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#SOCIALBOSS, Food, Health

SHUTTHEKALEUP: From Eating Disorder to A Healthy Instagram Feed That Makes 112k People Hungry

July 20, 2016
SHUTTHEKALEUP mother and child

Jeannette Ogden of SHUTTHEKALEUP has taught us a valuable lesson: learn to love yourself and everything will follow. Here she shares her journey from eating disorder to living a beautifully healthy — Literally! – and happy life. Read below to find out more about her path to healthy living & drooling over some clean eats that will make your tummy start to rumble!

Tell us what was going on with you before you started @shutthekaleup? You were battling an eating disorder?

Before SHUTTHEKALEUP I was an assistant store manager at Barneys New York in Costa Mesa. I was battling an ED at the time and it was hard since I was in an industry that was solely based on appearance.

How did you overcome the ED?

After being laid off from work, it was like a weight was lifted and I was able to become who I am now. I had the time to take yoga sculpt teacher training and was able to plan my wedding with no stress. the ED literally fell off and I had found balance without even looking for it. I feel extremely blessed.


What advice would you give to women suffering with an ED? Is there any action that they can take to help them recover?

Stop thinking food is an enemy. Food is fuel. You’re beautifully made and have much more to you than looks. Stay positive and around people who truly love you and can help with any triggers you might have. Speak out loud to how you’re feeling without being shy and OWN IT.

When did you start cooking?

I started cooking about five years ago. I was 23 when I first got into food and being hands-on in the kitchen.

What is SHUTTHEKALEUP? Where did the name come from?

SHUTTHEKALEUP is who I am, it’s a lifestyle and it’s most importantly.. being real. It came from me wanting to start a feed that had everything from yoga, real food, real life and GLUTEN.. cause you can’t live life without enjoying the so called ‘bad foods’ in balance!  


Your feed and the food you make looks so delicious? How would you describe your food style?

My food style is easy, quick and so bright. I literally whip up everything I make so quickly because my hunger always creeps in strong!

What kind of workouts do you do?

Everything under the sun. I love cross training and yoga mostly.

How has healthy cooking and wellness played a role in your life as a mama?

It’s been a huge impact as a mama. I’ve learned lots throughout my struggles and finding balance has helped me help my family lead a healthy lifestyle using food as medicine for our bodies.




What do you think was the tipping point to make food transition from a point of anxiety to something that you can celebrate on your feed?

Letting my fears go and just owning who I am. I’m no longer scared of what people may think of me so I live much happier knowing I’m content with myself and the family my husband and I are growing. Now we celebrate with good company and real food without thinking “how many calories is in that?” “oh no I can’t have that” so on and so forth.

Can you give us a favorite recipe we can try at home?

One of my favorite recipes is my cookie recipe that my husband and I love and I also make it quite often! try it;

    1. 8 tablespoons of @kerrygoldusa unsalted grass fed butter
    2. ½ cup @wholesomeweet organic cane sugar
    3. ¼ cup packed @wholesomesweet light brown sugar
    4. 1 teaspoon @simplyorganicfoods vanilla extract
    5. 1 egg
    6. 1½ cups @bobsredmill organic all purpose flour
    7. 1/2 teaspoon @bobsredmill baking soda
    8. 1/2 teaspoon pink sea salt
    9. 3/4 cup @enjoylifefoods dark chocolate morsels
    10. what next?
      1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter should be room temperature.
      2. Using a hand mixer, beat the butter with the sugars until creamy. Add vanilla extract and the egg; beat on low speed until just incorporated – 10-15 seconds or so (if you beat the egg for too long, the cookies will be stiff). Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until crumbles form. Use your hands to press the crumbles together into a dough. It should form one large ball that is easy to roll. Add the morsels and mix them in the dough with your hands.
      3. Roll the dough into 12 large balls and place them on a cookie sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes until the cookies look puffy and just barely golden.
      4. Try your hardest to let them cool on the cookie sheet for a good 20 minutes or so.. Buuuuut if you’re like me, you’ll eat two or three before that even happens.

SHUTTHEKALEUP clean eats chocolate chip cookies recipe

How has motherhood changed you? What’s the best and the hardest part?

Motherhood has changed me into a more selfless person. I thought I was selfless when I got married but then you have a kid and you’re like, okay.. ya no. Hahah! So I enjoy the things I get to do for my son. The best part is being able to exclusively nurse him. The hardest part is to have a busy schedule and have to nurse him. It’s definitely a full time job and it’s been so difficult to stop everything I’m doing to feed for 30min-1hr, but I wouldn’t change that for anything in this world since that bond is literally incomparable.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Breakfast, I love it and I can’t wait for it! Shortly after would be the gym.

Can you tell us 5 things we need to now to start eating healthy and get in shape??

  1. Do it for the right reasons; not just to look “skinny”.
  2. Be confident going in.
  3. Eat allll the foods you love in moderation and avoid deprivation.
  4. Go hard. you must fail to pick yourself back up and get stronger.
  5. Listen to your body. it has a loud voice you just gotta listen!
Advice, Contributors, Health, Wellness

Beauty Products: What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You

June 29, 2016

Like many women, my journey to a clean lifestyle began in my quest to get pregnant five years ago.  When my naturopath told me that environmental toxins were lurking everywhere, I dug a little deeper, and I was horrified at what I found in my seemingly innocuous medicine cabinet.  I learned that there are scores of hormone-disrupting, cancer-causing ingredients in most of the personal care and beauty products we use every day.  Because I was willing to do anything to increase my chances of having a baby, and a healthy one, I became determined to find safer alternatives that met my unapologetic-product-snob standards. Incidentally, my blog, Bare Beauty, was born that year, and my daughter, Annabel, was born the following year.  I am certainly not saying that if you don’t switch out every single thing in your bathroom, medicine cabinet, and makeup bag this instant, you will drop dead tomorrow, but there are a few really important products to swap out if you’re looking to achieve optimum health.  I promise that it is less painful than you imagine (except for deodorant, that one is a stinker, sometimes literally).

Lotion: As most of us know by now, our skin is our largest organ.  Anything we put on is going to soak in and enter the bloodstream in just minutes.  Of all the personal care products to consider when making the switch to clean and green, body lotion is the most important. Conventional body lotions contain ingredients like mineral oil, petrolatum, glycerin, synthetic fragrances, parabens, dimethicone (a relative of silicone) and propylene glycol.  Propylene glycol is one of the main ingredients in anti-freeze.  When looking for a body lotion, look for aloe, shea butter, coconut, olive, or jojoba oil.  It should be first or second on the list of ingredients.

Acure Organics makes my favorite clean body lotion, hands down.  It sinks right into skin and moisturizes for a full 24 hours, and it’s less than $10.  Zoe Organics makes the best thick, moisturizing cream around, and it is gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin.  It’s great for both mama and baby.  Also, both of these brands are now conveniently sold at Target.

