Today on The Clean Body Podcast, host Lauren Kelly talks to the founder of Lovebird Parker Brook about overcoming autoimmunity with diet and lifestyle and making over the cereal industry for good. During this conversation, you'll learn:
More About Parker Brooke:
Parker Brook left his big food job to clean up junk food and make a difference by creating the cleanest cereal ever made with real food from the earth and giving 20% of profit to fight childhood cancer.
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I think it really started when I turned like 25, I noticed a pretty sharp change and kind of just my energy levels, just general sense of fatigue, brain fog, and then a lot of joint pain. And so kind of went through that whole Dr. Carousel to figure out what was happening and all of the lotions and potions, and then really started taking my diet more seriously and found a lot of success, even just going gluten free, but also just kind of elevating it to whole 30 and paleo, and then discover the auto-immune protocol that really worked for me personally, and just removing a lot of those inflammatory foods out what works best for my body. 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. Welcome to the clean body podcast. I'm your host Lauren Kelly. Today. We are talking all about cereal now. Okay. The bad news, a lot of beloved cereals are made with GMO wheat. GMO. Zoe is heavily treated with a pesticide glyphosate, which has been linked to cancer on top of that, they contain refined sugars and vegetable oils that are pro-inflammatory, which impact your blood sugar and create oxidative stress, which damages bodily tissues. And oftentimes they contain sugar substitutes that are injured the gut lining. And because of the processing used often to create these cereals they're void of any nutrients. So they have to be fortified with synthetic vitamins, which as I've mentioned before, are used differently in the body than those that come from whole real ingredients. As a cherry on top of the cake, they have artificial colors, artificial flavors, and tons of other ingredients that have been shown to increase the risk of ADHD in kids, as well as chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and obesity in adults. That's why I really haven't had cereal in a long, long time, even though I love cereal, but recently a few cleaner brands have hit the market. And while that's been super exciting, they tasted all that great. Sometimes the texture is a little weird enter love bird. The first cereal I have honestly found that isn't just one of the absolute cleanest on the market with only whole real ingredients, but provides a texture synonymous to Cheerios without any of the hidden crap. And honestly tastes really, really good. Cinnamon is my favorite just to call out there. But in this episode, I talked to the founder Parker, Brook of love bird. He left the big food industry to clean up junk food and make a big difference by creating the cleanest cereal ever made with real food from the earth. And he gives 20% of profits to fight childhood cancer. During the conversation we discuss, what really happens behind the scenes and closed doors of big food corporations, how love bird, serial ingredients helped to fuel the body and how Parker's own experiences with auto-immune diseases. Along with his daughter's birth helps spark the idea for the brand. Now, before we hop right into it, I do want to tell you about my friend's show, the synchronicity show. It is a podcast for those who are looking to take their lives to the next level and learn powerful wellness business and life strategies that will help get you there. In each episode, host Kevin Wafi deconstruct the lives of world class performers. I'm talking those at the Zenith of their careers and teases out the habits, routines, and rituals that are necessary to live a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life. This is unlocking your true potential crafted into a recipe for your ears. The synchronicity show is available on all major podcast platforms and complete show notes can be found at Kevin wafi.com/podcast. Make sure to give it a listen. Okay. If you like this episode, make sure to rate, review, subscribe, share it with a friend and all cleaned body listeners are being offered 10% off. Love bird cereal. Just go to the website and use the code clean body at checkout. All right. Let's hop into it. Hey Parker. Good morning. How are you? Good. How are you? Good. I'm so excited to have you on the podcast. I have been following lovebirds since maybe the brand was birthed. I've just been a huge fan of what you're doing. So I'm really excited. You agreed to come on the podcast. I'm equally excited to be on the podcast. Thank you for having me. Yeah. I have always been a huge cereal fan and being a holistic nutritionist have basically not eaten cereal for a very long time for very specific reasons, but we'll get to all of that. But before we do, I would love to hear your story because I know that you actually started in the big food industry and had an evolution occur over time. So if you would, I would love for you to share that with us. Absolutely. So, as you mentioned, I was working in big food and really prior that, and during that, as well as on my own personal health journey, managing a few health conditions through food as medicine. Uh, so I always had that undertone. I was really trying to make a difference from within, uh, became clear that that wasn't going to be, uh, that likely, uh, and then that combined with the birth of my daughter, I sort of had a complete reframe of time and opportunity and really felt a calling to make a difference. So leverage my experience, working in big food, my passion for health and nutrition, and then this new found energy, which I definitely needed during the first three months of being a dad, uh, just to go get it done and make it happen. So those three things really converged for me and, you know, jump the nest, so to speak. And I've been trying to fly ever since. I mean, those are all three huge things, you know, dealing with auto immune diseases, becoming a father, launching your own business. Like those are big things that nobody knows how to navigate through on their own without, uh, some serious education. Um, but I would love to break each one down just to get a bit more in detail. So what were some of your experiences with auto immune diseases? Yeah, so I think it was similar journey in terms of not being diagnosed correctly to start. And it was always kind of a, I think it really started when I turned like 25, I noticed a pretty sharp change in kind of just my energy levels, uh, just general sense of fatigue, brain fog, and then a lot of joint pain. Uh, and so kind of went through that whole Dr. Carousel to figure out what was happening and all of the lotions and potions, and then really started taking my diet more seriously and found a lot of success, uh, even just going gluten free, uh, but also just kind of elevating it to whole 30 and paleo and then discover the auto-immune protocol that really worked for me personally and just removing a lot of those inflammatory foods and really trying to figure out what works best for my body. Um, and so for me, it was kind of a journey of, uh, self discovery and trial and error and got to a really good place at the end. What was your aha moment when you were like, maybe this diet thing plays a bigger role than anyone's really talking about? Definitely. I don't know if it was one specific moment, but it was doing all