August Vega: She’s Nuts for This Milk Alternative

December 5 - On The Dot
 
FIRST THOUGHT: Taking Comfort in Food

When you were a sick kid with a bellyache, did you have a go-to snack or beverage that settled your tummy? Maybe it was 7UP and saltine crackers, or milk and toast. It’s in such moments we realize food can be a comfort, and it even has the power to make us feel better. A late-night drive-thru stop can also be a wake-up call that some foods are anything but a comfort. Today, give your stomach some TLC and skip that one thing you know will make it growl at you, opting instead for some good-for-you comfort food.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: Nearly Twice

Lots of recent studies reveal what we were taught as kids might not be so cut and dried, and Mom may not have been correct in assuming we need milk at every meal. According to the School of Public Health at Harvard University, we should drink milk in moderation, as it’s not clear dairy products are the best source of calcium for most people. One Swedish study backs up this claim, noting that women who gulped down more than three glasses of milk each day had nearly twice the mortality rate over 20 years as women who consumed less than one glass of milk per day. The study also found substantial milk drinkers do not have better bone health. In fact, they have more fractures.

WOMAN TO WATCH: August Vega, Founder and CEO of Malk Organics

When it comes down to it, you know more than anyone else how milk affects your body. And for many people, cow’s milk simply isn’t an option. After all, lactose intolerance—the inability to fully digest the sugar in milk—can be entirely debilitating. If you’re looking for an alternative, you’ll definitely want to pour yourself into the story of today’s Woman to Watch. Her name is August Vega and she founded Malk Organics, a tasty biz that makes entirely dairy-, soy-, gluten-, GMO- and lactose-free vegan milks.

Though August struggled her whole life to find foods that wouldn’t enrage her severe dairy allergy and make her sick, it was when her son was born with the same allergy that she became truly motivated by the mission to create a better dairy alternative. She started experimenting in her kitchen, making her own milk from nuts.

About three years later, Malk Organics has become a thriving business and now offers a variety of almond, cashew and pecan milks, both flavored and unflavored, all made with six ingredients or less. The company even makes a delicious cold-brew coffee spiked with pecan Malk.

This mompreneur’s microbusiness has seen significant growth, and part of August’s success, in addition to offering high-quality products, is that she has a knack for creating a family atmosphere in which her employees can thrive. She pays her workers double the minimum wage, noting she’s happy to make that investment in them.

But August’s employees aren’t the only ones raving about Malk. Beverage-oriented media company BevNet awarded Malk best noncarbonated beverage in 2015, and Forbes called August one of the top female leaders in the sustainable-foods market.

When it comes to entrepreneurship and personal acceptance, August takes a page from the Brené Brown playbook, noting that it takes practice to be comfortable with the journey of growing. It can be riddled with mistakes and imperfections, but in order to find your version of success, you’ve got to be OK with yourself, flaws and all. Oh yeah, and once you get a little taste of success, milk it for all it’s worth!

QUITE THE QUOTE

August Vega is the perfect example of this quote from fellow beverage-industry pioneer Lisa Srao:

“You women entrepreneurs out there, blaze new paths and don’t allow yourself to be restricted by outdated traditions.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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