Sweet Soul: A Balanced Life | Heather Stevenson of Thirst Juice Co.

As a verb, balance is defined as: “to keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall”. As a noun, balance is defined as: “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.” When it comes to my new series “A Balanced Life” I have chosen a few lovely ladies to feature that I believe embody what it means to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle. These women inspire me to keep buying organically (even if it is more expensive and some people just don’t get it), to keep working out (even if it is the first time in my life I am getting fit in a healthy way) and to keep up the positive attitude and energy.

If you are not aware, I am an ambassador for the Well Summit’s Day of Wellness that will be taking place in Boston on March 18th 2017! This will be a full day of nothing but health and wellness, healthy bites and inspiring speakers in the health and wellness community. You can learn more about the event here and use my code: TSSB for a discount on your tickets!

Leading up to the event I wanted to bring you Balanced Life interviews with a few of the lovely speakers. My first interview is with the CEO of Thirst Juice Co., Heather Stevenson! Heather is a life long vegetarian and makes it her goal to bring healthy, plant-based, foods to the masses. An avid marathon runner, obstacle course champion and adventure seeker (climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro), Heather is a prime example of a strong and phenomenal woman. Not only is she personally passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle filled with plants and fruits, but she also has  formal training and certificates on the subject as well. She shares all that she knows via Thirst Juice Co.’s blog and is sharing more with The Sweet Scene family!

What does a Balanced Life mean to you?

For me, living a Balanced Life means making intentional choices that align with who I am and who I want to be, rather than getting caught up in what others want from me.  But it also means forgiving myself when I make mistakes or don’t live intentionally. I think some people view “balance” as synonymous with moderation – I definitely don’t.  Sometimes I’m going to pour my heart and soul, and every waking minute, into a project for weeks on end.  But if it’s a project that matters to me, rather than something someone else told me I had to complete (or something I believe I “should” do), I still see life as balanced. Plus, when an intense project like that is finished, I take a try to take a break.  I definitely don’t always live a Balanced Life, but I’m working on being more balanced.

Do you have an AM and PM routine that contributes to your Balanced Life?

I’m not one of those people who sits down with a hot cup of tea and journals for 20 minutes each morning and then ends the day with 20 minutes of meditation.  I kind of wish I were, and maybe one day I will be, but in the meantime, I have some quick and simple rituals that help me find balance.  

In the morning on my way to work – or before I start working if I’m working from home on a particular day – I take a few minutes to think about all of the things I’m grateful for that day.  I often find myself repeating the same things (my friends, my family, Thirst, etc.) so I make an effort to find at least two new things each day, even if they’re small.  It might be that I’m grateful for the warm weather, or that I got  a good night’s sleep.  I find that the ritual of identifying things I’m grateful for is almost as important as identifying the things themselves.
Each evening before I shut off my computer, I take five minutes to look at my calendar for the next day.  I identify my “must accomplish” tasks, and if they’re the type of tasks that I know I’m likely to avoid, I schedule calendar reminders for specific times to get them done.  I write those things down, as well as making a quick list of small tasks I need to accomplish but that might otherwise slip my mind.  That way, when I go to bed, I’m not worrying about all of the things that I need to do the next day – I know I have them recorded and planned for. 
What is your definition of self-love and positive body image?
For me, positive body image is about respecting and appreciating what my body can do rather than what it looks like.  My body has carried me through 13 marathons, one very hilly 50 mile ultramarathon, two Tough Mudders and countless shorter races.  It has carried me to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, on a two week trek through the Himalayas, and along the Inca trail.  It lets me stand for up to 14 hours a day when I’m working in one of the Thirst stores.  I have worked hard to build a body that will do all of these things, and I could not appreciate it more. Sometimes in the winter I have little pudge on my belly or my butt gets bigger than I’d like it to be, but as long as I’m strong and healthy, those superficial things don’t bother me.
Self-love, to me, is the simple concept of treating oneself with the same love and respect that one would afford to a close friend.  We don’t think our friends are lesser human beings when they make mistakes, when they gain weight, when they are impatient, etc.  We shouldn’t judge ourselves so harshly either. 
What are some ways you stay active and foods you eat to achieve a balanced mind, body and soul (favorite work out routines, favorite healthy dish/ snack etc.)
Eating well and exercising are essential aspects of my wellness routine, and I make an effort to prioritize both.  I love long distance running – in addition to being great physical exercise, I find that long runs are an amazing opportunity to be with my own thoughts or sometimes, to just zone out. I’ve also been making more of an effort in recent years to incorporate yoga into my wellness routine.  It helps me so much, both because as a runner I’m very tight and because as an always on-the-go person, it helps me stay grounded.
What I eat is essential to my physical and mental health! I drink a vegetable-packed smoothie every day, and when I miss a day or two, I don’t feel as healthy or as sharp mentally. I also love to incorporate apple cider vinegar, maca, and spirulina into my diet frequently.  They help me feel great and avoid getting sick.  I’ve been a vegetarian for years and recently have been making an effort to eat more plant-based (less dairy and eggs); the more plants I eat, the better I feel physically.  And I love that I know I’m helping reduce my
Words to live by/ favorite quote that has to do with positivity, good vibes or positive body image
“Be unrelenting.  If you don’t believe, then who will?” Kara Goucher
I mean, if you’re not inspired to get up and get moving after reading Heather’s outlook on Balance, body-image and health, then I’m not sure what will get you moving. She’s truly inspirational and I cannot wait to hear her speak at the Day of WELLness on March 18th. Get your tickets! You won’t be sorry!
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