Birchbox Crush: Elizabeth Stein

We didn't think something as prosaic as granola could inspire fervent devotion until we tasted Purely Elizabeth's crunchy, slightly sweet, crazy satisfying version. It was our gateway to founder Elizabeth Stein's line of wholly delicious, totally good-for-you foods—all made without gluten, refined sugars, and GMO ingredients. Launched in 2009, the company was inspired by Stein's dual love of wellness and sweets. The veteran triathlete initially created a batch of blueberry muffins as a healthy snack she could hand out at Tristate area triathlons to promote her nutrition counseling. The muffins were such a hit that Stein started selling the baking mixes, then expanded to granola, pancake mixes, and more. While we weren't able to get the granola recipe, we did chat with the wellness pro about her favorite indulgences, natural beauty favorites, and more.

I know Purely Elizabeth was born out of a blueberry muffin recipe. How long did that first product take?

It took me countless hours in the kitchen baking, throwing away disasters and then baking again...months. Interestingly enough, I made the recipe for the granola on the first shot. Sometimes everything just works.

I love your 90/10 rule. What do you indulge in for that 10 percent of the time?

Sweets, wine and cheese. I'm way more into sweets then, say, salty chips. When I do eat sweets, I still stick to those that are gluten-free and free of refined sugar—like our chocolate chip cookies! I believe the 90/10 rule frees you from the idea of perfection and allows you to just enjoy every moment of life. After all, that’s what its about, right?

What’s your power ingredient lineup?

My arsenal would include chia seeds, hemp seeds, coconut oil, quinoa, and some coconut sugar.

How do you stay healthy even while running your own (very successful) business?

It's definitely challenging balancing the two, but for me working out is so crucial. It totally clears my head and helps me to think better and be more creative. My exercise philosophy though has definitely evolved since starting Purely Elizabeth. Some days I realize that getting an extra hour or so of sleep will be just as beneficial for my overall health as working out. It's all about balance.

I know your grocery cart is wellness-focused—what about your bathroom cabinet?

I'm a total product nut. I actually always thought I'd end up in the beauty product world...maybe Purely Beauty will be next! I've been traveling a lot the past few months so I'm going to go with what's been in my travel cosmetic bag: S.W. Basics cleanser and moisturizer, Suki exfoliator, Dr. Hauschka eye cream, Spa Ritual Nail Lacquer in Last Tango, Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss.

Are there any ingredients you look for in makeup or skincare?

I try to look for products that have a clean ingredient list. I love that S.W. Basics, for example, is super simple and the ingredients are ones that I would put in my food products. The moisturizer uses organic coconut oil, which is great for both inner and outer beauty.

Do you have any daily rituals that keep you balanced and happy?

I love taking baths at the end of the day. Several days during the week, I will come home and my boyfriend will have the bath ready with candles, magazines, and an occasional glass of wine. This to me is total relaxation and gives me time to get out of work mode and into home mode.

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