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Meet Jessica Bell of reVessel in North County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Bell.

Jessica, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Just over a year ago, I committed to stepping into the unfamiliar and embarking on a new journey. It felt like I had been guided to this point in my life and like I had no option  but to use my experience to have a greater impact on the world. If for none other than myself and my family, I had to see this through. After all, I was making up for lost time.

It all started in August 2014. My perspective and view on life would soon change forever after a wave of tragedies hit our family. I had just learned of my Mother-in-Law’s diagnosis of ALS – a rapid, fatal neurodegenerative autoimmune disease with no widely known cure, which took her just 10 months later. Shortly after her diagnosis, my health spiraled and having the perfect storm, I discovered that I had succumbed to several autoimmune diseases; the trigger being the trauma of the loss, but I was in no condition to withstand the emotional toll.

I was devoid of nutrition, following the birth of my second son, burdened by toxicity from my environment and had accepted being a tired mom as the norm. In the chaos of dealing with loss and my own chronic disease, my husband was laid off from his job at a Bay Area startup. I had always been physically active and in my naiveté assumed it was the equivalent to health and longevity. I never stopped to consider what it really meant to thrive and support optimal health and to a degree ate whatever I wanted; assuming I could. I was never one to settle for mediocrity, in fact, I am hard-wired to pursue perfection.

Somehow I got caught up in the grind of tirelessly striving to be the perfect doer of everything and the word NO was not in my vocabulary. I failed to spend time caring for myself – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. As my circumstances worsened by the day over the next 18 months with new debilitating symptoms appeared with lab results confirming the internal chaos, I was unable to be the person, parent or wife I was meant to be.

I was not living. I was barely surviving. I gradually claimed responsibility and started to carve out time to discover and address the root causes of my conditions while beginning to find bits of beauty in the experiences. I have so many special people to whom I owe my gratitude who have helped pave the road to my healing. I have learned that trials are an integral part of life and are tools to strengthen us. In order to endure, we must be ready mentally, physically and spiritually. I wouldn’t have volunteered for the struggles, but would not have changed it for the world.

I began delving into latest medical research, testing different traditional and non-traditional healing modalities and experimenting with new ways of sourcing, preparing and looking at food – as powerful medicine – while learning to pay close attention to the responses my body gave and reducing the burden of toxins I encountered. It was a gradual process, changing behaviors and societal conditioning. It was hard to go against the cultural grain. The litany of symptoms that once left me struggling to face each day began to be fade. Had it not been for the journal I kept, I would have all but forgotten. A little light began to shine as my commitment to healing started to pay off.

Hidden in these trials were little blessings that I was too busy to notice until I was in such bad shape that I didn’t recognize myself any longer. I chose to reclaim control. These lessons left me striving to be more present and ready to live life in a way that I hadn’t yet experienced. That is when I began shifting my deep obsession with food into finding my purpose… shaping my life around my passion for food that supports the vitality and advocating for a better food culture and system that embraces food for human and environmental health rather than provoking disease. It was no longer about short-term cost and convenience, but taking in the full accounting of the consequences with an isolated view of food’s role in our body.

Early on in the journey, I learned the challenges of leading a healthy on-the-go lifestyle myself, let alone to guide and steward my children in this modern day. We are not geared as a society to promote the highest expression of health, but rather encouraging instant gratification for everything, including food. In order to keep up with the expectations of constantly doing and achieving more, we have sacrificed the time in the kitchen for commercially prepared and convenience food with little awareness of where the food came from, how it got to our mouths and how it impacts the body. I knew deep down we were not designed for disease, but for vitality when given the right conditions.

Although, I had become a statistic and among the 51% of American adults with a chronic lifestyle-related disease, I was unwilling to settle for this fate. For me, that meant taking food EVERYWHERE and that wasn’t always easy. In 2016, I had started a small food advocacy firm, called Bellicious, to inspire and empower others to live a practical lifestyle that encouraged the highest potential for health, helping to navigate the complex food system and reduce exposures to toxins in the environment – from endocrine disrupting plastic resins to chemical toxins in farming.

After seeing firsthand how health is the foundation of life and how food can either be a powerful form of medicine or a slow form of poison, I was compelled to help others avoid the obstacles. During that time, a friend, knowing of my convictions had asked for guidance in helping her family transition to real, nutrient dense foods that would support the health of her growing children. Word spread and in a short time I found myself sourcing and cooking dinners for ten other families in my local community nightly. I stepped into this role knowing that I was now influencing the quality of life of so many; replacing a reliance on convenience food for high-quality food ready to eat.

My vision was to redefine how families ate in a fast-paced world through the education of the long-term benefits; paving way for unadulterated food and supporting families eating meals together to reconnect from the disjointed days. Seed to the soul is what I called it.

Transporting meals was the challenge as I found that I was compromising my beliefs around clean food storage. Different meal presentations required different segmentation. I was confined to the glass as much as possible as that is the safest way to cook and store food, but often had to divide the elements of the meal up one way or another and had no viable option. There still existed many limitations around taking food on the go needed a better solution.

Drawing from my experience from producing a wide range of meals and taking food to the various activities from traveling to sporting events, I decided the right containers was the first problem I needed to solve. I had developed a laundry list of requirements over the years and it had to be ultra functional from baking to storing and transporting to adapting to different ages and stages of life to different cuisines to reducing reliance on toxic or single-use containers. I combined all of the features I sought having versatility, durability, leak-proofing, eco-friendliness and free from harmful toxins and crafted a system that would help others discover the freedom and possibilities when taking food anywhere, even taking food to go from restaurants that would otherwise be using single-use containers such as plastic or styrofoam.

My quest was no longer about me, but the future of health for my family and generations to come. My uncompromising commitment to food for optimal health was the biggest factor in reversing all but a few symptoms of the autoimmune attack; restoring my zest for life and leaving me grateful and ready to not only share my struggles but what I’d overcome. Through this, I truly gained so much, including strength, confidence and tenacity to make a healthy living just a bit easier for so many.

We are currently putting our line of safe, eco-friendly, non-toxic reusable food containers through the rigors of our on the go lifestyle to ensure they meet all of our high expectations to safely store, cook and take food on the go… ANYWHERE. We expect to introduce the flagship products later this year. We have partnered with an amazing team of engineers and designers to craft the best products to reimagine a world where the people can pursue passion without the lifestyle-related disease.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the reVessel story. Tell us more about the business.
reVessel is the most versatile, reusable container system to safely store and take food on the go. We are proud of our proactive approach to sourcing the most human and environmentally preferred materials, our commitment to reducing reliance on single-use containers and freedom the products give to pursue a life of adventure.

Our patent pending leak-proof technology allows customers to take food anywhere from beaches to campgrounds, school and the office, while also having the capability to use as cookware, food storage in the fridge, pantry and freezer. The containers are truly adaptable to so many situations at home or on the go.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
There is greater demand for reusable food and beverage container options. Sustainability is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Ocean pollution makes its way into the ocean causing devastation to marine life and the ecosystem. Fifty percent of the plastic we use only one time and throw away. Klean Kanteen and Hydroflask are two examples of clean reusable beverage storage that have grown the awareness needed to build momentum in the movement toward reducing reliance on plastic bottles. Following the plastic bag ordinances, more cities like San Diego (along with more than 100 other municipalities) to propose a ban on styrofoam food containers to address the concerns with plastic pollution in our oceans.

Toxins are everywhere in our environment. Consumers are also growing more aware of the need to source better – from personal care to cleaning products all the way to food and containers. Shoppers are more geared toward reading labels to ensure they will not impact health. Demand is increasing for high-quality products that do not interfere with the body’s biological systems and thus clean materials are sought after to avoid unnecessary exposure to these toxins.

There is still a limited offering for highly functional, durable and versatile reusable containers to safely store and take food on the go. That is what reVessel aims to address.

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Image Credit:

Tristan Quigley Photography

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