Today on The Clean Body Podcast, host Lauren Kelly talks to the CEO, Founder and Chief Alchemist behind Numi Tea Ahmed Rahim about tea ceremonies, health benefits, and the differences between conventional and high-quality teas.
During the episode, you'll learn about:
About Ahmed Rahim:
Ahmed is the alchemist behind Numi’s teas, creating unique, innovative, and delicious blends with his team. Before co-founding Numi, he studied theater and psychology in New York City, then spent a decade living, working and traveling in Europe as a professional filmmaker and photographer. He began designing teahouses in Prague, where he learned about tea’s culture, ceremonies, and its many health benefits. He speaks English, Arabic, Czech, French and German.
About Numi Tea:
Sourced straight from nature, Numi Organic Tea products are made with only the purest organic tea leaves, herbs, flowers and spices. Numi offers a range of premium quality, organic, Fair Trade green, black, white and pu·erh teas, as well as herbal teasans, Daily Super Shots, gifts, Tea Latte Concentrates, iced and bottled teas. Numi's vision is to activate a chain of positivity and possibility that radiates far and wide. Through their products and practices, they aim to create lasting positive change.
For more on Numi Organic Tea, visit https://numitea.com/
For more on Lauren Kelly and The Clean Body Project:
There's a special type of tea called poo air, which is a fermented tea. It's the only tea that's actually fermented for about 60 to 90 days, and then compressed into bricks. And that because of the fermentation has a lot of health benefits when it comes to digestion of what it does to the biomes of the internal of our bodies. And, um, and there's just so many health benefits, uh, to [inaudible]. Welcome to the clean body podcast. I'm Lauren Kelly, a certified nutrition therapist, and soon to be specialized holistic cancer coach with a certification in cancer biology from UC Berkeley. I am so grateful that you're here. This podcast introduces you to the souls and brains behind some of the cleanest food beverage and lifestyle products on the market, because what you put on in and around your body matters from cookies, bread, and mushroom superfoods to adaptogenic lozenges, clean medicines, organic mattresses, and fluoride-free toothpaste. We'll explore how the brands came to be how scientific studies drove decisions about ingredients and materials. And most importantly, how the products support all the physical and mental microscopic miracles that occur in your body every minute of every day. Thank you for being here. Let's get this started. Hello everybody happy Wednesday. I'm recording this on a Tuesday, the Tuesday before releasing it, but happy Wednesday, nonetheless, today we are talking about herbs, tea and plants, and a little bit of microplastics. Now, before I tell you about who I am interviewing, I just want to talk about the history and the properties of herbs a little bit. So herbs have been used by humans as food, as medicine for skincare, spiritual, and religious practices to clean their homes and make beauty products for thousands and thousands of years across all cultures. In fact, the first written record of herbal medicine dates back to 3000 BC, there are 422,000 flowering plants documented across our world. And out of those over 50,000 are used for medicine, all purposes, even some of the most popular medications today are derived from or modeled after compounds that are found in herbs. For example, aspirin was modeled after Willow bark, which relieves pain and inflammation. Sudafed was modeled after a Phaedra, a plant that helps with sinus congestion. And while you shouldn't just pick a plant up off the ground and eat it, plans can be toxic. You don't have to be a certified herbalist to understand the healing properties of herbs. Actually, if you're interested, here's a little tip. There's this great book called the language of plants that outlines signs or clues in a plant appearance, color scent, or growing environment that alludes to its medicine will usage. Today. I am talking to Amit Rahim, the C E O co-founder and Alchemist behind Numi organic teas. New meaty is a premium, fair trade sustainable company that specializes in unique and innovative blends of nourishing teas, and has also recently launched into the world of wellness shots during the interview, AUC Mead shares his journey to the art of tea, which is so cool. He designed tea sanctuaries in Prague. He also explains the difference between pre-bagged and loose teas and breaks down both the ceremonies and health benefits associated with different tea varieties and different herbs. We also get into a large discussion about the difference between common grocery store and premium teas, microplastics that are often found in conventional teabags and what Numi is doing as a brand to help communities and environments around the world. It's a really awesome conversation. I'm excited for you all to listen to it. If you like this episode, make sure you subscribe, review it, rate it, share it with a friend. I appreciate all the support week after week. Let's get into it. All right. Well, welcome to the podcast Akhmed. How are you? Thanks so much. Nice to be on your podcast. Thanks for having me. Yeah. I'm so excited to talk to you about all things T and learn, um, about everything that you do. I think that there's a lot of misconceptions around uh, the brand around Christmas time because I found your drinking chocolates and that's how I started learning about you and everything that you're doing. And so I'm really excited to dig in, but to get started, I would love to just hear about your journey to health and wellness and wanting to go into, you know, the CPG industry and create a better for you T and other other wellness products. Yeah, well, my journey starts, uh, from being born in Baghdad, Iraq, and immigrating to this country, uh, about 40 years ago. And I think through my journey, I mostly entered the world as an adult, as an artist, um, and working in different, fine arts. And through that process, you know, um, entering the CPG space, I obviously looked at it with my sister, who's my business partner, uh, through a lens of how do we make sure we take care of the planet and the people that we work with. And, um, and tea is a beverage that I got really into, um, one through my heritage and lineage and in middle east, where to use a big beverage that we drink, but also in Europe where I lived 10 years, I opened up tea houses and I really got, uh, infused with all these different types of teas from around the world, mostly from China and Taiwan and Japan. And, and then I got into herbals. I've always been into plants. Um, I've actually declared myself a plant. I left the human species about 12 years ago and I'm technically a plant. So, and, um, and I think herbs, there's thousands of types of herbs that are so good for you. And now entering the CPG space and being an entrepreneur, uh, really doing stuff that's healthy for the body, healthy for the planet and healthy for people. Um, and T is obviously a great vehicle. It has so much poetry. It has so many nuances and cultures and ceremonies and have just used tea as the gateway to really enter the hearts and bodies of millions of people, including my own. Yeah, I know that your life has been spent a lot of time in the arts. Um, I read that you were a filmmaker and a photographer. I was, um, in production while I'm still in production. I'm making this podcast, but also an actress in Los Angeles for a long time. And so I really resonated with that. And I always love to ask people who have that artistic and creative soul, how they think that those experiences and skillsets weave into what you do today as a tea Alchemist. How do you think that all is interconnected? Well, I think art allows us to express and it allows us to think differently than the norms of going to, I don't want to say anything about going to a business school that's good or bad, but I think they're just, you get, you look at things through