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On today’s episode Dr. Elana interviews Lopa van der Mersch, owner and founder of Rasa. A mama herself, Lopa created a line of adaptogenic coffee alternatives that give you regenerative energy that won’t cause you to crash and burn. This episode discusses the pitfalls of relying on caffeine for energy and how to feel energized without resorting to caffeine and instead using adaptogenic herbs. All moms and moms-to-be can benefit from listening to this episode!
Thank you to our podcast sponsor this week, Rasa. New customers can try RASA using discount code WHOLEMAMAS for 20% off.
Lopa van der Mersch 0:03
We’re not necessarily anti-coffee, it’s about finding the right balance for your body and being in touch with your true energy and not just overriding your body’s signals and being like, “Oh, I’m tired off coffee. I’ll keep going.” Because that starts to build that energetic debt over time.
Elana Roumell 0:21
Welcome back to Whole Mamas podcast. We’re here to give you tools, resources and evidence-based information so that you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family. Whether you’re trying to conceive or navigating life with a toddler or a teenager, we got you covered. I’m Dr. Elena Roumell, pediatric naturopathic doctor and creator of Med School for Moms, an online resource where I teach moms how to safely be a doctor mom, and my co-host is Stephanie Gruenke, registered dietitian and program director for Whole Mamas Club. She’s also the co-creator of Whole Mamas Pregnancy Program, where she teaches moms how to navigate the endless decisions around pregnancy.
Today I’m excited to bring Lopa on today’s show. Lopa is the owner and founder of Rasa. An actual mama herself, Lopa created a line of adaptogenic coffee alternatives that give you regenerative energy and fill the well within. The episode discusses the pitfalls of relying on caffeine for energy and how to feel energized without resorting to caffeine, and insread using adaptogenic herbs. All moms and moms-to-be can benefit from listening to this episode. Let’s go ahead and invite Lopa to the show. And of course, we’re going to start with our Nourish Yourself segment. Hi, Lopa. How are you today?
Lopa van der Mersch 1:34
Hey, Doctor Elana, I’m doing well. How are you?
Elana Roumell 1:36
Good. So glad you made the time to join us. We love your products. We love Rasa. Steph and I both use it ourselves. So we’re so excited to get to know you and to get to know why you decided to even create Rasa to begin with. But before we get into that, we always love to start with the nourish yourself segment. So, as a popular question is what did you do today to nourish yourself?
Lopa van der Mersch 1:57
Well, I am going to go ahead and go with the vulnerable and sort of on-the-edge answer, but I’m in a little bit of a rough time with my business right now. We’re just kind of short- staffed in a intense hiring process for a few different things, and we’ve got a product launch coming up–all these different things. I was feeling really overwhelmed and kind of panicking, right about lunchtime, when I probably should have gone in and eaten some food. What actually felt really nourishing for me was to get in the comfy chair that I have in my office, situate all the pillows really cozy, and just cry for a few minutes. And that was actually very nourishing.
Elana Roumell 2:34
You know what, no one’s ever shared that as one of their nourish yourself segments, and I just want to thank you for that because it truly is very vulnerable. And I have the chills right now because it is such a healing practice. Just to let that go and let those emotions go. I-I still have the chills! They usually go away quickly. I, one, I think that’s a challenging situation. I’m sure you felt so much better after crying. I’m glad you did that. Although, yeah, you do need lunch. I hope you go eat it before our podcast.
Lopa van der Mersch 3:01
Yes, of course, haha!
Elana Roumell 3:02
Okay, good. And you know, I think sometimes a sign of discomfort around businesses is when we’re growing too fast. And sometimes we can’t keep up with it. And so sometimes that’s a great problem, but it’s still a problem. So I hope you get through that pretty quickly. I mean, your products are great. So I know that whoever gets to work with you guys is really lucky to.
Lopa van der Mersch 3:20
Awesome. Yes, yes. We’re excited to be building our team for sure.