Lotion - Med CabinetShampoo: I know you don’t want to trade in your Kerastase and Pureology, but your scalp is one of the most absorbent parts of your body, so any toxic ingredient in your current shampoo is going straight into your bloodstream and major organs.  The surfactants (foaming cleansing agents) used in conventional shampoos are usually sodium laurel sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate.  These ingredients can cause rashes, but worse, when they are ethoxylated, (a process that “softens” the chemical) 1,4-dioxane is produced, and it won’t be on the label, because it is a byproduct.  You may say, but my shampoo is sulfate-free! Unfortunately, it probably isn’t free of parabens, synthetic fragrance, phthalates, DMDM hydantoin, lauramide DEA, cocamide DEA and MEA. Buckle up: phthalates (which are in virtually all synthetic fragrances) and parabens mess with thyroid, estrogen, and pretty much all hormone levels.  DMDM hydantoin releases small amounts of formaldehyde when it comes into contact with your skin. Lauramide DEA and Cocamide DEA and MEA react with other chemicals in your shampoo to create carcinogens.  It’s a total bummer, isn’t it?  Luckily, there are some amazing options out there for both mama and baby.

Rahua (pronounced Rah-Wah) is makes the most luxurious nontoxic haircare products.  I use their shampoo and conditioner when I need a guaranteed good hair day.  Many natural shampoos leave a bit to be desired in the lathering department, but not this one; your hair will feel super-clean, but not stripped.  Acure Organics Yummy Baby 4-in-1 makes a great foaming shampoo, body wash, bubble bath and hand wash for kiddos.  My daughter loves it for the fun bubbles, and I love that it doesn’t contain even one sketchy ingredient.

shampoo - Medicine Cabinet

Toothpaste: We have been taught that brushing our teeth is essential to good personal hygiene, so we do it twice a day without even thinking about it. Something else we’ve forgotten to think about is just what is in our toothpaste: sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, and synthetic colors, flavors and fragrances.  SLS is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogen.  Moreover, it is a harsh surfactant – it wreaks havoc on your mucus membranes.  Ever feel like the inside of your mouth is peeling after you brush?  SLS is to blame.  Triclosan was once used only in ER’s and OR’s, and for good reason; it kills almost every germ in its path.  Now this germ-killer is used in everything, even lipstick, deodorant, and toothpaste.  Experts have determined that triclosan is a hormone-disruptor and that the overuse of it can lead to super-bugs.  Another hotly debated ingredient in conventional toothpaste is fluoride.  The Environmental Working Group published a very helpful article that sums it up here.  Basically, Fluoride is necessary to prevent tooth decay, but there is such thing as too much, especially for pregnant women and children.  And, do we really need synthetic fragrances, flavors and colors in our toothpaste when mother nature does it best with real peppermint and spearmint?

I love Davids’s Natural Toothpaste.  It fights plaque, whitens and freshens breath, and it’s completely nontoxic and sustainable.  Trust me, you’ll never look back. Jack N’ Jill Kids makes brushing fun with their yummy organic flavors, and they make adorable biodegradable toothbrushes, too.

toothpaste- medicine cabinet

Sunscreen: Just like when you are shopping for a body lotion, you should avoid sunscreens that contain parabens, phthalates (both endocrine disruptors), petrolatum (a nonrenewable resource) and propylene glycol (generally toxic to human organs).  Most importantly, with all the clean, nontoxic, affordable options out there, there is absolutely no reason to use a sunscreen with Oxybenzone.  Oxybenzone is  probably the most popular chemical blocker (it absorbs the sun’s rays before they can damage the skin) currently used in conventional sunscreen.  It penetrates the skin very easily, and it can be found in the urine of nearly every American, mothers’ breast milk and umbilical cord blood.  Oxybenzone is an endocrine disruptor; it mimics estrogen, has been found to alter sperm count in animals and can interfere with normal fetal and childhood development.  Similar chemical blockers that carry similar hazards are Octinoxate, Homosalate, Avobenzone and Octocrylene.  That said, look for sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as their active ingredients.  These are “physical blockers”; they literally block the sun’s rays from damaging the skin and are not only very safe, but they’re also soothing (zinc oxide is in most diaper rash cream).

Suntegrity makes my favorite natural sunscreens.  It contains a whopping 20% non-nano zinc oxide, which not only protects from both UVA and UBV rays, but also soothes skin.  The finish is sheer and the formula is very moisturizing, but not greasy, and it has a light, natural citrus scent.  Erbaviva Baby Sunscreen contains soothing ingredients like calendula, aloe and chamomile in addition to natural zinc oxide for protection that is water-resistant up to 8- minutes.

sunscreen - medicine cabinet

Deodorant: Conventional deodorant contains antiperspirant.  We have all appreciated this feature over the years, but have we ever wondered what it is that prevents us from sweating (a necessary bodily function for cooling and detoxification)?  Antiperspirant is made of aluminum salts.  On the label these are listed as aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum hydroxybromide, and aluminum zirconium.  Aluminum salts seal sweat glands and kill stinky bacteria.  If they weren’t so dangerous, they would be a godsend.  Aluminum is a heavy metal; we don’t want this stuff floating around in our system.  Aluminum is also a known neurotoxin.  There is even an ongoing debate on some scientists’ findings that aluminum is linked to the rise in breast cancer.  (A few studies have found it in human breast tissue.)  Conventional deodorants with antiperspirant also contain synthetic fragrance (read: phthalates), parabens, and triclosan (all known endocrine disruptors).  Many contain dimethicone, talc, and propylene glycol.  Swapping out your antiperspirant stick for natural deodorant usually requires some trial and error, as everyone’s body chemistry is different.  You will have to try a few alternatives before you find the one that is right for you, but once you do, you won’t look back.

I have tried dozens of clean deodorants, and these three are my favorite.  Soapwalla Deodorant Cream works incredibly well – it keeps me totally stink-free for 24 hours.  For those with more sensitive skin, Meow Meow Tweet Baking Soda Free Deodorant Cream is a dream come true (many baking soda-based natural deodorants cause a rash for 5% of the population, me included).  If you just can’t quit the stick, Ursa Major Hoppin’ Fresh Deodorant is amazing and smells great. While none of these are antiperspirants, they do absorb moisture and keep me smelling fresh.  Bonus: these are all unisex options.

deodorant - medicine cabinet

See, that wasn’t so hard…  Going clean is easier than you think; just switch out your old standbys one at a time when you run out, and in a year, you’ll probably be 90% converted.  And, I promise you won’t look like a crunchy hippie (unless that’s your thing).   There are so many gorgeous, high-end natural beauty products out there now, that I don’t even miss my old Nars cosmetics.  For more of my favorite alternatives, visit my Essentials page, or if you’re looking for a retailer who only carries Bare Beauty-Approved goods, I’ll show you Where to Shop.

#FeelGood, Contributors, Health, Productivity, Wellness

A 5 Minute Meditation To De-Stress and Be More Productive

June 22, 2016

Here’s a 5-minute Mindfresh meditation to de-stress so you can be more productive.  It’s all themed around ‘5’ for easy recall, right when you need it most.

When the mind goes into overdrive, we can’t just tell it to slow down while we figure out where to start.  So, how do we get back to a place where we can actually make a smart plan of attack?  We start working with what’s most accessible first — the body and breath — and then the mind starts to come back into control.

Here’s the key: the body informs the mind and vice versa.  If we focus the energy in our body, we can focus the energy in our mind.  And unlike the mind, we can tell our body to do something and it will respond according to that instruction.

MOVE:  Try this sequence of five Jivamukti Yoga-inspired postures (standing suggested, but seated works, too), taking one deep inhale and exhale in each before moving on to the next one.  This will only take a couple of minutes, so as you move through it, try to harness all of your attention into what your body is doing so it becomes “mindful movement”.  Your breath and your body are your focal points – everything else is on hold, for just five minutes.

