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A podcast where you join me (Penny!) as I chat to fellow creatives over a cocktail.
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Ara Katz is a mother, entrepreneur, author and wellness expert. She is the co-founder of microbial sciences company Seed Health and consumer innovations brand, Seed.
Ara’s first pregnancy and breastfeeding experience led her to the microbiome and inspired her personal mission to explore the importance and impact of microbes.
At Seed Health, she leads fundraising, design thinking, brand, insights, commercialization, and the company’s translational work in science communication and storytelling.
Ara lives in Venice, California with her husband and six-year-old son, Pax and is currently pregnant with her second child.
The invisible work – childcare and the roles her and her spouse play as two hard-working startup founders
Mindset going into having two children
How her mom’s pancreatic cancer inspired her to dive deep into health, care for our bodies and preventative health
How her miscarriage before her current child was an eye opener to what she wanted to do with her life
What is seeding?
The effect of microbes in the prenatal period, birth and environmental
What is vaginal swabbing and the effect of breastfeeding on the child’s microbiome
The differences in vaginal microbiome and how that can affect reproductive health
What she prioritizes in wellness everyday
Seed has generously offered 15% off your entire order if you use the code MOMMYSONACALL. If you haven’t tried the adult version of Seed (DS-01™ Daily Synbiotic) then now’s the time to try both the adult and kid versions (PDS-08™ Pediatric Daily Synbiotic) and get 15% your order.
Disclaimer: Seed is not sponsoring this podcast and I am not an affiliate for their products (at least right now). I am a huge advocate for improving the future generations of health and just excited to be a part of sharing their science-backed products.
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[00:00:00] Stephanie: Hi, mamas. And welcome back to mommy’s on a call. How is it already the middle of April? I swear. I just said, how is it already March? Just a couple weeks ago, but I realized, I apologize. There’s been a three week gap since the last episode, things kind of got a little crazy with kids spring break. My kid had a two week spring break, like who has two weeks of spring break.
And so I ended up taking that time to slow down detach from social media detach, from work, and really focus on being present with my kids for those two weeks.
I realized I was so excited for so many years, for the day for my kids to start to go to school. But now I realize it’s a rare chance when all three of them get to be home all together outside of the weekends.
And so I took that time to really enjoy that time together as a family. We went on a family vacation to Mexico, which I’m not sure about you as a parent, but vacations aren’t really vacations anymore when you have kids, they’re more like trips. But anyway, it was a lot of fun. And then afterwards, we came back, we went to Disneyland. We spent time at the pool because it was like 90 degrees here in Los Angeles. And we just had fun.
But that also meant that I took a sudden break in the podcast. It wasn’t intentional.
I actually had batched episodes for every single week that I knew we would be on spring break, but I just didn’t feel good about releasing something and not actually being there to promote it and be part of it. I know I have it all done and in the queue, but it just didn’t feel aligned.
And so I decided to take a break. But I’m back and we are going to be releasing these episodes and we are going to get going through until we hit summer vacation.
So today is an episode that I’m really excited about.
Gut health is something that I’ve been fascinated by as I have suffered for many years from different gut issues. But it wasn’t until recently that I actually started to understand the world of supplements and the science behind what all of these trends like prebiotics and probiotics were all about.
I was the person who bought anything that said probiotic for me and the kids like yogurt, smoothies, gummies, cute package powders with images of superhero heroes on it. I assume that if it said probiotic, it was a probiotic, but of course I was wrong.
Over the last couple of years to my coursework, research, informative interviews like today’s episode with Ara Katz, the co-founder of seed health. I realized just how much misinformation is out there and how important it is to understand the science behind what you’re putting into your body.
While we taped this episode a month or so ago, her company Seed just announced their second product called PDS-08 pediatric daily symbiotic just yesterday, which is the first and only clinically studied nine strain, probiotic and prebiotic combination developed specifically for kids and adolescents ages three through 17 years old .
PDS-08 contains strains that promote gastrointestinal health gut barrier, integrity, gut immune function, dermatological health and respiratory health in children’s and teens. I can’t wait to have my kids try this.
And for all you amazing, mommy’s on a call listeners out there. Seed has generously offered 15% off your entire order. If you use the code, mommy’s on a call. So that’s M O M M Y S O N C a L L.
So, if you haven’t tried the adult version of seed called DS 01 then now’s the time to try both the kid and adult version. Plus you get 15% off.
And just a side seed is not sponsoring this podcast and I am not an affiliate for their products, at least right now, as I’m recording this.
I’m a huge advocate though for improving the future generations of health.
And I’m just excited to be part of sharing their science back products. So now onto my conversation, enjoy.
