Place where hi-vis blokes eat healthy

19:31, Jan 13 2014
Di McCauley
EAT RIGHT: Di McCauley and husband Mike started a cafe almost accidentally.

Di McCauley refuses to be a "wellness warrior".

Where many nutritionists have spurned caffeine, she has embraced it and made it a core part of her business.

At the Pure Cafe Co in Middleton, the coffee machine is humming and the cabinets are stocked with poached chicken, protein, and gluten-free treats - not a trans-fat in sight.

Surprisingly, it all looks delicious.

It's full of blokes dressed in hi-vis and workboots waiting for a lean vege wrap or chickpea salad.

When McCauley set up in Birmingham Drive, a nearby businessman said if she wasn't going to sell pies and sausage rolls, she may as well forget it.


Three months on, she has proven him wrong, and then some.

McCauley, a clinical nutritionist with 15 years experience under her belt, knows how hard it is for busy people to eat right.

She and husband Mike, a personal trainer, started Mint Health and Fitness in Victoria St in 2008. The gym has always offered nutritional advice.

When the earthquake wiped out the central city gym, they reopened in Peterborough St and fell into the cafe game almost accidentally.

"A lot of people we were seeing were super stressed and there was nowhere to buy healthy food," she says. "We had this idea to do a food truck and originally we planned on selling porridge."

The first Pure Cafe Co was born in shipping containers on Bealey Ave, and is not only surviving, but expanding.

The second cafe in Middleton is part of the new flagship Mint gym.

"It's putting healthy food and exercise together," McCauley says.

"What I think is happening, is clean food.

"People want less fussy food, less fine dining."

Pure provides exactly that - sugar-free, additive and preservative-free, free-range food.

Sceptics approach Pure warily, ready to jump on the "flavourless, joy-free food" bandwagon, but McCauley is ready.

She has three wholefoods chefs on staff who ensure the food they make is not only healthy, but tastes good too.

"People think if you're clean eating it's boring, but every day we have people coming in here who can't believe our food is healthy."

Nothing is supersized, not even the coffee.

"It's about getting back for your buck nutritionally," she says.

While Pure is all about health, McCauley actively avoids shoving the health factor down people's throats.

"There's been a kind of healthy uprising, which means we aren't seen as freaks and health warriors, and we don't want to be.

"How bad would life be without coffee?

"A cup or two a day, isn't going to be detrimental to your health."

The Press