June 14, 2021

120: Living with Multiple Sclerosis through Chronic Movement | Rachel Haddad

Rachel Haddad is a certified personal trainer, cer…


Rachel Haddad is a certified personal trainer, certified health coach, a middle school math teacher, and the founder of Chronic Movement. At the age of 24, she began to notice changes in her body. By age 28 she would be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Although this diagnosis was life-shattering, Rachel refused to accept the reality that she would have to solely depend on medication for the rest of her life.

She spent countless hours researching the best diet for optimal health. She discovered that the whole food plant-based diet was the best diet to help calm her body down. Soon she would incorporate pillars of lifestyle medicine such as daily movement and meditation to support her overall health. Her recovery has been miraculous.

She soon began her business called Chronic Movement to encourage individuals with chronic conditions to join the movement to reclaim their health. You can learn more about Rachel Hadad by following her on Facebook and Instagram on Chronic Movement. Her website will be up soon.

  • https://www.facebook.com/chronicmovement
  • https://www.instagram.com/chronicmovementdet/ 
Transcript

Rachel Haddad  00:00

I'm 30 years old now. I was diagnosed at 28. And I experienced symptoms when I was 24. And I just didn't know what they were I experienced like tingling in the fingers and twitches in my eyes. And I just thought that I'm really stressed. I was in grad school, getting my master's degree and I just thought, well, this you know, it's just I'm just not sleeping well and I partook, not the healthiest lifestyle. So I was like, oh, brushed it off, it went, it went away. And then when I was 28, the symptoms came back but this time they came back with like a vengeance. I started losing complete feeling in the whole right side of my arm and like the tingles kept getting more and more severe and prominent, and then my right leg, the same thing was happening, had like some hearing loss, my balance was just shot in my strength. Like I couldn't even really carry my bookbag.

 

Narrator  01:03

Welcome to the Plant Based DFW Podcast weekly show with Dr. Riz and Maya, a show broadcasted from the Dallas Fort Worth area that focuses on lifestyle medicine. This is the use of evidence based lifestyle therapeutic approaches, such as a whole food plant based diet, regular physical exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management to treat, prevent, and oftentimes reverse lifestyle related chronic diseases that are all too prevalent. Every week, They feature a guest who speaks on one of these lifestyle medicine pillars. This show is for you, the person who is seeking to improve your overall wellness and quality of life. So whether you are driving, walking, or relaxing at home, we hope this show will provide you one more tool for your wellness toolbox. Let's meet today's podcast guest.

 

Maya Acosta  01:54

Welcome back to another episode of the Plant Based DFW Podcast show. This is Maya Acosta and today's guest is Rachel Haddad, she is a certified personal trainer certified health coach, a middle school math teacher and the founder of chronic movement. At the age of 24, she began to notice changes in her body. By the age of 28, she would be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Although this diagnosis was life shattering, Rachel refused to accept the reality that she would have to solely depend on medication for the rest of her life. She spent countless hours researching the best diet for optimal health, she discovered that the whole food plant based diet was the best diet to calm her body down. Soon she would incorporate pillars of lifestyle medicine such as daily movement, and meditation to support her overall health. Her recovery has been miraculous, she soon began her business called Chronic Movement to encourage individuals with chronic conditions to join the movement to reclaim their health. You can learn more about Rachel and her Chronic Movement by following her on Facebook and Instagram. And her website will be up soon all those links will be in the show notes. Let's welcome Rachel. 

 

Rachel Haddad  03:11

Hi.

 

Maya Acosta  03:12

We are going to learn about you your story. And then chronic movement, which is really, I want to say a movement of really helping to raise awareness about living with MS but also what you can do to kind of manage your symptoms and and really take control of your own health. Is that right?

 

Rachel Haddad  03:31

Yeah, definitely. And it can be applied for anyone living with any type of chronic condition.

