Janie Wood has led an international and cosmopolitan life to say the least. Growing up in England and then Switzerland, she eventually lived all over the world, working in fashion, wellness, and the intersection of the two.
As the daughter of a farmer, health was ingrained in her life from the start: A vegetable garden was at the base of every meal and bike rides and tennis rounded out a healthy childhood. Her first job remained on that track, working for the International Union for Conservation.
But then, the financial trading floor in London called. Fortunately, even though she worked long hours, she was able to maintain her focus on wellness in the office gym. Soon, a leap into style changed her path yet again, and it was then she started noticing her penchance for integrating fitness and fashion. Read on to hear how she’s kept her center through a whirlwind of professional change and wellness opportunities.
SBS: What has your professional life in fashion been like?
Janie Wood: First, I worked for an English-based brand before I moved to Hong Kong (for a boyfriend), where I worked for Louis Vuitton.
Hong Kong was outdoorsy, connected to a different way of life that included Chinese herbs and working out inherently. You can hike, play tennis and run into the ocean. Then a job with Donna Karan brought me back to London. I don’t think I appreciated this all the way along, but I was drawn to brands that celebrated women and the female form.
SBS: Was there a changing point in your health that stands out?
JW: When I was working in London and 26, I discovered a book by Dr. Sandra Cabot. It was meant to help the Australian market get rid of sugar since they have a high rate of diabetes. The book changed my life, and showed me how the power of sugar and the addiction to it can affect your mood and energy level. I completed the detox of eight to 10 weeks, and it changed my life. I follow those principles still today.
SBS: What moved you to NYC?
JW: After DK and working shortly for another brand, I traveled to Thailand for a 12-day detox and it offered me another, deeper connection to my body. Colonics, massages and yoga helped me get toxicity out of my body on a cellular level. I came back really manifesting where I wanted to be next in that moment of feeling super clean. When you’re in touch like that you can manifest more easily.
Within two and half months, I had moved to NYC where I worked for Jennifer Lopez’s company. That was nine years ago. It was a wild roller coaster, but I credit that with having this current time to take a breath.
SBS: How did your time in NYC affect your health?
JW: It was funny because coming to NY, I thought the transition would be easier than it was. I thought New York was revered for being healthy, fun and innovative. But I found a level of debauchery even more advanced than in London! I had to go out and meet people, and the culture is to have a glass of wine every night. That affected my body and hormones, along with the food. There was a moment when I thought, ‘Should I just go home?’ I was constantly feeling hungover, and frankly, bullied.
It was a tough two years, but I knew it was important professionally. I wanted to learn the American market and understand licensing, which I did.
SBS: How did you handle those health issues?
JW: I noticed I had brain fog, and I was putting on weight despite working out. I was constantly tired, and I didn’t have my period. My body was totally messed up.
Fortunately, I found an amazing doctor. He was weird and helpful, and I listened to his many different processes, from a strict diet eliminating dairy (which we know about now) to using Chinese herbs, acupuncture and Reiki.
Then, I was able to shift my life a bit as I helped set up my friend’s company that needed support in US. I had the chance to create the culture, so I found some great girls who were fun, healthy and did other things instead of just going to the bar.
SBS: How are you focusing your energies now?
JW: I work with Moon Juice, a health and wellness brand. When I met them they were three juice shops with a small amount of distribution. I took them out into the world and got them into Net-a-Porter, Free People, and the like. They also offer herbal supplements called Moon Dust, which include Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs, adaptogens and supporting herbs. Ingestible beauty is a big category that just recently broke.
I’m also consulting and working with a couple of different brands starting soon. I believe in that connection between wellness, fashion and ingestibles, and that’s where I’m focused. That’s what the next generation is interested in, like workout wear that’s not only functional but also provides aesthetic value.
SBS: How would you describe ‘ingestibles’ and their use?
JW: There are traditional ingestibles like Advil that are used for headaches. But now, there are also different pills, powders or greens that exist in the market to support our bodies. A lot of them are embracing Chinese traditional medicine or an Ayurvedic approach. Others are Indian herbs, or things like spirulina and chia seeds. They are strong ingredients that collectively nourish your body. A lot of people are also adding in prebiotics and probiotics, as our gut has become the cause of so much disease. We have a high level of stress globally from the world we’re living in.
SBS: What’s your advice for finding ingestibles right for each of us?
JW: Everyone is still trying to figure that out, as the idea is on the rise. Personally, I found Moon Juice because I really connected to the founders’ story. I had more experience with Ayurveda, but since I connected with Moon Juice, it deepened my dive. So I’d suggest going to a brand that you connect with their story or founder. Or, you can ask their advice. Moon Juice is lucky to have three shops, and they have great people working there who are really knowledgeable. You can also check out podcasts and websites.
Next, take a look at functional doctors and medical practitioners. They offer a real blend of Western and Eastern medicine. If you can find a functional doctor, they can help you evaluate where you are mentally and what your body needs from both perspectives. Perhaps they can help you support your health with herbs or another medicine versus only pills from Western medicine.
Clean, plant based protein is a great way to supplement your food, too. Super Elixir has a great greens powder, for example. They have a protein that has a prebiotic and a post-biotic. That’s a great combo to use with water or blend with nutmilk.
Finally: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s so overwhelming. If you have a friend who is into health and wellness, walk and talk! I ask my friends who have more info questions all the time! All of us are different, though, so what works for me might not work for you.
SBS: What does your personal workout routine consist of?
JW: Working out can be walking along a beach, hiking or just walking with friends. It doesn’t have to be CrossFit. It’s about moving your body in a way that matches how you really feel at that time. Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve learned to connect with what I want to do. In my 20s, I had a strict routine: Monday, Wednesday, Friday I’d spin, and Tuesday and Thursday I’d do something else. Now I wake up and want to go for a run or walk around the block or go swimming. Then I do that. Listen to your body.
I also can’t emphasize the power of meditation enough, whether through Headspace or something else. I love transcendental meditation. It’s the most powerful tool you can give your mind, and it gives you the opportunity and permission to stop for five or 20 mintues. We don’t often take those breaks. Or if you’re having a crazy day, take 15 minutes and just go to another part of the office to sit quietly.
Janie’s LA Favorites:
Healthy Restaurant: Butcher’s Daughter
Splurge Restaurant: Felix
Fitness Studio: Tower 26
Online Resource: Mindbodygreen and Thrive Global
Books: The Power of Kabbalah by Yehuda Berg and The Vortex by Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks
Fun Activity: Watching live music, traveling with friends, and anything beach related
Calming Activity: Reading on the beach
Athleticwear: Nike and Outdoor Voices
Athletic Shoes: Nike