The journey that led to our best-selling product, Rad Protein

The journey that led to our best-selling product, Rad Protein

 Hannah Mellsop 

This blog has been written by Real Rad Food founder & director, Hannah Mellsop. TW - the following paragraphs discuss disordered eating habits. 

Where it all began...

In an effort to provide a deep dive into my journey towards hormonal harmony, I am going to take you back to 2014. It was my first year of university and the place in which I fell in love with plant-based foods. I had landed a part-time job at a fully raw vegan cafe and I couldn’t be more excited. I started an Instagram page to capture and share the creations that I was making both for the cafe & at home. It was a combination of sweet treats, buckwheat pizza base recipes & your classic 4 banana ‘nice-cream’ (IYKYK). I was a frequent visitor of Little Bird cafe (despite my budget) and I spent a lot of time on Youtube & Instagram forging out a community of creators that inspired me to live my most ‘pure’ life.  

I am not sure of the exact moment I felt the need to look a certain way to succeed in this community but it happened quickly. I shed weight in my first semester by skipping meals, reducing calories and over-exercising. The dining hall was now off limits & kumara fries ticked all my boxes. My camera roll within this period consists of the food images you see below and progress shots of a very sad and lost wee girl standing in her room alone.


It was early on in my first year of university that I lost my period & began experiencing amenorrhea - little did I know that this would stay with me for the next four years. 

Although in my following years of study I put the weight back on (& then some), my period never came back. The damage was done and the habits were still detrimental. I spoke to multiple doctors & was told one of two things; The first, being that it was not an issue I needed to worry about until I was looking to conceive, and the second, that I should just go on the pill. Neither of which satisfied my deep desire to feel in tune with my hormones but both in which I accepted as adequate.


My first years in business

Fast forward to 2017, I had turned my foodie Instagram page into what is now, Real Rad Food. At this point, I had not had a period for 3 years and although I wasn't losing & gaining weight like the yoyo that I once did, my eating habits were still pretty poor.

Real Rad Food grew very quickly in our first year - This meant long days in the kitchen, followed by late night F45 classes and undernourishment in terms of the fuel I was getting from food. Looking back, I really glamorised the hustle in those early days, the ultimate compliment anyone could give me was ‘you’re such a hard worker’. The early mornings & long nights gave me a sense of accomplishment that I hadn’t experienced before. 

Along came 2018 - I had a thriving business totally focused on plant-based foods and I was of course, its main ambassador. I remember thinking that I was such a phony - I would get online as a happy & bubbly girl living her best plant-based life! When really, I knew that I was overworking, over-exercising and reducing my calories to ensure that people would think I fit the image that I had originally been so drawn to online. 

Although still vegan at the time, I had lost all motivation for food in general. Often I would eat a tub of hummus on crackers and a bag of popcorn for dinner, while all I really craved was eggs on toast and a piece of fish, fresh from my dad's boat. But if I wasn’t vegan, who the hell was I? It felt like a full-on identity crisis. But one in which I was finally ready to tackle head-on.

As I approached my fourth year without a period, I knew that I had to prioritise getting it back. That’s when Your Monthly popped up on my Instagram feed. The first thing I read was “Fertility isn't just about making babies” - as someone who wasn’t ready to be a mum at the time but had dreamed of it her entire life, this statement hit home with me and I instantly reached out via DM.

Sara & I had our first zoom call a week or so later. Sara not only validated my struggle to let go of diet labels but empowered me to fall back in love with food & find variety and balance again. That night, I went home & coincidentally my dad had dropped some fresh fish off for my partner at the time. He was making taco’s & I just said, “I am going to have those tonight too please”. From that moment on, I had small wins in increasing the scope of my diet on a daily basis.

Letting go of these labels was not easy for me - I remember sitting in a cafe & being so nervous that someone would see me eating eggs and think to themselves, “she owns a vegan company - what a phony” or “she capialsing off vegan food when she isn't even one herself”. But at the end of the day, I knew that we were a health food company, welcoming of everyone no matter what the dietary requirement - we wanted to focus on the inclusion of everyone - and that included myself.

