ck spotlight: Karen Wang

Meet Karen Wang - nonprofit founder, wellness advocate, mother, and our first ck spotlight subject. In this series, we’ll be diving into the lives, self-care routines, and personal mottos of inspiring professionals who also believe in living a clean, conscious lifestyle. 

Without further ado, say hey to Karen! She's the director and founder of Because Health, a nonprofit organization that offers educational, easy to understand resources about the environment and the ways it impacts our health.

what does your average day look like? 

My 3-year-old daughter wakes my husband and I up around 7:00am and we spend some time together as a family, reading and cuddling in bed. After breakfast (fried eggs, fruit, and toast), I get ready to start my work day. 

Since we have a small team at Because Health, there’s a lot of flexibility with working from home. If I’m not working at home, I commute to our San Francisco “office” at The Assembly, a woman and wellness-focused co-working space. It's always so fun to be surrounded with so many creative and amazing women. 

Being the director of a nonprofit means I have to wear many hats at once- lots of meetings, fundraising, research, and outreach! Since Because Health is only a year old, we have a lot of room to be creative and experiment with new ideas. 

After the work day is done, I head back home to play with my daughter until bedtime. The evenings are always chaotic, spontaneous, and lots of fun. And since we live right on the coast, evening walks on the beach during the summer are almost mandatory in our house! Dinner usually consists of something quick and easy like a stir-fry or a chickpea stew. Once my daughter goes to bed, I get to enjoy some well-deserved ‘me time’. I like to unwind by baking (currently obsessed with gluten-free brownies) or eating popcorn and watching a good TV show with my husband. 

how do you practice self-care?

As a mom, self-care is really important to me. Setting time aside each week for my health and wellbeing makes me feel grounded and ready for anything! I go to acupuncture once a week, which has been really helpful for my pregnancy-related aches. Also, I sneak in a mediation session during acupuncture. It’s way easier to mediate when you’re forced to sit still for a half hour! 

Cooking and baking are also tasty acts of self-care for me! Being in the kitchen can be such a big stress reliever. My newest obsession is creating homemade healthy popsicles. They’re so easy to make and taste better than ones you buy at the store! Plus, my daughter loves them. My two favorite flavors to make are watermelon, strawberry, and basil, and creamy chocolate and avocado.

Working in the environmental health field also helps me see non-toxic routines and habits as self-care! I think they’re just as important as eating healthy and working out. Some small, easy changes I’ve incorporated into my life are making sure that I limit plastic around food and water, eating unprocessed organic food when possible, and cleaning with products that I DIY (yes cleaning can be self-care!). 

tell us about a time when you made a conscious decision to improve your life or the lives of those around you.

Starting Because Health was definitely the most impactful thing I’ve done to help improve my life and the lives of others. When I got pregnant, I realized that even though the science is very clear on the importance of limiting exposure to toxic chemicals for lifelong health, there was a lack of clear resources that spoke to my generation. I decided I wanted to create an online resource for environmental health concerns that I, and my peers, could connect with. 

I started Because Health to help others live healthier and greener. Through our website and social media, we share actionable, positive, and science-based resources to a predominantly millennial audience. We highlight how environmental issues like pollution, toxic chemicals, and climate change can impact our health in the same way that working out and eating habits do. We’re big fans of simple, easy-to-implement tips. One easy thing you can start today is taking your shoes off at home. We track lots of lead, pesticides, and other toxic chemical particles into our homes on the bottom of our shoes. Perfect excuse to buy some cozy slippers!

what advice would you give your younger self? 

Eat more probiotic foods like pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha! It’s crazy how important gut health is for your overall health. Scientists are just beginning to understand how gut health is linked to your immune system, mental health, and chronic diseases. Did you know pesticides and synthetic sweeteners can wreak havoc on your gut health? Another reason to buy organic when you can and avoid 'diet' foods.

what's your number one beauty tip? 

Use a mineral sunscreen! And go light on the makeup.

what's your favorite cocokind product? 

I use the sea moss exfoliator once a week. I picked it up after becoming pregnant with my second child because I wanted a product that was totally safe to use during pregnancy and beyond. I love that it doesn't use any questionable chemicals or strange microplastics! 

what's your personal motto?

Don't try to be perfect! Small changes have big impacts, especially when it comes to health.

we hope you've enjoyed this interview! as always, feel free to email or DM us on instagram with any questions!