BREATHE:  After you’ve finished the Mindfresh 5 Sequence, have a seat, place the palms face up on the thighs + gently close your eyes.  Although eyes are closed, bring your attention to the tip of your nose, watching the breath come in and out through the nostrils.   Take one deep inhale and one deep exhale.  Then, begin five rounds of what is called “sama vritti”, or equal parts inhale and exhale to the count of five.  Silently count, “in 2, 3, 4, 5; out, 2, 3, 4, 5.”  After the fifth round, allow the breath to return to its natural rhythm and pace while keeping the eyes closed for a few more moments.  Notice any difference in the body and mind – hopefully, there’s a sense of clarity and calm that wasn’t there before.

We end by flipping the palms down, taking one deep inhale and one deep exhale + standing up.  We make ourselves tall + expansive by reaching up + then bring palms together to touch in front of the chest.  Connecting the base of the thumbs with the sternum has a calming effect on the nervous system.  The gesture of evenly pressing right hand into left symbolizes balance.


Mind is now fresh.  Go conquer.       



POSTURE 1:  Extend the arms straight out in front of you with palms facing each other.  Interlace the fingers + then flip the palms away from you.  Focus on opening up the wrists + knuckles, while drawing the shoulders back into their sockets.  One deep inhale + exhale.


POSTURE 2:  Keeping the fingers interlaced, extend the arms up alongside the ears with palms facing toward the ceiling.  Drop the shoulders to create as much space as possible between the ears and the shoulders.  Feel the collarbones expanding while the shoulders are opening.  One deep inhale + exhale.


POSTURE 3 (pt. 1):  Keeping fingers interlaced + arms reaching up, press into both feet and lean over to the left.  Notice the right side of the body lengthening.  One deep inhale + exhale.  Then, bring the body upright with arms reaching toward the ceiling.


POSTURE 3 (pt. 2):  Pressing into both feet, lean over to the right + bring the attention to the left side of the body becoming more spacious with the stretch.  One deep inhale + exhale.  Come back to the center with arms reaching up.


POSTURE 4:  Bend the elbows and place your interlaced hands behind the head.  Once again, relax the shoulders.  Open your elbows wide apart.   Focus on expanding across the front of the chest + collarbones.  One deep inhale + exhale.  Lower the arms alongside the body.


Posture 5:  Take the arms behind you + interlace the fingers.  Draw the knuckles down towards the floor and notice the front of the chest opening as the shoulders draw back and towards each other.  Extend the arms a few inches away from the torso, but keep the tailbone drawing down and the chin at a neutral level.  One deep inhale + exhale.



For more on Jen check out her member profile here. For more meditation and refresh tips check out Mindfresh.


#FeelGoodMama, Balance, Beauty, Health

Not Just Juice: Amanda Chantal Bacon, Founder of Moon Juice, Shares Her Secrets To Good Health

June 16, 2016
Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 9.05.52 AM

Los Angeles by way of downtown New York City, Amanda Chantal Bacon is the green juice goddess. No really, she swears by the stuff and after realizing her love for all things green and good-for-you, this healthy hot mama decided to make it her business. In 2012, Amanda opened the first Moon Juice in Venice Beach, CA and the company is now a cult favorite of health conscious celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley. Celebrity followers aside, the real reason heymama loves Amanda Chantal Bacon is that she has taken her passion for a healthy lifestyle and used it to help others feel better through food! Read on to learn more about Amanda, Moon Juice, and why YOU should start rubbing carrot oil on your face.


1.  How did you go from chef to making juice? Was this an easy jump to make or did people think you were crazy?

I started Moon Juice in 2012. I was a chef and had worked with Alice waters and Suzanne Goin and was poised to open a restaurant in LA. Through divine inspiration I took a brief pause to really open myself up to what was truly needed in the world and how to use my voice to change it. I wanted to bridge the gap between the healing world and the foodie world as I had done for myself.

Amanda Chantal Bacon Moon Juice


2. How do you start your day? What is a typical breakfast like for you?

A warm morning chi drink on way to school drop off, I drink it in the car! It contains more than 25 grams of plant protein, thanks to vanilla mushroom protein and stone ground almond butter, and also has the super endocrine, brain, immunity, and libido- boosting powers of Brain Dust, cordyceps, reishi, maca, and Shilajit resin. I throw ho shou wu and pearl in as part of my beauty regime. I chase it with three quinton shots for mineralization and two lipospheric vitamin B-complex packets for energy.

3. What’s your advice on staying healthy when you’re really busy?

I work non-stop and have a three-year-old, I’m on a mission and its go, go, go. My body and brain couldn’t keep up with my life if I were on a low fat diet. I have personally felt the effects of getting enough good fat into my diet and it has radically enhanced my energy, stabilized hormones, and nourished the nervous system. Also, setting your pantry up with a bunch of the staples and eating a lot of live food is easier than cooking meals every day.

 I have personally felt the effects of getting enough good fat into my diet and it has radically enhanced my energy, stabilized hormones, and nourished the nervous system.

Amanda Chantal Bacon Moon Juice

4. I just read an interview where you outline your meal plan for the day and felt instantly jealous and inadequate thinking about my carb and take out filled food day. What are two quick healthy changes a New Yorker on the go can make to her diet?

Eat more live food – even if that means sprinkling some fresh herbs on your pasta. Also, adaptogenic herbs are the most important group of herbs to take in the now age; they’ve been treasured in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries, to boost energy and resilience. Adaptogens not only increase the resistance to the negative effects of long-term stress, but can relax you and energize you at the same time, while also being tonic, meaning they are immune-stimulating and increase your peace. I am always snacking on adaptogenic herb mixes. You start your day with something that’s so heavy with these herbs that have so many minerals, aminos and adaptogens that really get into your system. Something like my morning drink which is loaded with good, raw, healthy fat, so you’re feeling great. You’re not feeling like you need to have that bagel and cream cheese or the crash after coffee. So it’s snacking but it’s a purposely potent snacking. All you need in most cases in ½-1 tsp so a jar can last you months!

Adaptogens not only increase the resistance to the negative effects of long-term stress, but can relax you and energize you at the same time, while also being tonic, meaning they are immune-stimulating and increase your peace. I am always snacking on adaptogenic herb mixes.

 Amanda Chantal Bacon Moon Juice

5. What are some things we can keep in our pantry to create healthy simple meals?

Fresh herbs and organic vegetables, fermented veggies, good quality olive oil and sea salt.

6. What’s been your biggest pinch me moment?

Every day on this ride of my life called Moon Juice!

7. You opened you first store while you were pregnant? What was that experience like? How did you juggle everything with no sleep?

I found out I was pregnant with my son Rohan a week after I signed the lease on the first Moon Juice Shop, on Rose Avenue in Venice. It was the size of a shoebox, but as a New Yorker, I knew that small and cramped could work. What I didn’t know was how I could possibly nurture and give birth to both a human and a business at the same time. Once Rohan was born, I barely slept, I would get up in the middle of the night to feast on juices, avocados, and coconut yogurt to feed my own body as I was providing sustenance to my ravenous baby boy. I was completely energized by the bliss of birth and meeting Rohan and of seeing my dream become a reality, I will never be able to separate the birth of my child from the birth of Moon Juice, but it was a time that really pushed me to put these foods and herbs that I believed in really on the line.

