Jenna Tanenbaum, Founder of Green Blender
Jenna was a familiar name and it took us awhile how we knew of her. It was because we saw her featured on one of our favorite blogs, My Morning Routine. So when we saw her on bumble bizz, we had to swipe right and introduce ourselves right away!
Read about how Jenna started her business with her husband in their kitchen below -
Jenna, as a little girl, what did you want to be when you grow up?
I wanted to be a CIA agent. I watched a lot of Alias growing up :)
Every business has their “ah-ha” moment, can you tell us how GreenBlender started and what pushed to you make a concept to reality?
Amir Cohen and I came up with the idea for GreenBlender shortly after moving in together in Brooklyn. I have always been an active health and fitness enthusiast, and Amir… well not so much.
I bought a used Vitamix from Craigslist and started making smoothies for breakfast before work and giving Amir some of the left-overs. Before we knew it (and to my complete surprise), we were both making smoothies every morning and feeling amazing.
That’s when we realized that withgreat ingredients and delicious recipes were easily accessible in our home, it was easy to start our day with a healthy decision. We wanted to bring that experience to as many people as possible.
Our main focus at GreenBlender is to help people create healthy habits in their life. We often find that when we decide to make a health change two things happen:
- We get immediately overwhelmed with choices (i.e., should I go paleo, do I cut out all grain/dairy, what about quinoa, etc.) and
- We start moving towards extremes (i.e., I have to go raw vegan tomorrow, I can't have ice cream ever)
This diet path can get overwhelming, lead to deprivation and may not see long lasting results. Living a healthy lifestyle starts with building healthy habits and not extreme dieting.
GreenBlender is all about setting our members up for long term success by helping them start their day with a healthy decision.
Because you are in this health and wellness space, how do you define those terms “health and wellness” and do you feel like most see it as a trend these days?
To me, health and wellness is a feeling and not a look. I think the philosophies around what qualifies as “health and wellness” can change over time and fad diets and workouts come and go.
I used to follow a very strict paleo diet and I often felt an intense internal struggle anytime I ate food that I did not prepare. I would go through a laundry list of questions and dissect every part of the meal. What kind of oil was the restaurant using? Did they put breadcrumbs in this dish? Was there sugar in the sauce? It got to the point where I couldn’t go out to dinner with my friends and enjoy myself. I would feel guilty for days after I strayed from my diet.
Yes, I was physically in the best shape of my life. Yes, I was also at my trimmest. But at what cost? The relationship I had with the food I ate and with my body was far from healthy.
I finally made a conscious decision to not hold myself to any one diet and just focus on eating real, whole foods. I now focus on this idea of positive nutrition: I fill my planned meals with organic, whole ingredients and I don’t worry so much about the rest. If I have a slice (or two) of pizza, I will enjoy it.
That being said, changing the way I viewed food wasn’t just a magic switch I flipped on. Some days are better than others. The relationship we all have with food and with health is a complicated one.
I consciously work on retraining how I think about food and what I eat. I am now more mindful of my thoughts around food and anytime they start straying to a dark place, I identify it and focus on something more positive. (And usually post about it to Instagram)
Listen to your own body and how it feels and responds to different situations. There is not one way to correctly be healthy and well. it’s important to figure out what works for you. Then do that unapologetically.
What was the best advice you were given when you started GreenBlender three years ago? And now as a successful entrepreneur, what is your advice for someone who is trying to start a business?
The biggest advice I can give for people who want to start a company is to solve for the problems at hand, and don’t worry about future problems.
For example, our main “problem” when we first started out was to see if people wanted to buy GreenBlender. Only after we realized there was a market for it, we had to figure out where to find and ship all the ingredients. It can be very overwhelming to start and run a business and I have found this to be the best way to prioritize.
The beauty of this advice is that it can be used at any stage of your company. What are the handful of problems you need to solve today to really move the needle? Write them down and spend the first part of each day working on solving those problems.
What is next for you and GreenBlender?
Our mission is to help people improve their health through food. We are going to keep doing that!
Introduction and Interview by Chary