 

Maya Acosta  03:37

Awesome. And one thing that I wanted to do that I'm not used to doing on the podcast is to kind of define the condition that we're talking about just so that people can have more of a clear understanding of what symptoms may appear. I know from what I've read that every individual can have a different experience. And so, after I read this, I'd love to know like, and I know that we'll learn about this as we talk more but I'd like to know like what symptoms you're experiencing or have experienced based on this definition. Okay. Okay, so according to this definition that I found, multiple sclerosis is a disease that impacts the brain and spinal cord, which make up the central nervous system that controls everything we do, whether it's taking a physical step or solving a complex problem. The exact cause of MS is unknown, but we do know that something causes the immune system to attack the brain and spinal cord. The resulting damage or the myelin that insulate insulates wire like nerve systems is a disruption of signals to and from the brain. The interruption of communication signals causes unpredictable symptoms such as numbness, tingling, mood changes, memory problems, pain, fatigue, blindness and paralysis. And, you know, like I've said, everyone's experience is different. The losses can be temporary or long. lasting. Most people initially have relapsing remitting MS. And I'm wondering if you know about that. So we'll come back to that what relapsing remitting MS is where they experienced attacks of new symptoms followed by periods of time when those symptoms go away, partially or completely, and others experience gradual and ongoing loss of function without distinct attacks, which is also known as progressive MS. Have you experienced any of these symptoms that I just read?

 

Rachel Haddad  05:27

Oh, yeah. So I'm 30 years old now. I was diagnosed at 28. And I experienced symptoms when I was 24. And I just didn't know what they were I experienced like, tingling in the fingers and twitches in my eyes. And I just thought that I'm really stressed. I was in grad school, getting  my master's degree. And I just thought, well, this is a you know, it's just, I'm just not sleeping well. And I partook in a, like, kind of, not the healthiest lifestyle. So I was like, oh, brushed it off, it went, it went away. And then when I was 28, the symptoms came back. But this time, they came back with like a vengeance. It, it took me out, I was working at school as a teacher and I had like, I started losing complete feeling in the whole right side of my arm and like the tingles kept getting more and more severe and prominent, and then my right leg, the same thing was happening. I also had like some hearing loss, which was like, pretty frightening. My balance was just shot. And my strength was, it went from like, I couldn't even really carry my book bag into school or lunchbox, I remember having to have a student helped me carry my bags to the car when I was going home. I was like, I can't, I can't be here anymore. You know.

 

Maya Acosta  07:03

So you look great. And you look so much younger than your age. You look awesome. How are you feeling today?

 

Rachel Haddad  07:11

Thank you. How am I feeling today? Today, I feel pretty good. I did a 10 mile bike ride in the morning because I was feeling really good. And I was like, oh, get this up. But I'm feeling really good. Awesome.

 

Maya Acosta  07:28

Let's start from the beginning to learn a little bit about you. Right now you're living in Detroit. I don't know if you're originally from Detroit. But you also talked about graduate school. So can you kind of tell us a little bit more about yourself before we kind of move into the diagnosis part of it? Were you already interested in being a health coach and working with people in this modality? Or did that change once you had your diagnosis?

 

Rachel Haddad  07:53

I initially started, I want you know, I wanted to be a teacher and I was good at it. And I'm a teacher right now still. And I went to grad school. But during this whole period of my life of after, like post high school, I and even during high school, I I drank a lot. So I drink a lot. And I got my bachelor's degree. While I was drinking. I got my master's degree while I was drinking and partying and hanging out. And I'm a math major. And I went to University of Michigan. So like I went to these, like good schools and I have these degrees and but I was like, I wasn't living a life. That was true to myself. And I just didn't know it yet. So I was teaching I showed up to work. I did what I was supposed to do. I got the next degree I went to this and I you know, I went to all the things to grow myself as a teacher, but I wasn't really like, you know, I wasn't like on fire about anything. So I wasn't thinking about being a health coach, I was mostly thinking about going to work and can't wait for the weekend so I can hang out and do the whole for me what was the standard lifestyle, just keep going. I trained people here and there. I wasn't really, I ate a standard American diet, I ate so much food that was not good for me. I eat a lot of fast food. And then that brought me you know, kind of really poor lifestyle choices, a lot of stress.

 

Maya Acosta  09:39

I think a lot of us can identify with the fact that we're just doing what we believe we're supposed to be doing, which is when we pursue a career, right. So our education is important. We were working on our future. And a lot of the times when we are drinking, it's just to sort of alleviate some of the stress or in order to kind of add some fun to the tension that we're living every day, and then the standard American diet is kind of like the default diet. Were you feel you might kind of any pressure from family to kind of continue to pursue school to move on to graduate school?