Elana Roumell 3:24
Good. So good luck. So, something I did today, to nourish myself, is actually a very minor thing, but it is so nourishing to me right now is I washed my hair. And I laugh because I think a lot of moms can relate. I’ve got an eight-week-old, and you know, it just some days you don’t get a chance to wash your hair! You’re lucky to even just get to jump in the shower just quickly to rinse off and I wanted to mention and preface: I actually have my baby Rafi with me again today for this podcast. He’s sitting in my arms, nursing as we speak. And I just feel so grateful that Stephanie and the Whole Mamas team, and all were so open to letting me have Rafi being so young be a part of these podcasts and letting him just kind of hang out with us. So, if he does interrupt this podcast, I apologize ahead of time–but I know with so many moms listening, they probably totally understand. And I’m just so grateful I could do some work with my baby with me. So I’ve got some washed hair, and I’m really happy. I feel really good to be chatting with you. It’s nice to kind of have some adult talking right now versus just all baby stuff. So, I kind of have the best of both worlds right now. So, thanks for your time. I’m excited.
Lopa van der Mersch 4:30
Yeah, Yeah, me too. And, I love that, that you can just integrate him into your life like that. I think that’s where we need to go as a culture. In a big way.
Elana Roumell 4:39
Mmm, hmm, I totally agree. Well, thank you for that. I feel so blessed. So, let’s start with the questions because I have a good number for you. I’m, you know, I just find your your business and your idea just to be so brilliant and it’s so needed. But before we really go into what Rasa is, I’m curious about your story and your passions behind it. You know, as a business woman myself, I know that it’s very hard to run businesses as you just shared vulnerably in our nourish yourself segment. It takes a lot of tough days to get through some of the stuff that we do, but it’s really driven by passion, and that’s what gets us really making it. So tell us a little bit about how you even got driven through your passion and how you got to where you are today.
Lopa van der Mersch 5:22
Yeah, sure. Well, it’s interesting because I had this sense, even before I got pregnant. I was like, you know, I just have this weird idea that there’s gonna be sort of a before motherhood, Lopa and an after motherhood Lopa, and I believe that’s true for for every mom. It is just such a birthing process of ourselves as well as of a child, but I didn’t quite realize that Rasa would be a direct result of that.
So, yeah, Rasa really was born out of out of mothering and out of a need. I was in a really stressful year of my life. And there are a lot of different details I can go into there but is probably too much for here. But it was, yeah, just one of those years where my nervous system was completely fried. I’d had two emergency surgeries, a death in the family, moved across the country. And I had a baby and had a huge falling out with my family to boot, right after having the baby. And…I don’t know if you’ve encountered this a lot, but I’ve encountered like a bit of this sort of cultural subtext that moms kind of given each other this kind of like, “Oh, you know, early motherhood, just guzzle coffee.” This is just the time that you guys are coffee and I have a history with ayurveda. And even my like most stoutly devoted, ayurveda practitioner friends would just sort of look the other way and sort of be like, you know, that this was just the time that I was addicted to coffee. Ayurveda and coffee are not generally great friends. Ayurveda really gives it a lot of side-eye, but I just knew, one, coffee’s never been great for my system. It’s always just sort of been like an anxiety provoking, weird stomach feeling, bad sleep kind of thing. And then my nervous system was just legitimately fried. And I was like, I can’t do that to myself right now.
So, I tried all the coffee alternatives out there. And there was that I wanted a certain set of things, like I wanted it to give me some energy–I needed that component. I wanted it to taste delicious. And I also wanted to have a bunch of health benefits too. I was like, you know, shouldn’t there be? Just like, I always I’ve been a fan of herbs as a long-time enthusiast more than a practitioner. Although I’ve done definitely some studying and herbs and both in ayurvedaan area. But I just knew, I was like, we could we could do a lot with this medium. You take a dark, rich roasty thing and just shove a bunch of really good herbs in there. Like why doesn’t this exist? And so, that was where the the idea for Rasa came from, and I partnered with an herbalist friend, who’s just an absolute genius with herbs, and she put together the formula. And, like a sort of crazy person and somewhat avoiding the challenges of that year, indeed, I started a business with my five-month-old baby at the time.
