Tag Archives: Health

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RELAX & REFRESH

      screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-1-40-27-pmThe word Kula means “community of the heart” in Sanskrit, and that’s what you’ll find at The Kula Center – Southern Indiana’s destination for overall health and well-being. Services include yoga instruction, massage, health coaching, cupping and meditation. A float center will also soon open at the center, which is located at 802 E. Market St. in New Albany. Learn more at www.thekulacenter.com.


TIP: MORE THAN 8 PERCENT OF PEOPLE PRACTICE MEDITATION IN SOME FORM, AND MANY REPORT DECREASED ANXIETY, ENHANCED PERSPECTIVE AND A REDUCTION IN STRESS LEVELS. WANT TO GIVE IT A TRY? FIND A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL, DOWNLOAD AN APP OR GOOGLE “MEDITATION” FOR NUMEROUS WAYS TO BEGIN.

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Progress & Priorities

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-2-54-31-pmBefore: 180 lbs.

Current: 129 lbs.

The last time I stepped on the scale before giving birth to my daughter, I weighed 180 pounds and stood in awe.

I’d happily gained what I referred to as “love weight” after meeting my husband, an incredible cook whose food I loved to eat. But after a year and a half, I couldn’t fit into any of my pants and had resorted to flowy tops with leggings or dresses to hide what was underneath. It was time to get back in shape, except nothing seemed to work. I was exhausted, craved food I’d never been drawn to and thought age must be the reason my waist was thickening. It never occurred to me I might be pregnant. After all, I was 40 and had been on the pill for years. Thankfully, God had other plans.

Now here I was, hours away from meeting the daughter I’d carried for months, in awe. I had never experienced such love for my own body. I felt strong, beautiful and at peace, all 180 pounds of me…us.

Hours after labor, I cradled Olive in my arms while my husband slept on a cot nearby, grateful tears rolling down my cheeks as I looked at the two most important people in my world.

Less than three weeks after becoming a first-time mother, I was asked the dreaded post-birth question – “When are you due?” – while on a quick solo trip to grab a few items at my neighborhood grocery store. Surely, the stranger had not meant to be rude, so I laughed it off without correcting her, but the comment stung.

When I began to receive unsolicited Facebook messages and texts from people who wanted to help me get my “pre-baby body back,” I was deeply hurt. Well- intended or not, the offers were offensive. This mama was focused on learning how to parent (and finding pockets of time to slip in moments of sleep). What I looked like – what I weighed – was not for others to judge.

Instead of accepting someone else’s perception of me, I marveled at how this body had produced a tiny human and was now responsible for providing her what she needed to thrive. I knew I was, for the first time in my life, clinically obese and resolved to get back in shape when I was ready – not a moment before. Immersing myself in motherhood was the sole priority.

A year later, however, I grew tired of being tired. My joints hurt, my balance was off, and I lacked energy and stamina. I’d lost a little bit of weight without trying, but as a doctor gently pointed out, I was an older mom – 41 the day I gave birth – with a family history of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. My health needed to become a priority in my life.

So, I started working with a trainer and following a diet plan. But as soon as I lost a mildly noticeable amount of weight, I’d allow life to intrude, the excuses to flow and give up. I’ll start again Monday, I told myself again and again, sometimes lasting to the weekend but reversing any gains I made in the matter of a few days.

I didn’t feel like a failure; I just didn’t care. I was juggling multiple jobs, and working hard to be a good mom and supportive wife. That was enough, I rationalized. What I looked like did not – does not – define who I am. As someone who decades before had battled anorexia and bulimia for 10 years beginning in the eighth grade, this stance was proof my body image was strong, and I was proud of how I had evolved. But confidence and self-acceptance were not going to make me physically healthy.

I don’t quite know what sparked my resolve to get off the roller coaster of losses, gains and plateaus, but I woke up one Saturday morning ready for a change. Forget waiting for Monday. The time was now. There is no guarantee about longevity of life, but finally I wanted to do everything I could to lead a healthy one.

My method was simple: Reduce portions, know my calories, no skipping meals, eliminate alcohol, drink at least 64 ounces of water and exercise.

I purchased a cooler, prepped all of my meals except breakfast, scheduled workouts on my calendar and set a routine: Wake up, drink 8 ounces of water while packing my meals in my cooler, get ready for the day with my husband and daughter, make a simple breakfast, go to work, eat lunch, eat again four hours later, spend time with my daughter, eat dinner, prep for the next day, eat a snack before 8 p.m. if still hungry, go to bed.

If I had an evening meeting or event to attend, I’d eat beforehand so I wasn’t hungry. When offered a cocktail or some sort of delicious treat, I’d decline, explaining I was on a mission to get fit.

When life threatened to get overwhelming because of work duties related to coverage of the Kentucky Derby and my husband’s campaign for Floyd County Commissioner, I researched a local meal service called MacroMan and started ordering freshly-made meals from them to supplement what I was preparing.

As my clothes began to get looser, my motivation, energy and productivity strengthened. Sure, it felt good to have my waist back and zip up a dress I hadn’t been able to wear for the better part of three years, but what I valued most was my decreased anxiety, calmer approach to stressors and mental sharpness. I called it “getting my groove back,” though it was nothing more than setting a goal of getting healthier and – finally – proving to myself I could do it.

I’ve lost more than 50 pounds since my all-time high of 180. My goal now is to lose more body fat, gain muscle mass and continue increasing the strength of my heart and lungs through exercise.

These days, when I feel my motivation waning, I take a moment to stand in awe and remind myself I’m worth being a priority.

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Tried & Tested

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-3-00-23-pmBy Angie Fenton

I AM IN NO WAY AN EXPERT WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTH AND ALWAYS RECOMMEND CONSULTING WITH A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL BEFORE EMBARKING ON AN EXERCISE AND DIET PLAN, BUT HERE ARE SOME TIPS THAT HAVE WORKED FOR ME.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Thanks to the internet, I’ve found a zillion healthy, simple ways to cook chicken and make my own dressings for salads. There are also numerous Facebook pages dedicated to healthy eating. I often take screenshots of recipes – the easier the better – and save them in a photo folder on my phone. Then, when I’m ready to go grocery shopping, I write down exactly what I need so I’m not wandering aimlessly. Whatever you do, be sure you do your homework before you commit to getting fit.

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Prepping meals takes some time, but it has been worth it. While I don’t force myself to eat if I’m not hungry, I think of my body like a furnace: You’ve got to keep the fires stoked if you want them to burn. Although I prepare most of my food, I also make purchases from MacroMan – MacroManMeals.com – a locally-owned meal prep service that has dishes for every taste. The food is delicious and has helped immensely when I need something to grab and go and don’t have time to figure out proportions or calorie counts.

DON’T CHEAT – TREAT

Even though I slip and still use the terms “cheat meal” or “cheat day” on occasion, I loathe the negative connotations. I also finally had to admit a “cheat moment” for me often became a “cheat month” or more, so I don’t allow myself to have them in the same way I used to. For example, instead of eating pizza, I treat myself to a healthy-ish dinner of, say, steak, something I don’t eat on a regular basis. Or, in place of ice cream, I’ll have low-fat frozen yogurt. The treats (usually) suffice and I don’t feel it necessary to full-on cheat. On the rare occasions when I have resorted to eating unhealthy foods, I start again on my journey the next day and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

KICK THE COCKTAILS

As much as I love a glass (or three) of wine, alcohol isn’t on my diet plan, and it’s been months since I’ve had a drink. My cocktail of choice now consists of sparkling water, lime juice and a coconut-flavored drink by Bai or club soda, lemon juice and mashed blueberries. I now think of alcohol as unnecessary calories and a trigger to slipping back into old eating habits I’ve worked really hard to break. When I recently considered having just one glass, I grabbed a bottle of water and forced myself to weigh the pros (there weren’t any) and cons (there were many). I may indulge in the future, but for the present time, it’s not for me.

SEARCH FOR SUPPORT

My husband has been a constant source of support, which is helpful, and I have a few friends I reach out to as well. I also occasionally share tidbits of my journey on social media. Accountability is important to success. Search for support in whatever way works for you.

MOVE IT

You don’t have to join a gym in order to exercise, although being a member of one can help with accountability. I have a number of friends who swear by Four Barrel CrossFit (you get a workout and a great community of supporters), love Planet Fitness (clean and open 24-7), thrive on personal trainers that come to your home (Ryan Schrink of Schrink Personal Training is THE best) and, for the ladies, have had big success at B.You. I belong to a gym and also exercise at home. Some days that means going for a walk or dancing to the “Trolls” soundtrack with my 2-year-old. Whatever you do, get moving and regularly.

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A Weight Loss Journey I’m Afraid to Share

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-3-17-35-pmMY NAME IS ZACH MCCRITE and I am an addict.

I’m the same sort of addict as one you probably know or are related to or might even be yourself.

I’m no different from the guy who can’t kick the crack habit or the gal who just can’t stop smoking or the one who bellies up to the bar night after night after night.

I’m just like those people. I’m just like you.

I’m an addict. My addiction is food. And it always will be.

Since November 2017, I’ve lost 80 pounds. Now, I’m proud, don’t get me wrong. But I hesitate to talk about it. Much less celebrate it.

Please forgive me for this different kind of weight loss story. A lot of this piece will probably be all of the hesitations that I feel about sharing the story in the first place.

For instance, when our fearless editor-in-chief insisted that this would be a good topic to swing at in the latest issue of the best publication in the Metro (pardon the brown on my nose), I hesitated… again (you will see a growing theme).

In the end, I reluctantly said I would. I hope she still feels good about her insistence now that I’ve written it.

Regardless, I hope it resonates, because my hope is that this space is more a tale about the successes and failures we all endure in our lives – both health-related and otherwise – and how we deal with them.

That said, the hesitations to share my story are plentiful.screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-3-17-22-pm

I FEEL GUILT, EVEN WHEN I LOSE WEIGHT

Partly because it opens old wounds. Talking about it opens up the pain that I know others share about not being looked at like the “rest of the crowd,” but becoming so used to it, you joke with others about it.

Hesitation also comes partly because I feel guilty for how my weight affects the people who choose (or, in my family’s case, have no choice but) to include me in their lives, but have to rearrange their cars, houses, weekend activities, big ticket purchases, vacations, etc. to accommodate “the big guy.”

And even more hesitation because – and I know this is backwards, but – I had found a personality inside this humongous frame that I thought some people were starting to latch onto. And that felt good, even if my health sucked!

But one of the biggest hesitations is this.

I’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE

Back in November, I tipped the scales at 377. As of this writing, I’m weighing in at 297 lbs. Awesome, right?

But, I’m sure most of you know how the story sometimes goes from there. The majority of people with weight issues do the “yo-yo” a lot. Get fat, lose some weight, feel good for awhile, use food to celebrate because “we deserve it,” put all the weight back on.

Rinse. Repeat.

The latest yo-yo for me began around four years ago, when I had worked my way down to about 270 lbs. from 388 in a little over a year. And then…

Rinse. Repeat. Back to 377 just six months ago.

No rinsing or repeating this time. At least not yet.

And that’s one of the problems: I keep saying “yet” as if I’m destined to put it all back on again.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happier than I’ve been in quite a long time. My parents, my wife, her parents and our extended families have been beyond supportive. Life is good.

But, I got so used to being fat that, even with a lot of weight gone (and plenty to go), I get into this seemingly-neverending internal struggle where my inner voice is telling me, “Hey man, you’ll be back up here in the 400s eventually,” and I come out of the gate swinging saying, “Nope, not this time.”

Ring the bell. Let’s go. Let yet another weight loss fight begin.

I throw a left jab at the inner voice. Then a right uppercut.

But, like George Foreman in “The Rumble In The Jungle,” I’m in that boxing match with my inner voice, swinging and landing punches (and shedding pounds) like I never have before.

Jab. Jab. Jab. Right hook.

But my inner voice won’t budge. It’s taking every punch like it’s been hit with a feather as my energy and willpower are nearing empty.

Jab. Panting. Left hook. More panting.

All the while, my inner voice is whispering back at me.

“Is that all you got, Zach?”

Apparently, my inner voice is as strong as Muhammad Ali.

And I was tired of getting beat by him.

SO I ASKED FOR BACKUP

Let’s go back to April 2017 for a second. My wife was pregnant with our second child – a boy (Monroe officially joined the family a couple of months later).

My weight was climbing (again), and I had been bumming because I lost all of the weight the previous time around due in large part to not wanting our firstborn child, Remi, to be subject to an obese father. But, she was born and my inner voice had told me, “Mission accomplished, now come on back to the dark side.” And I had.

Anyway, we knew our health insurance deductible for the rest of the year was going to be met with the birth of Monroe in July, so I threw it out there joking, “We should go ahead and get all the medical work done we need if insurance will pay for it all.”

I threw out the option of weight loss surgery, but I figured that wasn’t even possible. I figured insurance wouldn’t cover such a thing.

But, the more and more my wife and I talked it out and researched it, we started to find that this sort of thing was, indeed, covered by our insurance plan with one big, fat (no pun intended) contingency: I had to be medically supervised for six months on the same diet and exercise plan to prove that I was invested in this process and not gain one pound over that time. I was to come in to the doctor once a month for a weight and wellness check.

Only then would the insurance company decide whether or not to count the surgery as “medically necessary” and, therefore, covered at 100 percent by insurance.

“OK, then, I’m in. I’m doing this,” I remember telling myself. Only to hear the inner voice tell me over and over: “Six months without gaining a pound? Yeah, right.”

And I’m not gonna lie. There were times I was convinced the insurance company was going to come back and say “denied.”

But there was one more hurdle. One more hesitation that’s tough for me to share.

There was a part of me that was sort of hoping I would get denied the coverage I needed to go on with the surgery.

I was ashamed that I was even using this route. I didn’t want to tell anyone I was going to have the surgery. Why? You know why.

Because everyone would’ve thought I took the easy way out.

I was already having nightmares about how people would talk about me after the surgery.

“Zach is so weak. He couldn’t do it the old-fashioned way, huh?”

It was debilitating. On one hand, I NEEDED HELP to reach health goals that I had not been able to maintain. I still do.

On the other hand, I hated the very notion that people would consider me weak-minded for not being able to lose weight and keep it off the traditional way.

I can remember the justification I made in my head. “If the insurance company denies me, that’s OK. I’ll still be fat, but I can work on it again, and when I lose all this weight on my own, everyone will look at me as strong.”

I could hear my inner voice chuckling.

Anyway, the six months rolled by. I lost a little weight on my own and the insurance company, to my surprise, accepted the cost of the surgery in full.

I was a mixture of scared and ecstatic. Scared to tell my friends and family that I was taking the “easy” way out.

But then I started to attend all of these meetings with Dr. John Oldham and my other doctors at the Bariatric Center at Baptist East Hospital in preparation for the surgery. They wanted to make sure I knew this wasn’t an easy fix. It was cemented into my head that this was going to be tough.

I couldn’t leave the place any of the umpteen times I went without hearing something to the effect of “Remember, this surgery is just a tool in helping you lose weight. If you don’t use the tool, the tool becomes useless.”

In other words, I have to get over the psychological addiction I have with food as well. The vertical sleeve gastrectomy procedure, commonly referred to as the “sleeve” would remove 90 percent of my stomach. Ninety percent.

But, the addiction to food for many can be so overwhelming that the stomach removal just doesn’t matter. The patient still eats even though they receive signals of being full way quicker than they ever had before.

It’s yet another reason I am afraid to share my story. Because here I am – my story thrown on paper with ink that will last forever – and if my addiction wins out over my new “tool,” I’ll want to literally eat every one of the magazines this story was printed on as a way to shred the evidence of me having ever told my story.

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But, that’s the chance I took on Nov. 6, 2017.

Pain after surgery was real. Making me walk an hour after leaving the surgery floor as to get my body back to normal as quickly as possible – not fun. Eating broth and drinking liquid protein shots for days upon days after the surgery – not fun. Watching others chow on the delectables I used to shove down my piehole without taking a breath – sometimes not fun.

But, all worth it.

A little over six months later, my excitement and enjoyment of life is outweighing all other feelings at the moment – although, I know this story of all of my worries would likely prove otherwise.

But I share my worries because I think they are important to the overall story.

In the end, I’m ecstatic because I know getting this tool would help me reach my ultimate goal of not being an obese parent for my children. They are about to turn 3- and 1-year-old, respectively.

I’m glad I still have a little longer to push more weight off before they start to have true memories with their father that they’ll tell their kids about down the road, much like I had with my dad, and still do.

And, believe me, I’ve still got a long way to go to get to a “healthy” stage. My journey has just started.

In all, the real reason I ultimately decided to share this is so when someone else is struggling with the decision to change their lifestyle forever, that they know that they’re not alone.

It’s a lifelong battle.

I’m here to help. So are others. You are not alone. You need the accountability. So do I.

Because I’m an addict.

And I’m happy.

Photo by Jenny Branson

When Politics Get Personal (And Getting Fit Turns Political)

Photo by Jenny Branson

Photo by Jenny Branson

By Angie Fenton

This is not a political column.

That needs to be said upfront.

I grew up in a household where

talking about politics was rarely, if

ever, a topic discussed out loud, and

I am still more comfortable listening

to political views as opposed to

divulging my own and engaging in

political talk. I often feel like that’s a

rarity – I mean, listening to someone

else’s opinion instead of exclaiming

my own – though if I said as much

on Facebook or Twitter, I’m sure

someone would attempt to shame

me for saying that, but whatever.

My husband, Jason Applegate,

spent e ight (long) months

researching a passion he’s held for

a very long time. Then, he officially

declared he is running for Floyd

County Commissioner. I fully

support him but am just that: his

support. Still, this is not a column

about him or politics (though I do

encourage you, wherever you’re

located and regardless of your

political affiliation, to exercise your

right to vote…and if I’m called to talk

politics, well, just know I’ve spent a

lifetime of listening and am ready to

stand up and speak if necessary).

But this is a column I wrote for

the now-tabled Extol Sports, Extol

Magazine’s sister publication, and

it is and will remain a column about

getting fit as it was in the other

publication. So…

What I didn’t realize until Jason’s

candidacy began was the role his

campaign would take in terms of

how we approach getting fit as a

family, which has been the focus of

this column since it first debuted in

Extol Sports, our (again) now-tabled

sister publication, in January 2017.

Suddenly , si n c e Jas on’s

announcement, work and life

responsibilities have included a

schedule requiring advanced

planning as well as a family

commitment to fitness and fun.

While social media and print, radio,

digital and television options to

spread the campaign word are vital,

nothing is more effective than inperson

interactions. And that means

hitting the streets on foot.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve

really benefited because family

walks – which include our 2-yearold

– have become a priority. So,

too, has meal planning. Stamina

and endurance are imperative on

this journey, and carving out time

together is important as well, now

more than ever.

Instead of flying into the start

of a new week without thinking

beyond Monday, we’ve made it a

point to plan out the week’s meals

and preparing what we can ahead of

time. We have to. That saves money,

of course, and also forces us to think

about what we’re putting into our

bodies. Garbage in, garbage out is a

cliche of the past, but when you make

it a point to ingest food intended to

fuel your body, you feel better. We

are proof of that.