 

Rachel Haddad  10:11

So, my whole life, it was really spoken to me how important school is, you know, my parents are immigrants, my mom would always, you know, tell me like, you know, you don't need to do anything in life before you get your education, you don't have to feel the pressure to get married or do this. You know, in the meantime, while she's pressuring you to get this education, she's like, no pressure college forever. When you know, it's with good intention. I do love teaching, and I do love my experiences with the students. And there was a lot of, you know, go to school, get, you know, go to school, you need to get the career, you need the health insurance.

 

Maya Acosta  10:53

My husband and I often talk about that, because we're both children of immigrants, you're kind of like that first generation that's expected to, to take advantage of the opportunities that your parents just provided for you. So it's like, yeah, I that's how I was in college is like, no, no social life, I have school, I have a purpose, I have things to take care of. So I can identify with that. So now you reach, So now you're in graduate school? And do you want to start at that point, is there anything else you'd like to tell us about growing up.

 

Rachel Haddad  11:24

Growing up, I, you know, a couple things that they link to MS is to kind of talk, you know, and then as I continue to research and read, because it's like, something I love to do is continue to learn about disease and nutrition. And, but something I learned about MS is, folks who have who have had like mono, or EBV virus, tend to develop MS. And also like a head injury, which I had a few in high school playing soccer, they tend to develop go on to develop MS. And then like being under a stressful traumatic childhood, and stressful experiences, which you know, all three of those I just, you know, hit the bell for. So I thought that was pretty interesting.

 

Maya Acosta  12:15

I'm glad that you touch on that, because you and I, you know, with our backgrounds and what we know today, we know that a lot of these national organizations that talk about various diseases don't always tie in the say, the emotional aspect to disease, the spiritual aspect, the trauma, perhaps, that we've suffered in our younger years, they don't talk about that. And on our show, we often talk about lifestyle medicine, which really looks at the complete individual and all the components that can contribute to disease, like Stress, Stress is one of them, the lack of connection, it with love, you know, with, I guess the lack of connection with people in general, but also not having like healthy relationships, all of that can contribute to disease. And as we talk more about as we move forward and talk about your job, as a health coach, you'll talk about things that less than medicine covers like exercise, meditation, proper nutrition, all the things that can contribute to wellness. So now take us to back to where you were talking about. You're in graduate school, and you began to have these symptoms. And this is so important, because part of your story is keeping this a secret.

 

Rachel Haddad  13:30

Yeah, so I'm in graduate school, and I'm very stressed and I'm and I'm just numbing through drinking and, and hanging out. And so I'm just coasting through graduate school, and I'm feeling these symptoms, but I'm continuing to drink to avoid them. And they disappear, they do disappear. And that's a part of the relapsing remitting part of MS. Where each symptoms show up and then they go away and people recover, for the most part, and they recover in different ways. So for me, I believe, you know, I can speculate as much as I want, but I believe that those you know, symptoms were like maybe. So anyways, I recovered from those symptoms, they went away. I finished grad school, I got my master's degree in Public Administration and leadership. Because in my mind, I was going to be a principal. I was going to be a principal of who knows what High School. Post grad school I think two years after grad school is when I just moved to Detroit and I was dating someone and it was like, not the best fit and it was like pretty stressful. And so I'm under a lot of stress just moved to Detroit. And these symptoms start coming up and it's like my eyes or my eyes twitching. You know? All the time and then then my hand started being tingling and then my hearing so I started going to I'm just fishing at this point, I'm just fishing for what is going on. And I still wasn't ready to leave this lifestyle. So I still continued to hang out. So I go to this doctor, but I like to an ear specialist to test my hearing to see if that's why my balance was off and that you know, so and my hearing was great and there was nothing there. And then, you know, I got my eyes checked, I don't I went to a plethora of different doctors until one of them was just like, you need to go see a neurologist. So I went to a neurologist, and, you know, I share all my information. And he he says my mom's with me too at the time. And my mother and I are like super close. And he says to me, I think you have MS. And I just lost it and I just start crying and it wasn't an official diagnosis or anything. It was a speculation. And he continued to say it's a speculation. And we'll do an MRI to determine further. And my mom's sad and crying and I'm sad and crying. Because when when people think of MS. You know, the first thing I mean, I don't know what comes to other's minds. But what came to my mind was like, my life is over. You know, I went I did the MRI. It was very interesting, because the day that Sunday, he called me it was a Sunday morning. And it was like 7am and I had plans in the afternoon to go to like a football tailgate party, you know, except for he called me and he said, Rachel, you have MS. And I need you to go to the hospital. This is 7am you know, and I'm just like, I need you to go to the hospital and get steroids to bring down the swelling. And I just like I had I just called my mom. I was like, Okay, bye. I just called my mom and I was like, Mom, we got to go. And then my whole life changed.

