Like many young people, holistic health coach Stephanie Popso once had a skewed vision of what ‘healthy’ was. She dabbled in dieting, read the front of the box instead of the back, and was addicted to foods she didn’t even know you could be addicted to. In her own words, she was constantly stressed, tired, and in her head.
It wasn’t until she moved to New York to pursue a career in fashion that she was exposed to different food ideologies. It was there that she began experimenting with the effects that different foods had on her body. After spending time on both coasts, family brought Stephanie back home to Detroit, where she began teaching yoga and, using the knowledge she had acquired in her travels, opened up her own vegan catering company.
Having had her own life completely transformed through health and wellness, Stephanie became committed to empowering those around her to reach their full holistic potential as well. She began her certification in Holistic Health Coaching and studied with some of the world’s top health & wellness experts through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. In addition, she is certified in Plant-Based Nutrition through The T. Colin Campbell Foundation and is a Spirit Junkie Master Class Alumnus taught by Gabrielle Bernstein.
During one of my conversations with Stephanie, I told her that I was struggling with acid reflux. She immediately suggested that I take a break from dairy products. She so quickly picked up on the issue at hand and, knowing I was reticent to stay on medication, offered a holistic approach to recovery. Stephanie is well-studied and passionate about her craft, and I’m beyond thrilled to share this interview with her today! She’s also offering an exclusive discount code for her Empowered Life Planner to Sunday Mornings readers with code: SUNDAY.
Hi Stephanie! So excited to be chatting with you. You founded Naturally Empowered, a holistic health service. What inspired you to launch your company?
Natalie!! This is so great. Thank you for inviting me to be on you blog! I started my company after taking my health into my own hands. In my early and mid-20’s I lived in Southern California & I adopted a lifestyle that I became very committed to. After getting to know myself on this level, I felt a strong need to share. Since that time, I’ve trained as a yoga instructor, ran a vegan catering/pop-up business, got certified in plant-based nutrition & holistic wellness coaching. All of these stepping stones led me to shape my company & offerings into what they are today.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions you’ve heard when it comes to health, wellness, and diet?
“It’s too hard.”- With the right tools and support, anyone can work towards their wellness goals in safe and small increments & start living a healthier life.
“I don’t have time.” – Everyone has time. Even if it’s 5 minutes a day. It’s all about giving ourselves permission to take that time for us. Five minutes a day can really add up.
“DIET” -Diets don’t work. Stop dieting! To create lasting change & shift our habits, we need to get off the rollercoaster. Small steps in nutrition, movement and mental health will get us further than any diet ever will. AND we’re less likely to go back to our old habits.
For people who want to revamp their diet and don’t know where to start, what would you recommend?
Keep it simple. Drink more water. Eat the most colorful plate possible. and ask yourself, “What’s the most loving way I can treat myself today?”
What are five foods that can always be found in your shopping cart?
Leafy greens: could be kale, mustard greens, arugula, spinach, collards. Since they cook down so quickly & they’re a nutritional powerhouse, I keep the fridge stocked. Most or our meals are cooked with greens.
Mushrooms: usually shitake or baby bellas. I add them to everything, they have a nice and meaty texture & they are so good for you!
Lemons: We go through a ton of lemons. For water, tea & to flavor most everything we cook! Super alkalizing for the body.
Avocado: For smoothies, toast, eggs, salad, you name it. A great healthy fat that helps to make vegetarian food a little more filling & colorful.
Ginger: We drink fresh ginger tea daily. Major anti-inflammatory properties and good for your belly!
In the age of social media, there is always pressure to be on. What is your preferred way to manage time and stress?
The Empowered Life Planner I designed helps me & thousands of others manage their time, wellness and self care in one place. Morning mantras and gratitude before starting the day. Evening reflection on self care, vibrant foods and movement. It keeps us more mindful of how we use our time & how we greet the day.
Especially at the new year, many feel pressure to adopt “crash diets” and weight loss goals. What advice can you offer to avoid “healthy burnout?”
Instead of resolutions, choose your goals wisely & make a plan to start small so you can build momentum. When our expectations for success outweigh our capacity for what we can fit into 24 hours, burnout is inevitable. Instead of a crash diet, try to drink half your weight in ounces of water daily. Instead of a complete overhaul, decide on one food or drink you’d like to focus on having less of. Also one food or drink you’d like to focus on having more of. Building healthy habits takes takes practice. Support is critical too. That’s why coaches exist
You recently developed the Empowered Life Planner as a means for helping people reach their full health and wellness potential. Tell us about it!
Studies show that when you write something down it’s more likely to happen. I carefully crafted this planner to help people stay organized, create more time & take steps towards accomplishing their wellness goals. My system offers a way to break down tasks so they are easier to complete & accountability to stay on task. The planner was very popular in 2017 and we’ve made even more available this year!
Who is your health and wellness inspiration? Anyone whose teachings have really inspired you?
Michael Pollan: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Traveling has been a great inspiration to me. Wellness and preventative health is woven into many cultures. That’s not always the case in the US, so it’s up to us to take what we need and leave what we don’t. Travel if you can. Soak it up. Honor your food & body. Take time for self care. Love your neighbor. Wake up for sunrise. Dance. Cook your own food. Slowly sip tea. Say hi when you pass a stranger. Love yourself.
What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you started your health and wellness journey?
Start where you’re at. You don’t need to have the best blender or yoga butt or be able to meditate for 20 minutes a day. Sit with yourself, be present and listen to what your mind and body is asking for. IT. WILL. ANSWER.