Health 31 August 2018
Motherhood is as beautiful and precious as the earth itself, but it is also incredibly taxing. New moms lose countless hours of sleep caring for their babies; they put themselves last. Majka is a nutrition brand that recognizes that the selflessness of many mothers can be detrimental to their overall well-being. With all-natural, vegan bites and protein powders that aid optimal lactation and proper nutrition for both a mother and their child, Majka promotes a wholesome motherhood—and does it deliciously.
“Our society needs to understand and get behind the fact that the better the mom feels, the better care she will be able to provide for her child."
Founders, Majo Mansour and Lorena Garcia, started Majka to combat what they found to be an unfortunate paucity of postnatal resources, much of the market hyper-focused on stocking their shelves with products to support the pregnancy stage, rather than the journey that follows. Mansour and Garcia can attest to the difficulties of that journey, both new moms themselves. “After becoming moms, we quickly realized that motherhood was much more challenging than expected," they admit. “We went back to work shortly after having our children, and with work and the pressures of new motherhood, we quickly saw our health and energy decline. It's really hard to make the right food choices when you are focused on learning how to be a mom."
Founders Majo Mansour and Lorena Garcia. "The better the mom feels, the better care she will be able to provide for her child"
As pioneers of the #fuelingmotherhood movement, Mansour and Garcia believe that how you feel is a reflection of what you put into your body. Thus it is crucial that mothers eat well in order to feel healthy and strong enough to care for their babies. Not finding the right fuel in grocery stores and sick of scrutinizing every product label for clean ingredients, Mansour and Garcia took matters into their own capable hands. This past April, just two years after deciding to fill the gap in the motherhood market, they launched their products, bites and protein powder just the beginning of their mission: “love yourself, love motherhood."
Majka is self-funded by Mansour and Garcia, who teamed up with a group of professional nutritionists to ensure their products would truly benefit mothers and their babies. “We understand nutritional challenges we all face as new moms and we help address them with our products," Mansour and Garcia explain. “Our Nourishing Lactation Protein Powder is not just an amazing source of nourishment, but it's also anti-inflammatory, energizing, alkalizing, and hormone balancing. It is perfect to help new moms restore and replenish their bodies." Their protein powder can simply be blended with milk (coconut, oat, almond, etc.) or another liquid, and can also be added as a bonus to baked goods or smoothies. Healthy can be tasty, even though some are reluctant to stand by such a claim.
Moms get hungry too, craving more than a protein drink, especially when they're expending a gargantuan amount of energy doting on their little one(s). With four per pack, Majka's Lactation Bites are a healthy on-the-go snack—and when are moms ever not on the go? The key ingredients in each bite that you've probably heard of are turmeric, coconut, chia seeds, oats, flaxseed, and black sesame seeds. The key ingredients that might not ring any bells are fenugreek and glossostemon bruguieri, both specialized in lactation aid. Even moms who are not currently breastfeeding can incorporate their products into their everyday lives to reap the health benefits. The bites look like little, golden nuggets crafted by health food fairies. Who knows? Maybe Mansour and Garcia do have some motherly magic up their sleeves, their products able to work wonders for the mothers their brand is named for; yes, majka does indeed mean “mother."
“We really wanted our name to be a word that had a meaning related to motherhood and after a lot of research we discovered the word Majka. We both loved it! It means mother in Serbian."
Champions of bolstering support for new mothers and lending a voice to the various challenges they face, Mansour and Garcia say that they “want to help change how our society sees motherhood and make sure that it recognizes the 4th trimester as a critical stage that will profoundly impact the mom and baby for years to come."
Mansour and Garcia have had to learn to balance their own babies with their business baby, and that's not an easy feat. “It is a huge challenge to be able to accomplish both your role as a new mother and your role as a leader and entrepreneur," they say. “Normal day to day responsibilities do not stop when you become a mom. Some people sacrifice their career for motherhood, and we wanted to make sure we did not have to choose one or the other."
Lorena Garcia with Majka's Lactation Protein Powder
What's next for these supermoms? Exciting expansion. Mansour and Garcia revealed, with much zeal, that Majka has a few new products coming out later this year, so moms-to-be or those who've just joining the motherhood scene should all be on the lookout.
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."