 

Maya Acosta  17:21

Did you have sort of mixed feelings? Or maybe not at that moment? I guess once you have time to process there's probably okay the awful fear the diagnosis. But the relief that at least you have found the reason why you're, you know, you've been experiencing these debilitating kind of symptoms like the tingling and the numbness and things like that. 

 

Rachel Haddad  17:40

It was a ton of fear. It was a ton of uncertainty, but it was also like, I don't know what crossed over me some some something empowering because I went there, I packed my bag, and I brought my guitar with me. I was like, We're going there. And I don't know, I don't know what this is or what's going on. But I knew that I was going to face it. Like, I knew I was going to face it as Rachel like, I knew that I was going to be there like me, Rachel was going to be there and she could handle it. But it was very, it was very scary.

 

Maya Acosta  18:18

What self awareness, you have to say that you know, you're going to be there for yourself. That is amazing. So what happened next because you mentioned it as part of your story is that you know, you did receive the diagnosis, and then you decide that you are going to basically hide it from the world.

 

Rachel Haddad  18:35

So I received this diagnosis. And I have been, you know, I'm kind of coming out of this. And I'm like reflecting on myself and I got well in a bubble. You know, I healed inside of a bubble I did not tell. I didn't tell anybody what was going on. I missed like a month of work, I took a month off of work because with MS. Like there's like this bounce back period of like I couldn't, I was so exhausted all the time. My brother, this is just a memory that I have is my brother's in my apartment in Detroit and he's wiping the floors and the counters and he's helping me because I'm just so tired that I can't even I just physically can't even clean like I can't even clean up after myself. And I just remember so I didn't want to I didn't want to share these parts of me because I didn't want the pity. You know, I family. They're not going to pity me. I mean, they're not going to pity me they're not gonna they're gonna lift me and hold me and try to be there for me in any way possible. But I was scared of outsiders knowing anything because I didn't want to be judged or looked at my guy, you know, like feeling bad for me or that I have disability. A couple times, a friend asked me, if I had looked into getting disability paperwork for my job. And at that time, I emotionally wasn't able, like I didn't know how to respond to that other than, like, with anger. And, you know, I just want to be like, excuse me.

 

Maya Acosta  20:24

It's understandable that you wouldn't want to really have anybody know about this until you probably reach the level of coping that you were comfortable with. And then you could come out and tell people and so what changed.

 

Rachel Haddad  20:38

I had to work on my emotional sobriety, if you will, on emotional strength. I had to, like I just was diagnosed with and I'm just two, two and a half years in now. And I'm still learning to love and accept the Rachael, who was diagnosed with MS. You know, it was like a new thing for me to learn. And that more and more I continue to learn about it and honor. Like, if a symptom shows up, it's, it's, it's a cue for compassion. It's not. But when I was first diagnosed, I took it as like, well, I'm a failure. And I'm not even you know, and this is pop, you know, I didn't know how to treat myself gently. I wasn't ready to, to share, because I wasn't able to set boundaries for myself to protect, you know, what really is like a sacred experience that I'm having, like a health experience I'm having with myself to just replenish whatever was taken the firt you know, the first relapse I had, and I truly do believe. Yeah, replenishing ourselves emotionally and physically gives us like a strength. So now I'm more comfortable to tell people, oh, this is a condition that I was diagnosed with. I'm learning I also don't need to tell people, I'm learning that there are people who just deserve to know if that makes sense, people who are able to hold the space for for it, and then there's just people who I don't have to go screaming at the top of my lungs.

 

Maya Acosta  22:22

I appreciate that so much. And I appreciate that you're here with us sharing this story. A lot of times, I think that when individuals want to share, say, a testimony, a personal story, as profound as yours. I think you do so much for the world when you do. And that's if you're comfortable. Like you said, you just never know who is out there living with the same situation. And maybe has not known how you know what the first step is. And also, the program that you've developed and the work that you're doing is rare. in this field, not many people are talking about the importance of nutrition and exercise. And also you touched on two things that I now practice in my life self care, which compassion for myself is part of that and setting boundaries, which is true, not everyone, not everyone has an ear to listen, or to really just be there for you.