Elana Roumell 8:15
Oh, my goodness, I cannot believe you started a business as brand-new mom! It’s like some of the most challenging times. But I see that you saw a need that wasn’t there, and you created it. And I think that’s so wonderful because I agree there was there is a lot of stigma around how hard it is to be a mom. And it’s not really stigma. It’s real. I mean, we’re exhausted. You know, I’m personally not getting tons of sleep like I used to. And I remember even prior to me being a mom, I never drank coffee and actually, I still don’t–but I always remembered saying, “Oh, I’m just, I’m waiting ’til I’m a mom and then I’ll start drinking coffee.” I always would say that to a friends. Friends are like “You don’t drink coffee?” I’m like, “No, I’m just waiting till I’m a mom. I’m sure I’ll need it then.” And then when I had my, I just, I would always say that! It was just exactly what came out of my mouth. And then when I had my daughter, I realized oh, that’s interesting. I don’t need coffee yet. Oh, I bet when I have my second one, I need coffee. Like I just said that. And now that I my second, I actually haven’t needed coffee. And I’m like, Oh, I bet when I have my third it’s like this, this like, interesting thing.
So anyway, I love that you have, though, this alternative. And I think a big reason for me that I don’t drink coffee is because there are so many alternatives, and Rasa, you being one of them, is our main alternative. And it makes me feel good, whereas coffee just never made me feel good. I, I didn’t really want to drink it. So, let’s really talk about Rasa and, you know, some of our listeners may have already had a taste of it, some of them may not have, so go ahead and let us know a little bit about it. And then, how and what it is today for those who don’t know.
Lopa van der Mersch 9:43
Sure, sure. So Rasa is based on our 12 herb blend, and that’s sort of our signature blend, and it’s bringing together some of the most amazing herbs that we could possibly find from ayurveda, Chinese medicine, and Western herbalism, so it’s very well rounded culturally. In addition to being very well rounded from a benefits perspective, so we’ve got three amazing herbs for digestion, we’ve got seven adaptogenic herbs that all serve different functions in terms of short-term energy to long-term energy, sort of building those deep reserves. And especially for moms, and especially for the postpartum period. You know, you really want to be thinking about building those reserves because you just completely drain them into your baby, and will continue to do so via breastfeeding and taking care of baby–whether you breastfeed or not–all the different ways that we pour ourselves into our children. And, you know, short-term, long-term energy, herbs and adaptogens, which helps your body to adapt to stress and become more resilient in the face of stress. And then two mushrooms and cinnamon, which also help to circulate those benefits through the rest of your body, and just lend a sort of harmonizing flavor as well as blood sugar balance. So it’s very comprehensive in terms of the benefits that I can offer.
And really the, when we started, we went for this perspective of like, how can we just make this the most amazing thing possible, while still making the price point as accessible as possible and, and making it taste good. So, we just didn’t compromise in terms of ingredients at all. And now we have three blends; there’s about to be a fourth. So, we have our original, which is just the 12 herbs; we have cacao, which is the 12 herbs blended with cacao. And then dirty, which is the 12 herbs blended with coffee. We had so many people that were adding coffee to it. And we’re not necessarily anti-coffee–it’s about finding the right balance for your body and being in touch with your true energy, and not just overriding your body’s signals and being like, “Oh, I’m tired, I’ll havecoffee, I’ll keep going.” It’s because that starts to build that energetic debt over time, but it’s really about you know, everyone’s going to have sort of a different baseline that works for them. So, that’s part of my, you know, people are sometimes confused like, “Wait you’re a coffee alternative company, but you have coffee and wherever in your products.?” And we’re like, yeah, it’s about getting amazing ingredients into your body and having a healthy relationship with your energy.
Elana Roumell 12:13
Great. And, you know, what I love about dirty is that the caffeine level is still far less than what a regular cup of coffee and a lot of it is because you don’t need that extra caffeine when you have those re-energizing type of herbs. So, I just think it’s a brilliant concept.
