Ashly Yashchin is the inspiring creator behind Barley + Oats, an organic delivery service catering to breastfeeding moms. Barley + Oats was born from Ashly’s experience with motherhood and her expertise in developmental nutrition. Her mission is to provide mama goddesses with products and services that can offer some peace of mind and save time. In this interview Ashly shares daily mantras and rituals that keep her grounded and empowered.
1. What makes you a Beyond Mom?
This is a tough one! I feel like so many of us are Beyond Moms, that it almost comes with the territory of being a mom these days, especially in NYC. As a mom, and a woman, I’m on a constant journey to better myself, to be better for my family and to and learn new things. Be it new regimens of self-care (such as taking an impromptu pottery class or going to yoga), attending seminars or roundtables on the issues that I’m most passionate about (like food and health), picking up an ingredient I’ve never worked with before or getting my family started on composting, one of my mantras (not to sound trite) is just, “do it.” Sometimes we get so overburdened by our lists that we become almost paralyzed; when you take it one bite at a time and just start, you can knock things off quickly, one at a time. Before you know it, the list is done. It’s empowering to push ourselves and see just how much we can actually achieve when we try. I hope to impart that feeling of self-empowerment and belief that we can achieve whatever we put our mind to to my son.
2. What are the parts of you that have grown and expanded since becoming a Mom?
I would say above anything, I feel more capacity for love, something I didn’t think was possible as I’ve always been a very loving person (the little girl who couldn’t go to bed without saying I love you to both parents and getting some kisses). It’s not just love for my son and husband, which is so overwhelming, but a greater love for my life, for strangers, for other moms and for the world we live in. Because of that feeling, I feel a greater sense of urgency to give back and make a difference.
3. Can you share a collaboration/success story with another woman; what helped the collaboration become successful?
On a small but impactful level, I try to support other female and small businesses with Barley + Oats. We purchase our gluten-free bagels and breads from Jennifer’s Way Bakery (an amazing allergy-friendly bakery founded by Jennifer Esposito) and get our coconut yogurt from Anita’s Coconut Yogurt founded by Brooklyn based “momtrepreneur” Anita Shepherd. They give back by spreading the word about Barley + Oats when they can. There are small ways we can make a difference and support each other that we don’t always think about. This is one of those ways.
4. What relationships help you stay connected to yourself?
I think the relationship that helps me stay most connected to myself is my relationship with my grandmother. She is so graceful, patient and loving. She helps keep me grounded when I feel overwhelmed and reminds me to take a breath and enjoy the simple pleasures.
5. Do you have a ‘Beyond’ dream that you are pursuing? If so, please share…
Absolutely. Right now my dream is to help other moms heal in the postpartum, produce the highest quality and quantity of milk they can (if breastfeeding) and spend more quality, stress-free time with their newborn babies. I want to introduce them and their little ones to sustainably sourced, delicious foods that are extremely health-supportive and nourishing to them in the postpartum period.
On a more macro scale, I envision us raising a new generation that views excess consumption as just that, excessive, for both the body and the planet. A generation that reduces waste and uses all the parts of fruit, vegetable or animal, that eats locally whenever possible. I’d like to see a new generation with a robust immune system that doesn’t require cyclical pharmaceutical intervention, doesn’t suffer from preventable diseases, that has less allergies and less depression. I truly believe that food has a profound impact on all of these things; health, wellness and the planet’s sustainability, but I know that sometimes nourishing yourself in the best way is not always the easiest, especially as a new mom. I hope to make that easier, fun and more enjoyable.
6. What wellness activity can you not live without? What is one thing you do daily that balances you?
I cannot live without a good run. It is something I have loved to do to clear my head since I was a teenager. The daily thing I do that balances me is nurse my son. I put away my devices and we just bond. It really helps to ground me and just be in the moment. I relish those special times with him just bonding and nurturing each other.
7. How does style influence the way you stay feeling ‘Beyond’? Who is currently your favorite designer?
With a background in the fashion industry, I feel that personal style can affect our personal confidence. We don’t have to dress expensively or by anyone else’s standards, we just need to dress and style ourselves in a way that feels good to us. Some days this might be leggings, a pair of Toms, an oversized cardigan and knit hat. Other days, it might be a brocade fit and flare dress with heels. Currently, I’m obsessed with my Reed Krakoff shoes (I bought 4 pairs before they announced their shut down in March, although they recently announced a relaunch). They are so comfortable and easily take my outfit from simple to sophisticated. I also love my Nancy Gonzalez hunter green crocodile clutch. It adds such a nice pop to so many outfits.
Favorite Spots that Embody The Beyond Mom:
Beyond Cocktails and/or Food:
Oh, where to start? My favorite wine bar is Bar Jamon over on Irving. It’s tiny and authentic with some of the best Tempranillo I’ve had in the city and delicious small plates. It’s my husband and my favorite way to start a date night, something we still try to make time for at least twice a month. My go-to’s for daytime fare are Juice Generation or Juice Press. Their smoothies and prepared salads help keep me fueled when I’m on the run. When it comes to dinner, I constantly try to go somewhere new. Each meal I sit down to is a learning experience and a chance for inspiration. Some of the most inspiring meals I’ve had in the city have been at The Nomad, Uncle Boons, ABC Kitchen and on another level, The Natural Gourmet Institute. NGI is the school where I trained as a chef. They offer public Friday Night Dinners that are local and sustainably sourced, 3-course vegan meals (bonus: they are BYOB with no cork fee). Students often help design the menus and they are always coming up with new and creative ways to present health supportive foods. For the quality and the taste, it is one of the best deals in the city and it supports a school with an honorable and important mission.
Beyond all the great workout classes in the city, for me, nothing compares to running on the East River or West Side Highway. There is such a peace that comes with being near the water, feeling the breeze on your face, listening to the waves lap and smelling that “sea” air. When I do get indoors, I love Dharma yoga center. Every class there is a freeing mind-body experience. I always leave feeling so refreshed and alive.
I absolutely love the Chelsea Market. It has Anthropologie, my long time favorite store, delicious restaurants like Cull + Pistol and some great quality food purveyors like The Filling Station. Being a chef, I could also spend hours at the Union Square Greenmarket. Whenever I’m looking for a good gift I pop into ABC Carpet. They have such an eclectic, sustainable and responsible assortment of beautiful items. I can always find something unique and special for the people who mean a lot to me.