Lifestyle medicine looks different to different people, and that’s part of what makes it so great: it’s all about what you need to live a better life. Here at Kashi, we’re no strangers to lifestyle medicine, in fact our team members have some pretty cool ways of practicing it. So, we interviewed a few to understand their lifestyle medicine passion. We hope their stories inspire you and we hope you share how you practice lifestyle medicine to help inspire us!
Namaste Away from Bad Vibes
Karen Trice is one of our truest yogi’s. Keep reading to learn why spending some time upside down helps her maintain a healthy life.
1. How long have you been doing yoga?
About 10 years. I was actually first introduced to yoga while working at Kashi. I’m not sure I would have braved walking into a studio on my own, so I’m thankful that I was able to learn the foundational basics and build my confidence in a small, work setting.
2. Do you consider yourself a “yogi?” Why or why not?
I do! Which is funny because I’m often times cautious to label myself as I feel like that comes with the onus of needing to be really good at the task at hand or an expert. With yoga, (at least for me) it’s all about the journey and if you embrace an open mind when you’re on the mat then you’re definitely a yogi.
3. What’s your favorite yoga pose and why?
What!?!? You want me to just pick one….not possible. Well, I love pigeon because my hips are always tight from running, but I also love how challenging it can be when you push yourself to find stillness in a pose and really make the connection between your breath and what you’re feeling. I’ve also really been enjoying inversions, it keeps my practice light and fun when you find yourself upside down doing headstands.
4. Why do you do yoga?
It’s a great counterbalance for me both physically and emotionally. I like to run, so yoga reminds me to pay attention to my tight muscles and to be kind to my body. I’m also a working mom so time, particularly quiet time, is tough to come by. I love that yoga gives me the space to connect back to myself and to just be in the moment. It’s so restorative and very much the yin to my yang of a life.
5. What’s your favorite part about each session?
When we finish a session at Kashi, our instructor, Lisa, always has our first posture coming out of ssvasana to be a smile. It’s such a positive way to extend the good vibes generated from the practice into my day.
6. How do you think yoga contributes to your overall health?
Everyone is always so busy nowadays and it’s easy to be distracted and feel like you’re being pulled in lots of different ways. Yoga helps me slow down, manage stress and brings an element of mindfulness to my life. Bonus: the planks and lunges also make me stronger!
Natalie Knopp is our compost and Garden Club guru. Read on to hear why playing with dirt is so inspiring!
1. How did the garden club get started?
The Garden Club started through Good Vibe Tribe, Kashi’s culture club. We were inspired to live out our purpose of uplifting health through plant based foods and that’s what spurred the idea to gown our own food.
2. Why are you a part of the garden club?
The Good Vibe Tribe solicited membership to the Kashi Villa. Naturally, I wanted in because of my deep rooted passion for living the Kashi purpose… and I actually love the taste of kale, no joke!
3. What plants are currently growing in the Kashi garden?
Today we have fruits like blueberries, strawberries and a lemon tree. We have my favorite herb, rosemary, and of course a variety of lettuce like kale, romaine and loose leave lettuce.
4. What made you start a garden at home?
I wanted to try the whole farm to table concept for myself. It’s not been easy but I love my little sprouted babies. Yes, I eat my young.
5. What plants are your currently growing at home?
Beets, Swiss Chard, Butter Lettuce, Romaine Lettuce, Basil, Mint, Cilantro and my verrrrry favorite, kale!
6. What’s your favorite part about gardening?
It is a labor of love, but I enjoy every minute of it. I’ve really enjoyed the continued education of soil enrichment and how that’s lead me to the wonderful world of composting. I’m currently dabbling in traditional composting as well as Bokashi, an anaerobic composting method (no relation to Kashi by name). I am 100% food waste free, baby! To share my enthusiasm, I’ve channeled this idea through the Good Vibe Tribe and started our very own composting on site. Today, at Kashi, I’m thrilled to share that food is not wasted, instead we can make a positive impact through food, literally, by on-site composting. This stuff makes me giddy considering almost 1/3 of food made for human consumption is wasted every year.