Lopa van der Mersch 12:27
Elana Roumell 12:28
It’s amazing that you’ve made it taste so good! Usually, these type of herbs that you have in the blend, don’t–and so, I just find it really neat that you guys were able to do that.
Unknown Speaker 12:38
It is, ah, it is a labor of love.
Elana Roumell 12:41
Yes, I know.
Lopa van der Mersch 12:43
Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate that you know that because, yes!
Elana Roumell 12:46
I do, because I work with herbal medicine in my practice. Yes, just getting creative to get them into kids is sometimes very challenging. And so I’m always looking for things that really do taste good and are palatable, and I just find–now, I wouldn’t recommend this to kids. This isn’t a drink for a child–although, I suppose some may like it. But, no, for adults who are used to the coffee taste, you’ve really done a great job for that.
Lopa van der Mersch 13:10
Thanks. Thanks. Yeah, we we taste test and reformulate it for every harvest that we get.
Elana Roumell 13:16
Lopa van der Mersch 13:17
And which is just an operational complexity. But, yeah, you know, if one of the herbs is more potent–especially one of the stinkier herbs like ashwagandha or something like that–you know, we’ve had some sometimes where we got an ashwagandha batch, we just blended it up, and then we’re like, wait, this is this is wrong, what is going on here? And so, we’re like, okay, we actually need to slightly reformulate each time that we get a new harvest so that we can just base the flavor balance off of what the herbs are now because, you know, we’re dealing with nature.
Dr. Yolanda 13:50
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Elana Roumell 15:00
Well, that’s a testimony to how integrous your business is, I would say, because in many large-scale businesses, they wouldn’t necessarily do the that type of operational procedure– that’s a lot per batch. But you are, you’re working with nature, and that can change, so I think that that’s a really great thing for you to share. So thank you for that.
I know a lot of moms, we get these questions all the time, they ask, “You know, are these groups safe during pregnancy? Are they safe during nursing?” And I think a lot of the pregnant and nursing women could really benefit from your blend. So, I just wanted to hear from you how you can answer that question, just so moms can feel like they know how to choose these wisely.
Lopa van der Mersch 15:37
Yeah, yeah. So, I really like to give both sides. The scientific side is relatively short, and the other side is relatively long, so bear with me, but the FDA has not determined safety one way or the other. Interestingly, we used to say the FDA says it’s unsafe and our FDA lawyer was like, “No, actually the FDA doesn’t say it’s unsafe. You don’t need to say that; you’re overextending yourself there.” The FDA just doesn’t know, because there’s not enough information about a number of these herbs from a scientific study perspective, especially with pregnant and nursing women, which, as I’m sure you know, it’s really hard to get pregnant and nursing women to do random studies. So, from that perspective, they would say stay away because there’s not enough information. However, you know, these herbs, many of them hail from Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. They have been used in practical application for hundreds, even thousands of years. We have consulted with, at this point, a few dozen herbalists and ayurveda practitioners and Chinese medicine practitioners asking this question. And we’re just continuing to see like, is there new information? Is there anything that we should know? And they all say that these herbs should be fine in these doses; they see no problem whatsoever with recommending them to pregnant and nursing women. I, myself, drank it during my second pregnancy, and all throughout. I’m still nursing my almost two-year-old and still have been drinking it.
And, you know, there are a few different components to consider here. You know, my interest is in helping moms to develop that mindset and making the choices that feel right for their bodies. It’s not about, like, if the FDA answers the right answer for you, like, more power to, you know, like, truly. If you’re into, you know, experimenting more and sort of trying different things, then, you know, I want to empower people to make the decision that’s right for them. And, number one on that, is listen to your body. You know, mom’s bodies know, I think, especially well, and just have that sixth sense especially well developed when they’re pregnant and nursing. When I was in my first trimester with my second, I felt repulsed by Rasa. And I was like, “Oh, no, is this me? I’m gonna hate it forever?” And once I passed my first trimester, I started craving it again. And so I drank it as much as I wanted. In the postpartum period, I literally felt like it was filling my cells as I was drinking. It was amazing.
