Celebrate Daily. It would be the simplest of improvements that would create the most profound change in a person. The first thing a person should do in the morning is to wake up and celebrate something they had accomplished or done the day before. By starting the day in the attitude of celebration a person begins to create the life they want to live rather than life events pushing them around and dictating their actions.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kristen Bowen, CEO and Founder of Living The Good Life Naturally. Living the Good Life Naturally was founded in 2002 as a family-owned and run company that focuses on natural health solutions, clean whole food supplements and minerals, and healthy skin care products. Founder Kristen Bowen and her team strive to use only the cleanest and ethically sourced ingredients in their products. LTGLN supports the Uganda project that provides good-paying income to women entrepreneurs rendering our cocoa butter in communal kitchens, and using that income to feed and educate their children.
Thank you so much for doing this with us, Kristen! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in wellness?
The first moment that I knew that I needed to do something different was when a doctor prescribed a prescription to rebuild my bones because I had osteoporosis. I experienced terrible side effects including nose bleeds every time I would stand up. It was then that I realized that I needed to stop going to the doctor and expect the doctor to prescribe a pill that would immediately make me better. I knew from that experience that I had to take responsibility and be accountable for my own health and wellbeing.When I realized that I was the CEO of my own health, I tossed that prescription back at that doctor and said, “I am not taking that anymore!” I began looking for other ways to rebuild my body and move forward to where I wanted to be with my health.
That was my first step in taking my power back and when I took my power back, I also took my accountability back. This new realization also sent me into a state of overwhelm. How do I this? Where do I go to learn what my body needs? And so I began by chasing symptoms. I had hormone imbalance symptoms. So I chased that symptom for a while. I had seizures. So I chased those symptoms for a while? I had thyroid symptoms for a while. So I chased those symptoms for a while. You get the idea. I chased symptoms and never got to the root of the problem. I had a cupboard full of supplements, but I wasn’t getting better.
It was at that point that my understanding shifted to this health principle: In order to become healthy, we must build a strong foundation first. It is crucial that we focus on those foundational pieces first if we want vibrant health. Through research and trial and error, I found that soaking in magnesium was the first layer in finding optimal health. We once found magnesium in our food, but modern farming has left our food lacking in magnesium. Magnesium is crucial for hundreds of functions of the human body. I learned that it was vital to get the cells of my body saturated with magnesium and the best way to do that was soaking. Of course there are many other facets to health issues, magnesium is not a cure all, but it is the foundation of health to build on. I’ve been working with those I serve one on one and in larger groups for 16 years now. I have seen a lot of out of the box health concerns. Magnesium helps them all.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Back when I first started, I made all of my bath and body products in a small kitchen in my basement. I worked with clients in a small bedroom in my house. As I started to grow my business I got involved in several professional associations. One of the associations that focused on natural bath and body product businesses invited me to be on a panel discussion at one of their conferences. I was very excited to go but I realized that my personal wardrobe was not up to par. So I went shopping. I found some nice things and I really liked a blouse that had subtle sequins sewn into it. I jetted off to the the conference in Miami, did my panel, and enjoyed the rest of the presentations. Then came the keynote. They had flown in Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank to be the keynote speaker.
The house lights went down and Barbara began an inspiring and masterful presentation. I was soaking it all in and then I noticed. Barbara was being distracted. Little flickers of light were hitting her eye. You could tell she was getting a bit frustrated. People started looking around to see where the flickers of light were coming from. I looked down and to my horror it was my sequined blouse reflecting beams of light right into Barbara Corcoran’s eye. I quickly got up, moved to the hall, and listened to the rest of the presentation from outside the door.
At the end of the presentation Barbara Corcoran and her security came out to the convention hall. She faced me and said, “I knew you were the one. I need a blouse like that.” then she counseled me, “You put the needs of others first when you left the room, but sometimes you need to put your needs first.” We had a nice conversation and she told me to think big, not to limit myself, and that there would be days I wanted to quit but I should never give up. Nothing like a sparkly shirt to get great advice from a petite powerhouse like Barbara Corcoran.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
Back when I was working with clients one on one in my home, we had set aside a small bedroom for my office and as a meeting place for those I consulted. I was working with a woman who was always exhausted. She rarely had enough energy to get out of bed in the morning and do the things she needed to do each day, let alone take care of herself. So I began to encourage her to take action items with her mindset and her energy slowly started to increase as she implemented the changes in lifestyle. Her energy was still not amazing and after we reviewed her blood work we found that her iron storage was very low. I suggested a desiccated liver whole food supplement to give her usable iron.
