“5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, With Kim and Andy Busch, of Folded Hills Winery

Dr. William Seeds
Authority Magazine
Published in
15 min readFeb 20, 2020


Body — Take time out in the day to move your body. Ideally, that is a sweat session, yoga, Pilates, or hike, but if time is tight, get away from sitting at your desk and take a walk around the block. No phone — just move. I am a believer in stand-up desks, but so far they don’t work for me for more than a half-hour. I try to take calls while walking or lying on the floor stretching. I don’t make FaceTime calls for that reason!

As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kim and Andy Busch, of Folded Hills Winery. Kim and Andy Busch are the owners of Folded Hills Winery located in Santa Barbara County, CA. The Busches are committed to making a cleaner wine, by growing organic grapes following the biodynamic calendar and using sustainable practices in the vineyard. Folded Hills wines are vegan, ​​​​​​have no residual sugar, less than 1 gram of carbs, have no commercial additives and use only a pinch of sulfur. Winning numerous awards, these small-batch, artisanal wines have earned a following among the health-conscious and wine critics alike.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?

We are excited to chat with you! My husband and I have always been fit, health-conscious and lived an organic lifestyle. Andy balances work with exercise much better than I do. He prioritizes exercise because his mind needs that. I will cancel a workout if the business is pressing. I struggle with some health issues, so eating clean and healthy is very important. The deeper I delved into wellness, the better I felt, so I have tried to continue that in my life and often share ideas and tips with friends. As much as possible, we grow our own vegetables, raise pigs and cattle, and when at Folded Hills Ranch we live a sustainable lifestyle. The cleaner wine and food lifestyle is something we embraced, long before starting Folded Hills Winery. We are blessed with our on-staff executive chef, Mark Gonzales, who has been with us for 17 years. Maybe because we have researched and tested so many different healthy ways of eating, or maybe because we live in California, we can cook it all. Raw vegan? Check. Paleo? Check. Low Fodmap? No problem! Dairy, sugar and gluten-free? A breeze!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

We love telling this story. When we purchased the ranch where we are currently growing grapes, we purchased it from the original family who has had land in this valley since the mid-1800s. We learned that the family had a pre-Prohibition vineyard on the property and that they made wine in the basement of the original farmhouse. This is the same farmhouse that we have remodeled and repurposed as our estate tasting room. The original Christmas tree from 1937, a redwood, still stands in front of the farmhouse. It certainly wouldn’t fit inside anymore! Our guests love that the little farmhouse where they are tasting their wine is exactly where wine was made generations ago!

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

Ha! The thing about mistakes is that they are only humorous in hindsight. Did we tell you that we started a business that we knew nothing about? There have been a lot of mistakes! Once in my enthusiasm to release a new wine — the first vintage of our version of a Beaujolais called Whole Cluster Carbonic — I and my marketing team promoted the wine via our email list and social media without informing the admin team. The new wine had not been given a release date or posted on the website yet! They were getting a massive number of calls and emails from customers who wanted to buy a wine that the main office hadn’t even released yet! A total rookie mistake that seemed like a disaster at the time, but now we look back and laugh at how green we were. I have learned to communicate better with our team. Our team is involved in everything from our overall philosophy and strategic goals, to why and how we come up with names for our wines. Can you guess where the name “Cluster” came from?

Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

I wouldn’t say that either Andy or I are an authority. Maybe in the wine world, we are gaining some street cred. I have done a lot of studying health and wellness due to my history of Crohn’s disease and immune issues. I did a deep dive into researching these conditions and looking for more holistic approaches to treating them. I agree with Hippocrates’ saying, “let food be thy medicine”. At Folded Hills, we make wine from organic and biodynamic grapes grown on the property alongside 20 acres of organic row crops, stone fruit orchards and too many different animals to count. When we started to make wine, we wouldn’t have considered any way other than organic. This old-world style of making wine is pretty unique. When guests come to sip wine at the estate tasting room and sit outside surrounded by these beautiful crops and vines, you can just see their stress melt away. They relax, they turn off their phones, and they connect with nature and each other. At Folded Hills we have weak wifi and strong connections!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My total guru of hospitality and fine dining is Danny Meyer, of the Union Square Hospitality Group, now known also for Shake Shack. He is from our hometown of St. Louis, and his model of management and hospitality as an art is something that we have based our business on. Making people — both your team and your guests — feel special. Our team members are our first and most important customer. If they are happy and well looked after, they will treat our guests the same. I have not met Danny but have read all the books and articles that he has written or have been written about him and listened to countless podcasts featuring his philosophy of “enlightened hospitality”. I highly recommend them.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

Try starting up a business, there are 300 blocks to wellness! It is crazy. I love the saying — entrepreneurs have the freedom to choose which 16 hours of the day they work. That is so true! The challenge for entrepreneurs is to not let that lack of balance get out of hand. If we don’t take care of ourselves something will give. For me, one of the biggest blocks or misconceptions is multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is a crock. If you are doing two or more things at once you are not doing any of them well. Use time blocking. Put your phone on silent, set a timer and settle into the task at hand. When you are on a conference call concentrate on that — don’t browse your social media — give that call the attention it deserves. Think about the minutes it takes to refocus on a task after we are distracted. Add those minutes up and you could leave work early every day because you finished your work in half the time.

Another block of energy and wellness is eating poor quality food. Meal prep is a must! If we have healthy, nutrient-dense food at the ready, we won’t grab junk food. Try meal prepping healthy food for a week, you won’t believe the difference it makes. Finally, the one blockage that touches on all these aspects of optimal health is social media. Sleep, exercise, feeling good about yourself and your life — all of these are negatively affected by this Insta-perfect fake world to which we are spectators. Shut down the devices and do something or do nothing. Just be. But create a device-free time or zone in your life and you will be happier for it. Guaranteed.

Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)

For us these tweaks are intuitive, but we still have to remind ourselves to actually do them!

Mind — Take time out in the middle of your day to breathe, meditate, not take calls, eat lunch outside. Just stop work and be. Even 20 minutes will make a huge difference. I ask our team to eat lunch away from their desks, outside if possible.

Body — Take time out in the day to move your body. Ideally, that is a sweat session, yoga, Pilates, or hike, but if time is tight, get away from sitting at your desk and take a walk around the block. No phone — just move. I am a believer in stand-up desks, but so far they don’t work for me for more than a half-hour. I try to take calls while walking or lying on the floor stretching. I don’t make FaceTime calls for that reason!

Spirit — Our entire Folded Hills team tries to nurture the spirit. Every day at 11:11 am alarms on many of our phones go off. At first, during meetings, this was alarming to our new team members. We explained that at 11:11, no matter what we are doing, we take a moment to feel and express gratitude. It could be a simple solitary moment of thanks, or it could be each of us going around the table sharing what we are grateful for during a strategy meeting. This is the true culture of gratitude at work.

Work — Everyone says to try to keep a good work/life balance. This is very challenging for us as a couple in business together. We are constantly talking about business. Sometimes my husband will come into the kitchen in the morning and before coffee, before saying “good morning”, will launch into a business conversation. We now have little cues for each other as to when to stop talking business. It’s very subtle. “Speak to the hand!” Ha!

Home — A hack for my home was to design the spaces with peaceful, neutral colors. I have very few prints or patterns, I choose texture and tone on tone color palettes to keep the spaces calming. I also have a yurt. That is the sacred space for me. No one is allowed in that space but for me. No shoes, no digital devices. Just me, some sage, a yoga mat, and meditation pillow. Just walking in helps me relax. I do understand that this is not available for everyone, but you can build your own sacred space within your home. A corner, near a window, under a lovely shade tree. Find a space where you can unplug and breathe.

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?

Sure. Do you ever feel just really cranky and foggy, and suddenly realize that you haven’t gotten any cardio or moved your body in any way for a day or two? Our minds need movement and sweat as much as our bodies do. When our kids were growing up, they got so sick of me telling them to go for a walk. They would challenge me, “So you are basically saying that taking a good walk will fix anything?” YES! That’s exactly what I’m saying! In addition to just resetting your mind, daily exercise creates energy. If you have ever spent a beach vacation just lying on a lounge chair and been exhausted at the end of the day, you know what I mean. Get a little sweat going early in the day and you will have energy all day. Lastly, sleep! On the days when I work out outside, lift weights, or do a HIIT routine, I sleep so much better. Really, exercise fixes just about everything!

For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?

If you are looking to add exercise, then pick the 3 that gives you joy! If you hate going to the gym, don’t go! You will never sustain something that doesn’t give you endorphins. Go outside for a walk in nature, find a rock climbing wall, try a yin yoga class, workout or run with friends. If you are competitive, get on an app and challenge yourself and others. Don’t judge yourself. Just move for joy. If you get in the habit of movement for enjoyment, eventually you will discover that it becomes a must-have.

In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?

Listen to your body! You are in this for the long term. During each of my four pregnancies, I lifted heavy weights and did high impact aerobics until the day I delivered and was back at it SIX days after giving birth. I am paying for that stupidity now in ways I won’t go into here! Do what feels good every day, and every day you will get stronger. Cross-train to include strength-stretching exercises like Pilates or yoga, weightlifting, cardio — a little bit of everything will keep you strong and able to move well for life. When you are young it is often about the bikini bod. As you age, it is all about being able to stay strong, fit and flexible so you can live an active lifestyle for as long as possible. We call it pre-hab! Andy played polo at the professional level for 30 years. This is a very physical, intensely competitive sport. He had to stay consistently fit in order to play at that high level. Even so, at the beginning of every season, he would get sore from getting back on a horse. He knew not to overdo it in that first week — not just for himself but for the horse’s wellbeing as well.