boxes. And I think through an artistic expression, you look at the world and at your own work as an expression, um, and as a, as a form through branding and through, uh, the beauty of what you're releasing in the world. Um, so I do think both my sister and I being artists allowed us to think outside of the box and to be very creative in our process, um, not just through our packaging and our branding, but through the expression of the purity of the teas and herbs that we work with and also the relationships that we've built, uh, globally around the world. Um, and I think that has a little bit also to do with my heritage and where I'm from and the culture that comes from, um, you know, Iraq and that whole Mesopotamia world. Yeah. Tell me about your journey with tea a little bit. Has it always been a pillar of your life, or is it something that you created this relationship with later in life? Well, as I mentioned a little earlier, you know, ti was always drunk in our home. Uh, it's in our culture, tea is a big beverage. I don't want to mention the brand that my parents drank. Uh, it took them years to get off that brand to start drinking new me. Um, but, uh, but I think for me, you know, um, NUMMI was named this dry desert lime that we drank as little kids and it's our drink of hospitality and Iraq, and it's called NUMMI. So my sister and I, and family has always talked about this lime, this dry desert lime that's, um, sun dried that bringing it into this country would be an amazing, you know, gift to the American community. And just to beverage that we have, like, you go to Morocco, you drink mint, or you go to Turkey to the salons and you drink black tea in our culture. Um, you would drink the lime. So, uh, then when I lived in Europe, I stumbled upon as an artist, some friends that wanted me to help them design and build some tea houses. And that was in Prague where I lived for about six of my 10 years in Europe and through designing and building these tea houses, I quickly got infused and, uh, enraptured by this plant and tea. So I was serving 800 pots of tea a day in the tea house, and I was helping source from many countries around the world. And so I began to play with blending and play with the different nuances and tastes and how to steep teas and the temperatures of water. And it was through the tea houses that I really got. Um, I fell in love with tea, and as we say at Numi, um, you know, tea fell into water and, and tea discovered us. Um, so, uh, uh, that's based on the legend of Shen [inaudible] , who discovered tea back in 2300 BC when, uh, uh, while Teatree fell into his boiling water. And, uh, he soon discovered the benefits and all the health, um, uh, properties of the tea plant. I love that you were the best tea spokesperson. You're so poetic. It's just beautiful, but there's so many things I want to, I want to branch off from, with what you just said, um, ranging from what maybe Americans still don't understand about tea and the ceremony behind it, to how you source the ingredients. I cannot skip over the, the story behind you working in and designing tea houses in Prague. That is so unique. I went to Prague two years ago and it's just a magical, magical city. And I need to hear more about that. How did you evolve with that? What was involved in doing that? How long did you do it? Well, I, as most places I've lived in life, I've stumbled upon them. They weren't, uh, destinies, they were sort of a part of the journey. And, um, I stumbled, I went to Prague on my way to Spain and, um, and six years later, I, I, uh, you know, had a farm there and had a whole life there and, and lived mostly as a photographer and filmmaker and musician. But, uh, but the tea was, you know, just some friends that were, um, you know, it's in Eastern Europe. And in general, when you go farther east of Europe and to Turkey and middle east and Russia tea is a very big beverage. And back in the nineties T started to really take hold and Eastern Europe. And, you know, there was a music studio in one of the tea houses, and I used to play and perform music with some friends there. And the people who owned it, you know, asked me if I would want to get involved in more on the artistic side. And as I started to work and build mosaics and help design some things with the floor, mosaics and wood and, and tile, um, I just would hang out and drink teapots after teapots, after teapots, and really got into it and just built some friendships. And through that, they asked me to be a partner and an investor, which I did. And I was mostly living on my farm, which was about an hour away from Prague. And, um, but I just, you know, the culture of tea is a very unique culture. You don't find that in coffee or in chocolate and cacao, it's a real meditative space where you sit with the tea and you sit with yourself, or you sit with a friend and in Eastern Europe, these tea houses are really an invitation to drop in and really be with yourself and be with others. And if you're in a pure present space. So I really learned that and enjoyed that and found the deep appreciation to want to work with it. So when the invitation with my sister to come back to the us, to California, where she was living in Oakland to launch new me, I thought, wow, really taking to the, to the next level and in the United States, and to really create a brand and to create something that could be national, which is now fortunately global. Um, I had no idea. I thought I was coming to help her for six months. And again, just came here to Oakland, uh, just to help her. But 22 years later, I'm still here living on a farm again. Well, living on a farm doesn't sound so bad, but what is that like, kind of going from, I mean, as you talk about your life and the journey you took, all I can see is like a movie like this needs to be made into a movie, a beautiful poetic movie, but how does it feel kind of going from this place of living on a farm and Prague and working in these tea houses to now running a global tea brand? I mean, I, I imagine the stress associated with that might be a bit more increased. Well, I don't tend to get stressed. I find it to be in total, um, privilege and an honor to do this work. Um, you know, there were some hard years, our first few years when we were growing really fast and, you know, trying to find cash and finding the right people to help us scale. Uh, but you know, 21 years later, it's a very stable business and we have incredible people working in the company and we've developed such beautiful partnerships, um, around the world where we source our ingredients. And of course all the other partners that have really supported us along the way, um, and from, uh, investors to bankers, to board members, to all kinds of various suppliers. Um, so, uh, you know, I find the, um, the journey to be an absolute, um, privilege and, um, that I feel grateful that I get to have that I have experienced such a, such a yeah, just the relationships and the work. And, um, and the brand that new me has created that is opened up so many other doors for me personally, and for all other businesses in the natural food industry, even through my, uh, CEO group that I co-founded with Lara Dickinson nine years ago called OSC one step closer, um, you know, which brings a lot of brand leaders and CEOs together to really drive bigger change. Um, so at Numi has been able to done with do with fair trade and, and, and sustainability and, um, uh, environmental packaging and organics and non-GMO, and we've really been able to move some waves, um, and, and, uh, and change the way the patterns are and the industry. Yeah. I mean, we are definitely going to get into all of that because that's something, if you visit the Numi website, you can't skip over the fact that you're so involved in communities and with farmers and across the globe, and, you know, in an environmental way, in a give back way, it's really impressive. It's more than I've seen a lot of brands do. And it seems to be really strong pillars that the brand is held up on. But before we get there, I want to