 

Rachel Haddad  23:17

I do have something to kind of add to that piece though. So when protecting my health and the diagnosis and talking about it, and like surrounding it with compassion and care and responsibility, really, I have a health team that I speak to, it's my therapist, it's my I have a natural path. I have a functional medicine doctor, I have a neurologist, I have a primary care physician, they're all plant based, except for the neurologists, but I have curated this health team for myself. And they are the only folks other than my mom, and some other MS trav fellow travelers, if you will, but they are the only people that I will speak to my health about as far as like issues or problems and other things too. But they are where I concentrate that so that way I'm not speaking to just any old person about my house about negative things or I'm not feeling good or this or that because that's when with the psychology we can get caught into I can get caught into a pity trap. And I will feel bad for myself. So I create this I've created like these containers where I can speak freely about my health, but then I kind of know my audience, if that makes sense.

 

Maya Acosta  24:37

Yes, that's awesome. And I'm so glad that you talk about your team. That's exactly what I was alluding to a little bit earlier when I said Who are the specialists that you work with, but you curated you hand picked the individuals that you wanted on your team to support you who live and and support your your health choices. So since you are talking about positive psychology, can we touch a little bit on that you said fellow travelers.

 

Rachel Haddad  25:05

MS is, is here on this journey. And I want to give it a lifestyle where it's not irritated, I want it to be calm. I don't want to, you know, put meat and dairy and throw all this junk at MS and then it reacts, you know, it's like a symbol. So I want to keep it I do live with MS. And I want to keep it living calm. May I also use the word catalyze a lot, I don't know, like, it's a catalyst. So because I do a and other things, they use that word trigger a lot. And it's thrown around those rooms like trigger trigger trigger, I just feel like everything's a trigger for everybody.

 

Maya Acosta  25:48

So Rachel, you have mentioned drinking in the past, you know, that you You drank when you were younger, in college and all that. And now you just kind of brought up recovery and going to a meetings.

 

Rachel Haddad  25:59

I just go with the fact that alcohol is like poisoning to all bodily functions to nerve functions. And you know, it there's a study or two that come out and support it, and that you know, if people choose, but alcohol is a huge No, no, because I think it also adds to the depression piece. And that is a huge issue with people with MS. So people with MS tend to have like higher rates of depression, I was just reading a study the other day that was talking about outcomes for MS of people who are depressed are a lot worse than outcomes for people who live a positive life. So that's another reason why like emotional sobriety is so crucial, which is why I go to a to, you know, people will say, oh, how can you quit alcohol? You were such a drinker, you are such a partier, you are, you know, and you know, how did you get sober and this and Oh, you got sober. And I just say no, I got sober in the emergency room of Henry Ford hospital, when you know, because they told me I had MS. That's what got me sober. I was like a serious flip. But for like maintenance for like mental maintenance. I've gone to Buddhist recovery program. So they're meditation, they're meant driven through meditation. So I found a lot of relief in that and then going to a I find a lot of like community support. And then I'm going to let it segue into this piece of emotional sobriety. Because when I was first diagnosed, all I did was like, and I continue to do that I don't want to act like I don't do it anymore. All I do is just continue researching, because I'm so interested, and I want to learn more, and I want to keep going. So one thing that I learned was how important it is to release this suppressed emotion. And I was like, well, I just have so much of years and years and years of drinking and trauma and this net, so I just started going at it with my health team, my therapists. I mean, we work through some really intense stuff. Some days, I'm crying all day, just I mean that all day, but I'm crying. I'm just letting it go. I'm going to these meetings I'm sharing, and I'm just letting it go. But it's important for me to have like these special containers, I'm not just going to show up to this person's house and hang out and then start crying. It's like I have my a my recovery folks who I talked to for this, and I have my health team that I talked to for this and my mom, man, I talked to her for everything. But

 

Maya Acosta  29:04

I know I hear you mentioned her a lot when you go live, your mom is there watching you do your cooking demos and things like that she really seems to be a tremendous support for you. So how we sort of jumped to where you are today with your team. But how did you hear about plant based nutrition? I'm always curious, like what gets people on board? Is it a documentary? A book you read you read or part of the research as you were learning about multiple sclerosis?

