Lisa Matar, a mother of two from Los Gatos, had just launched her Health Bear line of single-serving high-protein oatmeal when the pandemic hit.
“Suddenly, all the kids were home and they weren’t running out the door, and no one was coming into the office,” recalls Matar.
It was time to re-imagine their approach based on the convenience of their product. He started working on bulk packaging, both to reduce waste and to offer more flexibility to the consumer. The new multi-serving package will hit California grocery stores this fall. His oatmeal superfood, 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 offices are in Campbell.
Matar is from San Diego, where he studied graphic design and fine art. Finding a career in that industry too lonely, he worked in real estate for eight years before moving to Los Gatos, where he was active in the Bella Vista League and St. Mary’s Church and School.
Raising two boys, ages 10 and 12, in the Catholic school system while her husband works in high tech connected her to many fun and social groups of “mommies” around their children’s school activities.
When the pandemic shut down in-person classes and everything else surrounding school life, that infrastructure vanished, along with the social drinking scene that went along with it.
“I decided I wanted to live my brand, which is fun, fit food,” says Matar. Giving up alcohol was part of his goal to achieve the energy and focus he needed to push his brand and his health to the next level. She embraced the “sober and curious” movement, driven by a desire for clarity and personal health.
“Now that the kids are back in school, I have five hours a day at the most to do what I have to do after working out at the gym,” he says. “No more midday naps because I don’t feel good after having a couple of glasses of wine the day before.
“Being super healthy doesn’t mean a boring lifestyle. I’m building a company one day at a time, and I can’t imagine anything less boring. Every day brings new challenges to tackle.”
Matar also began to think more about the impact of his lifestyle choices on the planet. About four years ago, he began the transition from a meat-based to a plant-based diet. She has now become completely vegan. Her advice for those starting to explore a plant-based diet is to do it gradually.
“I eliminated cheese and eggs first, because I thought the production methods were inhumane,” she says. “Then I eliminated chicken and beef, focusing on 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 happens in the oceans, I couldn’t do it anymore.
“With my relentless consumption of vegetables, my kids have come to enjoy a greater variety of vegetables, including some pretty crude hippie-style salads,” she says. “Also, my daughter has decided to stop eating hot dogs and steak and she will only eat Impossible Burgers.”
Among the brands that help make your vegan life “amazing” is Double Rainbow ice cream. This San Francisco-based brand offers vegan, non-dairy flavors like vanilla and mint chocolate chip. Matar recently met the owner at the Fancy Food Show in Las Vegas, where he also discovered Mia’s plant-based prosciutto and salami in Italy.
On the same show, he tried rebelly.com’s plant-based chicken. “It was the best and most authentic chicken I have ever tasted. His motto is ‘No harm, no birds’”.
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.