Now at that time, I did not have my own retail store and I did not have an online store, so when people came to me I would simply have them go to a health food store to find what they needed. She said she would try the desiccated liver that night. She returned for the next appointment and as she entered my small office she looked around as if to check to see if anyone else was in the room and said, “Kristen, we have got to talk.” I said, “Before we get started, how’s your energy levels?” “It’s better, BUT”. The word “but” has a tendency to negate everything said previously so at that point my heart sank and I said, “but what?”
“I have more energy, but my family can’t stand to be around me anymore.” I responded, “what are you talking about?” She said, “My gas is so terrible that my family walks out of the room when I walk in. I work in a cubicle and my coworkers are not very happy either. It’s so embarrassing.”
It dawned on me that perhaps it was the desiccated liver she was taking. She said she had the brand she bought in her purse. She pulled it out. I looked at it and noticed a puppy on the packaging. It was desiccated liver dog treats. When I pointed it out to her, we both started laughing those deep rolling belly laughs. I learned several things from this experience. One, research and find the best and cleanest source of natural supplements. Two, be very clear with what you are communicating to your clients.
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
One of the reasons that I am able to help people make the transformation from being sick to creating optimal health is that I’ve walked the path myself. I’ve been in that place where I felt desperate, anxious, and hopeless. I tried all of the “healthy” things I was supposed to do and I still didn’t feel good. I was disconnected from the true needs of my body, mind, and soul. We all have this tendency to disconnect from the laws of nature and when we reconnect with the laws of nature, nature reconnects us to our health. For example, sunshine in the morning can increase our access to to our serotonin uptake in our gut. Enhanced serotonin uptake helps our mood, energy, depression and anxiety management, and a host of other benefits. Sunshine increasing serotonin is nature’s law. This law of nature is backed by scientific research. So helping find natural connections to overcome their disconnections is a strength that I have to offer other people because I have walked the walk myself. So the very thing that I thought was horrible and awful that and had ruined my family financially, actually now serves as my greatest purpose.That is to help people connect back to their best health.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
When I first got married my husband and I went to a family therapist named Jean Coe. She was a tiny woman who had a huge impact on my life. She became a counselor in her 60’s after raising her family and living a robust life. Unlike many therapists who start their career straight out of college, she had street smarts and incredible abilities to facilitate change. She had an amazing ability to push me to action and to make lasting change.
On of the great principles she taught me was to create a personal board of directors. I was the CEO of my life but I needed good advice and council going forward. Tha board of directors needed to be people strong in skills I was not strong in. They needed to be mentors rather than dementors and naysayers. It was some of the best advice I have ever received. Over the years I have found directors from many fields. Some I have paid and some are friends that share their input.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
1.Too much information can lead to lack of action. We live in an era of information overload and analysis paralysis because of all of the information that we have. We have a tendency to just continue searching and so we scroll for more and more information. Then we buy into the lie that all this time we spent searching for the perfect diet was action that would create health. We think we are creating health when in actuality we have only googled about health. Remembering that when we see that piece of information on the web and it resonates with us we know that the information can increase our health. We need to pause the searching and scrolling and determine an action based on that good information. Even a small action can yield great results. Say you are reading an article about exercise and you think to yourself “I have got to start exercising.” Then the excuses come in. No time to go to the gym, I don’t have nice yoga pants, I don’t like exercise, and on and on. The better approach is to simply do something to implement. Stand up, march in place, do a few push ups on a railing. Anything to take action based on the information. Remember, too much information can lead to anxiety and inaction. Step away from the screen and take a small step toward health.
2. When health increases, expectations can increase. Modern life requires us to “spin a lot of plates”, meaning that there are many things we have to do all the time to function and thrive. Many people instinctively know that if they get healthier, people’s expectations will increase of what that person should accomplish. Many women don’t want to let people down. They don’t want to look like that person who doesn’t follow through. This becomes a real block to improving health because we instinctively know that people around us will require more of us. Our fear of not meeting those expectations can hold us back from taking those steps that will create health.
