March 30, 2009

MONDAY, MONDAY ~ Find Your Balance Health Today!!!!

Michelle Pfennighaus is a health counselor and yoga instructor who has devoted her life to helping others and their pursuit of healthier living. She has a wonderful blog over at that encourages eating habits that benefit busy lifestyles. She has agreed to share some of her wisdom, photos and endeavors with us!


Michelle, how long have you put your energy into healthier living?

I've always been somewhat concerned with exercise and eating well, but it really picked up about 3 years ago. It's been an amazing journey!

What was the catalyst? How were you moved to seek out nutritional betterment? What led you to eat a fuller and purposeful menu?

According to my doctors I was fine, just as healthy as anyone else. But I knew I had digestive trouble – it was fairly obvious when I realized that not everyone was doubled over in pain after a meal, just me. One day I was home sick with a particularly terrible sinus infection and I saw Christina Pirello on public television. She was cooking up a macrobiotic meal and talking about how miso helps digestion. I immediately looked her up on the internet and started doing research.

But it was actually a conversation with my grandpa that pushed me to take the first step. He told me that my grandma (who died of digestive-related cancer) always had trouble eating dairy products. Because I take after my grandma in many ways, I thought that maybe I should try to eliminate dairy from my diet. It worked! And that was a very convincing first step.

How did it change your life? Your health? Your outlook? Your relationships?

Wow. It's hard to explain. Literally everything changed. I started to feel so much better as I cleaned up my diet one variable at a time. As I felt better, my mood improved. It was like a dark cloud lifted. I had more energy and motivation. I realized that it was possible to live a life 100 times better than the life I had before. It was so exciting – it still is! Part of my excitement is in knowing that I am armed with knowledge to make conscious decisions about how I treat my body. It was like uncovering a secret code. I knew right away that I wanted to bring this information to more people, which is how I started blogging and ultimately enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Tell us about your training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

It's an amazing school – people come from all over the world. At IIN they teach that health is a combination of diet AND lifestyle. So, there are foods like chicken. And then there are what we call Primary Foods, like relationships and career satisfaction. At IIN we learn to work with the whole person, not just the diet. It really rings true for me because while I was changing my diet I also started doing yoga and learning to de-stress my life. I believe my success was a combination of diet and lifestyle changes.

How has this affected your friends and family?

Positively! I am a much happier person, a more whole person, and more fun to be around. Having energy for my friends and family is something I didn't used to have.

What are some of the first and easiest steps you took to move into a healthier mode of living?

Like I mentioned, my first step was cutting out dairy for 2 weeks. It was just a trial. I started doing things as little science experiments, like noticing if what I ate for lunch made my stomach hurt later on. It really started as an investigative process. When I work with clients now, I emphasize taking small steps and becoming conscious of one's body.

What were some of the first positive things you noticed about you once you began your movement?

My moods really evened out. I had always been a cynical, moody kind of person. Once I started eating better, I started feeling more sunshine in my life. Now, I am hardly ever in a bad mood.

Have you ever regretted any of these changes?

Absolutely not. It wasn't always easy to try new things or pack a healthy lunch when all my friends were eating in the mall food court. But it has been the best thing I've ever done, hands down. I believe all my clients who stick with my program will feel the same.

What would you say to the readers who desire to make a happier existence and healthier lifestyle?

I'd say, you aren't alone! People talk to me every day about their desire for change. Most people find that they feel stuck or get in their own way when it comes to implementing change. That's why I work with clients to support them in a step-by-step plan towards their goals.

How can they contact you and what do you encourage them to consider before actually signing up with you as a client?

If you are interested in feeling happier, having more energy, and addressing your unique health challenges, you can email me at or visit my website. I encourage you to think about your goals and how it would feel to achieve them. Consider, "What is more important than good health?"

What is your wish for your clients?

People who come alive with good health tend to spread the word and affect change in their families and communities by being excellent examples long after completing the health counseling program. That's my wish!


Thanks Dwana!

Michelle Pfennighaus, RYT
Health Counseling & Yoga

Michelle, Here is to us all having Healthier, Happier Lifestyles!! CHEERS!!!


healthy ashley said...

What a great interview! I love Michelle's blog and view of healthy living!

Houseonahill said...

Healthy Ashley! Love that name! Thanks, Michelle just sparkles!!

Anonymous said...

"Health is wealth" is known to all and everyone wants good health. So, Let us build a food habit discipline, keep pace with work, rest and or exercise to Achieve good health, The ultimate wealth.

The Health Dude