Once Rohan was born, I barely slept, I would get up in the middle of the night to feast on juices, avocados, and coconut yogurt to feed my own body as I was providing sustenance to my ravenous baby boy.

Clair de Lune – it’s a collaboration I did with Odacite. It’s a box set that comes with a little spray made of Bulgarian organic rose and fresh aloe that you spray on your face. And then I take two to three drops of the pressed wild carrot seed oil and I spread it with my fingertips on my face. It’s like juice for your face. It’s not cut with anything. It smells like a perfume-y dirt. I put this on three times a day and it just sinks in and is on par with my advocating for us to be eating good raw fat internally, we should also be putting pure essential oil onto our face. I think that we were all taught in the ’90s if you eat fat you get fat and if you put fat on your face, you get pimples. Both of those things are incorrect. Part of doing this collaboration was to get the re-education of anointing ourselves with oil.

I think that we were all taught in the ’90s if you eat fat you get fat and if you put fat on your face, you get pimples. Both of those things are incorrect.

The other thing I drink all day long is Beauty Dust, which has schizandra, pearl and goji mixed with water. I just tap it into a water bottle, though you can do it hot or cold. Skin and hair love it. I don’t brush my hair or put anything in it. I feed my hair from the inside and the Beauty Dust keeps it shiny and lustrous throughout the seasons. It’s like drinking the new-age version of Snapple iced tea all day.

I feed my hair from the inside and the Beauty Dust keeps it shiny and lustrous throughout the seasons. It’s like drinking the new-age version of Snapple iced tea all day.

To learn more about Moon Juice visit their site here.

Fitness, Health, Pregnancy

The Recovery Guide: 8 Tips To Help You Feel Normal In Your Post-Baby Body

April 20, 2016
Portrait of happy mother and baby

Pregnancy and impending motherhood are one of life’s most significant experiences for most women. We plan everything down to the last onesie, but we find ourselves completely out of our element when it comes to holding space for ourselves to honor and heal our post-baby body. We need to have “postpartum boundaries” in place that are not meant to keep people out but to hold space for ourselves when we need to rest, deal with painful breasts or are doubled-over with after birth pains. That ‘sacred postpartum space’ is paramount for our healing.

Here’s what you need to know….

1. Plan for your recovery, do not just let it happen.

Most women do not know that a new mother’s body begins its transition back to its non-pregnant state hours after the placenta is birthed. Therefore, you should have a recovery plan in place 4-6 weeks before your estimated due date. The plan should encompass the new, nutritional post-baby body needs, personal care (body treatments, abdominal wrappings, food service providers), as well as the activities/events you should avoid or delay engaging in. Having a recuperation plan in place will give you peace-of-mind knowing that while you are adjusting to the newest little family member you are also making sure your recovery needs are met, thus avoiding postnatal depletion. Your plan should at the minimum encompass the first 0 to 6 weeks and ideally up to 3-4 months afterwards. Managing your recovery and helping your body heal should begin by Day 5 post-baby. Most new mothers are under the impression they have to wait until after the six-week medical check before they can begin managing their recovery. There is nothing further from the truth. Do not wait that long as it will weaken and prolong your recovery.

2. V-care, the first time.

The very first time you want to get clean after delivery, even if you’ve had a caesarean, use an herbal feminine wash specifically for after birth care, not a douche but a wash. The natural ingredients will undoubtedly have the healing benefits of anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, deodorizing, and promoting immediate wound healing. New mothers are more prone to infection at this time and need to protect the perineum area.

3. The digestive system, circulatory system, and metabolism stall after child birth.

Foods that are gentle on the digestive system will serve you best ensuring continued absorption of nutrients and vitamins by your healing body. For example, if you are a cheese lover eating goats cheese vs. cow’s milk cheese is a better choice due to the molecules of goat diary being smaller than cow dairy, which is easier for your digestive system to breakdown.

4. Water, bone broth, and herbal teas.

Water is needed, especially for breast feeding; however, it is a diuretic and therefore doesn’t bring in any nutritional value. A new mother should diversify her liquid intake to include bone broths and herbal teas on top of water consumption 2-3 times each per day. Bone broths have ample nutritional benefits providing cartilage, collagen, gelatin, minerals and vitamins and is an overall healing tonic for your body. Teas that promote breastfeeding, shrink the womb, clear the after birth bleeding faster, and are helpful in alleviating postpartum blues, are the most beneficial teas for new mamas.

5. Wrapping your abdomen is very important.

During pregnancy a woman’s center of gravity shifts as her spine curves in a convex manner to accommodate her baby. The role a postpartum wrap plays is it speeds up the healing process with constant pressure on the abdomen area thus reducing recovery time. Properly designed postnatal body garments will provide 360 degree support to assist in abdominal wall muscle retraction, improve posture, stabilize loosened ligaments, and provide support to the torso while vital organs return to their pre-pregnancy position.

6. Helping your body release.

As mentioned, the circulatory system stalls after childbirth and then revs-up during weeks 2-4 post-baby when the body is releasing the retained fat and fluids that are no longer needed. To help this natural shedding process, circulation massages with oils infused with herbal ingredients that have ‘heaty’ or heat-inducing properties will help your body jumpstart the circulation allowing it to release more at a faster rate. Typically, the energy oil blends containing ingredients such as ginger, citronella, vetiver, pepper, lemon, blood orange, cinnamon and eucalyptus are a good choice.

7. Coping with afterbirth pains.

After pains are caused by the process of your womb contracting back to its pre-pregnant size. Applying infused heat to the abdominal area will help sooth such pains, but not completely. You can also place a heating pad or hot water bottle on your abdomen whenever you are laying down, sitting or sleeping – even when you aren’t having abdominal pains. Applied direct heat will sooth the pains and help the womb shrink faster.

8. The genius of the placenta.

Although in its ‘infancy’ western culture is embracing the genius of the placenta through encapsulation.

Noted benefits of placenta pills are: 1) Increase in general energy and production of breast milk. 2) Increase release of oxytocin, which helps the uterus return to normal size and encourages bonding with the infant. 3) Decrease likelihood of baby blues, post-natal depression, iron deficiency, insomnia or other sleep disorders.

Care and handling of your placenta must happen directly after giving birth; therefore, it is recommended that selection of a placenta encapsulator be chosen 4-6 weeks prior to your estimated due date. If arrangements aren’t made there is a real chance that your placenta will be thrown away as medical trash.

Valerie Lynn is the author of The Mommy Plan and founder of Post-Pregnancy Wellness. For more information on the New Mother Goddess recovery program register for a FREE consult with Valerie on Post-Pregnancy Wellness.

Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Look Good

4 Bite-Size Workouts You Can Squeeze Into Your Busiest Morning

March 28, 2016
Fast Squat Work Out

Mama of two, Jessica Hughes knows how hard it is to find the time to workout. Her newest addition is only a few months old, so she understands the importance of fitting exercise into your schedule. This Inspired her to put together some mini workouts to get us toned and out the door fast!

This workout is a circuit, which means you have to complete all four workouts in one round. Do this 3 times, and I promise you’ll be feeling it AND feeling fit.

Fast Work Outs1. Push-up To Row: Get in girly push-up position (middle picture).  Do a push-up. Then pull your left arm back until your upper arm is parallel to the ground (right picture). This is called a row. Drop back down into girly push-up. Then right arm row. Alternate between left and right side and complete 20 times.