While in the past it has been easy

to end the day by sitting on the couch

and watching yet another episode of

“Sesame Street” before our tot goes

to sleep and then staying up way too

late working on our computers, Jason

By Angie Fenton

and I have a newfound commitment

to getting outside before dinner

(weather permitting), walking our

four dogs with our young one and

talking about anything but work.

It’s funny how much happier that’s

made us. It’s wonderful how much

healthier it’s making us, physically,

spiritually and emotionally.

We still fail and falter. That’s just

life. We also refuse to give up.

This mama built a body who

has become an amazing little

person. And I’m still committed to

competing in another bodybuilder

competition one day soon like I did

years ago.

For now, though, I’m going to walk

and support those I love and have

fun with my family while focusing

not on politics but on this journey

we’re fortunate to call life.

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2018 Imagine Awards

The Kula Center Opens, Welcomes Everyone

One-stop shop for holistic medicine and wellness opens in New Albany

By Lisa Hornung | Photos by Christian Watson

New Albany now has its own one-stop shop

for holistic medicine and wellness in The Kula

Center, 802 E. Market St.

Kula – which means community, clan or tribe – is

a fitting name for the center, which creates a tribe

of businesses serving the New Albany community.

Owner Carrie Klaus has owned and operated

Inner Spring Yoga in New Albany and Jeffersonville

for five years, and now she and her husband Rob

have opened this new space.

The couple live just a few blocks from the center,

and when they were out walking one evening,

Rob said to Carrie, “That would be a great place

for a yoga studio.” The two wanted to buy a place

instead of renting so they could gain some equity.

They moved Inner Spring’s New Albany location

to the Kula Center and opened up the center to

other businesses in the holistic health industry.

Businesses in the center include Dailey Wellness

and Massage, which offers massage, reiki, cupping,

kinesio tape and more; Integrating Healthy Habits,

a nutrition coaching service; and the Sukhino

Float Center, which will offer floatation in saltwater

pods. Sukhino will open in June. Inner Spring Jeffersonville is still open at 335 Spring St.

The Kula Center came about because Carrie

Klaus wanted to create an opportunity for people

who are interested in health and wellness and

work in the same location. “We’ve all kind of

got that same energy and that same vibe, and

we’re all working toward that same goal with our

businesses at the Kula Center.”

Carrie Klaus is also running for the New Albany

Township Advisory Board. After the 2016 election,

she began to get more politically involved and

started paying attention to ways to be more active.

“This kind of fit me because what I would be able

to do on the advisory board is offer assistance to

our lower-income community members,” Carrie

Klaus said, “and that really ties in with the mission

of Inner Spring yoga and with the ultimate goal

of the Kula Center, which is to make sure that the

Kula Center is open and welcoming to everyone

in the community.”

Carrie Klaus has been a yoga instructor for 12

years and opened Inner Spring about five years

ago. She mentioned one day to her husband that

she might like to open her own place. “And my

husband is one of those great kind of husbands

who like to make dreams come true,” she said,

“and he came home one day and said I rented

you a space to open up a yoga studio.”

She ran the business for a couple of years while

homeschooling her children. Now their daughters,

ages 14 and 11, are in school, and she runs both

Inner Spring and the Kula Center. “He has a fulltime

job and two part-time jobs,” she said of Rob

Klaus, who manages all the finances and payroll

of the businesses on top of his full-time job.

Carrie Klaus said she wants the Kula Center to

be a hub where everyone can have their health

and wellness needs met.

“We do realize that cost can be an issue for

some people in taking advantage of some of those

health and wellness practices,” she said.

Health insurance doesn’t cover holistic and

preventive care, such as yoga and acupuncture.

So, visitors have to pay out of pocket.

“We realize that’s just not possible for some

people in our community,” said Carrie Klaus.

“So, our ultimate goal is for each person in our

community to be served in some way by us.”

For more information on the Kula Center and

its businesses, visit www.thekulacenter.com.

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Louisville Hosts Red-White Baseball Scrimmage

Photos by Christian Watson

Feb. 9

The University of Louisville baseball team opened its final

weekend of preseason work with a Red-White scrimmage

Feb. at Jim Patterson Stadium. Gates opened at 1 p.m. for

batting practice and admission was free for the scrimmage.

Louisville opened the 2018 season on Feb. 16 at against

Richmond in the first of three games at the Charleston Crab

House Challenge in Charleston, South Carolina. The Cardinals

also played The Citadel on Feb. 17 and George Mason on

Feb. 18. The 2018 home-opener at Jim Patterson Stadium

occurred Feb. 21 against Eastern Kentucky.

Fans can follow Louisville baseball on Twitter (@

UofLBaseball) and on Facebook (@ulbaseball).

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Beargrass: A Skincare Company with A Mission

BY MIRANDA MCDONALD | COURTESY PHOTOS

screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-4-11-23-pm“I have really sensitive skin, and had to learn certain ingredients to avoid in skincare products and laundry detergents at an early age,” explains David Conrad as we stand in his workspace in the Portland neighborhood of Louisville. He has a bottle of essential oil in one hand and a pipette in the other.

Conrad is the creator of Beargrass, an all-natural skincare brand he launched a few years ago. He started the company with a single beard oil. Now, the company has expanded its offerings to include a facial and body cleanser that is charcoal-based; a hydrating body spray that can also be used as a bug repellent and deodorant; and a moisturizing serum that contains hempseed oil and goldenrod extract that are both sourced from plants grown in Kentucky.

This full transparency about where each ingredient is sourced is important to the company owner. “I want Beargrass to be a company that people can feel good about purchasing their skincare items from,” says Conrad.

This is why Conrad is starting to list the location information for each ingredient he uses directly on the Beargrass website.

screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-4-11-28-pmSome of the plants these ingredients are extracted from are located in Kentucky and Indiana. He also hopes to use bottles that are manufactured locally from recycled materials in the near future. Conrad believes this honest and eco-friendly approach will help Beargrass stand apart from other skincare companies.

Beargrass is also unique in its approach to business because it puts a major emphasis on giving back to the local community. The company donates 10 percent of its net earnings to various local initiatives.

Conrad labels his company an eco-social enterprise because it is a business that values the environment and its own social impact just as much as it does its profits. This social impact includes donating to programs that provide essential work skills to youth in economically-depressed areas. AMPED Louisville and YouthBuild are just two of the programs that Beargrass partners with.

When asked why he chose these two youth organizations, Conrad quickly responds, “Giving young people important skills they can carry into adulthood is a good way to stop the cycle of poverty.”

AMPED Louisville – Academy of Music Production Education and Development – is a program on the West side of Louisville that aims to create a safe environment for kids to express themselves through music. This program started by teaching music composition, video production, web design and even marketing. Now, they have added computer programming and writing to their curriculum.

YouthBuild, which is another local organization aimed to arm young adults with essential life skills, is a program that provides counseling and support groups, and teaches productive processes for overcoming negative experiences.

One other local initiative Beargrass donates to is the Beargrass Creek Alliance. This alliance is dedicated to preserving local waterways through community involvement. Beargrass Creek, the inspiration behind the company name, is important to Conrad because he grew up next to it.

“I knew I wanted to work with an environmental cause, and the Beargrass Creek Alliance was a natural fit. Clean water is such an important thing. Water has such a wide reach. Whether it is trees, birds, plants, people hiking around it or the kids playing in it, water affects everything,” explains Conrad.

This idea of the waterways being a life source for the city is what inspired Conrad to use the name Beargrass for his company. “I needed a name that could sum up Louisville, and Beargrass does that. Beargrass Creek helped form the actual landscape of the city and continues to provide life to it.”

Over the next few years, Conrad plans to expand his product selection. He wants to create safe and natural cleaning products, pet supplies and more. For him, the Beargrass idea is more than a skincare brand. For Conrad, his company has become an an outlet for making real change in the community and how people do business.

Learn more about Beargrass at beargrass.co. or call 502.439.6419.