Happy International Women’s Day! Could there BE a more fitting day to shout out to some totally badass ladies? (She asked herself in Chandler Bing fashion.) From food industry pioneers to modern-day moguls, here are five inspiring women in wellness you should know about!
Carson was a writer in the late 30’s and early 40’s who studied marine biology, and wrote three award-winning books on the subject. During her research, she discovered disturbing evidence that chemical pesticides used in World War 2 would lead to disastrous effects in the environment, agriculture, and in human consumption. Sure, DDT was all fine and good when it killed bugs that caused malaria during the war. But Rachel Carson recognized that DDT was toxic to birds, fish, and it would definitely work its way up to our food supply. Rachel was like ‘oh heeeeell no, people need to know about this’ and took the secret public. We’re all saavy to the dangerous repercussions that synthetic chemicals present now, but back in the 60’s when her book Silent Spring was published, this was brand new information. She got backlash from the chemical industry as being ‘an alarmist,’’hysterical,’ and skeptics even called her a poor scientist. But sales of her book skyrocketed and even President Kennedy had government committees research – and confirm – her findings and theories. Carson battled breast cancer and passed just two years after her groundbreaking book was published. Going head to head against an entire industry? BADASS.
If you’ve seen Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat on Netflix, you’ve heard of Alice Waters. Author and host Samin Nosrat worked at the legendary Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse founded by the one and only Waters. She is the chef who brought the phrases organic, sustainable, and farm-to-table to the public’s attention, long before demanding ethical, locally sourced food was cool. She had never owned her own business, much less a restaurant. She didn’t even have a formal culinary background. Waters was like, ‘whatevs!’ She and her team focused on providing high-quality, elevated comfort food upon opening in 1971 with just one prix fix menu. Today, Chez Panisse has won a slew of awards and accolades, Waters has published 10(!!!) books, and has become a bona fide influencer and activist. Her latest venture, The Edible Schoolyard Project, is bringing sustainable lunches to students K-12. Starting an entire fresh food movement? BADASS.
When I think of Bragg food products, my mind goes straight to apple cider vinegar. Oh, and nutritional yeast. And sea kelp seasoning! Inspired by her father health-crusading father Paul C. Bragg, Patricia has been a proponent of a healthy, fit lifestyle since birth. Known as a founding father of the health movement, Paul C. Bragg opened the first health food store in the U.S., introduced us to juicing, honey and date sugar, and started his own line of (still wildly popular) nutrient-dense products. Now a naturopathic doctor and Ph.D., Patricia runs Bragg Live Foods, Inc. and travels worldwide to hold health and fitness lectures and seminars. She’s also written over 10 books (again, !!!) and has a pretty dope Instagram page. A life extension nutritionist still killing the game at 89 years old? BADASS.
If you’ve got a friend that doesn’t think food can improve their acne, mood swings, or crazy menstrual cycles, send them down the Alisa Vitti rabbit hole. Many functional medicine practitioners have a complicated health history with lots of twists and turns, and Vitti is certainly an example of that. As a young adult, several doctors couldn’t figure out why she had so many issues with her health. Cystic acne, weight gain and insomnia were just a few thrilling side effects she dealt with on the regular as a student at Johns Hopkins University. Finally, one doctor diagnosed her with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), explained she would need to be on medication for the rest of her life, and announced she probably couldn’t have a baby. Ever. Vitti was like ‘forget that noise.’ She researched her tail off, became her own guinea pig, and found that food could be her medicine. She reversed her wacky hormonal symptoms, started her own company, and had a healthy baby at age 37! Her book Flo Living outlining her protocol should be required reading for all women (in my opinion). Vitti is a writer, guest speaker, and creator of the Flo Tracker app, with her own practice in NYC. Becoming a DIY hormone health expert? BADASS.
Who has the most soothing voice in all of podcast land? It might just be Jessica Murnane. A successful cookbook author and health podcast darling, it’s hard to believe she wasn’t always a plant-based eating enthusiast. A final attempt to heal her endometriosis was what lead her on the road to health. Murnane stresses that changing your diet, or anything in your life, takes patience. Her mantra of starting with one plant based meal a day is realistic, and she’s just about the warmest, friendliest person I’ve never met in real life. On One Part Podcast, she guides thoughtful, often funny discussions with inspiring men and women in music, design, and yes, wellness. Her book One Part Plant is the perfect introduction for those looking to dip their toe in the vegetarian pool, featuring simple but flavorful plant-based recipes. Murnane’s newest project Know Your Endo offers education, awareness and support for Endometriosis, a disorder that affects 1 in 10 women. (Um, WHAT?!) Making a mysterious disease not so mysterious? BADASS.