She SAID: Beyond Bee Panacea

Shahada Karim

Monika Kozdrowiecka is late. She’s running behind schedule for the same reason that thousands of Los Angeles natives do evmonikagosiaery day: traffic. My phone rang as I sat on the staircase to the Virgin Raw Foods penthouse, minutes after our scheduled meeting time:

“I’ve just parked. I’ll be there in a nanosecond.”

And she was. A petite, clear eyed blonde woman appeared a short time later, casually dressed in a button down blouse, jeans and ballet flats. A smile revealed the finest character lines around her eyes and mouth, and she extended a hand.

“Hello! I’m Monika.”

The co-founder of Virgin Raw Foods began her journey to conscious health and wellness 14 years ago. She was already used to eating foods grown locally and organically in her home country of Poland. But it was more habit than anything else. Monika and her family lived in the simplest conditions, with no running hot water and an outdoor bathroom, for most of her young adult life. When she decided to take the trip to the United States, her father told her to have fun. But he also sent her with a stern warning: Don’t eat the meat.

“I could smell the chemicals in the chicken.” She says. “At the time I didn’t realize it was hormones and antibiotics and all the stuff they put in meat. But I could smell it.”

panaceajarThat awareness of food sourcing, preparation and consumption became the seed from which Virgin Raw foods, and eventually Bee Panacea, was born. Monika had always been aware of the benefits of certain foods. “My Mother would tell me, eat your parsley for Vitamin C, eat your carrots for Vitamin A. We grew everything from the earth. I knew it was good food. I thought everyone ate like we did.”

Monika soon realized that things were very different on this side of the Atlantic. Curiosity let her to San Francisco’s Bay Area, where she visited several raw food colonies. “I was surprised by how clear everyone’s eyes were.” Monika says. “These people who didn’t cook their food were laughing and dancing and everyone seemed so clear and happy.” Her curiosity grew.

In 2008, she became deathly ill. “I don’t like to talk about it.” But Monika insists that it was bad. So bad in fact, that Western Medicine did nothing to help. “The doctors couldn’t do anything. So I decided to help myself.”

monikapanaceaMonika travelled extensively to Thailand (“I’ve been back dozens of times”), South America, China, and back to San Francisco to the raw foodists. By the time she decided to start Virgin Raw Foods in 2009 with the help of her sister Gosia, Monika was armed with more than enough knowledge about the power of raw food and homeopathic medicine.

At first, Virgin Raw Foods operated as a sort of depot for natural herbs and remedies. “We didn’t make much money.” She says.
It was actually Gosia who put together the very first batch of what is now Bee Panacea. Through trial and error (“We used to use Coconut Oil, but it didn’t work. So we took it out”), they perfected the formula. They made an initial batch of six jars and took them to a local store. The jars sold. Then they made 12. They sold. And so it goes.

Their big break came when former Spice Girl turned Fashion Designer Victoria Beckham discovered Bee Panacea at a juice bar in Venice. She tried it, fell in love, and tweeted about it. Business soared.vicbeckham

“I wasn’t really sure what to do at first.” Says Monika. “I didn’t know that Twitter could do so much. I was so thankful. I wanted to say thank you but I had no idea how to reach Victoria.” But that didn’t stop her. “I made up a gift box and took it to the juicer.” One stroke of good luck lead to another, and Monika met husband David (Beckham), who took her to Victoria. To this day, Mrs. Beckham swears by Virgin Raw Foods Bee Panacea.

Monika and Gosia run Virgin Raw Foods without any outside help. “We invest completely in the company.” She says. “If you saw my little apartment you would think I was a struggling student.” She laughs it off. “Everything goes to Virgin Raw Foods. I don’t need fancy things to live. I am comfortable and I am grateful.” Monika doesn’t even pay for gas. Her Tesla Model S runs completely on electricity. “It was a gift.” She says. “I would never pay for such an expensive car.”

It’s apparent that Bee Panacea is Monika’s baby. She believes completely in everything about the blend. The formula is sourced with strict organic standards.

panaceaingredients(“We require certification from all of our suppliers.”) The company works with nature to blend the ingredients. That means that no two jars of Bee Panacea are identical. “Honey changes with the seasons so if your Panacea is stiff, it’s because of Avocado Honey. If it’s loose, it’s because of Orange Blossom Honey.”

The Honey is key to the blend. Without it, Monika says the formula would not be nearly as effective. “Honey contains glucose (sugar) and fructose (stabilizer). It delivers the Panacea straight to the bloodstream.” It also helps to stabilize the blend. “You can keep it for up to 2 years.”

panaceatopHoney is the only thing that changes with the blend. Bee Panacea has been made with the same 20 ingredients since Monika and Gosia perfected the recipe and sent it to market. It continues to come together in small batches in a commercial kitchen in Orange County. Monika is very proud of the operation. panaceakitchen“We are inspected by the Orange County Authority regularly.” She says. “Our kitchen is so spotless that they tell us we raised the bar!”

Monika’s noticeably clear eyes sparkle as she tells the story of how Virgin Raw Foods began. From the first word to the last, she constantly reminds me of how truly grateful, blessed and happy she is to try to make the smallest difference in the health and well being of others. Even as she hugged me goodbye and sent me on my way with a jar of Bee Panacea in tow, I am aware of how much she cares about her contribution and legacy. For Monika, life… and everything in it… is a gift.

We SAID: Meet Shahada Karim

SAID Team Member: Beauty/Lifestyle Editor

Charged with: Helping you make informed choices about skincare, makeup, haircare, home and leisure

·Full Name: SHAHADA KARIM

·Astrological Sign: SCORPIO

·Favorite Color: RED

·Spirit Animal: PHOENIX (Still I Rise)

·Favorite Time of Day: DAWN (Just before the sun crests the horizon)

·Best way to unwind: MEDITATE

·Most Significant occurrence(s) of 2014: I COMPLETED YOGA TEACHER TRAINING AND EXPANDED MY PRACTICE TO SHARE WITH OTHERS.

