In partnership with WelleCo
As a scientist and former Miss New York US, it's safe to say my wellness product demands are high. While I'm always looking for something that will help me look fresh-faced (even under glaring spotlights) and feel energetic, I also tend to obsess over ingredients, formulation, and product technology. I am quite picky, especially when it comes to starting new routines, but I am open minded to products that promise to make me feel better. So, about a month ago I met a friend for lunch and she began raving about a green drink from an Australian wellness brand, WelleCo that she says changed her life.
My friend, who happens to be a media mogul on top of her field, was at the time not only on a multi-city book tour complete with a series speaking engagements and book signings, but she was also balancing family and social life as well as managing an investment portfolio. After she told me that her superhuman energy levels, gorgeous healthy skin (not a wrinkle in sight) and mental clarity were all thanks to a daily green drink, I had to know more.
As it turns out, the magic elixir that was giving her so much life is actually a superfood-packed ingestible, coincidentally called The Super Elixir Greens. Comprised of a total 45 whole food ingredients like barley grass, wheatgrass, alfalfa and milk thistle in addition to pre and probiotics, vitamins and super greens that all but promise to revolutionize every part of your health, my first thought was 'that can't taste good."
Although I like to exercise, I'm far from health-conscious when it comes to my nutrition. Due to the nature of my career and my schedule, finding balance in terms of my health and wellness has been somewhat elusive. If something is not convenient, I won't do it, even if I know that it is good for me. So, when choosing any kind of new health regime, 'can I do it,' is paramount but 'will I?' is more important.
After my conversation with my friend, I decided to give The Super Elixir a try. I'll start by telling you that despite my hesitations, the flavor is far from off-putting. Although it does definitely taste like you're drinking something “healthy" at first, the inclusion of fruits like pineapple, apple, and goji berry make it taste light and sweet. It is recommended to mix the powder with plant milk or water, and I opted for the latter, drinking about two cups of my DIY green beverage each day when my sugar cravings hit.
I continued drinking the Super Elixir for a full month, and I have to say that by day three, I was hooked. Not only did I have more energy and mental clarity but I also began to feel and look better in many ways.
Here, the top five ways the Super Elixir changed my life in 30 days:
The first thing I immediately noticed after just a few days of drinking the Super Elixir is that substituting out my 4 PM coffee for the green drink amped up my evening energy levels. Whether I was going to the gym or to an after work meeting, I felt more energized (without the repercussions of a coffee come-down). This increased stamina also helped me be more productive at work, as I found myself less tired and more focused. After a week of feeling generally more alert, it became less difficult to wake up in the morning, as I woke immediately feeling refreshed and well-rested. I even started working out in the mornings, instead of evenings.
My tummy really thanked me for this change over the course of the month. I gradually began to feel less bloated and generally felt much more healthy (even after a helping of Dunkin's infamous donuts). What I really love about the Super Elixir is that it helps counteract any moments of “naughtiness," (which for me is carbs of course) as the ingredients actually bind to toxins and expel them from your system. Plus, the infusion of digestible nutrients that your body can actually recognize and absorb makes this a great hangover cure as well!
From breakouts to dry patches to rashes and sensitivity, I've had chronic issues with my skin my entire life. Despite trying a bevy of skin-clearing formulas, some expensive, some prescription and some from my local drug store, I've never found a regimen or product that fully worked for me. Taking the Super Elixir steadily for the last month I noticed fewer blemishes and while I can't say my skin became suddenly flawless, I certainly look better than usual after a 14-hour workday. I also noticed that my overall texture has, over the past month, become more smooth and my face looks more plumped and hydrated. By the last week, I even stopped wearing foundation, which is a first for me. Perhaps some of my skin benefits have come simply because the Super Elixir has helped me drink more water and stay hydrated throughout the day.
Admittedly, if a sugar or carb craving hits during the day, I am absolutely susceptible to picking up something carb-filled and sweet, and more often than not, a Chipotle lunch. Taking the Elixir at around 4 PM every day definitely quashed that longing for a sugar injection. After I got used to the taste (which really happened by day 3), I found my drink enjoyable and thus not necessary to cram a chocolate glazed in before I leave the office for the night. I also found that I started craving coffee (which is a daily obsession) less, especially in that late afternoon daily slump. My body was almost asking for the Super Elixir instead, so it became almost second nature to drink it around the same time each day.
