Voyage LA: LA’s Most Inspiring Stories with Rynda Laurel

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Today we’d like to introduce you to Rynda Laurel.

Rynda, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Thanks Voyage LA! Since this is about LA I wanted to start with the fact that I am a native Californian, having been born in San Francisco and grown up in Southern California. I’ve been influenced by the Summer of Love, Punk Rock Fullerton, Hollywood and the Sunset Strip, Sunny Santa Monica and Huntington Beaches, Green Valley Lake Mountains and most recently the calm of Joshua Tree!  I’ve lived in all of the Southern California counties but would consider Hollywood the place I spent the most time, first moving there from Fullerton in 1987 and last living there full time in 2016. I still visit monthly and although I’ve lived in NYC, Paris and now Joshua Tree, I consider LA home.

I consider myself a Catalyst, Strategist, Speaker and Entrepreneur! Whew. I’ve had long career in the music, entertainment, brand, and online space where I still consult for a select number of clients and I just launched a wellness brand for mental health called VRYeveryday. Catalyst- I like to help people turn ideas into reality, sometimes that means taking a seed of an idea and helping to make it happen, and sometimes that means going to a person/brand etc with something they never thought of and helping them develop it. As a Strategist, I like to help existing projects expand reach by taking the core idea and finding new outlets for growth. As Speaker, I’ve spoken on a multitude of subjects and international events such as SXSW, MIDEM, DigitalLA, NYC Veg Fest and more. It’s important for me to give back so I am on the board for a number of non-profit organizations including Alliance For Addiction Solutions, Sweet Relief, and Charity Bomb. As for Entrepreneur, along with my consulting company, VRYeveryday has become my entire mission. We’ll talk more about that below!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The struggle is real. Early in my music business career I struggled with addiction and alcoholism. Working in the music industry made it more acceptable as a lifestyle but at 24, I hit a bottom and started on the journey of recovery. I was immediately supported by my family, friends and musical community and have been able to remain clean and sober since July 10, 1992 – over 27 years as I write this! I also struggled with clinical depression for many years and tried multiple modalities including medication to help figure out the solution. In the constant search to feel better, I have read a copious amounts of books and sat through a gazillion online courses (plus a few certifications), consulted with multiple doctors and therapists and health practitioners and 12 step sponsors and nutrition coaches and the list goes on and on…. and finally by using specific supplements and understanding how my diet was affecting my moods and modifying it, I was able to recover from my own mood and depression issues.

Of course, I continued to do all the things that kept me sober (community and spiritual connection) and mindful (yoga, meditation and breath-work) but with the addition of detailed functional medicine lab work, a fine-tuned nutrition plan and mood-balancing supplements, everything finally changed. It’s been three years off of medication and per the doctors (and even more importantly, my own day to day life) my clinical depression is in full remission and has been for over three years. I share this not only to help smash the stigma of addiction and mental health issues but also to explain what led me to launching a new company that addresses natural solutions for mental health. Enter- VRYeveryday.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the VRY everyday story. Tell us more about the business.
In January of 2018, I launched VRYeveryday, a wellness brand with a mission to help support emotional wellbeing, mental health, and biochemical recovery using nutrition supplements and various wellness modalities. We launched with five all-natural, vegan non-gmo formulas to support various body systems using amino acids, herbs, minerals, and vitamin co-factors to help with issues such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, “the hangrys” and overall mood balancing. It is important to understand this– everything we do works better if our bodies and brains are fed properly. It is my mission to help more people learn about all of the additional natural ways we can supplement the body and brain to become happy, joyous and free truly. It is now my life’s purpose.

I’ve been very thoughtful on our brand and my company. I wanted the product itself to be top-notch. I worked with a manufacturing company that has been around 50+ years. We created with formulas informed by the innovators in Mental Health Nutrition and Amino Acid therapy, Herbalists and Health Practitioners… I also wanted the product to look good and have a combination of scientific FDA compliant language mixed with bright desert colors, fun names and “the feels” on each formula (Feel Happy, Feel Alive, Feel Calm, Feel Relaxed, Feel Balanced) for simplicity.

We are dedicated to formulas that focus on mental health and emotional wellbeing. It’s an honor that the wellness and recovery communities specifically have embraced our mission. We work with a lot of people searching for natural solutions instead of pharmaceuticals and a number of Doctors and Certified Health Coaches have started to use the formulas in their practices!

VRYeveryday can be purchased directly from our website or found in Southern California at these great locations: Liberate Hollywood, Siesta Yoga (Hollywood), My 12 Step Store (West Hollywood) Brat (Santa Monica), Earths Elements (Encinitas, Hermosa, Big Bear) The End (Yucca Valley) and Grateful Desert (Joshua Tree).

If you’re reading this and own a business that might want to carry our products, or are a Health Care practitioner and would like to get trained and added to our recommendation page reach out!

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I call luck “the synchronicity gene mixed with magnetization” and yes, I have been REALLY lucky a number of times. Right place right time with a bit of what my friend Greg Dulli coined #SpookyBeingMe – but with the gumption and smarts to back it up. Here is my favorite:

In 2000, I was working for the kid’s division of Sony Music and I had an idea to do a children’s album with David Bowie. I was a department coordinator (low level in the company!) but none the less I put together the concept and asked my boss at the time if I could send it to David Bowie’s team and she said sure, why not? Neither one of us was expecting to get a call the next day from David Bowie’s manager saying he was just in the office the day before and mentioned wanting to do a children’s record and wanted to meet me. Is that Luck? Synchronicity? David Bowie magic!?! Fast forward and I did end up having a meeting with this creative genius, who during the meeting asked ME my creative ideas – what? It was a meeting I will never, ever forget! He ended up signing with Sony Music but alas, I didn’t get my kids record. I got some amazing moments with the incredible David Bowie, a great story, a raise, a bonus, a promotion and the satisfaction knowing I pretty much helped sign him! 🙂

There are many more stories like this, I have it happen all the time. My advice is if you have an idea – GO FOR IT. Be prepared, listen to the universe and you never know what you may magnetize.

