Carly Stein (IG: @stein.carly) is the founder and CEO of the wellness brand Beekeeper’s Naturals. Her mission is to improve the health of humans and bees alike, which is why she left her job on the trading floor at Goldman Sachs to launch Beekeeper’s Naturals full-time in 2016.
Beekeeper’s Naturals is an innovative wellness company developing nutraceutical products from healing plant-based ingredients and the powerful hive superfoods like royal jelly, propolis, and bee pollen.
Carly is a beekeeper and a tireless advocate for the preservation of the waning global bee population. She was recently recognized as a game-changing entrepreneur on the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
In this episode, we discuss:
- Carly’s healing experience with propolis
- Where propolis comes from
- Different types of beehives
- How to use propolis
- The passion behind starting Beekeeper’s Naturals
- Sustainable beekeeping
- The role of bees
- The negative effects of monocropping
- Stop using pesticides
- Beekeeper’s Naturals’ mission
- Bees sustain our food supply
- What is migratory beekeeping?
- Hobbyist beekeeping
- Organic honey may contain pesticides
- Pay attention to where your honey is sourced
- There are over 700 types of bees
- Honeybees are the most effective pollinators
- Bee pollen is natures multivitamin
- Raw honey vs. pasteurized honey
- Creating superfood honey
- Using honey as natural sleep aid
- Benefits of royal jelly
- What are nootropics?
- Finding balance
Sunwarrior <== 20% off all Sunwarrior products & free shipping over $50 (US only)
Four Sigmatic <== 15% off all Four Sigmatic products (free shipping on orders $100 or more)
Thrive Market <== As a new customer you get a free 30-day membership, 25% off your order, and free shipping (US only)
Organifi <== 20% off all Organifi products
Beekeeper’s Naturals <== 15% off all Beekeeper’s Naturals products (free shipping on orders $60 or more)
Follow Carly Stein on Instagram
Follow Beekeeper’s Naturals on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
Beekeeper’s Naturals blog
The Bill Clinton Foundation
Canadian Bee Research Fund
The University of California Davis Bee Research Facility
Jesse: Hello and welcome to The Ultimate Health Podcast, episode 297 Jesse Chappus here with Marni Wasserman, and we are here to take your health to the next level.
Marni: Each week we will bring you inspiring, informative conversations about health and wellness, covering topics of nutrition, lifestyle, fitness, mindset, and so much more.
Jesse: And this week we are speaking with Carly Stein, the founder and CEO of the wellness brand, Beekeeper’s Naturals. They’re also a sponsor of the show. Her mission is to improve the health of humans and bees alike, which is why she left her job on the trading floor at Goldman Sachs to launch Beekeeper’s Naturals full time in 2016. Beekeeper’s Naturals is an innovative wellness company developing nutraceutical products from healing plant based ingredients and the powerful high superfoods like royal jelly, propolis and bee pollen. Carly is a beekeeper and a tireless advocate for the preservation of the waining global bee population. She was recently recognized as a game changing entrepreneur on the 2019 Forbes 30 under 30 list.
Marni: I’ve actually known Carly for many years. She came to a cooking class of mine and that’s when she first told me about her plans for Beekeeper’s Naturals. And it’s also when I was first introduced to propolis and ever since I’ve been hooked on their products. This is something that Jesse and I use all the time at home. And what I loved most about today’s conversation is that we took a deep dive into all things bees and I learned so much about just how special bees are to our health and to the food system. So here’s what we get into in today’s episode, different types of beehives. What is and how to use propolis, what sustainable beekeeping looks like. The role of bees, the negative effects of monocropping, why organic honey may contain pesticides and how to pay attention to where honey is sourced. Why bee pollen is nature’s multivitamin. How do you use honey as a natural sleep aid and the benefits of royal jelly. You guys are gonna learn so much about all things bee and bee products. Super excited for you guys to hear this. Here we go with Carly Stein.
Jesse: Carly, welcome to the podcast. So great to chat with you.
Carly: I’m so excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
Marni: It’s great to have you on the show. And Carly, I will never forget the first time I met you when you came to one of my cooking classes and at the end of the class you left me with a bottle of propolis and I remember how excited you we’re at this time. So just take us back to that time. Was that when Beekeeper’s Naturals was just starting? Where was the company at that point?
Carly: Oh my gosh, that was so long ago. I think at that stage I was just, it was really before the company had kind of formally started. It was more just I had this little passion for making these products and I was kind of just getting out there and sharing them. I was selling it like, you know, farmers markets and popups. So I would say that was like right at the phase before I really kind of started the company.
Jesse: So this cooking class in Marni’s cooking school was in Toronto. Is this where you grew up?
Carly: Yep. Grew up in Toronto.
Jesse: Okay. And I want to take this story further back from meeting Marni and talk about your first experience with propolis. So you’re a college student, you’re studying abroad in Italy and you get tonsillitis. So take it from there.
Carly: Yeah. So I had chronic tonsillitis, it was really bad and I also have psoriasis and my psoriasis is really triggered by antibiotics. So for me antibiotics just aren’t an option at all. But I was dealing with, you know, chronic tonsillitis and it can get pretty bad. And I’m a college student, I’m doing a semester abroad, having a great time. And of course I get hit with a pretty bad bound of tonsillitis and it was so bad that I was going to have to potentially come home and cut my exchange short. I was having a really hard time breathing and it was just incredibly painful so I was looking for anything to keep me out there. And you know, I’ve, I’ve always really loved the natural world and not being able to take antibiotics and a lot of conventional medicine. I’ve always kind of explored in that space. But I hadn’t ever found anything that really was effective for something as aggressive as the sort of tonsillitis I was dealing with. But I was trying to be optimistic really wanting to stay abroad. And I went into a pharmacy when I was in Florence, when I was in Italy. And the pharmacist took one look at me and she could see how swollen my face was and just to kind of clear issues I was having. And she gave me propolis. And at that point I had never heard of propolis. I had absolutely no idea that the bees did anything beyond honey. Like many of us, most people don’t realize that the bees make any other things besides honey. But I was desperate and willing to try anything. So I said, I’ll take it. And I purchased this bottle of propolis and it was a little black tincture with really no nutritional information. And I started using it and in about five days I was able to make a recovery. And it was just really interesting because propolis for me functioned in my body the way antibiotics do for most people. And I had never had that healing experience. I had never really experienced recovery like that. So it was really just eyeopening and kind of a game changing experience. And I was able to continue my time abroad. And you guys know Europe, so progressive with natural health compared to North America. So propolis was fairly commonplace. I was able to purchase propolis almost every place I traveled and I started learning about the other bee products. I remember being in France and seeing these ingestible beauty products made with royal jelly and being in Copenhagen and getting bee pollen on my smoothie. And so I just started waking up to this entire medicinal world of bee products and I was feeling better than ever. My tonsillitis didn’t come back. I actually was able to remain healthy for the entire, the rest of my time traveling and you know, traveling can be hard on your body and especially with someone with as weak of an immune system as I had, that was a really unique experience. And so basically these bee products transformed my health and I kind of fell in love and I was not about starting a company at all at that time. I was just really excited to finally find something that worked for me. And so I finished up my time abroad, came home to finish up college and I was going to college in British Columbia. I went to UVic and midterms rolled around and of course I got really sick again. I got, you know, my throat was super scratchy, I was feeling terrible, but I knew what to do. I knew what worked for me at that point. It was propolis and so I just needed to find some. And so I went to every single health food store asking for propolis. I had a really hard time finding it at that time. And then I went to a farmers market and I finally found propolis and I bought this super expensive, beautiful bottle of organic propolis. And I took it and I had a really severe reaction to it. And I later found out that the reason I reacted to that propolis was because it exposed me to trace amounts of pesticides. And for me with, you know, being autoimmune, having sensitive system that I do, I can’t ingest those kinds of pesticides and be okay. And so I was really frustrated because I knew what worked for me, but I wasn’t able to get it in the quality and style that I needed to heal. And so I figured, you know what I have to take matters into my own hands and do some quality control. So I figured, I guess I have to start beekeeping.
