Four Atlanta Wellness Warriors Share Expert Health Advice

As Told To The Editors | January 13, 2020 | Lifestyle

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FROM A PLANT-BASED DIET TO HER SUSTAINABLE FASHION BOUTIQUE, MARGARET SUMMERSELL (@BOHEMIANSEED) HAS ALL OF THE MAKINGS OF A TRUE FLOWER CHILD. FOR HER, IT’S ALL ABOUT BALANCE AND MODERATION.

You follow a plant-based diet. What made you adopt that lifestyle?

In short, science. I took a food science class in college and was completely enamored with the context of how the body breaks down and utilizes the different components of food. I’ve always been interested in physiology—specifically when it comes to health and wellness. I learned a lot about how the body processes proteins and other nutrients (plant versus animal proteins, etc.) In conclusion, I found the benefits of consuming plants (water, soluble fiber, phytonutrients, prebiotics, antioxidants, etc.) heavily outweigh those of consuming animals (saturated fat, cholesterol, etc.). Tell us a little bit about BohemianSeed and how you first came up with the idea for the store. BohemianSeed was inspired by my grandmother, a Czechoslovakian immigrant. She always wore vibrant colors and patterns, no matter the trend or the season. She taught me that the clothes you wear are an extension of your spirit and an expression of who you are and where you came from. Creating was always a constant and a given in our big eclectic Bohemian family. I learned the basic tricks of the trade of sewing, and the rest is history. The majority of pieces that I resell have been hand-altered with love and care, some recreated into one-of-a-kind modern designs of vintage fashions. How has yoga improved your overall health and wellness? Yoga has been my saving grace for over a decade, and I honestly don’t know how to sum up in words all that the practice has offered me. My yoga mat is a place where I can go to find stillness in a world where we are constantly bombarded with ‘go-go-go.’ It’s a place to slow down... to return home to myself. What is your overall philosophy when it comes to health and nutrition? I’d say that my overall philosophy is ‘everything in moderation.’ Moderation is important in my life. I have a tendency (as I think a lot of us do) to strive for perfection, but with health and nutrition specifically, I think that moderation is key to enjoyment. I feel my best when I am eating clean and plant- based. However, if I want to have a piece of cake and ice cream at a family birthday party, I am going to do it.

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WHEN LOCALS WANT TO UP THEIR FITNESS GAME, THEY TURN TO KENNY IRONS (@KENNY.IRONS23). THE FORMER FOOTBALL PLAYER- TURNED-BARRY’S BOOTCAMP INSTRUCTOR OFFERS MAJOR MOTIVATION SERVED WITH A MEGAWATT-SIZE SMILE.

Why is physical fitness such a priority for you?

Fitness is a priority because I dealt with six knee surgeries and a staph infection due to an ACL injury. My mental state was broken, but I had to stop feeling sorry for myself. The moment I was able to move and be free, I never stopped. How can overall physical health help with one’s mental health? I think it gives a person an enormous sense of well- being. Fitness releases endorphins, which are powerful chemicals in your brain that energize you to make you feel good. The benefit comes from paying attention to your body and how each movement makes you feel. What is the first thing you tell clients when they’re looking to achieve a particular fitness goal? What are you willing to sacrifice to reach those goals? Most people know what they want or how they want to look, but they are not willing to make the necessary sacrifices to reach those goals. What are a few small habits people can adopt in the new year to up their fitness game? Purchase a set of 5- to 10-pound dumbbells and make it your mission to pick them up and do a 20 minute total body session each day. Get outside and just walk or move for 15 minutes and then add to it each week. Start eating a little healthier. Do something selfish that’s all about you that makes you feel good. Designate a day and set new challenges and goals—and then crush them.

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JESSICA HUGHES (@HAPPILYHUGHES) IS LIVING PROOF THAT PRIORITIZING YOURSELF IS SOMETIMES KEY IN HELPING OTHERS GROW. AS THE WINNER OF JEZEBEL’S TOP MOM BLOG INFLUENCER AWARD, SHE’S HERE TO GIVE HER TIPS ON PRIORITIZING FITNESS.

What is one thing that you do to help you reset?

