Interview with a Health Expert: Leanne Vogel

Eating healthy can sometimes be a challenge. Luckily, Leanne Vogel created Healthful Pursuit, a blog that helps readers live a healthier lifestyle – whether that’s following a cleanse, eliminating sugar, or just including more fresh ingredients in their diet. Read on for more healthy-living tips from Leanne!

Your blog, Healthful Pursuit, offers readers helpful articles and recipes to assist them in living an allergen-free lifestyle. What gave you the inspiration to start the site?

I believe that the right recipe can leave someone feeling empowered to change and inspired to try something new. When it comes to food allergies and sensitivities, a lot of us know our bodies do better without the dairy, wheat, sugar, or gluten, but the thought of giving these things up seems too insurmountable. I began Healthful Pursuit to combat that, to provide our community with a resource, proof that you CAN create (and enjoy) gluten-free, sugar-free, allergen-free cake and not feel restricted by your decision to remove the foods your body doesn’t do well with.

You’ve shared your journey towards being healthier - overcoming an eating disorder, drug addiction, etc. Were you ever apprehensive about sharing your personal story with such honesty on your blog?

I am so very proud of where I’ve come from. It’s made me appreciate where I am today and also see where I can be of service to the world. There was never a time that I was apprehensive of sharing this information. Healthful Pursuit documents my (ongoing) journey toward a healthy lifestyle, all experiences included.

What do you think is the number one barrier that keeps people from having a healthy relationship with food?

Fear. Of what others will think, about the changes that they’ll face, the feelings that they will feel, the unknown that they’ll have to deal with. Living with fear is never, ever a good place to be, and so many of us do it with so much more than just with food. Allowing fear to dictate how we live our lives limits our potential and keeps us stuck.

You’ve developed the Vibrant Life Cleanse Program and Cookbook. What are the main benefits of doing a cleanse?

There are so many different ways to cleanse, none of them bad, just different.

A cleanse can be: only whole foods, no processed anything (a great start for someone who’s never done one before, to motivate them to change their day-to-day).

A cleanse can be: only blended foods, all whole foods (to give the digestion a break).

A cleanse can be: just fruit and vegetable juices (to flush the system, detoxify and inspire change on a deep level).

A cleanse can be: nut and seed milks and vegetable juices (to regulate blood sugar, digestion, toxins, skin).

If someone is new to cleansing or is struggling with digestion (constipation specifically), a blended cleanse is their best bet generally. The great thing about blended cleanses is that you don’t have to just rely on fruit and vegetables (like juice-only cleanses) - blended greens, cooked grains, meats, all blended. It really helps to amp up digestion and is a fabulous introduction to cleansing.

You’re big on smoothies and juices. What are some ingredients you like to use that people might not think of including?

You bet I am! Especially when it comes to healing the digestive system and developing a healthier relationship with our bodies. Kiwi! Not a lot of people think of juicing kiwi. It’s one of my favorites.

You’ve been featured in tons of publications, including Glamour, SheKnows, and Martha Stewart. What sources do you head to for health or nutrition tips?

I rarely go a day without reading WHFoods and Reddit. I’m also big into Food Network for recipe inspiration!

You have a great following on Twitter and Facebook. Can you recall ever receiving any unique suggestions from fans that you incorporated into your own life?

There are too many to count! Most recently, a reader recommended that I start adding gelatin to my homemade breads. That was a fabulous idea. In fact, the bread I made today had some!

You’re all about healthy eating, but is there a food that you can never pass up? And do you think it’s okay to splurge every now and then?

Never pass up? I’m a sucker for jube jubes. My Dad, sister and I used to snack on them when we went camping. They bring back a lot of happy memories. Now, when we camp with Dad, we still enjoy a bag or two. Life’s all about balance! It does the soul good.

Some people believe it’s more expensive to eat healthy. What ways do you stick to a budget when grocery shopping? And are there any specific stores or brands that make products that you’ve fallen in love with?

Fresh is best! We only eat vegetables, fats, meats, and the odd fruit here and there. We purchase our organic produce from The Real Canadian Superstore and eat seasonally to save money. We don’t purchase many products from boxes or bags…everything is fresh, making it less expensive. Although I really do love Greens+ (inexpensive greens powder), Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds, and Natural Vitality CALM (the best natural magnesium supplement).

It was so great of you to answer our questions! Any last words of advice for our CouponPal readers?

Thanks for having me! Please know that eating “healthy” doesn’t have to mean expensive, complicated, or over the top. All of the dinners we make in our home are hearty, delicious, and simple!

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