Health Raiser Spotlight: Michelle

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 4 minutes

Have you given much thought to your quality of life? You don’t have to be feeling stuck in a dead-end job or tied down by health issues to give a discerning eye to your true quality of life. This is a concept you should consider at any stage of the game. Why? Because this week’s Health Raiser, Michelle, says so. After working in the health field for nearly a decade, she knows a thing or two about achieving your full potential (because you deserve a full life!).

Raise Health with Michelle

What does health mean to you?

Health to me is about quality of life. The body is an amazing thing and can do much more than we think we are capable of if we are treating it right. I view food as a huge part of health. Nothing that you put into your body goes without effect. You are either giving your cells the nutrients they need or adding undue stress. The second part of health, which goes hand-in-hand with diet, is physical activity. Keep it interesting, there are so many ways to stay active!

What inspired you to start living a healthy life?

While working in physical therapy the last nine years, I’ve been able to observe all kinds of people in different stages of health. I realized what quality of life really means, as well as what I was taking for granted.

I was relatively healthy. All of my joints and muscles worked, and yet I wasn’t using my body to its full potential. I decided to change my diet first. I was so sick of hearing about all the fad diets and the ever-changing food pyramid. I wanted to do my own research of what’s actually the proper diet for optimal health – with real data supporting it.

Ultimately, I decided to choose a plant-based nutrition plan, and I’ve never felt better in my entire life! I’ve experienced even a few unexpected perks, such as the relief of stomach issues that I had had throughout my childhood. Medication was no longer something I needed for everyday comfort. In addition to feeling great, losing weight, being able to perform better, having more energy and becoming sick less often, I also discovered that plant-based eating is beneficial for the environment. (Bonus!)

What are three things you do to stay healthy?

I cook. I really enjoy cooking and recently completed a six-month course to become a plant-based professional through the Rouxbe Cooking School. By cooking my own food, I’m able to control what goes into it: sodium, fat, protein and so forth. I think this is probably the most beneficial thing someone can start doing. Ditch the eating out and cook at home!

Of course, I also stay physically fit. I like to switch it up, so I don’t get burned out on any one form of activity. I like to run, bike, hike, rollerblade, walk the dog, as well as do home workouts, group classes and circuit training. And, I drink lots of water to stay hydrated and help flush out the toxins.

What is one motivational quote that you live by?

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

If you were stranded on a desert island, what Vitacost product could you not live without?

I would need some sort of peanut or almond butter. Peanut butter is my weakness!

What advice do you have for someone who is trying to live healthier?

I would tell them not to get discouraged. We all have the days where we are totally unmotivated or gorge on foods that we later feel guilty about. Don’t give up! You are in charge of your body, so challenge it. I promise you, it will respond. There’s nothing more rewarding than working at something and seeing results come to life.

If you’re looking to make a serious lifestyle change, do your research. Become educated as much as possibly by following motivational people on social media who share advice and recipes, watching documentaries and reading books. Find an accountability partner. Buy new cookbooks. Clean out your cabinets. Join a gym. Attend group classes. Go for a daily walk. I guarantee it will be empowering.

Is there a role model you look up to?

Yes, several! I admire T. Colin Campbell for his book “The China Study” and the hard data he presents on the plant-based lifestyle. Julieanna Hever, “the plant-based dietician,” is another role model. She continually gives facts and nutritional advice, backed by credible sources. And finally, Lindsay Nixon, known as “the Happy Herbivore,” strives to help anyone wanting to make the change with weekly meal plans. Her simple-yet-spot-on catch-phrase is: “Progress, not perfection.”

If you’re looking for more, these documentaries are really worth checking out:

  • Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
  • Forks Over Knives
  • Vegucated
  • Food, Inc
  • Cowspiracy