Updated: May 21, 2020
We were lucky enough to interview Julie aka The Soul Hugger @thesoulhugger. As a self-described "hippie" pharmacist, Julie moves beyond conventional medicine, taking an integrative approach to health and wellbeing. We were excited to get Julie's thoughts on the role of conventional medicine in treating health conditions, and how she see's Western medicine interacting with alternative approaches. And we love what Julie had to offer! We think her integrative philosophy is very much in line with the kind of forward thinking approaches that are now starting to trickle into today's modern world of health and wellbeing - a world that mixes science with a whole lot of soulfulness. And funnily enough (well maybe it's not totally a coincidence), that is exactly what The Honour Project is all about! Check out the interview below, including Julie's top five tips for keeping a healthy mind, and what she believes to be the "magic pill" when it comes to health and wellbeing...
Rochelle, The Honour Project x
You aren’t your “typical” pharmacist - tell us how you view health and wellness from a holistic or perhaps even an alternative point of view?
I often joke that I’m the “hippiest” pharmacist anyone has ever met! To illustrate my point, in addition to being a pharmacist, I’m also a certified holistic nutritionist and I’m completing a meditation teacher training. Plus, I could talk for hours about the law of attraction, energy healing and the Course in Miracles.
That being said, I’m also a firm believer that conventional medicine is necessary for certain illnesses. Therefore, my view of health and wellness can best be described as “integrative”, a blend of Western and alternative medicine.
To build on the statement above, I see medication as crucial for acute and life-threatening conditions, such as severe bacterial infections. In the case of chronic illnesses however, my belief is that drugs should primarily be used as a “crutch”, not a long-term solution.
Medication helps keep chronic illnesses under control so that they don’t become dangerous. However, it won’t heal them as drugs only manage the symptoms. An underlying problem, commonly exacerbated by lifestyle habits, is often the cause of chronic disorders. For the body to truly heal and find its balance, chronic diseases must be addressed with an integrative approach.
My goal is to collaborate with doctors to help people safely wean off their chronic medication by addressing their lifestyle habits that are contributing to their illness. This is where my knowledge in holistic nutrition and meditation comes in handy! Taking people off their medication must be done under professional supervision, and I believe pharmacists are perfect for this role. My intention is to eliminate the pills my patients do not need, or at the very least, decrease the number of drugs taken. This helps reduce the risk of side effects and drug interactions.
"I believe our mental health reflects the quality of our connection with our soul."
If there was a magic pill for health and wellness, what would it be?
I think self-love is the magic pill for health and wellness. When you deeply respect and love yourself, everything you do has the intention of nourishing your body, mind, and soul. When you lead your life with this kind of intention, you’ll naturally gravitate towards a lifestyle that is balanced and respectful towards your health.
How do you see the soul interacting health and wellness, particularly our mental health?
I believe our mental health reflects the quality of our connection with our soul. Our emotions will always tell us if we’re aligned with our soul’s calling. When we’re feeling deep joy, contentment and are in the flow, we’re aligned with our purpose. If we’re experiencing negative feelings such as anxiety, stress, or anger, we’ve disconnected ourselves from our soul.
"Medication helps keep chronic illnesses under control so that they don’t become dangerous. However, it won’t heal them as drugs only manage the symptoms."
Tell us how you feed and nourish your own soul?
My soul feels the most nourished when I’m aligned with my purpose. While the exact manifestation has changed throughout the years, the areas of my life must overall fill the following criteria: contribute to helping others, allows me to continually grow, gives me a sense of balance, fun and connection.
A few examples of what that looks like for me right now:
· Hosting intimate dinners for my family and friends on a regular basis
· Helping others achieve greater health through nutrition and meditation
· Travelling and learning about new cultures
· Reading personal development books everyday
"My soul feels the most nourished when I’m aligned with my purpose."
What are your top five tips for keeping a healthy mind?
Practice meditation daily. Everyone’s experience is different, but I personally use meditation to declutter my mind of negative thought pattern and to help me reconnect with my intuition. The length of your practice is up to you, but I do suggest a minimum of 20 minutes per day. For example, you can do 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes before going to bed.
Everyday, write down 3 things for which you’re grateful and be specific about why you’re thankful for them. For example, “I’m grateful for my husband because he supports me and is constantly cheering me on when I feel like giving up” is much more powerful than simple saying “I’m grateful for my husband”. A gratitude practice helps me see the “bigger picture” and reduces my stress.
Move your body daily, your brain needs oxygen! Truth be told, I’m not a fan of strenuous exercises… However, I love to dance, hike, do yoga and walk around the city. Do what feels good to you and that gets your heart beating faster than baseline.
Be generous with your love and nurture your relationships. Human are social beings and are wired for connection. Spend time with people face to face as much as possible. Get to know who the person in front of you truly is. While the internet has made in easier for people to stay in touch, I really feel nothing beats in-person connection.
Learn something new each day to keep the mind strong and the sense of wonder alive.
Finish this sentence... "Health and wellness is..."
Health and wellness is the greatest gift you can offer to yourself.
Contributor: Julie Doan, Pharmacist, Certified Nutrition Practitioner, Meditation Teacher and founder of The Soul Hugger