Fast Work Outs

2. Front Kick to Back Kick: If you don’t have great balance, you can use a wall or chair to support yourself. Stand straight, then lift your left leg and kick forward until your foot is. Still standing on your right leg, slowly swing your left leg back and kick backward.  Complete 20 times each side.


Fast Work Outs

3. Knee to Elbow: Stand straight, then lift your left leg to your left elbow and crunch your obliques (the side of your abs). Repeat for your right side. Do this 20 times.


Fast Squat Work Out

4. Squat to Curtsy Lunge: Drop down into a normal squat, thighs parallel to the ground (middle picture). Then curtsy lunge to each side. Stand up to give your legs a break, then squat and curtsy lunge to each side again. Repeat 20 times per circuit.

You can learn more about Jessica on her Instagram @happilyhughesfitness and her website and her heymama profile here.

#FeelGood, Balance, Health

Barley + Oats Delivers Delicious Postpartum Meals For Breastfeeding Mamas

November 20, 2015
Ashly Aesop1

We met Ashly for the first time at the Smyth Hotel, and I couldn’t even believe the timing when she started tell us about her postpartum delivery service for new moms, Barley + Oats.  I was about to have my second baby any day, and it was like discovering an oasis right before getting thrown out of an airplane and into the desert. As my due date gets closer and closer, my anxiety about breastfeeding and milk production is already starting to grow! I’m thinking back in horror to my first baby and all the Thai delivery I ate, which definitely didn’t help with my milk production. Breastfeeding was really stressfull for me, and I tried all kind of things like drinking Guinness to up my production, so I was beyond excited to try Ashly’s service.

Everthing arrived via messenger in a cooler bag,  all the containers were individually packed and labeled with ingredients and directions.  Although the meals are made for lactation, everyone on our team ended up loving it and digging in. The Probiotic Cherry Almond Oat Smoothie, the Bone Broth Barley Risotto (recipe is below!!), and Chana Masala with Spinach & Brown Rice are our favorites!

Where did you get the idea for Barley + Oats?

I got the idea for Barley + Oats when my son, Aesop, was still in my belly. At the time, I was obtaining my health-supportive chef’s degree at the Natural Gourmet Institute. I have always been very passionate about food and health; with the pregnancy, I began to research and study pregnancy and postpartum nutrition. Because of some past history of mine, I was concerned I might have trouble with milk production. I started researching the basic processes behind lactation and the effects that food could have on it. One of several great resources I came upon was Mother Food written by lactation consultant, Hilary Jacobson. The book is well researched and explores postpartum diet and lifestyle from around the world as well as the effects of each on the postpartum healing process and especially, lactation. Turns out, there is a wealth of ancient knowledge and practices outside of the States surrounding the immediate months post birth. Different cultures utilize different herbs and foods for everything from boosting lactation, helping to prevent postpartum depression or allergy, aiding digestion or easing let-down. All of these are centered around traditional, whole foods (very in line with the NGI principals) with traditional (read: time consuming) preparations. I thought, “how great would it be to eat in a way that nourished my body the way that it needed to be nourished at this time of my life?” I wanted to eat to provide the best nutritional support both to my healing body and to my developing child. However, I  knew there was no way in the first few weeks and months postpartum that I was going to be soaking nuts + grains, boiling barley for 2 hours or making bone broths and sitting down (yes, sitting down!) to at least one nice warm meal per day. Without even having the baby yet, I knew I was going to be lucky if I could slap together some almond butter on whole-grain toast. And so the idea for Barley + Oats was born. Research showed there was nothing like it on the market and market surveys I sent out showed that moms wanted this or wished they had had it when they gave birth. I founded the company just a few weeks before Aesop was born and the official launch came late September.


I wanted to eat to provide the best nutritional support both to my healing body and to my developing child. However, I  knew there was no way in the first few weeks and months postpartum that I was going to be soaking nuts + grains, boiling barley for 2 hours or making bone broths


How does the Barley + Oats program work? 

All of the Barley + Oats meals and snacks are wheat, dairy, soy, caffeine + refined sugar free for optimal health and digestion. They are prepared in the most digestive friendly ways and incorporate a lot of foods with specific micronutrient profiles meant to aid in postpartum healing, mood stabilization, allergy prevention or infant development. Each menu item highlights a key ingredient and explains why it is beneficial. We offer different meal plan options (offered for purchase in 5-day packages) to suit every need as well as a la carte lactation snacks and gift baskets. We are plant based, with a heavy focus on whole grains, nuts, seeds and veggies but do use high quality animal products as components in our dishes (like organic bone broth, free-range eggs and fish oil).


Ashly and Aesop Barley & Oats

What’s your background?

I grew up in the rural farmlands of New Jersey (yes, they exist lol!) on a standard American diet of “semi-homemade” and processed foods. Despite this, I was extremely passionate about cooking and would read cookbooks for fun, watch the food network, and pick out recipes to make with my grandmother during our weekly visits. My mother moved to Arizona when I was 7 and became very involved in the health and wellness community (working for a vitamin company).  I used to visit her several times per year and spent many days going around to different health food stores with her. By the time I was a teenager, I became very interested in how food could affect our overall health and well-being. I wasn’t quite sure yet how to interpret this though, and unfortunately ended up with a relatively serious eating disorder when I was 15. I had a nutritionist for the four years that followed and continued to be passionate about food but with a new focus on nurturing my womanly body for health, not aesthetics. It’s amazing how many women I meet in the health and wellness space who have very similar stories. After highschool, I studied buying and merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked in ecommerce for Macy’s and a large women’s fashion lifestyle brand afterwards. I would take culinary trips, work up new recipes and watch food documentaries in my free time until, after five years, I decided it was time to really go for it. I wanted to do something that I loved to be my best self for my son and to create something with flexibility so that I could spend more time with him. I also wanted to create a business that supported a local, sustainable food movement and helped to educate people about the impacts of food on health and happiness. I am so happy to be able to channel that passion into a concept that can help other moms and women nurture their bodies and babies in a truly healthful way at one of the most vulnerable and beautiful times of their life.


I wanted to create a business that supported a local, sustainable food movement and helped to educate people about the impacts of food on health and happiness. I am so happy to be able to channel that passion into a concept that can help other moms and women nurture their bodies and babies in a truly healthful way at one of the most vulnerable and beautiful times of their life.


What is the significance of the name?

Barley + Oats are two of the most known and effective galactagogues, or lactation promoting foods. These two grains contain the highest amounts of beta-glucans: long chain sugars that are utilized in the production of prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk.

One of my favorite anecdotes that inspired the name is that Demeter, the greek goddess of grain, was believed to have been in charge of barley. Some scholars believe that barley (and other lactogenic foods) was cultivated often in the early agricultural societies because of its profound ability to increase milk production. People of that time relied on breastfeeding to further human survival and growth. They treated milk promoting herbs and foods as products of the gods and goddesses.

What is a lactogenic diet?

A lactogenic diet at its basic sense is one that promotes milk production. At Barley + Oats, our lactogenic diet encompasses a little more. In addition to promoting lactation, our lactogenic diet is easily digestible, it is micronutrient dense with a focus on developmental nutrients, it aids in a mom’s convalescence post birth and helps restore hormonal balance, it is high in Essential Fatty Acids, it promotes warming foods, it focuses on health, not weight loss, it promotes food that is delicious and should be enjoyed, savored and stress-free.