circle back around a little bit, just rewind. You kind of mentioned this culture and the ceremony behind tea. And I think that that's not very well known or widely known in the American culture associated with tea. So I'd love for you to just kind of explain some of that culture and ceremony that perhaps a lot of Americans aren't aware of when they, you know, go into their pantry and grab a tea bag and just sip it throughout the day. Yeah. I mean, the teabag evolved in the, you know, late 18 hundreds, 19 hundreds in England. But before that, and even still present time tea has an always has been drunk as a ceremony, whether you go to China or to Japan or Taiwan, um, India was very influenced by the English culture. So, you know, tea with milk and sugar is still fairly standard in India. But when you go to some of the Asian communities, tea is a, is a total ritual. Um, and Japan, you know, the ways in which Japanese tea is drunk, there's positions, there's, there's postures, there's sittings. Um, there's all the utensils that are used to make just a cup of tea. Same as in China, the Kung Fu ceremonies and the, the guy won ceremonies with the special cups and pots. And there's a special pot in China called a ye Xing pot, which is made of, um, it's in a region of Northern China in the fishing where they use the ceramic. And they say, you're supposed to use one type of tea with one pot forever. And if you eventually don't put any tea in there, just hot water that the, the ceramic absorbs that tastes for so long that it'll still taste like the tea. Um, so there are so many ceremonies and temperatures of water and ways to serve, um, that it's, it's an incredible, um, uh, it's a, it's a beauty to watch and to be in, and then to have learned it from any tea masters to actually be able to serve. Cause you really drop into this space when you're doing tea ceremonies, it's not about, you know, you put it in a paper cup and you put a, you know, uh, something to go or, you know, uh, you know, here we sit with a cup of tea at our desk, which is fine and a teabag, but the real true ceremonies with the loose tea and the leaf, and, um, the looking at the leaf and, you know, you can even read your, your, your fortune in the tea leaves. Hm. What is the difference between teas that we can get already bagged and loose leaf tea? Is there an actual nutritional or health difference, or is it more in the ceremony that makes a different. I would say it's more in the quality, um, and of course in the ceremony, cause it's, it would be fairly strange to do a tea ceremony with tea bags. Um, it doesn't have the nuance and the beauty and the ritual. Um, uh, so I would say mostly besides the whole ceremonial part that I've talked about, the biggest difference, uh, is really the quality loose leaf tea, or you're generally speaking, going to get a much higher quality and the larger leaf and in the, um, in the brewing process, uh, there are brands like Numi that use a very high quality and the teabag. So you, you're still getting that taste like loose leaf. Uh, however I think loose leaf really opens the body and the mind and the spirit to something very different in that ritual and in the taste. And then the nuances of the taste, whereas teabags, um, generally cut the leaf down a little smaller to fit it into the teabag. Um, we've taken a very, uh, revolutionary route where we've milled the tea, very, uh, um, uh, as little as possible. And we also are one of the only brands not to use oils and flavorings in our tea. And we don't result, we don't resort to tea, dust, or tea Fanning's which most teabags use, which pates a very bitter taste astringent taste. So I think our teabag is trying to mirror as close as possible to the quality of loose leaf, but I just don't compare teabags and loose leaf if you, the ability and the time and the ritual to be able to brew loose leaf it's it's, um, it's a whole different experience. This. Is maybe very, very silly, and maybe I'm the only one in the world that feels this way, but I've always just been intimidated by loose leaf tea. I'm like, I don't know what to do, how to drink it, which I'm sure it's like a simple, Hey, Alexa, how do I drink loose leaf tea, but so it's laziness on my own part, but does it, is it intimidating? Do I need to be intimidated by that? Well, Lauren, when the COVID world opens up, I will give you a private training on how to make tea. Um, but no, it's not, it's not, it's not intimidating at all. It is, it's so easy to do it, but it all is about proportion of tea to temperature of water, to steeping time. Those are the sort of the three facets. And then of course the container in which you're brewing it in. And, um, but none of it is rocket science. It's not tea science either. It's an art form. And, uh, and I think it's, it's very simple. Um, and the good thing about brewing loose leaf tea, um, you know, uh, is you get to regulate and manage your tea taste. So if you like something strong and bold, or if you like something light and fresh, you can take any leaf tea and, and, and brew it to your liking. There's obviously the proper ways to make a certain black tea or oolong tea or Pu-erh tea. Um, you know, white tea is very delicate, so you want lesser, uh, um, you want to a lower temperature water, so you don't ruse or over cook the tea, but generally speaking loose leaf tea, if you use the right amount, three to five grams for a, let's say eight ounce cup, and you use, you know, maybe just under boiling water and you steep it for four to five minutes, you're going to get a perfect cup of tea. Hmm. I do like the idea that's percolating in my brain of using loose leaf tea and learning and experimenting with loose leaf tea as a, um, like de-stressing mechanism. So you, you said you don't feel too much stress around on a regular basis, which is very lucky. I think a lot of people listening probably do, and especially during COVID, everyone's searching for ways to de-stress and decompress and take a moment to breathe. And this idea of experimenting with loose leaf tea and making it a mindful ceremony, uh, you know, five minutes to just breathe and get away from your computer and stop thinking about everything you have to do. Sounds like something that would be just really beneficial and actually really enjoyable to do. And I've never really thought of incorporating tea into my life that way. Yeah. Loose leaf tea does slow you down. It's a, it's a big art art form of slowing down. And, um, and when you sit in the ceremonies, you may sit around a pot, one product T for an hour that you steep 10, 15, 20 times, and it keeps releasing flavor and flavor and the flavors change, and they go deeper and richer to more floral, to lighter and more gentle. So, uh, that presence of sitting with a pot of loose leaf tea is a, is a great distress, um, vehicle. And it's a great to just, um, yeah, quiet down and slow down a bit. So aside from the ceremony and the different tastes of the tea that you can cultivate, what are the actual health benefits of tea? I think, you know, I think a lot of, uh, American culture, they do get the bag tea and the box says it has health benefits, but I think a lot of people kind of doubt that, and it's probably in the quality of tea that they're drinking, but generally speaking, what kind of health benefits can tea help drive for the typical human? So tea has a lot of benefits. Um, it's obviously most well-known for its any oxidants, which are, um, fighting cancer and the radical cells that create cancer. Um, so that is the more broader and more general, um, uh, yeah. Note on T is its properties of high antioxidants, similar to pomegranates or, or blueberries. Um, and that is what you see mostly in the press when you look up, especially green tea and white tea, um, are the health properties of antioxidants, of course, tea contains caffeine. Um, and, uh, and that is, uh, you know, for some people, a health benefit to give some energy and some uplift. Um, there's a special type of tea called poo air, which is a fermented tea. It's the only two that's actually