We chatted with Pheobe Lapine, the woman behind the blog Feed Me Phoebe and the book The Wellness Project about practising balance, whom she would most like to invite to dinner, and her secrets to holistic health.
For Phoebe Lapine, life is about finding a happy place between health and hedonism. That’s the philosophy that the triple-threat chef, culinary instructor, and author has stayed true to after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis when she was 22. We chatted with the woman behind the blog Feed Me Phoebe and the book The Wellness Project about practising balance, whom she would most like to invite to dinner, and her secrets to holistic health.
You were diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in your early twenties — how did this impact your life?
The only treatment [my doctor] presented was medication. And the idea of being dependent on pills for the rest of my life was not something I wanted to sign up for, so I pretended like the conversation never happened and went on living my life!
In the years that followed, my thyroid slowly went completely off the rails. My instincts were right that the pills wouldn’t heal me on their own. It wasn’t until I started making changes outside the realm of food that I really got a grip on my whole health puzzle.
Tell us more about The Wellness Project and Feed Me Phoebe.
My doctors gave me a prescription but not a road map. I kept coming back to the question: as a young twenty-something, how do I do right by my body without giving up my life?
I suspected that the best way to find my sweet spot of ‘balance’ was to self-experiment in a more controlled, manageable way. I [made] lifestyle changes slowly, steadily, and with the first intention being to pay attention.
It began as a blog series on my site, Feed Me Phoebe, then eventually morphed into a longer form narrative-driven book. The Wellness Project gives a real window into how you can be healthier without it getting in the way of living.
What one person would you like to cook dinner for, and what would you serve?
Julia Child! I’d serve some authentic Vietnamese or Thai food – a flavour palette she doesn’t know as well.
Best wellness tip?
Seeking perfection often causes more stress than the end result is worth. And as someone who’s autoimmune, I really believe that stress is a much more toxic ingredient than the occasional martini.
Secret to keeping a positive attitude?
I’m into a daily gratitude practice. I usually write down three things I’m grateful for before bed. A complaint bracelet also helps. Just wear a band on one wrist and every time you feel a negativity surge, switch it to the other wrist. A good reminder to keep things positive!
How has your diet impacted your physical and emotional health?
Changing my diet to gluten-free anti-inflammatory foods has been huge. Food has the power to heal, and can be an incredible agent of change.
I will also say that I think people can fall through the trap door of focusing too intensely on diet, thereby forgetting about all the other elements that contribute to our wellness.
What can you not live without?
Time spent by the water. A good night’s sleep. Meals with friends. Fresh lemon juice. Good sea salt.
At the moment, this saffron risotto with lemony braised vegetables. It’s a vegan version of a turmeric braised chicken in my book!
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