Ep. 64: Special Guest Arsy Vartanian

Fed & Fit
Fed & Fit

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    Episode 64 Transcription:

    Today I’m interviewing one of my good friends and beauty mentors, Arsy Vartanian, of Rubies and Radishes. We’re talking about how she found a balance between paleo and convenience that works for her family; advice she has for startup bloggers; and why we both chose to join the safer beauty movement that is Beautycounter.

    Cassy Joy: Welcome back to the show everybody! I am thrilled to be able to bring a friend on today’s show. Her name is Arsy Vartanian, and she is the blogger, recipe developer, and all around got a really great head on her shoulders wellness pro behind RubiesandRadishes.com. She authored the Paleo Slow Cooker cookbook, which was her first; the Paleo Foodie cookbook, of which you can find her recipe for a very tasty sardine spread on my website; and the collaborative project, which was the Ultimate Paleo Cookbook. You can find her on the web, at RubiesandRadishes.com; her books in all of the major bookstores nationwide, and on social media at RubiesandRadishes.com.

    Arsy, I’m so excited to have you on the show today!

    Arsy Vartanian: Thank you so much for having me! I’m thrilled to be here.

    Cassy Joy: Oh my goodness, me too. I always tend to do this. When I get on the phone with folks that I interview, I like to chat beforehand {laughing} to get caught up.

    Arsy Vartanian: {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: Because I just can’t wait to press the record button. So, it’s good to say hi to you again. {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: It is, it is. I know, it’s funny to do a redo. {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: It really is. Ok, awesome. I was telling Arsy that on our show, as all the listeners know, we kind of fly by the seat of our pants a little bit, so we’re getting a good introduction to that.

    Arsy Vartanian: {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: But Arsy, let’s go ahead and get started. You can introduce yourself way better than I can. So can you tell folks a little bit more about yourself? I would love to know why you started Rubies and Radishes, and really what your business is all about right now.

    Arsy Vartanian: Sure, yes. I’ll try and give you guys the short version, since it’s been a long time. I think I started my blog in 2010. I’ve always been interested in health, ever since I was a teenager. I had started eating a vegetarian diet, because back then there really wasn’t all this information when I was 16. You couldn’t just go Google everything. And I ended up having a lot of health problems all through my 20s. I was in and out of doctors offices, and nobody ever had any answers for me. So I just kind of had to learn to live with it. I just had really bad headaches and I never had energy.

    And then I had joined Crossfit I guess in 2009, was there for a while and was loving the workouts, and we did a paleo challenge, and all of a sudden I felt so much better. It was like, my headaches were gone, and everything. I had so much more energy, so I was just one of those people where I was obsessed with it. I wanted to tell everybody, because I felt like I’d found everybody’s solution. {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: Because you know, I worked in corporate, everybody was basically spent, is how I would describe it. Every single person I knew was so spent, so exhausted, no energy, working too much, eating junk. So yeah, so if anybody has ever worked in a corporate office, usually there’s candy everywhere.

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

    Arsy Vartanian: We worked with engineers, cupboards full of junk food, so I used to totally binge on that stuff, too. It was just so easy; it was just right there. Especially candy. And when I stopped eating all this candy, my coworkers were like, “what happened to you?” like, how did you stop eating all this candy? I would not; once you stop, I don’t know, it was weird. I didn’t crave it anymore, where I used to be addicted.

    So anyway, they were all asking me about it, and then my best friend was like, you need to start a blog. And I was like, no I’m not going to do that. And she kept bugging me about it, and I was like; alright you guys, I’m going to start a blog. Because seriously, I love that paleo is basically a household term now, because before, it was like; what, you’re eating what? And they were all so confused by it. So I was like, I’m going to start a blog for 30 days so you guys can just follow along and eat what I eat. So it was super fun; a bunch of my coworkers were following me. And I started it with the blog name of 30 days of paleo, because that’s all I was going to do.

    Cassy Joy: Ok.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah, and I just loved it, it was so fun. I just really; oh my gosh. Hopefully you can’t access my old blog posts; they’re so bad.

    Cassy Joy: I totally want to Google it right now! {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: I know, I’m like; hopefully I took them down. I don’t even know if I did. But the photos and stuff were so bad. {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: We all have to start somewhere. I’ve been there.

    Arsy Vartanian: I know; exactly. And I think actually that’s great business advice; just do it, and then you evolve. If you look at most bloggers really old posts, most of our pictures were really bad.

    Cassy Joy: Awful! {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: Awful, right?

    Cassy Joy: Yes.

