300th Episode: Best of 2019 + Wellnesse!

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

This episode is brought to you by Four Sigmatic, my source for superfood coffees, teas and elixirs that contain powerhouse mushrooms for better performance, sleep and health. I’ve been asked several times what the name means and it’s a cool story. Basically, if you put all the foods in the world on a scale from bad to good, many would fall in the middle as average. The farther you get away from the average, the more rare it is, and the more “sigmas” it has. Only 50 superfoods in the world qualify as four sigmas away from the average… these are the best of the best, the highest quality, and the products Four Sigmatic uses in their products. My favorites are the coffee with lions mane in the morning, reishi elixer or reishi cocoa at night to wind down, and any of their other products in between. My kids love their chai and superfood hot cocoa but I’d recommend all of their products. Save 15% on any order with the code wellnessmama at foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama

This podcast is brought to you by Radiant Life Catalog. Radiant Life is a woman-owned, family-run online health and wellness company specializing in food-based supplements, nutrient dense foods, eco-friendly housewares and water filtration and purification. After spending over 20 years in the health industry, Radiant Life realized that one of the overlooked components of wellbeing is access to clean, healthy and hydrating water. Now, they have a range of filters that fix this for every type of house and budget from counter top to under counter and even whole house like the one we have. Their systems are crafted with a health and wellness focus. They improve the taste and smell of water but, more importantly, they remove a wide range of potentially harmful contaminants. They also have and in-house water expert is available all the time to guide you through the system selection process and answer all of your questions via phone or email. Their systems are also designed and built in the USA and really high quality. Go to radiantlife.com/wellnessmama and get $200 off a Whole House or 14-Stage Water System with the code WMPODCAST.

Hello, and welcome to “The Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and this is the 300th episode of this podcast. I’m so grateful that you are joining me and thank you for listening as long as you’ve listened. Happy holidays to you, to your family. I hope that you’re having a wonderful week. And at first, I just really want to say how grateful I truly am for you for being part of this journey and for being here, whether you’ve just joined and you’re a new listener or reader or you’ve been with me for a long time. I’m so honored and grateful that you share your time with me. I know I say that almost every episode, but I know that your time is your most valuable asset and it is an honor that you would choose to share yours with me. And before I get into a recap of the last 100 episodes and highlights from the year, I finally get to share a super exciting, big announcement about a project I have been working on for over a decade and can now finally share with you.

I co-founded a new company called Wellnesse, and we’ve created a line of personal care products based on the recipes I’ve been making and perfecting in my kitchen for a decade. I realized I needed to make these products available widely when I found out that some of my most naturally minded friends were still using conventional personal care products like toothpaste and shampoo because while they wanted to live naturally, they weren’t willing to sacrifice how their hair felt or how their teeth felt or smelled or settle for products that didn’t work as well. So, here’s the thing, there are a lot of natural products out there and a lot of them don’t work as well as conventional alternatives. And there’s a lot of products that work really well, but many of them contain ingredients that a lot of us prefer to avoid in our homes or on our skin.

So, I set out to create products that accomplish both, by being highly effective and still completely safe. And after many, many rounds of formulation, I’m so excited to finally get to start sharing these products with you. At Wellnesse, we focus on creating products that aren’t just safe to put on your skin or your hair or in your mouth, but actually beneficial to do. We don’t just avoid the bad stuff. We also make sure we add beneficial ingredients so that you can nourish yourself from the outside in as well as from the inside out. You may know that a lot of things used in personal care products aren’t tested or approved for safety. It’s probably worse than you think though. This has been a really eye-opening process as we’ve formulated and created these products because I found so much information out that I even I wasn’t aware of after doing a lot of research in this industry for years.