Jesse: Let’s get into some of the specifics on propolis. And for listeners that haven’t heard of this product before, take us through where it comes from and exactly what it is.
Carly: So first of all, propolis is such an interesting thing to me because we have such a longstanding medicinal history with it. So the first recorded human use of propolis dates back to 300 BC. The term propolis was actually coined by Aristotle and it means defender of the city. So it was used kind of across cultures for healing and protecting. And during the Boer war they used to use propolis topically on wounds. The Incas would drink propolis to reduce fever. It’s even said that Cleopatra used propolis in her beauty routine. So we have this really long standing human use. But I’ll start off with how it’s used in the hive and how it’s actually different from honey cause it is a totally different substance. Honey is made from floral nectars, the bees collect it from flowers, whereas propolis is made from plant and tree resins. So the base ingredients is very, very different. So plant and tree resins, you can think about, you know, compared to floral nectars are a little bit more medicinal, a little more adaptogenic in nature. And so the bees will collect these plants and tree resins mix it with their enzymes, bring it back to the hive and they use it to line the entire hive to keep a germ free. Propolis is really what forms the protective layer of the hive and they line all of the hive walls. They also line the cell walls for newborn baby bees to create a sterile environment for newborns. They have a propolis mat at the front hive entrance. And my favorite propolis fact, let’s say a mouse or a Predator gets into the hive, the bees can sting it and kill it, but they can’t physically carry a mouse out of the hive. It’s a little too heavy for them. And so what they’ll do once they’ve stung the most and killed it is actually mummify the mouse in propolis. Propolis is that powerful of an antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial agent that it protects the entire hive from this decaying rodent into their living room. And you know, can think about it with humans, if we had a dead body in our living room, we’d get pretty sick. It would start to decay and we would get quite sick. So the fact that propolis can sort of, encase the germs of this decaying creature and protect the entire hive, it’s pretty remarkable.
Jesse: When you’re doing the beekeeping work, have you ever seen any rodents or different animals in the hives?
Carly: I actually have, I saw a mouse encased in propolis and it was terrifying. I’m really scared of rodents. At first I thought it was just a huge chunk of propolis and I was kind of excited and then I realized it was a mouse and I freaked out and I threw it.
Marni: And I’m so curious, we’re talking about the hive, but I think I would love for you to explain how an actual hive is built. Like how did the bees create this hive that we see in our backyard?
Carly: There’s different types of hives. So the ones you see in your backyard that might be sort of a natural hive that the bees have built. They might find some area and kind of start building up comb inside of it, like, you know, a hollowed out tree or something like that. The hives that I’m talking about that I’m working with, it’s bees that we’re keeping. And so there’s different types of hives. There’s Langstroth top bar and there’s different preferences there depending on the beekeeper. But basically what happens is the bees will build up combs. It’s the hexagon comb shape and then they create their entire structure around that and they’ll fill the comb with honey and that’s kind of how honey is made they’ll fill it with floral nectar, fan out the moisture and allow it to kind of ferment in that way and yeah, they run their entire society in the hive.
Jesse: Well a couple of loose ends I want to make sure we tie up and the first one being propolis if you want to take that and run in and finish up your thoughts on that.
Carly: Yeah, so propolis, I like to think of it as nature’s Swiss army knife. It’s antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial and antibacterial, so it’s really great for just boosting your immune system. For me being autoimmune, I had a really hard time with immune boosters. I’d love to hear your perspective on this because I know you guys are incredibly knowledgeable in this area and have some personal experience too, but it’s really challenging with immune boosters when you’re autoimmune because you need to be really careful about kicking your system into overdrive when it already kind of trends in that direction. So propolis for me, it’s just a much more sustainable immune booster and it’s, it almost works as an immunomodulatory agent for me, it tends to neutralize. And so it was also really great at combating any sort of viral issues without really throwing off my gut. I really struggled with oil of oregano for that reason. So with propolis, because its enzymatic and it does have some strains of natural probiotics in it as well. It tends to be a little bit more sensitive on the system. So I use propolis daily for just general immune boosting. I do three sprays a day and then if I’m traveling or I’m feeling rundown or I’m surrounded by sick people or just have something coming on, I’ll double dose that. And then I also use propolis topically. So if I ever get a scrape, cut, burn, I’ll use propolis. It’s really great as an anti inflammatory agents. So for Sunburns I’ll mix it into my moisturizer and we have tons of customers who will use it for bug bites, they’ll use it, you know, scrapes, use it as a disinfectant.
Marni: That’s such an awesome tip. I never knew that you could use it topically. I’m holding mine right now cause I put five sprays in my mouth before I start any interview just to keep my throat nice and soft and supple. But putting it on topically, that’s huge cause I do get lots of bites in the summer so I’m definitely going to try that out.
Carly: Yeah, it’s also really great for eczema and psoriasis outbreaks because it’s anti inflammatory.
Jesse: So Carly, I want to come back to your story and I think we were at the point where you couldn’t find good propolis when you’re out west going to school and you decided you needed to get into beekeeping. So take it from there.
Carly: This is kind of a big issue with bee products generally today. So thing is when you look at other products, you can control quality for organic. So you know cattle, you can fence them in. If you’re growing something, you can make sure they’re growing on organic grounds, but the bees fly and you can’t put a leash on them. So what happens is even if the land that the bees are living on a certified organic, if the next door neighbors are doing something that’s not as clean, the bees will fly over and get exposure. So trace amounts of pesticides actually really can get into bee products you should be really careful. So once I realized this, and you know, the organic bee products I’ve purchased made me really sick. I just kind of figured that I have to control quality on my own in order to have access to this healing stuff that’s just working for me. So I went online, I found a beekeeping mentor. I found someone who was keeping bees as a hobbyist beekeeper in the middle of nowhere on Vancouver Island and he was pretty much in the middle of the forest. So there was no big cropland or kind of big like agricultural areas surrounding it. So I figured that the bees were safe and I became his apprentice. I basically learned everything and I was, again not thinking about starting a company at all at that time I was just learning about the bees and I really fell in love with the bees they’re really special creatures. I find them really fascinating and I found beekeeping to be incredibly relaxing and really kind of meditative. And so I just sort of fell in love with that. And then I was just learning all about these products and making these really high quality products. I had the added benefit of being a student. So I had access to the chemistry lab, I had access to our university database. So it was just this really beautiful time of learning everything that I could possibly learn about the bees and bee products and really perfecting them for myself and then also improving my health in a really meaningful way. So that’s kind of how the company was born. And I love to share that story because rather than stumbling upon something that is an exciting product and seeing an opportunity in the market, it comes from a really genuine place of just finding something I love, using it to heal myself and then, you know, building up a hobby and passion around it. And then, you know, years after that deciding to form a company around it. But that’s really sort of in the early days how it started and because I was making these products just for me and because it’s a curse that ended up being a blessing with my health issues because I have such a sensitive system and I’m so reactive, I had to really figure out how to get the highest quality bee products. And then in doing that I was able to create a structure where I got the bees completely away from pesticides, which is one of the main issues that’s affecting the bees today and, and how we can really ensure that we’re practicing beekeeping in a sustainable manner is by getting them far, far away from pesticides. So all of these different things that I thought were huge challenges and that I struggled with for most of my life, led me down this road towards what has become like my passion and my life mission.
Jesse: So you’re dabbling in beekeeping, you’re getting your feet wet and you’re going to school at the same time. What are you taking in school?
Carly: I did a social science degree, so I had to focus on biology and I was taking a lot of chemistry courses at the time and I was a TA for my chemistry class, so I had a lot of mentors to draw on as I was making these products and exploring this world.
