“Learning to listen to what your body is telling you and showing you is the secret sauce to longevity and health,” said Denise Vasi. It’s one of the single-most important things she’s learned about self-care. And when it comes to self-care, this model/actress turned clean living expert knows quite a bit.

When she was pregnant with her first child, Denise explains that her relationship with wellness changed. She began searching for a community and content that could help her in her new journey. However, what Denise found was a void in the wellness space – and constantly coming across women with whom she didn’t identify with. This led to her epiphany – and the birth of Maed.

For Denise, Maed is a community-focused wellness community with an emphasis on clean beauty, holistic approaches, and self-care. Maed’s mission is about bringing information, education, and inspiration to women to go out there and just connect with themselves on a deeper level.

Check out more of Denise’s Story in our podcast episode, “Women and Wellness with Maed Founder Denise Vasi”

To learn more about Denise and her journey to becoming a wellness guru, we set up a Q&A that asked her our burning questions about all things wellness, beauty, and more.  

Q&A on Wellness, Beauty Routines, and More 

What got you interested in nutrition and wellness?

I initially became aware of nutrition and wellness from my grandmother. She was way ahead of her time, doing elimination diets and seeing functional medicine doctors in the ’90s.

At 12 years, I signed with Ford Models, and then in my 20’s, I transitioned into acting. Because I have spent 20+ years modeling and acting, my job has always been to keep myself looking young and healthy. But it was not until I transitioned into motherhood that I truly understood the significance of health and wellness.

Can you describe your journey and the inspiration that led to MAED?

Several years ago, when I really looked hard at the health and wellness industry, I saw a tremendous lack of diversity and inclusivity. I felt the all-or-nothing approach was intimidating and that there was a misconception that wellness was solely for the wealthy. I wanted to bring attainable wellness and beauty content to all women, and I wanted to make it accessible to as many women as possible, especially women of color. So I founded Maed, a lifestyle publication focused on intentional living, self-care, and clean beauty.

How did you hear about Thorne? What are you most excited about pairing up with Thorne as a nutritional supplement provider?

Dr. Drew Francis, my functional medicine doctor, first introduced me to Thorne a decade ago when you could only get Thorne supplements through a practitioner, so Thorne has been a part of my daily supplement intake for a very long time.

The most critical Thorne supplement I have taken is their Basic Prenatal. I have the MTHFR genetic variant that prevents me from converting folic acid into methylfolate, which a woman especially needs when she’s pregnant. Most women have no idea whether or not they have the MTHFR gene variant, so I'm grateful my doctor tested me. We decided on Thorne’s prenatal multi-vitamin because it has the most biologically active form of folate.

What are your top three Thorne beauty supplements?

Just three? That’s so hard!

I love Thorne’s Skin Health Bundle because it contains three nutritional supplements that help maintain the health and resilience of all things beauty – skin, hair, and nails. I appreciate that the bundle combines the vitamins and minerals I need, it makes it easy, and I feel confident that I am covering all my bases.

I also love Niacinamide because it has several skin benefits, especially if you are prone to skin issues. It supports keratin production and increases the production of ceramides, which improves your skin barrier and helps calm inflammation.

I know I'm mentioning more than three, but I can’t leave out vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital for so many health reasons, but also, low vitamin D levels can impact your skin barrier and contribute to several really nasty skin issues.

What advice do you have for our readers looking to promote healthy aging?

Your best weapon of defense is always going to be what you eat. Aim to eat a high-quality, diverse diet that is rich in nutrients, antioxidants, flavonoids, and essential fatty acids. Then add targeted nutritional supplementation to give you what's missing from your diet or, like in my case, what your body might not be properly absorbing or converting correctly.

What are some beauty trends to look for in 2022? 

Lipstick is back and it’s all about clean beauty lip care!

What are some of your favorite workouts and how do they play a role in wellness?

Dancing is by far my favorite workout! You have cardiovascular benefits and it’s a major calorie burner. Plus, dancing is a mood booster, which has a significant positive impact on my mental wellness.

I love Megan Roup's The Sculpt Society classes because she mixes dance cardio with light-weighted sculpting moves. I also love PVolve! It's a resistance-based, high-intensity, low-impact workout. You can do both of these in your home and see real results.

Do you have advice for our readers about nutrition and diet and how it can play a role in their wellness routines?

Just like anyone else, I can get into a rut where I don't work out or I'm not making the best food choices – that happens, it's life.

First, don't beat yourself up about it! Recognize it, own it, and decide when you want to change it. Give yourself a date and then get up and make one small move toward that change. Life is not an all-or-nothing event. Small changes mean everything, and consistency is key.

If we are too hard on ourselves or put too much on our plate, then we set ourselves up to crash and burn. But when we are kind and generous with ourselves – when we give ourselves enough time to create change, we foster an environment that is positive and healthy for our mental and emotional wellness, and from there, the physical changes can truly happen.