Caroll Lee is an avid cook, mother of two, Board Certified Health Counselor and the founder of Provenance Meals. Her passion in life is to feed people real food — food that is raised, grown and prepared in traditional ways that are good for your health and good for the planet. Caroll practices holistic nutrition, understanding that a healthy diet must be combined with other sources of nourishment—loving relationships, enjoyable physical activity, meaningful work and spiritual connectedness—to reach true health and happiness. Beyond Mom is thrilled to be offering Provenance Meals at our next Urban Retreat on June 3rd. Don’t miss this chance to experience Provenance Meals on a day devoted to your healing, health and rejuvenation.
What makes you a Beyond Mom?
When I had my first child, I thought I was winning the Mother of the Year award by devoting every second to her care. As I grew increasingly exhausted by the intensity of that job, I realized that I wasn’t helping anyone by neglecting my own self-care! It’s always a juggling act but I’ve found that when I make time to fill my own cup, I can give so much more to all the people and things I value in my life – including my two children, my relationship with my spouse, and my business.
What are the parts of you that have grown and expanded since becoming a mom?
I felt overwhelmed and isolated in those first months after becoming a mom, yet at the same time my capacity for love expanded in ways I hadn’t known possible. Before kids, things seemed pretty straightforward to me. I was on a path, and I knew the road to follow. But as they say, becoming a mother breaks you and then remakes you! I grew in maturity, complexity, and realized there was no one “right” way to do things. It was that expansion that gave me the confidence to open a business and start living my life on my own terms.
I’m so inspired by other women and especially the mom-preneurs out there. Thanks to social media and platforms like Beyond Mom, I’m continually inspired and motivated to keep growing and challenging myself in new ways.
Do you have a Beyond dream that you are pursuing?
My dream is to make healthy eating a reality for Americans. Women in particular are so judged by their looks, and thinking about what is and isn’t okay to eat can feel like a full-time job. It’s exhausting! I think a lot of the negativity in this world is simply caused by people not being in their best health. Food affects your mood and your behavior. If you’re eating food that makes you feel like crap, you’re not going to be focusing on the good within yourself and the good you can do in the world. If I can support others by making the healthy eating part easy so they can get out there and do what they’re meant to do, that would be my dream come true.
We also just launched a New Mom Care Package that sets moms up with the tools and food they need to be physically and emotionally strong in that fragile postpartum period when we need a lot of support but that our medical system has yet to acknowledge.
What relationships and activities help you stay connected to yourself?
Travel is everything. It’s my way to satisfy my craving for adventure, and it’s a time when my family comes together a bit freer from the pressures of work and school. Because my husband and I both own our own businesses and can be more flexible with our time, we plan “work-cations” where we visit new destinations but still stay connected to our teams back in NYC. I find that some of my best problem-solving happens when I’ve changed up my surroundings.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that you live by?
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” If I’m intimidated to meet someone, afraid to try something new, or hesitant to embark on a business opportunity, I really try to break down why I’m responding with negativity. It usually boils down to fear, insecurity, or listening to a possibly false belief I hold within. I actively try to re-program those doubts and insecurities with meditation and giving myself time to let things surface and release. It’s helped me move forward in both my personal and professional life and made me more willing to embrace change. If we can move past the roadblocks that we’ve faced, or that we’ve even put up ourselves, then we can experience life more fully.
What causes and topics are you most passionate about right now?
This probably sounds strange, but I’m super excited about bacteria right now! There’s so much research coming out right now about the microbiome, the community of trillions of bacteria living in our gut, and how we can nourish or damage our gut health through food. I believe we’re going to find out a lot more about the connection between the gut and the brain and the food we eat very soon. I’m also passionate about sustainability and am excited about the conversation around soil (nerd alert!) and how nurturing bacteria in the soil through regenerative agriculture can be instrumental in climate change and growing more nutrient-dense food at the same time.
How do you think we can change our culture from one in which a woman is expected to be a “perfect mother” to one in which she is encouraged to discover and explore her evolving self?
Women are starting a revolution right now. With our current political state and the #metoo movement, women are making their voices heard and showing up more than ever for the things we feel are important. I believe that as more women of all shapes, sizes, and colors speak their truth, the landscape of motherhood will change. I’ve already seen much more conversation about the “fourth trimester“ and women supporting women to focus on self-care in the postpartum period, as opposed to doing too much too soon, or doing it alone.
We can’t wait for the culture to change. We have to change it for ourselves.The future is female and that means the framework for being a woman in this country is going through a seismic shift. My daughter’s experience around becoming a mother will be different than the one I had. And that makes me really happy.
Favorite go-to’s for:
Beyond Food (what do you cook & where do you go locally?)
Every quarter I do the Provenance Detox for a seasonal reset. I don’t dine out much but when I do, I always want to try somewhere new. This week, I had the amazing tasting menu at Agern and soup dumplings in Chinatown. abcV is my go-to when I want to be inspired by vegetables.
Beyond Content (Books & Podcasts)
I’m always browsing through travel books researching my next destination.
The last book I read was The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson. Highly recommend for all moms, even if you had your babies a while ago!
Yoga and running are ways I incorporate movement and meditation at the same time. Equinox has great cardio dance and kickboxing classes (although I probably spend as much time in the sauna and showers there as I do in the gym!) HIIT workouts are the best when I’m short on time.