Welcome to mommy’s on a call your sacred space to laugh, learn, and feel like a real grownup human for a hot minute. I’m Stephanie Chima Carney, a mom of three under six serial entrepreneur business strategists and donut connoisseur. Just trying to get through the day one cold cup of coffee at a time. I believe that with more intention, a positive mindset and self care, it is possible to thrive in motherhood, business, and life.
My mission is to uncover the daily rituals, life lessons, real life tactics, and favorite tools to inspire and empower you mommy, to get the most out of life every single unpredictable day. So grab your headphones, tell your kids you’re on the potty and tune in weekly for some laughs knowledge bombs, and plenty of real talk with real moms and maybe a dad or two.
Welcome to the mommy pod.
Welcome back to mommy’s on a call today. I’m excited to bring to you Ara Katz. She’s a mother, an entrepreneur, author, and wellness expert. She’s the co-founder of a microbiome science company, seed health and consumer innovations brand seed. Ara’s first pregnancy and breastfeeding experience led her to the microbiome and inspired her personal mission to explore the importance and impact of microbiome at seed health. She leads fundraising, design thinking, brand insights, commercialization, and the company’s transitional work in science, communication and storytelling. She lives in Venice, California with her husband and six-year-old son packs and is currently pregnant with her second child do pretty much at any minute.
[00:05:40] Ara: Thank you. I am really excited to be here. , and I love the name of your podcast.
[00:05:45] Stephanie: It’s a perfect thing. I mean, I started at, during the pandemic when kids were running in and I kept screaming, mommy’s on a call and it just stuck. Originally the podcast was actually called power mom minute because I wanted to interview successful moms in business like yourself.
And it just kind of, it shifted, it was perfect.
So I wanted to start off by asking, what is your biggest mom win of the week?
[00:06:05] Ara: Oh, it was this morning. I dropped my dad off of here. I, my son got up at like, 5 55 50 something, which is his normal wake up time. He was, he got himself. I told him in the morning that he could call me to drop off my, his grandfather at the airport.
He was dressed by 6 0 6. We got out of the house. All of us. It’s like six 30. He put his lunch in his, like on little lunch, but lunch carrier, he filled his water bottle for school. Put it all by the door. Oh my goodness. And we walked out the house at six 30. We drove my dad to the airport. Then we went and picked up a little breakfast and I got him to the early drop off time at school and I was like this amazing.
[00:06:48] Stephanie: Oh, wow. Is he normally like one of those kids who you have to say, like put on your shoes, put on your shoes or like, or is he pretty good about being on time?
[00:06:56] Ara: It depends on, on the level of resistance and testing that he is working through on that given day as. High conviction six-year-old which drives me a little insane sometimes.
But also I remember that conviction is a very good thing, so yeah, it never goes that smoothly, I would say. And then my other, win was that? Is very, he loves science. And so he just keeps asking me about like dark matter, dark energy, atoms and particles, and like, um, all of these like interesting things in that most relevant to ours.
Not that I know you only asked me for one, but I’ll give you the third one is that I found in his room, these little pieces of paper where he was practicing writing microbiomes. Oh my goodness. The cutest thing.
[00:07:41] Stephanie: And I was like, and it seemed kindergarten or first grade
[00:07:43] Ara: kindergarten. It was. And I was like, oh my God.
I’ve really gotten
[00:07:48] Stephanie: through. Wow. Well, and I was going to ask, because you don’t necessarily have like a science background. You were not a scientist or like an expert in any of this. You came from a very different background. And so I wanted to get into kind of like how that happened, but before we get started, give a little context to the audience ages of your children.
I know. Pregnant and you have a six-year-old. So I guess that’s a given, but what are kind of the roles that you and your partner play in the family and kind of the everyday life.
[00:08:19] Ara: And we really share, you know, we both run startups and you know, and I, and I also, I don’t think you can really talk about a household without, and actually I wrote a post for international women’s day that due to.
Mommy being on too many calls. I never posted kind of the story of my social media these days. But look, I think it’s, I love talking, answering this, but I just will also say that. I think it’s really hard to talk about these things without being incredibly honest about the childcare that you have, because the truth is, is like that’s a lot of the invisible work that happens that makes a lot of our homes actually work.
And does it an often goes like way unrecognized and. Often, like I can talk about our, me and my partner, but the truth is, is like, that’s not what’s on Instagram. And I, you know, it’s, it’s like the childcare piece is, is a really big one. So I would say the three of the three of us, because I think it’s important to recognize that between myself and my partner. My, you know, we both run startups. We’re, we’re both like in it, day-to-day like operationally. And so we really to be, to be honest, he’s he, I mean, we, we split a lot of it ebbs and flows. We split a lot of stuff. He, you know, and, and particularly like a lot of like the extra, like he’ll do, he has his like one extracurricular activity and he’s like, I signed up for baseball.