Jesse: And when you graduate, you actually started a career at a hedge fund. So take us through that transition.
Carly: I did, yeah. So I’m making these bee products and I kind of have this dream of starting a bee product company. But it sounds crazy. I didn’t think I could do it. You know, I’d never taken a business course in my life. Not that you need that to start a business, but as a college student, I thought that, but I got a job offer out of school at this Hedge Fund during my summers as a college student. I interned at the Bill Clinton Foundation and one of the things I did there was I led their prescription drug abuse initiative. So I was working in essentially pharmaceutical research and I got this hedge fund job and you know, I was able to sort of parlay that farmer research into sort of more financial research. I really enjoyed it. I was there for about 10 months and then 10 months in I got recruited by Goldman Sachs and I joined them as a trader. That was kind of just a wild ride and I found myself in this job where, you know, I was flying between Toronto and New York constantly. I was doing this job that was really great on paper and I had all of this really positive external feedback, but I was really unhappy. I was just doing something and living this life that wasn’t mine. It’s not what I’m driven by is not what I’m passionate about. And I ended up becoming really depressed. I was having, you know, really bad panic attacks and I ended up, my mental health just really declined over that period of time. And that’s kind of what brought me back to what I love. So in that state, when I was just really feeling unhappy, I sat down with myself and I was like, look, this is not sustainable. I’m feeling pretty miserable. When’s the last time I even felt good? And I made a spreadsheet to try and track my happiness. And the thing that I kept coming back to was working with the bees and making bee products. And you know, I was living between New York and Toronto. So working with the bees wasn’t the easiest thing to do, although I still did volunteer beekeeping on weekends about what I could do was purchase some equipment off Amazon buy some raw bee products and make some artisanal super high quality sustainable bee products in my teeny tiny closet of an apartment. And that’s what I started doing. And so that’s kind of around the time that I met you originally. Marni is those early days when I was just making these bee products in a very sort of quiet way, sharing them with the world, not really knowing that it had the potential to build into something that it has today but just feeling really excited about them and really happy when I was doing that. So I’m making these bee products and like I said, I was selling them at farmers markets and pop up shops and sharing them with you know, all of the sort of health authorities that I looked up to, Marni being one of them and just kind of trying to quietly get out there without really believing that I could do something in a big way. And you know, over time these things started to build and it was a really great place to start the business from as well because I had, especially working at farmer’s markets and having these sort of pop up booths, I was able to get direct feedback from my customer base and really perfect product and really understand what was resonating, what was working. And you know, with word of mouth people started to really like the products. And I remember getting an email from one woman who had a six year old son who was autoimmune and had chronic strep throat and propolis was the only thing that worked for him. And then she was asking me to send propolis to her sister in law in Chicago. And next thing you know, I set up a website. It was all very reactive. I was just like, you know, people are asking for this so I’ll give it to them. And then we got taken on by a distribution company and all of a sudden I had all these stores that wanted to order propolis and I had to find a co-packer and figure it out like that. So I literally googled co-packers and cold called all these different people and then just like slowly started putting the pieces together to kind of set the foundations for this company. And I was just doing that for a few months and it got to a point where we were in around 600 stores across Canada and shipping internationally and I was like, okay, it’s time someone needs to run this company and it’s definitely going to be me. So that was the time that I left Goldman. And even at that time, you know, I had a big market for the product. I was having incredible customer feedback. I was really excited about it, but everyone around me still thought it was completely insane because it’s different, it’s weird and it’s different. And most people don’t even know about bee products beyond honey. So I basically just had to take this big leap of faith.
Marni: Well, it’s amazing that it grew out of demand. People were telling you what they wanted and you also started it from passion and out of your own need. You know, whenever there’s a story behind a company, there’s definitely authenticity there. So it started with propolis. Now you’ve got honey, you’ve got bee pollen, you’ve got B.LXR, royal jelly. I want to get into all of these shortly. One question I have first is where are all the products being made or is it back over and BC or do you have, where do you have land to curate all these awesome pesticide free products?
Carly: Yeah, so because we do pesticide free, we are very particular with where we place our bees. So most of our bees are in Canada just because you know, huge land mass with a small population and better pesticide regulation as well. We wanted to do a little bit more work in the US but it’s been really hard to find lands that are kind of compliant with our pesticide standard. And because we practice sustainable beekeeping and we’re really committed to pesticide free, we just won’t, we’re not flexible on that. I won’t make a product that I can’t take every day and if something is exposed to pesticides, then I’m not going to be able to take it. So we take that really seriously. And that’s again also how we have impact with the bees by getting them away from pesticide laden areas and ensuring that you know we can create a sustainable environment that’s conducive to their success. So most of our bees are in Canada. We work a little bit in Brazil. Brazil is another area that has an incredible environment for beekeeping. And then as we expand we’re probably going to be moving into Europe and we’re hoping that regulations change and things change in the US and we can play a little bit more in that arena. But as of now we can’t really do much in the US.
Jesse: Now we’re going to take a quick break from our chat with Carly to give a shout out to our show partner Sunwarrior.
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Marni: So now I want to get into what is happening with the bees. You know, this is something we’re hearing a lot about. There’s a lot of campaigns, a lot of documentaries being made. So what is the current status of what’s happening to the bees throughout North America and even the world?
Carly: Yeah, it’s been pretty rough for the bees over past few years. So first of all, I’ll start with just kind of why this matters because yes, of course the bees make propolis and honey and royal jelly and all these amazing healing products, but beyond that they contribute to our food supply in our ecosystem in a massive way. So bees pollinate one third of our food supply. Honeybees are the world’s most effective pollinators. So without the bees, you know, we’d have an international food crisis and not to mention the other creatures in our ecosystem that are reliant on bee pollinated items. So bees pollinate things like clover and alfalfa that cattle graze on. They pollinate so many of the flowers that other creatures rely on. So our entire ecosystem, which would just kind of turned on its head if we lost the bees and they’ve been in decline for quite a few years now, you know, there’s a lot of different factors that are negatively impacting the health of the bees. Climate change is a big one, just sort of urbanization. The fact that we, we don’t really have the clean green grounds like we used to, but a big factor is our current agricultural practices. Things like monocropping, we used to have farms and farm lands that were full of different types of plants and flowers and now we have this practice called monocropping where they specialize in one crop type and economically that makes sense. But environmentally it’s not ideal because you have to use more pesticides. Since it’s just one crop, there’s not really any biodiversity. So if there is a particular pest that crop’s susceptible to, it can really knock them out. More pesticides are typically used with that. But the other issue with monocropping is that there is a single bloom period. And so what happens is there’s a period in the year where everything’s in bloom and the bees have all of this food to eat and then after the bloom period, it’s a food desert for the bees. So that’s something that’s been pretty negative and pretty prevalent. But the number one thing affecting the bees is pesticides. So in 2006 DDT was taken out of the game and it was replaced by a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. It’s a neuroactive substance and it affects the bees spatial reasoning. And that’s pretty important because bees rely on their spatial reasoning to forage for food and find their way home and communicate where the new food sources are. So the substance is really negatively impacting bee health, not to mention the rest of the environment, it’s water soluble, it’s getting into our soil, into our water supply. We really don’t know the longterm effects it’s going to have on us, but we do know that it’s really terrible for the bees.
Jesse: As somebody listening to this right now and wanting to be part of the change in a positive direction, what are some of the things we can do right away to help the bees?
Carly: So the number one thing is stop using pesticides. I’ve spoken to a few people who they have gardeners and they don’t even realize what’s being used on their front lawn. So get away from that as soon as possible and you know, have a conversation with your gardeners if you have them or stop using these substances on your lawn. Also really terrible for you, your pets, your kids. You’ll definitely want to get away from pesticides. But a big thing you can do, and this is a super low maintenance thing, is just plant. Plant flowers, use heirloom and organic untreated seeds, planting bright colored flowers that are native to your area is ideal. But giving the bees a clean food source when they really don’t have access to that in the same way they used to makes a huge difference. Even if you have a small space. For me, I live in an apartment, I have plants sort of lining my window sill. I have plants on my balcony. Just creating clean food sources for the bees really is helpful.