 

Rachel Haddad  29:34

Yeah. So when I was first diagnosed, I I just had to find the cure. I had to figure out how you know, the perfectionist in me that overachiever, the typical autoimmune personality, if you will, I just had to figure it out. And I just you know, there's there's this protocol and there's this way and there's this way and there's this way and I'm really, you know, learning about all the diets and I'm I don't you know, I don't I'm not judging any or the other, but none of them really fit with me there, you know, this one was like, you can eat this amount of meat. And you can eat this much because I used to eat meat. So like eating meat wasn't frightening for me, but it was like, but you can only eat this kind of carbs and you can eat this much of. And so I thought, Okay, well that's not for me. And then you know, and so on and so forth. But then I found this program and it was called Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis. It's a nonprofit, I have the book. But I found this group online, OMS. Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis. And it is folks can get the book for free, there's free resources. So it's like, it was very different than what I was used to seeing. And it's a it's a seven step program of lifestyle medicine, and also, like, pharmaceutical medicine, if needed. So it also provided like a space where people didn't get shamed if they were on medication, invited it, in addition to let's change our lives, let's meditate everyday, let's change what we eat. Let's use research. This is what really got me it was rooted in research, it is rooted in research, and I still follow it in and that really in and there's people who have followed this OMS program of lifestyle, a plant based nutrition, and different supplementations of omega and vitamin D, and they just have soared, and they have just the most beautiful lives. One of my friends, she's like, Oh, I just ran 10k and she has MS. And it's stuff like that keeps me going, you know, I'm two years in stuff still feels weird. My balance can still be off if I don't sleep well, things. You know, things are weird things are not always 100%. But it's people like that talking to, you know, oh, I just ran a 10k or I lifted this. I have a friend who does. She has MS. She does like aerial stuff. She's on ropes and climbing. And I just, you know, I try to stick with the people who are doing things that I want to do.

 

Maya Acosta  32:19

So where is the fear in all of this 10 being like, scary, less than five. Wow, I think there will always be a little bit of fear, right? Even with cancer survivors and things like there's always that I don't know what my body's going to do next kind of thing.

 

Rachel Haddad  32:35

It really feels good to have a community of folks who are doing the same thing and seeing positive results. And it can be like kind of lonely to eat. Like I follow a whole food plant based diet to the tee. Like it's like things are non negotiable for me I don't slip and have fries, I don't slip and have this ice cream with some type of oil in it or some type of chemical. I eat all organic, I don't. And it can be very lonely to you know, but for me it's like worth it. 

 

Maya Acosta  33:15

What you're doing with yourself, you're also seeking an optimal level of health. And so in order to get to that level, you really have to be honest with yourself like are you eating processed foods? Are you still putting in all those additives preservatives that we know now, again, affect our health? It sounds like you have a good support system to with other people that are on the same journey that like I say are seeing results. One of the question about when you made that change, nutrition wise, how long did it take before you saw kind of a significant change or improvements just on the diet itself?

 

Rachel Haddad  33:51

Well significant changes? I would say immediately I saw changes because I I followed this program like really strictly and I woke up I meditated I worked out you know and it's like if anybody followed such a program they would feel you know, pretty good. I woke up I worked out I meditated, I journaled. I did you know what did my produce meal prepped and so immediately I started feeling better. And like I couldn't balance on one foot for six seconds. That was like when I was first diagnosed and now at physical therapy because I still do keep up like maintenance. I put so much work into it. And now physical therapy I was on my foot for left foot I was 60 seconds and right foot I was 45 seconds from going six seconds, you know so and it's that consistent commitment and I just have such a hunger to continue to be well people will ask me is It's so hard for you to give up meat and eat this way. I said, No, what's hard is MS. You know, or like, people are like, Don't you miss this and then I say, no, nothing tastes better than walking. Not a thing. There's not one thing in this world that tastes better than walking.

