Plant-ish co-founders Lea Loveland and Danielle Magnus
By Melanie Cane
Wouldn’t it be great if you could have one, or better yet two nutrition experts plan, prepare, and deliver delicious healthy meals to your doorstep? Enter Rye sisters and registered dieticians, Danielle Magnus and Lea Loveland, who recently launched Plant-ish. They produce plant-forward meals rich in protein and healthy fats that take only minutes to heat in a microwave or on a stovetop.
They created this product line because it’s exactly one they would have been buying if it had existed, which it didn’t. Danielle and Lea follow a Flexitarian lifestyle. “We put the emphasis on plants, but still incorporate a few servings of egg, dairy, meat and/or fish each week. We love it because there are no wrong foods or restrictions and, best of all, it’s flexible. So naturally, Plant-ish’s debut product is called a Flex Bowl.” Each Flex Bowl variety includes veggies, legumes, and whole grains, plus immune-boosting, collagen-rich organic bone broth as a source of additional protein, minerals, and flavor. Bone broth has been used for thousands of years to boost hair, skin and nails, intestinal health, and immunity.
Plant-ish uses premium ingredients, including organic produce and free-range chicken bone broth. The food is packaged in a compostable, microwavable bowl. Currently, there are three Flex Bowl varieties: Power Pesto, Green Goodness and The Mediterranean (the latter two are gluten-free). Two more varieties are coming soon
Neither sister started her career in the health field. Danielle, who is eight years older than Lea, worked in online advertising for the New York Times before having three children. When her kids were in pre-school, she went back to school to study nutrition. “I knew it would be rewarding to help others improve their quality of life through nutrition.”
When Danielle started her master’s degree, Lea was doing finance and business development for Maroon 5’s record label, A&M/Octone. “While I enjoyed the perks of the job, I felt better suited for doing something impactful for others. Danielle’s taking the leap first was the catalyst for my career change.”
Purely by chance, Danielle and Lea matched at the same Dietetic Internship program at Hunter College. They completed their internships in 2015. “Participating in such a rigorous program and then graduating as dieticians together, was like finding your best friend in the last leg of a marathon and then crossing the finish line together!” they exclaimed. Their experience working so well together as interns, lay the groundwork for them becoming business partners six years later. “Launching a food brand is a dream come true for us.”
After graduating, Lea worked with underserved communities at Montefiore Medical Center in the South Bronx. Danielle worked at Greenwich Hospital, where she focused on weight loss and diabetes and became a certified diabetes educator.
Despite working with very different populations, the women reached the same conclusion: their patients were being referred to them too late. The consequences related to poor diet had already set in. “The common theme among our patients was lack of time, knowledge, or ability to procure and prepare fresh, whole foods.”
As busy working parents, the sisters are very familiar with the competing priorities that often get in the way of preparing nutrient-rich meals every day. Their personal solution was to prepare large quantities of meals and freeze portions to enjoy when they were tight on time. “This was so effective in meeting not only our nutrient needs, but the demands of our busy lifestyles. We know others would benefit as well.”
Last June, the duo decided to make their meals available for purchase, and the seeds for Plant-ish were sown.
The women collaborate on everything from recipe development to packaging design to cold chain logistics. They divide and conquer other projects according to their respective skills; Danielle excels at marketing and sales and Lea is best at projections and website development.
They contract commercial kitchen space in Long Island City, where they prepare and package the meals. When not in production, or delivering meals, they spend their time on recipe development, gathering feedback from friends and industry tastemakers, negotiating with purveyors, and tending to the myriad other tasks that come with entrepreneurship.
The sisters are excited to bring Plant-ish to the marketplace. They think their food will help a lot of people. “Everyone feels and functions their best when they are properly nourished. Plant-ish provides good food and removes the obstacles that stand in the way of many people getting it.”
Plant-ish Flex Bowls are available for purchase at www.plant-ish.com and Jerry’s Post Road Market. Updates to their offerings and retail locations are available on the website and via Instagram: @plant_ishfoods.