XO Chats with Joy McCarthy

Mom to Vienna, 4 // Holistic Nutritionist and Founder of Joyous Health

Written by Jessica Gedge // Photographed by Joelle Segal

It can be intimidating to meet someone you’ve followed on social media for a while. This wasn’t the case at all with Joy, founder of Joyous Health. She warmly welcomed us into her light-filled home in Toronto and within minutes we felt like we were chatting with an old friend. If you’re not familiar with Joy, she is the Founder of Joyous Health, a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and best-selling author. A trusted nutrition expert, Joy has been featured in hundreds of publications both online and in print, and is a regular health expert on TV. Through her innate drive to inspire others, Joy has created numerous online programs and eBooks under JOYOUS U and is a faculty member at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. Impressive resume aside, we were excited to sit down and chat with Joy – mom to mom, about the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.

Tell us about your business and how it came to life. 

My business was born out of my own healing journey. I battled with hormonal imbalance for many years and it wasn’t until I became my own little guinea pig and did all my own research that I was able to heal my own body. This inspired me to go back to school in my late 20’s and study nutrition. Joyous Health was born in 2009 and it’s been a joyous love affair since!

What advice have you received that really resonated with you?

Know your worth. When I started my business I was struggling with knowing what to charge people and everyone was asking for a discount. My dad gave me a little pep talk and he said “Joy, don’t discount your services just to get business. What you offer has huge value and know your worth”. It’s always stuck with me!

It sounds like your family is very supportive of your entrepreneurial venture.

They were—both of my parents actually became entrepreneurs themselves and my mom has always loved cooking so I must have inherited some of that from her. And my husband, Walker, actually used to have his own personal training studio before we started working together. 

What is your favourite part of your business and why?

Anything to do with creating—recipe development and writing. I also love engaging with the community through social media and meeting them at shows. It fills my heart with joy when people tell me how much one of my cookbooks or guidance from the Joyous Health blog has helped them.

Your business has grown and expanded so much since you’ve started. Tell us about some of the products you’ve developed.

I have a line of organic teas and USDA certified organic natural body care and hair care. It’s important to me to use organic ingredients in all our products to reduce pesticides going in our bodies and the teas are free of any artificial flavouring or colouring ingredients. And body care is really important to me, too – I became more aware of what I was putting on my skin when I was pregnant with Vienna.

Describe your typical day (or if you don’t have one, describe your ideal day!). 

Because no day is ever the same, my ideal day is when I get at least half of the day in my office. I love being in the office and having time to write and recipe create (I have a kitchen in my office). Lately, it’s just felt so hectic (September is always like that) and I’ve felt pulled a million different directions so I’m looking forward to hitting my stride!!

What’s your dinner routine?

I don’t like to spend more than 20 minutes tops making dinner on the average day. We usually go to The Healthy Butcher every few weeks and stock up on protein and freeze it. Then I pick up fresh produce throughout the week and each day I’ll bring something out of the freezer to cook that evening. We eat a lot of fish, like salmon and tons of fresh veggies.

Do you have a ‘guilty pleasure’ food?

I love chocolate! So I’ll have a bit of really dark chocolate each day – but it’s a high quality, pretty pure version so I don’t consider it ‘junky’. And we love pizza, too. So we’ll make our own or eat at Pizza Libretto for a treat. I don’t know if I’d consider those guilty pleasures because they’re kind of just healthier versions of treats that I love. 

Who would be at your fantasy dinner party? 

Lots of funny people because I love to laugh!! So right now it would be Trevor Noah, John Oliver, Ali Wong and of course my husband Walker because he’s really funny!

How do you carve out time for yourself? 

Being home is my happy place and I have everything I love there and everything I need. My people—Vienna and Walker, my super comfy bed, my cozy kitchen, our beautiful harvest table we inherited from Mamabea (Walker’s grandmother) and the comfiest couch ever. I love my home so very much!! So to answer your question, I never overschedule my evenings. They are sacred to me. Weekdays are a different story, haha!

Speaking of your lovely home – we love the artwork you have filling your home!

We inherited a lot of the artwork from Walker’s grandma – it’s so special to be able to include it in our home because it brings that sense of history to our space. 

Where do you see your business in the next few years?

I actually don’t have set goals for the business. The reason is that I want to be able to adapt to the industry which moves so quickly. Ultimately I always want to grow the business and the brand and it would be so amazing to be a New York Times best seller. But also I think it’s important not to grow so fast that you can’t adapt to the growth. 

The most admirable trait (and there are a ton) of Joy’s, for us, is her determination to take her destiny into her own hands. She leveraged a personal health struggle into a full-on health empire where she not only helps herself, but also others. She’s created a joyful space online and in person, where more often than not we tend to encounter negativity. Joy truly lives up to her namesake and we are so happy to be sharing her story. Visit her website here to learn more about Joy, purchase her cookbooks here, and don’t forget to follow her on social media

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