Sara & I also chatted alot around daily caloric intake and meal times - especially the importance of breakfast & protein being present here. I am not your type of girl who wakes up starving & I could quite easily skip breakfast until lunch time. But I hand of heart believe that front loading my day with a high-protein breakfast was what got my period back.

I found a plant based protein powder online and began making smoothies for breakfast. The only rule I was given was to have it before 9am. This, coupled with regular snacks, lunch & a balanced dinner was beginning to be my new normal. It was at this time that I reduced my HIIT training and began practicing yoga. All very very large changes for me at the time. 

It was only a few months later that I regained my first cycle & I remember it more vividly than my first period in high school. I sent an email off to Sara right away & celebrated with - yup, you guessed it - fish tacos. 

When I began my journey with Sara, I decided that I would share what I had been going through with our community on RRF. The response was incredible & I quickly realised how many girls my age were experiencing similar struggles - not only with a loss of period due to diet & exercise but also not being heard in the room of a GP when they reached out for support. I wanted our community to feel supported & advocated for in their concerns about their hormones & Sara was who I wanted them to speak to! I shared the wins, I shared the struggles & of course, I shared my protein packed smoothies on a daily basis. 

This is where the entrepreneurial side of me had an idea… 

I had been trying new plant-based proteins in my smoothies for months & hadn’t really found one that I loved. I was also including Maca & Ashwagandha in my smoothies as a recommendation from my naturopath to give my hormones additional support. At first, I tried a pure pea protein & I also tried a pure hemp protein but neither of them were the taste or texture I envisioned. I thought, maybe a combination of both the proteins plus the adaptogenic herbs could be a good product idea? I knew that Real Rad Food’s community was very interested in the conversation around hormonal support and that protein in the morning was a really big and easy win for us all to have! Plus, the herbs were such a great bonus with some epic clinical studies behind them in terms of women's health. 

I reached out to a friend that was in the supplement space and alongside him, a naturopath and a food technician, we formulated what is known today as, Rad Protein. We found suppliers for high-quality ingredients, partnered with a manufacturer, designed the packaging and ultimately, took a massive risk by entering an entirely new market. Rad Protein was launched in one flavour in 2020 and it exceeded our expectations not only in sales, but the feedback and reviews that came with it.

It became our best seller that year and has remained in top place nearly 3 years later! Although we now have three flavours, we have kept the same herbal formulation & pea to hemp protein ratio to ensure that it continues to provide the support & taste that our community have come to love!

The highlight of my career so far has been the message that I have been able to share of my own journey to hormonal harmony. The creation of Rad protein & the effect that this has had on people's lives is the most rewarding part of my job - something I will forever feel grateful to have a part in.

Rad Protein

Although I have a fairly robust cycle these days, it was very sensitive for a long time. If I lost a little bit of weight or I started a new form of intense exercise, I would see my cycle length change very quickly. A robust cycle comes with years of stable weight, exercise and fuelling my body, something I am still reminding myself of everyday. Our bodies take time to heal themselves, but if you give them everything they need they're pretty damn good at doing so.

Before I wrap this up, I also want to highlight that veganism can be done well for the right reasons and I support all dietary decisions. It just wasn't the right decision for me at the time. I hope you can  be understanding and compassionate about my choices as I am yours. 

Our inbox is always open,

Love always,

Hannah x


  • Erica Germain

    Compassion for your struggle with eating and image. Sad that because you craved ovulations and flesh that the statute quo of animal abuse will be further upheld.
    Please consider the well-being of animals as well as your own. Hard to hear more people moving towards eating the dead above when it’s unnatural for us to harm others… you do know “meat” involves slitting throats? Oh well people “vegan” (non violence) for themselves not for the animals. Love to eat it… hate to hear about the rape, abuse and horror of the industry.
    Wanting doesn’t mean necessity.

  • SB

    Thanks so much for sharing! I’ve had health problems recently and made the difficult move, after almost 14 years, to eating a small amount of meat twice a week in the hopes of getting the nutrients my body is telling me I need! It’s not an easy decision, but every body is different and we need to listen to and care for our own bodies and wellness. Next time I need some protein powder I will 100% try this :)

  • Vicki Eriksen

    Hi there what a beautifully, courageous story. Thank you for sharing, it will open the eyes of many. Is your protein powder suitable for a 14 year old girl please? Thank you.

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