We recently had the opportunity to partner up with our friend & mentor, Kelly LeVeque, on creating a flavor that inspired her of her childhood. We worked together to design a flavor that would be reminiscent of the citrus sodas we used to drink, but sans sweeteners, and together we dreamed up the solution: Lemon with Thyme & White Tea.
For those of you who don't know Kelly, she is a celebrity nutritionist and best selling author. She gifts her knowledge to us in a digestible way & we love her for it. Lauren, our Head of Nutrition & Community, sat down with Kelly to chat Sound, how Kelly came to be the blood sugar expert and do a fun rapid fire.
Q: You say you were a Sprite kid growing up. When did you know nutrition was the path you wanted to be on?
KL: I think I fell in love with nutrition in high school but I didn't realize it could be a career. I loved my health class. The volleyball coach taught the course and he was super down to earth, super fun to learn from, but it was really the content that just stuck in my brain. In USC, my favorite course was The Nature of Human Health & Disease where I did my thesis on Type 2 Diabetes and Blood Sugar Dysregulation. So to fast forward from 2005 to 2015 when I finally took my business full time, it's crazy to think that it took me 10 years to make it become a reality & really be aligned with my purpose. I think that it is never too late for anyone. If you're interested in nutrition, follow your heart. And in hindsight, if I tuned in, it would have been clear to me that nutrition was what I was always passionate about.
Q: What inspired you to co-create this citrusy flavor with Sound?
KL: I was a Sprite or 7UP kid growing up. I wasn't allowed to drink soda really young but I would say 5th or 6th grade is when I really started drinking soda. I never liked Coke, Diet Coke, Dr Pepper so that was the soda of choice for myself & my sisters. I always loved lemon, lime, citrus. So when Tommy & the team said they could recreate my favorite soda but with antioxidants & a low caffeine tea, it was a no brainer. I was really excited about it & I'm so thankful. It's so fun to see everyone's stories & shares saying it tastes just like Sprite!
Q: What was the 'aha' moment when you realized blood sugar balance was your career soulmate & why is blood sugar balance so important? Why do you think it's flown under the radar for so long?
KL: Well, it's funny because as I mentioned, the Nature of Human Health & Disease was my favorite class at USC. It was the best grade I ever got. And it also happened to be where I wrote my thesis on Type 2 Diabetes. What I love about blood sugar is it's a through point for everyone. Someone can be vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, decide that a certain food doesn't work for them, or that they want to live a specific lifestyle, but blood sugar balance is important for everyone. Imbalance is the foundation and problem that initiates inflammation & really is the culprit to so many long-term, preventable chronic diseases so it's something everyone should be taught. We should have been taught about it in junior high, elementary school. It's important to understand how pairing whole foods supports blood sugar balance. It is the number one way that food impacts our mood, our energy & our digestion - everything. Eating foods in a way that support blood sugar balance also naturally focus on nutrient dense foods so its just been the through point for me to speak to so many different people & lifestyles. It's also the lowest hanging fruit when it comes to our health, preventing these diseases, supporting our mood & energy levels. And so I've been obsessed with blood sugar balance for a very long time. It is really the science of nutrition that everyone should understand. I feel it is my major calling to teach people all about it. So here I am, using the Fab4 to make it easy & accessible to understand, no matter the lifestyle they are living. There is a way to learn how to balance your plate & balance your blood.
Q: Was there one break in your career that you can recall or many mini breaks?
KL: Well, I feel like it's been 10 years of mini breaks, but the convergence of my first book (Body Love) launching & my celebrity clientele supporting me in that launch. I had a number of mini breaks but that was a little bit of the perfect storm. The amount of press coverage that book received and the support from my clients & community was really unmatched. I am really thankful for that. So both! A bunch of mini breaks & one big PR break.
Q: You are a mom of two boys, Sebastian & Taschen. How do you balance work and mom life? How do you and Chris work together?
KL: It is a constant juggle all the time. And anyone who is a working mom with multiple children knows it takes teamwork. Chris & I are constantly negotiating for personal time, constantly looking at the calendar, asking "What's up next? How do we support each other? Where do you need to be? Where do I need to be? What needs to happen?" Our priorities are in the same place - ours being that our kids feel loved & supported no matter what, we have special family time like dinners & weekend adventures. Our adventures are activities we're doing together that are different and new which we aim to do 1-2x/week. That keeps us going - those little moments where we see our children really experiencing nature or being at a kid's museum - finding a way to just be together keeps us going for our kids. The balance of work and mom life - we constantly wear all the hats but you can't wear all the hats at the same time so it really goes from waking up and wearing my mom hat & then looking at Chris and telling him when I need to run upstairs and start my day. Sometimes that's 7AM, sometimes it's 8AM and sometimes I get to drop Bash off at school and it's 9AM. And he's been really flexible with me in knowing that my number one priority is my boys. It's constantly changing but we both have our priorities straight that our boys & our family are the most important thing, so we try to set up boundaries to support them and protect our time.
Q: Favorite food growing up?
KL: My mom's tacos!
Q: Meal the reminds you of comfort and home?
KL: My mom's tacos! (laughs) Which is basically fried corn tortilla shells with a bunch of ground beef & shredded cheese. I make my version of that. I toast up Siete tortillas, ground beef, make my own guacamole, lots of lettuce, cilantroPrimal Kitchen spicy ketchup (in place of hot sauce).
Q: Favorite vacation spot?
KL: Bora Bora. I went there for my honeymoon & it is to die for.
Q: Which would you choose - mountains / hiking or beach?
KL: I choose the beach every time, preferably with warm waters & a surf break that I can catch. Nothing super crazy, long board friendly.
Q: What are you most excited about these days?
KL: Honestly, adventure days with my boys. Sometimes we joke around that we have a Saturday on a Thursday because that's my lightest work day and Bash doesn't have school so if I can get three hours of work done in the am and then cut out with the boys after nap, I will do that. We'll find something new to do like go to an aquarium, kid's museum, hike, or beach so it feels like we're playing hooky and we have a family day.
Q: What's your happy place?
KL: Our new home! I can't wait to live there. It's so fun to go there and think of having that together. We've always rented and so to have our own place - I just cannot wait.
Q: Favorite meal?
KL: Should I say tacos?!! Those are my favorite! Yes, I'd say it's still tacos or a lettuce wrap burger or a green curry that I love.
Q: Perfect day in the life of Kelly.
KL: Wake up - have coffee with my boys, do drop off, go to a yoga or gym class, then get to work. Work during Taschen's nap hours until it's time to get Bash. Put Taschen in the car, bring Chris with me and we go pick up Bash. Go to the beach to play, make castles and run in the water. Come home, make tacos, do bedtime, cuddle up with Chris and either read our books or pick a show. I've been liking scarier shows lately - give me like an Ozarks or Billions - so I can be entrenched.