I am sooooo excited to share this Q&A with my personal inspiration/yoga crush and friend Michelle Muench with you all. Michelle or @bananablondie108 (trust me- she's so worth the follow if you're not already following her...duh) is the founder of thrivingplantbased.com, a website for all things plant based living, and is probably one of the coolest moms I know.
Awwww I'm so excited to interview you. You are truly one of my biggest inspirations, my ultimate yoga crush and the one who inspired me to go full veg after spending a weekend with you (something I don't think I've ever shared with you!). On top of being a badass yogi, you have an amazing social media presence, run a thriving online business, and are an amazing mama of two beautiful kiddos. How do you manage to do it all and do it so well?
Oh my goodness, NO!!! You never told me that! I'm so flattered that I inspired you! It must have been my constant yammering on about the amazing benefits of eating plant based! You were probably like, "Girl, just shut up! I'll go plant based! I'll do anything:" LOL
As far as doing it all, believe me, there are many days where I'm not exactly pulling it off with finesse! Luckily I work online so I can create my own hours and don't have to sacrifice time with my kids for work. Momming always comes first, unless I'm having one of those uber stressed out, teetering on the brink of insanity days. Then I'm not ashamed to admit, the kids may get plopped in front of an electronic device while mommy regains her sanity on her mat for a bit.
You are hands down the sexiest yogi with a very unique style that sets you apart from all the yogis that flood our Instagram feeds -- how the hell do you come up with these moves? I know the time I flowed with you, I almost face planted into the ground trying to move like a snake :)
Not true! You were a natural! Hair flipping and all! There's really no thought process that goes into my flows. It's just something that naturally comes out when I practice. When I first began to move intuitively like that, I was a bit fearful of judgement, but it wasn't long before I got over it and just put it out there! I think sensual movement is innate and natural and lots of women seem to connect with that.
Your business, Thrivingplantbased.com, is a space that encourages people to live a plant-based lifestyle that incorporates movement and general well being practices. How has your wellness journey led you to starting your own business?
I think when you find your passion, its natural to want to share it with people. It would have felt criminal to keep this amazing lifestyle to myself. I really wanted to reach as many people as possible when it came to yoga and plant based living. For many people, the transition to eating plant based seems overwhelming, so they never make the change. And as for yoga, most people can't afford to take daily classes in studios, so they never develop a regular practice. I wanted to make yoga and plant based living accessible to everyone and this particular business model was the only way I could think of to accomplish that.
I know I hear from people all the time that they feel living a plant-based lifestyle can be challenging -- what are a few tips you would give someone who wants to start eating a plant based diet?
My number one tip is this: Don't overcomplicate it! It's really simple if you stick to the basics. Don't feel like you have to purchase designer vegan processed foods, high priced supplements or all these bullshit "super foods". You also don't need to spend loads of time in the kitchen cooking elaborate meals. Keep it simple. Beans, rice, legumes, potatoes, veggies, greens, fruit, nuts and seeds. These are the cheapest and most nutritious foods on the planet. Eat them in abundance and you will meet and exceed all of your nutritional needs.
You are almost entirely oil free and eat a shit ton of fruit and carbs (yaaasss 🙋🏽) can you please share a few reasons why you don't eat oil and why carbs are not the enemy?
Oil has been shown to have similar detrimental effects on your arteries as animal products. It is also a processed food. It contains no nutrients other than fat and zero fiber. The high calorie density of oil is also a killer in terms of weight loss. I'm personally not trying to lose weight, but 95% of the people I coach are looking to lose a few pounds.
Carbs are your friend! Whole plant foods are carbohydrates! Every cell in your body runs on glucose, aka sugar, aka carbs! When we deprive ourselves of Carbohydrates, we will deprive ourselves of life! Of energy! We simply cannot thrive without them! Ever try a low carb diet? No one can stick to them long term. When we restrict carbs, we eventually end up bingeing and gaining all the weight back. Then we blame ourselves for not having "self control". We are are not the failure! Low Carb diets are the problem. If carbs made you fat, the whole of rural China, who consume most of their calories from white rice, would be obese! But they're thin as fuck. You can see this same trend around the world in cultures that mostly subsist on carbohydrates, whether it be rice, corn, sweet potatoes, potatoes, etc. Repeat after me. Carbs don't make you fat. It's the fatty animal products and processed junk that have made us one of the fattest nations in the world.
As a leader in the wellness space and such a huge inspiration for so many people, what is one piece of advice that you would give someone who wants to start their own career in this field?
I would say, just do it. If you have a passion to help people achieve their optimum health, you will be successful. Whether you do it online or not, I highly recommend reaching a larger audience through social media. There is no bigger platform or more efficient way to reach people or grow a business. And don't think that you have to have the most impressive yoga practice to be useful to people! Not true at all! And don't feel like you have to have the perfect website and business plan to begin. Just start! I started my business with a modest little web page that my partner and I paid a friend $250 to build for us. We learned along the way! Stay true to yourself. Helping people, and creating a more compassionate world is our genuine motivation. It comes before the money and I think that's what has attracted the success we've had so far.