Getting To Know Caralishious


Cara-Lisa Sham, founder of the Caralishious brand, is a health blogger, yoga enthusiast and health foods producer with a passion for all things wholesome and nourishing. Her mission is to inspire those around her to enjoy a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She told us all about the healthiest foods to eat, the best workouts to get that summer-ready body and her must-have beauty items… 

How did you get into the health and wellness industry?

Having been a dancer for many years, I have always been passionate about health and fitness, and when I noticed a large shift in the way people are responding to healthy living, I knew that it was the right time for me to enter the market. I also love going overseas and exposing myself to the incredible variety of foods available on the international market, which further inspired me to develop innovative and trend-setting food products of my own. I also strongly believe in offering people not just a great product, but an incredible lifestyle attached to it, and that is why I built on the Caralishious services and lifestyle blog. I want to be able to add value to the lives of my customers by providing an exciting platform for like-minded individuals to connect, share recipes, fitness tips, and health and wellness information. Caralishious is therefore a holistic health and lifestyle brand that is an extension of me and the lifestyle that I lead. I also want to inspire others through those things that inspire me, because I truly believe that through inspired action we can create positive and meaningful change.

It’s quite tough to build a health and wellness brand – how did you get it right?

It certainly has been quite a journey, and I can assure you I have felt like I wanted to give up many many times, but the truth is it’s all about persistence and perseverance. Building a brand is no easy task, but the difference between those that succeed and those that fail is pure and simple persistence. If you pursue your vision long enough, with passion and persistence things will start coming together.

When I started out I had no idea what I was doing – I just decided to take a risk and see what came of it. I had this vision of what I wanted to create, and the rest I kind of just went along with – one step at a time. It’s often really tough, but you just have to push through the difficult times. In the beginning I was all over the place, trying every possible avenue, talking to as many people as I could, saying yes to anything that came my way – some of these served me very well and others not so much – but by opening myself up to all those opportunities, it enabled me to grow my network, see what works and what doesn’t, and pursue those things that made sense.

One thing I will say for sure, if you want to build a business of your own, you have to be confident, you have to stay focused on your goal, and you have to maintain a positive attitude, even in the toughest of times. You also have to believe in yourself and your vision, because if you don’t, then no one else will!

Above all, build relationships, network and connect with people in a meaningful way. Nothing trumps strong relationships – if people know you, like you and respect you on the basis of the great work you do, then they will want to work with you again and again. Be different, be transparent, be genuine, and treat your network as you would your family – it is those connections that make the world of difference.

What does your normal day look like?

I am usually up at 5am, drink a glass of hot water and lemon to cleanse my system, and then I’m off to the gym. From there its home, shower, change, eat and straight into what is usually a jam-packed day – from blogging and creating videos to packaging design for new product lines, product development, recipe testing, seeing clients, meetings, checking on product sales, strategising for new marketing and advertising campaigns, catching up on my emails, planning monthly events, creating content for my online platforms, sometimes a photo shoot and trips to Cape Town…

Being so busy, how do you make the time to fit in a workout?

I always make sure to get my workout in first thing in the morning – yes, this does mean less sleep because I have to be up by 5:30am, but it’s always so worth it. Starting off my day with a strong sweat session ensures I get the exercise that my body needs without any distractions. This is my non-negotiable me-time during which I clear my mind, gain focus and seize that amazing rush of endorphins, which really set me up for a positive and productive day. I usually train 5–6 times a week, making sure to take at least one day’s break to enable my body to fully recover and rest. I really enjoy changing up my workout routines every six weeks or so to keep things interesting and to prevent my body from reaching a plateau.

What is your favourite exercise and why?

I absolutely love yoga and Pilates, which I do most days. I also enjoy animal flow, skipping, Calisthenics and high-intensity interval training. I am a big lover of mixed movement, where I can create my own exercises and routines. If I had to really pin it down to one thing I would have to say yoga.

Summer is coming up, which means beach holidays and bikinis… What are the best exercises to get into shape?

A good combination of cardio and body weight-based strength training is always your best bet for getting in shape. Jumping rope is my favourite form of cardio, and I swear by it – it’s both dynamic and high intensity so you hit that fat burning zone fast! I recommend 3–5 minutes of skipping intervals, with abs, arms, lunges and planking exercises in between. If you’re up for something really unique and challenging, try animal flow – now that’s a full- body fat -blasting workout!