    Arsy Vartanian: And we just learned. We’re like; oh, we’re really into this, we better get better at it. But yeah, it was really fun, so then I just wanted to change the name; and I really actually wanted to change the name because at that point my diet was evolving. I didn’t really want to pinpoint myself to paleo. Although that is still the basis of how we eat, but I wanted to be able to include dairy and rice and stuff in my recipes. And yes, I went with Rubies and Radishes because that was just something; it was more of a personal name. And I wanted to incorporate lifestyle stuff. And it’s worked really well for me, because now I’ll be able to incorporate things like Beautycounter and DIY recipes.

    So the radishes is because I’m Armenian, and radishes are; we put radishes on the table every night. They’re kind of used as a palate cleanser.

    Cassy Joy: Hmmm.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah! And then, rubies is my wedding ring is a ruby, because I think it describes me well, because I’m not; you know, I’m not a diamond girl. I’m not conventional enough for a diamond, but I’m also not conventional enough to not get married or have a ring. Does that make sense?

    Cassy Joy: {laughs} Yes.

    Arsy Vartanian: So yeah, and I love rubies. So, that’s just kind of how my blog evolved. And I was doing it as a hobby, and I worked in high tech, and it just kind of started to grow, and I wanted to do something different after I had my daughter. It was really hard having that demanding career, and commuting. And I was able to just kind of make it into my job, and it’s been really fun.

    Cassy Joy: Oh that’s awesome! I love hearing the name. I had no idea the story behind your name. That’s great.

    Arsy Vartanian: Thanks.

    Cassy Joy: It makes me want to put radishes on the table tonight.

    Arsy Vartanian: {laughs} I know, I love raw radishes. I don’t know if everybody is really into that, they’re kind of spicy. But I love them.

    Cassy Joy: I love them too. We grew up eating them; I’d just reach into the refrigerator and just munch on them.

    Arsy Vartanian: Oh you would? How fun!

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. That’s so funny. Well that’s awesome, a really great back story. And I really do love what you said about just kind of go for it. Go ugly early, I say a lot on the show.

    Arsy Vartanian: Oh, I love that. Ugly, and early. That’s perfect, I love that.

    Cassy Joy: Right? You know, I was having a conversation with somebody; oh goodness, a couple of days ago who is trying to get started on her blog, and doesn’t really know which direction to go, maybe what to name it, what the content should be. And I told her; I said, you know what girl? Because I’m a type A person, and I like to have everything lined out and when you start on a new venture, it’s kind of impossible.

    Arsy Vartanian: It is.

    Cassy Joy: You know? Because you don’t know where it’s going to take you. You started with a totally different name and mission at first.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah.

    Cassy Joy: And I said; I had my name 9 months, maybe a year before I actually posted my first blog post. {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: Wow!

    Cassy Joy: Because I couldn’t get it figured out! And then it’s changed and evolved so much over time, and that can be really scary, but you don’t know what not to do until you try it.

    Arsy Vartanian: Absolutely. And it just evolves with you until you find your voice and figure out what it is you’re doing. And as things change in your life, your content evolves too, you know? Your focus changes. So yeah, I totally agree with you. Just do it.

    Cassy Joy: Just do it.

    Arsy Vartanian: I love your name. I feel like it’s so perfect. It’s catchy; it describes what you’re up to, I love it, it’s such a good name.

    Cassy Joy: Aww, thanks! Yeah, at the end of the day, I just want everyone to remember that you don’t have to go hungry. {laughs} You can stay fed and still be fit.

    Arsy Vartanian: {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: So, I’m still; I chose the name 7 years ago, and I’m still really passionate about it, so I think that means it was the right path.

    Arsy Vartanian: It really is true, because I think most people believe that to be fit you have to basically starve yourself, so I think it’s a perfect name, and it kind of goes against that popular thinking.

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm, that’s so true. Although I do feel a little hypocritical right now, because I’m hungry! {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: {laughing}

    Cassy Joy: And I’m talking to you because we’re recording this around my lunch time. We’re on different time zones. That’s funny. Just in complete transparency; I can’t help myself.

    Ok, next question. So I wanted to chat with you; because this is something you do a really incredible job of, the fact that you incorporate dairy and rice into your recipes for example; and you also bring in some wellness, lifestyle perspectives to your blog, and across your social media platforms. You know, for so many people; I think we’re getting closer and closer to it being more commonly understood that it’s not about the perfect plan, it’s about finding what works for you and your family that matters most. Right? Because there isn’t one solution that’s going to magically fit everybody.

    Arsy Vartanian: Absolutely.

