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Inside the W.E.L.L. Summit: Meet Gluten-Free Chef and Speaker Phoebe Lapine – WELL Summit

Inside the W.E.L.L. Summit: Meet Gluten-Free Chef and Speaker Phoebe Lapine – WELL Summit


Meet Phoebe Lapine, gluten-free chef and author of The Wellness Project. She’s known for creating recipes for gluten-free healthy comfort food, sharing realistic lifestyle tips for finding the middle ground between health and hedonism, and being an advocate for Hashimoto’s, the auto-immune disease that impacts your thyroid. She’ll be speaking at the Summit this year and we’re excited to give you a peek into her brain before the event. Read on for more, and follow her recipes and musings online, and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Tell us: What would WS attendees be surprised to learn about you? I have a fruit phobia! Never met a veggie I didn’t like, but it took me years to be alright with eating a raw blueberry. The issue is texture—I’ll consume almost anything in a smoothie. Everything except oranges. I can’t even touch one!

What first attracted you to W.E.L.L. Summit? So many women I admire and respect spoke at last year’s summit. I’m newish to the world of wellness (I arrived via the autoimmune superhighway from the world of food), and it was amazing to see a community sprouting up that embraced wellness from all angles—as I’ve tried to do in my personal health journey.

What are you teaching at this year’s Summit? I’m going to be talking about glorious fermented foods for your gut health! The balance of bacteria on our skin, in our nether regions, and, most notably, throughout our 25-foot long intestinal tract, can either protect us from or propel us toward a variety of “modern plagues” like obesity, depression, and, especially, autoimmune disease.

Instead of just regurgitating all the amazing research that’s been done on the microbiome, I want to make my session super practical by talking about real ways we can take baby steps in fostering a good gut diet.

A very delicious one is by incorporating lacto-fermented foods. I’ll be demo-ing how to make your own kraut and supplying the group with plenty of recipes and strategies to take home to your own kitchen.

What does wellness mean to you? Waking up with energy, excited to take on the world. That last part is important because it speaks to the state of your spirit.

I’m constantly trying to balance the things that nourish my body with the things that feed my spirit. Restrictive dieting may pull off the pounds and bring us closer to looking like a Greek goddess. It may even make us healthier on paper. But it can often get in the way of living.

What are you hoping to empower attendees with? I want participants to leave with a profound understanding of how certain foods help or hinder our gut health, why adding small amounts of fermented foods to our diet is so much more effective than a probiotic pill, and ways to make small changes in their own kitchen (and eat very tasty things in the process).

What breakout session are YOU signing up for? OR What other W.E.L.L. Summit Speaker are you excited to hear from? Sara’s session on anxiety! Who can’t benefit from more tools for taming the monkey mind?

What exciting things are you working on this year? The Wellness Project book is still a tot, so I’m looking forward to continuing to lead workshops around the launch. There will also be an e-course component come the new year, which will help other members of the #HashiPosse heal in a way that’s practical and sustainable. And finally… a podcast! It’s going to be a departure from my work in health and wellness, but I’m so excited about it. Without giving too much away, it’s going to be focusing on the intersection of creativity and parenting, how artists pass their gifts down through the generations, and how children step out of their parents shadow into their own destiny.

Anyone who is at the top of their game has had to persevere and cheerleader themselves. What is one thing others told you was impossible but you proved was possible? I wasn’t told it was impossible, but there were many people who were doubtful that I could sell a health memoir without a platform that went beyond recipes, or a memoir period at the age of 29! But here I am.

What book(s) are you reading now? I’ve been on a real fiction kick recently. I just finished Lowland by Jumpa Lahiri. Now reading What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons. Going to move on to more nonfiction in the coming weeks starting with Hunger by Roxanne Gay.

What quote inspires you? “Truth is the force that guides us to where we need to be in life, but love is the power that heals us once we arrive there.” —Elizabeth Gilbert

What is the single most powerful piece of advice you’d like to share? The best way to figure out your limits—what works for your body, mind and spirit, and what despite the best scientific and spiritual intentions, may not—is to self-experiment. What I did with my wellness project was make lifestyle changes slowly, steadily, and with the first intention being to pay attention. And I did them in isolation so I could really tease out the impact on both my health and my hedonism. Only then can you decide whether or not a health practice is worth the time money and energy we spend on it.

WS is all about tribe. How do you ensure the right people are around you? Increasingly in this new age of social connectedness there’s a need for people to really step up and build communities in person. I’ve tried to get over the fear of cold emailing strangers who I feel share my ethos, because most people are hungry for some quality in person connection with like-minded women. I’m so happy to have build a whole second friend group this way who I relate to differently than my drinking buddies from college, but value equally!

Want more W.E.L.L. Summit? Follow along in our Inside the W.E.L.L. Summit series for more behind the scenes info about the upcoming event!


Neal Halfon

Neal Halfon, MD, MPH is founding director of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, and also directs the Child and Family Health Leadership and Training Program in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Dr. Halfon is professor of pediatrics in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; health policy and management in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health; and public policy in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Is well known for his health related publications.