July 10, 2015

Before and After Story: Chisolm Crouch

Sharon Wright, Good Life Café Co-owner and Executive Chef, loves to slip away from her office or kitchen and greet her guests. For one special diner on one memorable day, Sharon’s personal touch was far beyond what many in the restaurant business would describe as excellent service. For first-time customer Chisolm Crouch, Sharon’s greeting was the first stepping stone to a whole new life.

Chisolm had Leukemia when she was a child. To help lift her spirits, her mother taught her how to cook. Like many, Chisolm often turned to food for comfort. Her mother prepared nutritious meals for her family, but Chisolm also ate fast foods, processed foods, foods high in refined sugars and calories, meats with added hormones or antibiotics, and altered or over-cooked foods. Through the years this took a toll on her health.

A few years ago Chisolm’s weight approached 300 pounds. She had a number of health problems including insomnia, anxiety, depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, and heartburn. Her mother was always supportive and one day she suggested they try Good Life Café.

When Sharon Wright visited their table, she told them about their cold-pressed juices and the benefits of a juice cleanse. She also explained the ways various juices help the body. Inspired, Chisolm and her mother purchased an assortment of Good Life Café juices and decided to spend that weekend doing a cleanse. During the weekend, Chisolm avoided solid foods and drank only the juices and water. She slept or rested as her body flushed out toxins. By Monday she had lost 12 pounds and began to feel better.

This sparked a desire to keep going! On Tuesday, Chisolm accompanied her mother to the gym. With her mother’s continued support, she returned the next day, and then the next. Her one-day-at-a-time plan added up to weeks of exercising that became easier and easier! She soon developed a habit of exercising and continued to feel better and lose weight.

During the next year Chisolm was consistent with her exercise plan. To boost her efforts toward better health, she omitted junk food and extra empty calories, and ate three meals a day that usually included a meat, a carbohydrate and a vegetable. She also ate other nutrient-dense foods like yogurt, berries and nuts.

Today Chisolm is the catering liaison at Whole Foods Market, a natural and organic grocery store in Columbia. Last year her store held a 28-day Engine 2 Challenge. Participants abstained from all meats, oils, salt, processed foods, refined sugars and alcohol. During the Challenge Chisolm noticed it was easier to walk, run or perform any type of exercise. She slept better, had more energy, and had better mental clarity. As her body healed and symptoms disappeared, she discontinued her medicines* including Adderall, Nexium, Metformin (a pre-diabetic medicine), and an anti-depressant. Because so many things changed for her, she decided to permanently adopt a vegan lifestyle.

Chisolm regards processed foods as food products, rather than true food. At Whole Foods Market, she is surrounded by a myriad of healthy choices. Nutrition, quality and flavor are easily accessible to her, and she is no longer drawn to foods that have little or no nutritional value, and that once contributed to her weight and health problems.

Chisolm has walked in the shoes of those who feel overwhelmed and discouraged. But she is living proof that taking one day at a time and setting one goal at a time can melt away discouragement as easily as it melts away extra pounds and many health problems. Chisolm started off by setting small goals. Her first goal was to run to the stop sign, then to the next stop sign, and the next, and so on. Blocks turned into half-miles and half-miles turned into miles. She began to join organized runs, like the first 5K race she ran with her father. She ran the Cooper River Bridge, a 10K in Charleston. In November of 2014 she ran the Rock ‘N’ Roll Savannah Half Marathon. Chisolm finished an hour behind her “extreme athlete” brother, but her goal was to complete the race, not qualify for the Boston Marathon. For Chisolm, it is not about how fast she can run, but the fact that she is off the sofa, setting and meeting goals, and crossing finish lines!

Chisolm is adamant about the need to exercise! She stresses the importance of carving out time for ourselves. She says, “Be selfish, and take care of yourself! Don’t look at these huge numbers, like 50 pounds, but look at one pound at a time.”

Chisolm prefers to exercise when there is a lull in the gym, or early morning, when the sun is barely up. She has lost 100 pounds, but she’s still a bit self-conscious. She wants to lose 50 more pounds to reach her goal.

To avoid mental frustration, Chisolm keeps the focus on eating right and exercise, and not on the scale. There are days when the scale doesn’t reflect any weight loss. But over time the weight continues to come off. She used to weigh every Friday, but now she only checks her progress once each month.

Chisolm can’t remember the last time she was sick, or the last time she saw a doctor. She still does an occasional juice cleanse. She’s thankful for Sharon Wright and Good Life Café, and often tells others about the restaurant.

Good Life Café is glad to have been a part of Chisolm’s journey! We know many will be inspired by her story. If you want to follow her lead and begin your own journey to good health, make one of your stepping stones a visit to Good Life Café! If Sharon isn’t preparing or plating her famous kale salad or another incredible item on the menu, she will join her wonderful staff in welcoming you!

*It is recommended that you consult your doctor before you make any major changes in exercise or diet, and before stopping medications.

Anne Buck for GLC


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