Oprah Winfrey turned and asked me, “Why were you crying, Alex?”
“Because these people touched me so deeply, Oprah. They had so much to work against and were so generous,” I said.
This was a wild moment.
I was on Oprah with Morgan Spurlock, then my fiancé, talking about living on minimum wage for our documentary-style TV series, 30 Days. Our month of living on minimum wage was powerful – we met people who were struggling to make it every day, and people whose financial and physical health were in danger of tipping over the edge.
And every time I think about that month, I remember why I love what I do.
I get to help people take control of their health – with natural foods and habits.
They have more energy. They feel more positive. They look better. They can work better.
And they learned skilled resilience. To make it through their lives with health, vitality, and joy.
I wrote this bio for the skeptics.
I know you’ve probably tried diets and cleanses and other approaches to living a healthier lifestyle before, and you’re probably sick to the brim of people gushing about how the only true path to happiness is by eating nothing but lettuce leaves and wheatgrass – as if this were the easiest thing in the world to do.
You often get the impression that this enlightened person has never allowed a speck of sugar cross their lips – ever.
I’m not that person. I can speak to the difficulty of changing your habits because I’ve been through that. I know how cravings can sabotage you because I was a complete slave to my own for many years. I understand that happiness is about so much more than your physical health, and I know that it’s hard to pursue happiness when you feel like hell all the time.
I’m not perfect, and I’m not enlightened. What I offer is a lot of hard-won knowledge, personal experience and empathy, and a helping hand to create an approach to health that will draw you closer to the life you want to live.
This is my story:
If my parents had had anything to say about it, I probably would have grown up to be one of those people who can’t imagine why you’d want a bag of chips when there was such a thing as wheat germ in the world.
My parents grew their own produce, cooked at home, and canned and preserved their own food. We rarely ate out, and my mother actually had a radio show on organic gardening.
When I hit my teenage years, I did what all teenagers do and rebelled. I had a serious sweet tooth and signed up for my first job as a dishwasher at a coffeeshop called The Muffin Break. Being a dishwasher had one incredible perk: I got to lick the icing bowls before washing them.
It was heaven.
Between the ages of 14 and 25 I subsisted on a diet of soda, fast food, and bowl-icing. When I was 25, my eating habits firmly ensconced, I got a job at a corporate law firm working the standard New York 12-hour day. After knee surgery, I was put on antibiotics and pain medication, and the combination of my lousy diet, tons of stress, and medication finally did my immune system in.
I crashed hard.
I was absolutely addicted to caffeine: couldn’t wake up without it, couldn’t stay awake unless I kept pouring a constant stream of soda and mochas into my mouth. I had migraine headaches several times a week and my joints hurt like an arthritis sufferer’s. I was a solid 20 pounds overweight and horribly depressed.
I didn’t hit rock bottom. I didn’t wake up with a moment of crystal clear revelation. I didn’t have a sudden conversion to natural foods.
I started eating a healthy diet purely because a doctor prescribed it.
I’d gone to this doctor with my litany of aches and pains, and he recommended a diet of unprocessed foods with no sugar and no caffeine. I did it with the same grim determination you carry out your doctor’s orders for any other illness: drink lots of fluids, get plenty of rest, etc.
Usually, when you do what your doctor tells you to do, your illness goes away and you feel a lot better within a week. But he hadn’t given me any medicine. I wasn’t going to get better just because I gave up soda, was I?
Turns out: yes. Yes I was.
In less than two weeks, my body stopped hurting. My headaches were gone. I had energy every day and was wide awake. I was finally thinking clearly.
And my clear head started to say, “What the heck am I doing with my life?”
I quit my draining corporate job shortly after, picking up an enjoyable gig at a secondhand store. I enrolled in culinary school at the National Gourmet Institute because I wanted to learn to make healthy food that tasted good and satisfied my cravings so I’d never go back to that foggy-headed existence.
I met Morgan Spurlock, and we fell in love, moved in together, and came up with the idea for Super Size Me, a documentary in which Morgan ate nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days.
We knew his body would take a beating from the diet, and the plan was for him to get sick and for me to heal him with a healthy diet. That diet eventually became my first book: The Great American Detox Diet.
Since then, I’ve traveled the world, appeared on national television, met Oprah, became a single mother to my wonderful little boy, Laken, and founded my own business around holistic eating.
I work with people who know what it’s like to feel like they can’t possibly defeat their cravings. I work with people who are too busy to think about their diets or their health. I work with people who have spent their entire lives taking care of everyone but themselves.
Together, we find out what works and what doesn’t, why they feel the way they do, and what will help them create a healthy lifestyle that allows them to pursue their happiness with passion, energy, and boundless enthusiasm.
The Official Bio
Alex Jamieson is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor accredited through the Columbia University Teacher’s College and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.
She has completed the professional chef training at The Natural Gourmet Institute, and is the author of The Great American Detox Diet, Vegan Cooking for Dummies, and Living Vegan for Dummies.
Her approach to holistic health undid the damage Morgan Spurlock’s 30-Day McDonald’s binge did to his body in the Oscar-nominated documentary Super Size Me, and she has spoken on Oprah, CNN, and MSNBC.
She currently blogs at Dr. Oz’s ShareCare.com and The Huffington Post. A full list of publications in which Alex has been featured can be found here.