What started out as a search for answers lead Daina Lindsay to the discovery of her passion and purpose in life. The mother of two has created PONO Probiotics and is as hands on in business as she is in motherhood. The Delivery speaks to the mumpreneur about how she balances family life with a booming startup and why every woman should care about their gut health.
How was PONO Probiotics born?

PONO Probiotics was born in 2016 when we experienced firsthand their benefits. We had recently relocated our young family from South Australia to Queensland and in the process, had introduced our children to a new childcare, a new climate and new illnesses. With my husband and I working full time and a minimal support network in a new city, we had little option other than to call the doctor, accept the diagnosis and administer round after round of antibiotics. It took a frantic call from daycare in our third month in Brisbane, a hurried visit to the doctor, and a 24 hour stay in intensive care for us to begin to look at the possibility that there may be a further underlying issue with our son, Sands.

A caring doctor spent a great deal of time with us and explained in detail the importance of gut health for everyone, particularly for our little ones. Based on her recommendation we immediately introduced probiotics into our family diet, and quickly became the healthy happy family we had been prior to the move. Our passion was born.

We believe in living a healthy life. It was after our experience and knowledge from the doctor that we began spending countless hours researching probiotic health. With that we then sought the very best suppliers for a product that we believe will keep our family fit, happy and healthy long into the future. It was also the belief that this product needed to reflect our passion and happy place, Kauai, Hawaii.  So, after researching many Hawaiian words we came across “Pono”.   PONO is an ancient Hawaiian word that means rightness, correctness, alignment, goodness, excellence and well-being. These are things that we hope for in life for ourselves, our families and also our guts.

What goes into the creation of the PONO product?

Our products are made with love in Australia from local and imported ingredients. They are manufactured locally in a TGA Licensed, Certified Organic, cGMP Compliant laboratory.  We are lucky to have the laboratory in the same city, which we live so we can always check in and see how the productions is going, taste our samples and build the relationship with the key technicians.  I also want to add that for PONO, taste is everything. Our products need to taste great and be family friendly. We use ingredients that we know will be a delicious additive to your daily smoothie, sprinkled over your cereal or simply added to a glass or water.

Why are probiotics so important and what should every woman know about gut health?

There are still so many women out there who do not understand the crucial role our gut plays in our overall health.  The gut contributes to our immune system, depression, digestions, anxiety, energy, stress, sleep, our skin and also weight loss. By just taking a multi strain probiotic daily you will be boosting your gut health and supporting your overall health and wellbeing.

We also know that poor microbial diversity in the early stages of life is a key hidden driver in the progression of many chronic diseases later in life.  When probiotics are ingested pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy they have been shown to reduce inflammation and the risk of developing gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, whilst correcting microbial imbalance within the gut and supporting your immune system. Once pregnant beneficial probiotics have been discovered within the amniotic fluid and are found to improve the immune physiology of the placenta creating a healthier environment for the baby to grow.

When should probiotics be introduced into a childs diet?

It has been shown that probiotics play a crucial role in building the good gut bacteria which is so important for our children to assist their metabolism, good gut bacteria and immunity. As explained above, ideally a child should be benefiting from a probiotic when in the womb. Once born we recommend a child begin taking a daily probiotic (we have some great tips on our website how parents can do this).

PONO’s Naturopath/ Nutritionist Jess Blair explained on a recent blog that “the lactobacillus organisms, found in probiotics, have been found to lower serious infection in pre-term babies and reduce the risk of the baby developing atopic dermatitis, atopic sensitisation and gastro intestinal symptoms later in life”. A probiotic in infancy can assist in easing colic symptoms and support the gut as solid foods are introduced. Studies have also shown that probiotics can help ease the effects of antibiotic therapy. Our PONO baby and child probiotics are dairy-free and created to nurture a healthy gut. It is important to note that each person is biologically different and we always recommend seeking advice from your GP before taking a probiotic.

What should we look for and lookout for when purchasing probiotics?

Probiotics are quickly becoming recognised as a daily necessity, with the need to maintain the balance of good gut bacteria, for a happier and healthier you. With the increasing number of products and variants on offer, here are a few tips to look for on the label.

CFU’s: Probiotics are typically measured in CFU’s (Colony Forming Units). This is used to quantify how many bacteria in probiotics are capable of dividing and forming colonies.

If you are after a daily probiotic to maintain digestive and immune health, then you should be looking at levels between 5-10 Billion CFU’s. For specific health issues, then a dose around 20-30 Billion is beneficial.

Serves per pack and serve size: It’s important to know how much you need to take, and how many serves are actually in your tub. This tends to be found under the “Nutritional Information”

Storage: It varies from product to product. If refrigeration is needed, so ensure you pay close attention to the label and probiotic requirements

Expiration date: Probiotics do have a shelf life, so always check for the expiration date and that you will consume your product within this time.  If you don’t see an expiration date, I would pop it back and move onto the next.

Probiotic strains: The most common probiotic bacteria come from two genus groups; Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium.  Strains of probiotic bacteria can have slightly different functions within your digestive system.