    Cassy Joy: Right? And that doesn’t just span diet and exercise, but also lifestyle habits. I think you really speak to that perspective really, really well. And whatever that perfect formula of health and convenience is for different folks and different families. Can you tell folks a little bit about how you’ve struck that balance for you and your family across all those different avenues? Food, and household products, and skincare type things?

    Arsy Vartanian: Absolutely. And you know, it has actually really evolved for me, because I did start out at this very extreme, really strict; I started out for quite a long time eating a super strict paleo diet. You know, just no dairy, nothing and just making everything from scratch. I would always soak and dehydrate my nuts. I think there’s a lot of value in those things;

    Cassy Joy: Yeah.

    Arsy Vartanian: But like you said, you have to find the balance. But I did everything to the T. Make your own sauerkraut, make your own kombucha. And you know, that worked for me at that time because I wasn’t a mom yet, my life was really just; I would go to Crossfit, go to work, and get good rest, and do all these fun DIY projects and hang out with my friends. It was just perfect, and it worked so great at that time, and I really enjoyed it and I got to learn a lot about these things. But I found as I became a mom I really was trying to still adamantly stick to those things, and I really did through, in Indyanna’s first year of life, but it got to a point where it was starting to stress me out.

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

    Arsy Vartanian: And I started to understand that having stress over these things is also not helpful.

    Cassy Joy: Yeah.

    Arsy Vartanian: So it’s like, yeah, I’m just stressing out to do everything perfect. And one of my friends jokes with me; “Arsy, you have to write a post, why quit keeping up with the crunchies.”

    Cassy Joy: {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: Which is really what happened to me, because I was on this super extreme, everything had to be really, really clean; but I had to find balance. Because I found that; and it actually even worked when Indyanna was 1 because we had this really mellow pace of life. She just napped, I did these things, whatever. But as she got older and we’re more on the go, I felt like; ok, I have to find a balance. All these things that used to be fun to me are now items on my to-do list. So kind of some of the things is; I really don’t make my own bars anymore. Sometimes I do with Indyanna, because it’s fun, but I do like; it’s great, there are lots of great bar options on the market now.

    Cassy Joy: Yeah!

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah, it’s so good and it’s so awesome. Because you know, I feel when we first started eating this way, there were not so many options so you kind of had to do everything yourself.

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

    Arsy Vartanian: But yeah, so I stock up on good bars, so when we are running out to the park or something, I have something in my purse if she gets hungry. So that’s kind of something we do. We like the; it’s by Cliff bar but it’s not their Cliff bar, it’s like the kids organic.

    Cassy Joy: Yeah.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah, so we do those a lot. She likes those; she likes Epic bars. I just saw Larabar does an organic bar now. Because I used to not buy those because I prefer to give her organic nuts and fruits, but I saw they have an organic bar now. I haven’t tried it yet.

    Cassy Joy: I haven’t either.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah, I was surprised. Somebody just showed it to me. So that’s super cool. And that’s great, too, to see that the market is demanding organic so much that everything is really trying to shift towards that. And I don’t make my own sauerkraut anymore, we’re super lucky, Farmhouse Kraut is actually from Santa Cruz so we just buy raw organic kraut from them.

    Cassy Joy: That’s awesome.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah, so they’re always in all of our stores, and they’re even at our farmer’s market. So I’ve just kind of started doing things like that where it might cost me a little bit more, but it saves me time and stress and kind of the things that I used to make, I’ll buy in the food department. Like; this one I know I really should make my own, because it takes 2 seconds, but now Primal Kitchen mayo is in my grocery store, it’s so awesome!

    Cassy Joy: {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: I’m like, oh I really shouldn’t buy this $10 mayo, it would cost me nothing to make in 2 seconds. But it’s like right here, I’m just throwing it in the cart. And it’s fun to support companies that are doing such great things.

    Cassy Joy: It’s so true. I totally identify with you on that one. I’ve made for my book that’s coming out; I’ve got a great mayo recipe in there, and it’s based on avocado oil, which is similar to Mark Sisson’s Primal Kitchen mayo.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah.

    Cassy Joy: And I had one day, because of all these sauces and marinades for whatever reason, I scheduled them all on one day that were mayo based, and I had to make like 8 batches of mayo. And at the end of the day {laughs} I still needed one more batch, and I was like; I can’t do it. I can’t {laughs}.

    Arsy Vartanian: I’m so done!

    Cassy Joy: I can’t do it, someone go get me a jar of mayo! {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: That’s so funny.

    Cassy Joy: Oh my goodness; but it’s good stuff!

    Arsy Vartanian: It is. Oh yeah, their mayo is great. And that’s how I make mine too, with avocado oil. And I’m like; eh, I’m just buying it.