fermented for about 60 to 90 days and then compressed into bricks. And that because of the fermentation has a lot of health benefits when it comes to digestion, um, comes to, um, you know, what it does to the biomes of the, of the, of the, of the internal of our bodies. And, um, and there's just so many health benefits, uh, to Pu-erh tea. Um, so. Is that probiotic then, because it's fermented. Technically you would think so, but because you're um, you know, who knows I haven't done the studies probiotics are generally, you know, refrigerated and, um, so it's a little different, but because of the fermentation, it releases a lot more, um, sort of microbes that regular tea does not have, uh, that black, white and green tea and oolong teas don't carry. So poo air has a lot more properties and who are, is spelled P U E R H for anyone interested in looking it up amazing tea. Um, and it, it actually ages even better over time, like good wines. So over time per where we'll taste richer and the health benefits will even get stronger, but white tea and green tea generally have high acts, oxen, ox, antioxidant levels, and black tea usually has the higher, um, uh, caffeine levels. And, you know, just on the health benefits, I would like to add that, you know, there's thousands of herbs as we know, like a mint and Kemah meal that have so many health benefits like ginger and turmeric and lavender and rose and, uh, valerian and marshmallow root. I mean, the list goes on at conation elderberry, all of these have thousands. I mean, there's thousands of herbs that have so many health benefits that are good for your immune system or for detox or for your throat. Um, so the whole world and an industry of, of drinking hot beverages, um, including herbs and spices are, are, are just, you know, they're, they're really the homeopathic remedies that have been drunk by indigenous cultures for thousands of years. And we're just in the last 20, 30 years really learning about them here in the United States. So it's a, it's a, it's a gold mine for the health when it comes to teas and herbs and spices. Have you ever. Experienced firsthand health benefits from drinking certainties? Oh yeah. Like who, where, you know, for digestion, if you have a heavy meal, um, you know, they, they, uh, they say it's great for dim sum, um, and meat. I'm not a big eater, but you know, it really helps with digestion, but I've, I've had amazing benefits with poo air just to feel that the, the cleansing and the system, um, I drink a lot of turmeric and ginger and, and, and herbs to help with, um, you know, inflammation. Um, mint is great with digestion, uh, when you drink, you know, different, um, or, uh, roots like marshmallow root and Sage and licorice root also really good for the throat. And, um, like I was mentioning earlier elderberry, and [inaudible] great for the immune system, as we've probably heard a lot right now during this time, you know, to, to get, go out and get a lot of zinc and [inaudible] and elderberry. Um, so yes, I've had incredible benefits of tea. I find white tea and green tea and oolong tea, the antioxidant properties to, um, you know, there's studies around it. There's no FDA results, but there's a lot of studies that it just, um, you know, also promotes healthy teeth and bones with its fluoride. So, um, uh, but I, I think the herbs and Pu-erh have probably been the more efficacious ones that I've felt the results with. So for people are at the grocery store and they want to be getting these health benefits, say they want a more restful night of sleep. So they want valerian tea, or they want some anti-inflammation, um, assistance. So they get tumeric tea. How can they ensure that they're buying a tea, that's actually going to give them those benefits? Because I feel like you see a lot of teas for a dollar or $2. And I just don't know if I believe you're going to get the health benefits that you're looking for by purchasing kind of one of those lower grade quality teas. You know, um, I would agree, uh, price does have a bit of a relationship to the quality because there are turmerics that are more medicinal grade than just the run of the mill. Uh turmerics as well as ginger, as well as some of the other herbs that I mentioned earlier. Um, but you know, it's hard to equate price with, uh, the efficaciousness of the herbs and spices and teas. Um, you know, there's very low grade, Pu-erh teas out in the market and, um, you're going to taste it. And I think you're going to taste it when you taste, um, a high quality turmeric or let's call it elderberry, or [inaudible] compared to a lower grade, you're going to taste it. It's just like, you know, I don't want to mention any brands, but if you taste a poor chocolate compared to a high quality chocolate, you, when you drink, when you eat a really good dark chocolate from a, usually a more expensive brand, you're going to taste that quality and you're going to feel it in your body. Um, the same with wine, uh, when you have a very, uh, bitter astringent wine, you know, that's, you know, two, $3 a bottle, if you can even find that, but then you buy a bottle that's, you know, a little bit more, you're going to taste those nuances. And, um, so it's the same with tea. So how would, you know, I think doing a little research on the brand is helpful, doing, seeing, are they a real efficacious brand? Do they have some, uh, data and, and insights into where they source and how they talk about the health benefits around their product and, um, and where they source it from? Uh, so hopefully they give you the transparency you want as a, as a buyer, uh, because you know, your vote counts with every purchase you make and you want to support those that are doing good work with farmers, doing good work with the earth and producing a product that really translates into bringing those health benefits. So. Let's trans transition then into sourcing ingredients, because I know that this is something new me is extremely dedicated to sourcing organic fair trade. Um, so tell me a little bit about how you go about sourcing your ingredients and why organic and fair trade is so important to new. Well, I'll start with organic. I mean, organic is, you know, the foundation of anything we buy because you got to take care of the earth and to put chemicals in the earth, um, uh, is just putting chemicals in our body. And, uh, and we don't want that. We want, we want to put products in our body that, um, really are our residue and chemical free. And with T the reason organics is even more important is T is not cleaned or washed after you pick it, it's processed, but then it's put right into a bag of loosely for a teabag. And the first time it comes in contact with water is when you put it in your cup. So if you're drinking tea that was sprayed with chemicals and pesticides, you're actually drinking that it's terrifying, terrifying. So it's a, it's a hidden, uh, unknown about tea. That organic is so important in T where in some crops they're putting the chemicals in the earth and then its root system is creating the chemicals in the actual finished product with tea. They're actually spraying the leaves with chemicals. So, and you know, for me, more importantly, I just wanna make sure that we're protecting this planet. So it's much healthier than when we started our process and, um, and doing, uh, doing cultivation that is organic and regenerative is allowing, um, you know, the plant to thrive for generations and generations and centuries to come. And the whole regenerative practice is even more important. Um, and with tea what's really good is, you know, a T Bush and a lot of the herbs and spices that we pick teas lasts the tea Bush lasts for 50 years. It's not something it's not a, it's not a crop that you have to plant every year. It's also, it gets a lot of natural rainwater. Um, in most of the T growing regions, there's an abundance of rain. So you don't have to, you know, like some crops like almonds or, um, some other crops that are very water intensive. And we know how water is such a scarcity, especially, you