What do you eat on a daily basis?

I often do intermittent fasting, which means I will only have my first meal at around 1pm. I find this really helps cleanse my system, elevate my energy levels and provides me with incredible mental clarity and focus. But on the days I don’t fast, I usually stick to three meals a day. I prefer to have longer durations between meals (even though many people say 5 small meals is best), as this works best for my body. So for breakfast I usually opt for a banana, berry, macadamia nut butter and almond milk smoothie, scrambled eggs with wholegrain rye, or wholegrain rye topped with nut butter and sliced strawberries. I usually opt to have the majority of my low GI grain or fruit-based carbs at breakfast after I have trained because this is when my body needs them most, and this also ensures I have a good stream of energy throughout the day.

For lunch, I usually enjoy a big tuna or boiled egg salad – making sure I’m getting in plenty of greens. I usually add a little olive oil and pink Himalayan salt to flavour, and a few slices of avo to get in those healthy fats.

For dinner, I like to keep my portions smaller and will opt for either a vegetable soup with added legumes for protein or salmon with steamed greens.

If, on the odd occasion I do get hungry between meals, I usually opt for a handful of raw almonds, a green apple or a cup of baby carrots.

What five foods should everyone eat every day?

  • Lean protein (free-range chicken / ostrich / fish ) and if you’re vegan, then legumes such as lentils are a great source of protein
  • Almonds (or almond butter)
  • Pumpkin and flax seeds
  • Loads of greens (think spinach / rocket / baby marrows /cucumber / microgreens / watercress / )
  • Anti-inflammatory spices such a turmeric, cinnamon and cayenne pepper to aid digestion and cleanse the system.

What are some of your guilty pleasures and do you have healthy alternatives for these?

  • Cheesecake – JB’s Corner has the best low-carb sugar-free cheesecake,which may just be better than the original, so if I’m craving cheesecake, you know where to find me! I also enjoy whipping up some vegan cheesecake options using cashew nuts, coconut sugar, coconut cream and tapioca for the cream, crushed pecans, coconut flour and almonds for the base, and a little lemon zest for a little added burst of flavour.
  • Ice cream – why my very own Caralishious vegan ice cream, of course! I also like to make milkshakes, using my Caralishious fit fuel hazelnut protein ice-cream – simply add 2 scoops to a blender with ½ a cup almond milk, whiz altogether, and voila – a decadent milkshake that’s completely guilt-free
  • Pizza – Andiccio’s zucchini banting base pizza is a life saver! And because you can basically build you own pizza, its easy to make healthy choices when it comes to the toppings. I often opt for no cheese, but keep the tomato base and top with avo, artichokes, rocket, fresh baby tomatoes and olives… yummm!

What are your favourite restaurants in Joburg?

  • The Big Mouth in Sandton – for the most epic salmon and tuna bowls.
  • Momo Soko in Illovo – because poke bowls are just everything right now.
  • Fireside Bistro in Norwood – the salmon done over hot coals is heaven.
  • Bellinis – the grilled salmon here is also unreal (yes, I love salmon! [Laughs.])
  • Krunch Alice Lane – my favourite health food hang out.

Do you have any plans for a new cookbook? If yes, tell us about it.

Well, it does seem to be a logical next step (wink, wink). I am currently in the process of putting together some of the material I have created over the years in to one complete “how to be healthy” book which I will be sending off to a publisher in the next few months. I really want to be able to give people something that has all the info they ever need to know about implementing healthy lifestyle changes that are straight forward, easy to follow with recipes, meal plans and everything in between. Holding thumbs that the final draft is accepted.

Tell us about your beauty regime and what products you swear by…

I like to keep things simple when it comes to my hair and skin. In terms of products, the closer to nature the better. For my hair I use African Organics – I absolutely love their shampoo and conditioner range, it has really done wonders to nurture my hair back to health (after a poor decision to go blonde, which destroyed my locks completely). I also sometimes use coconut oil on my hair to give it extra shine and nourishment. For my skin, I absolutely love the Skoon. range – particularly their clay facial cleanser and moisturisers. Skoon. uses natural and organic ingredients and is vegan friendly too. I also eat plenty of salmon, olive oil and healthy fats to keep my skin healthy, glowing and radiant from the inside out.

What five items are always in your handbag?

  • Raw almonds – for a snack emergency.
  • Lip gloss – girl’s gotta shine.
  • My phone (of course).
  • Phone charger.
  • Business cards – you never know the opportunities you may encounter.

