Super Human: Cori Sue Morris

Nikki Noorian

Superbloom Contributor
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Welcome to Super Human, where we sit down with inspiring founders and leaders paving the way in the wellness space.⁠

We chatted with Cori Sue Morris, founder & CEO of Retreat Foods. Cori Sue shares what self-care routines help ground her while she balances starting a business with a bustling lifestyle. Read on to learn more about her passions for using food as medicine, connecting with people, enjoying life’s indulgences. 

Where do you live and what’s your favorite mode of expression?

Currently, I split time between New York City, Washington, D.C., and Miami. I’m a builder and a connector—my favorite modes of expression are building values-driven businesses, and connecting with any and all types of people.

Do you have any wellness rituals? What are they?

I have quite a few! I am pretty high strung and I work quite a lot—so I have incorporated daily and weekly wellness rituals to help ground me and bring me back into balance. 

Daily, I meditate for 10-15 minutes with HeadSpace in the morning and in the evening, with a wind-down before bed. I also take adaptogens and herbs each morning: I love WTHN’s Gut Check, Cured Nutrition’s “Rise”, Nutrafol’s Stress-Adaptogen, and a powdered blend of Reishi, and Ashwagandha for general well-being and anxiety. 

I also dry brush to get my blood flowing (I love how I can feel my body awakening!) and I use a Gua Sha stone and glass cup to wake up my face.

I also love to exercise. I usually don’t have too much time, but I will fit in a 20- or 30-minute ride on my Peloton, or a quick at-home yoga class outside in the sunshine, daily. 

Meditation and exercise are the two things I do just for me, that help me replenish and recuperate. 

Weekly, I visit an acupuncturist. (I love Irina Logman and WTHN in NYC) and I will also pop into an infrared sauna session when my body is feeling particularly stagnant. I’m cold-natured and I find that infrared really helps enhance blood flow, reduce inflammation, decrease stress, and detox. Plus, it’s great to listen to an audiobook or podcast or just meditate without your phone.

How does your day typically begin?

I’m a night owl, so mornings are sadly not my shining moment, no matter how hard I try.

I wake up next to my fiancée, John, and after a quick snuggle, I usually leap right out of bed into my routine. It’s a quick 30-minutes of adaptogens, dry brushing, Gua Sha, facial cupping, a Matcha latte, and a quick 10-minute meditation before I’m at my desk and hopping on a Zoom call. I try to be kind to myself and I schedule lighter meetings in the morning, with more important meetings in the afternoon.

What are your current self-care routines and how do you nourish yourself? 

While I’m an extrovert, I’ve started to value my alone time more and more as I’ve gotten older. I find myself most nourished and most grateful on a day when I’m able to get in some yoga, have a hot bath with magnesium salts and a book, or simply sit outside in the sunshine with my partner.

I find myself most energized by in-person connections with my community of powerful, amazing women. At this point in my life, I’m grateful daily for the fierce, strong and loving women I have in my life.

What’s your most sacred time of day? 

Bedtime! I love to get into bed with a book, a cup of chamomile tea, and my weighted blanket. I’m currently reading Lauren Groff’s new book, and lately, I’ve really loved Ghosts by Dolly Alderton and Luster by Raven Leilani. I love getting lost in a fictional story written by a powerful, interesting woman.

What’s your superpower?

My superpower is resilience—I’m relentlessly hardworking, optimistic, and solutions-oriented. 

That’s counter-balanced by the challenge of learning to turn off, stay grounded, and let things take their course. I believe there’s a ying and a yang to everything.

 

Retreat sees food as medicine. What was your personal journey using food as medicine to heal your mind and body?

Personally, my high-stress lifestyle was causing health problems and I was seeking answers.  I was living in New York City—working hard and playing hard. I was working in marketing at WeWork during the IPO implosion, and my entire body started swelling up due to inflammation and I was experiencing severe pain throughout my body. It turns out, my stress caused extremely high levels of cortisol, and it manifested as physical pain and inflammation. 

Then, I discovered adaptogens. Adaptogens work with our bodies to help them build resiliency and adapt to life’s stressors—with the overall goal of fostering balance and well-being. They’ve been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years—but are now becoming more popular to the general consumer. 

I began taking adaptogens and within 3-4 months, my pain went away and my hormone levels (estrogen, testosterone, cortisol) regulated.

I wanted to make adaptogens more accessible to everyone—by increased access, affordable pricing, and convenience. I wanted to make it easy to incorporate healing herbs through snacking—without adding another complicated health supplement or esoteric wellness practice into their lives.

Thus, Retreat Foods was born. Our mission is to help people reduce stress through healthy snacking. Retreat Foods takes “food as medicine” a step further by adding a functional dose of healing herbs (adaptogens) into popular everyday snacks, starting with 4 flavors of nut and seed butters.

 

Our mind and body are so intertwined; how do you bridge this mind-body connection with what you’re creating at Retreat?

I’m fascinated by the mind-body connection and I’m so thrilled by the changing conversation between our emotions, our experiences, and how that impacts our body. Health and well-being is multidimensional: our experiences, our personalities, and our journeys impact how we feel and how we heal. How our bodies hold pain and trauma in certain places—you can exercise and do yoga all you want, but if you don’t work through your demons, you won’t truly heal. 

Retreat is founded on the belief of food as nourishment and indulgence. We believe that you should do things that make you feel good, that indulgence is a good thing, that food should make you feel good—and that you deserve a retreat from the chaos.

 

What has been the most challenging part about building a consumer product that rewires how we nourish our bodies? The most rewarding?

Well, building a business during COVID has been challenging for a number of reasons. Firstly, there has been a myriad of supply chain and shipping issues that have affected so many companies, but in particular manufacturing consumer goods. It’s been frustrating and challenging to deal with delays and errors happening at every step of the way: from a global shortage on plastic and glass (no jars) to the manufacturer using the wrong lids on a production run, to shipping errors.

I find myself walking a fine line daily of empathy and kindness on an individual level with suppliers and service providers, while also needing to stick to my guns and advocate for myself and my business. We’re all human, and it’s been a really challenging few years for everyone. I try to come from a place of empathy in every conversation. 

It’s also very isolating—I used to work from coworking spaces and coffee shops, but these days I’m at home for days on end. I try to ensure I take a walk, call a friend, and (despite my better judgment) we’re getting a dog in the coming months to celebrate the launch. 

The most rewarding is definitely a tie! I’ve been grateful to the female founders who have given their time, advice, and counsel—women like Ayeshah of Mason Dixie, Mayssa of Behave, or Allie of Veracity, who have taken time to share their experiences and help me along the way. 

Second, it’s been amazing to see people taste the product, to get feedback, and to see how much people get excited about the taste, and about adaptogens!

 

What is something special happening i your life right now that you’d be excited to share with our community?

Retreat is finally launching! It’s been 18 months of hard work, but I’m just so excited to share our product and our mission with the world.⁣

Nikki Noorian

Superbloom Contributor
Nikki Noorian is passionate about making people feel their best inside and out through sharing stories. She loves exploring the beauty and wellness space to learn and share tips, tricks, and helpful routines. When not working, she can be found enjoying the peaceful buzz of her local cafe and spending Saturdays in the park with friends.
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