I’m like, yeah, let me just tell you the 20 other. Plus starting to plan the summer, plus like all these other things that go on. So I let him be very proud of those, those little wins, but, you know, really like he, he truthfully like around like getting groceries and just making sure we have food in the house or like what we’re doing for dinner that day.
Like, I mean, I, I have a very demanding. Works schedule right now. And so I think, and also just being pregnant, I mean, he really, uh, between, between that, and I think between the pandemic and him being very safe and very protective, I think actually took on a lot of the household stuff that probably we would have split a little bit more.
And also he works from, I have an office close by to my house that I can kind of work from. And he primarily works from home. So I think it’s been easier for him to do that. Despite the never-ending. Delivery and Amazon doorbell rings. And then for, for things like, you know, big decisions like school, where, where we’re going to, not that this was not relevant this past three years, but like, where are we going to go?
How are we going to spend our time? Like we write a weekly schedule and you know, that’s also for our nanny too. And you know, it’s a lot of just dividing and conquering to be honest. Um, the things that I own more. Like all the medical and health science, nutrition related things, and he gets to own like safety.
So he has like the car seat guy on like speed dial. Whereas like, I’m the one that’s a little bit more like, like overseeing like the pediatric, like the vaccine schedule.
[00:11:06] Stephanie: So now are you prepared though for number two? So in my opinion, and I’m not saying this everyone has a very different opinion. I thought going from one to two was exponentially harder than zero to one.
And my reasoning was like zero to one. It was obviously hard, but you don’t know any better, but from one to two, it was that you could never pass off a child. You can never say like, oh, I’m going to take a shower while you watch the one. You have two yes. And divide and conquer comes with a whole different meaning.
How have you started to think about that? Especially moving forward. You’re birthing a new product in your company. You’re birthing a baby at the same time you’re running this company. He’s has a startup, you know, have you thought about two and what’s that going to look like? And your maternity leave. Are you going to take one?
[00:11:55] Ara: You out of whatever that will, whatever that will look like at this moment, at this moment? Although I think COVID really changed just working backwards from what you said. I mean, I think COVID really changed a lot of the. ways that I feel particularly women who have children like cat can work. So, you know, you can get on a zoom, close him, call and be camera off and breastfeed if you want.
You can, you know, I think it created like a lot of agility in the way that you think about work and showing up for work and being able to manage. And, um, I think a lot of people really also changed like how they think about their homes as a place to like, do both and have both and find that balance outside of where.
You have to say mommy’s on a call call. And so the, the truth is I, I mean, I have contemplated it a little bit. We feel like we’re so busy that I think in some ways we haven’t really like been like, oh wait, this is real. This is real yet because we’re so busy. Uh, and in some ways I think that almost like allows for that.
The suffering and anticipation of any of the issues, but, you know, it’s like anything else it’s like, you figure, you know, you figure it out and you go through it and you can choose if you want to suffer through it, or you can choose if you’re going to be like, we’re gonna, we’ll just we’re we’re problem solvers.
Really. And I think, I think both that we have some, we have help that we are privileged to afford. Um, which of course is what allows us to do a lot of the things that we want to do. Like work-wise. And then on top of the. We know that it will be a lot and that will, will, you know, you just, you figure it out.
I mean, when you’re, when you have like an operational mindset and you can grow a company. And I think at this point after running a company through global pandemic and all of the challenges that have presented themselves in the last couple of years, Um, I think put a lot of things in perspective as to whether or not something is actually like really big problem.
Um, or if it’s just like a new set of logistics that needs to be worked through, I E like the upending of everyone’s global supply chain.
[00:13:50] Stephanie: Exactly.
[00:13:53] Ara: I will not, I will not be the very first person to have two children. And also the age difference, you know, it’s different than having like 200, two, or like 200 for like, you know, I have a six-year-old that.
Takes a shower by himself. And he, you know, he, if you’re getting on a plane, like he just puts his a head, you know, you kind of settles himself in. And, you know, I think that there’s a, that would feel very different if I was chasing someone else that was like pre-verbal and like totally ineffective at caring for themselves.
[00:14:20] Stephanie: hi, I had a newborn, a 19 month old and a four and a half. So it was a little rough.
I was going to say the six year old will be very helpful. Um, and you mentioned they were both boys, so that’s exciting. So at least it’s not learn a whole new learning curve, but I want to back it up six years. So you technically were not like the scientist that always talks about, you know, all the microbiome and all the things that you do and you have a kid and you decide to start a new company in a field that you’re not you, weren’t an expert in.
Kind of walk me through that because number one, starting a new company alone in something that isn’t your, you know, I’ve been in this forever, is something a big deal and then having a baby, you know, how did that all come about?
[00:15:06] Ara: Yeah, I mean, you know, I wasn’t, I, I’m not obviously formally trained scientist by any, by any stretch.