7. Is there anything else about you/gardening you’d like to share?
I’ve certainly felt a connection to our Kashi farmers with the challenges of implementing organic practices… but mine on a much smaller scale! Buying organic or Certified Transitional has been a gift as a consumer to vote with my dollars for a better, healthier planet.
It’s a Runderful Life
Matt Stinson is one of our awesome food technologists whose love of running started at a young age and has only continued to grow. Read on to find out why and why he says it’s ok to skip arm day!
7. How long have you been running (for exercise, enjoyment, etc.)?
I’ve been running for exercise since I was a little tike playing soccer and then track and cross country. I never really ran for enjoyment until I was older and started doing half marathons and getting over the metal block keeping me from doing more than a 5K.
8. Did you ever competitively run?
The competitiveness of my running is all relative J I’ve always run races, but never planned on winning any of them.
9. Have you participated in nonprofit races? If so, how often do you run in them?
I’ve run several half marathons in the San Diego area this year. I’ve run Carlsbad, Encinitas and Thrive. All of those were non-profits. I also have never “profited” from any prize money from a race so maybe you would consider them all non-profits!
10. What is your favorite distance to run (casually/race)?
I am now in love with half marathons but they really hurt if you run them hard. I’d like to try a 5K again and see how I do since it has been a few years.
11. Why do you run?
I run for my mental state! If I don’t run I’m a grouch.
12. How do you think running contributes to your overall health?
I think running helps me to be a well-rounded person. Adding that to some of the other activities that I love like surfing, yoga, and biking allow me to cross train which is important.
13. Is there anything else about you and your relationship with running you think our customers should know?
It’s okay to skip arm day! I’ve been doing it for 30 years.
Enjoying the Ride
For Chris Woods, cycling is human powered adventure, plain and simple. Keep reading to learn more about his love for life on two wheels.
1. How long have you been cycling (for exercise, enjoyment, etc.)?
I’ve been riding a bike since I could walk! Bicycles are the ultimate freedom vehicle, so I’ve always been drawn to bikes as a chance to get out and explore.
2. Did you ever cycle competitively?
Sure I’ve done some races where the clock is ticking and you’re out there trying to hit your personal best, but my favorite rides are when I’m out there with some good friends, riding up this amazing Southern Californian coast that we get to call home– like during the Kashi Bike Club Ride!
3. What’s your favorite distance to cycle, casually and in a race?
My Kashi teammate, Matt, and I just competed in a 6-hour race here in San Diego called the Belgium Wafer Ride. It was 70 long, difficult miles and we had a blast! However, I’d have to say that my ideal ride lasts about 40 miles and ends with a tasty breakfast at one of my favorite spots– like Pannikin Coffee in Encinitas.
4. Where’s your favorite place to cycle?
Kashi is located in San Diego, one of the most beautiful places on Earth. My favorite ride is right out my front door, down to the ocean, and up the Pacific Coast Highway (locally called “the PCH”). Typically the Kashi Bike Club will take the same road, at a conversational pace of course. Check out the PCH! *
5. Why do you cycle?
“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” — John F. Kennedy
It’s true! Cycling is human powered adventure, and a way to see the landscape in a new, happy light. Also, fitness is a huge part of living a rewarding life for me. The endorphins you get after a good ride can turn your day around!
6. How do you think cycling contributes to your overall health?
For me, exercise is a critical part of living a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Cycling helps to both increase your cardiovascular capacity, but also allows you to spend quality time with your friends. Fostering the positive relationships (like those you make in the cycling community) are absolutely necessary to living a life full of wellness. Some of my best memories with friends can link back to adventures on two wheels! Hey Sarah– remember that time we rode the tandem bicycle through Santa Barbara?!
7. When and why did you start Bike Club?
At Kashi, we love (and I mean love!) food. Cycling is a great way to get out there in the fresh air and work up a good appetite! There are a handful of folks in our Kashi headquarters that love getting together, typically on a Friday afternoon, and ride for an hour before a big meal. We are able to talk about some of the amazing food we are at work creating, and then go to the office to eat. Food always tastes better after a good ride!
