In today’s episode, Sylvia Tam shares her journey with Ulcerative Colitis and how it led her to starting Beviva Foods, a gut-friendly snack company centered around IBD patients. She spoke about her decision, after a colonoscopy in 2011 confirmed Ulcerative Colitis, to focus on her mindset, dietary changes, and family traditions in Chinese medicine that has allowed her to avoid medications in the management of her IBD.
Over the years, Sylvia has relied upon herbs–such as ginger and turmeric–to help control symptoms during flare ups and has learned to balance life and manage stress through practices such as meditation and qigong. After being diagnosed, she focused on her diet and eliminated inflammatory foods and foods that were hard to digest–raw vegetables, legumes, tomatoes, seeds, dairy, and (eventually) gluten–and found relief with a simple trick of eating little and often.
As a wife and mom of three, she plans meals around the foods that she and her family can all enjoy and keeps things simple and fast with air fryers and all-in-one appliances. She also teaches her children the importance of good nutrition and how to cook–each one has their own specialty in the family!
In learning to juggle all the demands of life, children, and IBD, Sylvia lives by the four Bs of success: Body, Being, Balance, and Business. She sets realistic habits for her body, going to the gym, walking the dog, or just being active during the day. She uses meditation to focus on being and finds creative ways to communicate with her family–from text messages to notes in her children’s lunch boxes–during their busy schedules. The final B of Business is about discovering and declaring; learn something and tell someone. Which leads into her own personal fifth B, Beviva Foods!
In 2018, Sylvia launched her company Beviva Foods. She focused on what the consumer wanted, did market research, focused on ingredients that were good for the gut, and just re-launched her brand this summer with her PURPO all-in-one cereal, sweet potato chips, and granola. She’s created “food with PURPOse” that gives consumers a convenient snack on the go made from real food and quality ingredients focused around the purple sweet potato.
Sylvia lets her favorite quote by Vivian Greene guide her through the ups and downs and challenges she faces with IBD, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” And to her, IBD doesn’t simply stand for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, it means Incredibly Brave and Determined.