of those steps putting in the work and I felt better. And then I had like a week where I was just like, I don't know if that's working or not. And like started adding kind of the off limit foods back for me personally and felt absolutely terrible. And I think that was the closest I got to an aha moment of like removing it. I made progress, but adding everything back, I took two steps backwards and I was like, I'm not going to go back to that place. So it was like a micro diet that did it for you. I did read that you tried a number of, um, diets, including keto intermittent fasting, paleo whole 30, you went vegan. What were some of your, are there any key highlight moments from trying those diets that kind of stick out from your journey? Yeah, and I think at a, at a high level of, of just again, it's trial and error, as I mentioned of trying to figure out what works personally for your body. Uh, I think for me is this like the attitude that I could do, all of those things, they seem very daunting and sort of the autoimmune protocol is that the pinnacle of intimidation of like I'm going to remove nuts and seeds. I pretty much lived on those during my first, whole 30. Uh, and I think it was just that belief that I can do all of that. Uh, I think from a nutritional component was just really focusing on a whole food nutrition, uh, eating as clean as possible, and then avoiding certain things that are triggers for you that the reintroduction phase really helped me pinpoint that. Cause you'd feel great while on it. And then you'd kind of go back to more of a balanced nutrition or diet or lifestyle, uh, protocol, uh, but you'd start to kind of chip away at all of that progress. And you didn't really know why. Uh, but I think that that re-introduction phase of the auto-immune protocol diet really helped me say like, yes, like gluten is terrible. For me, dairy is bad for me. And a lot of the industrial vegetable and seed oils just didn't work for me as well. Me. Neither. I am there with you on those vegetable oils. If I eat out, I all start like getting a stomach ache. I'm like, what kind of oil do they use? I'm pretty sure that's where my issue is stemming from, but let's kind of outline what the autoimmune protocol diet is for listeners. Um, everything that you had to avoid. It's essentially all things like you said that cause inflammation and an allergic response or an immune response, but from your words, talk to me a little bit about that, that experience getting started with auto immune protocol and what your moved and how difficult it was, because like you said, it is really intimidating. Yeah, definitely. And I was very intimidated, but due to some of my auto-immune conditions, I was kind of a research group. And that was like enough of a sign for me. Like I got high, I have to go try this because I had the community, which was essential to kind of have that comradery as you go through an experience like that. I think at a high level, uh, autoimmune protocol or AIP is really kind of a, a level more strict than like a whole 30, as I mentioned, kind of removing nuts and seeds and night shames. And some of those other things that you could still eat on whole 30. And again, it's not for the full length of time. They kind of recommend anywhere from 30, 60 to 90, the longer you go on, the more accurate will be. Um, but it happens in stages and waves. And so you kind of start off just eliminating gluten go down the list. So it's not everything at once. You kind of wait in for the water and kind of experience that journey on the front end. But as I mentioned, that re-introduction phase for me personally, it was super difficult, but the most rewarding part of the whole process. It's also a reeducation, right? Because you have to figure out, well, what can I eat then? That's what I hear from everyone is, well, what can I eat? I'm like, there's so many things you can eat. We just, you have to reeducate yourself about what food is and find healthier alternatives, like love bird to the things that you love to consume. So it is it's intimidating, but you got to take it. I love the saying. I think my husband told me the saying, it's not, he didn't coin it, you know, but, um, make a plan and work your plan. And so you just got to slowly introduce new foods into your kitchen and learn how to use them and see how you feel in your body. And then, you know, you'll fall off the bandwagon. Everyone does, that's a part of life, but yeah, that's really great. It's part. Of your journey. I think that's a hundred percent correct. I think a lot of people, myself included put a lot of pressure on themselves to kind of follow these diets to the T. And I think AIP is an elimination diet, which by definition means you eliminate things and then add them back depending upon what works for your body. So it is just a temporary diet per se, but it does result in a long-term sustainable, uh, lifestyle for yourself. And so I think for me, it's just like at the beginning, like I remember my very first, whole 30, like it probably was the worst, whole 30 ever completed by name. I think I off Allman butter and like dates, uh, and avocados. But, uh, as I got more into it, I really started to have those light bulb moments where it's like, it's not so much about finding those three things that work for you, but really exploring, as you said, and make it more of a lifestyle, get in the kitchen, cook new and different things. And I think that's still my biggest challenge to date the time to eat the right way for my body and like cooking and all of that. And admittedly, I don't do enough of that as, as, as much as I should do it, but, uh, I'm continually trying to work on that. Well, nobody's perfect. Right? I go through weeks where I'm like, man, my fridge looks great. It is stunning beautifully. And then other weeks I'm failing, this is not good. I should lead by example and here I am, but yeah, nobody is perfect. And that's the other part of things, right? You can't shame yourself for not being perfect because that impacts your health just as much as anything that you're going to put in your body. So the more guilt and shame you take and you hold inside the, the worst your health is going to be. So it's just, it's just a journey. You just got to go with it and accept it and try your best. Definitely. And I think that one of the other key learnings that I was able to pick up through all of this health journey, which may not be news to everyone, but for me, it was a big breakthrough just like that connection between body and mind. And like what I was putting into my body was actually impacting my mood, uh, in temperament. And if I could get that under control, I was just like a much better version of myself. And I think it is that as you mentioned, that pressure, you put on yourself that psychology can impact your diet and your gut health. And it's all connected. And just trying to be a balanced person, I think is kind of my goal at the moment of diet being a big cornerstone, but also just movement and stress. And how do I manage all of those things and just try to get better sleep, which I've kind of been slipping up on recently, but I'm making a concerted effort to, to dedicate, to getting my full amount of sleep that I need. Yeah. I mean, being an entrepreneur and a new dad, I can imagine that might be a little difficult, but yeah, it's, it's funny when you kind of get into this health journey that you realize it really is just the foundational stuff. You know, it's sleep, it's hydration, it's eating well, it's moving