And then the other consideration, too, is that you know, in our core products, we’re using whole herbs–these aren’t extracts–it’s in a very balanced blend. So, it’s not like you’re just going out and taking some rhodiola, for example. I wouldn’t say, you know, yes, I would recommend rhodiola for pregnant or nursing women, on its own, as an extra. It’s very drying; it’s a little bit too stimulating. It’s got a little bit just too much going on for that delicate time, but in a formula with other nourishing, grounding herbs–and it’s not in a high proportion, and all of these things. So, you know, there’s, there’s just a lot of–you have to be smart about it, and you have to, ideally, work with an herbalist or a functional medicine practitioner who’s going to have some familiarity with these herbs and be able to assess that directly. But we have a lot of functional medicine doctors and ayurveda practitioners and Chinese medicine practitioners who all recommend it to their patients, including pregnant and nursing women. But, it’s you know, it’s case by case basis. Generally speaking, if it’s in a balanced formula, something that was created by an herbalist or someone that really has experience, I think is really important. There’s a lot of products out there that I see in the herbalism world where they just threw a bunch of stuff that looks trendy, and without a lot of care, you know, it’s like, some Silicon Valley bro just felt like throwing a bunch of stuff in or whatever–I don’t think that you’re going to get the same kind of thought process that we put into it where the other herbalists would put into their products around, like, “Is this gonna be safe for most people most of the time, over a long period of time, even if they drink a lot?–you know, all those kind of considerations. And so, that is the long version.
Elana Roumell 19:41
Okay, good, no, and I think that’s good. It’s a personal choice. And if you don’t mind me putting a quick plug since I am a naturopathic doctor, so I have studied a lot about herbal medicine. And I teach this, actually my course, it’s called Med School for Moms, I teach a whole course on herbal medicine. I think it’s worth just putting a little bit of a teaching point here. And you said a little bit about this, so I’m just going to reiterate. So, herbs come in all different forms. Some are safe for kids; some are safe for pregnant women; some are safe for nursing women; and some are not. But I think what’s very important is that it comes in different type of strengths or potency. So you used the word “it comes into whole herb, whereas it’s not an extract.” And so moms may be curious what that means. And so, when we gather herbs from, let’s say, a garden, you can either use the whole plant material, and you’re going to get a different type of potency or strength from that, or you can extract that using either alcohol or glycerin or different other methods to get an even more potent type of herb. And so I think what you were saying, Lopa, just to kind of summarize, is that you’ve really chosen to use the whole herbs in its whole form, which I think is a really great, very gentle way of giving the body the herbs. And so I don’t think moms should feel too scared about that because the rhodiola that’s within Rasa’s product is going to be a very different product than a very concentrated form of rhodiola, let’s say in a capsule, or a tincture, which could be more of the extract. So Lopa, do I have that correct? That you guys are using the whole plant versus the extracts? So it’s just a lot less potent–still effective!–but that moms shouldn’t have to worry so much about that.
Lopa van der Mersch 21:20
Yes, exactly. So our core products do use just the whole herbs. We are launching a new product that does have extracts and that’s one that I would advise more caution with moms.
Elana Roumell 21:31
Oh, interesting! Tell us about this new product. I don’t even know about this. This is exciting!
Lopa van der Mersch 21:36
Yeah, yeah! So we’ve been working on this for a while. I believe it’s going to launch by the time this podcast goes live. So I will talk about it freely. It’s Rasa Bold, and basically, we sort of went in and asked ourselves, “How can we give the thrill of caffeine?” Because, let’s not lie, like, caffeine is thrilling. It’s amazing, without any caffeine whatsoever. And so, that was where we drew into like, right, how we referenced dozens of studies on adaptogens. We referenced a lot of the literature, the scientific literature, that was available to get a formula that was really going to be just very powerful, and really give you that kick.