know, in places like California and other, other places around the world. Um, so I think organic is, is obviously a real important from, from our own health and from the health of the, of this earth and the soil, uh, through the regenerative practices that we take and then unfair trade and fair labor. You know, most of these places that teas and herbs and spices are picked are from very developing countries that are generally, um, working with some of the poorest populations on the planet. So, you know, it, it's our responsibility to take care of the people that, that pick our teas and herbs, because that's the final product that we put our prod, uh, into our, our boxes that we sell. And, and these people, you know, through all kinds of measures we do through fair trade and fair labor measures of, of additional wages, healthcare education, you know, goes down to simple things like mosquito nets to make sure that they have those because malaria is so big in these countries. Um, healthcare, uh, you know, we do a whole clean water project with the Numi foundation called together for hope where we've actually dug Wells and done water sanitation programs with over 10,000 farmers in their families to make sure they have access to clean water. Because so many of these people just don't have clean water and clean water is a human right. Um, and they're drinking literally Diddy, dirty river water, and they take it home and boil it. So we've gone out and dug Wells and some of these families and some of these villages, um, we've done sanitation and latrine work. Um, and, uh, so I think the fair trade and fair labor, as I mentioned earlier, it's such a privilege to be able to do this work and to work with these cultures around the world. So the least we can do. And the most we can do is to make sure that their welfare and their livelihoods and their families are taken care of from their health to their education, um, and to their wages. Um, and some other work we do is also on how do we create an ecosystem around the communities that they have just a place where people want to be, because so many of the younger generations are leaving the tea farmer, farming plantations, or the herbs they're going to the bigger cities. So how do we keep that lifestyle at the farm level exciting for the families and feeling like they're being, um, held and well protected and taken care of so that the generations will stay on. So we try and look at things that really, um, make them proud of being, uh, of doing the work that they do. Um, so education is something that we put a lot of focus on, um, internationally, globally, and, and even domestically. Um, but, um, yeah, it's just such an important thing. And one other element that you didn't mention, Lauren, that I'd like to share is, you know, beyond fair trade and fair labor and organic, I think every element of what we produce is so important and that, that includes also, you know, the carbon emissions we do, as well as the packaging. You know, there's so many, so much plastics being produced in petroleum-based into creating plant-based packaging, um, that isn't using petroleum so that it can be compostable, um, and or all of our cardboard recycle, uh, using recycled materials and not Virgin paper. So again, we're protecting the future of our. Oh, we are getting to the packaging for, I we're getting to the packaging and the microplastics, but I, you know, it is also interconnected and that's kind of this painting that you're, that you're drawing here is that the way that you provide for the people working with you, they will provide for the plants, which provides for your brand, which provides for our environment. Everything is so interconnected with one another. And I have some friends who produce products, and they really believe that the intention that you put into cultivating that product and making that product is passed along in it. So if you put love into the product that changes the actual final product that you receive, and I did read on your site that you believe not only soil and climate changes the plants, but the care that the farmers give the plants. And so is this, do you have an instinctual belief that it's this transfer of energy, if they're finding fulfillment and happiness and what they do that will ultimately impact the plant as well? Oh, absolutely. I'm all about frequency and energy. And, um, and I think the gift that keeps keeps giving is when you're just, it's a, it's a nature of giving and it's a nature of, um, feeding one another. And, you know, it was interesting. Um, when we did the water project in Madagascar, where we source our turmeric, first time we went there, you know, people were sad and people were, um, unhappy, and it wasn't because of us, but it just was their climate. And this Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. Uh, I think it's the ninth poorest country in the, probably in the top 15 porous countries. And then we did this whole water system and we dug 25 Wells and we brought clean water, uh, that they've never had and been promised for dozens of years by many organizations and nobody did it. And we brought clean water to 4,000 farmers in their families. And we went, we went back to see the Wells. Uh, six, seven months later, everyone was filled with joy and happy, and I felt it in the product even more. And I felt it in the relationship that we then put into the product that we then sold because we share it and carried on that story. And that energy level of what this whole process takes, because to get a little turmeric root out of the middle of this little island in Africa, it takes big journeys to get from one place to the other, to the other, to the other then to a big city in that region. And then, you know, it just it's to look at a life cycle of a single plant it's endless right actions. It takes to get it here then into a box and then onto a shelf. Even that process takes us a lot of work, but that energy level is so important because, and that's what we look at when it comes to fair trade is not just the farmer, but the whole supply chain, so that everybody is taken care of along the way. That's, that's a lot of work. That's a lot of work to do to get some products in a grocery store that you feel proud of. And that's what I think makes Numi really, really unique is the amount of focus you're putting on all these different parts of the production cycle. Um, and so going back to packaging, um, I did read on your Instagram on the new me, Instagram, not too long ago about microplastics and how microplastics are a part of very conventional teabags. And so Numi has done put a lot of work into creating a kind of bag that, um, not only benefits our environment, but also benefits humans bodies, because we don't want to be consuming those microplastics. So talk to me a little bit more about that. What, how you got involved, how you learned about microplastics and, and, um, teabags and what your process was in finding a new formulation for your own product. Yeah, well, I mean, we've always worked with, uh, hemp-based teabags and now we work with Abacha, uh, which is a plant like the banana plant, which is just a fiber to make our teabags, which are all compostable. And about 15 years ago, the whole trend of those see-through teabags started to come out. And, um, I dunno if you've seen some of those see-through bags that you can, they look like they call them silky or silken, but in fact, all they are is just, they used to just be petroleum-based, which is just, uh, you know, using petroleum. And so we immediately got on that to educate everyone what these plastic bags were and that we're putting boiling water and, and Brian Durkee, our CEO, he at the time about 10, 12 years ago, went to the non GMO project, the non GMO verified project and said, we won't, we don't want to be non GMO verified because you're putting, you're verifying these teabags that are see-through that you're actually putting in boiling water. So it's now becoming an ingredient. And, um, so they said, you're right. So they actually