It’s a common misconception that skin care ingredients must be proven safe and effective before they’re allowed on the market. And that’s actually not true. And what’s even worse is the FDA doesn’t actually have the authority in a lot of cases to ban skin care ingredients, even if there’s strong evidence of them being dangerous. So, as an example, you might have heard a lot of the news involving talcum powder and products that contain talcum powder, things like make-up and baby powder are frequently contaminated with asbestos which is linked to cancer. There were a lot of court proceedings that found that one major company knew about this for decades and they’ve now paid millions in damages. There’s still lawsuits coming in for this. I believe there’s actually over 15,000 lawsuits. But here’s the crazy part, you would think with all of that happening, this ingredient would be pulled from the shelves, right? Like they would stop using it. That’s actually not the case. The same products are being sold in stores. We’re still using baby powder on babies and it’s still causing harm.

So, it’s a lot of really interesting information when it comes to the regulation of personal care products and it’s not something we can fully trust the government or the FDA to regulate for us. And it’s part of the reason that I’m so dedicated in this new project to radical transparency so that the consumers have full information to make these decisions. There’s also the issue in the natural products world of greenwashing. So, a lot of companies have gotten savvy to the fact that we as consumers want safer and natural products for our families. And this is great. This is driving positive change and I have certainly seen huge changes in the landscape of the market even just since I started this journey and you probably have too.

But not everything is as it seems. The beauty industry especially is largely self-regulated and skin care companies can dress up labels with natural-looking terms and a lot of them don’t necessarily mean anything and they aren’t regulated. So, even if they’re using these terms, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can trust them.

On the flip side, there’s also the misconception that if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, then you shouldn’t use it. And I’ve even said this relating to food because in most cases I feel like we should eat ingredients, not food made with ingredients, but in the personal care world, it’s a little more nuanced than that. So, I always read the ingredients on any skin care product. And just because it’s not pronounceable doesn’t mean an ingredient is necessarily bad. As an example, alpha-tocopherol may sound like a toxic chemical, but it’s actually vitamin E. Shea butter is listed on a lot of product packaging as Butyrospermum parkii and those are both natural products.

So, when in doubt, definitely do some research. And like I said, we go out of our way to make sure that we explain what the ingredients are, where they came from, why they’re beneficial and important and show the sourcing because I feel like that that level of transparency is the antidote to a lot of these problems that we’re seeing in the world today. So, like I said, to that end, at Wellnesse, we are completely dedicated to radical transparency and honesty. And we believe that it’s not only possible, but absolutely essential to create products that are safe for humans and safe for the planet. And this is something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time. And I waited until I knew that we could execute both of those really, really well because I wasn’t willing to compromise on either one. Just to share a little bit about the inner workings and the mission, because like I said, I think you guys as consumers having this information is so important.

At Wellnesse, we believe that well-run businesses can have a huge, positive impact on the world. And that’s why we run Wellnesse with an unwavering commitment to our core values in every decision that we make. And we run every decision through these criteria. So, first of all, anything that we’re going to put into any of the products has to be of the highest quality. We’ll never compromise on quality and we will choose options that are best for both people and the planet. And we make sure that everything we formulate is human safe because we love you guys, the families who use our products and we want to make sure that all of the ingredients that we use are rated as safe by the Environmental Working Group so that you can rest easy knowing that your family is safe. And on top of that, we combine the latest in scientific research with the best of nature so that we add beneficial ingredients into these products so that they’re actually doing good on your skin or in your hair or in your mouth.

At the same time, we are unwavering in our commitment to be planet safe because we wholeheartedly believe that products can and should be safe for both people and the environment at the same time. And we take the planet into account with every ingredient we choose and every decision we make. We want to make sure things are environmentally friendly and sustainable and we want to contribute to leaving our world a better place for our children and grandchildren. And so, we are committed to making decisions that last longer than we will. At the same time, if you’ve been a listener of this podcast, you know that I am really big on community and the important role it has in all of our lives and I think it’s truly one of the most important things we can do for our health is to nurture strong community. So, to that end, we built it into the structure of Wellnesse to support families at every level of our business.

So, in our decision-making, we look at and evaluate how they’ll affect the families of our team members, the families of our customers and families in our local community. And we believe that cultivating a strong community is one of the most important things we can do in this life. And we work toward that goal in our company culture, in our own families and in our local communities. And as part of that, we also give a percentage of time and profit to our local community organizations that support families or the environment.