your body. It's being kind to yourself, it's connecting with others. All of those things are so important to just our wellbeing and this little handheld device that we carry around with as often prevents us from doing that in a lot of ways. Um, I'm really curious about your experience in bed, big food, you know, you said you were hoping to change it from within. And so I'm just really, I'm interested to hear what you learned about big food and how decisions are made about what goes into our food products. And I know, um, from your LinkedIn that you were on the marketing side, but any stories you have from those days, I would love to hear. Yeah, definitely. Um, as I mentioned, uh, well there, I tried my best to do different things, uh, to advance a more health focused agenda, uh, have worked kind of half of my time there and more kind of health and wellness products. Uh, but I did work on products like Tostinos pizza rolls, uh, that are probably the opposite of what I'm doing right now. I always like to compare the ingredient label of a pizza roll to my products. And I'm like, this is pretty much the old Testament. And then mine is like, you know, cliff note version of that. But, uh, I think at the, at a high level, it's people still trying to do their best. And I think there's a large portion of the population that just doesn't have accessibility to healthier options. And I think that's kind of been one of my goals with logged bird as I grow, uh, to have more affordable options for people. Cause I think health and wellness is, and it doesn't have to be as kind of this unobtainable thing. So at a, at a big food company, the majority of the people that buy those products are people that don't have the means to go buy something that quote unquote is healthier. Um, but I, I also just think the way of doing business as something I wanted to flip to with Lumbard, where I'm all about purpose over profit, like I'm not profitable with a new business, but I'm still donating thousands of dollars to childhood cancer research. I'm still making sure everybody has an enjoyable experience with love bird, uh, and really just trying to build community and doing the opposite of things that happen at a big company, which is just trying to focus on profit at all costs, uh, you know, making a lower quality product and hoping that people won't notice it, uh, or using ingredients that are, are cheap, uh, and quote unquote fillers, um, and just putting love into my product. Like I think about love bird, every waking moment and some of my dreams do, and I'm trying to make the best product possible. And, you know, as you said, nobody's perfect, like lovebirds are not perfect right now either. And I'm just trying to continually refine it and make it better and listen to feedback. And I think that at a big company, it's more of like, this is what you're going to eat people, and this is what we make the most money on people and not so much about, Hey, how can I make the best healthiest product for people that's accessible? Because I think that is achievable, uh, as well. And so, I mean, there's a lot of different stories. I mean, I remember being in meetings where literally like, uh, on a certain product where they were super proud that they had caught like cut all of the costs out of the product, but the product no longer contained actionable cheese. And I was like a cheese byproduct and, uh, they could no longer make any of the claims and things like that. So just sort of like at what costs do you do that? I think the cost has been our health as a country. You know, recent events have kind of illuminated what we're in, in terms of the precarious position in health crisis, uh, that we can be so affected by kind of current events and things like that. And so I think there's a lot of opportunity and I people working at those companies. And I think that, you know, hopefully they're able to detach themselves from their profit and loss statements and try to really figure out what is best for the consumer. But I also think it's super powerful. And for me kind of an aha moment, like a few years ago is that like you and I, and everybody listening has the power to make that change. Like the purchases you make drive the purchase, the purchases you make drive the products that are made. Uh, and so if you stopped buying X product, it will be stopped and it will stop making it. And if you start buying the product more of that will be made. And so you can really vote with your dollar. And I think that's something I really am passionate about that like, even though one purchase may seem like it doesn't make a difference, but that times a thousand times, 10,000 really makes a huge difference. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there's so much you said in there and for everyone listening do not eat American cheese, please, for the love of God, he had any other GS except also a caveat she's is supposed to be white, you know, it's made from milk. Oh, it's orange. Maybe she's a white one, but yeah, that's, you know, I'm sure that was quite an experience that shaped who you are. And I actually was looking at, you know, the ingredients in your cereal and ingredients and other popular serials that yours looks like. And some ingredients that I oats, sugar, oat, bran, cornstarch, honey brown, sugar syrup, salt, Troy potassium, phosphate, rice, bran oil, or canola oil, natural flavor, vitamin E there are a lot of red flags in there, but are there any that as I was listing those off, you're like, no, no, no. Stay away from no. Yeah. And I, I think, I think I know what label you're actually reading. Uh, we could play that game show later, uh, get that product. But, uh, uh, I think as I look, I kind of separate in my mind, like packaged food, convenience food, and like food, like produce that you buy at a grocery store or a bag of oats that you buy that's, you know, ethically sourced, but also tested for glyphosate and all of those other chemicals that could be in it obviously gluten-free as well. Uh, and for me, like I hold packaged food to a higher standard. Like if you wanted to go by, if you can digest and your body processes, oats, that's great. Go do that if that works for you. But I think anything in it's processed form and packaged food is just like, uh, a nutritionally stripped version of that that's literally designed to make you crave it and designed to be as cheap as possible for you. And so that's where I really feel like there's a huge opportunity in packaged food where applying a more rigorous food philosophy will result in a better product. Uh, but something like that, I think like, you know, I think you said sugar was the second ingredient, uh, refined sugars. And there, it was listed in there like three times just with different names. It looks like that, right? Like rather than like sugar might actually be the first ingredient in that product. But the fact that they have three different types the ingredient list. And so they don't want ever to have that be the first ingredient. They want whole grain oats to be the first ingredient. Right. And so they do some nutritional label gymnastics to make that happen. Uh, but I mean, if you break down all of those ingredients, all that are like our blood sugar spike, uh, what, the combination of those carbs and grain form, but also sugar form, uh, you're going to need that feel great for two minutes and then just crash right after. And so I think with loved Berta really focused on kind of cassava as a prebiotic fiber rich, but also minimally processed