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Meet Our New Health Expert: Michelle Pfennighaus

Meet Our New Health Expert: Michelle Pfennighaus

Michelle Pfennighaus | Excelle

April 03, 2009

Every day I talk to people who feel as though they could be living better. Some people have weight issues, some are insomniacs, and some suffer from anxiety, Type II diabetes, or a litany of other chronic conditions. Many are taking pharmaceutical drugs to cope with their symptoms.

Sound familiar? We have incredible advances in medicine, hundreds of thousands of doctors, and yet health is a major concern for millions of Americans. Obesity is epidemic but many obese individuals are starving for real nutrients. Our dairy consumption is greater than in most countries yet we have one of the highest rates of osteoporosis.

I think it’s all rather peculiar.

Nutrition and exercise research is confusing to read about, don’t you think? Drink wine. Don’t drink wine. Soy is amazing. Soy is dangerous. Go for a run. Wait, running is bad for your joints.

“Well, I’m just going to sit here and eat pork rinds, I give up.” I’ve heard this kind of reaction. Or how about, “I’m stressed out trying to figure out what I should eat.” Well that’s not helpful, now is it?

What if you stopped listening to the media and scientific studies, and asked yourself “What is it that my body needs?” The wisdom of the body is massive. It’s like a fancy, warm-blooded supercomputer. Listen carefully and trust your instincts. Even if it feels silly. Especially if it feels silly!

Go ahead. Ask yourself, “What is the thing that I most need, right now, to feel my best?

Maybe you’re initially thinking “chocolate.” Or, “a nap.” Ask again just to make sure. I’ll wait!



Good. Now write down that thing you need. Don’t worry if it seems weird or unobtainable — it’s just a starting point. This is an important exercise to develop self-awareness. As women we tend to take care of everyone around us — family, friends, our community — but we sometimes fall short of caring for ourselves.

How effective can we be in this world if we are sick? How much energy can we give to others if we are always tired? Self-care may be the most important thing we can do for ourselves, and for our world.

(That, and and to stop bringing back fashion from the 80’s. Please.)

I worked for many years in a corporate setting and saw how the stress of a busy life negatively affected my health. I mean, it was fairly obvious. Anxiety attacks. Digestive difficulties. An overall feeling of weakness.

When my doctor didn’t know what to do, she recommended a psychologist. When the psychologist didn’t know what to do, she recommended anti-depressant drugs. Was I depressed? Nope. At that point I took my health into my own hands. It was the right decision for me.

Today I’m more happy and healthy than I’ve ever been. I work as a holistic health counselor and yoga instructor, do a lot of cooking, and use a neti pot daily. This is what works for me. I’m beyond thrilled to be writing as a featured author for Excelle! It’s my honor to act as a guide as you make decisions that are right for you.

Trust me, it’s not about eating sprouts and meditating 8 hours per day. (Well, maybe it is for some people!) I think it’s all about looking inside and finding your balance.

Read Michelle’s First Column: Cultivate Your Soul: 5 Hints for Growing Healthy


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