I’m very good science communicator and translator I’m well beyond my 10,000 hours. And, and I was however, prior to seed. The friend that a lot of people texted to ask about things only because I was just honestly pretty good at doing research and like learning quickly and finding my way to the right person who I felt had the best answers, , and who I felt with operated with like less bias, , and would be more, would be the most truthful.
What I felt was the most truthful. So, and that started back in high school. I’ve been like reading scientific papers and been like in and around, started off actually with interest in oncology and cancer because, and nutrition actually, because my mom got pancreatic cancer when she was 49 years old or 48 years old, rather she passed away at 49.
And so, you know, it’s it, that was my real first moment of like, understanding like how clinical trials work, how scientific papers work. Cause you know, so many of the clinical trials that oncology patients are, you know, you have to understand what they’re doing. Evaluate, you know, and at that point you have like little time to make very big decisions.
And so I think that really set off a whole lifelong love for me of ants, getting answers and really trying to understand where, where bias comes from, um, in terms of how we make choices for our health and our bodies, and just became like really fascinated. Everything related to you, both not just pathology, but just like really just prevention, just care for, for our bodies and also the behaviors and the way we made choices.
And that ended up centering around a lot around like food and nutrition. And then I never, like, I kind of knew at some point in my life, I would end up in. Um, and something scientific, uh, I’ve always been like more like tech, like more forward tech. So, you know, whether it was like mobile commerce or econ, you know, more, or just like mobile development or at the media lab at MIT, I worked on like, as a visiting fellow, like all kinds of crazy, crazy technology and thinking about the storytelling of it, as well as, you know, it’s it’s future applications in our lives.
And so I think I’ve always kind of been at like the beginning of a lot of things like I helped launch apple pay with apple. I was one of the working partners, you know, at my old, my previous company that I co-founded. So like really kind of like early, early stuff has always been the thing that like drove me and I never worked at a big company or had like a big kind of corporate job.
And so when I left and I’m an entrepreneur, like through and through. And so, um, I had a miscarriage actually, and very promptly resigned. Previous moment. I’m the company that I co-founded the mobile commerce company. I co-founded just, before you had Pax, that was before I had passed just like a big wake up call of like, what do I want to do with my, you know, that like, you know, the, you know, biologically, I think miscarriages are miracles truly disliked that your own body understands that a life is not viable is truly, I understand the attachment.
Sadness in the morning that comes from what, what, what could have been, but at the same time, it’s truly a miracle that our bodies understand what to do. And so I, it wasn’t so much like the, the grieving of like, oh, I have the first baby, as much as it was kind of just a grieving about. How did I get this far?
And like, why am I, why am I using my life to create this? When I could be creating this? Now they know how to do all these things and build companies, raise capital and build brands. And it just was a real eye opener. And so I think it reinstilled and reinvigorated my love of biology and of human health.
Um, it brought me closer certainly into my body, especially in the moment of miscarriage and. Very quickly got pregnant right after that. Um, and I met my co-founder when I was pregnant and I had already kind of started looking at like microbiome and it was, it was getting rumblings in different circles for different reasons, both in scientific and non-scientific areas.
And I was very curious. And I met him and he was just like extraordinary thinker about where that science was headed. He’d been tracking the field since 2006. Wow. I think we absolutely bonded over early childhood development and like originally over like things like entry, fatty acids and omega threes and just importance in pregnancy and early, early child development.
And then. That kind of led to, okay, there are these early windows in development where you can make such a huge impact in a child’s life. And we kind of, that kind of ended up like crisscross with like our microbiome world. And of course our names seed comes from seeding, which is the biological process by which an infant first has the exposure to microbes,
[00:19:42] Stephanie: which I do want to ask you a little bit about, , because I’m so curious on that.
I unfortunately had three C-sections and I am the product of a C-section and I have the worst immune system on the planet. My husband says that I am like such a finely tuned instrument. Like I lived in a bubble.
Swear to God. My dad was sponsored by Lysol. When the pandemic hit, it was like his Olympics. I was exposed to like no germs. I was a C-section baby and I have the worst allergies, gut issues, hormone issues, you name it. I have it. And so I’m curious, like I, the amount of antibiotics I’ve taken in my youth and even adulthood.
It has been terrible. And so now I’m researching more about this. And so I’m curious, like, did I screw up my children by having C-sections and, you know, explain a little bit about, you know, the seedlings.
[00:20:31] Ara: Totally. It’s not that black and wait, I, it’s not that black and white, I think a lot of the research has started.
So I think there’s a few things. There’s a lot of things that happen. Prenatally that the maternal microbiome or, and the infant’s microbiome is in the end, the development of it is impacted by, and that’s everything from the mother’s diet, whether or not she takes antibiotics during pregnancy, other medications, other there’s a lot that happens prenatally that they used to think that the woman was just sterile.