Jesse: And as a company what is Beekeeper’s Naturals doing different from a lot of the other bee companies out there to be sustainable and help preserve the bees.
Carly: So we are really committed to saving the bees we’re a benefit corp and we have um, two incredible charity partners in Canada. We work with the Canadian Bee Research Fund and in the US we work with UC Davis Bee Research. So we’re hosting campaigns sporadically throughout the year to contribute to our charity partners. And then our apparel line, we give a portion of proceeds to our charity partners. So we’re doing that. But the big difference for Beekeeper’s Naturals is sort of how we run our supply chain. I was talking about beekeeping in remote areas and getting away from pesticides. We actually really create a controlled environment to remove the pesticide exposure for the bees. So they don’t have, we don’t have to worry about that at all. And we do that for two reasons. One is because it gives us a product quality that’s really untouchable. It’s really pure. You know it’s as a health product, it should not expose you to pesticides or anything toxic. A lot of them do. So we’re really committed to creating clean products but we’re also creating this environment that gets the bees away from the substance that’s really damaging. You know, we have a lot of different practices in place. We do soil sample testing. You know we have very close relationships with all of our beekeeping partners. We audit the areas we work in, but the number one measure when we do this for all of our products for every single product run before the raw product gets made into propolis or you know, put into the honey jar. We test for every pesticide toxin and in pollutant in accordance with Health Canada and we are the only bee product company that practices that third party testing.
Marni: And you mentioned planting a garden, which is something that Jesse and I are just in the midst of doing right now. We’ve started to gather our, our seeds and seedlings and we’re planting some wildflower. So that’s going to be happening next week and we’re super excited. So something that is just so fascinating and you brushed over this is just how involved the bees are in our crops. I remember when later on you gave a workshop at my food studio and this was eye opening to me because I learned about the food system and how bees are involved. So can we just talk about how bees are involved in our food and the more that we grow even at home or just on organic farms? What the bees role is in keeping our food supply strong?
Carly: Yeah, it’s really remarkable and most people don’t realize this, but the bees really are critically important to our entire food supply. Even things even beyond food, things like cotton are partially bee pollinated, but to break it down a little bit more. A lot of plant types, they can’t self pollinate so they, they actually need the bees helps to reproduce. The bees will transfer the pollen from the male part to the female part of the plant and that’s how they’ll reproduce. And so without the bees we have a bunch of plants and crop types that just cannot reproduce things like almonds, apples, avocados even is partially bee pollinated since so many of the things we rely on in our world. And that’s why it’s just so important to help to support them and make sure that, you know, we can sustain our food supply. And then it’s this really weird situation right now where a lot of the bee pollinated food items have become really popular over the past few years. So for example, almonds, almond milk and almond based products are super popular today. And almonds are a plant type that are, you know, 90% bee pollinated. So without the bees we really would have a hard time growing almonds. And so what’s happened there, just on an industry level is migratory beekeeping has become a really prevalent practice. So basically demand is up and yield is down. So the almond farmers need to employ beekeepers to truck their bees over from across the country. Over to California where the almond bloom takes place in February and then they let the bees loose to pollinate. And then at the end of the pollination period, take the bees back, put them on their truck and head home. And that can certainly be done in a careful, cautious way. And for the most part it’s not. And that sort of how the beekeeping industry has evolved. So it used to be, and sorry I’m kind of getting into a whole different thing here, but it’s just oh really interesting. The way that the beekeeping industry has shifted, and I’ll get into how it affects products in just a second, but in the olden days, you know, there used to be beekeepers who would care for bees who look after them, take their product and sell it to companies like Beekeeper’s Naturals. But today people make more money in commercial beekeeping, commercial pollination services where they get paid per acre to bring their bees across the country, let them loose to pollinate and then you know, bring them back. And so most of the bee product companies are sourcing their bee products from China where they can have access to a lot of bee product supply and also get access to it in a cheaper way because they can’t compete with commercial pollination. And then commercial pollination, like I said, it can be a little bit jarring for the bees, trucking them across the country. But something that’s even more alarming is often when this happens, the bees are sort of let loose to pollinate these crops. Pesticides at times are sprayed while the bees are let loose to pollinate. If there’s any diseases, they’re all being shared because it’s bees coming from all over interacting. So that sort of the state of affairs in the beekeeping industry right now, and it’s just because we can’t keep pace with demand for certain food types. And so that’s the other thing that we do as a company, as we find beekeepers who, you know, they need to make a living and they see good money in commercial pollination, but maybe their values aren’t completely aligned with that practice. And we, you go to them and we say, okay, hold up we’ll actually pay you a premium if you commit to keeping bees in a sustainable way. So we’ll compete with the sort of payment that you could get from working in commercial pollination. And we basically pay them a premium to care for the bees and place them on land that isn’t exposed them to pesticides.
Jesse: So what’s the current direction with where bees are headed these days and sustainability and their survival?
Carly: It’s interesting. So the numbers are kind of skewed because we’ve had a ton of hobbyist beekeepers come into the environment which is great. I love seeing backyard beekeepers. I think more people who are serious about bees and bees are a commitment. It’s like a pet you, you do have to care for them. So certainly it’s not for everyone, but we’ve seen a definite spike in hobbyist beekeepers, so that’s fantastic. So we technically have more people keeping bees, but the bees are still in decline and the numbers are kind of skewed because of, you know, the pesticide industry, the pesticide industry, it’s in their best interest to sort of put this issue to bed. And they work really hard to do that. And so it’s been really hard to kind of get a clear picture. But, in pesticide laden areas, we’re still having major issues with the bees. They’re still in decline and it’s still critically important that we all step up and get involved with this cause.
Jesse: So we’ve talked quite a bit about pesticides and early in the interview you talked about organic a little bit and I want to get a little bit deeper into that. And I know a lot of times if you go to Whole Foods, different health food stores, some of the bee products specifically honey are labeled organic. Just talk about is that label worth anything or something we should even look for? What’s the state of that?
Carly: Yeah, so organic is kind of meaningless when it comes to the bees. I wish that weren’t the case but unfortunately it is cause it’s just kind of what I was saying earlier. You can’t put a leash on the bees and the bees will forage for a five mile radius, which is more than the organic radius. So what we do at Beekeeper’s Naturals is we placed the bees in highly remote areas where we can ensure that there is a five mile radius of clean ground on all ends. Most companies, including ones with the certified organic label, they don’t necessarily do that. So even if it says organic, it doesn’t mean that it’s totally clean if they’re next door neighbors are doing some dirty stuff. The other thing is that most of the bee products, including the ones that are labeled organic are not actually coming from North America or Europe. You know, they’re not necessarily coming from clean places. A lot of the bee products in the market are coming from China. There’s actually for anyone who wants to go a little deeper on this, there’s a really great docu series on Netflix called Rotten and the first episode is all about the beekeeping and honey industry and just sort of how misleading it all is. But yeah, there’s a huge issue. So how it works is as long as the sticker or the sticker for the jar is put on on North American soil, they can say product of that place, even if the base ingredient is coming from a very different area. So organic isn’t a great measure, unfortunately. It’s really the whole beekeeping industry is quite convoluted. But what I tell consumers look for is you want to just really to the extent you can get to know the company, if you’re buying at a farmers market, have a conversation with the beekeeper, try to really get to know where the bees are being kept and how close they are to, you know, large agricultural crops. If there anywhere near these sort of big farmland areas, you certainly don’t want to be purchasing that honey or that polymer, that propolis. But if you talk to them and they’re in a remote area and they have an awareness of the issues affecting the bees and the effect of these pesticides, then you’re safe. And then the other thing too is, you know, just the way Beekeeper’s Naturals is, I think companies that are practicing sustainable beekeeping will be very vocal and transparent. One because it’s something really positive that we’re doing for our products and for the environment. And two, because we want to encourage other sustainable beekeepers to come into the marketplace. That’s what we want to see. That’s how we’re going to have a massive shift here. So you know, companies like Beekeeper’s are quite vocal about it. So check the companies that you’re, you’re interested in purchasing product from out and you know if they’re doing it the right way, you should be able to find that.