3. The fear of losing parts of our life that we love. For example, if you are focused on getting healthier and you highly value that half gallon of ice cream in your freezer because it gave you comfort after that stressful day at work, that will be a challenge. If you don’t start looking for replacements for that not so healthy comfort you will go into a tailspin and give up on seeking healthy patterns altogether. One must make sure they know and understand their values when seeking to take action on their health. Comfort is a powerful value to possess. If it is one of the values that you run on, it can kick your butt when it comes to creating health because the natural tendency is to stay the same. You stay in that place of comfort. Understanding your value system actually helps you walk toward better health instead of being a block to better health. Make sure that you know and understand how your values are walking you toward health or sometimes the shadow part of your value will walk you away from health.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
Lifestyle tweak number 1: Celebrate Daily. It would be the simplest of improvements that would create the most profound change in a person. The first thing a person should do in the morning is to wake up and celebrate something they had accomplished or done the day before. By starting the day in the attitude of celebration a person begins to create the life they want to live rather than life events pushing them around and dictating their actions. Daily celebration is so simple and extremely powerful in shaping your day for the positive that many people dismiss the idea looking for something more complicated. Celebrate your opportunities, your body, your positive relationships, what you learn from your life’s challenges. Celebrate every day and watch your vitality soar.
Lifestyle tweak number 2: Master the Art of Journaling. Traditionally journaling was seen as a way for people to record their day-to-day life events. That kind of journaling is fine but its not what I am talking about here. Journals can be used to reset your thinking and free up your mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical energy. Journaling can give you clarity and help you see what you truly value in life. It can also help you purge negative patterns and let go of mistaken beliefs. A woman I worked with was doing very well financially, yet she was always worried about money. She stressed over every purchase even though there was always more than enough. In her journal she asked the question why am I always stressed about money? How did my family approach money issues? Through answering her questions in a journal she could see the broken patterns. It turns out that she always viewed money from her depression era grandparents eyes. She loved and respected them and they “never” had enough. Journaling helped her clarify and overcome the broken pattern. Journaling can work in almost any circumstance. Ask yourself the questions and then write. You will find yourself breaking through old patterns as you do.
Lifestyle tweak number 3. Make a Look Forward List. Have a short list and a long list. I love going to Hawawii with my family, but I can’t just take off every afternoon and go to Hawawii. Events like that take a little bit of planning. Those kind of trips would go on your long list. Having something to look forward to gives a person hope and makes the event more exciting as they anticipate that future event. What about the in between times? That’s where the short list comes in. We need daily and weekly things to look forward to as well or life can become just a list of tasks. The short list can be relatively simple things that you can look forward to such as going to a movie, taking a hike, kayaking, or sitting on your porch and watching birds. It can be anything really. I live near the ocean and I love to take our van down to the beach, have a simple lunch and take a Sunday nap with the back of the van open while the waves crash and I sleep next to my husband. I look forward to that every week. So make your short list and your long list and experience the joy of looking forward.
Lifestyle tweak number 4. Unleash the Power of the Great I AM. Negative self talk is one of the most destructive demotivators in the world. If people talked to others as they talked to themselves they might find themselves without any friends. This self talk manifests itself in the preface: I am. “I am so dumb. I am fat. I am weak. I am in pain. I am so broke.” Negative I am statements can cause incredible damage the human mind and soul. What would happen if we changed the way we talked to ourselves and unleashed the power of the I am: “i am capable of getting stronger every day. I am open to learning new things. I am mastering life’s challenges. I am choosing to be positive. I am celebrating life.” Do you see the difference in attitude. Changing the I am statements from negative statements to positive ones is a major game changer.
Lifestyle tweak number 5: Take a Screen Break and Tune Into Nature: Let’s face it. We are addicted to our electronic devices. I see groups of people standing in circles with their heads bowed, not talking to each other but hyper focused on their smartphones mentally floating off into distant worlds. There is a disconnect going on among all age groups as we become more intertwined with the technology around us. I think it is vital to disconnect on a regular basis from the electronics. Take a walk in the sunshine with just your thoughts. Turn off your phone at night and get the real rest you need. Have a meaningful conversation with another human who has turned off their phone. We drive up to Big Sur on the Pacific Coast Highway every so often. There is no cell service for certain stretches. Nobody has ever died from lack of cell service. In fact, it’s kind of enjoyable. You can still take an iconic selfie if you want and then post it later when you get service. Bottom line. Take a screen break. Tune into nature. Reconnect with the people you love.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
Exercise strengthens the neurotransmitters in the brain and that enhancement can increase a person’s creativity, mood, and an overall sense of wellbeing.