·Favorite Book: THE PRESIDENT’S CLUB

·Favorite Movie: SERENITY

·Favorite Song: JUST LIKE HEAVEN

·Person I most admire: MY MOTHER

·Grateful for: FINDING GRACE

She SAID: Digest This

Terri Kennerson

” ‘Tis the day after Christmas and all through the house…”

Everyone is trying to get their bearings after eating and drinking enough to feed a small army. The average person gains about 1 pound between Thanksgiving and New Years (overweight or obese individuals gain up to 5 pounds). While that may not seem like a lot, that weight gain is not typically lost in the coming year. So, Happy Holidays! Here’s your annual holiday weight gain.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of remedies from all over the world to help you send those holiday pounds packing.

Ancient Chinese Secret:

Ginger Root has beedigestthis1n used for centuries to help with common stomach complaints. It’s a staple ingredient in both Eastern and Western cooking, but as medicine… it’s most effective when used by itself. Ginger paste or juice is typically used to treat nausea and digestion. A few preliminary studies suggest that ginger may even help lower cholesterol and prevent blood from clotting. That can help treat heart disease, where blood vessels can become blocked and lead to heart attack or stroke.

From Russia With Love:

Kombucha started in China, but really took hold in Russia in the digestthis21900’s. The drink is enjoying quite the surge in popularity these days. It’s nearly a staple drink in cities like Los Angeles, where manufacturers are flavoring the traditional tea with everything from plums to cayenne pepper. The lightly carbonated drink is typically made with sweetened black and/or green tea, which is fermented with a symbiotic colony of bacteria or yeast. Most health claims about kombucha have yet to be supported by scientific evidence, but it’s most typically used to aid with digestion and fatigue, and to maintain overall colon health.

(Middle) Eastern Promises:

A little bit of Fendigestthisnel goes a long way to help settle the stomach. The Mediterranean herb is used throughout the world to flavor a meal, or remedy many a digestive or respiratory problem. It’s common practice in many Middle Eastern countries to chew a little fennel at the end of a meal, to keep the gas at bay. It’s also been known to work wonders for heartburn.

So go ahead and indulge in those Holiday Favorites. Just follow up with a little spice (or fungus) to keep those Holiday Pounds from carrying over into the New Year.

We SAID: Meet Terri Kennerson

SAID Team Member: Travel/Lifestyle Contributor

Charged with: Helping you make informed choices about travel and lifestyle

·Full Name: Terri G. Kennerson

·Astrological Sign: LEO

·Favorite Color: YELLOW

·Spirit Animal: PENGUIN (Penguins make everyone smile. If you’ve ever seen a penguin and not smiled, you’re not human.)

·Favorite Time Of Day: HIGH NOON (I divide my time before and after)

·Favorite Book: WILD

·Favorite Movie: THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL

·Favorite Song: WHITER SHADE OF PALE

·Person I most admire: MY SISTER AMY (She’s tougher than anyone gives her credit for)

·Grateful for: EVERY SINGLE DAY

We SAID: Golden Gifts

Staff Writer

When the best laid plans give way to last minute Holiday Shopping madness, the mad dash to buy everything… anything… often results in someone getting a bedazzled candle that smells mildly of mothballs. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of one of those things, you know it’s never a good idea to pay it forward. If you’re among those racing to check off everyone on your list, do not despair. Even in the final few days before Christmas, you can give gifts that fit the personality of your target audience.

The Makeup Lover:

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Trio offers three tubes of their best selling liquid highlighter, including a goldengifts5limited edition shade of Champagne Gold. Pair it with the limited Edition Champagne Gold Powder for a result that truly lights up the season.

The Candle Snob:

Dolce & Gabanna’s Velvet Sublime Candle is a brightly elegant combination of Sicilian Mandarin, Orange Blossom and Neroli. It’s one of four candles meant to match fragrances in the Velvet Collection. One whiff melts away the Winter chill and transports you to the sun-warmed orange groves of Sicily.

The Timekeeper

This sparkling addition to the Movado lineup features a sun-brushed dial framed in 90 diamonds. The boldgoldengifts1 line is fashioned to be purposely androgynous … so it can grace the wrist of just about anyone.

The Hair Apparent

goldengifts2Chanel’s hair comb offers just the right amount of shine without going overboard. Use it as a finishing touch for the one in your life who’s obsessed with having every hair in place.

The Ultimate Fashionistagoldengifts3

Christian Louboutin’s classic half d’orsay pump is dipped in gold, for the one who’s always goldengifts4concerned with putting the best foot forward.

The Nailphile

Dior’s Golden Shock polish features real gold leaf, suspended in a clear base. Use alone for a hint of sparkle, or over colored nail polish to add a golden touch to any manicure.

We SAID: Meet Sheri Coveny

SAID Team Member: Lifestyle Contributor

Charged with: Helping you make informed decisions health, wellness, beauty and lifestyle

·Full Name: SHERI

·Astrological Sign: SAGITTARIUS

·Favorite Color: PURPLE

·Spirit Animal: I’M NOT SURE WHAT THIS IS… BUT I’M A DOG LOVER SO I GUESS THAT WOULD BE IT.

·Favorite Book: THE BIBLE

·Favorite Movie: HERE COMES THE BOOM

·Favorite Song: UPTOWN FUNK

·Person I most admire: MY DAD

·Grateful for: MY DAD BEAT A VERY RARE FORM OF CANCER, AND HAS NOW BEEN CANCER FREE FOR 7 MONTHS!