 

Maya Acosta  35:18

And when did you change your path to want to be not only a health coach, but now create a support group, create a program, where you're now supporting others,

 

Rachel Haddad  35:29

I was searching for my purpose, you know, I was diagnosed with MS. And I thought, this can't be for nothing, you know, so I'm, you know, and I just I felt, I feel this calling inside of me, I feel like I want to share with everybody I want everybody to know, I want every single person impacted with MS, or other chronic conditions, any chronic condition, I want them to know that they have the power inside themselves to heal and to make changes. And even if it's a little bit at a time, something is better than nothing. And there are people who can help you. That's why I try to produce these like free videos, because, you know, there are resources and people can use them. I used a ton of motivational speakers on YouTube to help me get through, you know, to continue to help me get through, but this diagnosis and, and I want to do, I want to be able to do the same and work with people and just teach them that, like we can, we can recover. And we can have an optimal life, you know, the best quality of life.

 

Maya Acosta  36:41

And so you develop Chronic Movement, which I love the name, that's the name of your website as well.

 

Rachel Haddad  36:47

Chronic Movement, it started off as chronic fitness. So I started it as chronic fitness. And I've kind of thought like, I don't think that this the word fitness is painting a picture of what, what this is about. Because it's really, you know, fitness can be like just having muscles or having abs. And that's not what Chronic Movements about, we don't care if you have abs, nobody cares if you have you know, about like, it's a movement it's about, and there's like that word movement, it's like, movement in your mind. Are we even even the smallest movements? Are we causing change, you know, it's just a little change a little bit of movement in our bodies, constantly moving movement with the way we eat, are we changing what we eat, because we all need to be moving, and then just coming together as giant movement, this plant based movement, this lifestyle medicine movement, where we can just build community and share recipes and work out together you know.

 

Maya Acosta  37:53

What does Chronic Movement entail?

 

Rachel Haddad  37:56

So at Chronic Movement, we're in the business of empowering and educating people to be an advocate for their own health, to understand that we have the power to, to decide how our health is going to go and also in to bring awareness to the opportunities. Not everybody knows that eating a bunch of plants will heal. You know, it's like it's not something nobody taught me that in school, nobody, you know, we're taught you eat this bad thing in a box or you eat, you know, it's quick and convenient. And this tastes good. And but people don't know what's available. Sometimes people don't know how helpful it is to seek therapy or how helpful it is to, to get a daily workout in order to try meditation. And this is all stuff that's rooted in research, this is available for you. And now you can use it to create the life the life that you want.

 

Maya Acosta  38:56

Definitely, yes. So what did 2020 look like for you was Chronic Movement taking place at that time? And if people are interested in you know, joining your movement being a client of yours, how what does that all look like?

 

Rachel Haddad  39:12

Yeah, so 2020 was such an extraordinary year. So I during 2020. I was teaching still and I had a few clients we worked out. I did a lot of and I still have a few clients right now. for personal training. I have one client who I'm seeing as a health coach, but I offer all types of stuff. I do meal planning, nutrition, counseling, health coaching, but also life coaching. If you know if people are stuck and need some motivation to find a new career or make some changes or adjust their lives, adjust their eating. Really Chronic Movement is all It's kind of like a, what do you what's going to serve you? And how can I provide it to improve the quality of your life and add value to your life, but it's very, it's not one size fits all. People are not one size fits all when you're dealing with chronic illness. But if they want to get in contact with me, my website is www chronic movement dot life. I also have the Facebook page facebook.com/chronicmovement. My email address is chronicmovementbet@gmail.com. I have a Tik Tok and an instagram.

 

Maya Acosta  40:47

I need to check you out on Tik Tok, I just created an account but I haven't done anything. Because I know that once I start looking at other accounts, I'm going to be hooked according to you know what people say? Now, the people that you work with you Don't let me just, you know, clarify. They don't necessarily have to have multiple sclerosis. Is that right? Do you work with anybody? Or do they have to have a chronic condition?

 

Rachel Haddad  41:11

I'll work with anybody who wants to make a change. Anybody interested in improving the quality of their life, anybody who has the willingness to make a change be committed, and anybody who needs a little push.

 

Maya Acosta  41:28

And also I want to say with the work that you're doing as a coach, you hear a lot of cases, a lot of stories as well, does that affect you ever?

 

Rachel Haddad  41:38

Effects me in the in the sense of I, I'm learning, I continue to learn how to take these sadnesses and turn them into fuel to come out the other way. And I think that that gift of mine is like something I've really learned how to turn on with MS. Because, you know, someone delivered me like some really heavy news. And I took that news and I created this like beautiful garden with it. When people share with me their stories and their, you know, I I see a vision for them, I see a vision of how this how this can be used as fertilizer.

