From Superfoods to Wearable Tech, Health & Wellness Companies Thrive in CarlsbadFebruary 24, 2020
The saying that a healthy city is an active city couldn’t be more true of Carlsbad, which not only has numerous community parks but also has the ideal climate for running, surfing, bicycling, golfing, and more. By fostering a community rooted in living a healthy lifestyle, Carlsbad also attracts and supports a thriving community of health and wellness companies.
Below, we take a look at three of these creative and innovative businesses, their passion for health, and why they call Carlsbad home.
Love for each other and a passion for health and wellness was the genesis of Blake Lewis and Amanda Zamora-Lewis’ Superfood & Company in Carlsbad.
The couple’s journey began in 2010 when they met and bonded over health and wellness. Blake was a sports massage therapist when he met Amanda, a Crossfit enthusiast. At that time, Blake said, “I wanted to feel better because I suffered from chronic depression and I was super lethargic and tired all the time. I didn’t have any clue what was going on.”
“Amanda, on the other hand, was on track and was exercising and eating well and she turned me on to nutrition and that’s where it all began.That’s when I started juicing at home,” he added. “When I was a kid, my dad juiced garlic, carrots and a bunch of nasty stuff and I thought it was pretty crazy. But I looked back and realized it was pretty important for health.”
Shortly after, Blake quit his job and began diving into a healthier diet and lifestyle, including reading articles and books about health and wellness. One of the habits he dropped was drinking coffee. Struggling without his routine caffeine, he began to wonder, “Why isn’t there a healthier coffee option out there?”
After not finding many alternatives, Blake began cold brewing and researching superfoods. His first brew ingredients included burdock root, ashwagandha and maca.
In 2013, Blake and Amanda launched Superfood Coffee Co. and focused on marketing their superfood infused instant coffee through an online store.
A year later, the entrepreneurs rebranded the company as Superfood & Company and launched a full menu of beverages.
Blake wanted to continue innovating in the cold brew space so he started looking into different world cultures and how they prepare coffees which soon enough led to sourcing ingredients from around the globe.
“We wanted to introduce people to these amazing ingredients that are unknown,” Amanda said. “One example is our ‘Styles” cold brew collection, which includes Mexican, Irish, Polish, Norwegian and Icelandic superfood-infused coffees.”
When they first launched the company, the couple began selling their coffee alternative in local farmers’ markets, which allowed them to “meet our customers face-to-face and connect with the community,” Amanda said.
Amanda and Blake then began developing relationships with restaurants and cafés and even offices, distributing kegs of their cold-brewed Superfood Coffee, served on tap.
Probiotics have always been an important part of the couple’s health regime, but Amanda had major gut health issues and couldn’t eat dairy, so Blake took juice recipes from their first business and made them probiotic and water-based by using water kefir cultures. Kegs of Kefir Soda are now a part of Superfood & Co.’s distribution offerings.
Superfood & Co. also now offers Superbooch®, superfood-infused kombucha. “We always said we would never make kombucha, but people kept asking us to,” Amanda said. Blake said, ‘If I am going to make kombucha, I’m going to do something special with it.”
Amanda and Blake, who have lived in Idaho and Texas, moved to Carlsbad several years ago.
“We felt the only place to root ourselves and reach our dreams was here in Carlsbad,” Amanda said. “The community has shown us amazing support and love, which keeps our spirits up and fuels us. The beverage industry is intense so we are appreciative of our Carlsbad family and friends to be by our side in this journey of ours.”
Now in over 12 Farmers’ Markets, Superfood & Co. has also grown its Office Wellness product distribution program with local companies like Viasat, WorkWell and Bloc Co-Working locations (offered as a perk to those who work there), and now distributes to over 200 locations. You can also find Superfood Coffee on tap at some Carlsbad locations like Cafe Topes, The Goods, Tin Leaf, Beaming in Equinox, Beach Plum, and Bird Rock Coffee Roasters in Bressi Ranch, to name a few.
According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “In 2016, an estimated 20.4% of U.S. adults had chronic pain and 8.0% of U.S. adults had high-impact chronic pain.”
One Carlsbad company, Oska Wellness, has developed an innovative and affordable alternative to pain management. In fact, the medical device company is committed to developing technology-driven health and wellness products that assist individuals in living more active lives with less pain.
The company’s product, Oska Pulse, is a medical non-drug, non-invasive portable pain management device that fits in the palm of your hand. Oska Pulse uses Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMF) to help relieve pain. Emitting a 22” diameter field, the device does not need to be directly attached to the skin but simply near the area of pain to be effective. The PEMF field travels through clothing and all types of tissue to address the source of pain at a cellular level.
