These new protein powders promise endless energy the natural way…
Sylwia Wiesenberg is one of those women who never stops moving. Her body — and mind — is constantly in an active state, whether she is doing planks or lunges as part of her underground Tonique Fitness classes in New York City or shooting workout videos at high altitudes around the world. The secret to her non-stop energy, besides incredible genes: a daily glass of beet juice, which the Polish-born beauty grew up drinking regularly in her native Warsaw. Realizing the concoction’s wellness superpowers inspired her to launch DOPE Naturally, a line of plant-based protein powders infused with beets and other star botanicals. Here, Wiesenberg stops — just for a second — to fill us in on her dope lifestyle.
Name: Sylwia Wiesenberg
Born in: Warsaw, Poland
Currently living in: West Village, New York
What inspired you to launch DOPE Naturally?
From a big picture perspective, it was inspired by my unconditional love for food and sharing it with others. For me, cooking for others is the ultimate way to show love for them, and to show gratitude that they are in my life. When I taught my underground Tonique classes in Manhattan, I brought juices, salads and raw chocolates for those who attended to be tortured for two hours or longer, to reward them with love.
I was asked one day after a workout, “What do you take to have so much energy?” I answered right away without even thinking: Oh, I dope…I mean, I dope naturally, meaning food is my natural drug for endless energy and ageless beauty. When I said that, I really meant I eat beets and other superfoods daily. I could not stop thinking about the way I said it, and the name of my brand was born. DOPE Naturally is based on principles that I believe in — that superfoods and outstanding quality ingredients are the natural way to dope, to enhance our beauty and performance; that your beauty counter starts in your kitchen.
How do you describe Tonique for those who haven’t tried your method?
I think I have been doing Tonique since I was born, as I really don’t remember a time when I didn’t work out. When I came to NYC, I was working for an investment bank. It was a great job that paid well, but it wasn’t my passion. I quit my job and started doing what I love to do daily — designing movement and cooking. I chose to continue developing the most unique, intense workout method based on the principle of never stop moving (literally you don’t take a break for two hours) to shape an ageless body, fight gravity, and help women become confident both physically and mentally.
I was teaching for free for few years to see how the method really worked. I had celebrities and many others who loved Tonique and the way I fed them with fresh and powerful superfoods. Afterward I decided to share Tonique with a wider audience, creating videos that you can take with you anywhere. The purpose of each workout is to positively torture you (hahaha) and give your body the tone that no other workout delivers, and to make the world a smaller and fitter place, by allowing people to travel with me daily on their fitness journey.
Tell us about your childhood in Poland. Was wellness even part of your lifestyle then?
I could write a book about this, but will try to be brief! Despite the fact that we had so little available when I was growing up in Communist Poland, from food to clothing (and forget about any luxury), I have really vivid and beautiful memories of my childhood. When I think of my childhood, I smile even more. Perhaps because when I was growing up, nobody had anything, and there was absolutely nothing on the shelves in stores, so you never thought that you were missing something. Springs and summers were the most fun as I spent time outdoors running, playing ball and swinging on “trzepak” it was literally a metal rack — to clean your carpet instead of vacuuming it — and when it was not occupied kids used to do acrobatic swings and hang upside down from it for hours. The best part of summers was going to orchards and collecting fruits. I still feel the sweet juice running down my chin; juice from mulberries, plums, and cherries.
Starting at three years old I was doing “rytimka” — rhythmic classes with a strict piano teacher playing classic melodies. It was all about posture, steps and rhythm — no laughing was allowed. Later I joined a gymnastics team that required 4 hours of training daily, and on top of it I was on my school running team and part of a program called Brave Like a Soldier — imagine all the skinny girls on this program climbing walls, trees, jumping obstacles. The best part was shooting at targets and throwing old grenades.
In my household, my mom was very strict about what I ate. An absolute must was a glass of water with lemon first thing in the morning, followed by eight to twelve ounces unadulterated beet juice (not diluted and no added fruit to make it sweeter). We ate three meals a day with no snacking in between (we didn’t have anything to snack on anyway). The rule was to eat small meals, which were full of nutrition. I never developed a snacking habit or a love for soda or sugar, although I do love ice cream!
What makes beets so unique as wellness food?
Beets in Poland are like oranges in Florida — everywhere! Our grandmothers, mothers and coaches educated us on the superpowers of beets! I don’t remember ever not drinking beet juice. Later, when I moved to Australia, I used to “dope” on beet juice before morning speed training and athletics at university. I added a few tropical fruits to enhance the beets’ power and to make it taste better, but beets always dominated my daily diet. I strongly believe that beets are not just a great way to enhance your performance, but they also are a miracle vegetable that works to advance your skin tone, ageless beauty and glow. Beets are definitely my secret weapon.