We also have an unwavering and non-negotiable commitment to integrity and transparency. So, I mentioned this a couple of times, but I never want anyone to have to wonder about the safety of our products or what we put in them. And you won’t because we’re going to tell you and show you their sourcing on the website and anywhere and make it easily available.

And like I said, we also are committed to thinking outside the box. We believe that it isn’t just possible but essential to create products and solutions where the customer wins, the community wins, the planet wins and the company wins. And so, to this end, we spend a lot of time and money innovating and are uncompromising and sticking to these core values. So, to get into a little bit more detail about the products themselves, you’ve probably heard that much of what you put on your skin, in your hair or in your mouth is absorbed into your body and into your bloodstream. It’s the reason that we hear statistics like the 200 plus chemicals that many babies are born with already in their bloodstream because even in utero, many of these things from personal care products can cross into the blood. And so, this was something we looked at when we were formulating products and we kind of wanted to flip it on its head.

So, like I mentioned in the beginning, rather than just avoiding the bad stuff, which is a given, we also wanted to put the beneficial stuff in. And so, every ingredient in every product is chosen really carefully to be, like I said, synergistic for your body and for the planet, but also to contain beneficial ingredients. And I’ll go through a few of those right now. So, in just about a week, or on January 6th, we are going to be…these products will be available for the first time publicly on our website at wellnesse.com. And at that time, there will be five products available, which will be toothpaste and then four different kinds of hair care so, shampoo and conditioner for regular hair and shampoo and conditioner for thick and curly hair. And I want to just share in the idea of transparency, a lot of the thought that went into these products.

So, the toothpaste is the first natural toothpaste that works like regular toothpaste, but that does not contain glycerin or fluoride. And like I said, we didn’t just avoid the bad stuff. So, instead of fluoride, our formula uses green tea leaf extract, which is really high in antioxidants and there’s a phytochemical in green tea that has shown to fight bacteria, especially the bacteria called strep mutans, which leads to tooth decay. We combined this phytochemical with something called hydroxyapatite, which is a naturally occurring mineral and the main component of tooth enamel to strengthen teeth and help avoid cavities. And the reason for this is two-fold and it’s important. So, avoiding the glycerin lets these minerals connect to the teeth more easily, which also has an inadvertent whitening effect. And the green tea helps fight the strep mutans bacteria, which helps keep a good balance of bacteria in the mouth.

And of course, another goal of toothpaste is to have fresh breath. So, we also use mint leaf extract and neem. And neem is another cool one because it prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth and turning into plaque. It also does fight strep mutans as well. So, we’ve tried to add ingredients that were beneficial and uplifting and mineralizing and also that would help the bacterial balance of the oral microbiome as well. And so, I said we also did…actually before we move on to hair care, a little bit of story about why toothpaste first. So, probably 12 years ago now, early on in my health journey when I still had a lot of health problems and was still trying to figure out what was going on with my health, I also had several cavities, which is not uncommon when having several pregnancies in a row, but I had several cavities and was told that I needed to have them filled.

And life happened and it got busy and in the meantime, I had started researching basically what causes cavities, how I could avoid them in the future. And I came across some really fascinating research by Dr. Weston A. Price and by these two doctors, Dr. Mellanby, a husband and wife team, and really delved into this entire world of the idea of remineralization and whether teeth could heal themselves, and if so, how that looked. And this went down a huge rabbit hole for me of learning that teeth could indeed remineralize. And I’ve confirmed this with several dentists podcast guests who confirmed that yes, to a certain point, teeth can remineralize, especially if the cavities are not all the way through the enamel and into the dentin and how this process works. So, there’s this kind of symphony of things that have to happen involving minerals, fat soluble vitamins.

Basically, what’s going in the body is important and also what’s going on the body. And I’ve written about this whole process quite a bit. I’ll make sure those links are in the show notes. But oral health has been a research topic for me for well over a decade. And I think that this information is just really starting to kind of penetrate the mainstream. And I wanted to design a toothpaste that was really easy to use for any consumer, even one who maybe not is even into natural health at all, that worked as well as what the experience they would have with their regular toothpaste, but that supported that mineral process and supported those healthy fats and all the important things the mouth needs. So, the toothpaste especially has been in development for over a decade. It’s been through between my own work and then working with a chemist and a formulation team, it’s been through about 97 iterations. And I’m really excited to have finally gotten this formula perfected and have no glycerin, no fluoride, and all those beneficial ingredients.

The same thing when it comes to hair care. So, we didn’t want to just avoid the bad stuff. We wanted to put the good stuff in as well. So, we used things like keratin, quinoa and chamomile to infuse moisture and create natural suds and to cleanse the hair and scalp so that hair stays smooth. We used a provitamin of B5 to moisturize hair. And then I wanted to add in beneficial herbs. So, we use lavender, which helps make hair silky and soft but also has been shown to be good for hair growth and for keeping hair from falling. And another ingredient you may not have heard of yet but you might have if you read Wellness Mama and that you’ll grow to love is nettle leaf.

And I was really wanting to make sure we included nettle in our hair care formula because nettle is rich in both silica and sulfur, which are known to support regrowth and strengthen hair. So, sulfur especially is a component of keratin, which is the key protein that makes up our hair. And when it’s used, it lengthens the growing phase. It’s also been suggested that nettle leaf can help restore hair to its original color. And I don’t have a ton of supporting evidence for that and I haven’t been able to test that because my hair is its original color but it’s really fascinating to look at the research on the growing phase. So, part of the equation of hair loss is what hairs are growing versus which hairs are resting and have fallen out. And so, when you can lengthen the growing phase, you basically are upping the ratio of hair that’s growing to hair that’s falling out, which makes your hair over time thicker.

And so, we include those things at all of the hair care and have innovated with some really amazing natural scents as well. So, there’s an all-hair formula and then there’s also, like I said, the thicker or curly hair formula. And the innovation doesn’t stop there. We’re going to continue releasing products next year. So, if you can get on the VIP list at wellnesse.com, you’ll be the first to know about dry shampoo, about sunscreen that I’m really excited about, that is reef safe and earth safe and works incredibly well. A lot of the products that you may have seen on Wellness Mama will be available to purchase through Wellnesse within the next year, including things like bug spray, skin care. Really excited for what I’ll be able to share with you guys soon. And we’re also working on innovating constantly in packaging and in the company. And it was really important to me that this company be a force for good and a force for families and a force for the planet.

So, even the packaging, we’re constantly innovating in this and we’ll continue to get even more eco-friendly and sustainable in any way that we can. And this is something we have…as a team, we are constantly looking for solutions for. We’re currently using a sustainably sourced sugarcane that is carbon neutral and that actually is safer for the planet that can be recycled. And we explain a lot about that on the website. But even in the packaging, I wanted to make sure that we were planet safe and human safe. In the name of transparency, we are also something called a PBC, which means public benefit corp, which basically designates the fact that we don’t have to just look at profit because it’s obviously not just about profit to us at all. And we can evaluate things like customer safety and planet safety and the environment and all these things in our decision making.

And to this end, we have applied for both Certified B Corp and to become EWG verified for all of our products. And the website will reflect both of those once we get through the process, but we are in process with them right now and we will be as such sharing and being very transparent with, like I said, our sourcing with our company, like with the charitable and environmental aspects and initiatives that we include. And it’s also important to us, like I said, to be a force for good with people and with the environment. So, we have from the very beginning, charitable donations built in to organizations that support families and that support the environment. So, any purchase to Wellnesse is also benefiting both people and the environment in that way. So, like I said, I am over the moon excited to finally, finally get to get these products in your hands. I can’t wait to hear any and all feedback that you have and I can’t wait to continue to bring things like this and to problem-solve for families because like I said, I think this is a big need and one that hasn’t been fully addressed. And I think that in doing this we’ve created products that are really family safe, really easy to use and that will hopefully also make the world a better place.

And I’m going to keep this episode short, but I just wanted to go through a quick review as well of some highlights of the last year and the last 100 episodes of this podcast which have flown by. It’s such an honor. I’m so grateful every day that I get to talk to all of these amazing people and that I actually get to call that a job. And I wanted to share some of the ones that we got the most feedback on in case you haven’t heard them. And if you’re listening while you’re driving or exercising, I will make sure all of these are linked at wellnessmama.fm so you don’t have to worry about finding them while you’re on the go. But just hearing a few podcasts that I certainly really enjoyed and that got tremendous feedback from all of you guys.

One that comes to mind immediately was with Dr. Kelly Brogan where she got very vulnerable about her dark night of the soul and her own journey over the last couple of years. If you’re not familiar with Kelly, she is a doctor who’s worked with thousands of women and who stopped prescribing psychiatric medication and really began looking at the root cause with women rather than just prescribing. And she’s been through, as she shares in this podcast, a really incredible personal and transformational journey over the last couple of years that really seemed to resonate with a lot of you and certainly with me. And I got very vulnerable in this episode as well and shared a lot of what I had been through in the last couple of years and I think based on the feedback, it was an episode that really resonated with a lot of you. Another episode that comes to mind immediately is with Tina Anderson of Just Thrive Probiotics. You guys really loved her. I love her both as a friend and her company. And in that episode, we went really deep about probiotics, what you need to know about them and some things that you…that may be misconceptions that might be having you spent a lot of money on probiotics that aren’t necessarily reaching where they need to in your gut.

So, for instance, a lot of people believe that refrigerated probiotics are best and she explained how if it can’t survive normal room temperature, it’s likely not going to survive your stomach acid or the heat of your body and what kind of probiotics actually can survive and what the studies show on how and what form of probiotics actually reach where they need to in the gut. She also talks about another nutrient in that episode that is linked to up to a seven-year extension of lifespan and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and all cause mortality. So, a very fascinating, action-packed interview. It’ll also be linked in the show notes.

I personally really enjoyed and you guys apparently did too, both of my episodes with Dr. Chris Masterjohn. If you’re not familiar with him, he is a Ph.D. researcher and one of the smartest people I have ever met. He has a great guide that goes into all of the different…like into pretty much every nutrient. And he also does a free Facebook messenger course on this on his Facebook page. So, you can just find that by searching Dr. Chris Masterjohn. He gives an incredible number of practical tips in that episode, including things like a nutrient called pantothenic acid can be helpful for those with certain types of acne and is especially usually helpful for teenage boys. And he explains it well, but it’s something to do with unmetabolized cholesterol and testosterone. And I wondered if that might also help my hormonal acne that was happening occasionally, but during certain parts of my cycle and it completely resolved it. So, very practical, action and tip-packed episodes from him. There’s two of them.

And another one that probably I think got the most feedback, both on-site and on Instagram, was called “Solving Joint Pain and Why Sports Aren’t Good For Kids” with Hunter Cook of Hunter Fitness. And I know that last part of the title is a little bit controversial, especially sports not being good for kids. But Hunter really explains…and this is something he doesn’t talk about a lot because he works more with adults and celebrities and athletes, but how those repetitive movements at such a young age can have really far-reaching and unintended effects for these kids. He also talks about how we can actually properly care for our joints, especially as we get older, which was really important and fascinating for me. And I will say, Hunter has something called CARs, which are I believe Controlled Articular Rotations of every joint with the idea that in order to get nutrients into the joint, we have to create a full range of motion of that joint and that we should be constantly working to protect and improve that range of motion. And he has a system for doing that that I do every single morning. And I’m also a member of his online community where he teaches classes. But I have seen him work absolute miracles with people and would highly recommend that podcast, especially if your kids play sports.

Another personal favorite that got great feedback was with Ari Whitten on “Fighting Fatigue and Anxiety With Sauna, Hormesis, NRF2 and Sun Exposure.” And this one is really far-reaching and a little bit controversial. We talk about things for instance, like why the sun is actually necessary for health and how avoiding it can really, really be problematic for a lot of people. We go deep on the many benefits of sauna and how there’s really science-backed benefits in a lot of different areas. We talked about hormesis, which if you’re not familiar with it, it’s pretty much the idea that some types of stress are good for the body and how you can create those kinds of good stress and avoid going into the bad stress territory. It’s a really interesting episode. I highly recommend.

There was another controversial one with Dr. Jolene Brighten called “Science-Backed Reasons to Ditch the Pill and What to Do Instead.” And she’s one of the foremost researchers on female hormones and has helped thousands and thousands of women get off of hormonal contraceptives with minimal side effects and take charge of their fertility using natural methods. And she’s just a wealth of knowledge. That episode is also packed with so much information and she shares both from her research and also from personal experience. So, if that’s something that’s relevant to you, I highly recommend that episode as well.

And lastly, “Using the Metabolism Reset Diet to Support Liver Health” with Dr. Alan Christianson, who is the first doctor who diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s and began my journey toward healing. He’s also the one that told me about eating broccoli sprouts regularly for the sulforaphane and how that’s beneficial to the body. I have learned so much from Alan over the years and have had him on the podcast for multiple times. This one was really, really good because he breaks down why it’s so important to support liver health. I mean the liver is a master organ and we know it has far-reaching effects in the whole body, but he really breaks it down and explains how and why to support liver health and also how to combat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is on the rise in today’s world, really drastically on the rise.

This episode is brought to you by Four Sigmatic, my source for superfood coffees, teas and elixirs that contain powerhouse mushrooms for better performance, sleep and health. I’ve been asked several times what the name means and it’s a cool story. Basically, if you put all the foods in the world on a scale from bad to good, many would fall in the middle as average. The farther you get away from the average, the more rare it is, and the more “sigmas” it has. Only 50 superfoods in the world qualify as four sigmas away from the average… these are the best of the best, the highest quality, and the products Four Sigmatic uses in their products. My favorites are the coffee with lions mane in the morning, reishi elixer or reishi cocoa at night to wind down, and any of their other products in between. My kids love their chai and superfood hot cocoa but I’d recommend all of their products. Save 15% on any order with the code wellnessmama at foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama

This podcast is brought to you by Radiant Life Catalog. Radiant Life is a woman-owned, family-run online health and wellness company specializing in food-based supplements, nutrient dense foods, eco-friendly housewares and water filtration and purification. After spending over 20 years in the health industry, Radiant Life realized that one of the overlooked components of wellbeing is access to clean, healthy and hydrating water. Now, they have a range of filters that fix this for every type of house and budget from counter top to under counter and even whole house like the one we have. Their systems are crafted with a health and wellness focus. They improve the taste and smell of water but, more importantly, they remove a wide range of potentially harmful contaminants. They also have and in-house water expert is available all the time to guide you through the system selection process and answer all of your questions via phone or email. Their systems are also designed and built in the USA and really high quality. Go to radiantlife.com/wellnessmama and get $200 off a Whole House or 14-Stage Water System with the code WMPODCAST.

And lastly, just to recap a little bit and to get a little personal from my past year and I would love to hear from you what your year has been like. This one, as you might imagine, has been really busy for me with the growth of Wellnesse and trying to get ready to release products.

I have been on over 70 flights this year. I have been to I believe 4 countries and 12 states if I’m remembering. And I’ve been through a lot of personal and emotional growth that led to an inadvertent 50-pound weight loss without changing anything else including my diet and my lifestyle, which sounds crazy. I will do a whole podcast on that after the new year that really elaborates what that process was like. But, it’s been a year of friction and personal growth for me. Our past podcast guest, Aaron Alexander had a great quote, “Never waste a trigger.” And I feel like that’s been my motto of this year as I kind of had to tackle a lot of things that I was kind of ignoring and suppressing emotionally and all the things that came with that. And that was like I said, pivotal to me in the physical transformation that happened inadvertently when I was finally able to deal with the mental and emotional side.