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

    Arsy Vartanian: It’s just; you know, all those 2 second things add up when you’re busy, because it’s like, yes I’m a mom, I work, and I do try and do those things with my daughter when I can because I want her to learn, but I don’t obsess over it anymore where I honestly used to be obsessed over it. Because this has been my year of self care. So I just decided anything that’s going to make my life easier, I just go with it, and it’s been great. I feel better, I’m not as stressed. I feel like I have more time to do fun stuff, and so that’s kind of where we balanced on the food. Just kind of going for those healthy convenience foods sometimes.

    And then also not stressing my daughter out. You know, I really was really, first couple of years of her life, I really was super adamant about the way I fed her, and it’s great because she’s almost 4 now and she’s still as happy to eat liver, she’s happy to eat sardines. But to be honest, some days I let her eat organic corn flakes, which I thought I would never do. But I’m like; hey, at least it’s with raw milk, she’s getting some nutrients, and the ingredients aren’t bad. It’s corn and honey.

    Cassy Joy: Yeah!

    Arsy Vartanian: But those are things that earlier in my paleo journey, I was like, “I would never!” you know, and now it’s like, I’m like, sure have it. You know? I don’t want her to feel stressed, and I don’t ever give her junky food, but there are a lot of better alternatives of junky food now, and so I am a little bit looser about those things, and I feel like it works great for our family. Because even if you read our Instagram profile, it says I try my best. Sometimes, my kids eat pate, and sometimes she eats cornflakes. And that’s ok.

    Cassy Joy: {laughs} I love it. I love it. Well you know, and I think that you’re speaking to a really important point that’s often missed, and that is some folks either have to be all in or all out.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah.

    Cassy Joy: You know, and I think it’s a very valuable middle ground to be aware of that you can; just because maybe you decided that totally homemade, DIY, super duper crunchy paleo, it just doesn’t fit right now. This lifestyle, it doesn’t fit. It’s not doable, it causes more stress, which is probably more damaging to health than anything else. But there’s a middle ground and you can make some concessions that aren’t as bad as others. We eat a good deal of organic popcorn and dairy over here. I recently discovered sheep’s milk yogurt that I tolerate way better than cow’s milk. But you know, it’s kind of, you’ve just got to figure it out and tow yourself along and not feel like you have to throw the baby out with the bathwater when you feel overwhelmed. You can just make some adjustments.

    Arsy Vartanian: Exactly. I think it is helpful to start with a one month clean eating, and then try stuff from there, and loosen up. Because I found that I was trying to do it long term that people would do for 30 days, and it does get hard. You know; yeah, so we’re on the same page with that.

    Cassy Joy: That’s awesome. Well, ok I, speaking of sort of adjustments and finding middle ground. I know I’m kind of jumping around.

    Arsy Vartanian: No worries.

    Cassy Joy: {laughs} I sent Arsy some questions, and I like to scatter my brain all over.

    Arsy Vartanian: {laughs} I’m just like that, so it works perfect.

    Cassy Joy: {laughing} Ok good. Well, it brings up another important thing that I want to touch on. So I went DIY skin care for almost two years. And it worked well for me; I just got to a point though; well, first I really think my skin needed something extra because my first, I was doing oil cleansing for almost two years, and the no poo hair care where you wash your hair with baking soda and then you rinse it with apple cider vinegar. It’s not as gross as it sounds if this is the first time you’re hearing about it. {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: And I’ve got some write up on my website if you’re curious to learn more about the science why. But, it worked well but my skin started to get really dry. I wanted more products. I’m now in my 30s, and it’s something like my skin, my body is just changing in general, and I know it’s a slow transition, but I just wasn’t ready for it. I am still somewhat of a conventional girl, deep down, so I was tired of having mason jars in my shower all the time. {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: {laughs} Oh yes, I totally get it.

    Cassy Joy: You know? And I was ready for something else. And sort of that middle ground that I struck a balance was something that you were very much involved in. Arsy sent me; and y’all have heard me talk about Beautycounter already, before, and we can talk a little bit more about it on this show, but she reached out to me, and she’s like, “hey, I’ve got some samples and I wanted to send them your way if you’d like some. I just think you might like them.”

    She was super sweet, and I tried them, and I fell in love. And I think you just included this face wash sample in that package you sent me just, I don’t know, on a whim.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah.

    Cassy Joy: But I just really, really fell in love with it. Those little bitty tubes; Arsy, I made them last two weeks. {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: You did! Oh my goodness.

