MAIA, FOUNDER & CEO
Maia James has a lifetime of experience in the world of natural living, and has turned this passion into a career, now helping clients easily enjoy greener, cleaner lives, peace of mind, and better health.
Formerly a Communications Director for a nonprofit organization in New York City, Maia founded Gimme the Good Stuff in 2009, with the mission of helping conscientious but overwhelmed moms easily understand the potential risks of a range of kids’ products, and giving them access to safe alternatives.
In 2012, Maia partnered with CdR & Co., a high-end interior design and styling firm, and she now provides in-home consulting in New York City, helping her clients create clean, safe living environments for their families.
Maia is a blogger for The Huffington Post, where she can be found at www.huffingtonpost.com/maia-james. She’s been featured on The Doctor Oz Show and numerous publications.
In Maia’s Own Words
When I was three, an old lady offered me a handful of M&M’s before my mom could intervene.
“What are those?” I inquired.
“It’s candy!” the woman exclaimed with surprise.
“What’s candy?” I asked.
My mother loves to tell this story, and it is indeed illustrative of the type of childhood I enjoyed (endured?). If I complained of an earache, my mom baked an onion and held it to my ear while holding me in the well-used rocking chair. We didn’t have a TV or a microwave, and dinner was often something like sautéed kale and steamed tofu. If you snuck a peek in our medicine cabinet, you’d see little more than a crystal that served as (not particularly effective) deodorant nestled between salves of calendula and tinctures of goldenseal.
Left to my own devices in college, I indulged in the unlimited access to curly fries and Mountain Dew, and enjoyed such luxuries as washing my clothes with aromatic Tide, zapping popcorn in a real live microwave, and swallowing a couple of Advil each morning to soothe my permanent hangover.
But once adulthood hit, I began to slowly drift back to my flax-seed-grinding, wheat-grass-drinking roots. Now a mother myself, I struggle to find balance between the convenience of a standard American childrearing style (hallelujah, baby wipes!) and a more natural—but often more difficult—approach.
I quickly became an obsessive researcher of all things baby, with two goals in mind. My primary objective is to raise my sons in the safest and healthiest way that I can, but a secondary hope is that I can do so while still clinging, however tenuously, to my sanity.
These sometimes conflicting ideals mean that Felix and Wolfie are only washed with phthalate-paraben-SLS-free soaps (and often with no soap at all!), but also that they regularly eats sugar-laden dehydrated yogurt puffs (organic ones) to keep theym quiet in restaurants.
My mom and I regularly argue over whether or not these qualify as candy.
In Suzanne’s Words
I am a baby boomer and as such I came of age during the changes that swept the country in the ‘60s and ‘70s. I was raised in a very conservative small city in Pennsylvania among the Amish and Mennonite folks of Lancaster County, so this was a big departure from my upbringing.
I jumped into the natural lifestyle movement after meeting my husband and moving to northern California, the bedrock of all things holistic. I lost my mother to illness when I was young (she was young, too!), and so the idea that our lifestyle choices affect our health immediately fascinated me.
In the early ‘70s you could find me at the College of the Redwoods, practicing yoga, drinking smoothies, popping vitamins, using Dr. Bronner’s soap on everything from my hair to my car (naturally, it was an old VW bus), and even eating a few wild mushrooms on occasion—after all, they were organic and it was the ‘70s!
These changes had an immediate impact on my health, both mentally and physically. I hadn’t even realized how unhealthy my lifestyle was or the ways my lifestyle choices could impact how I felt every day–in my body and my mind.
During this time and while I was raising my children I read everything I could get my hands on concerning healthy eating and living, talked to everyone (believe me, in northern California and later Vermont, this wasn’t difficult), and experimented with different philosophies, trends, and diets. Through it all I became a committed natural food and natural lifestyle enthusiast, for myself and my family and I have never gone back. Several years ago I became a Certified Holistic Health Coach, trained at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City.
The choices I make for my family–and those that I help my clients make every day–have an immeasurable impact on our health, but as any of you who strives to live a more natural lifestyle knows, it is not always an easy path. I had to study, adapt, compromise, and constantly learn anew as I was raising my children.
The Good Stuff!
Our goal with this website is to combine our knowledge and experience to help our readers make choices that will benefit themselves, their families, and the planet. We now offer the best of the Good Stuff at our online store.
I have studied and practiced many different paths that bring more healthful practices to my family—primarily focused around what we eat. I have found through my years of experience and experimenting that no one path offers all the answers for everyone, but that each path contains pieces of wisdom and each of us must find our own path based on what our bodies tell us.
I always considered the safety and naturalness of the products my family used, but when I had young children in the ‘80s there weren’t many choices. Now there are so many “natural” products and so much more information available on what’s really in all this stuff!
Maia, who loves research and detail, has explored this topic exhaustively to see which products on the market are truly safe.
We always welcome your questions and insights as we are also lifelong learners on the path to health—which, of course, is never a straight line!
I specialize in working with busy moms who want to lose weight, increase their energy, and make healthy eating simpler for themselves and their family. I love working with moms who are committed to providing a healthy lifestyle for their families without spending enormous hours in the kitchen. You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask any questions or to schedule a complimentary 30-minute Mom’s Strategy Session to pinpoint how you can begin to make small changes in your eating that will yield big results in increasing energy, and even dropping extra pounds.
GRAHAM, CREATIVE DIRECTOR
In addition to being Maia’s brother and Suzanne’s son, Graham is also a professional illustrator who provides all of the artwork for the site. All those years of homeschooling with a Waldorf curriculum paid off, and Graham fell in love with painting and drawing at a young age.
Graham graduated cum laude from Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, winning the the departmental award for best illustrator in 2009.
John was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in the 1950’s, and currently makes his home in Lancaster, PA, with his wife, Suzanne (our Chief Health Officer).
John spent 30 years in Vermont as an entrepreneur and family man and has been studying and living alternative diet/health/lifestyle choices for 40 years. John is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, and he coaches individuals and groups to find and retain healthy lifestyles.
As our Healthy Home Director, John helps Maia’s private clients source the safest building materials, paints, flooring, air/water filters, mattresses, lawn-care supplies, and much more. He is also a regular contributor to our blog.
Elleni, Marketing Strategy Manager
Elleni is passionate about healthy, nontoxic living, and she works to increase Gimme the Good Stuff’s reach and visibility. Elleni attended Boston University for her undergraduate degree and received an MBA from Bentley University.
Now living outside of Boston, Elleni enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, and working out in a Pure Barre Studio.
Colleen, Chief Product Investigator
Colleen Webb grew up right down the road from Maia in Vermont, often wearing Maia’s hand-me-down clothing. She attended Duke University as an undergrad and went on to receive a master’s degree in Integrative Health Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies.
When not chasing after her young children, Colleen is a health writer and wellness coach. She lives with her family wherever the adventure of her husband’s military career takes them.
Tracy, Fulfillment Manager
Tracy grew up in New Jersey just a few miles outside of New York City. After graduating from Berkeley College of Business, she was soon married and moved to Lancaster County in 1992, where she still lives today with her husband, son, and many pets.
Tracy handles all order fulfillment for our online store. When you get your order right on time, you’ve got Tracy to thank!:)
Carrie, Digitial Marketing Associate
Carrie grew up in Lititz, PA, moved to New Mexico for a short period, and settled down in Pennsylvania, where she graduated from York Technical Institute with an Associates Degree in Business Management. Carrie enjoys working with technology and social media, and when she’s not working “behind the scenes” for Gimme the Good Stuff, she works as a personal trainer. Carrie lives with her husband and cat and enjoys living a healthy, active life.