According to the company, “When cells become distressed from disease, trauma or toxins, they lose their ability to function efficiently. PEMF restores the positive and negative charges in the cell, enabling it to perform its natural function while speeding tissue recovery.”
With no electrodes, pads or wires, the Oska Pulse is designed to be fully integrated into your lifestyle so that you can benefit from it anytime, wherever you are. The cool device even garnered the 2018 MedTech Breakthrough Award for Best New Technology Solution for Pain Management.
The company’s name honors a koala named Oscar who was badly burned in an Australian bushfire. He was not responding to medication and was crying in pain. The vet’s friend suggested they place a PEMF device near the koala to help reduce the pain. Within a day, he stopped crying, and in just a few days, he started responding to treatment. He was released into the bush a few months later. Oska Wellness also recently donated its device to animal hospitals in Australia to help animals injured in the more recent Australian fires.
Medical Device Mecca
Oska, whose store and corporate headquarters are located in the Carlsbad Village Faire, chose Carlsbad because of its growing tech hub status, said Jeff Marksberry, the company’s Chief Medical Officer.
“There’s a lot of talent here, so you have a really competitive market and an advanced pool to choose from when you’re looking for employees for medical device, medical technology or biotech,” he said. “Because we are right in between L.A. and San Diego, it’s convenient for travel and for our sales force, but it also creates a competitive recruiting environment. Carlsbad is a mecca for medical devices, not just in San Diego, but around the country and arguably the globe.”
Besides its tech hub status, Carlsbad also offers a warm, grassroots feel, Marksberry said. “We see people come into our store to purchase devices. We get invited to networking opportunities. We get invited to, and participate in, community outreach,” he said. “Part of our fundamental mission to help the community here is to help them stay active and get back out living their life – run races, walks and charity events. I think it’s really important as a company that we are responsible to our neighbors and everybody here in the community that supports us.”
Another Carlsbad-based company developing a nifty, portable pain-management device is PowerDot. The company’s technology is an app-based, wireless, electric muscle stimulator (EMS) used by everyone, from the world’s top athletes to fitness enthusiasts, weekend warriors and individuals for physical therapy and recovery.
EMS uses electrical impulses to cause the contraction of targeted muscle groups. The EMS benefits of PowerDot range from increased performance and injury prevention to recovery, muscle balance, overall strength, and can even provide massaging relief from everyday stress. PowerDot sends electrical pulses to muscles to help with recovery and strength training. The app has presets for each muscle group, and also tracks your data and guides users through pad placement and program selection.
Electrical muscle stimulation has been around since the early ’50s and has been the subject of many scientific studies showing the efficacy of EMS treatment, but in recent years, it has seen a new first, with smart innovation by PowerDot’s mobile-friendly app-based, data-driven approach to wearable tech.
According to the company’s CEO Eric Glader, “PowerDot is the first app-based muscle stimulation device that pairs with your smartphone.”
“The app walks you through every step of the process, from pad placement to program selection, to workout duration. We have removed the guessing game and any confusion from traditional electrical muscle stimulation using smart technology,” he said.
Rehabilitation & Recovery
PowerDot also works with a group called Adapt, a functional movement neurological recovery center, which is right down the street, that focuses on rehabilitation services for military members and those that have chronic illnesses. “We have a lab there, which is the PowerDot StimLAB, and we develop products through that facility,” Glader said, adding that PowerDot also provides its technology to physicians to track their patients’ recovery at home.
Sports Equipment Industry Mecca
Since Carlsbad is an epicenter for action sports, it’s the ideal location for PowerDot, said Glader, who co-founded the company with CTO Alexy Pisarev in 2016.
“The culture here in Carlsbad is highly conducive to the technology we’re producing, not only from a marketing standpoint but also from an adoption standpoint,” Glader said. “Our ability to access a whole host of consumer channels in Carlsbad and the surrounding area offers a very unique opportunity to touch on those action sports and lifestyle-conscious consumers because of the broad array of businesses Carlsbad has here. What we saw was a perfect way to bring a technology that also plays into lifestyle. Carlsbad is the perfect area to do that.”
What makes Carlsbad a great place to start a business, Glader said, is that “Carlsbad represents a unique place in California. You can get a good space that is great for business with a warehouse and all the amenities you would need. It’s also home to some of the top brands in the world, such as Callaway and Titleist and every major golf company.”
An active community coupled with the city’s thriving business environment certainly makes Carlsbad a hot spot for health and wellness companies. In fact, San Diego-Carlsbad ranks in the The Top Ten Strongest Wellness Markets in America. From superfoods to wearable tech, wellness is good business in Carlsbad.