    Cassy Joy: I did! I rationed them. And I, in two weeks, I already noticed a difference in my skin. It felt more supple. I did more research on the ingredients, and I felt really good about them. Because an episode that I recorded two back; I think it was episode number 63, I covered the 5 toxic beauty ingredients that I avoid.

    Arsy Vartanian: Oh, cool. I’ll have to listen to that.

    Cassy Joy: Yeah, and there’s more on the list, but I tried to keep it to the most egregious.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah.

    Cassy Joy: You know, offenders.

    Arsy Vartanian: Right.

    Cassy Joy: And Beautycounter didn’t include any of those; plus, many, many, many more. And it’s not to say that it’s a totally natural product; it’s not. But, it has conventional results without really me having to throw myself into the toxic goop {laughing}.

    Arsy Vartanian: Absolutely.

    Cassy Joy: World again. So that was a middle ground that I finally struck. I was tired of mixing my shampoo every morning.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yes!

    Cassy Joy: And doing those things, and I was ready for something that made me feel like a modern day girl without maybe modern day consequences. So, anyway. I would love to hear your thoughts on Beautycounter, maybe why that piqued your interest. And you know so much more about than I do at this point, so any insights you’d like to share with folks.

    Arsy Vartanian: Sure, yeah. I mean, honestly my story is exactly the same as yours. I no-poo’d for 6 months, and that didn’t work for my hair. But I did oil cleanse, and I still do oil cleanse, and actually I love Beatuycounter’s cleansing balm. But yeah, I was DIYing everything. I was making my exfoliater, and it was part of that whole thing I was mentioning earlier with the food. It was just starting to stress me out, DIYing everything all the time, and it started out as this fun thing for me and it was starting to not get fun. So I was looking for something, and I was looking for something that was safe, and honestly; I’m going to be totally honest, I know it might sound shallow. I’m a girly girl; I like pretty products.

    Cassy Joy: Yeah!

    Arsy Vartanian: It’s fun, you know, so I’ve been looking and I’m a huge fan of Environmental Working Groups healthy living app and their website. I think they’re an incredible organization doing just really great work. And I’ve used them for a long time. I know not everybody in the paleo field feels like their green, their green zone, what they label 1 to 2, what they believe is safe, is clean enough. Because their model is not so clean you could eat it, it’s just stuff that has safety data and is ok to put on our skin.

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

    Arsy Vartanian: Because they’re really trying to work with the masses, and I appreciate that because I do feel like that’s where change comes. And I had also been looking for something, because a lot of the really crunchy brands I was using I couldn’t recommend; or I was recommending to my girlfriends, and my friends that are not, you know, it was mostly my blogger friends that lived the extreme that I did, and they were like; that’s not really what I’m looking for, but I don’t want something that has junky ingredients.

    So, a blogger out of Colorado reached out to me, and she wrote about the Beautycounter mission, and I’ll share that with you guys in a minute, and then I clicked the link to the products; I’d never even heard of it. And I was like; oh these products are so pretty! I really want to try them.

    Cassy Joy: {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: And I looked them up on EWG and they were all in the green; and that’s actually hard to find too, because many brands have some products in the green, but they don’t stay; some brands have products in the green but then they have products in the high orange, you know.

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

    Arsy Vartanian: So, I was like, ok all their products are in the green; I think they have one that’s a 3, and everything else is a 1 and a 2. So I was like; oh, I totally want to try this. And I tried it, and then just like you I loved the products and I felt like it’s exactly what I needed. And then another thing is I was really trying to focus on self care, and I felt like I love my time in the bathroom now at the end of the day; it’s just 10 minutes, but it’s just time to unwind after I’ve put my daughter to bed and pull out my pretty bottles of my Beautycounter products. You know? It’s fun; to me, pulling my coconut oil out of a jar and stuff just didn’t have that same mental experience for me.

    Cassy Joy: It’s so true.

    Arsy Vartanian: Right? Yes. So it was kind of when I was finding that balance in my life and I feel like I’ve been able to encourage so many people to switch to safer, being able to offer them something that feels and performs like the conventional products they’re used to but without the toxic ingredients. So, I guess I could tell you guys a little bit about Beautycounter and the mission they're on.

    Cassy Joy: I’d love that!

    Arsy Vartanian: Did you want to add anything?

    Cassy Joy: No, that’s great. Tell folks about Beautycounter. You can say it better than I can.

