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Spotlight: wholemom

Spotlight on: Shannan Heaman
Blog: Living a Whole Life
Bio: I left my career in marketing to stay at home when my twin girls were born five years ago. This past year, I began studying holistic nutrition through Trinity College of Natural Health and will have a Certificate in Nutritional Counseling upon completion of my classes. In November my sister-in-law and I decided to start Living a Whole Life, a blog dedicated to exploring holistic nutrition, naturopathy and greener living. My goal is to help others realize that good nutrition and exercise really does make you feel better, fight off illness and live a longer happy life!

What was your motivation for getting involved in the natural/holistic health community?
Unfortunately, I have three friends who were diagnosed with breast cancer last year. I wondered if there was anything (beyond surgery and drug therapies) that they could do to improve their chances at a long healthy life. This led me to a lot of information regarding a whole foods diet.

I also have a growing family history of diabetes. The disease seems to plague my family around the age of 60. So I wanted to know what I could do to stop this trend by doing more than just dieting and exercising. Once again my research lead me to a whole foods diet. And then I really began to understand how our Standard American Diet (SAD) contributes to a number of ailments that we take to be “just part of old age.”

Immediately, I looked into how I could get a more formal education on whole food diets so I could combine my love of exercise with the holistic nutrition research I had done.

I want to help others live a healthier life and scream from the top of a mountain, “We don’t have to be sick!” Of course, it happens – but people have more control than they think.

What motivated you to start Living A Whole Life?
Once I became interested in holistic nutrition, I decided to get my certificate in Nutritional Counseling. Also, my sister-in-law Karla, an RN with a law degree, is also studying Naturopathy. So I started brainstorming how the two of us could use all of the great information we were learning to help others. I also really enjoy writing and I’m a self-proclaimed computer addict – so starting a blog was at the top of my list.

What inspires you?
First and foremost, my 5-year-old twin girls have inspired me to be an energetic and healthy mother. My husband and I have gone out of our way to instill healthy living habits into the girls’ lives and we try to lead by example. We exercise regularly and eat right so that they will grow up to do the same.

Beyond my family, I am inspired by the thought of helping others simply feel better. And want to help them understand that they have the power to change what they perceive as “old age” or their disease-filled destiny.

What is your personal healthy living philosophy?
When I worked as a personal trainer, I learned that you can’t make anyone diet or stay on an exercise plan unless they want to. Also, the thought of a diet is daunting and usually doesn’t stick because it is a negative concept. You are depriving yourself.

I believe in what I like to call ‘positive eating’. The idea is that you add good foods (like a green smoothie) to your diet instead of worrying about what you are giving up. The focus is on what you need to make sure you eat healthy foods every day. For instance, by replacing a chocolate donut with real cacao, you’re still eating chocolate but you also get antioxidants and other health benefits from it.

Once a person starts listening to their own body and really paying attention to how energized they feel after eating healthy food versus junk food – it is self-motivating. It is all about making changes that you can live with. I would rather see someone make one or two sustainable changes than try to change everything all at once only to become overwhelmed and quit.

What are some of your favorite natural treatment methods?
I know this is kind of gross, but I am addicted to my daily sinus rinse. For the past few years I have suffered from chronic sinus infections and had to endure several rounds of antibiotics. Since I started using a sinus rinse every day in the shower, I have been able to fight the beginning stages of an infection on my own.

What is your favorite health-related book?
My favorite health-related book, and one that really demonstrates the connection between diet and disease is The China Study. I really couldn’t put it down. I am also a fan of Food Matters, a video on how food affects the prevention and the treatment of diseases.

Now that you’ve started this project, as a full-time mom, do you ever have a hard time keeping up with all your online projects?
Yes, despite my ability to work well under pressure, at certain times I definitely feel like I have to squeeze in research and writing. It is great to share my blog with Karla, who is also the mom of two small children. So far we have both done a fine job keeping up with our commitments while also letting our individual interests and journeys provide a variety of information to our readers. It doesn’t feel like work when you are talking about things you are interested in.

We are also working on putting together our first class this summer. We hope to offer some practical advice for people looking to change habits and live a healthier lifestyle.

Learn more about Shannan.

Who inspires you?
Let us know who we should feature in our next Spotlight Interview. Write us at community@wegohealth.com

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