We asked our CEO and Founder, Nicole Anderson, a few fun questions to get to know her better! She shared her story behind the inspiration for the company, what keeps her motivated, and even some tips on how to balance being a full-time Mom and running a growing business! Don't forget to try her yummy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe at the end!
If you were to be “in your Element” what would you be doing?
I love to travel and explore; I have always been someone that has been on the move. That being said, as much as I like to travel, I am also a nester, and when I feel truly in my element is when I am home. Home to me is the ultimate expression of creativity, whether it be organizing and renewing my space, or my favorite, which is creating in the kitchen and feeding my family and friends. For me there is nothing better than creating a nourishing meal that is delicious and serving it in my home while family and friends sit around the table and enjoy.
How are you creating a healthy environment at home during this unstable time?
It is almost impossible to not get sucked into all the craziness going on in the world at this time, especially with all the information at our fingertips and the fact that we are bombarded with information, everywhere we look. Eating healthy is just one aspect of being “healthy”. I believe we also need to keep our minds right and try as hard as we can to bring the focus back to our family unit and the friends and colleagues that we love in our life. I try to create a healthy environment by keeping the news off in my home and only allow myself a limited amount of time to look at what is going on outside of what I can control. Believe me, I am fully aware of all that is going on. I ask myself every day, what I can do within my control to make the world a better place, and I try to focus on those things. Eating clean (as much as possible), mediation and prayer, connecting with the people I care about, continuing to provide high quality products for people and working on making them more accessible, brainstorming on productive ways I can help support my community and the communities of people I feel need additional support, donating to people and causes I believe are helping other humans, and most importantly, I focus on my children every day to ensure that I am giving them the love and guidance to grow to be good humans that contribute to society in a positive way.
What are your top tips for building a strong immunity?
Eat clean, real whole foods. Stay away from processed foods as much as possible. Stay away from processed sugar, and do not be afraid of natural sugar like fruit. Eat lots of fruit, it has incredible nutrients and antioxidants to help our bodies thrive, as well as vegetables that have vitamins and minerals that you can’t get anywhere else. I do not understand how we got so far away from nature and think that we are going to be healthy eating some processed packaged food that can sit on a shelf for a year or two, but are terrified to eat and apple or an orange that came from a tree, that grows in the earth.
What or who is your inspiration?
My mother is a huge inspiration to me. My mother was adopted and grew up very poor in foster care, bounced around from home to home. She was not encouraged to continue her education after high school, in a time where most woman were not attending college. Something inside of her felt it was important to further her education, so she left the small town she graduated high school in, and left for the big city of Spring Field, Missouri. She worked full time, one of her jobs was a graveyard shift as an operator at the phone company, and she paid her way through school, graduated college, and continued to work hard and moved her way up through different positions over the years. She dealt with many obstacles along the way, and through all the various challenges she also managed to raise and provide for my sister and I. My mother’s life was anything but easy, but she pushed through so many things, with zero support, and created a life for herself and her children. She provided experiences and opportunities to my sister and I, that were not available to her, and instilled a hard work ethic and a strong sense of independence in us, as well.
What are you doing in life or in business to be an inspiration and/or role model to others?
I am trying my best to be a good role model to my children, and to teach them good values and what is truly worthwhile in this life. I really believe that so many things that builds one character, starts at home. I also hope to have the honor to inspire someone to not allow the challenges they have faced in life, to get in the way of being their best self and setting goals and working to achieve them. Hard work not only contributes and creates value to the collective, but it builds self-esteem for the individual.
How has food/nutrition shaped your life?
It has completely changed my life. I began to study nutrition when I was working to reverse my daughter’s autism and heal her body. I discovered things that helped myself along the way, as well and have been able to offer guidance to willing family and friends on their journey to better health.
What do you do when you have a craving for something that might not fit into your parameters of a “healthy lifestyle” or “good nutrition?”
A lot of times I will try to recreate a healthier version of whatever I am craving that may not be the “healthiest” option. But I am nowhere near perfect, and I do on occasion indulge in foods or drinks I may not normally consume. I try not to over think it and just simply enjoy it. It was not always this easy for me, I was a very all or nothing personality type for many years and it has taken a lot of back and forth and years of “practice” for me to obtain some sort of balance.
What is your favorite Elemental Superfood Seedbar flavor?
I love them all, I switch it up! I like the mulberry cacao + mulberry when I want some additional greens, and I enjoy the other berry flavors when I want a snack or a meal on the go, that is refreshing. When I am craving a treat, I will definitely go for one of the dark chocolate flavors, it is so satisfying, and I feel so good eating them.
What do you do for “me” time and how do you incorporate it into your busy life?
I do not have a lot of “me” time these days. I try to get at least 5-10 minutes of quiet time or meditation in each day if that’s all I can get. If I can go for a walk by myself and download and absorb ideas, I will do that as well.
Do you prefer an outdoor rustic vacation, or a more plush resort vacation? Can you describe it?
I love them both and have had both types of vacations that have been equally enjoyable. I like to experience different things, anything from staying at a beautiful resort to backpacking out into nature and setting up camp for a couple of days. One trip we did this past summer that was very fun, was we rented an RV and drove through Washington and Idaho for two weeks, stopping a different place every day or two. We enjoyed the simple pleasures of nature and living very minimalistic. It was really fun to settle in these different places, set up our camp, enjoy the people and sites around, and then pack up and drive to the next place and do it again.
