As the country grapples with the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many others and with the ongoing protests against systemic racism and police brutality, there’s no time like right now to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
(Courtesy of Kabaki Tea)
While peaceful protesting is one method, another positive way to be an ally in the fight against racism is by supporting Black-owned businesses. The health and wellness space is full of brands that are founded and run by Black women and men. Whether they’re selling herbal elixirs, vegan desserts, vitamins or fitness ideas, like any other small business, each of these companies was once just a dream and is now a hard-earned reality.
Ideally you will support these businesses regularly, not just while the iron is hot. Good ways to do this include engaging with them on social media and spreading the word to your friends, family and peers about their existence.
While there are many fabulous Black-owned businesses, I wanted to highlight several in particular I found interesting, not only in their products but also in their missions. Here are a few to look for and the inspiring women and men behind them.
This plant-based vitamin and supplement line is on a mission to prove that you shouldn’t have to choose between vitamins that do good and are good for you. These vitamins are free from all artificial ingredients, including flavors, dyes and sugars. They are also vegan, gluten-free, kosher and non-GMO.
The idea for JoySpring came in 2014 when two parents were trying to find a solution to help their 7-year-old autistic daughter with focus and anxiety challenges. They felt that most of what they found was either prescription medication or vitamin candy.
After a long search, they ended up finding a nutritional herbalist who, combined with their own passion and retail experience, helped them develop natural remedies that could help their child and others. They have personally seen improvement with their daughter’s focus, ability to stay on task and a greater ability to avoid distractions.
JoySpring vitamins aren’t intended just for autistic children but the company does receive a large amount of feedback from parents in the autism/ADHD community.
Trade Street Jam Company
What’s your jam? If you avoid jam due to the sugary, over-processed brands found lining your grocery store aisles, consider checking out Trade Street Jam Company.
Ashley Rouse created the name for her company in 2008 while living in her apartment on Trade Street in North Carolina. Her jams are small batch, low on sugar and high on flavor. With creative blends like Strawberry Chipotle and Fig Jam and Smoked Peach, Trade Street jams are great in baked goods, craft cocktails, glazes for meat and vegetables and more. Rouse is passionate about the culinary aspect of her business, teaching jam classes to children at underprivileged schools. She also aspires to be able to use residual jams to feed the less fortunate.
(Courtesy of Kabaki Tea)
What’s purple tea? It’s the same plant, Camellia sinensis, which gives us all our green and black teas. But high in the valleys and mountains of Kenya, the intense African sun coupled with cool mountain air allows ultraviolet rays to deeply penetrate the tea leaves … and purple leaves are born. The high altitude means larger amounts of UV rays penetrate the tea leaves, resulting in vibrant color and higher levels of powerful antioxidants – protective anthocyanins and higher levels of polyphenols (16.5 %) than other teas, which average 10%.
The red and purple anthocyanins produce the distinctive reddish purple colors of the leaves. These are similar to the anthocyanins found in blueberries, raspberries and purple grapes. But purple tea has a much higher content of anthocyanins than even blueberries—1.5% compared to 0.1%.
Kabaki ensures its tea is “purple at its purest,” organically and sustainably grown. It is also low in caffeine, low in sugar, has no preservatives, is non-GMO certified and brewed and bottled in the USA. Purple tea is known to boost immunity, fight free radicals and promote cardiovascular health, weight control and cognitive function. Founder Martin Kabaki grew up in Kenya and is on a mission to bring quality healthcare to Kenyan farming communities. In 2012, the Kabaki family established the nonprofit Kijiji Medical Clinic in Naivasha, Kenya, near the purple tea growing region of Meru.
(Courtesy Healthy on You)
Healthy On You
This exotic spice blend company was founded in 2015 by Samantha Binkley, a certified health coach who was looking for healthy and exotic blends that added the right balance of flavors to her favorite recipes. When you can create this balance, a dish doesn’t always need extra cream or butter to give it the flavor and pizzazz a person could desire from a home-cooked meal.
Samantha initially created spices for her healthy cooking classes she teaches in San Diego and would give away spice blend goodie bags at the end of classes. People kept asking for the blends, and from there, the company was born. Healthy on You uses 100% USDA organic ingredients in the spice blends. How about some “Fish You Were Here” on your salmon or “Seasoning Beneath My Wings” the next time you make chicken?
I own a few of the seasonings and love the fun, kitschy names of the different bottles and fresh flavors the blends contain.
What originated from a friend’s recipe eventually grew into an energy bar business for Norma Maloney. She had been making energy bars since 1995, when cycling became an active sport in her family and on-the-go fuel was needed for longer rides. In 2006, her family convinced her to develop her passion into a business, and the idea for LoAdebar, an energy bar for active people was born.
Each LoAdebar contains 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and the following nutrient-rich ingredients: dates, gluten-free rolled oats, brown rice syrup, almonds, walnuts, cashews, chia seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. There are also dried fruits, rice protein and cinnamon in this bar. All nutritionally sound to keep you energized during a long workout.
The goal has always been to provide a bar that is minimally processed and contains high quality, wholesome and organic ingredients. The bar contains no preservatives, salt, soy or fillers that might normally be found in processed snack foods. The bar comes in original and dark chocolate, which has a chocolate coating that is vegan, organic, soy free and fair trade.
(Courtesy of A Dozen Cousins)
A Dozen Cousins
This company’s food products include black beans, cowboy beans and a chickpea curry. The products are inspired by Black and Latinx recipes from all over the Americas and use wholesome, easy to recognize ingredients and nutrient-dense avocado oil and avoid GMOs and artificial flavors.
Ibraheem Basir, the creator of this product line, grew up in Brooklyn with his mother’s southern cooking. She cooked with the rich flavors of her Caribbean and Latin American heritage, and eating together as a family was of great importance. As he got older, Basir learned more about the importance of eating natural foods. He created A Dozen Cousins, hoping to help families have more traditional recipes available that are delicious and easy to prepare. The brand is named after his daughter and her 11 cousins as a reminder of all the great family dinners they enjoy together.
This high-quality supplement line is owned by 32-year-old former college football player and bodybuilder of MTV fame Jeff Logan. Although a well-balanced diet is key, it can still contain nutritional gaps that need to be filled. Become Nutrition has been blowing up the supplement space since it arrived on the scene in 2015. Consumers appreciate the hand-picked ingredients, variety of flavors and results.
Logan is his own best advertisement: He walks the walk and talks the talk. Logan took his athletic background and coaching experience and decided he wanted to fill in empty spaces he found in the supplement industry. He saw many people using supplements that didn’t offer results and were more harmful than helpful to their bodies. Logan developed formulas for body progression, well-being, appearance and, most importantly, health from the inside out.
He believes that your face and body is your message to the world and is also a direct reflection of your state of wellness. The current best seller on the website is Be Clean. This contains a special probiotic blend, a myriad of crucial vitamins, fatty acids, biotin and collagen. Be Clean is just one of several supplements on the Become Nutrition website.