Tuesday 27 September 2016

Bondings: We love our super life

Talya Lewin resisted Diarmuid Russell initially, but his dream came true when she succumbed to his Irish charm

Published 28/09/2015 | 02:30

Dynamic duo: Talya Lewin and Diarmuid Russell have lived all over the world and have established a health company called Superlife. Photo: Gerry Mooney.
Dynamic duo: Talya Lewin and Diarmuid Russell have lived all over the world and have established a health company called Superlife. Photo: Gerry Mooney.

When Diarmuid Russell from Co. Meath met Talya Lewin from Tel Aviv on the Thai island of Koh Pha Ngan five years ago, she definitely wasn't in the market for love.

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"We were in a yoga teacher-training class. I was doing the downward-facing dog and Diarmuid thought I looked really good from behind," laughs Talya, who, like her hubby, glows with health and vitality.

"I was casually dating at home in Israel and wasn't into the long-distance thing, so Diarmuid wasn't an option for me. I didn't even know where Ireland was and as it was the day before my 39th birthday, I felt it was time to get my act together."

Diarmuid invited Talya out to dinner and although she thought it was a friendship, he had other ideas.

"I vigorously pursued her," he admits. "There was something there, so I knew I had to go after this girl and nothing else mattered. She was having none of me, though."

Talya's mum, Cynie, is Canadian, and her late Belgian father Jacques, who passed away when she was 18, was an agricultural engineer. She had a very happy childhood in a very left-wing, pro-Palestinian family and her home country was very different to the Israel of today.

"Growing up in Israel makes you strong," she says. "I'm a fighter and make things happen if I want them."

Talya went travelling to the Far East, where she sold pictures and jewellery on the streets of Japan and fell in love with India's spiritual aspect. When she came back she established a healthy cake business, and went to New York to study holistic nutrition.

She went through major changes in her beliefs, diet and lifestyle, such as becoming vegan, gradually growing closer to a healthy and natural way of living and eating. She closed the cake business and started working with people to help them lose weight and feel better.

When she met Diarmuid, Talya was travelling around Thailand on holiday with her younger sister Nomi and was very honest with him.

"I told him I was getting older and wanted marriage and kids, which is not something you would say on a first date as it would scare any man," she says.

"It didn't bother Diarmuid and he ended up flying out after us to Bangkok. We went on one last date before I went home and got drunk in a cocktail bar, and then, suddenly, dating him seemed more of an option."

"I broke her down, and then the fun started," Diarmuid, then 38, chimes in. "I had a dream right after our first date, and I absolutely knew when I woke up that Talya was the woman I was going to marry. At this stage, she was having none of me, but it didn't matter because I was so sure of it. I let her carry on with her antics because I knew it would all work out. Talya is beautiful and strong and we're both able for each other, which is important because we have such strong personalities. It was so easy being with her."

Diarmuid is from Moneyhill and is the second-youngest of Colette and Brian's four boys. He hated school as he was dyslexic, but was always entrepreneurial. He was studying yoga teaching in Thailand because the financial crash brought about the closure of his horticulture and landscape design business, and has now trained extensively in martial arts, yoga and meditation practices.

After they met, Diarmuid invited Talya to Ireland and then he went to Israel and they lived there together for three months. Six months after they first met, Diarmuid proposed in Bangkok and they were married in February 2012, holding ceremonies both in Ireland and Israel. Their daughter Oraya will be three in November and she rules the roost, they say. She's a really friendly, strong, sweet little girl who speaks Hebrew and English.

While living in Tel Aviv, Diarmuid and Talya decided to set up a nutrition business based around her passion for superfoods. Diarmuid suggested that they make a blend of them for retail as he had experienced the benefits.

"When we met, my diet was atrocious. I was addicted to sugar and was eating five bars of chocolate a day," he explains.

"I was really skinny, but had desperate digestive problems because of the sugar. Talya stuck me on a mix, and two weeks later, all the sugar cravings were gone and I felt great."

Talya and Diarmuid went into business and SuperLife was born. They went to Bali to source health and energy-boosting superfoods that they made into powdered blends, including hemp, maca, lucuma, spirulina, barley grass and kelp. They now have six different products that are available from SuperValu and health stores around the country, online and in leading health food stores in the UK.

People love the powdered blends that are added to food, as they're formulated to help control sugar cravings. Talya has also written a book, Have a Super Life, which simplifies eating healthily for people and guides them through the regime with recipes and advice.

"I had horrible eating disorders into my twenties because I was brainwashed by hearing 'skinny' and 'fat-free'," she says.

"Then I pushed aside the whole diet mentality, because when you eat healthily you'll get to your right weight without counting calories, depriving yourself, or being miserable."

Having lived in Bali, Israel and Ireland, Diarmuid, Talya and Oraya are moving to Portugal in October, principally for the good weather. They can run the business from anywhere and once they have each other for support, that's all they need, they say.

"Diarmuid is great and really positive and funny," says Talya. "We came into the relationship at a later age, so we had done a lot of inner work on ourselves and we don't throw our own issues on each other. We have so much fun together."

www.haveasuperlife.com

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