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Genius Recovery features VRYeveryday

Of all the medical epidemics, addiction has to be one of the most inscrutable. Though it has always been acknowledged that alcohol and drugs can have a debilitating effect on the spirit, just how these chemicals overwhelm us has been reimagined many times. In the early 1800s, temperance societies sprung up around the United States. In severe cases, people were put in sanitariums, facilities that were often poorly run and offered little hope for society beyond getting severe addicts off the streets. In 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-step doctrine was introduced to the conversation, with the infamous “Big Book” published in 1939.

While 12-step programs remain popular to this day (though magazines like The Atlantic have questioned their efficacy as a recovery method used on their own), recent research has shifted the conversation in new directions. Beyond discussions of the spirit or the will, addiction entered the medical realm when the American Medical Association classified alcoholism as a legitimate disease in 1956. In spite of that, it still took until 2000 for the AMA’s official journal to suggest that addiction be treated as a chronic medical illness. During or since that time, you’ve likely heard any number of the following aphorisms about addiction: it is a brain disease. It is a family disease. It is a disease of isolation. In all this conversation, however, the rates of relapse according to the NIH still remain between 40 to 60%—even for those who do seek treatment.

Though all of the above approaches and adages have truth to them, new voices are speaking out about a missing part of the recovery pie: biochemical recovery. Put simply, the physical cost of addiction on our bodies and brains is often invisible. Anyone who has ravaged themselves for years with hard drugs can follow a 12-step program, get dual diagnosis support and generally do all the “right” things. Still, if that person’s neurotransmitters are depleted or their blood sugar is volatile, stable and long-term recovery may be all but impossible.

Fortunately, people like Rynda Laurel, founder of nutritional supplement company VRYeveryday and board member of the Alliance for Addiction Solutions, are beginning to change the conversation. “I’ve been interested in a holistic lifestyle forever,” Laurel says. “I was born in San Francisco and my parents were somewhat of hippies. I’ve been sober since 1992 and since day one, I was looking beyond the regular tools for other things to make me feel better.”

In her old life, Laurel worked in A&R for companies including Virgin Records, Warner Brothers Records, Geffen Records and Sony BMG Music Entertainment. In January 2018, she founded VRYeveryday, a nutritional supplement and wellness-oriented company with products designed to boost their customers’ micro-nutritional health.  So far, the company has five supplement products available for purchase: Rest Well, Serenity, Dopa Mind, Gluta Mine and Pink Cloud (a nod to the rose-tinted view of the world that newcomers to recovery often experience). All of the products are non-GMO, vegan and gluten-free, containing a combination of amino acids, herbs, vitamins and mineral co-factors.

As their names suggest, Rest Well promotes relaxation and better sleep while Serenity helps calm the nervous system. Pink Cloud contains St. John’s Wort and Valerian to boost positive emotions, Dopa Mine helps produce dopamine for motivation and energy and Gluta Mine stabilizes metabolism and helps with sugar cravings. “Researchers have found that a lot of people in recovery have hypoglycemia,” Laurel says. “That’s why they crave the sugar in alcohol.” Generally speaking, each product can be taken once or twice daily and all are made in a quality-assured manufacturing facility that has been operational for more than 50 years.

As a recovering heroin addict herself, Laurel’s supplement formulas came from reading dietary books, consulting with health experts and self-experimenting. “I did vitamin testing to see what I was low on,” she says. “You can get as detailed as you want in your own health journey by doing all the testing.” Though Laurel recommends consulting with a doctor before using these or other nutritional products, VRYeveryday can still be taken at any point in recovery. In other words, the supplements are less a targeted cure for any specific ailment and more of a safe mood and energy boost for anyone in recovery. And since the supplement world can be complex and intimidating, VRYeveryday’s goal is to be accessible. “If you want something simple,” Laurel says, “that’s where these products can also come in.”

Beyond her company, Laurel’s broader mission is to push the conversation about recovery—from addiction, mental illnesses and whatever else—towards a perspective that includes micro-nutrition and holistic health. “When you’re brand new [in recovery],” Laurel says, “you go to a 12-step meeting and there’s coffee and donuts and cookies. After the meeting, you go to a burger place. I understand all the fellowship is really important but what we’re not doing is providing anything that says, ‘Look, you have to take care of what you can internally, too.’”

Laurel’s work with the Alliance on Addiction Solutions, founded in 2007, has also focused on spreading awareness about nutritional therapy. Though many high-end rehabs offer holistic supports like yoga and meditation in addition to psychiatric help for co-occurring disorders, fewer include options like amino acid detox and pro-recovery dietary advice. Like any paradigm shift in what is now a 35 billion dollar recovery industry, these sweeping changes take time. Still, the advocacy is a necessary starting point.

For her part, Laurel’s supplements are now in 14 stores throughout Southern California (including, notably, the 12-Step Store in West Hollywood). Beyond any business gain, however, Laurel says her mission and the mission of other advocates in the Alliance for Addiction Solutions is primarily altruistic. “I want to spread the word on biochemical recovery and make sure people are addressing their nutrition and supplements,” Laurel says. “You can’t do anything else if your brain isn’t functioning because you haven’t eaten correctly or your gut is messed up because you’ve been drinking. You have to address that, and my goal is to help address that in as many ways as I can.”