Marni: Yeah. And I want to expand on that on how you guys specifically close the loop. You know, obviously the bee products you’re providing are incredible for human health, but they’re also incredible for bee health. So it’s the same food supply that they’re using within their little colony and community. So how is there enough for us and for the bees? How does that all stay sustainable?
Carly: Yeah, so the bees actually create a huge surplus of product. Anything can be taken advantage of. And so with commercial beekeeping you see that sometimes they’ll sort of the really massive companies. What they’ll do is they’ll over harvest the bees honey and replace it with sugar water. We haven’t seen any studies that have been really clear about that being negative for the bees. But just intuitively I’m not a big fan of that. And in my own testing I found that replacing with sugar water throws off the Ph balance in the hive. So I’m pretty against that practice. And so what we do at Beekeeper’s Naturals is we work with a really sort of broad net of different beekeepers in different areas and um, we never were committed to never over harvesting so we never over harvest, we’re not going to, you know, take all the honey sugar feed for a long period of time and we just try to build up a really large supply chain so that if our bees, for whatever reason in one area are looking stressed or under producing, it’s not a big deal and we can go somewhere else and we’ve been able to build up a really, really expansive network, then we haven’t had a problem. And then the beautiful thing is keeping our bees away from pesticides. We’ve actually seen year over year hive growth contrary to population trends. So beekeeping, it’s not hard on the bees, it’s not something that’s damaging to the bees as a whole, especially if you’re caring for them. It’s actually a really beautiful thing to do and to get away from the migratory beekeeping practices and as long as you’re not over harvesting and the bees are in an area with a lot of plant life, they will create a surplus. That’s totally fine. I speak to vegans sometimes and you guys know this, we have a lot of vegans who actually enjoy beekeepers naturals products and we call them beegans and we always like to talk about how eating beekeepers naturals products is actually much better for the environment. Then much better for the bees than it is to eat non-organic almonds like more be as will die in commercial pollination of non-organic almonds than they will ever in the beekeeping practices that we carry out a Beekeeper’s Naturals and then beyond that, the way that we’re working with the bees, as I said, we have population growth over time. We’re creating environments for them that are really clean and nourishing and we’re paying attention to them and then working with the research institutions that we do, we really are closely monitoring our bees because we want to have our true hand in saving them.
Jesse: And how much of an issue are GMOs when it comes to bee health?
Carly: This is again, another hard one because there’s such large industry that are um, kind of supporting GMOs and so numbers and studies have kind of been skewed. We haven’t really seen the right type of study be carried out to have a conclusive answer there. But with GMOs, what you do see is there’s typically more pesticides being used and anytime there’s more pesticides being used, it’s bad for the bees and it’s something you want to get away from.
Marni: So a question, just as summer’s coming up on the horizon and it seems, you know, just so practical, since so many people are afraid of bees, you know, they’re swarming around the backyard, you’ve got your kids outside. What are some tips around being amicable and in good connection with the bees? And maybe you also want to talk about the different kinds of bees are ones that we can look out for, ones that might be more harmful than others or ones to stay away from.
Carly: I love this question because people are so scared of bees and they really shouldn’t be. Bees are actually quite docile. So there are, I’ll start off with just talking about the different types of bees. So there’s over 700 bee varieties not all of them are yellow and black and the way we picture bees traditionally, there’s a lot of stingless bees and solitary bees. So honeybees and bumblebees are actually the only types of bees that are social. There’s tons of bees that are solitary. They don’t live in a hive, they live on their own, they’re really tiny and they don’t. A lot of them are, they don’t even sting and they’re all really effective pollinators. Honey bees are the most effective pollinators, but they all do work to pollinate the world, which is pretty special of course, but something that you can do to support solitary bees is create a pollinator hotel. So all you do is take some wood and then drill different sized holes in. Don’t drill all the way through make sure the backing still there, but just drill in different sized holes, place it somewhere facing the sun because they’re cold blooded. So the sun will wake them up and you want to have it a little bit elevated off the ground so other creatures don’t start nesting there. But that creates a little home for all of our solitary bee friends. And then they’ll also help to pollinate your garden so they’ll get back to you. And then when it comes to just attitudes around the bees, a lot of people are scared of bees. I totally understand the fear of being stung. I also used to be a little bit scared of that. Now I’ve been stung hundreds of times and have no fear. But the truth is bees are, they’re docile they don’t want to sting. They only sting when they’re threatened and when they sting you, they die. And this is something that’s a kind of sweet fact about the bees they have a barbed stinger. And so when they sting human skin, it sticks into our skin and rips out their abdomen. And so that’s why they die when they sting humans. But they can actually sting other creatures and live. So they are biologically not meant to survive stinging humans. They’re, you know, they’re meant to pollinate our earth and help to support us, which I always like to think of. And it’s a nice thing to kind of tell your kids or families when there’s a bee here. Um, but something you can do as well is the bees get sort of triggered by artificial scents. So if you’re using a heavy perfume or artificial fragrance, that can be kind of triggering to them and there’ll be a little bit more ticked off and more inclined to sting. And then also light colors are soothing to them. They see dark colors as predatory. And that’s why the beekeeping suit is usually white. So another kind of thing you can do if you want to create a calming environment, but something to remember with the bees is, they really communicate through pheromones. And this is part of why I find beekeeping so meditative. So when your body goes into fight or flight mode, they can sense that they can, you know, smell those pheromones and they react to that and they’ll react to that as most things do in a fearful way and assume it’s a predator. So if you can actually stay calm around the bees, they’re much less likely to sting or bother you. And so it becomes a great sort of checkpoint to be mindful, connect with nature and just sort of not let your fears get ahold of you when you’re in an environment around the bees.
Jesse: Now we’re going to take another quick break from our chat with Carly to give a shout out to our show partner Thrive Market.
Marni: Thrive Market is membership base for a reason. Once you become a member you have access to so many products at such great prices and they also give a free membership to a low income family for every paid membership, making healthy food accessible and affordable to everyone. This is such a unique quality and I really respect this company for this. And just a note on Thrives quality control. They are very discerning on the products they carry. They don’t just let any products into their inventory. They’re committed to being 100% non GMO. They carry organic versions of every product and all of their body care and beauty care never has any toxic chemicals. They also work with partners who are raising standards and aligned with their values including regenerative farming practices and fair trade. Being a member of Thrive is something you can be proud of. You are also getting 20 to 50% off of regular retail value. Anything that you can find on their website is going to be discounted and as a listener of our show, you’re also going to get an additional 25% off your order plus a 30 day free trial and free shipping.
Jesse: To take advantage of this incredible deal. All you need to do is go to ultimatehealthpodcast.com/thrivemarket. Again, that URL is ultimatehealthpodcast.com/thrivemarket. Go and put your first order in at Thrive today. You are going to love the lineup of products and the amazing savings.
Marni: And now a shout out to other show partner Organifi. Jesse and I typically like to have something sweet at night. Often this is in the form of chocolate. But what I love about what Organifi has done with their Turmeric Gold drink is they have infused it with chocolate. So having a scoop of this in some hot water totally covers that craving. And I feel like I’m eating a chocolate bar but I’m actually drinking it. It’s so tasty. It’s got the turmeric in there, which you don’t even notice, but you’re getting all the amazing anti-inflammatory benefits. There’s also reishi in there, which is really good at calming down your body before sleep. So this is the perfect drink to have before bedtime. So if you haven’t tried the Turmeric Chocolate Gold get your hands on it, you’re going to love it. You won’t even believe how good this product tastes. So go ahead and give it a try today.
