Bonnie Penner is passionate about her business and its cause. The reason is her firsthand experience with serious health problems that she traced to foreign estrogens in her environment that were disrupting her hormone levels. Thus began a journey to wellness that included making her own xenoestrogen-free products in order to have truly green products to use. The vehicle through which Bonnie shares those products today is her business, called Zero Xeno. She hopes to educate people about xenoestrogens and provide solutions that lead to a healthier life - with no harm to the environment - for a sustainable future. Today Bonnie and Zero Xeno are In Focus.
What do you always find yourself saying?
Acknowledge problems, but focus on solutions
If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select?
My son who has joined the French Foreign Legion
If you could spend a day with any historical figure, who would you choose?
Who inspires you?
People who have suffered and triumphed over their suffering. All people like this, there is not specific one, just people.
What are 3 things on your bucket list?
To speak to government officials around the world about xenoestrogens.
To contribute to someone's life in a meaningful and life altering way that is meaningful to that person and that I would not even know it, but learn about how I helped that person just prior to my own death.
To see my son who is in the French Foreign Legion one more time.
Please tell us about a defining moment in your life.
At the Kelowna Farmers' Market I was approached by a multimillionaire and offered millions. The defining moment, was when six months later I refused his offer because it was all about the money not my vision for a xenoestrogen-free world.
If you could foresee a single day of your future in its entirety, what date would you select?
The last day I had to live.
What are you passionate about?
Educating people about xenoestrogens, what they are, where they are hidden, how to avoid them, and how to detoxify them from our bodies and from the environment.
What has been your favourite day of your life, up to this point?
The birth of all 4 of my boys.
What has been your proudest accomplishment?
My company re-brand from Organically Clean to Zero Xeno.
Where is your favourite place to dine in Kelowna?
The Bohemian Cafe
What is your favourite activity or event in Kelowna?
The Kelowna Farmers' Market
What is the name of your business/organization?
What does your business/organization do?
We educate people about xenoestrogens and manufacture products that are xenoestrogen-free
Where can people find you or your business online?
How do people connect with you on Linkedin?
If you go to www.zeroxeno.com then you can connect with all of our social media accounts, including my personal LinkedIn profile
Where can people find your business on Facebook?
What is your Twitter account?
What is your mission?
To educate people about xenoestrogens and provide solutions that lead to a healthier life-with no harm to the environment-for a sustainable future
If you could achieve one thing within your field, what would it be?
Create a new xenoestrogen university
Where do you want your business/organization to be in 5 years?
On the world stage educating and manufacturing products in all continents of the world
Who do you consider to be a forerunner within your field?
What 3 qualities do you feel that your business/organization exemplifies?
Education on xenoestrogens.
Helping real people make good choices in their everyday lives.
Assisting others to educate their family and friends about xenoestrogens.
What would you like to say to your employees/volunteers?
Be your self and be proud of it.
How does your business/organization impact the community?
By bringing awareness to xenoestrogens and how they cause hormonal imblances, intersexed babies, obesity, breast cancer, testicuar cancer and so on.
What makes you successful? Tell us about it.
My moto says it all. Me being me, you being you. We won't make a difference we will be the difference. We are the puzzle one piece at a time.
If you were trapped in an elevator with several wealthy investors from any field, which field would you want them to be experts in? What would say to them/talk about?
Endocrinology, biology and chemistry. I would talk to them about xenoestrogens and how they are impacting our world.
If I could change 1 thing about Kelowna, it would be:
To have more community sponsored events put on by the city of Kelowna.
What do you think makes Kelowna great?
The mix of people from all over the world.
My choice for the Kelowna In Focus spotlight is:
Evolve Health and Wellness Center
Some general comments I would like to share are:
Zero Xeno is my personal 25 year journey of suffering and success. It has taken me multiple places filled with many highs and equally as many lows. The path that life has led me along has allowed me to experience what was necessary to compel me to search for answers. Answers for myself and those that suffered in silence as I did. I recognize today that it has been through my struggles that I found solutions. Like a newborn chick I had to to wrestle out of my shell to find the answers that have led to my story of success.
