Meet Chelsea Williams, one of my new favorite wellness goddesses. She is a nationally recognized plant-based lifestyle media contributor and blogger based in Washington, DC who is the founder of That's Chelsea and Live Sacred DC. Her gorgeous feed and body of work is full of great skin tips, drool-worthy food, and a real approach to wellness that you can't help but love. I'm excited to welcome Chelsea to the Copina Collective and share her story with you!
How did you come to start That’s Chelsea?
My wellness journey started around 2011 or 2012. For most of my life, I’ve lived with Grave’s disease which is a severe form of hyperthyroidism. I was diagnosed with it in the 7th grade. I was then later diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 2010.
At that time, my family didn’t know much about holistic methods to treat my disorder. Grave’s Disease wasn’t as prevalent then as it is today. When I consulted with an endocrinologist, the physician would tell me all about the symptoms I was experiencing but offered few solutions outside of medication.
As I grew older, I began inquiring about what holistic methods of treatment were available and my endocrinologist didn’t have any suggestions for me. I started to do my own research about how I could manage thyroid disease naturally. That’s when I decided to transition to a plant-based diet. This was long before “What the Health.” It all started by watching Netflix documentaries like Forks Over Knives and Cowspiracy.
My family didn’t quite understand why I wanted to make what they perceived as drastic changes to my diet when I was already quite ill. I was very vocal about my dietary changes, which in hindsight was a mistake because I second guessed myself for many months before taking the leap. They basically responded with, “Well you don’t know anything about nutrition, so do you really know what you’re talking about?”
I also had an interesting work experience early on in my career that changed the way I thought about autoimmune disorders. I was working at a contract research organization that supported a pharmaceutical company provided financial assistance to patients living with Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Being around other people living with an autoimmune disease, like myself, changed my perspective on traditional medicine. That’s when I decided to pursue my Master of Public Health in Nutrition. This also later inspired me to start That’s Chelsea.
I started my blog because I noticed there were not many Black bloggers with a digital platform that focused on a plant-based lifestyle. I wanted to serve as an underrepresented voice for someone else, a resource I didn’t have when I was ready to make positive health behavior changes.
When did you realize you wanted your mission to be about bringing wellness to under-served communities?
I started That’s Chelsea in January of 2015, just over 2 years ago. I started Live Sacred DC in September of 2017. These small gatherings serve as a platform for plant-based wellness education and support. We discuss topics such as the plant-based eating, eco-friendly living, mindfulness, and green beauty. The goal is to educate women about different areas of non-toxic living and provide them with a support system as they step into this new world. There weren’t many inclusive wellness events in my community, so I decided to create my own.
How did begin to get booked for speaking events and TV appearances?
Television is not something that I was seeking when I started my blog. The opportunity came to me very organically. I was with family during a holiday and uploaded a few Instagram stories of myself going to the farmers market, then showing how to make a delicious, healthy meal using the produce I purchased. A producer watched my stories and reached out to me via direct message (DM) and asked me if I’d ever been on TV and if I’d be interested in appearing on a segment. When I first read the DM, I thought, “Okay – this must be a scam or something.” At the time, the producer’s page didn’t have very many images of previous segments and I thought to myself, “if he was serious he would have emailed me.” I think I responded with something like, “Oh yeah, that sounds interesting. I’ll consider it. I’ll get back to you.” Well, 2 or 3 days went by and he followed up with me over email and said, “Hey, I never heard back from you. Are you still interested?” It turned out that he was a producer at WJLA and things sort of developed from there. The lesson in this? Always check your DM’s!
What are most common questions you get from your audience?
I hope to encourage others to eat more plant food. I’m not super hard core like “you have to go vegan or vegetarian” but want to be more inspirational. The most common questions I get are about how to build a brand, start a blog, get on TV, or get press coverage. It’s funny because I thought people would more interested in the food than the logistics of how I create content! My advice is to always remain humble and authentic. There are a million wellness bloggers out there. If you’re trying to do what the other person is doing, you will not stand out. Share who you are and what you are doing organically. Otherwise it can be perceived that you are copying other content creators, and no one finds that flattering.
How would you describe your food philosophy?
My food philosophy is to eat less packaged food and eat more whole, fresh food.
You’re busy. You work full time, have your own, brand, have a side business, what are tips for staying healthy on the go?
I usually bring my food with me. I do a lot of meal prepping. I wash all my produce on one day during the week and then put it all in containers so I can just grab it on the go. I try to bring snacks like apples, bananas, oranges that I can just eat as I go throughout the day. The best part about these fruits? They’re super convenient and are shelf-stable too. I can just have them on my desk and I’m good to go.
Who is inspiring you right now?
What inspires you most about your work and what’s next for you?
When I’m hosting a workshop or I’m teaching, and people come up to me and say things like “I’m ready to make a change and take charge of my health,” it’s truly one of the best feelings, ever. I hosted a workshop with the DC Mayor's Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives and the women were so inspired and empowered to live healthier lives. I love the relationships I’m building with people the most. Instagram is cool, but it’s not better than a real life connection.
The next step for me is my book. I’m not sure if I’ll make it an e-book or print. That’s my next project. I’m currently a service-based business and want to expand my reach by releasing a product.
Loved reading about Chelsea and want more interviews? Check out Copina Co.'s chats with: