Women In Wellness: Lisa Odenweller of Kroma Wellness On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
Take health into your own hands which starts with your daily food & lifestyle choices. It isn’t about perfection but just about being more mindful about what you eat and drink. Read labels. Eat more vegetables and some fruit. Buy organic. Stay away from processed foods. And listen to your body. It will always tell you if you are listening.
As a part of my series about women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lisa Odenweller.
Lisa Odenweller believes in the power of food as medicine, that mother nature is our greatest resource, and that what we put in our body is as much about fueling our bodies as it is our minds and souls. A San Diego native, Lisa is a visionary serial entrepreneur, wellness expert with over 15-years of experience. Her impressive resume includes titles as Founder of organic superfood cafe, BEAMING Wellness and most recently, CEO and Founder of Kroma Wellness, the functional wellness brand that’s revolutionizing the way we think about nourishing our bodies. After falling in love with “superfoods” nearly two-decades ago, long before the word became commonplace within the health industry, Lisa began harnessing their power within her own life and began her mission to to help others do the same.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Prior to starting Beaming and my latest venture Kroma Wellness, I had started two other consumer-focused companies and worked in the e-commerce/tech world for a decade before starting my own businesses.
Beaming was born out of my mission to help people understand the power of food as medicine and to take control of their health. As a child, my parents were always committed to clean eating and daily exercise so those values have always been part of my DNA.
The real inspiration behind my work in wellness & nutrition came from my own personal health challenges in my late 30s along with my daughter being prescribed ADHD medication at an early age. I hated that she was taking medication and intuitively knew there had to be a better way despite every doctor telling me that pharmaceutical drugs were the only solution. When I was 38, I started experiencing brain fog, digestive issues and bloating, low energy, hair loss, extreme inflammation and unexplainable weight gain. As someone who has always prided themselves on exercising daily and eating (what I thought was) healthy, I didn’t know what to do. When I asked my General doctor, she laughed and said, “welcome to getting older.”
Needless to say, it was then that I decided to take our health into my own hands and figure out how to heal us through food and nutrition and started studying nutrition at IIN (the Institute of Integrative Nutrition). I soon learned that inflammatory foods like sugar, gluten, dairy, processed foods, too much caffeine, non-organic foods and alcohol cause inflammation in the body and brain. With this new insight, I decided to test what would happen if we removed these from our diet completely. Within 2 weeks, my health and hormones had naturally balanced and my daughter was off all ADHD medications. It was then that I realized I had a responsibility to share this information with others and the journey to creating Beaming, followed by Kroma Wellness began.
In September 2011, I started concepting Beaming and decided to introduce a new way to “cleanse” through whole, plant-based foods. This was during the juice fasting craze which I thought was stupid, and instead wanted to create a program that would not only deliver results but inspire lasting change. During the beta trials of the “Beaming 5 Day Superfood Cleanse,” over 1000 people experienced our program and generated over $240K in sales. People loved the program and wanted the foods and beverages every day which led me to raising $640K from some of our early adopters and opening the first Beaming Cafe in Del Mar, CA in December 2012. Within 2 years we had opened 3 new locations in Los Angeles and our own commercial kitchen.
After I left Beaming, I launched Kroma Wellness to bring a similar experience direct to consumers. We’ve grown immensely the past year and a half through our coveted 5 Day Reset Kit and other product offerings.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
I’ve been in the wellness industry now for over 12 years and founded two companies out of my home as a single Mom of 3 so needless to say, there are many interesting stories and lessons! .
Perhaps the most interesting and relevant is that I truly believe we are capable of accomplishing whatever we believe. As long as we believe we can and have the drive, tenacity and grit to bring it to life, it can be done. Early in my career in wellness, I didn’t have any of the expected qualifications to build Beaming into what became one of the hottest, fastest growing wellness companies in the country. I had never worked in a restaurant before, was not a trained chef, didn’t have an MBA or know how to build a financial model, let alone a business plan and how to raise money. Everyone told me I couldn’t do it and that I was nuts. Despite all the naysayers, I did it anyway. Because I knew I had a responsibility to share what I had learned and change lives. And nothing was going to stop me.
Being clear on your WHY is a critical aspect of building any business. Especially one with purpose. While I didn’t have any of the ‘qualifications’ to create Beaming, I had tremendous tenacity and knew I could find people to help me in the areas I didn’t know how to do. You can’t teach someone to have passion and grit. You either have it or you don’t. But you can always find people that are smarter or more experienced than you to help bring your vision to life.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Building a company is not easy and especially when you bring in outside capital from investors. While building Beaming and raising money, I was told I had to have a Board and ended up giving Board seats to 4 investors who “bought a seat” on my Board. I had never had a Board before so I didn’t understand the power of a Board. I was naive and didn’t understand how critical it is to hand pick your Board members to make sure they not only have the qualifications you need to bring value to the company but are aligned with your vision.
Ultimately, my Board and I were not aligned with my vision for the company and I quickly lost control. None of them had experience in the industry and in an effort to increase revenue, they began cutting corners that compromised the integrity of the business and the commitment and trust we had built with our customers. After years of fighting for the brand and the values we had been founded upon, I exited the company. It was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made but also my greatest teacher. I spent the next few years reflecting on my mistakes with Beaming so I could prepare myself for my next venture, Kroma Wellness.