And this is one that I would not recommend during pregnancy and not recommend during the early frolicking–definitely not in that fourth trimester of nursing. Now, again, you can always consult with a health care practitioner, and if my herbalist was in the room right now, he might be like, “No, it’s actually okay. We just want them to be careful.” You know, but it does have rhodiola extract, it has eleuthero extract, lion’s mane, cordiceps, which is another pretty powerful one, which I would say, you know–these are more young tonics and when you’ve just had a baby that’s like the ultimate young creation event of a person’s life possible. And so, you really want to be focusing more on nourishing that yin and the herbs in the original Rasa and cacao, and even Dirty, are going to have more of that good yin nourishing components in balance with the young. Whereas with Bold, it’s a little bit more like straight young. It’s intended for those times, like if you’ve had a rough night with your kid, and you just need to get through like–those times where you would drink coffee. Or if you’ve got you know, a big event, or, you know, a big work push, when you need that extra boost for a day, a week, a month, even a year is fine. It’s it’s not going to be harmful to use it consistently. But I would use more caution in the delicate times of pregnancy and postpartum.
Elana Roumell 23:38
Great, now is there caffeine and coffee in that Bold blend, or is it also–
Lopa van der Mersch 23:43
Elana Roumell 23:43
Okay, so that’s just all herbs.
Lopa van der Mersch 23:45
Just all herbs!
Elana Roumell 23:46
This is such a brilliant product. I mean, again, I’m a big fan of herbal medicine and just natural therapies in general and, again, they’re not the tastiest type of products. So, you don’t think to like sip on it, or you don’t think– you think of it like as a supplement or a tincture or, you know, capsules, something like that. And so, I just think it’s such a brilliant idea to really make it into something so therapeutic. And there are definitely a lot of brands who have now done a lot with the mushrooms and such but not necessarily combine it with so many of the different adaptogens, and the mushrooms, and made it into a very warm type of beverage similar–and similar to the look and feel of coffee.
Lopa van der Mersch 24:22
Mmm, hmm, yeah!
Elana Roumell 24:24
So, very neat. Okay, well, I’m excited for that Bold one to come out. That’ll be great. Let’s talk a little bit about why caffeine and coffee may not be the best type of beverage for some moms out there. You know, there are a lot of pitfalls on relying for caffeine for energy. And so wondering if you could just take a chance to talk a little bit about that, just to remind some of our moms or to teach some of them that don’t know this.
Lopa van der Mersch 24:46
Sure, sure. So, um, caffeine. It’s really a short-term solution. It’s not actually addressing any of the underlying issues that are contributing to your exhaustion–and some of those might be lifestyle and might be out of your control if you’re a new mom. But generally, caffeine is essentially giving your adrenals a bit of a kick, your central nervous system a bit of a kick; it’s causing a cortisol spike, which is part of why you feel amazing because cortisol is designed to help us be able to fight or flight or flee. So caffeine does that for us, which that energy comes from somewhere. And where it comes from is, basically, your deep reserves–it’s pulling from your energy reserves. It’s pulling from your life force. One of the things that they say in Chinese medicine is that coffee borrows energy from tomorrow to fuel today. So you can sort of see it as an energetic debt, and as you continue to use it, like okay, everybody might need a stopgap measure sometimes; I still drink coffee sometimes. Pretty infrequently. It’s just not usually that worth it for me, but you know, everyone, so I’m like, yeah, I’m gonna have like an actual coffee. These days, I just go for dirty Rasa and like, that’s fine–but a lot of the ways that people use it is to essentially ask more of their bodies than their bodies are capable of and wanting to give. I see it as a, it’s a bit of a parallel to the way that we treat the earth, you know, we take, we extract more than the resources are there to give, and we do the same thing to our bodies.
