We are proud to introduce an intentional and elevated bubbly beverage with functional ingredients — sans alcohol. Meet Megan Klein, founder of Little Saints. Megan’s connection to environmental causes and deep knowledge of plant medicine (woven with her desire to drink less) brought Little Saints to fruition.
This mocktail infused with uplifting and potent botanicals is your new drink of choice for many reasons. If you have been searching for a healthier, non-alcoholic beverage that can coexist with social culture (but without any of the damaging side effects of alcohol), read on!
Q: Let’s start with your background — how did you get into the botanical beverage business?
A: My path to botanical beverage creation has been a winding road guided by my love of plants manifested in many different forms. I spent the first part of my career as a lawyer at a big corporate law firm working with wind and ethanol clients and later as an environmental advocate for Earthjustice, fighting fracking and coal emissions.
Driven by a desire to inspire rather than fight, in 2014, I applied my legal skills to my first stint as an entrepreneur at FarmedHere, a vertical basil and microgreens farm just outside of Chicago. In 2017, we shut down FarmedHere and pivoted into a new evolution of my passion for local foods with the launch of the plant-based foods brand Field + Farmer. I led product development for Field + Farmer’s juices, dips, and dressings and prioritized clean plant-based ingredients grown by local farmers.
After Field + Farmer, I knew I wanted to continue to make plant-based products, but this time I wanted them to reflect my love for sacred plants — plants that have spiritual and curative properties — and my desire to feel better emotionally without alcohol. And that’s how Little Saints was born! I worked with an adaptogen-expert food scientist and a sacred plant medicine shaman to create our plant magic mocktails, which get close to the taste, smell, and feel of my favorite cocktails — without alcohol.
Q: Little Saints celebrates the magic of plants through non-alcoholic beverages. Will you share a bit about your journey with alcohol?
A: Well, for starters, I grew up in Wisconsin, which ranks #1 for alcohol consumption in the US — every social gathering I’ve ever participated in has alcohol present. As an adult, I lived in New York and then Chicago, and in both cities, my social life (along with much of my career networking) continued to revolve around alcohol. As someone who loves to go to bars and restaurants and try new things, I found myself having a few cocktails per night more nights than not. When the pandemic hit, and my social life came to a halt, I continued to drink alcohol, both on Zoom calls and after a long day of work by myself (I was single at the time), and I started to take note of how much alcohol I was actually consuming. I saw that those few drinks a night were not only making me feel mildly hungover constantly but also affecting my emotional health. I couldn’t deal with stress; I felt low-grade depression, suffered from poor sleep, and had constant anxiety. That awareness inspired me to create Little Saints, which launched in the summer of 2021.
I didn’t stop drinking right away when I launched Little Saints in 2021. I would estimate that I drank about 50% less in 2021 than I did in 2020 — during 2021, I stopped drinking cocktails at home and replaced them with Little Saints, but I continued to drink cocktails when I was out with friends. (Attention bartenders: every bar needs a functional NA menu!)
Drinking less alcohol overall made me hyper-aware of how I felt when I did drink alcohol (which was again, not good), so I continued to decrease my alcohol consumption in 2022. In 2022, I continued to not drink at home and drink moderately when out with friends, but I took long stretches off alcohol — in addition to Dry January 2022, I took off most of April, June, and August. In September 2022, I went to a destination wedding and drank a hefty amount of alcohol, and I continued to drink moderately when I returned to New York that month. After a few weeks of moderation after the wedding, I took stock of my emotional health and saw that it was not good — a dark film covered me, and I did not feel myself fully. I decided to take another pause starting on September 21, 2022, and I haven’t had a drink since then.
I didn’t set out to quit drinking alcohol, but as time passed, I felt so much better (and looked so much better) that I didn’t see any reason to go back to drinking. After I made it through the holiday season happily and without alcohol, I decided to go an entire year without alcohol. As a busy solo founder, I don’t have time for my emotional health to suffer from the results of alcohol for even a day.
Surprisingly, I don’t feel like I’m missing anything by not drinking alcohol — I still socialize just as much, and my baseline of happiness is higher than ever.
Q: For those looking to tip their toes in sobriety, what advice would you offer?