Jesse: And as the listener of our show, you get 20% off the whole Organifi lineup. And to take advantage, all you need to do is go to ultimatehealthpodcast.com/organifi, again, that URL is ultimatehealthpodcast.com/organifi and Organifi ends in an i. Go and get yourself some of the Turmeric Chocolate Gold powder today and start sleeping better. And now back to our chat with Carly. So Carly, I want to transition into the bee products a little bit more, but as an entry into that, I want to talk about honeybees. And when they’re going around to the different flowers and different plants, what are the different things that they’re harvesting? Cause I know there’s pollen, I know there’s nectar and this will just be a good entry way into the different bee products.
Carly: Yeah. So when they’re going around to the different plants, they’re collecting the pollen, they’re collecting the nectar, which later gets turned into honey. They’re collecting plants and tree residents. So think of things like sap and just sort of resin substances coming off plants for propolis. And so they’re basically working with all plant parts. And so I’d kind of went through propolis. It comes from the plant and tree resins. It’s the immune system of the hive and sort of like the OG antibiotic or a health Swiss army knife for us because it’s antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, so is propolis. And then pollen plays a totally different role. So pollen, what the bees do is they collect the pollen from the different flowers and they mix it with their enzymes and they bunch it into these little balls and then they carry it back to the hive on their hind legs. If anyone’s seen a picture of that or if anyone follows the Beekeeper’s Naturals Instagram, they’ve definitely seen a picture but, but it’s his little balls that are sort of attached to the hind legs of the bees and it’s called their pollen pants, which is a very cute name for it. I think when they carry the pollen back to the hive and the pollen is used as the main protein source for the hive. So pollen, for the bees it’s their protein. And then for humans it’s actually also a really good protein source. Pollen has more protein per weight than any animal source and that’s per weight. Pollen is very small, so keep that in mind. But really interesting that it’s that nutrient dense and I like to think of pollen as nature’s multivitamin, so it’s really high in broad spectrum vitamins, minerals, time free forming amino acids. So it’s got the BCAAs, it’s great for pre-workout boost, also great for recovery after a workout and then it’s highly enzymatic, it’s full of live enzymes. And so you see a lot of people using pollen when they have absorption issues when they have nutritional deficiencies. I use pollen just to kind of cover my bases health wise, especially when I’m traveling. For me I do so much travel and I’m always changing time zones and you know, sometimes it can be hard to get access to the kind of food that I want. And so I use pollen, just make sure I’m getting all my vitamins, minerals and stay healthy. And then it also gives you a really nice energy boost.
Jesse: We love pollen. Marni and I personally use it on a regular basis and put it on top of our smoothies or smoothie bowls. And I just want to talk about pollen from a quality perspective though, before we move on to the next thing, because we’ve with a lot of different pollens over the years and some of them are hard, some of them are more soft and chewy. Others are basically one simple yellow color throughout and others have different colors of pollen within the same batch. So can you just expand upon that and talk about pollen and get into the details a bit more.
Carly: Before I get into that, one thing I want to mention that’s just really cool is there been studies that have found that pollen actually increases your endurance. So when you have pollen it increases blood hemoglobin values, so it helps to oxygenate the tissue. So really, really great, you know, before a run, before a big workout to take pollen. But yeah, so pollen, huge variants, different pollen types. And that’s because it’s dependent on a lot of things. One of the main ones is the floral source it’s coming from. So the colors that will vary in a big way depending on the types of flowers it’s coming from. And then that will change depending on what’s in bloom. So especially with Beekeeper’s Naturals pollen who are working with, you know, wildflower (inaudible). Then we intentionally want to work with wildflowers because we want to get away from anything that’s monocropping. We want to make sure that these have a very diet. And what that means is at different times of the year, depending on what’s in bloom, there’ll be slight variation in our pollen. And that’s just natural. That’s good for the bees. And that’s just also kind of good for you because you’re exposing yourself to the different plant life as it sort of comes into bloom in a natural way. But different plant types will be color variants, taste variance, texture variants. So that’s a big thing. But in addition to that, most pollen on the market, it’s heated and that’s how it’s cleaned. They apply high heat to it and that’s why it can be quite crunchy and it’s often sort of left sitting out. We don’t do that and not say that that’s the worst thing in the world because pollen is so nutrient dense that yes, applying heats as kill some of the enzymes and some of the nutritional value is so great for you, but it’s full of powerful enzymes. The bees are literally wrapping the pollen and enzymes to get it back to the hive and that’s what we don’t want to kill off. So what we do is we clean our pollen using a fan, we just blow out all the other, we basically put it in a net and then we use a fan to blow all of this sort of dust or other parts away from it. And then we just jar it. And so that’s a great way to keep the enzymes of the pollen intact. And then when it comes to pollen, once you open the jar, you want to keep it cold. Now some of the ones that are heated, they’re fine, they’re shelf stable. But again, the product quality’s a little bit less there. You’re not getting as much as the enzymes, you’re not getting the same kind of nutritional value. So for a raw pollen like what we have at Beekeeper’s Naturals, you definitely, once you open the jar want to keep it cold. I actually keep mine in the freezer. You can do fridge or freezer. I just like to keep it in the freezer. But yeah, that’s kind of how you want to store it for sure.
Jesse: Great tip, keeping in the freezer. We do the same thing and I’m just curious how much pollen are you consuming daily?
Carly: I’m so happy you asked that because people way over do it with pollen. I keep saying that pollen is kind of nature’s multivitamins. It really is. In the same way, you’re not going to chug an entire bottle of multivitamins. You shouldn’t be overdoing it with pollen. It’s really, really high in the nutrients you need and it’s certainly something that you can overdo. So for me, I really do well with bee products. For me, I do two teaspoons to a tablespoon a day, but for most people with pollen, I recommend doing a teaspoon a day. If you have allergies also you want to be really careful, especially when you’re dealing with raw pollen. Sometimes people with allergies, they don’t react as much to the stuff that’s been heated because of course it’s not as potent. I always hear about people using pollen to microdose with the allergen to reduce their allergic response. That can be really great for some people. If you have severe pollen allergies, that’s a little too intense. So I actually recommend that people use propolis to deal with their allergies over pollen and if they have severe allergies cause propolis, there’s been studies that have found that propolis reduces the histamine response. So it will definitely help. And then it’s also anti-inflammatory. So propolis is just great for allergies and people who have severe ones.
Jesse: And I mentioned how we consume it typically on smoothies or on smoothie bowls, but what are some other ways we can include pollen into our daily routine?
Carly: I do pollen on everything. I actually love pollen on savory dishes. I’ll sprinkle pollen on my avocado toast. I love doing salads with like cranberries and pollen and it just adds this really rich taste in texture. Not to mention it’s beautiful. I sprinkle it on my coconut ice cream. I love doing a good healthy ice cream sundae with our cacao honey and some pollen on top. I put it in smoothies like you guys do smoothie bowls and yogurt, granola. I see a lot of parents doing PB and Js with pollen in the middle. It’s a great way to sneak it into your kids sandwiches to boost the health content. Yeah, you can kind of put pollen on anything.
Marni: We do love it. As Jesse said, it’s pretty daily around here, so let’s talk about your honey. This honey is so good and there’s so many different varieties and I’ll have you talk about the different ones that you have, but there’s also so much to talk about in terms of honey and its benefits in terms of cooking, in terms of medicinally topically, so I’m just trying to figure out a good place to start. Firstly, it is food for the bees. As you described earlier, but when it’s being harvested, what are kind of the first steps that’s done with the honey before it becomes something that you commercially sell?
