We had the good fortune of connecting with Mona Sharma and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mona, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
XICAMA™ is an innovative, sustainable and first-to-market functional beverage brand rooted in science, steeped in nostalgia and good for you from the inside out. Inspired by West Coast fruit cart culture, a generational love-affair with jicama, and a surge in functional health food trends. I was excited to deliver its untapped pre-biotic health benefits in three different flavors of sparkling water. As a Nutritionist, Jicama has been on my clients meal plans for a long time since it was a perfect swap for things like crackers and chips, with the added benefit of being prebiotic, loaded with Vitamin C, fiber and great for gut health. I saw an opportunity to deliver a prebiotic functional beverage, especially since there was vast market awareness around probiotic products. It’s no surprise that Gwyneth Paltrow and Rachel Ray coined Jicama the superfood of 2019, so I knew it was time to get the benefits of my drinks out there, especially after being the #1 selling beverage (after water) at Coachella 2019.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Growing up, I spent summers living on an Ashram in Montreal, where food as medicine was a major pillar to optimal health. My mom suffered from an autoimmune condition so healing foods for gut health were a big focus at our house. This is where I saw first hand, the power of food to heal as my mom’s symptoms. Going through my own health crisis while working as an executive at a Fortune 500 beauty brand, I soon returned to my roots and began my own journey to heal. Once I became a nutritionist I began supporting my clients gut health and digestion with food to benefit their mood, energy, and overall health. Probiotics are a big market trend, but attention has also turned to the power of prebiotic foods, and jicama is one staple prebiotic food that I love adding to my clients meal plans. When we decided to juice jicama, I quickly realized this superfood was a fun way to reimagine a health snack for my clients.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Pre-Covid my LA lineup would have looked like this: – Coffee at Alfred’s coffee – Hike Runyon Canyon or Malibu Canyon for a stunning view and outdoor workout. – Malibu Pier or the Freehand hotel downtown for lunch with a refreshment on the rooftop with our business partners Broken Shaker. Their mixologists are the best in LA. – Dinner at Crossroads Kitchen on Melrose, or Bavel or Bestia downtown. – For dessert, grab a mini Fonut in Weho or the “Fluffernutter” at Scopa Italian Roots in Marina Del Rey. Make sure to catch the amazing sunset from the Washington Pier in the Marina before you go.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to send this shoutout to Will Smith and The Red Table Talk Facebook series. About a year ago today I got a call from Will which lead to me working with the Smith Family, the amazing Red Table team and I got to bring my mentor Dr. Mark Hyman with me on set to deliver the message of food as medicine to the masses. Dream. Come. True.
Photographer: Patricia Pena Image Credit: Red Table Talk (image with Smith Family)