 

Maya Acosta  42:27

Speaking of gardens, so I saw in one of your videos that you you garden, your food, you also I mean, tell us just a little bit more about what people can expect when you go live to also share some of the things that you're working on, like your garden.

 

Rachel Haddad  42:41

So I do what's cooking Wednesday, Wednesdays 5pm, Eastern Standard Time. And the goal is to make accessible accessible in terms of like affordable ingredients, things that you can find at the grocery store. So accessible meals that can be made in about 30 minutes or less, maybe sometimes 40. But overall 30 minutes or less for people just to teach and show people like you can make you can make this super easy if you have 30 minutes and make a whole bunch and eat it for a few days. And because I want to, like give people no room for excuses. You know, I'm the cook this way. Well, I just made this in 15 minutes, you know, you don't have 15 minutes. That's how much the box of pasta, you know, or it's not affordable, and that's touchy too. But I've tried to find ingredients that are affordable beans and veggies and nothing super fancy.

 

Maya Acosta  43:45

So you say that it's touchy, but it's realistic, Rachel, you would be surprised. I mean, how many people always use that excuse that is too expensive. And I A lot of times I always point out to the fact that if you eat out at a restaurant that cooks plant based foods, and I don't know why those dishes are so much more expensive than when you if you can replicate the same thing at home. A lot of times you're paying for the experience of Dining Out period. So no matter what you eat, you will be paying more. So Rachel, going back to Chronic Movement, can you talk about what your mission and vision and values are for that movement that you're establishing?

 

Rachel Haddad  44:23

Our mission for Chronic Movement is to empower and educate people with chronic conditions that they can overcome all barriers and improve the quality of their life. And a key component is through a gentle process. And that's that's what I think is super important for folks to know if they want to embark on this journey. Yet with chronic movement, it will be a gentle process that will push a person you know we always have to push ourselves to grow and that's part of our values too is like always pushing ourselves to grow trying different sayings, community honesty, communication. But it's all it all has to be gentle. And through a an avenue of compassion and kindness, first and foremost, to ourselves. And that's what we teach people at chronic.

 

Maya Acosta  45:18

I love that. And that, and that's kind of I will, as you were saying that I was thinking that pushing ourselves kind of puts us in a different mindset and crowds out fear, right? And because fear is what overwhelms us, almost overwhelms us when we either have been diagnosed, or just dealing with health problems. It's like we feel we are at the mercy of that situation. But you're talking about empowering people so that they can take control of their health, and then also challenge themselves so that they can be in a better place, especially with like, when you talk about physical movement, things like that, the more you become physically active and challenge yourself, the more your self esteem goes up, you reduce stress, it's just the whole this dynamic program. And then of course, you know, you've provided your website, it's chronicmovement.life, all your links will be on our show notes. And also, I wanted to mention, you're very active on social media as well. Well, you're active everywhere. Is there anything else you'd like to share about that? Like, what you post on social media?

 

Rachel Haddad  46:23

Yeah, a couple of the things I have Monday message. So every Monday, I create a message, just I got a little tidbit of advice, two minutes, will not even have advice, just a message of how to live our lives, whether if it deals with being gentle with ourselves or getting started or showing compassion or putting First things first, just like a quick little message of empowerment for the week. So that comes out every Monday. And another thing that I'm doing is live cooking events. So I have my first live cooking event on June 13. It's a cooking class, it's plant based desserts. So that'll be really fun and delicious. And then just keep an eye out there's going to be one or two each month.

 

Maya Acosta  47:16

Awesome. Wonderful. Well, I'm looking forward to all of that. I'm very excited about what you've created as a result of this diagnosis. And, you know, I would love for you to come back in the future and tell us where you're at and how your group is growing and what all if you have, if there's, if there like any testimonies from people that you work with that you'd like to share, or just give us a follow up in terms of how you're doing I would love for you to come back again. Yeah, absolutely. Okay, awesome. It's been so nice getting to know you, Rachel. Thank you. Bye. You've been listening to the Plant Based DFW Podcast show. If you like our content, please like, share and leave a review. Our goal is to provide quality episodes to help support the community.