Sleep & Stress
It's no secret that being an entrepreneur comes with a heaping of stress. My life, once ordered and corporate, is now chaotic and entirely unpredictable. While I wouldn't have it any other way, the negative side effects of a life spent in flux are impossible to deny. While subtle, the drink's superpowers became noticeable even when trying to stay positive while navigating business life and getting to sleep at the end of a long day. After one month, I not only felt more cleansed, but I also found myself getting less anxious about things that are out of my control. I should add that as I started my month with WelleCo, I also began focusing more on my mental well being, practicing mindfulness and meditation every day. I found the Super Elixir really helped me with being present and more positive, which I think in part was to actually getting sleep. As a night owl who does a lot of my ideating in the wee hours, I often toss and turn and wake up feeling depleted. Now that I sleep earlier and wake up feeling more refreshed, things just seem to be falling into place, both with business and my personal life. It's crazy to attribute this wave of goodness to a green powder, but it does seem to be the catalyst for the positivity that surrounds me.
I used to take my health and wellness for granted and didn't prioritize my wellbeing. Now that I found a routine and product that conveniently worked for my lifestyle, I can safely say that my month-long Super Elixir challenge will continue on for many many more.
Universally loved, and, (especially at this time of year) drunk merrily and in excess, wine is the answer to much if not all our prayers, on a regular basis.
The wine industry also happens to be home to some major female leaders, and it's become apparent, that the barriers to entry women face in almost every other industry don't apply here, as long as you've the work ethic and brains behind your operation.
"This is a people's business," says Delia Vader, CEO of Viader Wines, who's vehement about the gender neutrality of the wine industry, and hopeful for it's future, (even with the hefty factors of global warming, and recent wildfires, contending with the grape-producing vines).
Naturally, we were all too excited to sit down with five leaders in the industry working throughout the globe, that are innovating and shaping the future vintages from California to Italy and beyond. Below are five such women, ranging from vineyard to store owners, and one woman who's completely shifting the way we think about wine consumption.
Francesca Planeta, Wine Director, Planeta Wines
Francesca Planeta has been a rising star on the Sicilian wine scene for the last few years. Planeta is devoted not only to promoting her own vineyard, but promoting all the wines of Italy's largest island, which is most famous for the wonderful, Nero D'Avola.
Sicily's wine scene veritably boomed around Planeta as she was growing up. So when she finally began working on the Planeta Wines vineyard in her early twenties, she quickly learned the nuances of the land and the grapes she would ultimately come to produce. “I had begun to help out at the winery, using a graphics studio to create the logo and the first labels, and then I returned to Sicily, during the time of that first harvest. (This) was the moment when I decided that I would take on the challenge of working with the business that bore our family name."
Given that the business was family owned, Planeta did not encounter any barriers to entry because of her gender, but instead made sure that women are integral to the process on the vineyard. “Women have a fundamental role in our business," says the winemaker. “They are entrusted with many responsible positions; from wine making to directing exports and from the hotels to the entire marketing and communications office."
A worrying factor for both Planeta and the women at the vineyard however is global warming, something which has plagued wineries across the globe in recent years. Given that the taste and production of wine depends heavily on its “terroir" (or, surroundings), changes in environment are immediately a factor for anyone in the industry to consider when its coming to harvest season. “It generally seems to us that global warming presents not only a problem of warming in itself," she comments. “But in extremes of weather phenomena, with heavier rainfall – when it occurs, and rather longer periods of drought. (However), living and working in the centre of the Mediterranean gives us better conditions and the last twenty years have shown greater climatic stability."
Selling upwards of 2.3M bottles of wine a year, her chief markets (apart from Italy), are the United States, Germany, England, and Russia, followed by Canada, Switzerland and Japan. And she recommends that for the chillier months, if you're drinking a Sicilian wine, to go for Merlot, Syrah, or Burdese.
Delia Viader, CEO, Viader Wines
Argentinian-born Delia Viader was in the midst of an M.I.T degree, with three children at home, when an opportunity arose to purchase a vineyard in Napa Valley. “The timing was perfect for relocating my very young family," she says, who quickly got to grips with their new surroundings as their mother began constructing a powerhouse wine team to launch Viader Wines.
It hasn't always been easy for Viader and her team however. Before the financial crash of 2008, Viader was sold in every state throughout the U.S, and exported to 24 countries abroad. Since the crash, and an arsonist fire at a warehouse of theirs containing the entire 2003 vintage, they've changed their business model drastically. Now, they sell 90 percent of their collections direct-to-consumer, with the remaining 10 percent sent abroad or to the bigger markets of New York, California and Texas.
She has also become naturally concerned by the Californian wildfires of late, and their threat to both the vines, and the warehouses where the barrels are kept. “The biggest impact on our vineyard has been the change of weather pattern we have been experiencing for the past 35 years that we can speak of," says the CEO. “We are learning a lot about how resilient affected vines can be, and how wine made from those grapes needs to be processed to perhaps reshape stylistic performance of the resulting wine. The winegrowers as an industry will be learning a lot from this."