    Arsy Vartanian: Ok, perfect. Yeah, they’re just a great company, and that’s another reason I wanted to partner with them. They’re very mission driven. They’re really on a mission outside of themselves; outside of selling their own products. Their mission is to get safe products into the hands of everyone. And by that, they don’t actually mean Beautycounter products. They really just want products to be safe. They want other companies to follow the same example that they’re doing, and what they’re doing is doing very strict screening of the ingredients that they use. They review all of the available data, they only use ingredients that have safety data, and they will sometimes commission their own research if they have to. But they really vet through the research. They have a director of health and safety. They have a director of science, and I got to spend time with their director of science at the Environmental Working Group’s fundraising dinner. She was amazing. She is a hormone disruption researcher from Tufts School of Medicine.

    Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh, that is like the perfect person for that position.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yes! And she was so informed. And her job is to vet all the ingredients and make sure they are safe. And another thing they do that is so cool that I have not been able to find another company that does is they test the products for contaminants, especially the makeup. Because makeup is really high in heavy metals. UC Berkley did a study a couple of years ago, and they found gosh; I don’t want to get the numbers wrong but I think it was 23 out of 25 or something like that, it was a really high number of commercial brands they tested had levels of lead and heavy metals that were considered on the unsafe side. Especially with lipstick; it was lipstick they were studying. Because we apply, and we reapply, and it’s on our lips so we’re ingesting. So color cosmetics in general can be problematic in heavy metals; even actually mineral makeup.

    Mineral makeup can even be more of a problem, because not that these companies are doing it intentionally, especially these mineral makeup companies that want to do better. It’s that the heavy metals are prevalent in the earth, and they’re just hitching a ride with the makeup. So Beautycounter tests color cosmetics for heavy metals three times; before each batch, during formulation, and after formulation.

    Cassy Joy: That’s amazing. I had no idea.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah, isn’t that cool? So they’re testing. It’s impossible to get conventional makeup with no heavy metals, but they’re testing to make sure that it’s the lowest amount possible in there. That’s why we run out of stock, too; and it’s hard to predict for a small company that’s growing so fast when things are going to run out of stock, it takes us a while to get stuff back in because the screening and testing process is so rigorous.

    So that was really; I was just really blown away by the effort they put on the science side. So like Cassy said; they’re not a 100% natural company. We do use about 80% natural ingredients, but we do also use synthetic ingredients, but synthetic ingredients that have human safety data. Which you’d be surprised very little ingredients have human safety data. Since World War II, we’ve introduced 80,000 chemicals into commerce, and experts say that only 10-20% have human safety data.

    But, the tricky thing is in the US we are very under-regulated. And I’m not a very pro-regulation person, but this industry is incredibly under-regulated. We haven’t passed a major law in the skincare industry since 1938. We only ban 11 ingredients.

    Cassy Joy: {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: That’s crazy right? It’s surprising because we’re actually such an over-regulated country

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

    Arsy Vartanian: That it’s surprising to hear that. And the European Union bans almost 1400 ingredients out of their beauty products. So when you look at those numbers, that there are 80,000 chemicals that are used in commerce; only 10-20% have safety data, and we only ban 11. That meaning we have a ton of ingredients in our beauty products that have no human safety data that are used in everyday products. And the average woman applies 12-20 products before she even leaves her house.

    Cassy Joy: Oh my goodness.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah, really crazy. And the skin is our biggest organ, and we’re really starting to see more research indicating that it is a huge deal. It’s as important as what we eat because it gets through into our bloodstream. I mean, we’ve seen studies where they test the cord blood of babies, and it’s getting through the placenta, and babies are born with; out of the 400 chemicals they tested, it was like, over 200. I think it was like 267 were in their cord blood. And that’s just the 400 they tested for.

    So it’s a huge deal, what we’re putting on our skin. And just one more study for you guys; this was just in March. This one was so shocking to me, because I thought was already really aware of a lot of this stuff, and I didn’t think it would; I mean, I’ll just tell you and we can comment on it. But UC Berkley did a study where they had teen girls take for 3 days swap out their conventional products for safer alternatives, and in 3 days the level of hormone disrupting chemicals in their system went down by 45%.

    Cassy Joy: Holy moley.

    Arsy Vartanian: Right? Aren’t you shocked? In 3 days! I thought I got how unsafe this stuff was, but it was like; oh my goodness. So, yeah. We’re seeing this more and more. We’re seeing that this is a big impact on our health. Another really cool thing about Beautycounter is that they’re really our voice in Washington.

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

    Arsy Vartanian: They are there lobbying; they were just there. If you guys follow Real Food Liz, she was there with Beautycounter taking meetings with senators and just doing some really impactful work. You know; I know, myself included, a lot of us that are in the health world are not really pro-regulation because we obviously don’t like things like people telling us we can’t drink raw milk.

