If you’ve ever considered going plant-based, let Hannah Sunderani serve as your inspiration. The woman behind the brand Two Spoons and soon-to-be cookbook author hasn’t just made a career out of her love for the vegan lifestyle; she’s also used it to heal her body and mental state after losing her boyfriend to cancer.
Read on for our inspirational conversation with Hannah, who may just convince you to ditch the meat and grab the veggies instead. She may even talk you into starting your own business.
Your story on how you began a plant-based life is very impactful. Can you share?
My plant-based journey started in my early 20s when I lost my first boyfriend, and my first love, to cancer. It was a very stressful time and I ended up developing IBS and other gut health problems.
It was recommended by GI specialists to take pills for the rest of my life in order to keep my digestion in check. I tried it at first, but after a year of struggle I turned to food for medicine.
I cut out many foods including processed foods, dairy, gluten, and refined sugars. It was really difficult at first because I didn’t know how to cook for this new diet, but it taught me how to make healthy and wholesome meals that allowed my body to heal, and led me to the world of plant-based eating.
With this lifestyle change my stomach problems began to vanish. I suddenly had more energy, I could think clearer, and weaned off the pills. Since then, I’ve introduced some foods back into my diet, like whole grains, but I’ve chosen to continue a plant-based lifestyle because of its benefits to health, humanity and the environment.
After watching my body thrive on plants and opening my eyes to factory farming, animal suffering, and its effects on our environment, plant-based eating has never seemed more right for me.
How did your brand get off the ground?
It takes time to establish your brand and have it recognized, so be patient. Mine involved continuing to create and share quality recipes and hone in my skills as a cook, food photographer, and food stylist.
Social media also played a major role in my growth, with platforms like Pinterest and Instagram being very helpful for sharing my recipes and bringing people to my blog.
I wouldn’t say that there was one specific thing I did to get my brand off the ground, but a series of steps to increase my growth and reach. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But if you have the passion and drive, you will succeed.
For all of our dreamy bakers and chefs who would love to start a brand, can you share a few tips that worked really well for you?
Think about what makes you unique or different from what’s already being offered. Is it sharing plant-based recipes, or are you interested in healthy baking? Do you love chocolate? Think about what inspires you and how you can benefit your readers with new information that will appeal to them.
Finding your own style not only makes you unique, but also memorable.
Also, don’t be afraid to share your personality and let your audience get to know the real you. Let your followers resonate with you.
I think with social media there’s an illusion that everything has to be perfectly tailored and coiffed, but I’ve learned that being honest and genuine has helped to foster strong bonds with my followers.
Getting real, what are some ways to generate multiple income streams with a food and nutrition brand?
Brand partnerships are a great way to receive a cushion of income through recipe development, food photography, and social media promotion. Don’t be afraid to reach out to brands that you love and ask if they’d like to partner with you. Take the time to create a professional media kit so that you are taken seriously, and know that negotiating rates are common. It’s good to keep this in mind when you’re pricing.
People also underestimate the power of ads on their website. There are a few agencies out there that you can partner with to generate revenue through ad placements. But it takes time to get there. Many agencies won’t work with you until you have over 35K-100K monthly page views. So it’s important to focus on generating quality content and honing your SEO techniques to ensure that your website is being seen by as many people as possible.
How do you see your brand and company evolving now and in the near future?
As the company evolves, I am starting to enter new spheres beyond web and social media: I’m currently working on a Two Spoons Cookbook! It will be launching spring 2022. The cookbook will be a tribute to my time living in France, with many French-focused recipes as well as my typical “Two Spoons”- style recipes that are healthy and colourful.
I’m also launching a Two Spoons app, which will provide 400+ easy and healthy, plant-based recipes. Offering meal planner to schedule your weeks with shareable shopping lists, recipe videos, and step-by-step instructions. It also provides a variety of YouTube videos from our favourite fitness bloggers, to help you stay active at home.
Do you have a few favorite go-to recipes that fuel the body optimally but only take minutes to make?
You authentically share your story with hair thinning in your twenties. Many women are looking for natural and nutritious ways to heal their hair! Can you share a few personal tips?
We often think of hair loss and thinning as something that happens to men, but it happens to us women, too—especially when you factor in hormonal changes like pregnancy and menopause.
For me, I experienced hair loss after going off the birth control pill. My hormones were completely out of whack and it took me many months to get back to balance. Although it seems vain, hair loss can have major effects on your overall confidence and I really suffered from shame and lack of self-esteem.
I have a blog post dedicated to a few tips for growing back my hair to be strong and healthy. Please check it out as there are many things that we can do!
A few high level tips are to take a multivitamin, b-complex, and add rosemary oil to your haircare routine.
Many people are overwhelmed with where to start when it comes to healing their bodies. What are a few simple tips for starting points when it comes to nutrition and food?
I completely understand this dilemma, because I’ve been there. It can feel so isolating and discouraging. For me, an elimination diet really helped me hone in what was causing digestive flare-ups. I cut out gluten, dairy, refined-sugars, caffeine and processed foods. Slowly I would re-introduce things back into my diet and see what affect it had on me. This is what led me to adopting a plant-based diet.
If it’s available to you, speaking to an expert like a nutritionist or naturopath can help guide you. But it’s more important to know that we do have agency over your own health and there’s lots of information out there. Be resourceful and open to learning.
You might find my interview with Dr. Will Bulsiewicz insightful. We discuss gut health, what we can do to change course, the power of plants and having agency over your own health. Changing my diet was the best thing I could have done for my health and happiness. I’ve never looked back.