July 13, 2017

The Wellness Project with Phoebe Lapine

The Wellness Project | The Naptime Che

My friend Phoebe is so accomplished. I love reading her blog Feed Me Phoebe for all kinds of great recipes and her instagram account is amazing. This spring I am proud to say she came out with a terrific new book called The Wellness Project: How I learned to Do Right by My Body Without Giving Up My Life. In it she chronicles her year of trying new wellness solutions to combat her Hoshimoto’s disease and several other chronic ailments. It’s terrific for anyone looking for concrete solutions to long term problems, or just for general health tips!

Recently I had a great chat with Phoebe and here is what we discussed:

1) Your wellness journey was an inspiring read. Even for those of us who are mostly “well” can glean a lot from your work. When this all began did you realize it was going to be such an endeavor?

I did! I commited to the year up front and tried more or less to design my 12-month curriculum. A lot changed along the way as I really wanted to let my body do the steering. It wasn’t just a gimmick: I really wanted to heal! As intimidating as the year commitment might seem, it was actually a huge relief compared to what I had been doing prior, which was basically throwing a million health darts at the wall to see if one would stick. I felt guilty all the time about the doctor’s orders I failed to apply to my life, and since there wasn’t a lot of awareness behind the things I was doing, it was hard to tell what was really moving the needle. I designed this slow and steady approach—one lifestyle change, one month at a time—so I could figure out which health practices were actually worth the time, money and energy I was spending on them.

2) I am in awe of your willpower. How did you find the will to stick with your experiments month after month? I’ll admit, I would’ve struggled!

I definitely didn’t stick to all of them. Some never made it into the book. I gave myself the freedom to fail and give up if something just didn’t feel realistic or sustainable. I wrote about some of them. The struggle is the story, so I tried to be honest. This book was intended to be the antithesis to the medical books that make their protocols seem so easy. Change isn’t easy.  For anyone.

My challenges also weren’t cumulative, which took a lot of pressure off. Knowing though that I could give up, and that I didn’t have to stick with each change beyond a month (unless I wanted to) made them a lot less intimidating to take on.

3) Are there any moments that stick out to you as real turning points? A game-changing Ah-ha! that reinforced the reason for doing it?

When I began tackling the source of my back pain, I had my first aha moment around the mind-body connection.

Intellectually, I knew that my head is irrevocably connected to the structure it sits upon, for better or for worse. But it was during that portion of my year-long experiment that I realized my mind was the invisible fence holding me back from fully healing.

As I connected the dots of my health, I realized how the internal dialogue of doubt I always thought just made me human—the self-deprecation I had mistaken for modesty—was actually causing me the most harm. Discovering that underlying anxiety was behind my back problems, my insomnia, my adrenal fatigue, and perhaps my autoimmune disease itself was a big revelation that came up again and again during my project. And I might need to dedicate a whole new Wellness Project to working on that piece!

4) Recipes! I love your recipes. This is so different than your first book. How did you develop your recipes? Did you base more emphasis on wellness, flavor, certain ingredients?

Thank you!! Yes, a week to the day before my first book came out, I found out I had a serious gluten allergy and couldn’t eat any of them. Irony! So these recipes are very different. There are two at the end of each chapter and fit the theme of that particular month. Some were things I was eating all the time over the course of my journey, others were “problem solving” recipes that fit some of the best practices I learned.

For example, I created the Sweet and Spicy Pepitas-Cashew Snack Mix for the green beauty chapter because zinc is a powerful skin food, and pumpkin seeds have it in spades. I also found it hardest to stick to a low sugar diet when I was traveling, and knew it would make a great portable snack that wasn’t too sweet.

5) What’s next for Feed Me Phoebe? Are you currently on a new journey or are you taking a rest?!

Haha. I’m taking a rest from the guinea pig life. But I am exploring some short term challenge guides for others.

I created a #4WeekstoWellness mini challenge series for those who want to commit to some small changes for just a month. And, er, aren’t game for an entire year of self-experimentation!

Some areas I didn’t get to cover in the book/my official year that I’m exploring are: natural toothcare, haircare, and some self-love tools.

 Thanks, Phoebe!

To win a copy of Phoebe’s book:

  1. Leave a comment sharing your favorite wellness tip!
  2. Winner will be announced on Friday August 4th. Good luck!

Disclosure: All photos courtesy of Phoebe Lapine.