What do you see missing in the diets of new moms that they can benefit from adding? 

Definitely Omega-3 essential fatty acids, specifically the derivatives EPA and DHA (which not everyone can breakdown from food so easily). These derivatives are responsible for so much healthy development including everything from allergy prevention to mood stabilization, mental health and neural connections. Traditional diets of our ancestors were much heavier in Omega-3s than the more commonly found Omega-6 (in plant based oils and processed foods). That has since been flipped and we’ve seen a huge rise in diet related diseases and allergy. Most of us don’t eat the things that are highest in Omega-3 (like animal organs or a lot of fatty fish) or we don’t eat them enough. Because these fatty acids are essential, we need to eat them to replenish them, our bodies don’t make them on their own. When we breastfeed, our bodies direct a lot of our stores to the baby because essential fatty acids are so crucial to their development. I highly recommend supplementing with a high quality DHA/EPA supplement (I use Nordic Naturals) or increasing foods with natural Omega-3.

I also think fermented foods and probiotics are super important to cultivating a healthy gut microbiome for the baby as well as easing digestive distress (helpful to both mom and baby in the postpartum). Studies have shown that the baby does get the mom’s bacteria through the milk. If you had to have a c-section, it’s even more important that some good bacteria containing foods are ingested.

Of course there are other big ones like vitamin-D and magnesium (which I touch on a little bit below).

I highly recommend supplementing with a high quality DHA/EPA supplement (I use Nordic Naturals) or increasing foods with natural Omega-3.

How is the hormonal balance of a new mom affected by her diet?

Well the hormonal balance of all women is greatly affected by diet, with each bodily function and hormone being affected by different foods and circumstances. When we are breastfeeding, we have higher levels of prolactin (responsible for milk production) and oxytocin (responsible for let down), the two work back and forth to create and release milk. When our other hormones (like estrogen, cortisol or testosterone) get too high, it can throw the balance off and inhibit the functions of our other hormones. Certain things, like refined-sugar (this includes refined carbs too!), affect us by messing with our insulin levels. In addition to just making us tired (through sugar spikes and crashes) high levels of insulin correlate with higher levels of testosterone and estrogen in the blood, which can lead to irritability, cravings and hormonal imbalance. Other things like caffeine, stress or just not eating enough, cause rises in our cortisol levels (the stress hormone). High levels of cortisol lead to weakened immunity, weight gain, depression and anxiety among other things. Cortisol also inhibits oxytocin, the hormone responsible for the let-down of breast milk. On the flip side of this, certain foods help with lactation. Many of our key breastfeeding superfoods (like sesame seeds and oats) are high in tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin which promotes prolactin production as well as a stable, elevated mood that can help prevent postpartum blues. Also along the lines of mood, we use a lot of foods rich in the mineral magnesium. Magnesium helps keep our hormones in check by regulating cortisol, activating vitamin D and keeping blood sugar stable. Magnesium is also responsible for the release and metabolism of many neurotransmitters and the depletion of it is often correlated with depression. Many studies have shown that mothers with PPD have lower levels of magnesium (which is often depleted in pregnancy) than those without.


Certain things, like refined-sugar (this includes refined carbs too!), affect us by messing with our insulin levels. In addition to just making us tired (through sugar spikes and crashes) high levels of insulin correlate with higher levels of testosterone and estrogen in the blood, which can lead to irritability, cravings and hormonal imbalance.


Any quick snacks you would suggest to aid in milk production?

Definitely! Instant oatmeal is one of the best and easiest. However, most instant oatmeals out there contain lots of refined sugar and other artificial ingredients. The first few months postpartum I craved a lot of oatmeal. I was craving flavors from my childhood like raisins + spice, bananas + cream, and maple brown sugar but didn’t want all the nasties that were in some of the big names. I started working on recipes for wholesome, healthier, organic versions of these classics with added nutritional benefits but all the same comforting flavor. We sell some of these awesome creations by the packet (like our organic “Sugar + Spice” made with coconut sugar, raisins, dates, chia seeds, and spices or our “Brewer’s Brown Sugar” made with maple crystals, brewer’s yeast, coconut sugar and oats). It’s great to have them on hand to prepare instantly with some hot water or to throw in a jar with some almond milk before bed for some yummy overnight oats.

Another great lactogenic snack to have on hand is hummus with flax crackers. Among many of their other benefits, chickpeas are rich in the micronutrient, choline, a precursor to acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter for memory and learning. Studies have shown that the amount of this beneficial developmental nutrient in a mother’s milk varies based on her personal consumption. At Barley + Oats we make a delicious roasted beet hummus for some extra beta-carotene and iron, served = with some homemade chia flax crackers, rich with Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

Ashly Yashchin Barley + Oats

Who makes the menus and prepares all the food?

The menus are designed by myself and I also partake in most of the preparation with a little help from kitchen assistants when needed.

Does Barley + Oats make meals for the whole family or just for the mama?

While the program is designed for mama, the food is delicious and full of nutritional benefits for the whole family. We offer family plans containing a starter, dinner, side(s) and dessert for the week for up to 4 family members (or more on request). The lactation snacks and granolas also make healthy, wholesome options for kids in delicious and fun flavors. We seriously can’t keep the Buckwheat Honey Grahams in stock when we bring them to family friendly parties with mini attendees.

What is your dream for Barley and Oats?

I would love to expand Barley + Oats nationally to help more moms and families (and transitively, their babies) during a time when they really need to feel nurtured and supported. I would love to see our wholesome, healthy lactation snacks on the shelves of bigger retailers (and etailers) like Whole Body, Amazon or Abe’s Market. And stay tuned, there may be a Barley + Oats postpartum + lactation cookbook in the works!

What’s the best business advice you ever received?

“Share your ideas!” Sometimes we get nervous that if we share our idea someone might take it and use it for their own. When we share our ideas and collaborate with others the outcome is always better than when we’re on our own.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love introducing moms to healthy recipes and reinventions of their favorite comfort foods. Really, I love turning people onto vegetables. Sometimes healthy food can be associated with bland and boring or dairy-free wheat free can make it seem like so many foods are off the table. When we use plant-based foods in creative ways we really can come up with absolutely delicious, nutritious alternatives. I love hearing people say “wow, this is healthy?”


When we use plant-based foods in creative ways we really can come up with absolutely delicious, nutritious alternatives. I love hearing people say “wow, this is healthy?”

Can you share a favorite recipe with us?

Sure! One of our client faves (as well as one of my personal ones) is our Bone Broth Barley Risotto w/Black Truffle. Bone broths are extremely mineral dense and healing in the postpartum (especially when made from organic, grass fed animals) and barley is one of the most lactogenic grains. The addition of black truffle makes the dish feel pampering at a time when we often put ourselves last.

Bone Broth Barley Risotto
Serves 2
1 cup whole grain hull-less barley, soaked overnight
2 cups organic, grass-fed beef bone broth w/collagen*
1 white onion
½ cup cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced
1 ear of fresh yellow corn, shucked or ½ cup frozen
sea salt
fresh black pepper
black truffle oil (garnish)
black truffle salt (garnish)

Drain and rinse barley.
Bring barley and 4 cups of salted water to boil.
Simmer barley for 1 ½ – 2 hours until extremely tender and hulls crack open. The water should turn a cloudy white.
Drain barley (you can reserve this water to make soups or smoothies with, it is extremely lactogenic and taken as a tonic in other cultures).
Cut your onion into small dice.
Skim collagen off the top of your broth and use to sweat your onion, adding a little salt to season.
Once the onions are translucent (about 8-10 minutes), add your mushrooms.
Cook down your mushrooms until they release all their moisture adding more salt and broth as necessary.
Add your corn.
Add your cooked barley 1 cup at a time followed by ½ cup broth letting the liquid come to a simmer each time in between until all of the broth and barley is used.
Season with salt + pepper.
Garnish with truffle oil + truffle salt. If you have fresh black truffle and want to shave it on, it’s even more divine.