A: I don’t like to use the term “sober,” actually. To me, sober implies something boring or less than, and I like to associate less alcohol with more joyful connotations. So whether you quit alcohol entirely for some time, or decide to drink less, make sure you’re layering that practice with things that make you feel joyful, like socializing and movement.
As for how much you should drink or not drink, there are many options. Maybe you’re drinking alcohol regularly, and you want to slow down to drinking only once per week — try that first and see how you feel. Or maybe you’re only drinking alcohol moderately, but you can’t stand the headache and lack of sleep — try quitting for 30 days and see if your sleep and health improve.
And if you’re looking for more scientific motivation, listen to Andrew Huberman’s podcast on how bad alcohol is for your health (What Alcohol Does to Your Brain Body and Health) — that will give you the motivation you need! The podcast highlights scientific data showing that not only does alcohol have zero health benefits, but it also is harmful to our brain tissue. I listened to that podcast at the end of August 2022, and I couldn’t unlearn what I learned — it was a big reason for my quitting. I love my brain, and I want to function optimally for the long term.
Q: What botanicals do you use in Little Saints?
A: Our Plant Magic Stack is a first-of-its-kind blend of Reishi mushroom, CBD, and botanical terpenes. We combine these three master plants (plants with special curative and spiritual properties) to inspire a mood-lifting and delightfully sensory experience.
- Hemp-Derived CBD: A non-intoxicating derivative of the hemp plant, our CBD is fast-acting and designed to give you the take-the-edge-off feeling.
- Botanical Terpene: Aromatic and deliciously distinctive, terpenes are the naturally occurring, mood-enhancing scents that enrich plants, roots, herbs, and flowers.
- Reishi Mushroom: Traditional healers have used this adaptogen for centuries to boost resilience and promote a feeling of calm.
Q: Each batch of Little Saints is adorned with an intentional blessing. Can you tell me more about this process? What does the blessing typically entail?
Before I explain the blessing, I want to share a bit about the concept of plant spirit medicine on which our blessing is based. In the study of plant spirit medicine, we believe that when we interact with plants with intention, they interact with us and bestow blessings upon us. Every day can be brighter when we recognize plants as living beings full of wisdom, lightness, and joy.
Ashley Green DeLaune, our sacred plant medicine shaman, sets an intention for every production run. While this is not a sustainable long-term solution, I have personally attended each of our production runs and physically delivered the following blessing to the plant ingredient blend before it gets made into Little Saints mocktails:
“To our plant allies and teachers being joined today in Little Saints plant magic mocktails: Illuminate our hearts, our minds, and our bodies with your medicine, connect us with our highest selves, and help us live and love more mindfully, joyfully, kindly, and inspire fun!”
Q: Your knowledge and work with plant medicine extends beyond Little Saints. Can you share with us a bit more about your work with botanicals?
A: I am a lifelong lover of plants and nature. Beyond my work with Earthjustice and Field + Farmer, I firmly believe in the power of plants to heal our emotional bodies. I have completely changed my emotional and physical health by working with different plant medicines, including psychedelic and non-psychedelic plants. More specifically, I suffered from varying forms of depression from my teenage years until my mid-thirties. I hit rock bottom in 2015, and as a last-ditch effort, I went to Peru on an ayahuasca retreat. That was the beginning of my years-long psychedelic plant medicine journey, which cured my depression for the most part and showed me the power of interacting with plants with intention.
Today, I continue working with psychedelics to improve my emotional health and make me a more effective business leader. I’m so grateful for these plant medicines — I am much happier, more present, and more evolved due to my intentional interactions with these plants.
I also work with non-psychedelic plants intentionally every day. I start my day with a scent meditation, which involves smelling a pure essential oil and asking that plant for guidance. Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows that I am obsessed with trees — I hug and put my forehead on them daily. My whole life is dedicated to inspiring people to love plants because I know how much they can improve our lives when we give them the attention they seek.
Line your shelves with Little Saints! For 15% off your order, use code THEFULLEST at checkout.
Little Saints is at the forefront of a growing movement of an intentional wellness focused lifestyle that eschews drinking alcohol in favor of healthier options. They are not only sugar-free, but also formulated with premium sourced functional ingredients like reishi mushroom, botanical terpenes, and CBD.