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Conversations with the Inspiring Chelsea Thomas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chelsea Thomas.

Chelsea, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in Silicon Valley, smack dab in between San Francisco and where Facebook is headquartered. Obviously, the Bay Area is a food haven now, but it has always been something special up there and was always a source of happiness for me. From going to the local farmers market in the summer to making homemade cookies for the holidays and going to Half Moon Bay for local honey sticks and driving to Watsonville for the best apple juice you’ll ever taste (At Gizdich Ranch), many of my family’s adventures revolved around food.

After a brief stint at a university in Camarillo, I eventually ended up in San Diego to attend pastry school and have yet to leave. My life instantly revolved around food 100%, and it still does. I work at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in the pastry kitchen and have also worked at The Lodge At Torrey Pines in the farm to table restaurant. Fresh, local and sustainable food will always be close to my heart. I first took an interest in nutrition while obtaining my AS in Pastry from Grossmont College. I decided to forego transferring to finish my Bachelor’s at that time to work in a kitchen and gain experience. My interest in nutrition and wellness kept coming to the surface, which led to me starting my first wellness-focused blog around 2013. I have always loved to write in some form and felt the need to share it with the world.

As for why I chose wellness which later shifted to holistic wellness, I have had many events over the course of my life that have fueled my passion for it. So much so, that I am currently in school part-time working on receiving a Bachelor’s in Integrative Health Sciences – which is quite a shift from my current career in pastry. From coming down with a horrible case of mono in college to the point that my spleen was enlarged and I had to take a medical drop out, to my Dad being diagnosed with Stage IV throat cancer three years ago, I just have this urge to share health and wellness tips, nutrition, recipes and non-toxic product recommendations with others. Being able to improve someone’s life even in a small way and shift their perception of health, wellness, and nutrition is why I’m doing what I’m doing. Living and eating healthy, using non-toxic products and being “green” can sometimes be overwhelming when making the switch and I am here to make that shift easier, simple and fun!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Oh gosh, no. But that’s the beauty of it. Literally, all of the bad or difficult times in my life have turned into motivation for me in one form or another. Maybe it is because I am stubborn, but when I have a goal in mind, I’m extremely determined to achieve it. Three years ago my Dad was diagnosed with stage IV cancer, which knocked the wind out of me and my family. He’s always been my rock, so really knocked me off my feet. Without going into too much detail, at the same time, my boyfriend was having health troubles and suddenly became unemployed, meaning I was now providing 100% financial support on a cook’s wage, all the while being newly enrolled in school and driving 2 hours each way to see and care for my Dad whenever possible. There were nights spent at the ER until 6 am after working 8 hours, months where I wasn’t sure how to pay for rent, food, gas and I still managed to get a 4.0 that semester. Long story short is no matter what you are going through, no matter how many obstacles appear to be in your way, never give up, never lose hope and always try to keep a positive attitude. I wouldn’t be where I am right now if I hadn’t listened to that advice myself.

what should we know about Peppermint and Spinach Blog? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I have a bit of a unique experience. I have a degree in baking and pastry, almost a decade of experience working in hotel pastry kitchens, 5+ years of blogging and I’m currently in school studying holistic health with a focus in holistic nutrition and herbalism. I develop and test recipes for food, natural and herbal products, partner with natural product companies, support sustainable and climate initiatives and share healthy lifestyle tips. Growing up in Silicon Valley, I have also dabbled in some web and graphic design since taking web design and photography classes in high school, so I try and do all of my own work for my blog and social channels. It can be quite a challenge, but it is fun for me.

As for the future of my work, blog, writing and schooling, it all is and will be intertwined. I pride myself on my ability to do thorough research. I think what sets me apart is my passion to relay information that can sometimes be viewed as complex or confusing and shift it into something attainable and friendly. Whenever possible, I try and find medical journals and studies to back up my claims, as well as being honest and authentic in my reviews and recommendations. I will receive my diploma in Holistic Health Practice this December from The American College of Healthcare Sciences and will continue on at ACHS to receive my Bachelor’s in Integrative Health Sciences. Starting in December, I hope to offer holistic lifestyle and nutrition coaching for those looking to shift their lifestyles, be healthier and swap to using more non-toxic and herbal products.

Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
Most definitely! I am so very fortunate to have parents that not only encouraged me and my brother to be whoever we wanted to be but also encouraged creativity and wanted us to have experiences that they missed out on as kids. Both of my parents have a love for nature as well and our many camping trips and excursions to beautiful places like the Muir Woods and Yosemite have definitely shaped me. I was very lucky to grow up in Silicon Valley. I got to take baking and food science summer camps, go to Yosemite for a week with my middle school class and take classes such as biotechnology that isn’t offered at most high schools. My Dad is a technical writer and we had computers in our house from the time that I was born. I thought it was normal to have a Dad that took computers apart and rebuilt them and knew how to code websites. My Mom has always been my biggest fan and always encouraged me to write because she saw my talent for it when I was younger. All of these little details have made me who I am today.

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