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

    Arsy Vartanian: But I do see that this is a little bit of a different issue for me, because it is so under-regulated and 70-80% of America; I do believe that real change comes from consumers, but 70-80%, research shows that 70-80% of Americans have no idea that products are unsafe. They believe that everything on the shelf is safe, or it wouldn’t be there. So I think it would be a long time before consumers made that change.

    The other issue there is that, this stuff is going down our drains and into our environment. So I do believe that we do need to have some sort of awareness going on. And the big thing with Beautycounter being in DC is not necessarily even passing laws, it’s the awareness it brings to people when we see these conversations happening with our legislators. You know?

    So yeah, those are kind of the big things about Beautycounter that really drew me in. and I just fell in love with the products and what the company was doing. It’s a female owned, female executives, and they’re just the most authentic, transparent passionate group of women just doing really awesome work, so it’s just been great to partner with them and help them grow this business. Because it’s really young; it’s only 3 years old.

    Cassy Joy: That’s incredible. I mean, it really has been a wild ride. I fell in love first; to be honest, I fell in love first with how the products worked, because I wanted something that worked.

    Arsy Vartanian: Absolutely.

    Cassy Joy: As a consumer. And then {laughs} I have to put packaging in there, just so you don’t feel like you’re alone!

    Arsy Vartanian: {laughs} Thank god!

    Cassy Joy: It’s true, it matters. And then I fell in love, of course, shortly after that were the ingredients and the fact that I felt really good about the ones that were in the list and I knew them. Beautycounter’s never list has like, correct me if I’m wrong, Arsy, but 1500 ingredients that they’ll never put into their products.

    Arsy Vartanian: Absolutely; so even more than the European Union that they don’t use.

    Cassy Joy: Amazing. And the ones that I was most concerned about were on that list.

    Arsy Vartanian: That’s great.

    Cassy Joy: Yeah. And so those were those two reasons. But since I got more involved into the company and I decided to partner with them as well as a consultant, which you guys, if you listen to the show, you know that I’ve been doing that now for a little while, and I’ve got a review list on my website, a Beautycounter tab where I’m talking about all the different products that I’m trying and giving you my honest thoughts on them.

    I’ve fallen in love, just like Arsy said, with the mission behind this company, and it’s putting boots to the ground on something that; I think that those of us, I don’t remember if we said it on the show or before the show. So many of us, when we’re in this crunchy world, you know, and everyone’s kind of up to speed on good food and fitness and wellness practices; sleep and hydration, skin care naturally becomes a part of the conversation, and we’re familiar with the context. But aside from just going onto our blogs and talking about it, there’s not a whole lot of action happening past; reaching a broader market. I really am blown away by the efforts made by Beautycounter. It really is a wonderful transparent company and one that I’m really proud to put my name next to.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah, I feel the same way. You know, it is. I feel really proud to talk about this company, and help them move forward with their mission.

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. Definitely. Well brilliant introduction! {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: That was really, really wonderful. Do you have any advice for somebody who is maybe looking to get started or is curious to learn more about Beautycounter? I’m asking Arsy these questions, you guys, because she’s the one who worked with me {laughs}.

    Arsy Vartanian: {laughs}

    Cassy Joy: So you’re hearing it from the horse’s mouth. But any advice you have for somebody who is interested in learning more or becoming more involved in Beautycounter, or just looking to get started.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah, absolutely. I mean; ok, to be completely honest, this is the best job I’ve ever had. I’ve worked for Fortune 500 companies, I’ve written cookbooks, I’ve blogged. I love my blog and all that; I really love sharing information that way. But, it’s been so much fun. Because I actually hadn’t intended to do live events, you know, local events. But one of my friends joined, and she’s not a blogger, and she started doing events, so I started going with her, and it was so fun. It’s been so fun to get out from behind my computer, connect with different women in my community. I’ve met so many women that I probably would not have crossed paths with, and just shared that information. Because like I said earlier, 70-80% of people believe products are safe. So when I give the Beautycounter talk, I mean just the faces in that room; I’m mostly talking to moms and I know now they’re going to go home and make safer choices for their children.

    What’s so amazing about a Beautycounter event is that we’re not there just to sell you Beautycounter products. It’s not a sales event. It’s so educational. And I tell people; I’m like, if you don’t buy a thing here, and if you just leave here and pay attention to your ingredients and make safer choices, I’m happy.

    Cassy Joy: Yeah.

