New Jersey is home to many ambitious and talented women who juggle family, career, and home. A select few of these women are also extremely busy building their own companies to help better manage the balance of work and family. At NJMOM, we want to highlight these extraordinary women building New Jersey businesses, and learn the secret to their success.
LillySprouts Owner and NJMOMpreneur: Liliana Bussin
Liliana Bussin is a certified Holistic Health Coach, Healthy Hands Cooking Instructor, Children’s Yoga Instructor, and Running Coach, and the owner of LillySprouts in Union County, New Jersey. This mother of two was motivated by her own family’s learning experiences with chronic food allergies to transition her career away from the corporate world, and into health, wellness, and nutrition. LillySprouts aims to educate children and parents by offering cooking and yoga classes in the Springfield, Westfield, Mountainside, and Berkeley Heights areas. NJMOM had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Liliana to learn about her growing business, how she’s transforming lives through food and her favorite activities in New Jersey with her little ones.
NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Liliana: I help teach women, children, and athletes how to create a healthy lifestyle and make healthy choices to lead a thriving life. It all has to do with eating the best foods for your unique body and developing healthy habits. In LillySprouts cooking classes, I inspire hope, ignite your child’s imagination, and instill a love of learning. My mission is to protect and nourish the idea of “You are what you eat” in the minds of all – especially children. Your child will gain the knowledge and resources they need to live a healthy lifestyle and gain confidence in the kitchen, a life skill we all need. In my class, your child will experiment, try new foods, and awaken taste buds to lead a life of great health.
NJMOM: What inspired you to come up with the idea for your business?
Liliana: My journey began when I was blessed with my daughter and son who both have multiple food allergies. It became my mission to provide a healthy and safe environment for my children, and that started with their every bite. I never imagined I would get tossed into the whirlwind of having two children with severe multiple food allergies, leave my career of over fifteen years in corporate sales, and fall in love with holistic health so much that I would create a business focused on wellness. But, life tends to happen even when we least expect it. In my previous corporate career, I spent most of my time working long, exhausting days and nights, traveling and malnourished. Although I found success at well-known corporate companies like Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal, and Merck (formerly known as Schering-Plough), that was drastically changed when I found out that my daughter had a life-threatening allergy to dairy. My little girl’s nanny encouraged weaning my daughter to cow’s milk when she was just about one (the age when the rest of the world begins to add dairy into the diet.) Within one minute of trying her first spoonful of baby banana yogurt, she went into anaphylactic shock. I saw my daughter gasping for air, struggling to breathe, turning beet red, scratching her skin, and crying incessantly.
A trip to the ER and one single EpiPen saved my daughter’s life that day. I looked into my daughter’s big, beautiful blue eyes, thanked my lucky stars, and the journey began.
Suddenly, I became an “allergy mom”. I scrambled to find recipes and cook meals that everyone in my house could enjoy, but found myself struggling. Over time, shellfish and egg allergies began to surface. Eighteen months after my daughter’s ER visit, my son was born. I thought that lightening couldn’t strike twice, but my son had a dairy allergy too. Apart from being a mother, my first true purpose, I found my passion in life while training many schools on how to prevent life threatening allergic reactions, to be prepared to respond to allergic emergencies, sharing and teaching countless substitution recipes, and being an ambassador to national food allergy non-profit groups. I became that “go to mom” to answer and help other families with their dietary restrictions whether it was a food allergy or intolerance. It became my mission to provide a healthy and safe environment for my children and to help the children in this world learn why it is so important to eat organic and non-GMO food to nourish their body to stay healthy for their whole life. Through my passion for running, I’ve been able to raise over $10,000 for the Kids with food allergy foundation. In tandem, through my passion for yoga, I became a certified children’s yoga instructor to teach mindfulness, coping and meditation skills to my children to manage their food allergies and grow in a healthy and safe environment. In life, I believe you have to rise to the occasion, and so that’s what I did – and LillySprouts was born.
NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
Liliana: I have great passion for what I do and what I stand for to help make transformations in the lives of families. There are so many fulfilling aspects about my business. Whether it’s helping a family manage their food allergies, or teaching a child healthy nutrition, cooking, or mediation skills, to see the family or child grow during each class is so rewarding. It’s the best feeling to receive the texts, messages, and calls from moms thanking me for teaching their child all about the importance of vegetables in their diet, and more importantly, sharing beautiful pictures of them cooking at home with their families.
NJMOM: What is your background in your business expertise?
Liliana: I am a certified Holistic Health Coach, Cooking Instructor and Children’s Yoga Instructor. I graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I became educated on various coaching methods. I learned how to take a holistic approach to manage and create a lifestyle that works for the individual. I learned over 100 dietary theories from around the globe. I specialize in dairy-free and allergy friendly living. I learned an in-depth amount of knowledge while studying with some of the world’s leading experts in the health and wellness industry, including David Katz, MD, Director of the Yale Prevention Research Center, and Marion Nestle, Ph.D., MPH, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University.
I am also a certified to teach healthy nutrition, cooking, and yoga skills to children, in addition to my two BA’s from Rutgers University and work in three leading Corporate Consumer Products Companies in New Jersey. Through my extensive education, I have learned how to achieve optimal wellness and long-lasting results through the power of nutrition and proper nourishment.
NJMOM: Who is your role model? Why?
Liliana: I am blessed to have many role models in my life that helped mold who I am today, but I have say, hands down, my parents. I grew up in a mentally strong household. Being the first generation of my generation in the United States and seeing them create the “American Dream” is a beautiful memory to recollect. My parents always gave me the confidence and self-assurance to be who I wanted to be because they always believed in me. I’ll never forget my father saying, “pick something in life that will make you happy, be the best at it, and attain your dreams.” They always led by example, and were loving, hard-working, and compassionate people. With their hard work came every success in whatever they put their mind to,professionally or personally. They are known to give the shirts off their backs to help another family member, which always resonated with me. They taught me the meaning of family and how important it is to always stick together through thick and thin. I’ll forever be grateful to them for their unconditional love and and how it can extend beyond life’s obstacles and challenges. I know in my heart without each of them I would be nowhere near the person I am, and the person I’m still working on becoming as a mother, wife and, mompreneur.
NJMOM: What’s the best piece of advice your mom ever gave to you?
Liliana: I will never forget when my mother said to, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” I was off to college, excited, nervous and filled with goals and dreams. Self-belief is everything. She taught me that giving up on your important goals is tantamount to giving up on yourself. And I was never going to let that happen, partly because I never wanted to let her or my father down. She taught me that never giving up means believing in yourself, and the willingness to accept failure to learn the critical skill of adaptation. She is a strong woman and I’m just a piece off the amazing block.
NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by?
Liliana: During my children yoga and cooking camps, I teach a Kundalini meditation that offers a simple and powerful message to children, and even adult clients:
PEACE STARTS WITH ME
When you touch your index finger with your thumb repeat : PEACE
When you touch your middle finger with your thumb repeat: STARTS
When you touch your ring finger with your thumb repeat: WITH
When you touch your pinkie finger with your thumb repeat: ME
This powerful technique will get them through all kinds of negative emotions and guide them to a more peaceful state. Trust me, this technique has helped me get through those tough mommy days where kids love to test their limits on the mom patience level.
NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in NJ with your family?
Liliana: New Jersey has so much to offer families. We are an active family and love being outdoors, whether we go to our favorite playground in the spring and summer, or pumpkin and apple picking in the fall and a Giants game at MetLife Stadium during football season. Some of our favorite places to visit and spend time with kids is down the Jersey Shore. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in fun Point Pleasant Beach. The sandy beaches, games, rides, delicious seafood, and on a rainy day, Jenkinson’s Aquarium gives us loads of fun memories to create. It’s everything you expect from a world famous Jersey Shore Boardwalk. Whether you are visiting for the day or making it your vacation getaway, every member of your family will find excitement. For educational fun, we visit Liberty Science Center, Adventure Aquarium, Turtle Back Zoo, and Land of Make Believe. My husband and I will always have a special place in our hearts for the Borgata in Atlantic City, which is where we first met. Interestingly, we are not big gamblers, but we always say, “we won the jackpot that night” in meeting one another. We go every year for some adult nightlife fun and always book our dinner at Bobby Flay Steak. We also like to keep healthy and fit indoors and out, running throughout the Watchung Reservation and state-of-the-art athletic clubs like No Body Denied in Springfield and Life Time Fitness in Berkeley Heights.
NJMOM: What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Liliana: I will never forget the moment I held my children for the first time. There were so many feelings rushing through me, but I truly understood the meaning of unconditional love on those beautiful days. I am also blessed to have an amazing husband that is on this beautiful journey of parenting with me. The best part about being a mom for me is being their lighthouse – that consistent and reliable love to help them flourish in anything they set their mind to. As a mother, my mission is to always shine my light to raise happy and compassionate kids to my best ability. I must say parenting is not easy, and I definitely had many “mom fail” moments, but the beauty is that my children teach me something new every single day. Seeing the world in their innocent eyes is such a breath of fresh air. And little do they know, they teach me to be in the present moment and gain the most joy out of being with them every second of the day. Hearing them say, “I Love you mommy,” is the pure magic to my heart and I thank the Big Guy above everyday for my husband and my two blessings.
NJMOM: Where do you reside in New Jersey?
Liliana: I will always have a special place in my heart for Union County. I lived in Springfield for nine years, where I spent five of those years raising my kids, and loved every minute of it. We recently moved to Berkeley Heights where in 2013 it was Ranked # 6 in Best Places to Live – America’s Top 50 Small Towns, CNN/Money. These great towns have all you could want in a place to raise a family: plenty of green space, great schools, and a strong sense of community. I am blessed to be a health coach and teach LillySprouts cooking and yoga classes in the Springfield, Westfield, Mountainside, and Berkeley Heights areas.
I have met the most amazing mothers that promote growing through motherhood – not just going through motherhood. That sense of community is priceless.
NJMOM: Anything else you would like to tell moms in New Jersey?
Liliana: From the heart of a Mom: Being a mom can be overwhelming and very busy. It is so easy to lose track of what really matters. When life gets crazy and hectic, we tend to focus on what we lack, what we need, or what isn’t working. I know because I found myself doing this often, until I began taking a moment every day to have a gratitude break, and take a long look at my kids. Deeply stare. Capture the moment and be so mindful that you can feel the present. Take at least one minute to fully feel when you stare at them. The more I took my gratitude breaks, the more empowered I felt. From the heart of a Health Coach: Try to bring your little ones in the kitchen to help you cook a healthy meal at least once a week. Remember, cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes, and making a meal. It’s about harnessing imagination, empowerment, and creativity. I look forward to sharing this experience with your child one day.