What was the Polish recipe and technique for making beet juice?
My mother’s way is straight like whisky without rocks!
10-15 beets peeled and cleaned
Juice beets, add a touch of fresh lemon juice — the vitamin C in lemon allows faster absorption of the nitrates in beets and other nutrients.
Drink it immediately out of the juicer — my mom and coaches used to tell me to drink it fresh and fast before it oxidizes.
Today I dope with my powders since they give me exactly what I need. I also like blended beet, using the entire beet, not wasting the pulp:
– Put two to three whole peeled and cleaned beets into a blender (Vitamix).
– Add a touch of water or coconut water and blend it to perfection.
– Drink it in the morning or at night before/after a long hard day and workouts.
DOPE Naturally makes it easy — no peeling or cleaning is required. You also get the benefit of eating awesome superfoods from around the world like dragonfruit, mangosteen and baobab.
How long did it take you to formulate DOPE Naturally’s powders? What was the biggest challenge you faced?
When I started Dope Naturally, I knew what I wanted, but I had to find the right suppliers and develop the proper formulations. It takes time and I am very picky and particular when it comes to quality. Before DOPE Naturally was released, I tested and tested and tested until I got the blend right. The next challenge was to find the right suppliers; certified organic is a must! It is important to consume organic produce — superfoods that are not destroyed by non-organic farming and chemicals. I add absolutely no sugars, no fillers and no preservatives. There are so many factors that go into making the product and all of them have to be 100 percent right, otherwise it won’t work!
Tell us about Beet Force and Beet Bliss. What are their benefits?
Beet Force is designed to elevate your stamina and wellness and allow greater oxygen flow during workouts, and also has powerful anti-aging properties. Dragonfruit promotes skin health and helps with weight management. Mangosteen has strong cellular renewal properties helping skin appear more youthful, and acts as an anti-inflammatory and potent energy booster. Mulberries are a perfect blood tonic, acting as a cleanser to improve blood circulation, and promoting skin and hair glow.
Beet Bliss is beet blend with cacao, baobab and mangosteen. Cacao supports cell rejuvenation, and is rich in magnesium, vitamin C and omega 6 fatty acids — it’s perfect for a youthful complexion. Cacao also promotes blood flow to your skin and has been known to be a powerful aphrodisiac. Baobab promotes collagen formation, protects cells from oxidative stress (free radicals), helps the absorption of iron, and is a vitamin C powerhouse.
What’s your favorite way to whip up these powders?
I love to blend Beet Force with watermelon chunks or add to cashew yogurt. Beet Bliss I often drink in the afternoon as an energy pick up…I like it with coconut meat and water and a frozen banana. In summer, peaches and Beet Bliss are a blissful way to wake up and feel fresh and not bloated at the beach.
Tell us about Melonaid — a powder that features watermelon seeds. What’s their benefit?
I love watermelons! I never understood when I moved from Poland why so many watermelons don’t have seeds in them. The seeds are actually the best part for beauty. They are full of nutrients, amino acids and rich in plant-based protein… my “babcia” was always telling me that if I eat them, I will grow a watermelon in my belly, but then she used to sprout them and eat them. She did the same with sunflower seeds, and told me about their powers.
For the past year, I have been eating mostly plant-based protein. But I also found that, after eating pea protein powders or hemp, I felt bloated and experienced a funny aftertaste that lingered for hours and made it difficult for me to work out without my belly feeling full. I started blending my own protein potions and most of them had watermelon seeds in them. I also learned more about the beauty benefits of the seeds, and how they support toned skin and muscles. They are perfect and almost flavor free, making it easy to digest and leaving no aftertaste.
Do you have any fun recipes for Melonaid?
I put it in my cashew yogurt, add it to cereals, salads, my favorite nut butters and even make pancakes with it! I love to blend it in smoothies. There are no limits to how you can enjoy it. I even add Melonaid to ice cream. It is delicious and it makes me feel less guilty!
Where do you source your ingredients from?
I work with only organic farms and farmers across the globe. Since many of the ingredients are impossible to find from local farms in US (besides beets), I work with farmers in South East Asia, South and Central America—Nicaragua, Guatamala, Mexico, and Peru—and Africa for baobab.
What other wellness habits do you swear by for staying fit?
Eat fresh (quality food).
Eat less (smaller portions, never feel like you cannot breathe)
Sleep more (I try).
Smile more (always and daily).
Sex (probably the best wellness fundamental!).
What’s next for you and the brand?
DOPE Naturally is my baby that I am going to grow organically. You will see us introduce a number of new products. For me, it is work that I love…I am workaholic and fitness-obsessed so, if I have them both, I am happy.