And another metaphor that I sometimes used to describe this too is, you know, with respect to hunger: A lot of people are either, you know, it’s easy in our culture to either sort of binge or purge, and either override your hunger signals in one way or the other, having too much or too little. And I think that conversation needs to evolve around energy as well. It’s the same way we’re not really in touch with our true energy. Sometimes we’re just tired and need to rest. And, in our culture that’s getting increasingly harder. And so, you know, we’re big proponents of being more in touch with that true energy and not overriding your body signals with this external tool of, usually, coffee, and being just more in touch and having that sort of force you into a little bit more sanity for your life–and just force you into that question of like, “What less can I do?” And as I say that, oh my gosh, I really need to do, is, ah, follow my own advice here. But…
Elana Roumell 27:25
No, it’s great because we all get caught up in this and I think it’s just this is why it’s such a good reminder for people. I love what you said about it’s kind of going into our reserves, and then it puts us in debt. And it’s actually a big reason why I never like to drink coffee is I feel like if I’m that lethargic or that low energy–and I’m having to go ahead and grab a cup of coffee–it just means that something in my life is off that needs to be recalibrated. And so, what can I do so that I do have the energy because obviously I’m overexerting myself and I think for me, I just personally am constantly looking in and tuning into what other alternatives I have. Whereas there could be listeners out there who, they just need the coffee, there’s, I mean, it’s just something that makes them feel good. They don’t have any side effects to it. It just is really one cup of day is all that they need.
Lopa van der Mersch 28:17
Elana Roumell 28:17
And I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, then, if it’s just that one cup. But I think it’s for people who are really dependent on it. They need multiple cups; they need more cups in the afternoon, where it is really a bit of a huge pull on on the adrenals and overall on their health. But I think if people know that there are alternatives so that they do get a pick-me-up, because being tired, especially being a mom, that’s not abnormal. That’s actually to be expected. It just so nice to know that there are alternatives that have health benefits. So, having something like Rasa is just such a nice option.
Unknown Speaker 28:48
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah, it’s really about coming back to like what’s right for your body and being really connected to that. Sometimes it can help to quit something just like the Whole30–it can help to quit sugar, to recalibrate your relationship to how you’re nourishing yourself through food. And in the same way can help to come off of caffeine and be like, all right, what’s the truly sane amount for my body?
Elana Roumell 29:12
Exactly. And I think for everyone, it could be a little bit different, and I think talking a little bit about different ways to feel energized without resorting to caffeine could be a lot of different things. It could be sleeping more; it could be, you know, restructuring your schedule, because it’s not in your favor. It could be, I don’t know, asking people for more help, you know, could be doing more nourishing principles. And for a lot of people could be Rasa. I mean, it’s, that’s the thing is we have a lot of different ways to energize ourselves. And I think it’s such a cultural highlight right now that coffee is THE thing–and the only thing–and I think that’s actually doing a little bit more harm than good, especially when coffee is filled with sugars and creams and flavorings and all this stuff that also are not good impacts on our body. So, I just think this is such a great alternative. So, I appreciate you sharing that.
Lopa van der Mersch 30:01
Thanks. Thanks. Yeah.
Elana Roumell 30:03
Yeah, definitely a labor of love. Was there anything else you wanted to share with our audience as far as your products, or as far as just, you know, caffeine in general, and the pitfalls that people can get into and how we can avoid that?
Lopa van der Mersch 30:16
You know, I really noticed a lot that there’s there is a bit of an increasing cultural Zeitgeist around people who want to wean off of coffee, or “I need to be drinking less coffee” or, you know, “This is the year I’m going to start getting off coffee.” And, you know, we’re not here to make you feel bad for using coffee. You know, really, it is about finding the right balance for your body. We do have a pretty amazing deal going on right now on an energy reset package. So we’ve–I like to joke that I was a level 12 Yogi–but for a while yoga and meditation were the central focus of my life. Pre-launching a business, I learned a lot of techniques and, in terms of how to energize without caffeine, and how to sort of tap into that inner well. And so, we made this energy reset package that has also a 12-day email program that kind of walks you through some of the different ways that you can self-nourish and self-support. That one is not eligible for additional discounts because it’s already very discounted, but if you go to our website and check out energy reset package–I’m not sure how long we’re going to be continuing that one–but it’s already been really great for a lot of people who’ve been on the program.
