Lisa Matar, a mother of two in Los Gatos, had just launched her Health Bear line of high-protein, single-serving oatmeal when the pandemic hit.
“Suddenly all the kids were home and not rushing out the door, and no one was coming into the office,” Matar recalls.
It was time to reinvent its hands-on approach to its product. She started working on bulk packaging, both to reduce waste and to provide more flexibility to the consumer. The new multi-serve packaging will hit California grocery stores this fall. His superfood oatmeal, which contains oats, chia, flax, pea protein powder and hemp seeds, is currently available on his Health Bear website, amazon.com and woot.com in flavors like Coconut Cardamom and Blueberry Lemon. Health Bear’s offices are in Campbell.
Matar is originally from San Diego, where she studied graphic design and fine art. Finding a career in this industry too lonely, she worked in real estate for eight years before moving to Los Gatos, where she became active in the Bella Vista League and St. Mary’s School and Church.
Raising two children, ages 10 and 12, in the Catholic school system while her husband works in high tech has connected her to many fun and social “mommy” groups around her children’s school activities.
When the pandemic shut down in-person classes and everything surrounding school life, that infrastructure disappeared, along with the social drinking atmosphere that came with it.
“I decided I wanted to live my brand, which is fun, healthy food,” says Matar. Giving up alcohol was part of her goal to achieve the energy and focus she needed to take her brand and her health to the next level. She embraced the “curious sober” movement, driven by a desire for clarity and personal health.
“Now that the kids are back in school, I have up to five hours a day to do what I need to do after working out in the gym,” she says. “No more naps at noon because I don’t feel well after drinking a few glasses of wine the day before.
“Being super healthy doesn’t mean a boring lifestyle. I’m building a business one day at a time and I can’t imagine anything less boring. Every day brings new challenges to overcome.
Matar also began to think more about the impact of his lifestyle choices on the planet. About four years ago, she began transitioning from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet. She is now completely vegan. Her advice to those beginning to explore a plant-based diet is to do so gradually.
“I cut out the cheese and the eggs first, because I thought the production methods were inhumane,” she says. “Then I cut out the chicken and the beef, focusing on the vegetables. I noticed a big change in the way I felt. For a while I included fish in my routine, but when I look at what is happening in the oceans, I can’t take it anymore.
“With my relentless vegetable consumption, my children have come to enjoy a greater assortment of vegetables, including some pretty gross hippie-style salads,” she says. “Also, my daughter has decided not to eat hot dogs and steak and will only eat Impossible Burgers.”
Among the brands that help make her vegan life “awesome” is Double Rainbow ice cream. This San Francisco-based brand offers vegan, non-dairy flavors like vanilla and mint chocolate chips. Matar recently met the owner at the Fancy Food Show in Las Vegas, where she also discovered Mia’s plant-based prosciutto and salami in Italy.
On the same show, she tried plant-based chicken from Rebellious.com. “It was the best, most authentic chicken I’ve ever tasted. Their slogan is ‘No Evil, No Poultry’.
In addition to oatmeal, Matar is working on new formulas for protein shakes, snack bars and cookies.
For more information, visit https://www.healthbearfood.com.