ingredient that kind of actually provide some nutrition and not have to have it be added back. Like a lot of cereals are through vitamins and things like that, that they spray on at the end of production. And so, uh, I think all of it, I would just avoid it. Like I think with package food, I just have a very high standard, like I said, if you're buying ingredients and things like that, or produce like, do what works for your body, but just be very careful with packaged food. Is that how foods are fortified, I've never actually Googled, like how do they get vitamin E back into the food? They spray. It on. Yeah. It's uh, like the end of the process, they'll spray all of the cereal with vitamins. Well, they are synthetic vitamins. So your body doesn't digest them the same, just throwing that out there for that sentence. Um, so I would love to dive into some of the ingredients that you use and the health benefits of them. Um, you mentioned cassava flour that is becoming huge. You're seeing tortilla chips being made out of it. You're just seeing it in pancake it as a ton of products. And now of course, love bread cereal. So what are some of the health benefits of that? I know you were choosing between that and tapioca starch. So I'm curious to see what your journey was learning about both of those options. Definitely. Uh, for me, it was always about what is the cleanest ingredient I can use in my cereal and still be able to make cereal. And cassava was one that just rose immediately to the top. I think you see a lot of other products in the grocery store that use tapioca and I have nothing against it. I just prefer to use cassava because it has a more nutrient density and tapioca is really just a more refined version of cassava. They removed essentially all of the nutrients. So it's much more easier to work with, and it's a little bit more pale in color, uh, with cassava, the way it's processed, you keep the PLN tact and that's where a lot of the nutrients are in that particular vegetable. Uh, but for me, it's really about the prebiotic fiber, uh, which is key as you're, you're talking about more of a balanced, uh, food item. Uh, and then also kind of the sneaky benefit was like the amount of vitamin C and cassava is almost as much as an orange, uh, blew my mind. Uh, but like, yeah, I would say the prebiotic fiber fiber, which helps with just regulating your blood sugar levels. Um, and then also the vitamin C was kind of an added benefit as well. And obviously as important as what it has is what it doesn't have, which has a lot of those inflammatory triggers that you'll get from a grain or any other type of product. So what is cassava? Um, I know, I think, you know, I've raised our and it's a root vegetable, but like, I don't know that much about it. I don't know what it looks like. I don't know where it grows. Yeah. It looks like a giant potato. Uh, and so primarily grown in like south America, but grown in all, all the different countries from India to Vietnam. Uh, and so it's a, one of the most sustainable crop, uh, and their crops in the world. And so a lot of other, whether it's south America or India, uh, use it as a staple of their diet because it is something so readily available for them and a great source of energy and carbs to kind of balance out their diet. And so it is kind of a, the world's vegetable as I call it, like in America we have potatoes, uh, but at the rest of the world kind of eating cassava and certain parts. He learned something new every day at giant Taino. I never knew that. Really big, but, uh, even going into, uh, and I, and as you mentioned, right, I was in marketing. I touched a lot of different functions, so I have a pretty wide experience when it comes to kind of food, business, big food, whatever you want to call it. Uh, but the sourcing side was nothing I had a lot of experience with. And I spent a lot of time are like, I know I'm going to use cassava, but like from who, uh, cause there's a lot of different sources or suppliers that are not have, I would say a little bit lower standards. And for me, like life would say there was something that I really wanted to avoid. And so I spent a lot of time and money trying to test and find the right cassava flour. And, you know, I'm in the process of testing competitive products for certain things. And I'm kind of curious to see what route they took, uh, because I love birds. I try to do everything in my power to make sure it was the best, uh, ingredient possible. Yeah. That's a really great point that I actually thought of when we were talking about whole grain oats to found in the, as the first ingredient in cereals, you never know what source they're using it from. And so the chances that there's glyphosate all over your cereal is a good one. And that's just a pesticide for people listening, who aren't totally aware that has been linked to cancer. And there's lots of lawsuits that you can read up on if you want to. Um, but another ingredient you use is grass fed collagen. And I find that this is a little bit controversial, like do college and peptides really get absorbed in your body and improve your tissues like the claims make, um, or do you just naturally have to make college in and it's kind of this big supplement industry. So what are some things you've learned about collagen? Yeah, I mean, I would say that if cassava was one level of depth I had to go to, uh, in terms of research, collagen was like 10 times that amount I'm actually to be honest, like considering removing it from the product, uh, at the time, like there was a lot of clinical studies that have helped with all of those benefits. But as I think about what, what makes lovebirds love, burden, reaching more people that, you know, don't eat meat or don't respond to collagen, uh, the right way. Cause it is a trigger for some people. Um, I'm kind of considering removing it from the product. So interested in your take on that if you want to be on the ground floor of R and D at lovers. Uh, but yeah, I mean, I think the initial decision was for me, it was one of the few protein supplements I used and I wanted the product to have some protein and there's a lot of, uh, secondary benefits of college into that based on the papers I've read and the research I've read, like they seem to be credible. Uh, but as I learned more about it, I just don't think it's something that the product needs. Uh, but I'll be kind of sending out a survey to everyone who's purchased love bird and open the feedback. If it's something they care about and maybe I'll have two different versions for certain people. But, um, yeah, I mean, it is sort of, uh, an ingredient that caught fire in terms of like vital proteins, really mainstream that, uh, and it's a huge supplement industry and I think supplements in general, I'm always a little skeptical of, uh, and so that's kind of where I'm at in all honesty, uh, with love bird in terms of like, should I keep it or should I not? Yeah, no. I mean, it's so hard. I don't even know that I have a fully formed opinion on college and yet, because there's not enough credible studies, you know, like it's really hard to find studies that aren't biased, that aren't being funded by a company who has a stake in the outcome. So, you know, I, I don't think there are no studies that show that it harms your body. So, you know, it's really just like, are you wasting your money, buying something that isn't going to be helping you the way the claims say it's going to be helping you or not. Um, but I would say, you know, since being a holistic