took away the verifications for some of these, uh, companies that were using the see-through teabags, which have evolved from petroleum to now genetically modified. And they're still using, um, uh, petroleum as their base. So what we just try and do is educate, and we obviously try and make sure, well, we don't try. We make sure that we don't use anything in our teabag that's petroleum and, and, and only natural ingredients that are compostable. And now with our overwrap, which is the little foil overwrap that we wrap the teabag in to keep it fresh, we've converted that completely to a plant-based material as well. So that there's no, uh, petroleum in that. So that can be composted and or recycle. For people listening, who might not completely understand why is petroleum and why are microplastics bad? Oh my God, do we have an extra hour Lauren? Sure. Let's do it. A lot of time to talk about that. I mean, you know, petroleum and plastics, I mean, you see the plastics in the ocean and the plastics are going in the fish that we, uh, are eating. I mean, they say 50% of fish now have little microplastics in plastic is, is just, it's. It's a, it's a, it's a material that doesn't leave this planet and it just, it lasts for thousands of years. We want stuff to enter the earth, whether it's in a landfill, hopefully not, or in a compost bin that is naturally biodegrading back into the planet and nourishing the soil that grows our food and goes into our water systems that we drink the waters. Um, if we have plastics going into our water systems into new, into our earth, that the animals are eating and that we are drinking, all that's doing is putting petroleum, which is an oil-based product into our bodies, which is not a natural material. Um, so I can talk about it for hours. I'm very passionate about this. And it's a, it's a big topic. I mean, look at Starbucks, got rid of plastic straws. And so many countries now are getting rid of plastic bags and the grocery stores, and they're making those laws because I think the news is finally catching up that plastics is going to destroy this planet and the health of the animals and humans, because it's capturing all of our waste streams, our water streams, our, um, our animal livestock and, and now GMO is the big thing. Cause genetically modified it's we don't, it's a genetically modified ingredient. We don't know what's that mean what's that is even made of, and now it's being fed in soy and in, um, in, uh, in corn and so many other products that then we're putting in our bodies in an animal's bodies. Um, so, you know, you just look at the world and you just look at 70, 80 years ago, everything was organic and what have we done the last 60, 70 years post industrialization that we've now put preservatives and all these plastics. I mean, we've gone in a very wrong direction, the last 70, 80 years, and now it's our job to really clean it up and just go back to the basics. Yeah. Do you think we can get back there? I think if we bring it into the school systems and to education and we educate the youth because the youth, as we all know our future and we need to educate and with enough education and enough tools and resources, I think we can, but it's going to take a bottoms up approach as well as a top down governance, governance and policy approach to start to make a strong laws around that. Just like, you know, there's all kinds of benefits to having an electric car there's benefits to having solar, to using, you know, um, uh, electricity for your car instead of petroleum to having, um, uh, solar and wind for your energy. So I think there are ways that policy and government can help, but there's a lot of need to do it from the bottoms up from education. And if we get the youth educated and understanding that that's the future, we need to see, they will help co-create it and collaborate around it. I think we are seeing quite a big shift, at least in some demographics around people wanting more transparency about what's in their food, what's in their products, how their products are made, if they're eco-friendly, um, and a big push for sustainability. So I agree. I think it's happening a lot more needs to be done because we've, as humans created a lot of damage in this world. And I know I always kind of go back and forth between these two dichotomies. This world we live in is really interesting. You know, like I'm really grateful that I get to talk to you. Who's in a completely different place in the world using this technology we have. And these advancements we have with wireless internet and Bluetooth and all these crazy things that, you know, some studies claim are hurting our brain and hurting our body and our overall health. And then there's this other side of me. That's like, I would absolutely go back to living off the land and like no technology. I make my own clothes. I'll hunt for the food. Not only men have to hunt for the food. I can go home for the food too. And I live between this push and pull between these two worlds that have just collided so quickly. Like you said, you kind of get to live in a beautiful world of both. Yeah, I do. I grew about 80% of my food, especially between, um, you know, April and September, October. So I live a lot off the land and, and, um, uh, and you know, but it's hard. It's it's, and, and the way I talk about education earlier, it's probably for a lot of the underprivileged people. And then there's billions of people that are underprivileged that have poor education that are resorting to the cheapest product, which is usually, you know, preservatives and, and packaged in plastic and, um, and unhealthy. Uh, so when I talk about education, I'm talking about educating the broader, uh, consumer and the broader, um, population, because there are the privileged and those that have the luxury to make choices, your vote does count with your purchase. So I think there is a balance of how do we work through policy and government to make changes as well as how do we create a revolution of some form through education on the broader scale for those that don't have the opportunity and don't have the financial ability to buy the organic products and buy the products that are fair trade, because they generally are a little bit more expensive. They're buying that dollar box of tea that you talked about that probably is packaged in plastic and probably is using oils and flavorings and tea dust, and poor quality. So how do we find the balance of both worlds that we can really educate and then find policies that help us to serve them? That's a really great point. It's a very double-sided coin in that we need to provide more education. I've always said maybe I'll lobby for improved nutrition education in school, because I feel like the Pythagorean theorem has done nothing for my life, but I could have used some tax education or nutrition education in school, but then it is also food reform. The fact that it costs a dollar to, you know, go get some burgers that have refined carbohydrates and sugars and hidden ingredients. And then that cause health issues for us. Um, and we can't afford to get people healthy. Food is a massive problem in our society is that I don't know how long it's going to take to reform, but I know there's some really incredible people trying to push forward for that. Um, and I think, you know, new me in everything that you do, you're also creating this wave of responsibility as a brand and what you're putting out into the world, because it is impacting our environment and the humans who consume it. Oh, absolutely. I mean, even our Numi foundation, you know, we feed thousands of families delivering them every week. Organic produce some of the poorest families in the bay area. When, when COVID hit, we, we pivoted some of our programs that we did that, uh, we were doing gardening programs in all the lower income schools, the public school systems in Oakland and the greater bay area. And when we pivoted to the homes, we saw that these families, you know, we're running, they were, they didn't have jobs, they didn't have