There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?

I was vegan for years. What I found after a while, is that I wasn’t eating cleaner by simply eating vegan. Oreos are vegan! All the faux meats and faux dairy products are not clean eating. I have tried it all. Raw vegan, paleo, plant paradox, you name it. If your diet is too extreme, you will not be able to sustain it. Eat seasonally, eat more green vegetables, cut out as much of the “white” stuff as possible (sugar, dairy, potatoes, rice, pasta, refined carbs). If you feel bloated and awful after a meal, think about what you ate, and try taking it out of your diet for 2–3 weeks. Do milk or wheat products make you break out or give you stomach pain? Try cutting one of those out of your diet for a few weeks to see how you feel. Use the process of elimination.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

I am a voracious reader and kind of all over the map. Because I didn’t graduate with a business degree, I pretty much had to give myself an MBA. I have read everything and listened to so many podcasts. In business, the books that helped us create the culture of Folded Hills are “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, by Patrick Lencioni and “The Culture Code”, by Daniel Coyle. Our team really loves coming into work, working together collaboratively, and is not afraid to voice their opinions to each other. We have mindfully created a very safe atmosphere in which to work. We are primarily a female team, so it is a very nurturing environment. Another book that everyone should read is “Getting to Yes” by Roger Fisher. I use this on my husband all the time! If we can get to the reason behind why someone says no, get to the point of what the problem is rather than our conflicting needs, feelings or fears around it, we have a much better chance of coming to an agreement.

In the wellness sphere, I go back to Eckhart Tolle every day. I had to read “The Power of Now” twice for it to really sink in. Practicing being present, not being negative, letting go of outcomes, observing rather than attaching, is just that — a practice. It is not easy, but it does become more familiar over time. “The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of the Buddhist Psychology” by Jack Kornfield is a wonderful intro to the use of Buddhism in our daily lives. You have to actually read this one, the author reads the audiobook and his voice is so gentle you will fall asleep! In the food world, try “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan. Anything by Michael Pollan is great!

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Let’s start a gratitude movement! I’m pretty sure that is already a thing, but it’s so important. It is important for happiness and being able to spread kindness in the world. We make a point to find the most simple, tiniest thing to be grateful for. For me, it may be my cozy bed, the sun on my face, the taste of a carrot that I have just pulled out of the earth, the fact that my body allows me to take a nice long hike in these beautiful Santa Barbara mountains. For Andy, it is always something small — often something I would never have thought of. Sharing what we are grateful for with others is so powerful and just spreads the good stuff. Being grateful for simple things doesn’t leave time or space for envy or petty meanness. It also allows moments of happiness to just slip into your life. It isn’t happy people who are grateful, it is grateful for people who are happy. I didn’t make that up. I have that sign hanging in my kitchen.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

Learn to say NO! All the life I have said yes. Yes to things that didn’t serve my health, my wellness, my family, my spiritual life. I just said “yes” to everything to please others. If I could give a little advice, it would be to wait before you say yes to a request. Stall. Say, “Let me check with my team on that.” Or, “Let me check my calendar/partner/dog and get back to you on that.” Then sit in stillness and ask yourself: is it the right thing for you, is the timing right for you? Does it serve you on multiple levels? What is the worst thing that could happen if you said no? Will it matter to you in 6 months or a year if you say no to this request? Be ok with saying “I’m so sorry but I have plans that night.”, even better if those plans are simply chilling out at home in your sweats. I think women especially need to learn how to say no gracefully. And when you do say no, don’t feel guilty — you didn’t do anything wrong!

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)

Yes! Danny Meyer, for reasons, stated above. I would like to thank him for spreading the philosophy of enlightened hospitality and the best practices of treating your team and customers well. Danny and his restaurants have super fans for a good reason. He is welcome to come to experience the Folded Hills Winery version of surprise and delight. I also wouldn’t turn down lunch at Gramercy Tavern — or Shake Shack for that matter!

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

We have a blast on social media. We never take ourselves too seriously. Follow us @foldedhills. Or check out our blog on our website Foldedhills.com.

Photo Credit for Submitted Photos — link here — https://www.dropbox.com/sh/lz5tobm2bc6fuiy/AABRBN328sJOjsiLSz2S06O5a?dl=0

FHDrinkTheFarm.jpg — Photo by Cara Robbins

FHGrapeStomp.jpg — Photo by Cara Robbins

FHHomestead.jpg — Photo by Erin Feinblatt

FHVineyard.jpg — Photo by Edward Clynes



Dr. William Seeds
Authority Magazine

Board-certified orthopedic surgeon and physician, with over 22 years of experience, specializing in all aspects of sports medicine and total joint treatments