Hey, friends! As you guys know, we are BIG fans of the toxin-free, safe, plant-based cleaning products brand known as Branch Basics. We first talked about the brand here, and then last month we interviewed one of their founders, Allison, in part one of this Q&A series. If you missed that post, you must check it out! Allison’s words are so inspiring and will really open your eyes to the true significance and importance of ridding your home of toxic products. To follow up on Allison’s story, we have another one of their co-founders on LSK today for part two of the Q&A series with the Branch Basics’ founders. Also, they are kindly offering a promo code for LSK readers…use code LSK20 for 20% off at branchbasics.com! Now without further ado, meet Kelly Love. Scroll down to get to know her, her journey with Branch Basics, and why she is so passionate about toxin-free living.
How did you become part of the Branch Basic team and what do you love most about it?
Goodness, so much to say about this! Allison and I were roommates and best friends in college at The University of Texas at Austin. Our junior year, Allison turned to Marilee (her aunt) for health advice because her body was failing her and none of the many doctors she saw over a two year period could figure out what was wrong. She was feeling hopeless, depressed and was in constant pain. Within six months of changing her diet and the products she used everyday per Marilee’s recommendations, along with doing all kinds of cool detox treatments and taking food-based supplements, she finally started getting a lot better. I witnessed the transformation and was hooked. I wanted to know everything Marilee was teaching her and I started bugging Marilee with tons of questions for my own wellbeing. As graduation approached, we thought it would be amazing to live with Marilee for a summer before starting “real life”.. Thankfully she said yes! From my perspective, Marilee taught and modeled for us what it looked like to live as close to God’s design as possible. We filled ourselves with pure air, pure food, and pure thoughts. We meditated on scripture, spent time in nature, and didn’t put a single thing in our mouths that wasn’t part of our Food as Medicine prescriptions.
The results were powerful and truly life-changing for both of us. Allison was a new person and I, the “healthy one”, was feeling better than I ever had in my life. My painful menstrual cramps, dry and itchy eyes, random headaches, and joint and muscle pain all disappeared. I didn’t even have body odor when I got sweaty! It was a snapshot of our body’s potential and also, sadly, of how so many suffer because of what they eat, breathe, put on their bodies, and focus their minds on. Allison and I now shared Marilee’s passion for wanting to help others live a healthier, fuller life and avoid unnecessary suffering. So again, Allison and I went to Marilee asking for something that seemed crazy to her: Would she start a company with us so we could get her knowledge out to the world? In 2010, we launched Three Branches Healthy Living, an online shop for all things healthy – the safest organic mattresses, air purifiers, food-based supplements, non-toxic cleaning, etc. and then that turned into Branch Basics, which focused on cleaning, in 2012. As for what I love most, it’s a tie between getting to work with people I love so much and having the opportunity to learn something new from Marilee everyday. My life, my husband’s life and my daughter’s life are no doubt better because of her and everything she’s taught me.
Tell us about your journey of ridding your home of toxic products. How did you become passionate about clean home products?
I could feel the difference! I can now 100% tell that my constant dry eyes were from the conventional laundry detergent and dryer sheets I was using up until my “detox summer.” When I got to Marilee’s she had me put all my clothes in the sun and wash them several times to get the chemical residues out of the fibers. After giving my body a break from that non-stop toxic exposure (clothes, towels, sheets – you never escape it!), I was finally able to realize how crazy strong those smells are. I was so used to them that I couldn’t tell before! It’s like smokers that quit smoking and then can’t stand the smell of cigarettes. The laundry switch was such an obvious difference for me, so it was a huge motivator to change everything. (In addition to dry eyes I now notice I get a stuffy head, tingly and tight muscles especially in my face and neck area, headaches and I don’t sleep as well when I’m around conventional stuff.)
It also just made so much sense to me that our homes should be a safe haven, free of products that put stress on our body’s detoxification and immune systems. Cleaning products are such a simple thing to change, and getting all the toxic ones out makes a HUGE impact on your indoor air quality and on your body. Understanding what is and what isn’t safe is so important, though. We want people to know what to look for in products so that they are using the safest, most effective cleaning products possible and ultimately to inspire the entire industry to make human health the #1 priority when formulating.
If there is one piece of information that you think people should know about the importance of using safe, pure cleaning products, what would it be?
It’s about so much more than being “green.” It’s important because it means you’re not exposing yourself to endocrine disruptors that can make it difficult to get pregnant, or neurotoxins that can affect brain development, or carcinogens that can increase the risk of cancer, or skin irritants that can contribute to eczema, or allergens that can induce nosebleeds. Our hearts long for people to understand the true weight and importance their cleaning and laundry products carry in relation to their wellbeing. This is the reason we do what we do.
How do you balance being an entrepreneur and a wife + mom?
This is a daily struggle for me! Still haven’t nailed it down yet!
Thankfully my husband is a very helpful, hands-on dad and also helps me make dinner most nights. (Green Chef has been amazing for us!) I’m also extremely thankful that my daughter has always been a good napper because I work during her naps and at night so I can focus on her while she’s awake. I have to be careful though, because too often I’ll tend to stay up way too late (since it’s a time I can focus without interruptions and distractions), and I’ve gotten myself into a situation where my adrenals are super fatigued and working on overdrive. (I’m kicking myself because it’s 1 AM as I type this!!) But I’m getting better and I’m also getting better at saying no to things so I don’t overcommit myself. It means Branch Basics isn’t growing as fast as it could, but it’s worth it for my health and time with my family.
In addition to using clean products, do you also value a clean diet? What are some of the grocery staples in your home?
Absolutely! A clean, nutrient-dense diet is so foundational and critical. One of the things I learned from Marilee and am totally on board with is that one diet does not fit all, and the body needs different foods, prepared in specific ways at different times of the year, during different phases of life. Especially for women. For example, there are various foods to emphasize when trying to conceive, while pregnant, and postpartum that aren’t as important in other seasons of life. Another example I love is that a person in Jamaica is not going to eat the same diet as someone in Alaska. Some foods are cooling and some foods are warming. Some people do better with little to no meat, while others should eat meat regularly. I am an O blood type and have been nursing my daughter for 16 months, so I try to get in a lot of healthy fat and protein.
Some of my staples are organic eggs, butter, coconut oil, and olive oil, Applegate Organics turkey, beef and chicken hot dogs (so easy and convenient!), Safe Catch canned tuna, wild-caught salmon, organic/grass-fed bone broth (Bonafide brand when I don’t have any homemade), organic and grass-fed yogurt with no sugar added, Go Raw sprouted granola, Once Again organic almond butter, Alvarado-Street Bakery bread and bagels, organic sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables, and plenty of organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. I also keep Amy’s Soups on hand for times I don’t have time to prepare food and spruce them up with Vital Proteins collagen, bone broth and butter.
Besides Branch Basics of course, what other clean brands do you love? They can be home, beauty, or anything else!
Ah, so many! The tops ones that come to mind are W3ll People (makeup), Primally Pure (deodorant and skincare), Innate Response (prenatal vitamins), and Simple Mills (cookies, crackers and baking mix – I don’t use their icing though), Epic (meat bars), Hu Kitchen (chocolate bars) and Pact (organic cotton sports bras, underwear, and leggings).