Elana Roumell 31:28
I love that! Thank you for sharing. I didn’t know you offered that. And I love it because it really goes aligned with Rasa’s mission, essentially, is just helping re-energized people without, necessarily, the pitfalls of caffeine, per se. And so, I just think it’s great because there are other ways to do that. And you guys have really honed in on all these different ways. So that’s great. Where can people find more about this program, and where can they find Rasa? Where’s Rasa sold? Can they find it in stores? Do they have to go online? Tell us a little bit about that.
Lopa van der Mersch 31:55
Sure. So Rasa is, we’re mostly ecommerce, so we’re mostly on our website; we are rasa.com. And we’re also on Amazon. And then we are in a few hundred stores across the country, mostly independent boutique stores and co-ops and small grocery stores, no chains yet. Just it’s a very expensive way to grow a business, not many people realize that. We have a store locator at the bottom of our website, and you can go and just type in your zip code if you want to find a store near you. We may or may not have one–apologies if we don’t–but Amazon and our website are always available.
Elana Roumell 32:29
Great. Well, thank you so much. I love that, and you’ve been so generous. You’ve also offered a 20% off discount to any new customers. So I want to give that code to our listeners. It’s just homemamas; you’ll use it at checkout. If you go to their website, We Are Rasa. So w-e for “we”; are: a-r-e; and rasa: r-a-s-a.com. Thank you so much, Lopa. That was really nice and generous of you guys just for people who want to try it. Anything else before we wrap up? I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. I hope our listeners have too, and I’m really excited to go on and go ahead and brew another cup for myself, actually, because it really is a tasty beverage.
Lopa van der Mersch 33:07
Awesome. No, I don’t think I have anything else in particular.
Elana Roumell 33:10
Okay, great. Well, we’re really looking forward to the new products. That’d be fun for us to try. I, unfortunately, wouldn’t be able to try it myself because I am in my fourth trimester nursing, but I’m excited for maybe Stephanie and some of my friends and some patients actually who can try it and let me know how it goes. So good luck with that launch. And really good luck with everything. I think it’s a brilliant concept. We’re so excited to have you on today’s show.
Lopa van der Mersch 33:30
Thank you so much. Really appreciate it.
Elana Roumell 33:32
You’re so welcome. Well, if you enjoyed this episode, please help us out by sharing our podcast with your mama friends, and write us a review on iTunes. Let us know what you enjoyed about the episode and help us grow our village. You can also visit our website at homemamasclub.com/podcasts to review show notes, find past episodes, and leave comments and questions for future shows. Please remember that the views and ideas presented on this podcast are for informational purposes only. All information is for informational purposes and not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a health care provider. Consult with your health care provider before starting any diet supplement regimen or determine the appropriateness of the information shared on this podcast, or if you have any questions regarding your treatment plan. Now, go on, have a good day, and nourish and nurture yourself and your family.
- Why Lopa created Rasa and how it has been supporting mamas
- Details about the herbs chosen for each blend
- What adaptogens are and why they benefit moms
- Pitfalls of relying on caffeine for energy
- How to feel energized without resorting to caffeine
This episode's guest
Lopa is the founder and CEO of Rasa, a brand making adaptogens accessible through holistically-balanced tonic adaptogenic coffee alternatives…while bringing some much-needed humor and realness to wellness. Growing a start-up from launch to breakeven in 8 months, while attachment-parenting two tiny humans (3 & 1), is no easy feat, and Lopa credits a steady diet of adaptogens, integrity, and playfulness as being key to Rasa’s success (and her not going completely insane in the process).
Lopa’s past is a wild ride that includes: dropping out of college to caretake a wildlife refuge, a short stint as a British dancing lady, cremating dead bodies, being the Biochar Queen who worked with Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room and spoke at TEDx, joining two cults (which offered both real spiritual value and real trauma), traveling the world, and finally, starting Rasa. Her love of business and adaptogens is only matched by her passion for tea ceremony and her knack for often-inappropriate humor, thanks to the sarcastic 12-year-old that lives inside her.