We dare you to get to know Annie Lawless and not be inspired to take your health into your own hands—it'd be impossible. After being diagnosed with Celiac's disease at age 12, Annie learned first hand how much what you put in your body affects how you look and feel. Now, she blogs at Blawnde.com (where she's refreshingly honest and doesn't try to be perfect), is a certified health coach and also a co-founder of Suja Juice (which recently sold a stake in the business to Coca-Cola for a whopping $90 million) and co-author of the New York Times Bestselling book The Suja Juice Solution. In spite of all of this, Annie still took time out of her schedule to answer our burning health-and-wellness related questions. Read on, and sign us up.
What is your go-to tip for dealing with anxiety?
BREATHE + MEDITATE. Anxiety has a funny way of creeping up, taking hold of your mind, and running with it. Before you know it, you’ve traveled miles and miles with this thing in control of the direction of your thoughts. Meditating and breathing deeply into those thoughts and releasing them while clearing the mind of all judgment and thinking really helps me reset the station and come back to a neutral place. When I finish meditating, I usually feel so much less attached to the thing I was worried about and sometimes not worried the slightest bit about it anymore because I’ve stepped out and can see things more clearly from a totally different perspective.
What supplements do you take and why?
PRENATAL VITAMINS: It can’t hurt any girl to take a prenatal vitamin! They are packed with higher values of important vitamins and minerals for reproductive health and it’s not a bad idea to nourish our reproductive organs as long as we have them (even if we don’t plan on having kids).
PROBIOTICS: I’ve taken prescription-grade probiotics for years because I had some Celiac’s related damage to my intestinal lining. Apart from removing gluten from my diet, I credit juicing and probiotics as the two most important things in getting my digestive health back in a good place. The digestive system is really the key to overall health and responsible for so many bodily functions. It is responsible for absorbing nutrients, removing toxins, allergens, and microbes, immunity, metabolism, and mood. If you don’t have a healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut, your health will suffer and you will have all kinds of symptoms that may not seem related like skin rashes or depression, but they are.
FISH OIL: Omega-3 fats have soooo many health benefits! They help your body produce hormones that stop inflammation. They also help produce chemicals that keep us in a good mood and regulate sleep. The American diet is too high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats found in vegetable oils like peanut, sunflower, soy, and corn and too low in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats found in salmon, flax seeds, omega-3 enriched eggs, and walnuts. A good ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is 2:1, but most of us have a much much higher omega-6 intake than omega-3 thanks to all of the packaged, processed foods prevalent in our markets, restaurants, and fast food. A fish oil supplement can help bring the ratio to a better place by providing a steady source of omega-3’s.
MAGNESIUM: Magnesium is an amazing nighttime mineral because it has a relaxing and calming effect on the muscles and nervous system. 80% of Americans are deficient so taking a supplement is a great idea.
DIGESTIVE ENZYMES: Poor digestion can throw off healthy gut flora, and enzymes are key substances of the digestive process that help break down our food for proper absorption. Without enough enzymatic power, food can’t be digested correctly and that can cause all sorts of digestive abnormalities. Enzymes are responsible for every chemical reaction in the body, so it’s important to have enough to digest and absorb the nutrients in food that are necessary for life. Supplementing can really help you feel better after meals and digest more easily.
BIOTIN: This one is more for vanity because it’s great for hair, skin, and nails! Biotin is a B vitamin that helps thicken nails and support hair growth. I bleach my hair which is about the worst thing you can do to it, so I’m always super conscious of supporting it any way I can. Even better, biotin plays a key role in nervous system and hormone function, which helps the skin look clear and prevents rashes and acne.
What is your go-to lunch when you’re on the go but still want to eat healthy?
Whole Foods salad bar! I just Google the nearest Whole Foods wherever I am and make a big green salad with romaine or arugula, loads of veggies that I’m feeling that day, a protein like egg, tuna, or chickpeas, and I always steer clear of the bottled dressings and just go for olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Then I run to the produce section and buy an avocado to put on myself because they don’t have it at the salad bar and avocado is my life.
