On this episode, Britt sits down and get’s to know Heather from Heather’s Choice. Heather Kelly is the founder and CEO of Heather’s Choice, a line of dehydrated meals and snacks for adventuring based in Anchorage, Alaska. Heather is a born and raised Alaskan, two time NCAA National Champion in women’s rowing, sports nutritionist, certified eating psychology coach and business mentor. When she’s not working on Heather’s Choice, you can find her digging in the garden, rafting rivers, or playing with food.
Learn how Heather grew up in Alaska, and was introduced to the outdoors through backpacking and river rafting. Being a college athlete and overcoming her disordered eating. Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease all led her to dive into nutrition, eating psychology, and the beginning stages of what became Heather’s Choice. Hear the ups and downs of starting a business. How it’s grown over the years and a day in the life of a CEO. Recipe development for the brand and what’s to come for Heather’s Choice.
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On this episode we discuss:
( 0:00 ): Episode starts around the campfire and Brittney asks, “What would I expect to see you bringing up to the campfire to hang out with for a snack or a drink?”
( 2:00 ): I always love hearing everyone’s backstory about how they were introduced to the outdoors. However, you live in Alaska – So I’d assume it was kind of just a way of life.
( 3:00 ): Heather Kelly and Britt Long discuss what it’s like living in Alaska and what sometimes could be the miss conception of being a homesteader our always outdoors. Heather share’s how her grandparents were homesteaders.
( 4:20 ): Britt asks Heather “What was your first vivid memory outdoors?”
Heather shares the summer she was 18 and learned to raft. Where she thought she was going to be photographing people on their river rafting trip. Only to learn she was going to be a river rafting guide. During this experience, she learned not only the outdoors but learning about herself, being a leader and reading other people.
( 7:13 ): Britt asks “Do you come back a second summer to guide? or where do you go next?”
( 9:40 ): Britt and Heather discuss her crew career in college.
( 11:10 ): Brittney asks, “Was fitness and nutrition something that stemmed from crew, rafting and the gym?”
Heather shares how when she was in college becoming exposed to more processed foods than what she was used to having at home exposed her autoimmune disease, psoriasis. This led her to assess her freshman college diet to learn about sports nutrition to help her autoimmune symptoms.
( 14:18 ): Heather opens up about how being a college athlete opened her up to an eating disorder her sophomore and junior year. How she was lucky enough to be surrounded by people who cared about her, encouraged her to put weight back on and take care of herself.
( 16:08 ): They discuss eating psychology. How being surrounded by others/teammates that focused on being healthy and strong can shift to a healthy mindset around fitness and nutrition.
( 20:50 ): Figuring out what fueling your body properly looks like for you and what YOUR diet needs are.
( 22:15 ): Heather share’s how figuring out your nutrition while being in the backcountry is highly important for not performance but safety, and sustainability.
( 23:15 ): Britt asks, “What is your diet looking like now that you are trying to clean it up to help your autoimmune disease? I’d assume whole foods?”
( 27:00 ): Britt and Heather both share about how elimination diets have helped their autoimmune diseases, what symptoms they experience, and how their sensitivities change over time. While learning to listen to their bodies and honor them.
( 30:40 ): Britt asks, “During this time of figuring out your new diet/lifestyle, is this when you start to play around with dehydrating meals?”
( 33:00 ): Heather tells us how Heather’s Choice got started.
( 35:40 ): Britt asks, “Your friend Jason is invested in you. What was your first product and going about promoting it?”
Heather shares how she was really stoked on Smoke Sockeye Salmon Chowder and her first few recipes that she made at home and loved; that’s the products she started with. She set up HeathersChoice.com on shopify. Taking it live in August 2014 and was featured in her local newspaper. Allowing for a very organic growth and exposure.
( 39:35 ): “Did you ever have imposter syndrome when starting looking at these already established big companies?”
( 41:10 ): “Was it the first year that you realized, you needed to upgrade what you were doing?”
( 44:00 ): Heather shares the ups and downs of the first couple of years of Heather’s Choice.
( 47:00 ): Britt and Heather discuss the hardship, mental toughness and energy needed for entrepreneurship.
( 52:35 ): “How does Heather’s Choice go about finding and creating new recipes?”
( 57:00 ): “What does a day in the life of Heather, from Heather’s Choice look like?”
( 1:03:00 ): “What suggestions would you have for someone packing food for a trip?”
( 1:10:00 ): Britt thanks Heather for coming on and asks what we can expect to see from Heather’s Choice and any upcoming adventures she has.
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