Sambazon Founder Ryan Black.
Sambazon Founder Ryan Black. Ewen Bell

Ryan Black: Eating and earning sustainably

WHILE we all try to eat healthier foods, and support fair trade initiatives, it's inspiring to meet someone who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.

Ryan Black is the founder of Sambazon Acai. Sambazon is Australia's only fair trade and organic frozen acai product. It began to hit shelves around Australia in the first week of December 2015.

Ryan founded the brand after realising farmers could harvest the acai berry as a renewable resource and earn more money than they would with other environmentally destructive industries such as cattle farming and logging.

Now, Sambazon supports the livelihoods of 10,000 farmers and sustainably manages over two million acres of rainforest.

1. Can you tell us about your daily diet?

I eat mostly vegetarian and organic, no processed foods or soda. My diet is very colourful. Bright leafy greens, purple acai, bright red tomatoes, fresh yellow scrambled eggs. It was the colour of acai that first drew me to try a bowl on a surfing trip in the north-east of Brazil.

I'm always looking for ways to add more plant-based fats into my diet. Alongside acai, these are found in coconut, hemp seeds and avocado and work to control weight, lower cholesterol, and maintain mood.

2. What do you do for exercise?

I'm a very active person. I exercise at least four times per week. It's good to challenge your body and move in different ways; which is why I like to change it up, running one day, surfing the next, maybe yoga, then weights. Stretching is really important to take care of your body.

Growing up I played various sports, skateboarded and surfed. I enjoyed American football and had a successful career in college and pro in the US and in Europe before I started Sambazon. My body is pretty beat up because of that, so pilates is important to my exercise regime as well.

3. Do you meditate or use any relaxation practices?

I try to meditate daily, even if for a short time. It's so important to give yourself time to think and unwind.

Looking after your health and wellness is all about making mindful decisions, not just in relation to what you eat, but in every aspect of your life. Getting enough sleep, eating your breakfast outside for some needed Vitamin D, leaving your work at the office at the end of the day.

Just taking a moment for yourself can change the outlook of your entire day. Everyone is so busy and rushing from one thing to the next. I like to stop and be thankful for what I have every day. Also, I don't watch TV at all.

4. What's your favourite shake (with acai berries, obviously)?

I like to make an acai bowl with a handful of mixed nuts, a banana and a small amount of hemp milk, and then top it with hemp seeds and almond butter. But sometimes I will add protein, citrus fruits, apple, raw cacao, organic greens, even canned pumpkin.

I like to top it with my own homemade raw granola as well, and coconut flakes.

5. Do you have a motto or a code you live by?

One tribe. One vibe. This resonates with me because all of us are one. We are beginning to wake up and realise the collective consciousness is more important than any individual.

And as consumers of goods we have the ability to move mountains with our spending power. We can vote with our dollars for the future we desire.

Together, nothing is impossible. (

Helen Hawkes is a life and wellness coach.

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