What inspired you to start your business?
My daughter inspired me. She was diagnosed with autism in 2001. She was developing ahead of schedule until the age of two when we went in for her routine MMR shot, and suddenly she digressed. After she was diagnosed, I was devastated. I was a young single mother, and I did not have a ton of resources, and this was before there was a lot of information available on the Internet. I had a doctor tell me to put her on medication for some “behavioral” issues she was having that were associated with her autism. I was raised to always listen to your doctor, but this did not feel right to me. This was one of the first times I really listened to my intuition and I never filled that prescription. It did not make sense to me that a pill would help undue damage that another “medication” caused; I could not wrap my mind around that. She had been having severe stomach aches, and I began to notice they would become worse after she would eat certain foods. She would also have extreme mood swings after having sugar, and it took me a while to put two and two together, because these are the foods I grew up on and again, there was really not any information available at this time. I researched and finally found a mom's group on the east coast that was using the SCD (specific carbohydrates diet) to “heal” gut issues in their children, and some of the moms subsequently were seeing some improvements with their children on the spectrum and decreases in some of the behaviors associated with their diagnosis. I started there and was thrilled after several weeks to start to see a little glimmer of improvement. I continued to research food as well as natural supplements that I ended up using to aid my daughter’s detoxification of heavy metals (she had mercury levels that went off the charts), and to help her begin to absorb nutrients again. It was a pretty long road, and it was definitely an all or nothing situation, but over time the rewards were far greater than I could have realized when I began, and I slowly was getting my daughter back. I have always loved to cook and so when I started to make delicious foods that were also healing my daughter, I became pretty excited and passionate about it. I never intended to start a business in the beginning, but after sharing my creations and superfood seedbars with friends and family, word got out! I began selling locally out of my home until I saw there was a demand and then I moved to a commercial kitchen, and built it “organically” from there. It has taken years and a lot of work, but I do feel proud of what has been created and I hope to have the opportunity to continue to grow and provide high quality foods as well as recipes to help people create their own high-quality foods at home. (I must add to this that I know the issue I speak of here is a controversial topic today, and I am in no way sharing my experience to tell anyone that the choices they make for themselves, or their children, are not the right ones. I am simply sharing my experience. This is what happened to us, with many witnesses, and this is what is true for my family. I encourage parents to do their own research on the topic, as there are dozens of families I have personally met over the years with the same story and thousands of other families that have been documented to have had the same experience. I do not have the answers as to why some children seem to be fine, and others are affected dramatically, but I am confident that one day in the future there will be better answers, as there has been with so many different health topics over the years).
If there was going to be a movie produced based on your life, who would play you?
Reese Witherspoon (I think?)
What is a “healthy lifestyle” to you?
Mind right first, and good nutrition. Lots of Love and gratitude!
When you “treat yourself” what would we catch you doing?
Taking a nap (these days that is a real treat!)
What is one thing you want to be remembered for?
If you could give your younger self advice, what would you tell them?
You are worthy, smart, and deserving of all that is good. Don’t put up with people that do not have your best interest in mind, and always, always trust your instincts; you have REALLY good instincts.
What is your favorite recipe to make? Would you share it with us?
I love cookies, like really really love them. I do not think there is anything that quite compares to a freshly baked, warm chocolate chip cookie. I took my favorite toll house recipe I loved as a kid and made it gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free. (recipe below)
Amazing Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 2 Cups Almond Flour
- 1/2 Cup Brown Rice Flour
- 1 T Ground Flax
- 3 T water
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
- 1/2 Cup Honey (can use maple syrup to make vegan)
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Sugar (optional)
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
- To make: Preheat oven to 375
In a small bowl combine the flax and water and stir. Set aside, will firm up in a few minutes.
In a medium bowl combine the almond flour, brown rice flower, baking soda, salt and coconut sugar (if using). Stir these ingredients until well incorporated.
In a small saucepan combine the honey and the coconut oil, warm slightly, just until oil is melted and honey barely heats, add vanilla.
In a large bowl pour honey/oil mixture into bowl and combine with the flax egg, stir. Slowly add a cup of the flour mixture in and stir, continue adding flour mixture and stir until all incorporated. Add Chocolate Chips and fold in.
Put the dough in the fridge for a half hour (this is not a must, you can spoon the dough out right away if you want but putting it in the fridge makes this easier to work with, and it also does something magic to the texture the longer it sits in the fridge. The dough rolls into balls easily and again, it does something to the consistency of the cookie).
Spoon out desired cookie size on a baking sheet either lined with parchment paper or covered with coconut or avocado oil. Bake for 8-12 min depending on size of cookies and your oven. I would check at 8 min and then leave in until desired brownness. Remove from oven and allow to sit on cookie dish for several minutes. The cookies will be very soft once they come out of the oven, but if you let them sit for a few minutes, they will begin to firm up. Eat right away or store in an airtight container for a few days if they last that long. If you make extra you can store in the fridge or freeze and grab and go.