nutritionist, I'm always an advocate for eat foods that increase college in production instead of taking college in peptides. So I can send you a whole list of those if you want them. But yeah, I agree. Let people have the option if they want, you know, one that's infused with grass fed collagen and they believe that there's benefits there, then absolutely let them have it. And if not, then they can have it without, you know, I don't think there's one way or another. Not that my opinion matters. I think it's great. You're asking your consumers. No, I think your opinion doesn't matter. And I think that's what I strive lovebirds to be almost like a cooperative effort of everybody, because I think, you know, I'm passionate about advancing the health of our country and, you know, the world sounds pretty audacious, but like just providing options for people that are better. And I think the one aspect I've been blown away from has just been the community of whether it's clean eating or a specific diet or just people that believe, you know, the way we farm and farming practices should be changed. I've been just blown away. And I think there's so many people out there that want these things and you know, I'm happy to do my small part, but I'm just one person. So I need everybody to help and kind of advance the mission because I think if loved bird can really make a difference, I think that center store of the grocery aisle or the grocery store, uh, will look dramatically different than five years. And in turn kind of the health of our country will as well. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I certainly hope for that as well. I talk to so many brands and it's so hard for them to get into, you know, chain grocery stores because the big food industry pays a lot of money to own those shelves. So it's a really difficult part of the reason that we started this podcast because just to, you know, get some more awareness and support because I do think that times are changing and I do think people care and people want to be supporting others who are trying to do it. Right. So I think you're making this in the right decade, at least. Yes. Yes. When sprouts and whole foods, you know, kicked off their grocery stores, I think it was a tough time for them. But, um, the, some other ingredients you have include coconut sugar and honey, I'm really curious about honey. Uh, I'm my main question is, are all honeys created equally? Yeah. I mean, I, I think there's definitely tears that range from kind of your basic Clover that you find that like a diner or at the grocery store, that's the most affordable all the way to a raw honey. Uh, and I think at a high level, like there are differences. I think, you know, composition wise, they are very similar for me. It's more so about using organic honey, just because I want to promote those farming practices and make sure what you see on the label is actually what you get. And there's not a bunch of hidden processing aids or things I use well, uh, tending to the bees, uh, to make them more productive. And so that was more of kind of a food values decision from a food nutrition perspective. I think as with all sugar, it's like, moderation's key, but if you want something sweet, I'm a big advocate of like go eat something to fulfill that need, you don't need to deprive yourself. And I think you've seen, especially with the keto movement, a lot of momentum behind these like zero sugar products, which just reminds me of like, yo play light or some of these diet products of like yesteryear that are just reincarnated into like a new diet product that essentially will leave you hungry after eating it because you're when you taste something sweet, your body immediately signals to your, you know, the rest of your digestive tract to like that, you know, glucose is coming. And if that doesn't come, it continues to produce those signals and you just want to continue to overeat. And so I spent a lot of time researching sweeteners and sweetener tights, and, you know, the conclusion I've read and conclusion I've learned is just a lot of these even natural high potency sweeteners like Stevia or urethra all, or, you know, pick one that's been around for a while. That's kind of making a comeback. All they're doing is kind of tricking your body to crave. And if your body doesn't receive that glucose, then it just continues to it. And so for me, I, you know, I like using a small amount of honey and a small amount of small amount of organic coconut sugar to kind of deliver that sweet, but also kind of fulfill it for your body so you can eat it and be done with it and not just sit there and eat the entire bag of cookies or whatever you're munching on. I mean, that's what I always say is if you're going to eat sugar, eat real sugar, you know, or like eat honey, um, because it is giving your body. I kind of, I like to draw, draw things as cartoons in my, in my brain when I'm thinking about these things. Cause they're so complex sometimes. Oh yeah. So like when you have these zero calorie sweeteners, your brain is like, yum, yay. Sugar's coming. And then your gut, which the brain and gut are constantly communicating their best friends. They do everything together. Your guy's like, wait, no, there's no sugar here. You're completely wrong. It's like a argument about Santa Claus. You know, like Santa Claus is coming Santa Claus. Isn't real. Like that's, what's happening with this fake sugar. And so you're right. Your brain is telling your gut that there is sugar coming and your guy's like, Hmm, no, I just went through all this work and secreted all these hormones and enzymes to digest the sugar. And there is no sugar here. And so there is this confusion within your body and that stays and it makes you and zero calorie sweeteners also make you hold fat. Um, and so you think you're doing something that's a health benefit for weight management, but your body's actually storing fat and it's craving real sugar. So if you're going to eat sugar, just eat real sugar. That's my tension, my diatribe. Yeah, no I'm with you on that. And I think, you know, hearkening back to the earlier question around, you know, interesting moments in like big food or whatever, but I remember I was working on a yogurt product and one of the food scientists were debating strawberry flavor. And I was just like, well, just use strawberry. Like I don't, I don't understand like they have this whole, like, it was like a old school map that they had folded out of all the different natural flavors and varieties of strawberry. And they're like, well, have you ever eaten a strawberry? I was like, yeah, of course. They're like, it doesn't really have a flavor. I was like, what? Like a fresh strawberry doesn't have a flavor. But like, I think a lot of people in kids, especially like if what is strawberry tastes like? They might point into like a nest Quaker, some of these fake strawberry flavors. And I think for me, as you said, eat real sugar, it also like it tastes like it actually should taste not what it's been engineered to taste like, which is why in addition to using organic honey and organic coconut sugar, I also do not use natural flavors. Cause I think it's a similar biological cheat code. As you said, the zero, zero calorie sweeteners are to kind of get your mind to taste things or your body to taste things, but then your gut doesn't receive it, uh, kind of leaves a short end of the stick there and you just continue to crave more. Uh, but you know, I've tasted products with varying levels of natural