And therefore the microbiome really didn’t like quote, unquote, start until birth. That is being, I think, fairly well debunked at this point, but also still, still a subject of scientific maybe controversy, just because it’s unclear whether it’s microbes versus the metabolites that come from my groups, like what they’re creating that is being transferred in the amniotic fluid.
But nonetheless, we do know that things like the mother’s nutrition and diet. And begin to shape important factors that impact the growth and development of the microbiome, as well as areas of that, that the microbiome like metabolism, things like that also impacts I pretty much screwed up my
[00:21:36] Stephanie: three children from the beginning.
[00:21:38] Ara: No, no, no. So we’re kind of saying that and then, and then you get into, so there’s like kind of the prenatal period, and there’s lots of really interesting research, both that has been done as well as it’s being done right now, to understand how that prenatal period. Impacts the development of the child’s microbiome immune system, GI system, et cetera, then there’s birth motive birth.
And of course there’s kind of two ways. Your entity, obviously vaginal birth. The interesting thing about a vaginal birth is that they’re exposed to vaginal microbes, fecal. Because of proximity to both fecal matter and like the, the, um, the Inez at birth, which is literally next to the head, a lot of people think that there’s an evolutionary reason for that actually, um, that why they evolve.
So those two holes of all so closely together. And then, uh, and then skin me robes. So those were kind of the first three. And then of course, right after that, it’s like environment. And then what other skin, if your partner will, if there’s another adult that’s holding it. And then of course everything, whether it’s in a hospital, your.
All of a sudden there’s information called microbes that are coming in and around you, obviously yours, might’ve had some more Lysol then you get into, and, and of course then their C-section babies who they’re very, very, very early microbiome. Resembles more of the skin microbiome of the mother, because of course that is really the majority of their first exposure.
[00:23:00] Stephanie: Yeah. Like I put my children immediately like ask me, even though they were C-section I was like, don’t wipe them off, put them on me, but it’s not like I was going to rub like vaginal material.
[00:23:11] Ara: Hi. A lot of people, a lot of people are in, are doing that. It’s called vaginal swabbing. Um, it’s uh, uh, Dr. Maria, Domingas Bella at Rutgers.
Who’s a previous that NYU is one of our advisors, um, is leading the charge of that research. The FDA has not liked it so far. It’s called vaginal swabbing where, because they believe there’s too high risk of infection, which I don’t like, I, whenever I hear that, I’m like, yeah, but it would have come out if it came out that way you would have known if there was an infection either.
So it, the anyway, Nonetheless, it hasn’t been well-received regulatory wise yet as like a formal thing. But of course, a lot of people, I know midwives, I know other people who have other birth surgeons, they just honestly just do it themselves. However, the good news, I think, or I should say the less like kind of self shaming news that a lot of, I think women who had C-sections kind of feel is that then, then you go onto, okay, well now what’s nurturing, what’s cultivating this microbiome.
So breast milk is an extraordinary. Nutrient source and fertilizer for this kind of rain forest. And that is seated at, uh, you know, before and during birth that needs to grow into a thriving kind of diversity ecosystem to be able to perform all of the functions that you were mentioning earlier, like digestion, maintaining your immune system, all of these areas so that what they see and have seen, which is interesting is that no matter what mode of birth.
When went in the presence of breastfeeding and in the absence of antibiotics in the first 12 to 18 months of life, you start to see the microbiomes converge and look very similar. Actually, that’s really interesting because it doesn’t mean that little like, oh, you can just have a C-section and then breastfeeding just immediately.
Changes everything, but they really have seen that assuming like fairly natural or healthy conditions for a child that in the presence of breastfeeding, the mode of birth tends to make less of it. So then you come into the question of, okay. But I breastfed for like a second went right to formula. And the kid had antibiotics in the first 18 months.
Right. And that, that is where you start to see these perturbations, so that early development that can have lifelong impact. And that’s probably up until like, you know, even five, six years ago. There’s a question it’s unclear when the microbiome entirely reaches what they call steady state, which kind of means it’s like a little bit like your blueprint for life.
Like of course things change. Your microbiome is changing all the time, but it has a fairly clear signal. By that point,
[00:25:46] Stephanie: which I’m actually like curious because I mean, we lived the last two years and, you know, trying to be a germ-free bubble. Like I had a C-section baby in 2020, you know, I luckily breastfed, but unfortunately I had to go to emergency surgery.
Stop after like 10 months, but she also never got sick for the first 14 months, which is why this week she had 105 fever and they said she just had a virus, like a common cold. And so I’m curious like that disruption, but also like say you did do all those things where you gave antibiotics and stuff. Any disruption in the microbiome, is it possible to like reverse or is there anything we can do as moms to change that now after the fact,
[00:26:24] Ara: I think the primary lever.