Do you have any other health, weight loss and / or beauty tips you’d like to share with our readers in preparation for summer?

  • Cut out processed foods, sugars, refined carbohydrates, caffeine, carbonated beverages, store-bought sauces, dairy and heavy meats – these are the key perpetrators for toxin accumulation and should be avoided completely.
  • Eat lots of leafy greens, lean fish and chicken, legumes and wholegrains such as rolled oats, quinoa, buckwheat and brown rice.
  • Give regular meditation a try, to relieve stress, calm the mind and control your thoughts. Remember, your thoughts can be just as toxic as poison to the body!
  • Drink plenty of water, unsweetened herbal teas and water to keep hydrated and flush out toxins. I love to infuse slices of cucumber and strawberries into my water to promote detoxification and to give my water a delicious and refreshing taste.
  • Prioritise rest, healthy eating, and exercise – caring for your body is all part of loving yourself. This also connects you more to your own body, so that you understand what it needs. Celebrate your own body and what it can do.
  • Get to know you – embrace who you are and fall in love with you.
  • Cut out the negative – watch your thoughts, speak positively, don’t moan and complain or gossip.
  • Get moving – go for a walk in the park, a run with a friend, or do a few burpees in your lounge or back yard. There are so many online workouts that you can access for free, that require no equipment, and that you can easily do in the comfort of your own home.

You have an amazing ice cream range – tell us all about it, from how it started and why to where we can buy it…

Well, starting off certainly presented a few challenges along the way, but I am lucky enough to be working with an incredibly talented team. I always had a very powerful vision of the health food range I wanted to create. It had to be innovative, different and uncompromisingly healthy. With this in mind, I knew that the first product of my range had to be coconut milk ice cream. I had played around with the recipe at home and it was good, but I needed help to really make it taste amazing! Knowing this, I decided to approach Paul Ballen of Paul’s Homemade Ice-Cream with the idea. Soon after realising how aligned our visions were, it made sense that we team up permanently, and so we were able to co-create the Caralishious Coconut Milk Ice-Cream range – the first of many ranges to come.

Caralishious Coconut Milk Ice-cream is made from coconut milk. This exciting alternative is completely sugar-free, dairy-free, low in carbohydrates and rich in healthy fats. With delectable flavours such as Vanilla-Cinnamon, Cacao, Toasted-Coconut and Peanut Butter, this is the perfect dessert not only for vegans and health-conscious individuals but for anyone who loves a good ice cream.

Where can you find my ice-cream? It’s currently available at selected stores across Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town. We have also just launched in Dis-Chem, which is a huuuuge milestone for us! We have rolled out into Dis-Chem Centurion Mall, Rosebank, Benmore, Fourways, Parkmeadows and Nicholway to start, and will continue to expand nationally over the next year.

For a full list of all our stockists, you can visit www.caralishious.com/vegan-ice-cream. We are also working on a distribution solution to Durban and surrounding areas, so keep your eyes peeled.

What health/wellness services do you offer?

Online Material: My health food offering is supplemented by nutrition and wellness coaching, health and wellness ebooks and a comprehensive online wellness, beauty and lifestyle blog designed to add value to both customers and clients alike, and to inspire people to enjoy a healthy, balanced approach to life. For bookings you can contact me via cara@caralishious.com

Services: As the face of my brand, I also offer MC, yoga, appearances and guest speaker services for events and corporates that focus on educating people about proper nutrition, healthy eating, exercise and general well-being. I collaborate with like-minded brands on projects and influencer campaigns, and host pop-up yoga events and offer both individual and corporate wellness consulting services.

Are you solely based in Johannesburg or can people all around South Africa get hold of you?

Well, Joburg is my home town, but I do travel to Cape Town often. My ultimate goal is to have my products available nationally (and one day internationally… big dreams yes!). As for my services, I have structured my business to enable virtual connections – much of my work is based online and so I am contactable from anywhere.

And, finally, after a long week, what’s your favourite downtime activity in Joburg?

I absolutely love walking the streets of my neighbourhood with my ball of fluff and bf.

For more from Cara follow her on Twitter @caralishious, Instagram @caralishious,  like her Facebook Page caralishious, and visit her website www.caralishious.com.

Did you like this article? Then get more of the same from our weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox for FREE!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More from Health: