So excited to announce that Katie aka The Wellness Mama & I are doing a blog swap today!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Katie, she is a health & wellness blogger & entrepreneur who has 6 kids. SIX !! She also happened to launch Wellnesse, a personal care line with no nasties. & they work, let me tell ya.
Obsessed with the toothpaste. It’s minty fresh, fluoride-free & uses Neem to protect your teeth from bacteria. Along with gentle whitening, it’s literally the best toothpaste. You can go & check out the ingredients in the toothpaste & their purpose here. & while you’re at it, scope the ingredients used in all the products.
Ok ok, let me tell you how Katie & I met.
We were both lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to Finland with the Four Sigmatic team to explore all of Finland’s magicalness.
We experienced a ton of stuff together from meeting reindeer, to dog sledding, to the polar plunge ( where you go for an ice cold dip then to a sauna – it’s a whole thing ), to sleeping under the Northern Lights in an igloo.
Katie quickly became the mom of the group & I liked her immediately. She had all these tips & tricks & made the whole experience more ‘wellnessy,’ if you get what I mean.
By the end of the trip she was handing out vitamins & minerals for everyone to take & she was sort of the glue that held the whole group together.
Anyway, she has been on the HIM & HER podcast where she talks all about building your own platform, how to optimize all areas of your life, & all things wellness, of course!
Today she’s here to share her 3 top wellness tips, her morning & nighttime routine, & systems that have helped her run her large household & businesses.
Let’s get right into with Katie, The Wellness Mama.
♡ Introduce yourself to The Skinny Confidential community. Tell us your story!
When I got sick 13 years ago, I turned to my background in Journalism to research my own health answers & the Wellness Mama community developed. Now, as a mom of six, I’m focused on creating a healthier future for our kids & am dedicated to changing the personal care space through my new company Wellnesse.
Obligatory additional unrelated randomness: doula, speed-reader, hates bananas, loves baseball, scuba-diver, INTJ, highly experienced in answering the question, “why.”
♡ How did you get into the wellness space?
KW: I was sitting in my doctor’s office 13 years ago after having my first child. While waiting, I read in a magazine that “for the first time in two centuries, the current generation of American children will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.” Looking at my perfect tiny newborn, that line hit me like a ton of bricks & I resolved to help change that statistic. Around the same time, I was facing my own health challenges, & my research in both of these areas led me to many of the same conclusions that I shared on Wellness Mama.
Now, 1,300+ posts a& 300+ podcasts later, I’m proud to be part of such an amazing community of women who are all helping change that statistic for our children. I’ve been sharing the how-to for years through Wellness Mama, but realized a couple of years ago that many people just didn’t have the time or desire to make all of their own products from scratch. Wellnesse was born on the idea that we should never have to sacrifice how well a product works to find safe products. We create clean & natural haircare & oral care products that work as well as ( or better than ) brand name alternatives.
♡ Out of all the wellness tips that you’ve ever talked about, what is your absolute favorite that has resonated with your audience?
KW: There are two simple ones that are recurring favorites with my audience:
1.) Drink warm lemon water each morning- This helps hydrate the body after sleep & is great for digestion & skin. I notice a big difference when I do this regularly. Tip: Use a stainless steel straw to keep the acid in the lemon from touching the teeth.
2.) Meal Plan- Those who fail to plan, plan to fail, & never is this more true than with food! As a mom, meal planning is essential, but it’s also one of the simplest things I do that makes the biggest difference in staying healthy. To keep it simple, I create rotating seasonal meal plans based on seasonal produce. For each three-month season, I find our 14 favorite meals & create two one-week meal plans with shopping lists. Then, we just alternate those plans each week for that season. I only have to shop once a week & don’t have to think about what to cook.
♡ What are 3 habits that can make all the difference in someone’s wellness routine?
KW: My three favorite wellness habits are all free & easy to implement with a little planning. I’ve tried all the crazy & expensive biohacking stuff from NAD IVs to needles in places I’d rather not think about, but I always come back to these basics:
♡ Morning Sunlight:
Light is a critical but often ignored aspect of health. When used correctly, light can help improve sleep at night, focus during the day, & even hormone levels. Years ago, my doctor recommended a simple step to help balance hormones & improve sleep… go outside for at least half an hour as soon as possible after waking up. The science here is that the broad spectrum outdoor light is so much brighter than indoor light ( even on a cloudy day ) & it reaches specialized receptors in the skin & eyes to signal important hormone cascades. This one simple habit leads to better sleep & improved melatonin levels at night, as well as more balanced cortisol levels.
I love sipping coffee or tea on our patio with my husband & kids or going for a walk during this time so I also get the benefit of community & movement!
If you absolutely can’t make it outside in the morning, a 10,000 Lux therapy light is the next best thing.
Speaking of movement… it’s another simple habit that goes a long way. I didn’t say exercise though! Nothing against exercise, but in our focus on specialized exercises & classes, we moved away from some basic human movements like walking, lifting heavy things, & play. This past year, I spent a lot of time re-learning how to move & play & it has been life changing.
Instead of long classes at the gym, I focus on very specific HIIT & heavy weight workouts a few times a week & spend the rest of the week playing capture the flag with my kids, pole vaulting, learning handstands or other things that are just fun! Bonus points when these activities are done with other people & lead to connection & friendship too ( another one of the best things we can do for health ).
Sleep is one factor that every health expert seems to agree on. I’ve never seen anyone preaching the benefits of sleep deprivation. We know that if we don’t get enough sleep we can have the blood sugar levels of a pre-diabetic, have impaired focus & memory & gain weight. Sleep is truly one of the most important things we can do for health, yet statistically, many of us are chronically sleep deprived. A few things that really help my sleep:
+ Getting to bed by 10 pm whenever possible. Try setting a bedtime alarm to remind you when to start getting ready for bed.
+ Optimizing sleep temperature- I use a ChiliPad or an Ooler to keep my bed at about 65 degrees while I sleep without having to run the AC as much ( it is adjustable from 55-110 degrees ).
+ Keeping it dark- using blackout curtains helps keep my room completely dark so I sleep well.
♡ Let’s talk toothpaste. You just launched one & you really thought about the ingredients you use. Can you talk to us about the toothpaste industry & why you felt there needed to be a new product?
KW: I started researching oral health years ago when I had a small cavity & was able to reverse it without getting it filled. I learned about the oral microbiome & the delicate mineral balance that we need in saliva to have healthy teeth & gums.
I’ve made my own toothpaste in my kitchen for the last ten years because there wasn’t one on the market that met all of the criteria I had. Last year, I decided to finally make this formula available publicly as the first product for Wellnesse.
It is the first & only natural toothpaste that is free of fluoride & glycerin ( which may coat teeth & stop minerals from being used by teeth ). Wellnesse Whitening toothpaste also contains hydroxyapatite, a naturally occurring mineral that is found in tooth enamel & that strengthens & whitens teeth. We added neem & green tea to naturally support the oral microbiome & fight bad breath & are proud to have the first natural toothpaste that meets all of these criteria.
♡ You also launched some hair care products. Why did you feel the need to disrupt the space?
KW: Studies show that newborn babies enter the world with hundreds of chemicals in their bloodstream ( & the placenta blocks many others ). A lot of these chemicals come from personal care products that we are exposed to & we are exposed to more & more throughout our lives.
I realized I had many friends who chose organic foods, used natural products to clean their homes, but still used certain conventional products like shampoo & conditioner. When asked, they explained that the natural products just didn’t work as well & they weren’t willing to sacrifice how they looked just to avoid the chemicals.
I knew it was possible to create natural products that didn’t just work as well… but that worked better. That’s exactly what we did. Our haircare is more like hair food…. It nourishes hair from the outside in to leave it stronger, reduce hair fall & increase thickness over time. We avoided all the common offenders in haircare like parabens, silicone, artificial fragrances & harsh detergents to create a plant-infused superfood for your hair.
♡ Talk to us about how you balance having so many kids & running a business.
KW: Systems. Systems. Systems.
I talked about this a lot in my interview on TSC HIM & HER podcast ( one of my favorite episodes ever ), but with six kids & almost as many businesses, I have to run my life on systems to get it all done. I really believe that we will fill whatever time slot we give ourselves for a given task, so I start by scheduling the most important things first: family time, meals together, movement & play, & sleep. Work time gets added after & I find I’m able to accomplish as much in three hours as I used to get done in eight because it is focused & scheduled.
I journal each night & also pre-write my top three priorities for the next day. As soon as it is work time, I tackle those first & don’t do anything else until those are done. To keep focused, I’ve turned off the notifications on almost every app on my phone & only check my phone, email & social media a couple times a day for a short amount of time.
Every few months, I write out goals & steps for each area of life: kids/family, each business, health/personal, marriage, learning new skills, cultivating friendships, etc. & evaluate how I’ve done in each of these areas in the past three months. I evaluate everything according to the 80/20 rule- that 20% of actions will lead to 80% of results. Once I identify those most effective actions in each area, I optimize them. Then, I put any new objectives into my calendar to make sure I’m always making progress in each area.
♡ What’s a great hack to optimize your life?
KW: Solve for the variable of reduced stress & overwhelm. Often, it isn’t being busy or needing to get things done that stresses us out… it’s the overwhelm of keeping up with everything we need to get done & all the open loops that creates.
A few years ago, I got really overwhelmed & close to a nervous breakdown. I realized that almost everything on my plate was non-negotiable. I couldn’t not take care of my kids, my home, my marriage or my businesses so I needed to get more efficient & less stressed. The business stuff didn’t stress me out, but everything else seemed to. I realized that it was because I ran my business with systems & had KPIs, goals & objectives for everything. Everyone on the team knew his or her job & was capable at kicking ass at it. Yet, at home, I was trying to do everything myself & keep up with it all in my head all the time.
I started running my home more like my business & it completely changed my stress level. I still get the same amount done ( probably more ) but without the stress. Since I know when any activity will happen ( laundry, meal planning, time with kids, school time, cleaning, etc. ), I don’t have to stress about anything when it isn’t the time for that task & I’m much more focused & efficient in anything I do.
Most people probably don’t need quite as many systems as I have in place, but even just creating systems for the most important 20% of your life will make a huge difference!
♡ What does your morning routine look like?
KW: It differs slightly each day. I don’t like doing anything every single day so the body doesn’t adapt to anything. I got this tip from a doctor in Switzerland who said we should even skip supplements ( not prescribed medication ) on the weekend so the body doesn’t get too used to outside nutrients & adapt to that.
In general, these things are part of my routine most mornings:
+ Wake up gently to a sunrise alarm clock or on my own.
+ Oil Pulling ( while in the shower ) & brush my teeth.
+ Drink warm lemon water & take morning supplements.
+ Coffee or tea outside in the sun with my family or while going for a walk.
+ A few headstands to get the blood flowing ( my current favorite type of play ).
+ CARs & sometimes Kinstretch class from Hunter Fitness.
+ Jump into work time while the kids do school.
I don’t usually eat breakfast, which works for me, but I don’t recommend this for everyone. I’m allergic to eggs & feel better when I don’t eat until lunch, but many people feel better when eating breakfast regularly. I’m a big fan of the research on time restricted eating ( TRE ) by Dr. Sachin Panda & others. I eat in a 6-8 hour window starting at about 11 am with lunch being my biggest meal.
♡ What does your nighttime routine look like?
KW: Just like the morning, I don’t do anything every single night, but some things that I do often are:
+ Use The Tapping Solution App & journal things I’m grateful for.
+ Sauna or cold plunge ( not right before bed but a couple hours before typically ).
+ Put on a castor oil pack ( about half the time ).
+ Do a face mask or put on a homemade serum for my skin.
+ Brush teeth & scrape my tongue ( more on that here ).
+ Turn on the Brain.fm app for deep sleep.
+ Turn on my Ooler Chili Pad.
+ Practice 4-7-8 breathing until I fall asleep.
♡ What are 3 foods you eat that you swear makes all the difference in your skin & hair?
KW: Bone broth: I’m a big fan of bone broth for the proline & glycine. We don’t often get enough of these amino acids but they are vital for healthy skin & hair! I personally like Kettle and Fire bone broth & their broth based soups. Most days, I’ll sip broth before lunch for the extra protein boost, & this keeps me from craving other foods I wouldn’t want to eat.
Sardines: A controversial one, but I swear by canned sardines! They are inexpensive & packed with Omega-3s, protein, calcium & minerals. I eat them a few times a week at least. One of my easiest go-to lunches is a big bowl of mixed greens ( lettuces, watercress, arugula, sprouts, spinach, etc. ) chopped & tossed with 1-2 cans of sardines, some nutritional yeast, hemp hearts, & a homemade olive oil based dressing. I’ll also sometimes add leftover roasted veggies like sweet potatoes or some nuts.
Greens: We all know greens are good for us & I try to get at least 5 different kinds per day. I grow broccoli sprouts in my kitchen for the sulforaphane & nutrients & add these to salads & smoothies all the time. I also make sure to eat a lot of all types of greens, other sprouts & microgreens, & other vegetables for the micronutrients.
♡ Where can everyone find you?
KW: Please come find me & say hi on:
Hope you guys loved this post & picked up some wellness-y tips. Check out the toothpaste, I’m telling you, it’s magical.
Be sure to scope out my post on Wellness Mama where I’m talking about all the different types of facial massage, the benefits, & tools to do it yourself.