Julia Panchkowry from The Banana Warrior on how to be conscious of what we eat.
By Risa Gambhir
I’m sure you’re aware of the need to be conscious about what we put into our bodies; we are what we eat. Though, let’s be honest, how many times do we cave into our bubble tea binges, or that sizzling brownie sundae after dinner? Almost always. Resisting our sugar cravings can feel like wrestling a six-foot monster with swirling lollipop eyes. But don’t fret, Julia Panchkowry from The Banana Warrior is here to save the day with healthy yet scrumptious alternatives!
Born in a small town just outside of London, Julia spent most of her childhood playing in the fields whilst enjoying her mother’s delicious home-cooked meals. “I remember during school lunch breaks, I would be embarrassed that my mother had packed me dried fruit and carrot sticks instead of crisps that my friends got. Today, I am so grateful, as I grew up with a natural palate for nutritious food,” Julia shares.
With dreams of becoming an actress, 16-year-old Julia joined a performing arts academy in London. Not satisﬁed with what acting offered, a friend of hers suggested she give teaching a go. To Julia’s surprise, she found mentoring children fulfilling and she worked at a primary school in London for five years. In that time, her love for travel grew. Out of the blue, a friend in Thailand called her regarding a job opening in a local kindergarten. She fondly recalls, “At first I was closed off to the idea of moving to Bangkok, as I found the whole prospect of living so far from home quite daunting. But I decided to take the interview to see what happened, and I found myself packing for Thailand two weeks later!”
Initially, Julia had mixed emotions about Bangkok. She appreciated the city’s energy, but really struggled with finding healthy eating spots. “During my three years as a teacher, I was constantly looking for ways to be creative with health. I trained to be a yoga teacher and started creating vegan recipes. I was mesmerised with the creativity that came from ﬁ nding alternative ingredients such as soaked cashews to make vegan cream and bananas as a thickener instead of eggs. I was so excited each time my creations would take shape; my new recipes would taste even better than the original non-vegan versions!”
When asked how The Banana Warrior came to be, Julia tells me, “I was super hungry after one of my yoga classes at a studio; I ordered a juice but didn’t see any snacks on display. On my way home, I found myself wishing I had packed one. I decided to send the owner a message telling her about my banana bread. I had never done this before, I had no plans of ever selling my food and certainly no plans of creating a business. The idea just came to me, and I went with it!”
A week later, Julia was invited back to the yoga studio for a tasting. After several trial batches and numerous hours of baking, she was convinced she found the perfect recipe, and so was the studio: they started selling her products.
“At the moment I can’t get enough of our raw pineapple and coconut cheesecake with our coconut milk and coconut tower nectar cream on top!” Julia recommends.
Consequently, Broccoli Revolution expressed interest in her products and before she knew it she had new distributors, as well as wonderful, health conscious customers lining up for her goodies.
“The joy that I felt watching people eat my food was profound. I had ignited a passion that I didn’t know existed,” she confesses, “I could not be more in love with what I do.”
Julia aims to inspire people to put wellness ﬁrst. “I want people to embrace the act of eating and be fully satisfied whilst being healthy,” she asserts. In addition, Julia uses her platform to promote body positivity, as it is key to our eating habits in today’s diet culture. She is a strong advocate of eating with intuition and relearning how to listen to your innate body signals.
At The Banana Warrior, they put great focus on foods found in nature. Julia discloses, “We do not believe in additives, over-processing, vegetable oils, plastic, or refined sugar. We pride ourselves on creating beautiful, innovative food that nourishes your eyes, bellies, and spirits.”
Apart from being a charismatic social inﬂuencer, Julia is an astute businesswoman. Currently, The Banana Warrior products can be made to order and delivered countrywide. However, Julia does not plan to stop there. With branches being set up in Bali, she has plans to take over other cities within Southeast Asia, and soon, Europe too. Nonetheless, her mission will always be to create products with good health in mind. “I want The Banana Warrior to be more than just enjoying a good meal.”
Julia advises young aspiring entrepreneurs, “Mindset is a fundamental pillar of any business. A strong belief in yourself along with a powerful vision and passion for what you do is essential. Passion will carry you through the taxing times. I believe in manifestation and the law of attraction. Whatever you want is within your reach.”