Journey to Health: How Intuitive Eating & Pilates Helped this Mother of Four

by | Updated: December 5th, 2017 | Read time: 4 minutes

Married with four children (ages 17, 12, 10 and 2), Heather Porhola embarked on her health journey five years ago as a busy-bee mom with quite a bit on her plate. In addition to homeschooling, she hikes, food preps and recently began training to become a Pilates instructor.

Heather believes that the foods we consume have the power to heal our bodies and enhance our well-being. Forgetting all about counting calories and measuring macros, she practices intuitive eating when it comes to snacking and mealtime. Although she doesn’t plan on giving up pizza any time soon, Heather keeps it balanced with daily smoothies, exercise and spending quality time with her family (they love to travel!), including their adorable German shorthaired pointer.

Healthy Lifestyle Influencer Heather Porhola in the Mountains with her Family |

1. What sparked your journey to better health?

Over the last five years, I’ve been researching and learning about food being our livelihood. The saying “let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food” rings true. I have two children with severe allergies. Through this process of eating what they do, I have some intolerances as well. I’ve learned so much about my very own body. Intuitive eating to be more connected with my food has been key. 

2. How do you use social media to inspire others?

My goal through my Instagram account (@backtonature_essentials) is to show people that simplicity and baby steps are the way to make big changes to reach a cleaner lifestyle. Living in Alaska, we are severely limited to clean, healthy and non-toxic products. Vitacost offers shipping to Alaska for products I wouldn’t be able to get any other way. 

3. So, what are you eating?

I would describe my everyday living as modified paleo. I’ve been living it for three years now. Am I perfect? Definitely not. But staying the course helps heal my body.

Vitacost Influencer Healther Porhola Hugging Her Supportive Daughter | Do you have a support system?

My children motivate me and my own personal health motivates me. When I eat better, I feel better. 

5. What does a typical day of meals look like for you?

Coffee, smoothie, dinner. HA! In that order. I love using items from Vitacost on the daily for my everyday routine and cooking. 

6. When you choose to indulge, what’s your go-to?

Pizza, I mean come on is there anything better in life? (Hi, Vitacost here, we think Heather would totally approve of our gluten- and dairy-free pumpkin pizza recipe! Try it for yourself.)

7. What challenges do you face when it comes to healthy living?

The hardest part about healthy living for me is not being able to eat out and the variety of foods that I can enjoy. When you cut out grains, legumes and dairy, your selection goes way down. But meal prep as well as Vitacost help keep me inspired. 

8. Tell us about your fitness routine.

My favorite way to exercise is to hike up mountains, but that isn’t always possible when homeschooling four children. I’m currently training to become a Pilates instructor. I’ve been doing it for five years and it has made me better and healthier without suffering from adrenal fatigue. I normally do Pilates five days a week. If I can’t get to my local studio, then I do it on the road when traveling. 

9. What’s your dream job?

Interior decorator. I love curating my home and doing that for others would be so fulfilling. I am a stay-at-home mom and I currently homeschool. We love to travel, so I guess I’m somewhat of a travel agent for our family as well.  

10. Who do you look up to?Vitacost Influencer Heather Porhola

I don’t ever really look up to anyone, just strive for a better self. But if I had to choose someone, it would be Melissa Hartwig, the creator of the Whole30 diet. She has changed and inspired so many people with her program.

11. Favorite way to relax?

Sitting at home doing nothing, or cleaning. HA! I love ironing. On a rainy Sunday, when we can’t get outside, ironing is my therapy for ultimate relaxation. 

12. What Vitacost products do you need for survival?

Ghee, because we use it on EVERYTHING! Coconut oil, because we’re picky with which ones we like the taste of. Finally, our absolute FAVORITE laundry soap, Zum Clean Aromatherapy (the sea salt one) because Vitacost is the only online distributor that will ship it to Alaska. 

13. Can you share some words of advice to those starting their healthy journeys?

Baby steps—Rome wasn’t built in a day. This is a path and journey that I’ve been on for OVER five years. Little changes make big changes in your life. If you try and do too much, I truly feel that you will feel overwhelmed. What we’re constantly offered is convenience everywhere we go, but that tends to come at a price health wise. So know that although things in the beginning might seem hard, make it a habit. Soon it will become a routine that you wouldn’t change for the world. 

*Bonus question: What’s your FAVORITE thing about Vitacost (we had to ask!)?

We love Vitacost because of their commitment to offering the very best to their customers at the best prices. I also love them because they ship everything to Alaska that a lot of other online shops do not.