food. So many farmers were going out of business cause they couldn't service the restaurants and cafes. So we put the two together and said, all right, let's raise some money. And we were able to raise a significant amount of money through the foundation to deliver over 500,000 pounds of organic produce to thousands of families in the bay area every week. And, um, and now we're feeding a lot of the elders. Um, so it's, it's, it's our responsibility to really, again, serve those that have the greatest need. Um, and even the CEO group, I mentioned that I co-founded with Lara OSC, you know, we've done things for the industry besides bringing great CEOs, sustainable CEOs together. We do things like our packaging collaborative and find sustainable solutions. Um, we started the climate collaborative, which now has over 700 companies that have been joined in from big brands, uh, that are globally known to, you know, the smaller brands, but how do we all make commitments to really support the future of the climate that we want to see? Cause global warming is real. Um, and, and now we just launched last year, Jedi justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. And how do we really create more inclusion and justice and, and, um, and equality in this world. So, so many brands have been joining outside of the core CEO group, but it is the work we need to do every day to push for the future. We want to see. And it's great to see to your question earlier, can we do this? Yes, we can. And um, and I think that's what Obama wants that, but, uh, I think we can. And, um, and I think it just, it takes that collaboration and it takes those people to put their heart and walk the talk and to put their body and mind into a place where they really embody it and believe in it because once you do that, you will live and breathe it and you will make sure that that is what will happen. Well, I don't know how we've already been talking for 15 minutes. This is flown by, but before we're forced to wrap this up, I do also want to talk about, you know, Numi is known for their tea. Um, but they have other products. Like I said, I found you through your drinking chocolates. You also just launched a new wellness line called staying healthy. So tell me a little bit about those products and, um, why you wanted to launch into those areas as well. Well, I think back to the earlier point, um, about the, uh, the wellness of teas, um, you know, we launched this stay healthy line, which introduces herbs like [inaudible] and elderberry and marshmallow root and Conda and all these passion flower that are good for de-stressing that are good for immunity that are good for the throat that are good for congestion that are good for sleeping. We launched sweet slumber, which is for, um, you know, with valerian root and kamma meal. So more efficacious, functional teas and herbs, especially through this time we just went through, um, in this pandemic, people need, um, healthy, healthy ways to stay strong. And, um, so the stay healthy line was, was really in, in, in response, even though we've been thinking about it in response to, um, to finding ways for people to be proactive with their health, um, rather than just fighting, finding ways to fight their condition, it's really to sustain their health. Um, so that's why we call it stay healthy. Um, and there are all kinds of amazing herbs and there seven different, uh, products that we just launched. Um, one's called immune support. One's called immune boost. That's with explanation elderberry, one's congest away. Um, one's throat Sue there with marshmallow and Sage and licorice licorice roots. Um, one that is de-stressed with Conda and camomile and passion flower. Um, the sweet slumbers with valerian and camomile and lavender. Um, and I'm trying to remember the last one I should have had them in front of me. Um, it'll come in a minute. Oh, D D on dandelion detox with dandelion, um, and some other amazing herbs. So it's a great detox. Um, so yeah, just to really meet the moment and the time that everyone's looking for these kinds of healthy, um, herbal, um, efficacious herbs and the drinking chocolates, you know, uh, it meets new me and it meets the, the farming and the supply chain also in, uh, you know, working with indigenous farmers like tea cacao is mostly grown in cultures all around the world, and it's a very indulgent product line, but we've taken a twist where, you know, we have a Shroom power which uses chaga and mushrooms, uh, as a, as a deeper taste in this, in this drinking chocolate. Mexican style drinking chocolate, it's thicker. It's not like the sweet, hot chocolate you see on the market. It's really something that's more, again, ceremonial. Cause in a lot of these cultures, they drink this very strong chocolate and it takes you into a euphoria. So not to say, you're going to get you fork when you drink it. Um, but, but cacao has that. It has a, it has this euphoric, um, uh, quality in it that say really brings love into our hearts. And that's what people love chocolate for. Is that feeling of, of the, the beauty it brings inside of us and that feeling of, um, you know, uh, um, yeah, I can't think of the word right now, but the, the, the, the, the, the elements in chocolate. Uh theobromine and, um, yeah, it's just kind of a, I'm trying to think of the word, not, um, at oxytocin. Um, there's another word that my mind is just blanking on that that gives us a sense of love. Um, do you know what the word is? Can you remember? Um, well, I'm trying to think you're right. Oxytocin is one of them. Um. Another, there's another word that I'm not thinking about, but it's, um. I mean their serotonin dopamine, I don't think it's either of those, we'll go down the line of hormones that give us happy feelings. Yeah. Chocolate brings us that. And, and so we've taken a twist on it where it's still that thick experience where you can reach that state of euphoria. Like in the ceremonies that they do in different cultures, but it also has the herbs and it, um, one is just called dash of salt with just salt. And, um, there's another one with mushrooms called true power. And there's the, uh, the chili one, um, uh, which had zest and chili in it, more of an S kind of a chocolate. And the last one is, uh, kind of, I always forget one of the, one of the, of the family. Um, and I know it'll, um, but, uh, uh, yeah, so we have those four drinking chocolates that have had incredible success and they're absolutely delicious using 65%, uh, chocolate. Yeah. I, um, I got it around the holiday season. It was December and I live in the desert, but it was cold outside for the first time in a long time. And I was like, gosh, darn it. I want hot chocolate, but I will not drink the hot chocolate, conventional hot chocolate products that are in grocery stores and just shelled out with fake marshmallows in them all season long. So when I found new me, I was like, yeah, I introduced my whole family to it and I drank, yeah, I loved it. Well, what's next for the brand. What else do you want to expand into in the future? Well, if I told you they would totally cut my tongue off, so I have to be careful of what I share, but we have some really exciting, um, new products that we're going to introduce in, in, uh, end of this in early 20, 22. And it's going to stay in the theme of health and wellness. Uh, you know, new me is, has been transitioning when we introduced our wellness shots, our daily super shots and, um, you know, the turmeric and poo air. And now the, uh, stay healthy line for us. It's really about how do we bring products that keep people healthy and keep people alive and inspired. Um, uh, and so it'll stick in the wellness category. It'll stay very innovative and, um, cutting edge as we've always been as, as a company and as a brand. And I have the pure pleasure and luxury, uh, opportunity to, to co-create a lot of these new products. So I will, uh, definitely let you know, Lauren once we're ready. T's. So suspenseful, I'm going to have to just like be sitting, waiting for updates. Well, yeah, a care