Beauty Food & Drink Interviews

8G Founder Dawn Russell on Living with the Dalai Lama’s Monks, Surviving Cancer and Favorite Cookie Recipes

Right now everyone’s talking about a “new year, new you.” While that makes for some catchy ad copy, there’s really no way—no matter what you do—to start over and get a new you. We’re all, each one of us, stuck with ourselves. But there’s liberating hope! Just take a deep breath and try working toward the possible, achievable goal of a new year, a better you … one day (even just one baby step) at a time.

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That’s what Dawn Russell, creator of 8G Greens Superfood Supplement, aims for—even if she does end up grabbing something from her favorite burger joint, In-N-Out. After being diagnosed with cancer at age 25, Russell started writing a new chapter in her book of life and began her wellness journey. Of all that she learned along the way to remission, she decided to take her knowledge of—and life-changing experience with—nutrient-dense foods and come up with a way to share it with everyone.

Now a business owner, mother of two and avid racecar driver, Russell is offering the results of many years of research and development with her nutritional supplement that packs a ton of greens and vitamins into one tablet that effervesces in water and makes boosting your daily intake of greens a whole lot easier. (Baby step #1.) Not to mention it’s lemon flavored!

Russell gave us some time to talk about everything from the importance of each green in the supplement to her favorite wellness resources and her secret for a happy, healthy life.

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What makes 8G Greens unique?
8G is unique because it tastes great, has zero sugar and just nine calories. It is the world’s first effervescent green drink, making it a quick, tasty way to get the eight most important greens on the go. I created 8G because I wanted to make getting greens easy, tasty and affordable. Not everyone has the time to make a green juice, a smoothie or make the healthy choice with their nutrition. 8G is a convenient, tasty way to boost everyone’s daily green intake. All you need to do is drop it in water, watch it fizz and drink. 8G is perfect for late morning starts, the 4pm slump and the days you don’t eat right—easy to carry in a handbag, backpack, lunchbox or luggage.

We love that 8 Greens has a light, lemony flavor (you’d never know there were so many greens in there!) and that it fizzes when you drop it in water. Is there more to the reason it does that besides just making your daily dose of greens a fun, fizzy experience?
The reason 8G is an effervescent tablet rather than in pill or powder form is that it is so easy to travel with. There is no excess powder spilling anywhere. One simply drops it in a glass of water and drinks. No need to stir, no need to measure, no need to do anything other than enjoy.

We made 8G a light, lemon-lime flavor so it tastes great. My five-year-old son thinks of 8G as a soda and loves to watch it fizz after dropping the tablet in water. Does one need any more reason than a five-year-old loving drinking greens?

Why eight greens and these specifically? What makes them special?
I wasn’t going to make 8G unless these eight greens were included, particularly the blue-green algae. When I was extremely sick, I consumed high amounts of these nutrient-dense greens, and what I noticed was truly life changing (which I do not say lightly).

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Spinach:
• Rich in chlorophyll to alkalize the body, support a healthy aging process and maintain gut health
• Rich in antioxidants and vitamin A to protect skin from free radicals, help maintain skin elasticity and aid the repair process
• High in vitamin C to promote collagen production and very high in vitamin K to maintain bone health
• Bursting with iron to oxygenate the body, and supports healthy red blood cell production to improve circulation and fight inflammation
• Rich in fiber to aid digestion and folic acid to promote healthy cell production.
• High in vitamin A to support and strengthen hair, skin and nails and eyesight

Wheatgrass:
• Promotes healthy cell production
• Rich in alkalizing properties and antioxidants to fight free radicals
• Helps to promote a healthy circulatory system

Kale:
• Contains seven times more beta-carotene than broccoli to maintain healthy vision and a strong immune system
• One of the most nutrient-dense foods available with a wide range of vitamins and minerals
• One of the best sources of vitamin K—a single cup of kale contains seven times the RDA
• High in calcium, potassium and magnesium to maintain bone, muscle and blood health

Aloe Vera:
• Supports the body’s natural ability to remove toxins and supports the immune system
• Antioxidant and antibacterial properties
• Promotes the natural healing process
• Soothes stomach irritations and helps with digestion
• Promotes healthy, strong hair growth
• Hydrating and soothing for the skin, boosts skin elasticity and increases collagen production

Blue-Green Algae:
• Very high in antioxidants and adaptogens to fight free radicals and damage caused by stress
• Boosts the immune system, energy, memory and promotes a healthy metabolism
• High in protein and fatty acids to repair and renew skin cells
• Assists in supporting a healthy digestive system and the digestion of sugar
• Promotes a healthy circulatory system

Spirulina:
• A powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties to help the body repair and renew
• Supports the body’s natural ability to regulate sugar intake
• Assists with the body’s natural ability to lose weight

Chlorella:
• A highly alkalizing alga that is rich in amino acids to promote a healthy immune and digestive system
• Energizes the body
• High in vitamins A and C, amino acids and chlorophyll to promote collagen production, fight free radicals and increase skin elasticity

Barley Grass:
• Alkalizes the body, and a powerful antioxidant to fight free radical damage
• Rich in amino acids, vitamins A, C, B1, B2 and B12 and folic acid to renew skin cells, prevent signs of aging and act as a rejuvenator to the whole body
• Contains a high amount of natural enzymes and naturally occurring chlorophyll to support the body’s natural ability to remove toxins and to promote a healthy circulatory system to support the quality of blood

We hear your mother once had the Dalai Lama’s monks staying at her house because of her involvement with the Tibetan movement. What was that like? Did they impart any memorable bits of wisdom or lasting memories?
A few of them would rise at dawn and make me breakfast before school. No matter the hour, their jet lag or the chaos in our house, they consistently had total equilibrium of mood, pace and manner. As a teenager, I found it enviable and today remind my adult self about it. They also made the most intricate, beautiful chalk drawing on our kitchen chalkboard that some guest erased.

After having been diagnosed with cancer at 25, you began an inner-wellness journey. After the diagnosis, you once wrote, “Illness is the language through which the body communicates its needs.” How have you—and how can we all—become better at listening to and taking care of our bodies? And what have you learned to do to make your mind a better listener to the body?
As much as I loathe language like “inner wellness” and “body communicates,” it is true. Without inner wellness, what do we have? A ticking clock? Our body always communicates, but listening can be difficult with all of life’s moving parts. Being a mother of two young boys, starting a company and living between two countries, I am definitely at my maximum capacity. Given I have half the lymph nodes in my body, I have the blessing and curse of my body communicating loudly and clearly—with inflammation, mucus, heat or, worst case, my left leg just stops working. That is when I go to cupping, scraping, colonics, acupuncture and drinking more and more greens. We can lead utterly full lives and have “inner wellness.”


What resources (web sites, centers, recipes, etc.) have you discovered over the course of your journey that you would recommend to other people who’d like to start (or are already on) their own journey toward holistic healing and inner wellness?
We Care Spa in Palm Desert (pictured above)
Jivamukti Yoga London, Durga’s class
Ph Miracle Living Alkalarian Recipes
Alicia Silverstone, The Kind Diet, oatmeal, walnut and dried plum cookie recipe
BabyCakes, chocolate chip cookie recipe (I have a huge sweet tooth)
Gwyneth Paltrow, It’s All Good, especially the recipes for turkey meatballs and fish fingers (my kids love them)

Last question! What are three rules you live by and/or what’s your secret to a happy, healthy life?
While I do not believe there are three rules to live by, I do know that: no one has all the answers, my family is absolutely my first priority (much to some executives’ dismay) and I have a few very dear friends I can go to for anything, anytime.

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