What’s your favorite place to go to recharge for the weekend?
Rancho Valencia Resort in my own city, San Diego! It has the most unbelievable spa and yoga pavilion, and a great bar/restaurant called the Pony Room that becomes such a hot spot at night. Whenever I’m with a group of girls, we can stay on the property completely contained for a couple days with zero need or desire to go anywhere and we feel like we’ve completely disconnected from life on the outside. The perfect girls day is starting with yoga in the morning, brunch by the pool, massages, a light later lunch with rose, a mani/pedi, drinks and dinner at the Pony Room, and late night dessert and coffee in the Hacienda. It is perfection.
Your favorite form of exercise and why?
Yoga, walking, and occasional running! Most often, I wake up and do yoga every day first thing for an hour. I do power, vinyasa flow, yin, and hatha, depending on my mood. I barely consider this a workout because I love it so much and it sets me up for a relaxed, calm, centered mind the rest of the day. On the days I wake up feeling like getting outside, I opt for long walks. I never go inside on a treadmill because it makes me feel like a hamster. I like to be outside and get inspired by nature, the sunrise, the ocean, the trees, or whatever it is that my surroundings provide that day. By the time I’m done, I’ve had a total mood and mind transformation and it feels really awesome. I like to walk for an hour or two and I almost always go to the beach or a hiking trail. Then, there are the random days that happen as often as once or twice a week or as little as once a month, when I wake up craving some miles. When this happens, I don’t have any distance goals or rules in mind whatsoever, I just run as long as it feels good and stop when I’ve gotten what I need. This can be as little as three miles or as many as eight miles. On these run days I tend to wake up more ansty, restless, and carrying nervous energy. Running really helps me release that and leave it behind so I can enter the day fresh and clean slated.
Your skincare routine or a quick tip that gets you glowing?
I am such a freak about skincare! I ALWAYS stick to a good skincare routine no matter what. I have very dry skin, so the main focus for me is hydration. If I’m wearing makeup, I massage my face with coconut, almond, or olive oil all over to cut through it and help it wash off easily. Then, I wash my face with Eminence Coconut Milk cleanser, which is a creamy nourishing formula that doesn’t strip moisture from my skin and removes all of the makeup. Then I tone with Sanitas Hydrating Toner to exfoliate my skin without irritating or drying it out. Next, I warm a few drops of a beauty oil with my fingers (right now I’m loving the Sunday Riley oils) and press it into my skin, focusing on my cheeks and chin. Finally, I smooth on a super hydrating face cream, and this is the most important step for my skin! I switch it up a lot, but right now I’m using the Fresh Crème Ancienne and it’s amazing!
What has been the most exciting thing for you with Suja?
With our new 12oz Essentials line at a lower price point, we have been able to reach a broader consumer market and expand our distribution from the natural space to conventional retailers like Costco, Target, Vons, Publix, Safeway, Kroger, and Wal-Mart. This is an exciting shift in the availability of organic products at an approachable price point for the mainstream shopper and is a huge step in our mission to democratize organic, non-GMO juice.
What’s in your makeup bag?
Ooohh I love my makeup! I am a full face of makeup kind of girl so I like to “get ready” every single morning. For an everyday look, I always use Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder, Nars Bronzer in Laguna, Nars Blush in Angelika, the Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Eye Palette, Christian Dior Waterproof Eyeliner in Trinidad Black, Maybelline Great Lash Mascara in Blackest Black, and Smashbox Be Legendary Lip Gloss in Pout. Those items are my makeup ride or dies.
What’s your mantra or life philosophy?
Always play in the game of life—don’t just hang on the sidelines. If you don’t play, you don’t have the opportunity to win. Even if you lose, you’ll have fun and learn valuable lessons and skills for getting back out there and trying again for a win.