    Arsy Vartanian: And often people do buy stuff, because like you said, the branding is so awesome, and the products work. And what else I love about it is that I’ve been able to connect with so many amazing women through blogging; but now it’s given me an opportunity to connect with other women, too that are not bloggers, but are really health conscience, but they don’t’ really want to start a blog. They’re often too busy. It’s been the most amazing job for moms because it’s great. They work it around their kid’s schedules. So if you're a health conscious mom, and want to really do something, but you want to be able to earn some income and just be more involved in a health community. So it’s been really fun. So a lot of the women on my team are not bloggers. I have a few great bloggers on my team that I get to work with, like Cassy and Liz, and I have a lot of local friends, and even women that have joined through my blog. So it’s been really funny; funny. {laughs} It’s been really fun working with them and empowering them to become entrepreneurs, but like wellness-preneurs. Like, entrepreneurs in the .. Is that a word?

    Cassy Joy: I like it.

    Arsy Vartanian: {laughs} It just came out. In the wellness world. So it’s been really fun. And Beautycounter is a really young company, but growing like crazy. Like, I think growing about 300% a year, and just really being noticed by huge companies and the work that they’re doing. We have a partnership with Target coming out in September; I’m so excited because I’m a huge fan of Target.

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

    Arsy Vartanian: But it’s one of those; I know you’ve guys have seen just those limited edition partnerships Target does usually with really cool, on trend brands. It’s just a small line of their products and then for a limited time, but Target asked Beautycounter, because they were like, we’ve never done this with a beauty brand, but we think you're doing some really cool stuff, can you just come into our stores for a few short weeks, and that’s going to bring…

    Cassy Joy: So cool.

    Arsy Vartanian: So cool. And consultants always ask; is this going to hurt my business? Absolutely not. This is going to blow up your business. Because it’s not about the people who are going to be buying at Target; because the quantities are limited, the SKU’s are limited. It’s that the people are going to be seeing this at Target, and be like; whoa, what is this. And when you say that’s what you do, they’re going to be like; “Oh my gosh, I saw that at Target!”

    So it’s just great. It’s just a really awesome company. So if anybody is really interested in starting a job in wellness, but doesn’t want to start blogging. And Cassy and I were talking about this before the call. Blogging is not a way; if you want to do it as a job, I don’t recommend it. You just do it because you're passionate, because it’s so much work and it’s not really a big income earning activity.

    Cassy Joy: That was very eloquently put. {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah! And you know, I’ve really been about self care this year, and this has actually been a big part of it because I don’t have to work as much and the work I do is really fun, it’s laid back. So yeah, I can go off on it all day because I really love it, so if anybody has questions, reach out to Cassy or myself and we’ll help you answer them, and if you want to get started, it’s been super fun. I really recommend it.

    Cassy Joy: Yeah, and if you ask me a question that I don’t have the answer to, {laughs} you know I’m going to be calling Arsy! {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: Yes, exactly. That’s what I was saying; reach out to us. We’ll help you. Cassy’s been doing great; you’ve learned a ton. It’s just that I’ve been doing it longer. We were talking about this before the call, too; I’m just the kind of just do and you’ll learn, and I just started doing and I just started figuring it out. And now that I’ve been doing it for over a year, that’s why I know what I know. I didn’t actually jump in and learn all this stuff, because that’s just not how I work.

    Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

    Arsy Vartanian: Yeah, so I just learned as I went and it’s been really fun. So we’d love to see more people in the health community join us in spreading this mission and awareness.

    Cassy Joy: Yeah, totally. And like you said, if someone is listening and you’re thinking this might be something that you’re interested in, know that this isn’t; like Arsy said, this isn’t just a call to bloggers or people who are aspiring bloggers. This can be anybody.

    Arsy Vartanian: Absolutely.

    Cassy Joy: So that’s wonderful. Well I hate to take up more of your time, Arsy, but we covered a whole lot on today’s show.

    Arsy Vartanian: We did!

    Cassy Joy: Thank you so much, this has been wonderfully informative in very selfish ways. I really just invited you on because I wanted to talk with you. {laughs}

    Arsy Vartanian: It was really fun. Thank you so much for having me.

    Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh, it’s totally been a pleasure. Remember everybody, you can find Arsy, her 3 books; I’ll go through them one more time, and we’re going to link up to all of these in the show notes so you can just go straight to the website, FedandFit.com and click on all of our links. But she’s got the Paleo Slow Cooker Cookbook, Paleo Foodie Cookbook, and the Ultimate Paleo Cookbook. And you can find her home on the web at RubiesandRadishes.com, and then also on social media at the same name.

    Thank you again so much for joining me. And if you have questions for her, feel free to leave those in comments on the show notes, and I’ll be sure to make sure she gets all the notes. So thank you so much, Arsy, again!

    Arsy Vartanian: Thank you; talk to you soon.

    Cassy Joy: Ok, bye-bye.


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