So, like I said, I’ll elaborate that…on that much more, but it’s been a year of tackling fears and big challenges, but that as things start to calm down, hopefully, has had a really beneficial effect on me.

And a few highlights, I always love hearing highlights from people’s years. Like I said, if you want to reach out on social media or in the comments of this podcast, I would love to hear highlights from your year. Mine started with a trip to Finland with Four Sigmatic. It was kind of a research and experience trip. I’ve loved and worked with Four Sigmatic for a very long time and getting to go to Northern Finland in January was absolutely a highlight of the year and probably one of the experiences that started the stretching of the comfort zone, because I knew before we went that we were going to have to do a cold plunge and a sauna, which I was really excited but also nervous about because while I do those things here, we were going to be in a sauna there that got over 200 degrees Fahrenheit and we were then going to get into cold water that was a negative 24 degrees I believe, or not 24 degrees water, negative 24 degrees air temperature.

And the only reason the water wasn’t frozen is that it was moving and they had cut a hole in the ice so that we could get into the water. And what was interesting for me in that moment, I was a little bit nervous about the cold, but I figured I’d be okay with that. I was more nervous in having to face being on camera and being around other people in a bathing suit because a lot of the other people on the trip were literally Instagram models and it brought up a lot of the insecurities and body issues that I had been trying to suppress for a really long time and conquering that and getting in the cold water, but more importantly like facing those body issues I think really started a cascade of things that would lead me to work through a lot of other emotional things as well. So, like I said, more to come on that.

Also, we got a chance as a family, my husband and I to take our kids to California with us for several weeks. We had a bunch of meetings back to back.
And so, whenever possible we try to travel with the kids and we took our older kids to something called Expo West, which is a huge fair of natural products. And this was in research for Wellnesse, but it was also really fun to let the kids to be involved in the business and to start to learn that world. And then as far as travel goes, another highlight, I just returned from Cuba and that trip was really centering and I came home with just such immense gratitude for how incredibly wonderful and easy we have life here. And also just so much love for the Cuban people who for all of the politics aside, they have really suffered as a result of all the political stuff and yet they are the so friendly, so kind. We felt completely safe and welcomed the entire time there and we got to help and supported the Cuban people, helped the people there, give some things to children and learn and see the history there. So, that was an incredible trip that really just reminded me of how much gratitude we should have for everyday life.

Like I said, I also, this year had been on a journey to conquer fears and emotional struggles. And so, a big personal victory for me this year was tackling something that is a little bit hilarious, but it was extremely scary to me, which was learning how to sing. I have wished I could sing my whole life. My parents are both partially deaf, so there really wasn’t music in my house growing up and I didn’t start listening to music until I was probably about 10. And so, it wasn’t part of my kind of early childhood development and I never knew if I could sing. I was pretty sure I couldn’t and I was terrified to try. And I always hoped my kids would take voice lessons and had a moment earlier this year of realization of I want my kids to take voice lessons because I always wished I could sing. Why don’t I just take voice lessons and learn how to sing? And that first day was really scary because I had no idea if I’d be able to do it at all. And it’s been one of the highlights of my year. It’s been challenging. It’s been wonderful. It’s gotten me out of my comfort zone. And as a shout out, well, the funny part is, so even though I was taking voice lessons, I never had ever had plans to sing in public. I was planning on avoiding that until the day I died. And one of my dear friends just had a big birthday and her wish for her birthday was that we would all go sing karaoke.

And I tried to do everything to get out of it. I was like, I’ll just be your backup singer or literally I would rather be waterboarded. I don’t want to do this. I tried everything. And she was adamant. And so last weekend I faced, which sounds hilarious to say out loud, but probably my biggest fear that I could imagine, which was singing in public. But it’s been a fun year of conquering those fears. And it’s funny how things don’t seem nearly so big or so scary in hindsight.
This year has also been as part of that emotional and mental tackling a journey into stoicism for me a little bit. I’ll share some favorite books in a minute from this year and a lot of them are related to stoicism, but I’ve read a lot of Ryan Holiday’s work and he has a website, the Daily Stoic, and a couple of quotes that have really just kept reoccurring for me this year are amor fati and memento mori. And what those mean, amor fati means love your fate or love what is and memento mori means remember that you will die.