8. Is there anything else about you and your relationship with cycling you think our consumers should know?
Don’t be intimidated by getting out on a bike. Channel that playful energy we had as kids, and get out there. Whether its 4 miles, or 40 miles, you’ll always feel better after a ride. And don’t forget to smile often, because hey… you are riding a bike!
Outstanding in Their Field
Lifestyle medicine is more than just physical activities, it’s about making conscious choices to improve your overall health. Tina Owens is our Certified Transitional champion, so we asked her to explain how something as seemingly small as a certification contributes to her well-being.
1. Explain how you think Certified Transitional is more than just a program Kashi helped start?
When it comes to supporting agriculture within the United States we are all in this together – farming impacts our neighbors, family members, environment, and the food we put on our own tables. Certified Transitional is about supporting farmers during one of the more costly and difficult transitions they can make, which is converting their farms to organic. Studies by the Organic Trade Association have shown that organic farms can be up to 35% more profitable than their conventional counterparts, so investing in farmers to make this transition is a smart bet to ensure that family farms in the United States are able to remain competitive domestically and internationally.
The Certified Transitional program through Quality Assurance International (QAI) is open to any brand who wants to empower their consumers to help support organic agriculture. It also helped educate the industry on how the growth of organics has been propped up via imports for the last several years. Meanwhile, organic hotspot communities in the U.S. have a $2,000 higher median household income. We want farmers and communities in the United States to directly participate in the benefits of organic farming.
2. Where do you see the program in 5 years?
The fact is, <1% of farmland in the United States is organic despite roughly 6% of all food sales now being organic and 80% of households having made at least one organic purchase in the last year. We’ve invited other brands and suppliers to join us on this journey, and the industry and our peers have been very engaged with us on the possibilities of investing in farmers who are making the transition to organic. Our consumers are excited about the transparency of being able to see where their food is coming from and knowing that they are helping
We know that it will take several different approaches, with consumers, companies and farmers all working together, to continue to increase organic farmland and Certified Transitional will continue to be on point to support organic farming growth.
3. What does lifestyle medicine mean to you?
Lifestyle medicine is the conscious act of examining the choices that you are making around food, sleep, exercise, rest, family, and your environmental footprint. I want to consider how the choices I am making are impacting my stress level, the earth, and whether I’m leaving a better place for future generations.
My purchases and actions matter, so making time for family, eating well, taking care of my health and environment, and doing business with companies who are doing good in the world are all important parts of my own well-being.
4. How does Certified Transitional fit into that definition?
Through Certified Transitional I know that we are making a distinct and measurable positive difference. We are able to gauge how many acres are impacted by the program and how much additional profit we have returned to farmers. In working directly on the Certified Transitional program I know that I am having a positive impact on our land, our food, and our farmers.
5. How does Certified Transitional contribute to your overall health?
Health for me includes having a role that is making an impact and being able to live my values at work. Being in a role that is making such a positive impact contributes to my well-being and I am able to share that impact with my family and friends.
6. In what other ways do you practice lifestyle medicine?
Every year I become more conscious of how my individual choices matter. I continue to examine and question my habits around the products I use and how I use them. For example, I am continuously examining which brands I am supporting through my purchases and what types of products I allow in my environment – everything from food to cleaning products and wearing natural fibers.
It can feel overwhelming to try and green everything all at once, and I think people feel like it’s an all-or-nothing game. I’ve learned that if I make consistent and regular small changes – like using beeswax food wraps, swapping out cleaning products, or buying a hemp skirt – that the cumulative effect of those individual choices builds up over the course of 2, 5, or ten years. Continuously look for ways to do more good and to create challenges for yourself.
7. Is there anything else about the way you practice lifestyle medicine or Certified Transitional you think consumers should know?
Certified Transitional is an example of how consumers can search out brands who are being purposeful about doing the right thing. Your purchase of that product was today; the conversion of that acre to organic is forever.