courageous enough to start thinking differently over the coming years, and approach health as a natural and inevitable outcome of a total lifestyle shift. A healthy, vibrant, and sexy body is your birthright after all!
So, my greatest inspiration is our customers who have shown the courage and determination to think differently, take positive action, and make the most of their one body to enjoy their best life.
Question: Do you have a typical morning routine? Can you share it with us?
Josh Sparks: I have an ideal routine, but I also have a lot of variability due to business commitments, including travel and so on.
So, to focus on the morning routine I wish I could stick to… It would start with an early walk with my wife Steph and our dog along the beach at first light, coffee and eggs at home with the kids, and a quick guitar practice session before heading to the office.
I try to avoid screens completely for the first couple of hours, ideally until after my first meetings, but at a minimum until I am in the office.
The focus for the first few hours are activities I find meditative and restorative - watching the sunrise, sharing time and food with the people I love, and playing music.
Question: What's next, for THR1VE?
Josh Sparks: We have some big plans!
So….what I can tell you without getting too far ahead of myself is that we think the entire market is undergoing incredibly rapid change, and that our customers are fundamentally shifting the manner in which they want to interact with the brands they love. We believe that a genuinely omni-channel approach best serves our customers, so that we can be where ever they want and need us to be, connected and integrated via a single technology platform.
What this means for us is that we need to reimagine every channel, to redesign and rebuild in order to accommodate the opportunities presented by each of our other channels, and then build an integrated technology platform to empower our customers to seamlessly transition from one to another.
We see our most important role as inspiring and empowering our community, providing multiple levels of potential engagement to our partnership, of their journey to ultimate health and wellness. From the one time buyer of a breakfast bowl or a ready meal, to the super engaged fan engaging in the THR1VE Protocol eight-week body transformation fully supported with virtual coaching and a complete seven day a week meal plan, we want to underpin their success however we can.
Interview by Brooke Hunter