flavor and without it, and like it's shocking how big of a difference it makes. Uh, and essentially they are, they're able to save money by not using real strawberries, but to use this natural flavor instead. Yeah. But there can be up to, I don't know, 500 ingredients and natural flavors. You just don't know what's in it. And so just because it has natural, you know, I like to, I told my friend that this weekend, or this past week when I was in Hawaii, that raspberry natural flavor is made from, uh, secretions, from beaver anal glands. So yeah, it's natural a hundred percent, however, I'm not sure you want to be consuming that. I was checking out a product and it had a natural root beer flavor. And I was like, what does that even mean? Like, there's like a natural strawberry flavor. It's like kind of like, maybe it's an amplified strawberry with some of the one 500 things they can add to it to make it taste better and be more aromatic, but like natural root beer flavor. I was like, how is that natural at all? Yeah. I have literally no idea. I'm trying to rack my brain. What could taste like root beer? And I have no idea, but it also makes me think of banana Laffy, taffy. I loved banana Laffy taffy growing up. It tastes nothing like banana, nothing, but that is the like banana flavor. If you're like, oh, you know, if someone said like, do you want something banana flavored? I would think of that flavoring, even though it's not what a real banana tastes like. And that is just kind of manipulation by the food industry and the way your brain makes associations. And so you kind of need to retrain your brain to understand what a banana tastes like, because that is definitely, and it does change when I first started eating whole and healthy. I thought that, okay, well, nothing will ever taste as good as it once did. That's just, you know, I'll have to just accept that. And that's so not true. You just have to reeducate yourself and your brain and once you know how things are supposed to taste, you can't go back. It's gross. Like I can't eat any of that stuff anymore. I'm like, Ugh, let's do sweet. It's too sugary. I don't even know what that consistency is. Yeah. So talk to me also about like other ways that you are helping to clean up junk food as the website says, is there any other ingredients in love bird that we should touch on? I mean, they all serve a purpose. Uh, they're all supposed to be as clean as allergen friendly as possible. Uh, and as I said, it's as important as what's in. It is what's not. And I think to clean up junk food is really about starting with nutrient dense ingredients that are low in low inflammatory, uh, actually delivering real sugar sweetness, as you said, right? I think that's spot on what also all of the things that are not included in it, whether that's gluten, dairy, um, natural flavors, high potency sweeteners, I think on any package, anywhere in the store, you see like no artificial, anything. And I think that's pretty played out at this point because that has evolved from like artificial to now like quasi artificial, natural flavor, natural flavors and sweeteners. Um, and so for me, I think those are the key ingredients that we've touched on. But as I looked at cleanup junk food, it's really sticking to the, that kind of marching order of just nutrient dense, real food from the earth, uh, lightly sweetened by nature. Uh, but also removing all of those things that cause a ton of inflammation, especially when you eat large quantities of them. Let's touch on packaging a little bit. I know that that was a really big component for lovebirds to figure out, you know, what you wanted your packaging to look like and have ingredients on the front was really, really important to you, but having come from a big food industry and now making your own brands, are there some watch outs you would give listeners about packaging that can be deceiving or confusing? Yeah, I mean, that's a whole separate, uh, I mean I think that my packaging, I wanted to look and feel like what my mission is, is really to clean up junk food. Like there's no bright colors on it. If you actually see it, uh, in a grocery store, like it stands out because it just looks more authentic and real versus, you know, a cartoon character or brightly colored box. Um, but I think for everybody listening, I think really what you need to look at is the ingredient label. Cause that's the birth certificate of the product, even on that, there's kind of these different tricks, uh, that can be done. As I mentioned with adding multiples of one thing to cheat it up or down on the ingredient list. Um, but typically what I would look for is what are the first two ingredients, sometimes three, if it's a longer ingredient label, but those are, those are the ingredients that are most prevalent in the package or in the food product. Um, and what are those like one example you mentioned, you know, sugar was number two, uh, refined sugar was number two. And then I think you said whole grain oats or something was number one. Um, so I, I would be looking at the ingredient label, the number of items on that ingredient label, the order of that ingredient label, and really looking at the first one to three ingredients. And are those things that you would want to put into your body? And I think for Lumbard, it was critical and there were some moments where I was like, is this going to work, putting every ingredient on the box, like talking to the people who help make it and other people they're like, well, do you want to add this kind of shady ingredient? I was like, no, if I can't put on the front, if I don't feel comfortable putting on the front, I'm not going to put it in my product. And I think a lot of other food brands, even the healthier ones, uh, if you actually look at the ingredient label, they're not even great. Like they may say, you know, old school verbiage like lower corrupt cholesterol or heart healthy, which are kind of red flags from a packaged food you know, are gluten-free or even organic, like you look at the ingredient label and it's like, this isn't even good for you. Like organic Oreos are still Oreos. Uh, you know, organic Mac and cheese is still Mac and cheese can be delicious and you might want to eat that from time to time. But like just being honest about what it is. And so I think for me, the ingredients really set me free and I think I've got, I was so frustrated of like looking at products that I thought were healthy. Then I turned around the ingredient label and just be like, why, why, why, why. I do that on my Instagram all the time? That's like, one of my favorite things to do is find these packages that it say five ingredients only on the front and I flip it over and I'm like, you have nine ingredients. Why does it say five ingredients only on there? Yeah. Yeah. I always get a couple, a customer emails that are like, well, what are all of the ingredients? And I was like, they're all on the front. Like, you don't have to turn over the turn over the label or turn over the package. Uh, and so I think if I were to summarize it for people listening and just like the ingredients are the most important thing to look at the number of ingredients, the order of those ingredients, and just making sure that it's food or ingredients are works for your body. Yeah. Being that you did go on your own journey to find the diet that was right for you and to remove inflammatory foods from your diet, what would be your advice for people to start that own journey of their own? Yeah. I mean, that's a big