Sophia Ruan Gushee is an author, healthy living expert, and mother of three. After becoming a mom, Sophia devoted herself to providing her family with a healthy lifestyle. She spent more than five years researching practical approaches to reduce exposure to toxins, culminating in the publication of her book, A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures. She shares advice on how to live a cleaner life on her blog, nontoxicliving.tips. Sophia turns to her yoga practice and conversations with her husband to feel balanced at the end of the day. This Beyond Mom is armed with practical, non-toxic living tips to help mothers everywhere protect their children.
1. What makes you a Beyond Mom?
I think what makes me a Beyond Mom–a mom that “embraces the gifts of motherhood but expresses all that they are as individuals”–is my work towards improving our children’s well-being, future, and environment.
For approximately ten years, I worked on distressed investments for institutional investors. I loved my work. However, I resigned from my career in 2009 to focus on my home life and to pursue my growing concern about my family’s toxic exposures. Alarmed by what I was learning and frustrated by the lack of public awareness about relevant scientific discoveries, I became passionate about raising awareness about how our choices affect our collective human and environmental health. My research culminated in the recent release of my book A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures, which contains the overview of the situation that would have engaged me sooner on the topic, and the hundreds of tips to empower readers.
I started my research, soon after the birth of my first child in 2007. How our purchases affect our planet was covered in many books and online, but how they affect human health wasn’t covered as much. As a new mother, I had many questions that weren’t easily answered. So, how our choices ultimately affect human health, was my main focus in A to Z of D-Toxing. By the end of my eight years of research, I turned out to care deeply about our planet too.
2. What are the parts of you that have grown and expanded since becoming a Mom?
My children opened my heart, expanding my compassion and empathy: I had no idea how selfless I could be until I met my children! I also had no idea that I could operate with so little sleep, and with so much courage, determination, and perseverance. I’m also much more sensitive to, and appreciate, mother and child bonds that I see in wildlife.
3. Can you share a collaboration/success story with another woman; what helped the collaboration become successful?
It’s not easy for a mother to work. It’s hard for me to pick one woman when it’s taken a team! I would not have been able to pursue my work outside the home without excellent childcare. And I never could have accomplished my professional goals without the help of my employee, Ashley, who has supported my work in diverse ways. What has made my collaborations so successful with these amazing women are our similar values, dreams, and work ethic. And we all have tremendous versatility in learning various new things, being comfortable with uncertainty, and balancing our NYC-lives in practical ways.
4. What relationships help you stay connected to yourself?
My connections with my husband, children, friends, and other like-minded acquaintances or strangers help remind me, and familiarize myself, to Self.
5. Do you have a ‘Beyond’ dream that you are pursuing? If so, please share…
My ‘Beyond” dream is to help more people appreciate our planet as well as the most vulnerable populations that have no voice or power. I get very emotional—filled with gratitude—when I see images or movies about our planet: It provides us with so much beautiful abundance. Collectively, we’re disconnected with how our choices are disrupting the planet’s natural resilience to provide for us. I hope to elevate our awareness so that we can take better care of our home, our planet. Ultimately, our disconnect is undermining the health of all of us: adults, children, and the unborn.
6. What wellness activity can you not live without? What is one thing you do daily that balances you?
I cannot live without yoga. The one thing I do daily that balances me is connecting to my husband at the end of each day.
7. How does style influence the way you stay feeling ‘Beyond’? Who is currently your favorite designer?
I like simple, comfortable styles that are effortlessly chic and versatile. These traits free me up to think less about what I’m wearing. J.Crew has been a staple in my wardrobe for years: cute, versatile, practical, modern classics, and convenient to shop from! More recently, I’ve become obsessed with dresses by Victoria Beckham.
Favorite Spots that Embody The Beyond Mom:
Beyond Cocktails and/or Food:
Sake, red wine, and fresh veggies and fruit! I love delicious raw, vegan foods but I don’t have time to eat them often as I’d like. My favorite restaurants are Pure Food and Wine, Liquiteria, and Blossom. For a quick takeaway meal, I stop by Hu Kitchen and pick up their organic roasted chicken. My favorite place to shop for fresh groceries is Whole Foods.