So, what is my story you might ask? In my early 20's it began with ovarian cysts, heavy monthly bleeding and multiple hormone related diseases that impacted my life in many ways. After undergoing extensive tests, visiting multiple specialized doctors and surgery for an ovarian cyst (the size of a large goose egg) I was no closer to finding solutions than when I began. Not only did I not have answers, my problems appeared to be growing at an alarming rate. I now suffered from fibrocystic breast disease, a goiter, ganglion cysts, uterine fibroids, Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and the list seemed to be growing exponentially. How could this be? I was young, a proud mother homeschooling 4 boys and had so much life to live and yet could not seem to overcome these debilitating conditions. Then I had test results come back with high biomarkers that pointed toward cancer. How could this be happening to me? I ate organic food, baked my own bread, cooked from scratch and was a huge advocate for healthy, natural living and yet my body was telling me another story.
I cried out deep within my soul and begged for some answers as I wanted to live the vibrant life I had once known. I desired to see my children grow up and grow old with my husband. All I really wanted was to be a quiet, stay at home mom who could be there for her family. I remember the phone call I received a few days later from a neighbour who was suffering from many of the same hormone related issues I was. As I heard the words she was saying, I remember listening but at the same time not really believing what I was hearing. Parabens in my lotions called xenoestrogens. Foreign estrogens, like sodium lauryl sulfate in my shampoo and laundry soap. Chemicals like phthalates acting like birth control pills in my hair conditioner and perfume. My household cleaners containing antibactrials that disrupted hormone levels too. The list kept growing and growing. My first thought was that it didn't make any sense. Didn't governments regulate things like this? I felt like I was entering a zone that was more like a sci-fi movie than true reality. It seemed too crazy to believe.
After the initial shock wore off I decided to look into this unbelievable tale. I dug deep into scholarly articles reading study after study from multiple bodies of science. They all had the same common theme; from biologists to endocrinologists to zoologists. Our world was under attack by a myriad of endocrine disrupting chemicals. I began reading books like 'Our Stolen Future' and came face to face with the reality of what the scientific community had known for years. Xenoestrogens were changing our world in ways that were not only impacting people's quality of life, but also the type of life they were literally born into on a chromosomal level. Children were being born not as XX (female) or XY (male) but rather XXY or XXYY and multiple other variations. New terminology was coined to deal with the increasing number of hormone related problems in human infant males - testicular dysgenisis. The impact of washing my hair and keeping my home clean was affecting not only my hormone levels but also the hormone levels of the fish in Okanagan Lake in my own back yard and other bodies of water around the world. Fish, frogs and amphibians were no longer male or female but were now becoming intersexed with both sperm and eggs due to these foreign estrogens being introduced into their environment.
What did all this mean? It meant I needed to find beauty, body and household cleaning products free of these nasty hormone disrupting chemicals. The search was now on to find organic personal care products that didn't adversely affect my hormonal health. I thought it should be fairly easy. After all, many companies were going green and eco-friendly. The reality was sad and disheartening to say the least. Once I knew the names of the worst offending xenoestrogens I discovered that many of the natural and organic brands were the worst offenders. They claimed on the front of the label to be free of such chemicals, but the ingredient deck on the back stated otherwise. This was my first introduction to the world of 'Green Washing.'
Not being one to quit, I decided the next logical step was for me to learn the chemistry behind making safe xenoestrogen free products. Through trial and error and years of study I developed safe, clean, beauty, body and household cleaning products made mostly from food grade ingredients that were free of these foreign estrogens. My family and friends became intrigued with the tale I told of how their lotions and shampoos were affecting them and others. Soon people were asking me to make products for them as well. This brought me to take my products and tale to the community I love so dearly. So I set up shop at Kelowna's local Farmers' Market and spoke to anyone who would stop and listen. The support I received was overwhelming but inspiring all the same.
Through a series of events, a relationship was built between myself and a local Kelowna company that custom manufactures natural health products. Today, Natures Formulae and I work closely on the Zero Xeno project. Our common goal to educate people about xenoestrogens and provide them with solutions that lead to a healthier life has become a reality. Together we are continually researching, educating and creating new products to support a xenoestrogen free world.
In Focus is our gift to the community. A way for us to help show our recognition for the people, businesses and organizations that help make our city great. The team at KelownaNow.com is passionate about this community and the people that make it amazing. We want to show our friends, neighbours, family and colleagues that we notice them and the fabulous things that they do. We encourage you to leave your comments and words of support below, and submit your own nomination by clicking HERE. You are also welcome to submit a form of your own by clicking HERE. Thank you, Kelowna!