Actually working out is not a requirement, by the way.
With so many health supplements on the market these days, you might think all are created equal. Nope, say the founders of Ora Organic, a California-based supplement line that launched four years ago with a radical idea: To replace synthetic ingredients — grown in a lab — with those found in nature — grown by the sun. Scan the label and you’ll find only organic, plant-based, whole foods on the back of the sustainably-produced bottle. Another detail that sets Ora apart: the taste. The brand recruited a Cali chef to develop the recipes for their nutritional powders and liquids — everything from pre-workout to probiotic fixes — so there’s no bitter green-y aftertaste. “If you enjoy taking your supplements, you’re more likely to remember to take them, and it’s easier to form those healthy habits,” explains co-founder Erica Bryers, the Aussie expat who launched Ora with her husband, Will Smelko, in 2015. Curious to know what other benefits you can expect? We chatted with Bryers about what’s inside her super high-quality supplements.
What inspired you to create Ora?
It was actually my co-founder — and husband — Will who came up with the idea for Ora. We were dating at the time, in Sydney, Australia, and living a pretty healthy lifestyle. We ate organic, plant-based, and had very high standards for food—but we were frustrated by the lack of high-quality organic and vegan options in the supplement space. We couldn’t find products we identified with that weren’t littered with false claims and unreadable nutrition facts. We wanted to create conscious products — trustworthy, well-researched, innovative and ultimately better for people and the planet.”
Why is it important to offer plant-based supplements?
“Even if you’re not 100% plant-based [with your diet], every little bit counts. Choosing plant-based products over animal products reduces water and land pollution, saves water, and protects the rights of animals. For example, by choosing our plant-based protein powder over a whey protein powder, you can save more than 29,000 gallons of water — that’s 4 years of showers.”
Tell us about your in-house chef—that sounds like a great gig!
“That would be Ron Chang! Chef Ron is one of our best friends, and he grew up in the kitchens of his parents’ restaurants in Santa Barbara, California. When we started creating products, we realized that a lot of powder and liquid supplements weren’t that enjoyable to take. That seemed like a wasted opportunity to us. After we’ve decided on the key functionality ingredients in the product, chef Ron digs through his library of around 1,000 plant-based ingredients to see which ones are best suited to enhancing the flavor of the product, or masking anything that tastes a little too green. He measures out every single ingredient and does about 50 different formulations.”
Which ingredients do you (and do you not) focus on in your formulas?
“In addition to only using plant-based ingredients, we also stay away from common allergens like gluten and soy, and our products never contain GMOs. We source organic ingredients where possible — nearly all of our products are certified organic — and we don’t use artificial fillers in our tablet or capsule products like most conventional products.”
How do you recommend using the Organic Pre-Workout Powder?
“If you’re new to Pre-Workout (or sensitive to caffeine, like me) then I recommend starting with half a serving (half a scoop). Each serving contains 80 mg of caffeine (the average cup of coffee has 95 mg), and the adaptogenic blend in this product is designed to help you focus, balance hormones and relieve stress. I recommend taking it around 30 to 40 minutes before you workout, because even though you can start to feel the effects of caffeine as quickly as 10 minutes after taking it, you’ll peak at around 45 minutes.
Before you workout isn’t the only time to take it though — I know plenty of people who use our Pre-Workout Powder as a coffee replacement in the morning by adding it to a smoothie. My favorite way to use it is to blend it with frozen banana, milk, nut butter and our Organic Protein Powder. But it’s great with just milk or chilled water, too.”
What inspired you to create your Vegan Probiotic with Prebiotic Capsules?
“Many people look to dairy products containing probiotics to improve gut health and digestion. The problem with getting your probiotics from dairy, is that dairy contains lactose, and lactose requires the enzyme lactase to be properly metabolized by the body. The typical human starts producing less lactase between the ages of two to five, and by ten-years-old, most of us no longer produce the enzyme at all. ‘Lactose intolerance’ is often painted as a rarity when realistically less than 40% of the adult world maintains their ability to digest lactose past the age of 10. At Ora, our probiotics are grown in a proprietary vegan culture that doesn’t contain any dairy, soy, gluten, GMO ingredients or artificial additives.”
What’s next for Ora?
“Our goal is to be a one-stop-plant-based-and-organic-shop for every useful supplement on the market. There are a few in the works at the moment that I’m very excited about…an organic apple cider vinegar tablet product, ‘Appley Ever After,’ and an organic UTI relief powder product (we’ve all been there ladies, and if you haven’t yet, you will someday). We’re still deciding on names for that one, and plan on asking our wittiest customers for their punniest ideas in the next couple of weeks. To Pee Or Not To Pee… Sweet Wee-lief, you get the idea!”
+ Ready to add Ora Organic to your daily routine? Click here to shop and discover the line.