question. I think it's it's work, but every hour, every day you put in will pay off tenfold in the end. I'm a big time believer in kind of small incremental changes that add up over time and compound over time. And so something that may seem small today and doing this diet or that diet, I think all of the diets have something similar in a comparison, which is just like real whole food. Uh, I think almost all of them recommend that, right? Like there's kind of dirty or lazy keto that kind of skirts that a little bit, but most of them are focused on food. You buy on the perimeter of the store. And I think just getting in tune with the food you're eating and falling in love with how to prep it, if that's your thing or not. Um, but just starting, I think that's the same thing with loved bird. I mean, I've had this idea. I had the idea for like years prior to actually doing it. And I always found one excuse not to do it. Um, one excuse to delay it. And then I finally just with the birth of my daughter was like, I'm going to go do this. Um, and I think that's similar to any change in your life is just like make a small change and make repeatedly. And over time, you know, a year from now two years from now, you're going to look up and feel and look better and living the life you want to live. Yeah. I think another thing too is don't normalize health pain. You know, I think a lot of people, they have stomach aches or they have heartburn, or I had this very strange thing in my early twenties before I was in nutrition where after I would eat a big meal or even drank a lot of water, I would burp like a lot, like over and over and over and over again. I still have no idea what caused that. I mean, it was something in my gut or maybe the acidity in my stomach, but you know, these things aren't normal and people as they age, they're like, oh, well, I'm getting older. So I'm just more inflamed. That's not normal. Don't normalize your health pain. You should feel vital and have energy. And you just need to key in to those bodily cues and those hints that you're being given and try to figure out what it is. I think that's spot on. And I think that's like learning your body's language almost and understanding what it's trying to communicate to you. As we've mentioned about the zero calorie sweeteners, like it's a very smart, uh, organism, whatever you want to call it, but it's trying to tell you things like every craving is not necessarily for that piece of candy, but it may need some, some, uh, vitamin or mineral or micronutrient, whatever it may be. And so just trying to tune into that is key. I mean, it's hard, uh, especially when you're later on in life and stress and work and all of that, but I think the more in tuned you are with it with your body, the more it will reward you back. Yeah, I agree. Well, one thing I wanted to hit on as well is the fact that love bird donates 20% to childhood cancer, which is really incredible. So why did you choose childhood cancer? Yeah, that's a great question. Uh, it really stemmed from two things, one becoming a parent and like, I literally watched commercials with like some of the car commercials with like the little girl in the car seat and they get in the accident and like, she's okay. Like I start to cry about becoming a dad, makes me so much more sensitive to those things. Uh, but when I was doing, uh, some genetic testing for my auto-immune disease prior to my daughter being born, I actually had to go to a children's hospital. And so, um, you can't really tell them sitting down, but I'm six foot five. So it's like six foot five Parker and a children's hospital waiting room. And there was a lot of kids that were clearly battling different diseases, but a lot of them were facing cancer. And there was this portion of the waiting room where they had kind of a wall where they could write inspirational quotes to each other. And one of them was like a little girl who I think was like seven or eight, maybe six, but young. And she wrote like, you are stronger than, you know, and I was just like Florida and like w had what she was battling underneath it. How's Florida, like a little child of that age could have that much courage. And here I am like freaking out about, you know, things that are inconsequential compared to that. And that moment coupled with becoming a dad really drove home is like, how can I help kids? And I wanted to pick something specific that could actually make a difference. Now the hope is to expand it to all sorts of things that benefit kids and kids' health. Uh, but I really wanted to focus there because I felt like I could make the biggest, biggest difference. And then if you actually look at the website, uh, and also the back of the packaging, uh, that piece of that quote is incorporated into the, kind of the love bird rise and fly poem, uh, on the back. And so that really stuck with me was like, you know, here I am an adult in a children's hospital and every and more courageous than I was. And that's sort of a bar that I'm going to hold myself to as I go forward with a lot of burden, just life in general. That's beautiful. And I just think it's really great. Consumers are not only doing something for their body, but 20%, that's a lot, that's a lot, you know, out of your pocket to go towards childhood cancer and doing something good. And it's not a big corporation where you write a check for a million dollars and it feels like $5, you know, to your bank. Like it's, it's a big chunk of change for you. So I think that's really incredible. Well. One thing, I mean, as I started love bird, it was really born out of that purpose, excuse me, to really help kids. And I think I put purpose over profit on a daily basis and I've made donations and I'm not yet profitable, but like, that's really what guides love bird. Uh, and I hope people resonate with that because as I looked of brands or businesses that have those claims and literally been in a meeting where they're like, what's our purpose. Like we sell X, Y, and Z food widget. That's like barely food. It's like, what's our purpose. I'm like lovebirds started with purpose. Like cereal came later, the food stuff came later. Like it was really about that purpose work on the upfront. And I know even some smaller brands are like, you know, one, 1% of profit goes to saving the whales and it's like five years in and they haven't donated a dime. And so it was really important for me, like knowing that a startup doesn't generate profit in the beginning and hopefully it will at some point, but to make that contribution and hold myself accountable, just like the ingredient label on the front holds me accountable for high integrity, high quality food, uh, the, the pledge of 20% holding me accountable. So those things get serviced and that purpose gets serviced before anything else on the business? Well, I am a huge fan. I will only be stocking my shelves with love bird. What is next for the brand? I know you probably aren't planning your next like food items that you're going to go into, but I'm going to make like a premonition that it's going to be pizza bites. Like you're going to do that at some point. However, what's next for the brand right now you mentioned, you know, asking consumers about their experience with college in and are you trying to get more stores? Yeah, I mean, I think as I said, like, as you mentioned too, like nobody's perfect. Everybody has ups and downs who like, love bird is still trying to figure out, like, how can it be the best version of itself? And I think now I've