Carly: So when our honey is being harvested, we basically take the honey frames and then we drain the honey out. But then we just kind of spin it to get all of you know, little plant parts or anything else in it out. But what we don’t do, and this is a really important thing as well for anyone purchasing honey, is we do not pasteurize the honey. So the process of pasteurization, it’s applying a really high heat and it’s essentially cooking all the nutrients out of the honey. So a big thing you want to do in your purchasing honey is make sure that it’s raw or unpasteurized. Otherwise you’re essentially buying sugar water. So that’s just a little bit about honey. And then in terms of, we have a ton of different honey varietals, but I think the one that I kind of want to mention, I know this is one that you guys like, it’s the B. Powered honey. That one’s my favorite just because it’s all the highest superfoods in one. And we built this honey cause we were looking at Manuka honey. Manuka honey can be great. It definitely has strong antiviral capabilities. But I kinda think it can a little bit of a rip off just because if you’re looking for an antiviral substance, propolis is going to be just as if not more effective than Manuka. So anyways, I was doing this deep dive into Manuka honey because I was like, okay, why is this honey so expensive? What is the big deal here? And when I was looking at it, I started really exploring the UMF and K factor, which our industry created standards for Manuka honey and they basically dictate the price point of the Manuka. And so when I was looking at this, I was looking at why one Manuka honey is $90 versus $30 and some of the metrics they look at are things like exposure to pollen and propolis. And when I saw that I was like, okay, screw exposure. Let’s just take a really high quality, sustainably sourced raw honey and pump medicinal grade dosages of all these different superfoods from the hive into this honey base. And so that’s what we did with B. Powered. And it’s really cool cause we basically replicated the natural environment of the beehive. So in one teaspoon you’re getting royal jelly, you’re getting pollen, you’re getting propolis and it’s in that raw honey base. So it’s completely naturally preserved. You don’t have to keep it in the fridge or freezer, cause the honey, the enzymes will naturally keep it intact. And it’s, it’s kind of like an all in one. It’s got royal jelly, which is amazing for the brain. It’s awesome for boosting energy. It’s got pollen for the multivitamins, protein, energy boost as well. And then propolis, which is amazing for the immune system and inflammation. And then the raw honey, which is highly enzymatic. It’s and it’s full of antioxidants. And then the other cool thing is that bee products have synergistic effects. So when you combine raw honey with royal jelly actually becomes a really great source of Bifidobacteria, which is one of the best probiotic strains for your digestion.
Marni: That stuff is the bomb. We love it and I take it by the tablespoon full. And you mentioned how it’s a self preserving agent. All honey is, and it’s such an amazing thing that it can literally sit in your cupboard for years and years and not go bad. It can crystallize, but it will not go bad. So I’m sure most people who may have honey at home, as long as it’s a good quality honey, you might realize that it’s a sitting there and still able to be used. But Carly, can you talk about the sugar in honey and how it differs from other sources of sugar? Because again, I think there’s also a lot of fear around honey being a source of sugar and calories and if I consume it, it’s going to throw me off whether someone’s trying Keto or not even just from a blood sugar perspective. But can you just talk about how it’s very different in the body than other forms of sugar?
Carly: So first thing, if you are really strict Keto, of course you can’t do honey, but what you can do is propolis and you can do B.LXR. So those two products that we make, are nootropic bee elixir shots, those are Keto. And then the propolis also Keto. So you’re good to go with those. But it is really important to remember that honey is very, very different than you know, the normal sugars. So first of all, honey has a lower glycemic index than regular sugar. But the other thing is that raw honey, good quality raw honey, it’s full of nutrients, it’s full of antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, especially when it’s combined, when it’s raw, it has like the trace amounts of pollen and all these different things. It’s a little bit more fibrous. So it doesn’t create the intense insulin spike that eating, you know, organic cane or some of these other sweeteners does. And then also just the other health effects they’re not to be forgotten just because there’s a little bit of sugar content in there. So I definitely do not put honey in the same category as other sweeteners.
Marni: And I know honey can be used as a sleep hack as well. Something that people can take before bed to help them get through the night and not to have any blood sugar issues during the night. Can you talk about this as well?
Carly: Yes, honey is an amazing sleep hack. I actually love our CBD honey for that just for, yeah, the double sleep boost, but how that works is, so when you have honey it creates a slow steady spike in insulin, which allows the tryptophan in honey to cross the blood brain barrier where it’s converted into Serotonin and Melatonin in the dark. So you know, natural while documented sleep aid. And then the other reason that honeys really great before bed is because it helps us stock glycogen stores in your liver. So, especially as we age and particularly for women, glycogen stores can be depleted and you know, if they’re depleted when you’re going to bed, it can signal sort of a crisis search for fuel and wake you up in the middle of the night. So sometimes women as they’re aging, they have really disrupted sleep patterns. They wake up in the middle of the night and having just a teaspoon of honey before bed can help to stock those glycogen stores and make sure that you have good quality sleep and don’t wake up in the middle of the night.
Jesse: Great sleep hack there. And Carly, when you’re talking about B.Powered, you mentioned royal jelly and I want to come back to this cause we haven’t really gotten to the details. So what is royal jelly and where is it found within the beehive
Carly: Love royal jelly. Um, royal jelly is the food of the queen bee. So it’s the exclusive food for the queen and how it works in the beehive. When they’re producing a queen, they put the larva into the different cells and there’s one cell that’s just made larger for the queen. And then that’s, you know the larva that’s going to become a queen. And for all little baby bees, the first three days in development, they’re fed royal jelly. And then after the first three days they’re transitioned off of royal jelly onto a diet of pollen and honey. That’s for all bees except for the queen. The queen continues eating her diet of royal jelly exclusively for the rest of her life. And then if you look at how the queen develops on that diet, it’s very different. The queen will lay up to 1500 babies a day versus regular bees who they don’t have reproductive organs. The queen will live three to five years versus irregular be who lives six to eight weeks during foraging season. And the queen is just much more robust. So the queen develops in a very, very different way with royal jelly. And then for humans royal jelly has a profound effect. Some royal jelly has been used across cultures for a bunch of different things. It’s known as a powerful anti-aging agent. It’s amazing for hormonal stabilization for both men and women. It actually is known as a fertility tonic in traditional Chinese medicine. We have a lot of TCM practitioners who their first course of action when they take someone off birth control or they meet a couple having a hard time conceiving as they put them on to B.Powered or B.LXR and just get some royal jelly in there. But if you’re looking at western studies, a lot of the focus has been on royal jelly in the brain. So a study came out of University of Warsaw that found that consumption of royal jelly actually improves your spatial reasoning. And we know that royal jelly is really a powerful brain tonic and the reason for that is that royal jelly contains a ton of acetylcholine is actually the only naturally occurring source of acetycholine. And then acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter responsible for brain body connection. So you can think of royal jelly is helping to speed up your transmission system. And then the other silver bullet for brain health that is sort of found in royal jelly is these two fatty acids called 10-HDA and AMP N1-oxide. And these fatty acids act as a catalyst for neurogenesis. They promote brain derived neurotropic factor. They basically help to prevent premature aging of the brain. So royal jelly is a real power house when it comes to promoting focus, memory, concentration, preventing neurodegenerative conditions. It’s incredible for concussion recovery. That’s actually how we built our B.LXR product. My partner Daniel, who you guys know, he had a really serious concussion and he used royal jelly and the other herbs in our B.LXR formula to basically heal his brain. So these different natural substances can be really powerful and royal jelly is just a complete power house when it comes to the brain.
Jesse: So in the B.Powered product you have bee propolis, you have bee pollen, royal jelly and honey in a combination. But how powerful are the substances that are combined in this product? Like how much, how significant are the doses?