The first of all, you had to be breastfed for 10 months, which is longer than a lot of mothers. Do I think there’s other factors, right? Like germ-free, you know, COVID free is different than Germans. Right. Like, you know, being, being in nature is not like that. There’s a lot of journals. There’s a lot of microbes there, but you don’t need to kill them.
I always say my mom
[00:26:46] Stephanie: has like the best immunity. Cause she grew up in the Philippines and played with pigs. And I’m like, it’s because you got all of that, like versus not being around anything.
[00:26:55] Ara: It’s why you see an, almost an entire. Of things like out allergies and like in the Amish population, as an example, the way that they use surfactants like cleansers, um, the way they maintain their built environment and then the proximity to the land, the crops, uh, the way that they work, the way they structure their time, it it’s incredibly clear that the exposure to endotoxin is the exposure to all of those microbes, the exposure to allergins, absolutely trains the immune system in a way that you just don’t see in certain, you just don’t see these, um, auto immune responses or allergic responses in certain populations. And because of that, but to give us your answer about what you can do, I mean, look, it’s not, I don’t, it’s not a dooms. I mean, the microbiome.
The fascinating thing about the microbiome versus like areas like genomics. I always make the jokes that like, we sequenced the human genome, but I can’t go to whole foods and do anything about it. It’s like, ,
[00:27:49] Stephanie: can you even test the microbiome? Like how do you test it to be like, oh, yours is healthy. You know?
[00:27:55] Ara: Obama initiated the largest NIH initiative, actually I think in history, almost $200 million called the human microbiome project to answer the question of what is a healthy microbiome and the answer. There is no one healthy microbiome. The answer is that there are certain markers that make it healthy.
One is diversity, uh, of the I’m talking about of the gut. Microbiome is important. Uh, diverse. You would not want diversity of your vaginal microbiome. I think that’s, that’s it. That’s an ecosystem that you want to be just dominated by actually most specifically. One or else you’ll get like candida and yeast
[00:28:29] Stephanie: infections and all sorts of crazy
[00:28:31] Ara: things.
[00:28:34] Stephanie: why this is fascinating to me. I’m like trying to cure myself. So I’m dating all
[00:28:38] Ara: the insight again. Well, but we see, but, you know, but the more, so what I was saying is the joke about denomix is like, you know, you can’t really go to the grocery store and be like, well, I’m going to buy this for my genome, but the microbiome is like a fascinating field and probably one of the reasons it’s so well, Character understood by, or I should say understand, but like certainly the widespread gut mania has kind of happened is because a, we start to understand how it’s deeply connected to so many parts of our body or pathology health, you know, the way that our bodies, our bodies function.
And obviously it’s so correlated with quality of life and other areas that really can be incredibly disruptive. Eric, you know, things like obviously IVs and auto immune conditions, asthma allergy, and just simply not going to just simply feeling bloated after you go to, after you eat a food and you food like GI GI and digestive systems, uh, digestive issues, or you’re such a huge, such a massive quality of life impact to so many people.
Um, even if they don’t even have diagnosed IBS or IBD or Crohn’s, or. Later. So the answer, your question is like the cool thing about microbiome is like so much of the research that has come out actually is like quite actionable in your life so far. I mean, look, the biggest lever when you’re asking me about the kids, the biggest lever is nutrition and diet.
And that is like, like, I, I can’t emphasize that enough. Obviously somebody who, you know, runs a company that we developed, we developed. You know, innovations in probiotics. And of course I can talk for a long time about why certain strains can be really impactful to human health, but at the end of the day, there’s really a lifestyle choices.
Like diet and nutrition reduction of stress, sleep, hydration. I mean, these things that are everyone dresses up in all kinds of different marketing terms, but at the end of the day, like those are the, you know, the, the not reducing the non discriminant use of antibiotics being mindful of from a hygiene perspective of like the oral microbiome, uh, the way you clean your home, your, your sheets, your kids’ clothes, all of these things are just my microbial exposure.
The things that can either, no. Or perturber hurt like awhile or, you know, things that impacted microbialites skin barrier.
[00:30:53] Stephanie: Right. So you’ve learned, I mean, a ton, obviously building the company and about the microbiome, , you know, throughout the last, since you had Pax, are you personally doing anything different in this pregnancy than you did say in the last one?
, because of. You know, knowledge that you now know or things that you’ve seen trends that have changed. Like what are you doing personally in this pregnancy differently?
[00:31:17] Ara: A lot of interesting things. I mean, I think, you know, it’s interesting that a lot of microbiome research on nutrition really revealed, I think the importance of a plant-based diet, you know, like really reveals the, the absolute kind of necessity for fiber, for the phytonutrients and the polyphenols that are present in so many of these.