Learning and innovating are at the core of Viader's vineyards, where her son, Alan is championing new ways to irrigate their 92-acres of land, and fine tuning an understanding of “the exact optimal time to harvest at each vines' peak ripeness." And while she may be the CEO, she heavily depends on him for his expertise and blending capabilities. “I am the owner and CEO but I call myself the wine mother because I am the mother of the vines (I had them planted myself, my way); the mother of the wine (I 'created' our Cabernet-based wine to be highly influenced by the terroir with a high dose of Cab franc and remain, highly influential at the final assemblage-blend); and I am the mother of the winemaker, my son Alan Viader."
What is Viader most likely to be drinking at this moment? “I am very susceptible to a vibrant Pinot Noir from Burgundy most times," she says. “But my choice really depends on two variables: the food I am going to have and the company, the people I am going to share that bottle of wine with. I love harmony in the wine, the food pairing and the conviviality that springs from sharing a great wine."
Julia Jackson, Propietor, Jackson Family Wines
As one of the largest family-run wine groups in the U.S, The Jackson Family has garnered quite a name for itself. Leading the way within the group is Julia Jackson, daughter of mother Barbara Banke and Jess Jackson who built the group up from the ground, which is now worth an estimated $2.3 billion.
Today, their portfolio boasts wines from 52 wineries throughout the world, and integral to that is building relationships from within and amalgamating abroad. For Jackson, that means working in almost every facet of the business in order to cover all the projects she wishes to pursue. “I wear a few hats in my family business," she comments. “I'm spearheading my first acquisition project in another country, (and) I work with our international sales team to be one of the faces for Jackson Family Wines." On top of this, she's also involved with the group's environmental and philanthropic efforts, which, given the wildfire situation in California, will be work much needed in the years to come. “All my philanthropic efforts are focused around our environment and I created a charitable program that gives grants to women within the eco-space through our Santa Maria based winery Cambria."
Jackson's favorite wine at this time of the year? Gran Moraine from Willamette Valley Oregon.
Hortense Bernard, General Manager, Millesima Wines
Hortense Bernard was working with global industry leaders Moet Hennessy Diageo in Paris as a brand manager before she made her big move to the U.S. Now, she stands as one of the youngest female General Managers in the world of a large international firm, atop the Millesima USA group.
Millesima, a leading retailer in Europe, who branched into he U.S in 2006, owns upwards of 2.5M bottles of fine wine that are housed in the company's cellars in Bordeaux, France, (which is also the largest AOC vineyard in the country).
Bernard, who had her first glass of wine at eight years old, works primarily with direct-to-consumer retail and educating the U.S market about Bordeaux wines from their shop on the Upper East Side here in New York. "My goal is to educate as much as I can," she says. "In store, we speak about Bordeaux, and try to explain (because Bordeaux wine can be really complex), the wine."
"When I arrived here, I didn't know anything about American consumption," she laughs. "So it took me quite a bit to learn about it and understand how Americans see wines, and what they mean when the ask for a Chardonnay."
On top of chatting with customers, Bernard plays host to a lot of cultural events throughout the city, accompanying her wines whenever there might be a chance to express the history and significance of the wine for both France, and the industry at large.
So naturally, when asked what she'll be drinking on the celebratory occasions of December, it will be a big full-bodied Bordeaux " because that always takes me back (home)."
Marian Leitner, Founder, Archer Roose
Once it dawned on Marian Leitner that Millennials were drinking more wine than beer, she saw an opportunity to modernise the way we purchase, consume and enjoy wine.
"In the U.S, you actually pay more for the shipping and the packaging than you do for the wine itself," says Leitner. "So I started to ask why and learn more about the alternative packaging market."
Branching away from bottles, Leitner looked to packaging wine in every way beer is packaged - from cans and kegs, and then also, in boxes.
"You have to separate consumers into two buckets - the super high-end collectors, who make up less than 1 percent of the population, and then you have people who are drinking, "value" wines. And then the rest of America are basically beer drinkers."
Upon the realization that Millennial wine drinkers are more than beer drinkers, she also came to understand that they're also very brand-loyal. Brands that represent qualities and values they share, are the ones they're consuming the most. "So we decided to leverage the alternative packaging movement (which is keg, can and box), to cut through all the noise of the bottles in the wine store, and really connect with consumers." In doing so, she launched the company, Archer Roose Wines.
This move means, that apart from the ultra-hip way the wine is presented, you're also economizing. One box of Archer Roose wine contains the equivalent of 4 regular bottles. And inevitably, the kegs contain a huge volume.
Wine kegger, anyone?