Weightlifting! Nothing helps me refocus and reset like a great sweat session. I also love hiking Blood Mountain and getting a deep-tissue massage. What inspires you most to keep a healthy lifestyle? It is and always will be my kids. I want to be healthy and happy for them. When I had my son, Hudson, I realized how important it was for me to be healthy. Not only so that I could be an active and involved participant in his life, but also to set a good example for him. How does physical fitness help you parent better? In so many ways! It’s a stress reliever, an endorphin boost and an hour a day completely to myself. How do you find time to workout with such a busy schedule? My workouts are a priority for me. If I have to choose between errands or the gym, I’m going to pick the gym every time because I know it makes me a better mother. Why weightlifting? For me, there is nothing better than the endorphin rush after a really great weightlifting session! What advice would you give to new moms that want to get back into a fitness routine? Ease back into it! Your body has been through a trauma. Slowly get back into your routine, and always listen to your body!

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SAVANNA JIMENEZ (@SAVJIMENEZ)— WHO’S A CERTIFIED HEALTH COACH AND CERTIFIED IN HOLISTIC NUTRITION—IS PASSIONATE ABOUT MORE THAN JUST THE PURSUIT FOR THE PERFECT PLATE. ON HER HEALTH AND WELLNESS BLOG, YOU’LL FIND RECIPES THAT FEED YOUR MIND, BODY AND SOUL.

How did you initially become so passionate about health and nutrition?

Food has always been a passion of mine, ever since I was little. But my passion to spread the knowledge and power of food came after I went through an eating disorder in college. I learned so much about the way I thought about food and how food could be used as medicine from my nutritionist who helped me heal, and after that, I decided to become a health coach and start a blog to help others. You share a lot of nutrition tips on your Instagram. What are some of your go-tos? I always try to start my day with hot lemon water because it’s a great way to get your digestive system going with a nice boost of vitamin C. Can you give any advice to people trying to eat healthier going into the new year? Instead of trying to change all of your eating habits at once, pick one thing you’d like to add to your diet and try that for a week or two first. What is your overall philosophy when it comes to health and nutrition? Sustainability. I try to be conscious of what I’m eating and if I can maintain healthy choices without feeling deprived. That means incorporating the foods I love into my diet while also eating healthy foods, and I want to help others feel this way about their relationship with food too. Why do you think it’s important to introduce these healthy habits into your everyday life? Something I’m talking more about this year is that a healthy lifestyle includes mental well-being, as well as physical. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed.

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FOR FAITH WITCHER (@ELIXIRCANDLECO), SELF-CARE IS SACRED, WHICH IS WHY SHE FOUNDED ELIXIR CANDLE CO.— ATLANTA’S GO-TO FOR HOLISTIC AROMATHERAPY NEEDS—TO HELP LOCALS CREATE THEIR OWN HAPPY PLACE RIGHT IN THEIR OWN HOMES. THE GIRL BOSS HAS SOME POWERFUL ADVICE FOR THOSE LOOKING TO HARNESS THEIR TRUE POWER IN THE NEW YEAR.

How did you first come up with the idea of Elixir Candle Co.?

I grew up with my mother burning candles all over our home. It was kind of a routine of hers. As I got older, I realized it was a small piece of self-care that can turn any room or area into a safe sacred place. I began making my own candles using only organic supplies and essential oils, and I decided that I wanted to share them with the world. Can you tell us a little bit about the benefits of aromatherapy? Aromatherapy has so many amazing benefits for your mind and body. It can boost the immune system and digestive system, increase circulation & energy levels in the body, provide relief from insomnia and stress, and it eliminates feelings of depression. What is your overall philosophy when it comes to self-care? I believe self-care is really most important. We strive for success, love, family, etc., but cannot excel in pursuing or maintaining all those things without checking in and taking care of ourselves first. Everyone should take a few moments every day to do whatever it is that brings them calmness. Tell us a little bit about your crystal-wrapped sage bundles... We basically took your typical sage bundles and kicked it up a notch. We wrap our sage with fresh roses and infuse them with lavender. And to make them even more special, we wrap them with a crystal of your choice. Sage is used to clear the energy of your safe space, and smudging with the crystal attached allows the benefits of the crystal to charge while making old energy diminish, and the crystal’s benefits to take over the space. What advice would you give to someone looking to prioritize self-care in the new year? Listen to your needs and follow your intuition. We cannot be good people if we are not good to ourselves.



Photography by: Summersell Photo by Julie Holder for POMKT | Irons Photo by of XXIII Photo Studio | Hughes Photo Chelsea Patricia Photography | Jiminez photo by Cora Charles with CC Creatives | Witcher Photo by Carol Lee Rose