Bone Broth Ingredients:
2 pounds organic, grass-fed beef marrow bones
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups carrots, roll cut
2 cups white onion, large dice
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, whole
1 T apple cider vinegar

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Lay bones out on baking sheet and drizzle with half of olive oil.
Roast 10-15 minutes until browned.
Sweat your carrots and onion with remaining olive oil in a slow cooker (or large pot) on low until translucent.
Add bones, peppercorns and enough water to cover (about 2 ½ quarts).
Add vinegar.
Cook on low 8-12 hours (the longer the better).
Strain broth into containers. Feel free to scrape the marrow out of the bones if any is left inside and let it melt into the broth or spread it on toast with some salt, caramelized onions and fig jam.

What’s been your biggest challenge in setting up Barley + Oats so far?
By far the biggest challenge has been creating enough time with my family and son. I began this company to help moms feel better and get more precious, happy time to spend with their newborns. However, starting it when I did, I jeopardized my own time with my baby and family. I’ve been trying to keep my perspective in check and realize that sometimes we just have to do the best we can. And if that means I have to grow a little slower so that I don’t miss out on my little ones firsts, then that’s just what I’ll have to do.

Do you still cook for your family when you get home from a full day of cooking for Barley + Oats?

Ah, the dreaded question. Not nearly as much as I used to. My husband eats a lot of spare Barley + Oats samples. I can never go more than 1 day without itching to get back in the kitchen though and I still cook just for us at least 2 nights per week.

Have you always been into cooking? Is this something you shared with your family growing up?

100%. I have loved cooking and food for as long as I could remember. Cooking at home was mostly from boxes, but almost every weekend I would pick out a recipe to take to my grandmas that we could cook together. I remember as a little girl, when the family would gather there on the weekends, I would walk around with a little pad and pen asking everyone what they would like in their omelets for brunch. My grandpa would set out all the toppings in little dishes and put the eggs in a pancake pourer for me. Then him and my grandma would watch me as I stood on a chair to flip and fill omelettes.

Do you have any tips for how we can share the experience for cooking healthy foods with our kids?

I think allowing them to make choices (within boundaries) is huge. For example, when you take them to the farmer’s market, allow them to choose what vegetable they want to try to cook versus picking for them. Or if you do pick, perhaps let them choose how to prepare it (i.e. roast, saute, puree, etc.). I believe that they are much more apt to be interested in cooking and eating when they play a role in the decision making process. My son is only 6 months old though so we have yet to test this theory :).

A lot of  kids are really picky eaters, do you think the way you eat when you’re breastfeeding affects their developing palates? Or is it just a natural stage? How can we  help our kids to be more open to trying new foods? 

I think it’s a little bit of both. Several studies (like this one here) have shown that breastfed babies are more apt to try new foods as children (and even enjoy vegetables!) due to their exposure to tastes from a mother’s milk. It is true that the taste profile of a mother’s milk does vary based on her food consumption. You don’t get this kind of flavor variation in formula (although that’s not a bad idea for a new product). That said, as kids get a little bit older and they start interacting with other kids and being exposed to media I think they shape some of their food ideas around what they see and experience. For example, if their friends say “broccoli’s gross” they may say it too just to “fit in.” Or if their friends are eating cookies and soda, they’ll want to do it too. I think we can help our kids be open to new foods by first and foremost, choosing the highest quality ingredients that we can afford and trying to prepare them in the most delicious way. There is a big difference between canned green beans heated in the microwave and farm fresh ones sauteed in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. I also believe in not forcing it. If your child doesn’t like something the first time move on, but try it again later, prepared a different way. Even adults take a few trys to like new tastes in most cases (I was this way with sushi and even my now favorite, truffle).

You can learn more about Ashly on her heymama profile here, and Barley + Oats here.

#LADYBOSS, Beauty, Health, Lifestyle, Travel

#LADYBOSS: Supergoop! Founder Holly Thaggard Works To Get Sun Protection Into Schools

November 9, 2015
Holly Thaggard

Winter is just around the corner and we’ve got you covered with our awesome package of beach ready goodies to kick-start your winter vacation. Sign up to win over $2,000 prizes from Kid & Coe, Sakara, Sunuva, Supergoop!, Lem LemMini-Mode  here. While daydreaming about a beach get-a-way and making our packing list Supergoop! always makes the list. So it was a no brainer to get them on board for our Ocean Air, Salty Hair Giveaway!

Every summer and vacation we’re really diligent about coating ourselves and our little ones in sunscreen. What we didn’t think about was all the time kids spend outside during the school day, while at the playground, with no protection at all. Holly Thaggard started Supergoop! to create feel good sun protection. She started Project Black Dot to raise awareness and get the message out that kids need to be allowed to wear sunscreen in schools; to do this in most states kids need a signed permission slip to be able to apply their own sunscreen. Project Black Dot provides a simple, sunscreen permission slip found on, to tackle this issue as well as educate parents and policy makers about the importance of updating antiquated laws that exist today. Let’s protect our kids at school the same way we protect them at the beach!



What motivated you to start Supergoop!?

My close friend was diagnosed with melanoma when we were 29 years old. It was shocking to me that someone so young and healthy could get skin cancer. Through this experience I learned the alarming reality that one in five people will be diagnosed with skin caner. It’s the most common cancer in the United States and a majority of the damage that leads to skin cancer later in life is actually done during childhood as kids are exposed to 3 times more sun than adults. In exploring the market for a product that I would use to protect my family, the products that were available in suncare were chock full of harmful ingredients and simply didn’t feel good on the skin. This was my motivation to create a brand that stood for feel-good UV protection without all of the controversial ingredients.

….a majority of the damage that leads to skin cancer later in life is actually done during childhood as kids are exposed to 3 times more sun than adults.


How is Supergoop! different than other sun blocks on the market?

Supergoop! is 100% dedicated to delivering highly efficacious UV protection in the form of multifunctional products that feel great on the skin. Most suncare products contain skin-irritating ingredients like oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate and various parabens. While these ingredients are effective UV filters and preservative systems, they often are the agents responsible for skin irritation and potentially cancer. Supergoop! delivers not only highly efficacious UV protection without the use of these unhealthy ingredients but when you compare price per ounce, our products are only a slight premium to drugstore prices. And best of all, Supergoop! actually feels good on the skin! You want to apply your sun protection every single day when it feels good, and this daily regimen is the path we believe is going to stop the epidemic of skin cancer.

Holly Thaggard of Supergoop

Tell us your start up story? What’s your background?