Fruits vegetables, nuts seeds that are critical for a thriving realm. And of course what they need to create. And they’re from what they make from. Those compounds that are really critical and important for your body?
I would say I am, I am currently a Guinea pig for one of our products, which is much further out, but definitely a really fascinating in terms of understanding like peri, peri lactational, uh, approaches for supplementation, um, to think about the, like how you could adjust or change the profile of breast milk.
, and what you could also then supplement into either breast milk or formula as a continuation of what starts in me and goes into an infant. So that’s something that we’re working on,
[00:32:21] Stephanie: you know, , I interviewed actually on the podcast, Dr. Stephanie, she is, , owns the lactation lab. And it’s really interesting because she did an analysis of my breast milk because I was curious.
As, uh, you know, I had certain deficiencies and I was curious if it would be passed down to my children when I was breastfeeding, because I was very low in vitamin B and D and it was just like, I was trying to like help myself, but then also, like how would that affect my children? So that was something that was interesting.
Um, so I that’s,
[00:32:52] Ara: huh? That’s really cool. And interestingly enough, to your breast milk profile changes over time.
[00:32:58] Stephanie: Yeah, because it adjusts to the needs of the child and they like knows what it needs. It’s so smart.
[00:33:04] Ara: Yeah, it’s crazy. So, and so there’s definitely some, some like Guinea pigging going on at, uh, during this pregnancy as well.
Uh, as well as swabbing and testing. My vaginal microbiome is really interesting because of course the profile of your vaginal microbiome impacts everything from like preterm birth to a fertility. It’s you like maintaining an acidic environment? I mean, on, on, you know, a lot of things, but obviously it really, really interesting too.
I started thinking about that as a biomarker for reproductive health, which would be, think it will be in the future in
[00:33:38] Stephanie: all the studies. Have you seen a lot of change? Like once you have a baby, like moms compared to just women who haven’t had children, are there significant differences? Cause I’m curious because my hormones changed dramatically and my gut health after having my third kid and it was.
It could be age cause I’m a lot older than I was before, but it was interesting. And so I was curious about that. Like, you know, how does that change is there? And like as a mom now, what can we do for ourselves besides maybe just changing our nutrition to kind of correct all of these disruptions that have happened in our body?
[00:34:12] Ara: Yeah. It’s an interesting question. Yeah, I have to look into the women who have birth versus not. Um, because the problem is like time continues. And obviously as you move towards menopause, your vaginal microbiome changes. So, and obviously that’s why there’s very specific like stage dependent issues. I think my understanding is that your microbiome does go fairly after birth back to well, depending on what’s happening.
Health, uh, back to a baseline that looks like your community state type there’s four community state types of vaginal CS, but they foresee as 1, 2, 3, 4 of different vaginal microbiome that can vary across like ethnicities and geographies actually, which is really interesting. But nonetheless, I mean, obviously, and I can imagine, but I have to, I would have to like do a little bit more research, but you know, so much of like having an acidic environment in your vagina, which is what the lactobacillus.
I’m responsible for is important for like shuttling sperm and making sure that you can procreate too. Of course, at certain ages, that’s going to adjust because your body knows that you’re no longer viable to do to do that. And so which, you know, women are pushing more and more now up until much later ages.
Um, and so it really, you know, I think interesting thing about the vaginal microbiome is that it really experiences the most perturbation and the most disruption after menstruation. Um, the moments after menstruation, which is when you’re most susceptible to like STS and infection and after sex. And that can be oral sex too.
It’s not just like, not just heterosexual or, or like, uh, uh, I won’t even say regular internet penetration. I mean, penetration versus like oral, I would say, um, no matter what is penetrating by the way, but particularly when it’s something that’s alive, it has its own genital microbiome. And that can be very perturbing to the vaginal microbiome, but really any kind of sex can be.
And they see that with oral sex too. Um, because of course there’s all kinds of pathogens and different microbes that are in your mouth that also, , can not, can disrupt the microbiome. And then, uh, after menstruation, um, there’s a tremendous amount of disruption almost really leaves it very susceptible, but in both of those cases too, which is why it creates the perfect environment for pathogens.
[00:36:25] Stephanie: Well, since you’re so like deep into, you know, biohacking yourself and all of this, and really understanding, I’m curious on a day-to-day basis, do you have any wellness practices? Do you have anything that you do for yourself kind of daily? That is also not just for your physical health, but like what do you do for yourself daily?
Do you have any rituals?
[00:36:44] Ara: I love what I do every day. So I work and I. That wasn’t tied as much to like, not taking care of yourself, but I think it is
[00:36:53] Stephanie: it’s occupational wellness. That’s very important.
[00:36:56] Ara: I think the fact that like I wake up every day with like a skip in my step and even on the hardest days, like, I, I so love and feel committed to what I do, that, that I feel there’s a tremendous amount of fulfillment.