Carly: They are significant. So our philosophy at Beekeeper’s Naturals is short ingredient list with high quality and high dose ingredients. I’m not a big believer in, you know, these different powders that have 10,000 ingredients that you know, not enough of any one ingredient to move the needle we like to do. We’re pretty hardcore. We like to make sure we’re giving people things that they can feel and that are sort of in accordance with dosages that are given in the studies where they found positive results. So in our B.Powered formula for example our super powered honey. In one teaspoon you’ve got 745 milligrams of Royal Jelly, 532 milligrams of pollen and 43 milligrams of propolis. So it’s a pretty serious dose, 745 milligrams of royal jelly. That’s more than most royal jelly capsules you can purchase. And then also it’s going to be much more bioavailable because it’s coming in and natural form and it’s coming alongside the highly enzymatic superfoods that it sort of found with. And then in our B.LXR shots, there’s three ingredients. It’s the royal jelly, bacopa monnieri, which is a leaf traditionally used in ayurvedic medicine. It’s an adaptogen, so it helps to modulate the stress response. And it’s also really well known for being a memory tonic. And then gingko biloba, which is traditionally used in TCM. It’s great for reducing inflammation in the brain and it’s also an adaptogen. And those three ingredients, we’re dealing in the three to 500 milligrams per active ingredients. So our brain shots are pretty powerful and we actually have a lot of customers that will just kind of drink half a shot, put the cap on and have the rest of it the next day. Or you know, even less than that. For me, I do a full shot a day and I’m hardcore with byproducts products though, as I’ve said.
Marni: It’s so hard to take a half shot. I actually tried to do it before the interview today and I ended up down in the whole thing because it goes down so fast and so easy. These tiny little vials, I’m looking at the two empty ones on our desk right now. So Jesse ended up with one and a quarter and they’re awesome. They’re potent. What I love about them and as we’re talking about. Is it’s this clean, smooth focus without the need for caffeine. Like you just feel so clear headed and so mentally alert and I love how clean it is to cause a lot of nootropics that are on the market I think have a lot of fillers and other added ingredients in there.
Carly: They do and they have a lot of caffeine, which I think is kind of, it’s kind of hard to know if it’s working or not because caffeines a stimulant. So how do you know if these natural herb’s are actually operating on a neurological level if you’re pumped up with caffeine. So that’s why with our B.LXR formula we did no caffeine, no sugar its just you know, three simple plant based ingredients. Yeah, it’s pretty powerful. It’s a lot of customers say it’s like cutting through the fog. So I’m really happy to hear that you guys are enjoying them.
Marni: We love it. Another question I want to ask just about honey coming back to that is because it’s raw and so purr, what are your thoughts on using it in teas or cooking with it? Can it be used in small doses and hot beverages or hot mixes of some kind?
Carly: Yeah, so I use honey in all of my cooking and in all of my tea’s the same way with vegetables. You know, anytime you’re applying heat to something, you are killing some of the enzymes. But that doesn’t mean that your roasted broccoli isn’t healthy. So yeah, with honey you’re definitely, when you apply heat to it, you’re killing some of the enzyme content as you do with anything. But it’s still a much healthier alternative. And then to actually pasteurize honey you’re boiling it, you’re boiling it to the point where it’s bubbling. And that doesn’t happen when you know you’re making banana bread or you’re putting it in your tea. So it’s still certainly not the same as pasteurization.
Marni: Yeah. And that’s what I have always said to my cooking classes. Like when honey is going inside of a batter or mix in your oven, it’s not the same as it hitting your pan or your pot. Even when it’s going in your tea, it’s being stirred in or in an elixir, in the medium of something else. Usually something with fat or you know, something that’s going to contain it. So thank you for sharing your opinion on that.
Carly: Yeah, with pasteurization it’s literally in a pot bubbling, boiling for you know, often 30 minutes. So that’s not the same thing as being baked or any of that. So you don’t have to worry.
Marni: So Carly, we have talked all things bees we know about your products, Jesse and I love them, we use them. But before we wrap up, one question we like to ask all of our guests is, what does ultimate health mean to you?
Carly: Ultimate health to me means balance. And that’s certainly hard for an entrepreneur especially, you know when you’re in an early stage of your business and you’re running around like crazy. But I really work hard to find balance and balance for me it also means mindfulness. It means, you know, taking time, it’s balance with food, you know, not over stressing about that sort of stuff. So that’s what I really strive for.
Jesse: And what are some of the things over the years that you’ve done that have helped with that balance?
Carly: Meditation is really important for me. Um, you know, I do gratitude lists every single morning. I listen to a gratitude meditation and then I write in my five minute journal. I do that at the end of the day as well. And that’s just, especially when you’re kind of moving at a fast paced and you have a high stress job and you guys get it to as entrepreneurs, it can get really hectic really quickly. So taking a step back to create that kind of balancing, and sort of build on that mindfulness and just take a breath is really important. And then balance with food, really striving for clean ingredients. I’m very focused on, on organic and high quality foods. Um, you know, I spent a lot of time thinking about the role that pesticides play in our environment. So I work very hard to get away from them. And yeah, and just making sure that I’m having, I sort of have a varied diet, a lot of fruits and vegetables, extra heavy on the vegetables and you know, movements when I can, but really focusing on mindset as well.
Marni: Awesome. And other than the listeners getting stocked up and some of these awesome bee products which they can do by going to ultimatehealthpodcast.com/beekeepers and you’re going to get 15% off, how else can the listeners get in touch with you and get connected to what you’re up to?
Carly: So we are all over social media. beekeepers_naturals on Instagram. We have an awesome Instagram page with tons of information on the products, on health, on bees, on sustainability. We’re on Facebook, we’re on, you know, every single social media platform. Our website also fantastic. We have a great blog. If you want to dive deeper into the world of bees and bee products and our world of wellness, come check us out and yeah, that’s a, that’s beekeepersnaturals.com.
Jesse: All right Carly. We’re going to link all that up over at ultimatehealthpodcast.com in the show notes and this was just such a great informative conversation and we thank you greatly.
Carly: Thank you guys so much for having me. This was so much fun.
Marni: We hope you enjoyed today’s conversation with Carly. So much great information about bees and bee health and how to use all these amazing products. And just so you know Beekeeper’s is one of our sponsors. You’ve probably heard us talk about them before so to get 15% off of all of beekeepers naturals products. Be sure to head over to ultimatehealthpodcast.com/beekeepers and you can see all the awesome products that we talked about today and also let us know what you thought of today’s show. Let us know over on Instagram tag Carly Stein. She’s @stein.carly and @ultimatehealthpodcast. Let us know what new tab you learned about bees today.
Jesse: For full show notes, be sure and head over to ultimatehealthpodcast.com/297 we have links to everything we discussed in a nice show summary. Be sure and check it out. And each and every week now we’re putting out a free worksheet, something you can download, you can print out or keep on your device. This is a resource that contains information from that specific episode and it helps you implement that information into your healthy routine. So go to that same URL and download your worksheet. Before we let you go, I want to give some love to our editor and engineer Jase Sanderson over at podcasttech.com Jase you do such a great job putting the show together. We really appreciate it. And this weeks fun fact about Jase is that from a guest recommendation, he tried poached eggs and lots of olive oil for breakfast, and it was a treat. He upgraded by having avocado as well. Sounds great. Have an awesome week. We’ll talk soon. Take care.
Disclaimer: This is a raw transcript and it may contain some errors. To listen to the complete audio interview, go to ultimatehealthpodcast.com/297.
281: Vani Hari aka Food Babe – Feeding You Lies • Non-GMO vs. Organic • Life As A New Mom
248: Evan Brand – Parasites, H. pylori, & Candida • Cavitation Surgery • Addressing Mental Health
113: Joy Coelho & Jay Denman – JingSlingers • Tonic Herbs vs Adaptogens • The Ultimate Sleep Inducing Elixir
069: Joel Salatin – Alternative Farming Using Modern Technology | Chickens Expressing Their Chickenness | Grain-Fed vs. Grass-Fed Beef
049: Dr. Yoni Freedhoff – Embracing Imperfection | Stop Blaming The Food Industry | Staying Ahead Of Food Cravings
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