I grew up wanting to do nothing but two things: be a teacher and perform as harpist. While most of my twenties were spent as a professional harpist, I did teach third grade right out of college. After my friend was diagnosed with skin cancer, I reflected back quite a bit on my time as a teacher. I realized that as an educator in the U.S., we teach kids a myriad of daily healthy habits — how to brush their teeth, wear a seat belt, look both ways when crossing the street, but healthy skincare habits were never even a consideration . I never once saw sunscreens at school yet the kids were on the playground under the intense sun at peak hours every single day. So while my time in the classroom was short, I still feel today that I’m fulfilling a life of teaching, only not from within the four walls of a classroom.


Where you self funded or did raise money?

Supergoop! was self funded for the first several years and well into our retail launch. I was still learning about the suncare and beauty industry and really feeling my way around and gauging consumer interest in the brand. Once we had some serious traction as a likeable and real brand in key markets, my brother invested. This investment helped me continue building on significant year over year growth and only recently we closed our Series A round that includes strategic investors in the world of beauty and personal care.


What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? 

I love reading non-fiction, real stories of brand building. Pretty early on I ran across some entrepreneurial advice in that “it takes a lifetime to be an overnight success”. While I’m a big fan of Sharktank and my DVR is filled with past episodes, the perception that every company can get the awareness, the following and the revenues in a quick 15 minutes of fame can be misleading to young entrepreneurs. When starting a company, it’s important for entrepreneurs to understand and accept that it will often take 10 times longer than they expect. But, if they keep their head down, and are willing to work hard it will eventually pay off. It just might not happen tomorrow.


 Pretty early on I ran across some entrepreneurial advice in that “it takes a lifetime to be an overnight success”….When starting a company, it’s important for entrepreneurs to understand and accept that it will often take 10 times longer than they expect.


What is something in your career that you see as a marker for success, a moment you’ve had or are working towards when you feel Supergoop! is a success?

I’ve always been a big fan of writing things down. Recently my mother reminded me that my mirror in my bathroom growing up was filled with colored sticky notes that included my daily, weekly and monthly goals. I’ve definitely held myself accountable on paper to reaching very specific social and financial goals and it is always nice to reflect back and see that your hopes match a reality.

That said, one specific moment that really made me feel our brand was making a difference happened a couple of years ago while standing in the security line in the San Francisco airport with my Supergoop! tote in tow. A mother with her family in front of me noticed my tote and commented that they love Supergoop! while pulling a tube of lotion out of her handbag. Then without pause, the couple behind me blurted out their love for Supergoop! too and the gentlemen pulled a lip balm out of his pocket. It was a pretty proud moment for me.

Holly Thaggard and her family playing soccer

Do you have an advisory board? If so how did you go about building that?

My co-owner, Maria Sharapova, and I are just now today in discussion about putting a very informal advisory board together to bounce ideas around. I believe that one of the real benefits of being a young brand is that you can be quick. There really weren’t too many people early on to get in the way of the vision I had for Supergoop!. Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry, of Method, say that when you’re small, being faster than your competitors is your biggest and sometimes only advantage. I believe in this whole-heartedly.


What’s a good way to start talking to your kids about the dangers of the sun and applying sun block? Is there a way we can make this fun and start out kids early?

At Supergoop!, education is one of our main priorities. Healthy habits are most easily formed and followed if they are started early in life and so youth education is paramount. SPF application should be as common for kids as brushing their teeth and washing their hands. I’ve found in my own life that my children are most receptive to new habits if they feel ownership over them, so I always encouraged them to not only wear sunscreen, but in fact be the one responsible for applying it. If your children are old enough to brush their teeth, they are certainly old enough to apply their suncare.

The trick is to make it fun –which is where Supergoop! comes in. We’ve got some great ways to make getting “goop-ed up” a bit more playful. Parents can encourage their kids to make a living art project by creating fun shapes with sunscreen like squiggles, dots, stars and hearts. My daughter Emery actually loves drawing smiley faces on her pink Beauty Blender before applying to her face, neck and ears. By using a beauty tool, this makes her feel very grown up. I’ve also been known to randomly ask both of my kids if they are wearing Supergoop! at any given time of day. If they can both honestly answer yes, we drop everything and head to the toy store. This also makes them look out for each other when I’m not around because if one can’t answer yes to this question, they both lose!


The trick is to make it fun –which is where Supergoop! comes in…Parents can encourage their kids to make a living art project by creating fun shapes with sunscreen like squiggles, dots, stars and hearts.


What is you favorite Supergoop! product?

While my favorite is always the formula I’ve most recently been working on in the lab, our Sun Defying Sunscreen Oil SPF 50 is in every bag I own. I’ve always loved how bath oils feel on the skin –how luxurious and hydrating they are and how they make your skin glow. I felt if we could layer a beauty oil with a foundation of broad spectrum, high SPF protection without a drop of greasiness, we could prevent photoaging, and this would be the ultimate skincare multitasker. It is really a beautiful formulation and I’m very proud of our work on this one.


What sun protection should we be wearing every day? Not just when we are at the beach, but during our normal city life?

Hands down our City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30 is the holy grail of multifunction. It is super lightweight and milky and it not only protects the skin from day to day sun exposure but it also counteracts the signs of aging and acts as a great moisturizer and primer for under your foundation or CC cream. This is also the go-to product for many of our male customers. It’s not a bit shiny on the skin and doesn’t leave a white build-up on facial hair.


I’ve heard that some SPF’s can be bad for you. What kind of ingredients should we beware of on sunblock labels?

Steer clear of parabens, synthetic fragrances and oxybenzone. Oxybenzone, declared Allergen of the Year by the American Academy of Dermatology, has also been connected to hormone disruption and cell damage that can cause skin cancer. Another ingredient to avoid is Retinyl Palmitate (vitamin A) as studies suggest that while this is an antioxidant, it can actually accelerate growth of skin cancers. SPF’s over SPF 50 can also be irritating and the SPF benefits reach their maximum at 50.


How did you meet Maria Sharapova and how did you become business partners?

Maria has actually been a huge fan of Supergoop! for years. She really believed in our product line from the beginning for its efficacy and performance in high pressure situations. She also really appreciated that our formulas feel great on your skin.

When we first met in person, I think what quickly resonated with her, and ultimately why she wanted to make an investment in Supergoop!, was the realization that she could genuinely help deliver our message of skin cancer prevention and education to a larger audience and so, here we are!

kids holding signed slips

What is Project Black Dot?

Project Black Dot is our education and awareness platform that is the foundation around which we will launch various activism projects with the mission to end the epidemic of skin cancer. Maria and I are both so excited to share our passion and help start this critical conversation about skin cancer prevention while delivering simple, convenient tools to help everyone embrace healthy sun protection habits.

Our first project, Project Permission, calls attention to the current regulations on sunscreen in U.S. public schools. Because children are exposed to three times more UV than adults, and we know that no SPF provides all day protectionMost people are surprised to learn that because SPF is an over the counter drug, per FDA, this classification restricts children from carrying and applying sunscreen during the school day without a signed permission slip. Kids really need to have access to suncare during the school day. By providing a simple, sunscreen permission slip found on, we can tackle this issue as well as educate parents and policy makers about the importance of updating antiquated laws that exist today.


Children are exposed to three times more UV than adults, and we know that no SPF provides all day protection. Most people are surprised to learn that because SPF is an over the counter drug, per FDA, this classification restricts children from carrying and applying sunscreen during the school day without a signed permission slip. Kids really need to have access to suncare during the school day.


You can learn more about Supergoop! here, follow Supergoop! on Instagram here, Project Black Dot here, and follow Holly on Instagram here.