Part I: Caryn highlights more great holiday recipes that are simple and delicious. She discusses tips to be prepared for the Cold and Flu season.
Part II: Anisha Khanna, Sonäge
“As a consumer, I fell in love with Sonäge because I no longer had to choose between results-oriented and safe skincare. I became involved professionally with Sonäge because I could relate to the mission and vision of the company,” says Anisha Khanna, CEO of Sonäge Skincare “Since taking the helm, my goal has been to analyze every ingredient for safety, while retaining the quality and beauty of the original line that is a favorite among estheticians. We have been raising the bar even higher by aligning our brand with the Environmental Working Group.” Sonäge Vitality Nourishing Facial Oil is the first Sonäge product to be EWG VERIFIED, and is now featured in the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep® Safe Product Database.
Since 2009, It’s All About Food, has been bringing you the best in up-to-date news regarding food and our food system. Hosted by Caryn Hartglass, a vegan since 1988, the program includes in-depth interviews with medical doctors; nutritionists; dieticians; cook book authors; athletes; environmental, animals and health activists; farmers; food manufacturers; lawyers; food scientists and more. Learn about how we can solve many of the world’s problems today and do it deliciously, here on It’s All About Food.
TRANSCRIPTIONS PART I:
Caryn Hartglass: Hello, everybody. Hi, I’m Caryn Hartglass and it’s time for It’s All About Food. Thank you, thank you for joining me, thank you for caring about food. And don’t we all love eating good food? In fact, that’s what I want to talk about: eating good food.
The holidays are upon us. We got through Thanksgiving, and I hope you all got through happily and sanely. Now we’ve got the winter holidays coming up. It’s a good season for staying inside, cooking, making the kitchen smell really nice, and staying warm—for those of us who are in cold climates like we are here in New York City. For those of you who are on the warmer side of the Earth right now, well, you might keep some of these things in mind for when the chill comes on again for you.
Now you know how I feel about Thanksgiving. As I mentioned on an earlier program, we weren’t at home for Thanksgiving; we didn’t get to prepare any of our favorites. So last week, we had our delayed Thanksgiving and it was everything that I wanted it to be. Of course, we had our wonderful creamy mashed potatoes, the creamy sweet potatoes.
But here’s something that I wanted to share with you: has anyone tried our Healthy World Burger? Raise your hand. Healthy World Burger! I think it’s the best veggie burger out there. We created it earlier this year. It has great flavor and it has great chew. That’s one of the problems with vegetarian burgers; they tend to be on the mushy side, you know what I mean? But this particular burger has a great chew and great flavor. We do that using a combination of grains: millet, black rice, red rice. And we also use turanicum—which some people know as Kamut—which is a gluten containing grain and you can use brown rice instead. Brown rice works out perfectly fine. All right, so that makes a great burger and our burger recipe has some fun spices in it: chipotle powder and chili powder to give it a little extra kick.
We played with that burger batter—if you will—and used it for a number of things that just turned out spectacular. There are two things. One was a cooking squash, and I love for Thanksgiving to scoop out a squash and stuff it with something. If you have a really big squash, it makes a great centerpiece on the table. Or if you have little baby ones, they’re wonderful as individual dishes. I think that’s really fun when you get a small little stuffed squash and you put the top back on it. It’s fun and it’s good. This burger recipe works great as a filling. All we did was change up the spices and make it more like Thanksgiving spices with parsley, sage. Just like that, it was amazing.
But that’s not all. [chuckles] My partner Gary De Mattei is an amazing chef. He took this filling, and he filled them in little one-cup ramekins, pressed it down, and made what we call Tournedos. I don’t know if you’ve ever had Tournedos of beef, little round cuts. These are similar in that they’re similar size, similar color. They’re just fantastic. We cook them in these ramekins then they come out really easily and serve them in this creamy cashew based Dijon sauce, Dijonnaise.
You hungry? Fortunately, I was smart and I had a big bowl of soup before this show started because I knew if I was going to be talking about these foods, I was going to go nuts.
We haven’t tried it yet, but I have to do it soon because I’m so excited about it. Use this filling to make a meatloaf. Fill a loaf pan with this same burger batter—as I like to call it now, the same combination of grains (millet, black rice, red rice, and either brown rice or turanicum) and the vegetables, herbs, and spices that we use to flavor it. Press it into a pan and bake it that way. Then you’ve got this amazing vegan meatloaf. Stay tuned. That’s going to be awesome with some ketchup.
If you haven’t gotten into the cashew based cream sauces yet, folks—especially the people who are trying to get off dairy, trying to get off cheese, and really need that rich, full-bodied, full-flavored, really creamy feeling—, cashews are the way to go. Dijonnaise is so easy; it’s got a few ingredients but rich, delicious, and satisfying. I know my mother would like to say, “Oh, it’s so gourmet!” So we had this great Thanksgiving. Now I’m ready to move onto future holidays.
But if we’re going to do that, we have to be healthy. This is a time of great traditions, holiday foods, and holiday parties. But it’s also a time of colds and flus; they are not fun. I’ve been looking back on my calendar and notice that we seem to get particularly weak in December and March. Sure enough, Gary got a little cold last week. Fortunately, I haven’t succumbed to it. I really wanted to focus on preventing those things.
One of the big challenges that I have is the hands touching the face, specifically the mouth. This is one of the best ways for germs (especially the bad ones) to get inside and infect you. That’s something that I haven’t trained myself to do too well, although I’m working on it. So yeah, washing the hands but not having the hands touch the face, the mouth, the eyes, the nose. This is just the best vehicle; it kind of just brings it all right in there.
Meanwhile, there are things that we can do to stay safe from flu viruses and colds. I wanted to go over some of them because it may be obvious but it’s always good to remind ourselves, right? Okay.
We want to eat healthfully, and I talk about eating healthfully all the time, with a focus towards preventing chronic diseases because eating healthfully boosts our immune system, and it’s our immune system that helps fight off whatever it is we don’t want in our bodies. In addition to chronic disease, that also works for colds and flus. The same foods, the same micronutrients that we need to support the immune system, the same vital chemicals: they also can keep you strong and prevent colds and flus.
So what are they? Mushrooms, mushrooms, mushrooms. I love to call mushrooms “Nature’s chemotherapy”, and it’s really great to have a few mushrooms a day in any kind of form. If you heard of the company FungusAmongUs (it’s spelled f-u-n-g-u-s-a-m-o-n-g-u-s), fungusamongus.com; it’s a fun name. They sell dry mushrooms and they sell a lot of dried organic mushrooms. I highly recommend going there; I don’t get any kickback from recommending them. They’re just a company whose products I like. If you have access to fresh mushrooms that’s great. But I find mushrooms are expensive and I like to have a variety. There are certain kinds of mushrooms that I really like and the stores around me don’t always have them. So I buy big bags of FungusAmongUs dried mushrooms and I keep them in the freezer so that they last.
What do I do with them? I usually take maybe a half a cup to a cup. I rinse them. I was instructed by the people at the company FungusAmongUs that you should wash the mushrooms. Then I put them in a little pot with water and boil them. Let them simmer for about thirty minutes. Then those mushrooms I’ll use in anything, absolutely anything. That’s the way I keep eating mushrooms.
Mushrooms are great in a soup and we have a couple of wonderful mushroom recipes at ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com. One of my favorites is the Mineral Rich Mushroom Soup. It’s a very comforting broth. You can go to our site at ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com and check that out. It’s very simple. It’s made with miso and celery. Celery has got great minerals, and I like to add turmeric and black pepper. They work synergistically together; one helps the other in absorption. I like to put them all in the soup and that’s like my medicinal mineral mushroom soup.
Another thing that’s really come in handy is dehydrated ginger and dehydrated lemon peel. Now I don’t know if you have access to a dehydrator. That’s kind of important. I fortunately have a dehydrator option on my oven, which is something some of you may remember that I didn’t know I had for about ten years. So now I’m kind of trying to make up for lost time and use it. You can buy ginger, chop it up, dehydrate it until it’s dry, and use it as a tea. Which is spectacular, you just rehydrate it with hot water. The dry ginger will last forever.
I do the same thing with lemon peels and lime peels. We use a lot of lemons and limes, the juice primarily, for our salad dressings and occasionally for other dishes. Then I’m leftover with the rinds; a lot of times I will put the rinds in my juice extractor when I’m making my Green Juice. And why do I want to do that with the rind? The rinds are loaded with flavonoids and I don’t want to waste any one of those flavonoids. We need our flavonoids. So I dehydrate them. Again, it makes an excellent tea.
Why am I bringing up tea? Well, it’s wonderful to hydrate all the time. That’s one of the things that keeps us healthy and protected. Even if you feel a little under the weather, a soothing cup of ginger-lemon tea is wonderful. Maybe when you’re starting to feel under, you don’t have ginger and lemon in the refrigerator and you certainly don’t feel like going outside to get it. That’s why it’s great to have it dehydrated and ready for you when you may need it.
I don’t put a lot of sugar in things. It’s in our recipes for cakes, cookies, the treats for special occasions. I’m not someone who encourages adding sugar, but a little agave in a cup of ginger and lemon tea is very soothing and just may help lift your spirits if they’re going down from a cold or a flu.
I don’t have to tell you about the importance of greens, but I am going to tell you the importance of greens and phosphorus vegetables. Because not only are they wonderful for helping to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, but they are there for you. Boosting the immune system; they have antimicrobial properties and they’re going to help you with your body’s antiviral response. Lots of studies that show the power of greens doing so many wonderful things for our health, and that includes cold and flus.
And berries are up there too.
So all those same foods that we talk about all the time are the same foods that help treat cold and flu symptoms.
Now there are a few supplements that can also help. I recently added zinc to my diet. I already take Vitamin D and Vitamin B12; those are the only things I take. D and zinc are important for the immune system, and we need to have adequate amounts of them to help protect against colds and flus. Zinc is not as well absorbed from plant foods, especially for vegans. I think a supplementing thing is a good idea, so I do. I get zinc from some of my foods (nuts and seeds), but I have begun supplementing and we’ll see if that makes a difference. I hope so.
The thing that doesn’t work are those common cold remedies that you find in the stores and maybe some of the ones that are recommended that are considered natural. Some people may believe in Vitamin C, the mega doses. The science behind that is really mixed. If you feel it helps you, that’s great but I’m dubious about it.
The things that don’t really work are the ones that you can find in a pharmacy [chuckles] because what they tend to do is slow down your recovery. Isn’t that fascinating? You know, I understand: you work every day and you get a cold, you want to get back to work and you want to feel better; so you take one of these cold remedies and maybe or maybe not. Maybe it’ll help you. Most cold remedies are proven not to work. That’s all I can say. And the same for fever reducers.
I know fevers are scary. They’re especially scary with very young children or elderly. But, for the most part, the fever is our body’s mechanism to heal. So a little bit of a fever is actually a good thing when we are experiencing a cold or a flu. Of course, if it persists for more than three days and it goes above 103, then it’s something else and you need to check it out. See a doctor. Don’t be too afraid of a mild fever. It’s your body doing its job.
The last thing—don’t roll your eyes when I say this—rest. Rest is probably the most important thing. So much happens when we’re sleeping and our body uses that time to detox, to heal, to reenergize. That’s so many things. If we don’t get adequate rest, then our body’s health is compromised.
I may have mentioned this recently; this is one of my new discoveries. I started using an eye mask at night just to make the room darker. I found I have a profound improvement in the quality in my sleep. It’s just deeper; it’s darker! But it really makes a difference. So you might want to try it. I’m actually using a couple that I got on an airline once. I’d like to make them a little more—well, I have some work to do with them. There’s lots of interesting eye masks out there. I have another eye mask that I got about fifteen years ago, and it’s filled with buckwheat hulls. I’m a real big fan of buckwheat hulls because my bedroom pillow is filled with buckwheat hulls. So I’m like a sandwich [chuckles] with my buckwheat hull eye mask and my buckwheat hull pillow. [chuckles] It’s crunchy and noisy, but you get used to it. I find for me it’s really comfortable. I won’t use feathers because they’re not vegan friendly and plastic, any kind of synthetic—I don’t think that encourages good sleep. So I’ve come to really love my buckwheat hull pillows. So that’s it. Sleep is really, really, really important. Did I say it was really important? Good.
Now you know I’ve been moaning (ooh!) and sighing (aah!) about what’s gone on since the elections here in the United States. It’s a scary thing. I know we focus on food here and we’ll be talking a lot more about food. Our government has a great deal of impact on food issues. But I’ve been feeling a bit dejazzed and it’s really taking a lot of energy to stay inspired. I want to do things when you feel like our positive evolution is retreating.
I was invited to a lunch this week by the Pollination Project. Pollination Project is an organization that grants small organizations and people—I was going to say “small people” [chuckles], but no—and they started by giving away a thousand dollars a day. Isn’t that lovely? They’re a young organization; they haven’t been around too long. Responsible Eating and Living, my non-profit, has benefited from the Pollination Project. We’re one of their earlier grantees. They supported our transcription project, which got me started on getting all of these shows that I’ve been doing here on the Progressive Radio Network, for over seven and a half years, transcribed. This is a wonderful gift that we’re able to offer people for free. The Pollination Project got us started on that. I think they’re located out west, and their New York representative wanted to get together some of the grantees from the New York area. We met and had lunch; there were about nine of us.
And [chuckles] I was going for the food. I knew they would have some vegan food, and they had a nice spread from a company called The Hummus & Pita Company. It was falafel and a bunch of different flavored hummuses. It’s just nice to be able to go to an event and know that you can eat everything.
But what really surprised me was listening to the individual stories of the other people that were there that had received Pollination Project grants. I’ll tell you: listening to the wonderful things that individuals are doing just woke me up, reenergized me, and inspired me. I can’t tell you enough.
A couple of men were there and they work for the Citizens Against… Oh gosh. I’m going to get it right and I’m going to look at my What Vegans Eat blog where I listed the organizations. Because I want to give them all good credit. One was a guy who had been incarcerated, and he was working to help those that get out of prison stay out of prison, preventing recidivism, and also working to help keeping children out of going to prison. His organization is called Citizens Against Recidivism—I can’t say that word: recidivism—Among Youth In New York. So inspiring to hear his stories. We know that there are just way too many people that go to prison, and some of them shouldn’t even be there. Those that are, are there because they haven’t been given the right education or opportunity. It’s just very unfortunate.
When you hear about individuals making a difference, it’s so inspiring. Another young woman, single mother created this group called Chilies on Wheelshttp://www.chilisonwheels.org/, and she provides vegan meals to the homeless or anyone with food insecurity.
These are not people that are wealthy; these are not people of needs; these are people who have rich ideas and take action. Just some amazing projects. If you want to hear about the rest of them, please go to What Vegans Eat — Day 662 and you can read all about them.
Now that we’re on the subject, I want to know what you are doing. I want to know what are you doing in your life to be of service, to help. Doesn’t have to be big. I’m just curious and I would love to hear about it because we need to support each other, we need to inspire each other. And I find hearing about these individual projects—this is a selfish request. I want to know what you’re doing so that I can get excited about it and know that there’s a lot of people working at the grassroots level that are going to move our civilization forward in a beautiful way. So I’m hoping that you’ll let me know at email@example.com. You can do that.
Okay, before we go to the second part of our show, I just have to do this. It’s December; as I mentioned, it’s the holiday time. It’s also the giving time. At Responsible Eating and Living, we’re a 501(c) not for profit organization. We don’t ask for money very often, but the way we do the work is through donations from individuals, businesses, foundations, and grants. If you like this show, if you like what we do at Responsible Eating and Living, I hope that you will include us in your gift giving this season. You can go to ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com, you can go to our donate button. It’s easy and thank you. Thank you very much.
All right, let’s… let’s, let’s, let’s! [chuckles] Shall we? Let’s take a little break. When we come back, I’m going to introduce a woman that I met recently: Anisha Khanna. She’s the CEO of a company called Sonäge, and it’s a skin care company. We’re going to be learning a lot about it just in a moment, when we come back.
Transcribed by HT 12/23/2016
TRANSCRIPTION PART II:
Caryn Hartglass: Hey, everybody. I’m Caryn Hartglass, and this is the second part of today’s It’s All About Food program. Thanks for joining me. We will now move onto my guest, Anisha Khanna, and she is the CEO of a company called Sonäge. We will be hearing quite a bit about it. Just a little bio for her, where she says, “As a consumer, I fell in love with Sonäge because I no longer had to choose between to choose between results-oriented and safe skincare. I became involved professionally with Sonäge because I could relate to the mission and vision of the company. Since taking the helm, her goal has been to analyze every ingredient for safety, while retaining the quality and beauty of the original line that is a favorite among estheticians.” Okay. Anisha, welcome! Thanks for joining me today!
Anisha Khanna: Thank you, Caryn. I’m so excited to be on.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, now can you say the word ‘estheticians’ quickly?
Anisha Khanna: I say it a hundred times a day, so yes. Estheticians, estheticians.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, it’s a mouthful! It’s better to read, I think, than say.
Anisha Khanna: I hear you. How about facialist? Facialist might be easy for you.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, good. Anyway, we had the good fortune to meet several years ago because you’re friends with my next-door neighbor.
Anisha Khanna: That is right.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. I love the way the universe works, bringing people together sometimes that I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity.
Anisha Khanna: He’s been telling me about you and your mission and all of the work that you’ve done with your partner Gary over the last 10+ years. It’s exciting. I know your program is It’s All About Food, but everything is so connected and related that I’m hoping that your listeners will get a lot out of our conversation today.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I hope so, too. My neighbor Deepak and his wife Bharati, they’ve had to suffer through many meals over here, where we make our non-vegan friends eat vegan food, and that’s always been fun. They’ve always been good sports.
Anisha Khanna: That’s who they are.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Okay, so I always like to connect the dots with food, so what I like to say about the products that I put on my skin is that I really don’t want to put on my skin something that I wouldn’t eat. I’m being very liberal about that, but I think it’s important. I remember you telling me something, and I was reading a blog recently, and so what I want to talk about is when we put things on our skin, does it get into our bodies? Because I was reading on a blog post recently from a Beth McClellan, director of oncodermatology at Montefiore Health System and dermatologist for the app Spruce, and she was quoted saying, “I do not believe that putting something in my body is the same as putting something on the surface of my skin.” She said, “One of the skin’s main functions is to keep toxins out of the body. It’s the first line of defense and very effective at it. If we could put something on the surface of the skin, and it was absorbed into the bloodstream, you would never have to take pills and you could just rub medicine on your skin, but it doesn’t work that way.” And sure, we would go swimming, the water doesn’t all seep into our bodies, but what about things that we put on our skin getting on our bodies and into our bodies?
Anisha Khanna: I’m happy we’re connecting the dots. That’s what it’s all about. I think gone are the days where we believed that applying something on your body is not like ingesting it, so I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. There are extremes on both sides, and a couple of examples that I’d like to share with you are the nicotine patch. Very, very effective, and it’s been used for years and years and years. It is something that you’re sticking on your skin, outside of your body. It is very, very effective in regulating levels in your bloodstream.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m having a big, giant ‘duh’ moment, like ‘duh!’ Nicotine patch, of course! Right.
Anisha Khanna: The reason I bring that up is something everyone can relate to and understand, so it’s not gibberish from a chemist from Sonäge. It’s just something that’s completely relatable. A nicotine patch is something you wear. We have very, very strong topical medicines, where there are prescriptions that are very targeted and typically skin-related because you want them so targeted. You’re looking for a solution in a particular area. But for those of us who like to soak our feet – I don’t know if you’re familiar with neem oil? It’s an antiseptic, but it’s bitter. You soak your feet in neem oil, and within seconds, you can taste bitter on your tongue. That’s how quickly it travels, so the answer really – the truth is somewhere in the middle. Yes, there are folks that say 60% of what you apply on your body, or there are some studies that say that 60% of what you apply on your body is absorbed in your bloodstream or is in your bloodstream within 26 seconds, and then you have the doctors that you quoted that say, “Hey, nothing’s really getting absorbed, naturally getting absorbed.” So the truth is somewhere in the middle, and it all has to do with where on your skin. The skin on your forearms, for example, is much – I’m just going to use, thicker, which is something that everyone can relate to – thicker than the skin on your face, forehead, or head. The skin on your scalp, your forehead – much, much thinner, so things absorb easier. So it depends on what part of your body you’re applying to. We, my business, really deals with the face. I don’t know if consumers understand this because our industry’s not really regulated. The beauty industry is very loosely regulated. The FDA will regulate sunscreen and SPF, but not much else. So you could literally mix ingredients in your kitchen, put a label on a jar, and start selling it the next day.
Caryn Hartglass: I know people who do that.
Anisha Khanna: Which is great, if you’re consuming it personally, refrigerating it, and so much like food. Every seven to ten days, you’re making a new batch and using it at home. That’s great. At least it’s safe as far as there’s no bacteria in it or at least limited bacteria, but when you’re marketing something and it’s sitting on a shelf, it’s not safe. Every time you put your finger in it, you’re introducing bacteria into that jar, and that’s just not safe for your health. At Sonäge, we believe in something that we call the new natural. What does that mean? That means, yes, we’re using natural ingredients, but we’re also using minimal preservatives because we want to guarantee the shop life for our products, right? Skincare is not food. People are not tossing it out every week or two weeks. You’ll find it’s sitting on their shelves for months, if not years, so we want to make sure that when you open the jar, there’s no mold or green stuff growing around it. It’s actually safe for you, but beauty, like food, is a health choice, and we partnered with the Environmental Working Group that I’m guessing your listeners may be aware of. The Environmental Group does a lot of research on safety of ingredients and they rate ingredients in the products on green for safe, yellow for moderate, and red for toxic. So toxic is ingredients or products that contain some kind of known carcinogens. Sonäge products, what we’re committed to is green safe, so they are effective, so you’re going to see a result, but they’re safe for you, and we have an independent organization like the EWG verifying that.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. What I want to know is was Sonäge always this way?
Anisha Khanna: So let me give you a little bit of background, let me back up for a second
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, please.
Anisha Khanna: So Sonäge was started by a second generation French esthetician – that word again. Sonäge the company was formally formed in ’94, but our founder, Sylvie Archenault, moved or migrated from Paris to New York in the late ’80s, and she had – Her mother was practicing in Paris, and originally she started importing ingredients and products to use on her own clients and eventually later our manufacturing moved to the US, but a lot of our research and formulation is still done in Europe. Europe is a lot stricter when it comes to toxins, so when it comes to cosmetics there’s something like 13,000 ingredients that are banned in Europe. It cannot be used in personal care products. In the US, there are less than 20 ingredients on the banned list. It’s a joke, really. It really is a joke. It is an honor system. So, yes, a lot of our formulation happens in Europe, which means we’re, by default, we’re using the safest ingredients. A lot of research that comes out really comes out from Europe. We actually take it to another extreme. I’ll give you an example. We have a product called Laserine, as in post-laser treatments, so it was originally formulated when a doctor would do a laser treatment or a deep peel. It’s a wound healer. A way to compare it, it would be similar to like a Vaseline or an Aquaphor, but a natural version. So Vaseline is a 100% petroleum product. Aquaphor is 40 or 50% petroleum. Petroleum is literally just rubber that you’re applying on your skin. It doesn’t let your skin breathe, and it’s really bad for the environment because it’s not biodegradable. It’s not going anywhere. There are some natural companies that formulated a wound healer, an ointment, and they used beeswax. When we were reformulating our product, PETA – and this is a couple of years ago – they were raising a lot of concerns on the commercial use of beeswax because all of a sudden when dozens of companies start looking for an ingredient, that ingredient is now commercially available, and so they were really concerned how this is going to hurt the queen bee, so we decided that we were not. We were going to stay true to being vegan-friendly and not even use beeswax in our formulations. We really do take it to an extreme which is harder, a little bit costlier, but I think, in the long run, we can look ourselves in the mirror and be proud of who we represent.
Caryn Hartglass: I love that. Beeswax is one of those ingredients in the natural care products that a lot of people consider borderline when we’re talking about vegan products. Some people still include them. I was talking last week – not to get off the subject, but it is about beeswax – I was talking to Jeannette Hurt who wrote a book called Drink Like a Woman, and it’s a book of cocktail recipes. I mentioned that Baileys Irish Cream, they’ve come out with a vegan version, and it’s almond-milk-based, but they included beeswax in it. Somebody didn’t do their homework because they were trying to fork it to the crazy vegans and now they’re reformulating it, and hopefully in time for the holidays, we’ll be able to have a vegan version of the Irish Cream without beeswax.
Anisha Khanna: We call this brainwashing in our industry. You want to do the right thing for marketing reasons, but not because it’s a core value. So that’s kind of where if it’s core value, you’re going to get it right. If you’re doing it just because, “Hey, it’s not cool to be using it anymore”, then that’s where you get into trouble, so we’re proud of what we stand behind.
Caryn Hartglass: I want to talk about some of your products. So it’s just like on It’s All About Food, I like to talk about recipes and describe how delicious some of them are, so I want to hear about how delicious some of your products are. Not necessarily to eat, but some of their wonderful properties. I know you gave me a sample of a product that had argan oil in it. I’ve been using it. It’s very lovely. I love the plain argan oil, and your product is different because it isn’t really, very oily. It feels kind of clean, and it has this nice, like a lemongrass, scent to it or lemony or something.
Anisha Khanna: Let me tell you about it. I think what you’re referring to is our Vitality Nourishing Facial Oil. I think when I was visiting New York, we were launching that product, and I think I gave you that product. If you love argan oil – It’s amazing. Argan oil is great for your skin. When you’re thinking about oil, to the consumer, they don’t always understand that depending on where you’re applying the oil, the molecule size of the oil is different. Argan oil is good for your face. Coconut oil not so good.
Caryn Hartglass: Why’s that?
Anisha Khanna: It’s great for your body because your body has larger pores, but your face, it doesn’t absorb quickly. It’s sitting on your skin, so some people tend to break out, other people still complain that there’s dry even after applying coconut oil because it doesn’t absorb. And so the molecule size is not right for your face, so argon oil, they call it liquid gold. It’s our base for our Vitality Facial Oil, but our oil is a blend of ten different oils. There’s a story behind every product. There’s a utility behind every product because we are a professional line. We are used by estheticians and facialists in their facials, so if you think about the profession, we go to see an esthetician typically when we have a problem or seasonally when we want to detox or cleanse our skin, and we’re looking for a result. Yes, there is a whole stress-relieving, aromatherapy aspect to your visit to the spa, and our line is an aromatherapy line, but the reason you tend to go to an esthetician is, “Hey, my skin’s really dry”, “Hey, I’m breaking out”, so our line has to be effective because otherwise our estheticians’ clients will never come back. So what do we blend in this oil? The base is argan, we’ve got marula oil in it, we’ve got lavender, cyprus, geranium. I think what you’re smelling is geranium. It’s got other things like willow leaf, bladderwrack, so this blend moisturizes your skin, but it also heals your skin. It promotes cell growth. It’s got antioxidants in it, prevents dryness, and it’s not sitting on your skin. You apply it, and within seconds, it gets quickly absorbed, so I am so excited you like it!
Caryn Hartglass: I do, and I like when I learn things. I didn’t know that I shouldn’t put coconut oil on my face, that it doesn’t really work.
Anisha Khanna: It’s not. So for – especially since it’s getting colder in New York – it’s not the best solution for your skin. You’re mature. That is my way of saying aging gracefully. For your mature skin, you need a little bit more emollients, and coconut oil alone will not do the trick. A couple of other things that are products that are typically crowd-pleasers, we have a vitamin C serum. You have to love Dr. Oz sometimes because he’ll say things and then it becomes law for consumers. About a year or so ago in one of his programs, he said, “Forget everything else! You just need vitamin C and hyaluronic”, and that makes in some ways our life a little bit easier because now the consumer gets it, but either they don’t. It’s not just vitamin C. I just go the supplement store, get a capsule of vitamin C, and break it on your skin. If you did that, you would burn your skin. That’s how strong vitamin C is. If you just put vitamin C directly on your skin, you would burn it. The way we formulate our vitamin C is it’s encapsulated, so when you apply it, it gets absorbed and then the capsule opens – or we sometimes refer to it, think about a balloon – so you apply it to your skin, and it gets absorbed and then the balloon bursts, and you deliver the vitamin C. Amazing anti-aging product. It’s formulated with orange fruit extract and grapefruit, and it’s got turmeric in it. It’s a food show, and people love ingredients. I’m hoping people are familiar with these ingredients.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes.
Anisha Khanna: I’m of Indian origin, so we grew up eating turmeric in our food. A lot of Indian food has turmeric in it. This is when I first got introduced to Sonäge, one of the first products that I started using, I just absolutely loved it because I – When you read ingredients and you understand them, even though as a consumer you don’t understand about delivery systems and how they don’t irritate you, what’s good, what’s not so good, but it’s good to be able to read ingredients and be able to pronounce them. They are familiar, you can relate to them.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m thinking about ingredients and how they can be toxic or not, but it really depends on the concentration and the environment. As you were describing, the vitamin C can burn your skin, but when it’s delivered properly and gets to where it is needed, it’s beneficial, so water could be toxic when we’re drowning.
Anisha Khanna: Sure. No, absolutely.
Caryn Hartglass: We have really strong acids in our stomach for digestion, hydrochloric acid, and yet in other places it would just really burn and be horrible, so it’s really important to understand ingredients and where they’re beneficial and how they’re beneficial and where they’re not.
Anisha Khanna: I agree. It’s just so much fun behind what we do and it’s not just about blending. It’s not like our lab just has this big blender and we throw all the stuff in. Every product has what we call a different delivery system, so I know I spoke to you about the capsules and the vitamin C. There’s another product which is – I don’t want to get too technical – but it’s polymerized, so it is, as glycolic acid, which is great for exfoliation, the molecule is actually very small, so it can hurt you, so what we’ve done is we’ve – polymer is like a chain, so we’ve connected it to each other, so when you apply it, it spreads just like a sweater. Our hair is a polymer, so it’s something that goes into your skin slowly, so it doesn’t hurt you.
Caryn Hartglass: Nice. So have just like two minutes left.
Anisha Khanna: Sure.
Caryn Hartglass: And time flies when you’re having fun. The holidays are coming up. Is there anything you might recommend from Sonäge that people might get as gifts?
Anisha Khanna: Yes. Our serums, I know we spoke about our Vitality Facial Oil, our vitamin C serum, and our hyaluronic serum. These three products, you cannot go wrong with these three products. For listeners who just want to do a test drive, just say, “Hey, I want to try Sonäge, but I know nothing about this line, about the quality”, we have a mini facial on our website Sonage.com. It is $15, so if you typically go for a facial, it will cost you $90 or $100 more, so it’s a one-time facial for $15, no shipping. It’s a great way to experience the line. It’s got five different products. It tells you exactly, “Hey, now you cleanse, now you do this, now you wear the mask”. It’s just such a beautiful French line. There’s no way to get an experience over the phone. You actually have to buy it.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s true.
Anisha Khanna: And take care!
Caryn Hartglass: Anisha, thank you very much. I think we’re out of time, and I’m so glad we got this chance to chat. I hope to see you sometime soon and check out these wonderful products.
Anisha Khanna: Thank you so much. Thank you, Caryn. Thanks for having me on.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, happy holidays! That was Anisha Khanna and her company is Sonäge. ‘S’ like Sam, ‘O’, ‘N’ like Nancy, ‘A’, ‘G’ like George, ‘E’. It’s taken from the French ‘son’. It’s ‘son-âge’. ‘His age’ or ‘her age’ – Sonäge. And there you have it. Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’ve been listening to Responsible Eating and Living, visit ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com – Oh, no, what am I saying? You’ve been listening to It’s All About Food. Visit me at ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and have a delicious week!
Transcribed by Jessica Roman 12/21/2016