And these kind of related but very different sentiments, this’ll be a controversial comment, but they will probably end up permanently inked on my body at some point soon because they’ve been so monumental for me this year, but the idea of memento mori, just remembering that we will die. In fact, we’re in the process of dying every day and not taking life too seriously, but also looking at what is the impact I want to have with my life and what are the important things that are actually going to matter at the end. And at least for me that’s meant things like time with my kids and making sure that I’m there for them and help teach them and form them into adults and get across lessons and important things before they leave, which happens so quickly.

The idea of amor fati is, like I said, to love your fate or to love what is, and this one was more challenging to me because it doesn’t mean be okay with your fate. It doesn’t mean accept what is, if it’s okay. It means truly actually love and be grateful for what is. And that’s easy to do when life is wonderful. That’s really hard to do when bad things happen that we can’t explain or we lose someone close to us or a relationship falls apart or anything painful happens. And amor fati speaks to the idea that well, we can’t control the outcome. And by trying to, and by holding onto that desire to control everything that happens, we’re actually only creating stress in our own lives and that still doesn’t make us any more likely to be able to control it. And we’ve also probably all had experiences where something that seemed horrible at a time ended up leading to or becoming the impetus for something incredible. Or there’s things like perhaps this bad thing that happened prevented something worse from happening and we would never know. But amor fati is just a reminder, a very centering reminder to me to love what is, to love where I am, to love every part of the journey. And it doesn’t mean not to improve, it just means to like truly love and be grateful and joyful for the moment that one is always in.

So, to that end, some favorite books from this year as well and there’ve been some incredible book recommendations on this podcast in past episodes from guests, I would recommend checking those out, but some of my favorites have been anything from Ryan Holiday. He had a new book come out this year called “Stillness Is the Key,” which was incredible. He also has the books, “The Obstacle Is the Way,” and “Ego Is the Enemy” as well as “The Daily Stoic” and “The Daily Stoic Journal.” And I really, really like all of his work. I think he’s one of the thought leaders of our time and his work is incredible. So, I highly recommend anything by Ryan Holiday.

Other books that have really just had an impact on me, not that I fully agree with all of them, The Four Agreements, that’s been an important book for me for several years. I also read a book called The Untethered Soul this year, and while I didn’t agree with everything in it, it definitely was food for thought and helped me to think through and work through some inner things. I love The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin and I recommend the audiobook of that that Tim Ferriss was involved in. It’s a great audiobook and a great book overall. And lastly, The Align Method For Movement, which is a new book that just literally came out today that I got to read an advanced copy of, that really breaks down the importance of certain kinds of movement in daily life and dispel some of the myths related to movement because we’ve got a lot of those in our current society.

So, all that to say, again, I’m so grateful and excited to be able to share Wellnesse with you. I’m so grateful that you have been here as part of this journey as a listener for as long or as short as you’ve been here. And if you have a second and would be willing to give me a very short and easy two minute Christmas present, I would be so, so grateful if you would leave an honest rating or review on whatever device or app you listen to the podcast on. So, whether that’s iTunes, Spotify, whatever it may be, doing that helps other people find this podcast. And I also read every single review and every single piece of feedback related to the podcast and hope that I can continually improve and make this podcast better and better for you guys. So, always love your feedback. Would love to know who you’d like to hear from, what I can do better and what you think of the podcast overall.

So, please consider taking a minute to leave a rating or a review, and I’d be incredibly grateful. And as an ending note, I just wanted to say thank you for spending time with me today and for any time that you’ve spent time on wellnessmama.com or listening to this podcast. I know just how valuable your time is. I know how valuable time is for all of us, and I’m absolutely honored that you would choose to spend some of yours with me. I hope that you have a wonderful new year and that you will join me again on the next episode of “The Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.