Ashwagandha + Chill with the CEO of Lake + Oak Tea Co., Meredith Youngson

My mind is in constant ideation mode. I'm either thinking, creating or reminiscing. On a cooler Sunday afternoon a couple of months ago, not much different than most, whilst sipping on my oat milk Mega Matcha - which, sidebar, is product I also hiiiighly recommend - I thought about much I love tea, and how it is such an important part of my own mental health journey. Albeit a small act of self-love, the ritual of making a cup or pot of tea is very relaxing. I decided I NEEDED a tea in our collection. But not just ANY ol' tea, the best tea in the game; a tea that speaks to the essence of what Forward Ever, Backward Never represents. I decided to make be audacious and reach out to Meredith - the CEO of Lake & Oak Tea Co., to see if she was keen on a collaboration with Forward Ever, Backward Never.

It was kismet when we got onto that first video call. Her story is captivatinng, her brand is beautiful, and through sharing our parallel stories and experiences, it was comforting to discover we both had ambitions to create companies and communities that above all else, leave people feeling good. 
Meredith is an anomaly in the best possible meaning of the word. Her story - which she shares more below (I won’t spoil it!) illustrates the tremendous amount of courage she had to take a trying and debilitating circumstance in her own life and turn it into the very tool she needed to start a businesses that helps other people support their minds and bodies in a kind and healthy way. She is absolute magic. 
Meredith - I am in awe of you! Thank you for letting Forward Ever, Backward Never be a part of your amazing journey. Here’s to your continued success and many many more cups of tea. Xox
Tell us a bit about yourself and about Lake & Oak Tea Co.
I’m Meredith Youngson, the founder and CEO behind Lake & Oak Tea Co. 
We make Superfood Teas & Adaptogen Blends that are super tasty, functional and designed to support your mind and body. 
My mental health journey absolutely inspired Lake & Oak. 5 years ago, I was in my mid-twenties entering “real life” and the workforce, and anxiety and depression hit me like a brick wall. The symptoms were new and debilitating, and mental disease was not something that had been ever talked about in my friend or family group (at that time). 
I felt hopeless, alone, and my instinct was to give up on all of my dreams and ambitions and curl up into a little ball. I reached out to the one person I knew that had depression (she was an ex-coworker, we weren’t even friends) for advice. I’ll never forget how good it felt to hear back from her!
From there, I slowly became educated about mental health and its ties to nutrition, lifestyle and mindset. Being a nutritionist and plant-based cook, I was inspired by the idea of helping my symptoms naturally with food and herbs.
That’s where Lake & Oak came in! I was searching for a *super potent* anxiety tea to enjoy in the evenings before bed. I tinkered around with herbs like chamomile, peppermint, skullcap etc, and that ended up being our first tea - Ashwagandha + Chill.
Tell us about what the Ashwagandha & Chill blend is like, and why you created it.
I was so excited to partner with Forward Ever, Backward Never on Ashwagandha & Chill because this blend is the closest to my heart! Being the first one I created, and inspired by my own mental health journey, it’s an honour to share the goodness that comes from this tea. 
The tea was designed to be super effective first and foremost. I wanted an instant “ahhhhh” feeling when you sipped it. The flavour is minty floral but balanced with a little bit of earthiness from ashwagandha root. 
Our clients reach out all the time and say how great a sleep they had after drinking it, or how nice it was to unwind with Ashwagandha + Chill after a tense day. That is what keeps me going. 
Tell us how you self-care.
Self-care is super sexy right now, and all the rage on social media, but in real life, self-care is essential for my mental health and wellbeing. 
In order to manage anxiety symptoms and be my best self everyday, I have a few daily practices and rituals that keep me grounded. Journaling, through the good and the bad. Practicing gratitude on paper. 
I try to start the day with intention, cultivating the mood and mindset for the day as much as possible. This may look like 5 minutes of quiet time on the couch with some Gut Love tea.
A lot of the time self-care is how I (try to) talk to myself. Instead of “you aren’t good enough”, it's “look how far you’ve come”.
I’m also a sucker for a luxurious bedtime routine with a bubble bath and a cozy Sun Mylk ;)  
Tell us what this collaboration means to you. 
This collaboration was meant to be, on so many levels! Firstly, to have the opportunity to meet such a warm, wonderful person like Danai. It’s been amazing to be a part of what FEBN is doing, and learn from their incredible work in the community. I can’t wait to see what's next for FEBN.
Secondly, it was a reminder to go back to my roots with the business, the reason we started. Positively impacting the lives of others by supporting them on their mental health journey. As of this October, we are sharing 2% of our profits with Canada’s Center of Addiction and Mental Health, CAMH.
We loooove to hear it!

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