Alternatives to sugar have come a long way in the last five years. From the days of artificial sweeteners at comparatively high cost, natural alternatives now provide another option for those looking to reduce their refined sugar consumption.
Sam Tew co-founded one such product, Natvia, in 2009. Motivated to seek a natural sugar replacement after his wife was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, he came up with his own alternative.
Describe your life currently: work, family, health and wellbeing
Managing a fast growing business and having a young family is always a challenge. To ensure that I invest the same amount of attention in each aspect, I prioritise and ensure that the key things I value most get the attention first. My family and my health are on the top of the list. And to keep my mind sharp and focused, I engage in boxing training at least twice a week.
What things in life are you passionate about?
I guess you can say health. To enjoy the most out of life, you have to be healthy. Whether it is excelling in the business or being a great dad and husband, it all comes down to healthy living. When I say ‘healthy living’, I’m not just focusing on the physical side – you need to incorporate the mind as well. It’s important to have a holistic view on wellbeing.
How did Natvia come about?
It came about from simply asking ‘why’ – why are there no natural sweeteners that ticks all the boxes? When we launched Natvia, there were only sugars and artificial sweeteners available on the market.
In 2008, my wife developed gestational diabetes when pregnant with our second baby. I started researching everything about diabetes and when I sought to find a healthier, safer and more natural alternative to sugar for her, there was nothing. In addition, most of the sweetener options available were not only extremely pricey, but hard to find. I strongly believe that healthy products should be accessible to everyone. The concern about the lack of healthy, sugar-free choices for the everyday consumer and especially those with diabetes, led to the creation of Natvia.
What have you personally learnt about health through your work?
Keep it simple. Keep it real. Our bodies haven’t really evolved since the caveman days. Therefore we should always aim for simple, non-processed foods.
How can Natvia help people to be healthier?
I see Natvia as a spark. By swapping something simple like a teaspoon of sugar with Natvia, it causes a chain reaction to other areas in your life. You’ll start feeling better, and the message of health and wellbeing will spread to other aspects, inspiring you to lead a wholesome lifestyle.
How do you and your family live for better health?
We engage in a lot of outdoor activities with our three boys – beach trips, exercising whenever we can, taking part in sporting activities and eating lots of fruit and salads. I’m lucky; my wife is an amazing chef so that really helps!
What tips do you have for people to lower their sugar intake?
Eat as much whole food as possible. Most processed foods have high sugar content. If you can eliminate processed food you are 90 per cent there.
Who inspires you on your healthy journey?
My three boys. I want to be able to keep up with them throughout their lives.
Best health advice you have received?
Listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right don’t do it.
For more information visit natvia.com.au