package, uh, uh, overnight express, right. Well. I'm excited to see what you guys do next, but I have a couple of wrap up questions for ya. The first one is what does having a clean body mean to you. One way where you can really breathe deeply and feel good about how your breath is inhaling and exhaling, um, that you've put good food in your body. That's nutritious, that's coming from the organic earth that has been taken care of the people along the way. Um, that doesn't have a lot of, uh, that doesn't have any artificial colorings or natural flavorings that really well balanced with color, meaning, you know, the different colors of the spectrum of food to, um, the different proteins and nutrients that plants bring us and that foods bring us. Um, and if you do eat meat, meat, that's really well taken care of and well-nourished, and, um, uh, well-protected along their life cycle. So they're not just butchered, um, and taking, you know, into mass. I don't even want to say the word. Um, so just really a place where your body feels like you're putting healthy, uh, ingredients, um, and that you breathe in and out feeling like you've really been responsible with what you're putting, where you've spent your money and where you spent your time and that your body is feeling nourished by all of it. Um, and, and when it comes to tea, tea, that's really clean and that's high quality and that's pure ingredients. And, um, and that also the people care, the people that make it care about the earth and the planet that they grow. It. That just reminded me of one of the very first things you said on the pod. And when we started the interview for the podcast was that you associate yourself more with a plant, and I have to hear the philosophy behind this. Well, you know, I think plants, um, the ecosystem is a beautiful place and the world and the natural elements that grow with the insects and the animals and the, and the, the microbial world of my Sealy, um, really exists on the plaque kingdom, um, and animal kingdom for that matter. I think the human kingdom has really, uh, evolved in those last a hundred, 150 years to a place that I did lose hope about 12, 15 years ago. So I decided to adopt myself into the plant kingdom where things do live in more harmony, and I do consider myself a tree. So I'm a part of the Redwood species. And, um, and that's why I live in the redwoods and, uh, nature. Um, I've, I've grown to, um, love the human species and believe in it again, I did lose help for a while. I, I believe in it again, but I still, uh, stay adopted into the, uh, the plant species because of the way it works with the sun, the way it works with the water systems, the way it works with the soil and all the insects and my Sealyham. So I just, uh, I feel really rooted to the year. Well, you seem like a very rooted, grounded person. even over technology, video streams. So I think that that's really incredible. You do have this harmonious vibe to you, and I would imagine that that stems from your beliefs and where you belong in this world. Well, thank you, Lauren. I'd love to learn more about you at some point, but I know this is your interview and I really. Yeah. So we can have, we can have another call. I'll have to think about what plant that I feel I aligned with most. I'm definitely a forest type of person. I, um, my dream is to just become a forest fairy at some point and disappear into the woods where nobody can find me. Um, but two more quick hit questions for you. What are some other lifestyle and health habits you have that you couldn't live without? Uh, sitting by the fire. I sit by a fire almost every single day, um, and walking, I walk at least five to 10 miles every day. And, um, and I'd say last is the water elements. I love to be in water. So I think between the fire and walking on the earth and, uh, being in water, those are healthy, uh, areas that my body and my spirit needs. I love that. And last quick hit question. I know that you said you grow 80% of your own food, which I'm jealous. I'm still cultivating. My green thumb is coming along, just not as quickly as I would like. Um, but are there any products or brands that you support, those could be food and beverage, or they could just be lifestyle, um, you know, hygiene care, anything? Oh, yeah, for sure. I mean, in my OSC group, uh, there's some amazing brands that I really love and some that aren't in my OSC group that I've had the privilege and honor to support and, and help, um, build. Um, and some of those are, you know, uh, stash bags, that's a, a non-petroleum petroleum black bag made of silicone, really getting rid of all the single use plastic bags that are on the market. Um, uh, so really believe in what, what stash or bags is doing. Um, uh, really a big fan of, of, of some beverage brands like [inaudible] and what they do the rainforest, um, with the Yerba Montay and, and lumen the hemp juice company. Um, they really take the hemp plant and make incredible shots that are really healthy for us with zinc and vitamin C. Um, and I, uh, been fortunate to work with another brand called Dr. Hops, which is a hard kombucha, really producing some of the highest quality can kombucha with a nice, good buzz, um, and incredible tastes. And, um, and the many of the OSC brands, um, uh, are really amazing the rising stars like the Cooley Cooley and, uh, and, um, uh, amla cash Cooley Cooley brings Maringa, uh, into this country. And Imola cash brings, um, all kinds of super foods from the Amazon like Sacha inchi and, um, Macumba, um, that's so, so many, I mean, the list goes on and on. I wouldn't even know where to start and where to end, because there's just so many great brands, a lot of them in our, in our OSC tribe, um, OSC group, and, uh, how I highly recommend looking up OSC two.org, if you want to learn more about what OSU is about and the brands that are a part of it. Um, so yeah, there's, there's an endless amount. There's so many good companies out there doing so much good work and, um, and, and, you know, it's together that we can really drive this change that we want to see is through that collaboration. Well, now I know where I'm going to find my roster of brands to speak to for season two. So thanks. You just made that easy for me. Any inches you need, just let me know. Oh, thank you. Well, I will have links to all of new me's products and website in our show notes, as well as all the brands that you mentioned, but how can people get new me products? How can they get in touch with the brand and engage with it? Well, of course, there's new meaty.com, uh, which is our website. And we sell on our website. We of course sell on Amazon and we sell an incredible retailers across the country, like whole foods and sprouts and Safeway and Kroger and cost plus world markets and so many others. Um, and then, you know, Numi foundation.org is where we do a lot of our philanthropic giving. And we also, um, take donations for some of the work we do in feeding the lower income communities, as well as some of the work we do on our home country of Iraq and some of our water programs and education. Um, and then osu.org is where you can learn about all the extra efforts that we do for the industry and the brands that are really collaborating to drive, uh, incredible change on the world in the world. Well, thank you so much. Thank you for everything you do. Thank you for what you're putting into this world and the energy that you're giving and forgiving me your energy for an hour and five minutes. Really appreciate it went by so fast. Thank you very much for your time and for having me on your, on your podcast. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. And we'll definitely be in touch. Hi, again, I hope you enjoyed that interview. As a reminder, this podcast is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional care from a doctor, otherwise qualified health professional. This podcast is provided on the understanding that medical or other health related services. If you're looking for help in your journey, seek out we'll see you next week.