Exercise leads to an increase of mitochondria in the cell. Mitochondria are essential to producing energy at the cellular level thus essential to helping us experience more energy.
Exercise acts as a lubricant to the body. Sitting for hours leads to sore joints and muscles. We all know the pain associated with waking up the day after a hard workout. Sometimes we don’t want to get out of bed. Once we move we start to feel the pain subside. Movement through exercise lubricates the body.
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?
The number one thing a person can do to shorten recovery time and to prevent injury is to soak in magnesium. Magnesium is crucial for nutrient uptake at the cellular level. The muscles in the body crave magnesium before, during, and after exercise.We simply can’t function without this essential element. Oral synthetic magnesium supplements are not very effective and can give you stomach problems. Soaking in magnesium is the most effective way to saturate your cells with this mineral. It is known as the chil mineral because after taxing your body and mind it will help you relax and repair. Once your levels are up it will give you energy and vitality. Magnesium soaking with a clean undiluted liquid magnesium is essential for optimal workout recovery.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Yes, the book that had a great impact on me was Echoes From Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor. I had been teaching a multi-day workshop and my husband walked in during break and said, “ you have to take this workshop on a field trip. I got tickets for all of them to see Eva Kor speak tonight”. At first I was a little miffed by his abrupt request but I consented and we carpooled the class to the event. That night I met the most amazing person with the most amazing perspective on life. I, like many of my workshop participants, had suffered much childhood trauma and all of us carried the wounds and anxiety of that trauma into our adult lives. Eva had seen the worst humanity had to offer at the hands of the Nazi’s during World War II. She and her twin sister had been human experiments as little children in the concentration camp. Eva Kor learned how to forgive and release her trauma and pain through the forgiveness process. She was a delightful and bright person. I made a major shift that night and so did my class. The inscription she wrote on the inside cover of my copy of the book said, “Kristen. Forgive and Heal.”
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Something that I have been working on my entire adult life is my sensitive nature. For many years I looked at my sensitivities as a weakness, a flaw, and a deficit. I was sensitive to foods like wheat (I am a celiac), sensitive to allergens, sensitive emotionally, sensitive to environmental pollutants, and especially sensitive to the unspoken language that people communicated when their words did not match the feeling emanating from them.
My company was founded by my creating products for people with sensitivities to skin care products and synthetic supplements. I have come to realize that there are many sensitive souls out there in the world today. Many feel as I did that their sensitivity is a liability and an obstacle to overcome. I now look at it a different way. I have created what I call Tools for Sensitive Souls. My object is to help sensitive souls see their sensitivity as a Super Power and not a liability. I want to help empower them to use their gifts as a sensitive person to lift those around them. I also want to help them navigate what I call sensitive soul kryptonite and master the sensitive super powers they possess. There are many artists, musicians, writers, influencers, diplomats, creators, and crusaders who fit into the sensitive category. Many times these individuals feel isolated, alone, and depressed. I want them to understand that without this gift of sensitivity the world would be a dull place. I want them to realize, celebrate, and shout the words: Sensitivity is My Superpower!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen. From my early childhood I experienced physical and sexual abuse, I had food sensitivities, allergies, even arthritis as a child. Growing up I felt used and broken, cracked in other words. I read about Japanese pottery that had been broken and repaired with an ancient technique of using gold to repair the cracks. The cracked pottery is more beautiful now that it is repaired even with the original cracks visible. Our struggles can crush us or make us find our true beauty and destiny. Our challenges are simply cracks that allow us to seek the light we need to transform us from something cracked to something spectacular and beautiful.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
As a child I loved Marie Osmond. She was beautiful, stylish, and talented and had so many beautiful pairs of shoes. She had it all and I thought wouldn’t be nice not to have to struggle and be like her. As Marie has gone through life and shared some of her many heart aches it dawned on me that looks can be deceiving and that everyone has struggles in life. What impresses me about Marie Osmond is her ability to keep moving and growing. I would love to have lunch or breakfast with her and talk about how she navigated her challenges and how she stays positive and current through the years.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
My Facebook page is Living the Good Life Naturally
My Instagram for my bath and body products is livingthegoodlifenaturally
My health tips and topics instagram is kristen_mbowen
My web page is LivingTheGoodLifeNaturally.com
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!