“That was what really led me on this path of sort of conscious living, if you will,” the Twilight alum, entrepreneur and all-around multi-hyphenate explained in an exclusive interview with E! News. Motivated to create sustainable, ethical fashions, she partnered with Dell to extract gold from old computer motherboards and repurpose it into dainty rings and stackable bracelets. And suddenly she found herself paying particularly close attention to the makeup of everything around her.
Part of which was due to the fact that she and husband Ian Somerhalder reed-pregnant-i-m-a-better-version-of-myself” data-ylk=”slk:were expecting;elm:context_link;itc:0″ class=”link “>were expecting their now-5-year-old daughter Bodhi. “I started looking at ingredient lists and things like that when I was pregnant,” Reed recalled. “And I noticed, oh, wow. I’m only doing this now for the first time just in depth.”
What she dug up was enlightening for a number of reasons.
“In society we don’t really ask that of women until they’re pregnant,” she said of her sudden hyper-focus on everything she consumed, wore or otherwise used. “We don’t really put that on them like, ‘Now you should be really thinking about what you’re wearing or eating or putting on your body because now you’re pregnant.’ So we’re conditioned as women to only think about what we’re growing instead of also what we’re doing in our day-to-day lives.”
Though, for Reed, now expecting her second child, once the lightbulb turned on, it was impossible to switch it back off.
Or, as she put it, “I woke up one day, I realized something and I couldn’t un-realize it.”
While she’s hardly the first person to cook with organic foods or buy up produce at a local farmer’s market (or, in her case, harvest vegetables from the California farm she and Somerhalder moved to after welcoming Bodhi), her commitment to clean, conscious living extends far beyond the confines of her kitchen.
Beyond the more obvious examples of food and beauty products, one area people don’t always consider “is what’s in our cleaning products,” she noted. “You think, ‘It’s not touching my body. It’s not makeup or deodorant so I don’t have to think about that.'”
Except, she continued, products like laundry detergent do touch your skin, just as the synthetic fragrances from your favorite candles may linger in the air. “Just things that you’re not necessarily conscious of,” she explained, “and then the lightbulb goes off and you think, ‘Wow, I’m actually inhaling this all day long. I’m sitting in this all day long. I’m wearing this all day long.'”
Or, I’m religiously giving this to my children throughout every germ-filled cold-flu-and-RSV season.
Because Reed had yet another ah-ha moment when scanning the back of a medicine bottle. “You look at the ingredient list and you’re like, ‘Why can’t I pronounce this? Why don’t I know what this is?’ And you Google it and you’re like, ‘That‘s what I’m putting into my body? Into my children’s bodies?'”
Rethinking her medicine cabinet led her to Genexa, a clean medicine brand founded by two dads that boasts all the same fever-calming, pain-relieving active ingredients “as your typical over-the-counter medicine,” said Reed, who’s now an investor in the company. “But without all the artificial fillers, synthetics, dyes, all the things we don’t need.”
Particularly as parents eke out the final few weeks of what has been a “pretty gnarly” season of sickness, “I want all the moms in my life to know about this,” she added. Because, stop her if you’ve heard this one: “Every mom I’m on the phone with is like, ‘Can we get together this weekend?’ ‘No, mine’s down this weekend.’ ‘Mine’s down.'”
“I think there’s a different relationship to what’s happening with your body because I think you understand it more the second time around just because you’ve been through it,” she explained of experiencing pregnancy again after six years. “Just the little things that you start to see or notice or feel. And you’re like, ‘I know what that is.’ Or, ‘I remember this feeling.'”
But even though she’s approaching everything from appointments to her birth plan with a more seasoned view, she’s still maintaining the wide-eyed excitement she felt the first time around. “I would say it’s special both times,” she shared. “I’m enjoying every second of it.”