When I set out to start Kroma, I had realized how valuable investors could be if you choose them strategically. When we started raising money during the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, I knew I had to take a non-traditional approach because it was such a challenging time to raise money. We decided to focus on raising money from angels. They were passionate about what we were building and could add value beyond the capital, whether business expertise or just helping us tell the world. The result has attracted an incredible group of investors who have been critical to our go-to-market strategy and success.
Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I’m passionate about helping people become empowered with their health. After going through what I went through with my own health and my daughter’s, I learned first hand that we have to take health into our own hands. And while pharmaceuticals are necessary at times, we are too quick to take a pill before looking at the cause or root of the problem. I believe most of our health issues can be healed through food by just being more mindful of what we eat and drink. And while that sounds simple, the reality is, we are all overwhelmed and have little bandwidth to take the time to make healthy food let alone have access to healthy options. I think we all genuinely want to take care of our bodies but often don’t know where to start or don’t have the time to invest in figuring out what to do. My work in wellness through both Beaming and Kroma Wellness has been driven by my passion and desire to help people realize the power of food as medicine by offering delicious, highly functional foods and beverages that can easily be incorporated into your every-day life and help you feel (and look) amazing.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better well-being? Please give an example or story for each.
- Take health into your own hands which starts with your daily food & lifestyle choices. It isn’t about perfection but just about being more mindful about what you eat and drink. Read labels. Eat more vegetables and some fruit. Buy organic. Stay away from processed foods. And listen to your body. It will always tell you if you are listening.
- Nourishment is a gift and a necessity for our bodies to thrive. I don’t believe we should starve ourselves to look and feel good in our bodies and I think the ridiculous health hacks and starvation programs out there are causing more harm than good. Food is your friend. Just make better, healthier choices. Follow what I call intuitive eating. Your body will tell you what it needs.
- Allow yourself to indulge. Life is meant to be enjoyed and food is one of our greatest pleasures. Just know how your body best thrives and how to get back to feeling and looking your best. The Kroma 5 Day Whole Body Reset was designed to help people get back on track after an indulgent holiday or weekend while also helping people feel how good they can feel in their bodies.
- No two bodies are alike. What works for one person won’t likely work for another. For example, Keto can be great for men but isn’t great for most women based on our hormones and metabolic system. Intermittent Fasting is all the rage right now but more and more research is showing it isn’t good for everyone. And it is especially not good for aging women who need to be mindful of their hormones and menstrual cycles. Even how you and when you exercise matters. Some bodies thrive with intense interval training. Others respond better to walking or yoga. You have to treat your body as your own temple and not get caught in the latest health fad.
- Don’t forget about your mental health and taking time to breath. If meditation is your thing, wonderful. If walking in nature works best for you or dancing or even running, then do that. Find what helps you release the stresses of life so you can show up as your best self for you, your friends, children, partner and colleagues. I often find it can be as simple as breathing. It is amazing how often we forget to take deep breaths and yet how powerful and necessary breathing is to our overall well-being. If you aren’t well, you can’t show up well for others. Being in a healthy state of mind is just as much of a driving force in your wellness journey as going to the gym or eating a balanced diet.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I believe we’ve already started a movement with Kroma Wellness around helping people advocate for their own health by offering delicious functional foods and beverages that help you thrive throughout every moment of the day while simplifying your life. I am also on a mission to change the toxic diet and cleanse culture that currently encourages starvation and deprivation as a means to well-being. Kroma’s 5 Day Whole Body Reset is a completely new way to “cleanse” which focuses on nourishment and giving people the tools to change habits and behavior for the long term. I’ve spent the last 12 years of my life focused on helping people become more empowered with their health and am proud to be part of such a powerful and necessary movement alongside many other high integrity wellness brands.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Trust your gut. It’s ALWAYS right.
- Get support. Find people better than you to do all the things you aren’t good at so you can focus on what you love and are best at.
- Choose your partners wisely. They could be your biggest asset or your greatest weakness.
- There is no such thing as failure. Only outcomes that may look different than you had hoped. Learn from them, be accountable and come back stronger.
- Be ready to pivot. Resistance is inevitable. Be open to the possibility that resistance is a messenger that can lead to a better outcome if you are willing to listen and pivot.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Those are all important topics, but if I had to choose one, it would be mental health. We have never had more access to support for mental health and well-being and yet we have never been so sick and depressed. Social media has added to this chaos while also heightening the feelings of lack and insignificance. The isolation millions experienced through the epidemic further emphasized our suffering. In desperation, people have turned to drugs, alcohol or even unhealthy eating to mask their pain. While I am not an expert on the topic, I am passionate about it. And I know that healing starts from within. We have to take control of our own health and happiness which includes how we care for our bodies whether it is going for a walk and being in nature, or going to a yoga class and being around people or choosing to make healthier food choices because you know you feel better when you do. When we feel better, we show up better in all aspects of our lives. We have more confidence, it is also contagious.
What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?
You can follow me on Instagram @lisa_odenweller and @kromawellness. We are constantly updating our blog on Kroma’s website, and we have delicious recipes, general wellness tips, and stories meant to inspire our community at kromawellness.com/blogs/news.
Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.