“I feel we are so lucky to live in a time where women really want to support other women. Share your learnings, your success stories, your failures. What goes around comes around in life.”

Whats your vision for PONO?

For 2018 it will be furthering our distribution across Australia and looking into stocking our product worldwide. New product development will be a big focus for 2018. This is an area I am constantly looking further into and I am excited to share the news with our customers soon. Through events and online I want to build on families’ education and the importance of gut health.  I want to look into ways we can educate families on the benefits of gut health and living a happy healthy lifestyle.

Tips for other mumpreneurs starting their own business?

Ironically, trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right or comfortable don’t do it.  I would also say continually build your network.  I feel we are so lucky to live in a time where women really want to support other women. Share your learnings, your success stories, your failures – what goes around comes around in life. Lastly, passion! If you are not passionate about what you do, you will never give it everything you have. Each day I feel blessed to be working on PONO, each little success gives me goose bumps, each little learning excites me and I feel challenged everyday which is so important.

How do you perform the great balancing act between career and motherhood?

I still struggle with the balance but feel I am getting better at it each day.  When we moved from Adelaide to Brisbane we were leaving behind an amazing family and support network so I initially felt really overwhelmed.  But, we were lucky enough to get the kids into a day care that they both loved and we also hired a nanny, so we had someone the kids were familiar with and we also felt that additional support and connection to.  The kids now have one day a week where they can stay in their pyjamas all day if they want to, go to the playground, nap in their own bed, and basically have a lazy day at home with the nanny. Our nanny has been an absolute blessing and we all love her. When we are at home it is so important to just be present with the kids and give 100% of your attention. Listen to what they have to say, ask questions, cook dinner together, read books, listen to music, enjoy that time just being a mum.  Unfortunately, there are times we do need to work late, take work phone calls etc, however I really try to ensure I play catch up once the kids are tucked up in bed.


What does an average day look like for you? 

We are a family of early risers  so we are usually up and active by 5am.  The day usually starts with some exercise and then a delicious big smoothie.  I love experimenting each morning with flavours and seeing what is successful with the kids and what isn’t. My son is still very picky with what I put in, but Maija, my daughter surprises me each day.

My husband does the drop off to day care and we both head off to work. Each day varies which is why I absolutely love what I do. But by 5pm I am out the door. Picking the kids up from day care is one of my favourite times of day.  I am fortunate enough to live around the corner so we all walk home together.  I love hearing how their day was, what they each loved about the day and what they learned. This is a special time of the day for me, having those conversations with your little ones.  So much gold comes out of their mouths, I love it!

Do you have any rituals?

My husband and I have been getting into manifestation. We have been reading a lot of Dr Wayne Dyers books on manifesting what you want by using your imagination and practicing the art of assuming the feeling of your wishes already being fulfilled.  You convert the energy of your thoughts and see your wishes as already being accomplished. Practicing this mindset has had a hugely positive impact on our life in so many ways.

Time management tip for busy mums?

I still feel like I am figuring this one out. I do unfortunately still have many late nights working once the kids have gone to bed, but I am working on it… I promise.  I do feel that if I exercise in the morning it clears my mind and sets me up for the day. I am then operating at a much better pace to make smarter decisions, I am more efficient, and I feel calmer and in control.

I also try to just take each day as I comes, make a list that morning of what needs to be achieved and try not to get too far ahead of myself.  Sometimes just thinking about what needs to be done long term can really overwhelm you, so try and just tackle each day. I find this eases my stress levels and any risk of anxiety.

Describe your parenting style…

We have always loved having a routine for our kids. Regardless of where we are in the world, we always try to eat at the same time, bath and books before bedtime. This has in some instances made us a little less social and we have had to say no to a few events, however when we have the routine in our life our kids are happy, they are healthy, they have slept well.  As soon as we have a late night somewhere and broken the routine we pay for it.  Sometimes it’s just not worth it.

PONO PROBIOTICS - gut health
What is the biggest lesson motherhood has taught you?

Patience. I am an impatient person at the best of times, however motherhood has taught me to stop and smell the roses.  See the beauty in the little things and enjoy each moment. Your baby grows up so quickly, so embrace and cherish every little moment.

Favourite family friendly holiday destination?

Kauai, Hawaii. The food, the people, the surroundings, the weather, the list goes on!

Secret to a strong and successful marriage?

The most successful relationships are the ones where both parties are pointing in the same direction, and both striving for the same things in life. Happiness is key, do what makes you happy both happy and do it often.  Another thing we live by is communication.  If you have a frustration talk about it straight up before it blows out, and never go to sleep on an argument!

Book recommendation …

Well I’m currently reading Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas by Aaron Blabey every night to the kids and I am still not sick of it… so that’s a positive.  But, when I do get time to read a book of my choice, a favourite has been The Probiotics Revolution: The Definitive Guide to Safe, Natural Health Solutions Using Probiotic and Prebiotic Foods and Supplements, by Gary B. Huffnagle  with Sarah Wernick.  This book is easy to read and so informative, it helped start our journey to living a health lifestyle.

TED Talk recommendation ..

My absolute favourite would have to be Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders.  So powerful!