And I actually try, I’m not as susceptible to this, the notion of like the work-life split. And I don’t mean that because I have like really poor boundaries. , and I just like work myself to death, but I actually, I mean, it, in a sense that I think sometimes the most fulfilled life and the most meaningful comes from alignment and the sense of continuity and actually not feeling split, which is a actually very well amplified in that new show on apple TV called severance, which is extraordinary, actually splits you from a mental perspective. And so I, you know, so I would start with it, you know, people, I think you just want to, most people want to know if I drink, what kind of watch I drink now,
[00:37:49] Stephanie: I’m curious what the
[00:37:51] Ara: truth is.
Is that. The greatest privilege and self care is that I get to work with the people that I get to work with all day. If you look at the hours I spend doing what I do and building Seed versus the hours I spend in doing all the other wellness things I can tell you about. I think if this wasn’t in alignment, those things would be.
Much less impactful than they are there. They’re good supplements. I think. Um, so I think, I feel very grateful for, I guess like what you said, my occupational wellness, but also the alignment, the continuity to my life and how meaningful that feels to me. , I would say my, probably after that is just being in nature.
, we spend a lot of time as a family and particularly with my son, like, you know, on the weekends, if we’re going to do anything, it’s like. Hey, you know, it’s usually outside in LA is of course a beautiful place to have that all year round. And then, and then I think, you know, look, I, I, at this, at this very moment, you know, of course, cause I’m pregnant and trimester by trimester.
It’s like shifted a little bit, hairy moment. I am training myself in the hypno babies and hypnotherapist
[00:38:56] Stephanie: that I, I so desperately wanted to do that with my first. And he was breached and I had to have a C-section his butt was in my birth canal. So it wasn’t going to happen, but I
[00:39:08] Ara: still have the process of birth is birth.
Yeah. So, you know, and so I think I’ve been spending a lot of time, like understanding self hypnosis and what that feels like to go through an experience like birth that way. Um, but I would say if I was going to extract that out to just my whole life, there’s usually something that on the side I’m like trying to learn about or immerse myself in
[00:39:29] Stephanie: what’s that new thing for you, right.
[00:39:33] Ara: and then I would say, uh, and then obviously this, the right house, also the Guinea pigging, I mentioned, this is kind of interesting, but then I look, I train four mornings a week, um, which is more like cross training. And I do, I do, you know, I have, I really care about exercise and about what, not just for my body, but neurologically and cognitively.
And I think I’m a better. Better thinker. I think I do better work. I think I’m a better parent, um, because of that. And that’s really important to me. it’s really boring, but I drink a lot of water. Well, it’s really good for you. I know it’s one of those it’s, you know, I always say like, there’s like, it’s human behavior.
So funny if you like put an acronym on all of this and you called it something and then you sold it, it would be like, Really exciting to people, but if you just say like, Hey, I exercise and drink water. It’s like good for you,
[00:40:26] Stephanie: Nutrition and water. I sleep on that note. You prioritize sleep. Like I wake up earlier.
[00:40:33] Ara: Um, I wake up very, very early. I have my whole life, but I do prioritize sleep despite the fact that during COVID I definitely. Can’t say that it wasn’t disrupted a lot. I think the biggest thing is just diet. I really, I really do.
[00:40:46] Stephanie: Are you plant-based then?
[00:40:48] Ara: I eat, um, actually I eat, , I’m a pescatarian, so I eat, um, I shouldn’t say I’m, I’m mostly plant-based and then I have a little bit of like sardines in a little bit.
[00:40:58] Stephanie: Okay, well, on that note to wrap things up, I wanted to ask, what do you think is your superpower that you gained once you became a mom that made you better at business or life?
[00:41:09] Ara: I think it really like becoming a parent really reinspired and like totally rekindled my love of learning and discovering in a way that I feel has.
Absolutely transferred to my child. but also has enriched my experience of the world.
[00:41:29] Stephanie: Oh, I love that. And where can we find you online? You personally company, all of that.
[00:41:35] Ara: Oh, I’m just Ara Katz and on Instagram, uh, for seed we’re c.com and we’re at seed on Instagram. And if people want to really be nerdy and look at all the research review, uh, in different areas, they can go to seed health.com too.
[00:41:49] Stephanie: Well, thank you so much for joining today. Congrats on your second little one on the way and good luck for the rest of your pregnancy.
[00:41:56] Ara: I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.
[00:41:59] Stephanie: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of mommy’s on a call. Your support means the absolute world. To me. You can find the show notes for this episode and other goodies over at mommy’s on a call.com and if you enjoyed this episode or have gotten value from the podcast, I would be so grateful if you could head on over to apple podcasts and leave a rating and review so that we can reach and empower more moms all over the world together. Thank you so much again, mommy pod, and I will see you here.