gone through a couple of different recipe reformulations, so I'm going to continue to tweak and make it better, make it more nutritious and make it taste better and make it more accessible for people. Uh, in terms of like other categories, I'm always open to hearing more about what people would like. Uh, but I'm really focused on cereal for the next, probably two to three years, because I think there's just a lot of work to be done on, on that front. It's one of the biggest categories of the grocery store. And I think there's a lot of room to really make a difference there. Uh, and it is like literally like me and my daughter, Yuki working. I love Vernon. So like we don't have a lot of bandwidth to chase down the other things, but I, I, I keep a running list of ideas. So if anybody has anything feel free to send it to Parker at love, bird foods, dot com and happy to put it on the radar and get to it. Eventually. I think your daughter Yuki is for sure going to end up a food scientist or something. How could she not being around this? Yeah. She was getting to the age where she was like almost two and a half and she was like a very strong opinion about everything. So we'll see. She might see if she runs the show. So I just follow her orders. All right. Well maybe she'll be choosing the menu of the future for love bird. Well, there you go. Definitely needs to be remade. So there's a category there for you. Well, just before we wrap up, um, I have a couple of quick hit questions for you. The first one is what does having a clean body mean to you? For me, a clean body means just a clean version of yourself. And I think as you mentioned, the mind body connection is real and strong. And for me, it's waking up every day, like heart, like a heartful alum, clear eyes, like not to go Friday night lights style. I knew about just getting it, just being excited. I think I've been in parts of my life where I haven't been that way and have had not a clean body. And I just wasn't the best version of myself. And I then show up for, for me and show up to for other people in my life. And so it's really holistic for me. Uh, and it all starts kind of with diet and then build on the layers of movement and lifestyle, uh, and stress and all of that. But it's really a clean body means, you know, a clean version of myself and the best version of myself. I did read that you like to set intentions. Do you have any favorite intentions you'd like to set at the beginning of the day? Yeah, I mean, I think it is just to be present, uh, as, as we talked about, uh, packaged food as well, just kind of how it can become so mindless and a lot of things in your life can become mindless and sometimes it's okay to check out like we all need a break, but I think, you know, a struggle for me and something that I try to work at is just being present. Like whether that's with my daughter, with the business and not having a flurry of thoughts going around in my head where I'm convinced that I'm busy and doing something, but I'm really not enjoying the moment. And so that started the one intention I always come back to is just to be present. Yeah. My second quick hit question is what are some lifestyle habits you have that you couldn't live without? Awesome? Uh, there's a lot, uh, I think the, the key one for me is like, no matter what it is, is trying to get 10 minutes of movement and it could be some intense cardio or strength or just stretching, but just having that I've found just like whether I sweat or not, but just having that movement in my day, like sets everything up to be even more successful. I love that. It doesn't always have to be strenuous. It's just about getting some movement into your life. Yeah. I mean, just like, uh, the other question we were talking about, right? Like just those small changes can make such a big difference was like, now I'm at the point where like, if I don't do that, I feel bad. And so like I knew that movement and it's progressed from, you know, going on, runs with my wife to, you know, biking a hundred miles. And like, it's kind of evolved into this big, uh, kind of health benefit and self-fulfilling cycle self-fulfilling cycle for me. So virtuous cycle for me. So just doing that one small thing, and for me that was a movement and just try to get 10 minutes minimum a day. I hate stationary cycling, like with every single ounce within my body, but I'm really getting into bicycling, like my husband and I have been camping a lot recently and I'm like, we need bikes, let's go biking. So talk to you about biking once we start. Yeah. And that's just like a bonus. We get the, the, the movement, but also the connection with nature and like we are nature and like, we need to be a part of it and connect. And so I think that's for me, the win-win, if I can go outside and do something physical. And last quick hit question for you, what are some other brands that you love and you're supporting these days? Ooh, that's a really great question. Uh, Kaleena yogurt. I love, uh, I think they're out of Texas, but I love their product. That's AIP, paleo made with coconuts. Uh, that's probably one of my favorite products at the moment. And then I've always been a fan of like huge chocolate, uh, as well. And then I have a, a friend who started a chocolate company called non-verbal and I'm starting to experiment with adaptogens and it's just like an easy way to eat. Uh, and the stuff like works. I spent years kind of traveling and formulating his recipes and using Chinese herbs and adaptogens. So those are kind of the three that are kind of off the top of my head, but, uh, there's a whole list of, of clean products and I'm hoping to kind of like publish the things that I eat and do all of that at some point when I have a moment to breeze. Well, that's, that's great. Where can people see you? What you're publishing and get their hands on the brand and all of that good stuff. Yeah. Come to a love bird, food.com or eat love bird.com, uh, trying to make a more concerted effort to push out more content. Because I think that's a big piece. If I had a spare moment, I'd spend more time just trying to educate and raise awareness of a lot of these different health and nutrition and topics and issues. And so just come to the website, uh, there'll be more coming up shortly and hopefully you'll learn a thing or two and, and, and welcome to lovebirds. Yeah. Um, and you're also on Instagram at eat love bird, correct? Yes. On Instagram. That's where most of the action happens. Great. I love it. I hope to see so many partnerships for you in your future. You said Hugh. And I was like, oh, I had some chocolate to cereal and you know, I just there's, sky's the limit. And I love, love bird you're onto something really great. So thank you so much for being a part of the podcast and for talking to me, and if there's any way that we can support, let me know. Hey, I really appreciate it. As I said, and I mean, it's me and my daughter and I, I need all the help I can get. And I think together with the community, we can really make a huge difference. And, you know, one purchase may seem small, but as we've talked about on different parts of the podcast, those things add up and over time, we can make a huge difference together. Well, next time we talk, I hope Yuki is old enough to be on. Yeah. Her and printer expanded like theirs. Hi everyone. 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 or otherwise qualified health professional. This podcast is provided on the understanding that medical or other health related services.