360 Degrees of Wellness: Meet Jessica Murnane, Author of One Part Plant Cookbook
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Welcome to our newest series, 360 Degrees of Wellness. I founded the WELL brand back in 2014 on the belief that wellness should be a 360-degree conversation. Wellness isn’t just what the number on the scale says, but what you put on your body (hello, getting hives from skincare products), the company you keep and the thoughts you feed yourself. Living well is not just what you eat—it’s also about how you talk to yourself; it’s how you nourish your mind and soul. It’s about the consumer choices you make, the effect they have on others and the planet. It’s about the work you do and environment you spend your time in. All of it is connected.
In this series, I’ll be interviewing wellness luminaries on what wellness means to them and how they practice it in their daily lives. Wellness is well-rounded, a 360-degree perspective in our lives, and we want to encourage our community to lean into what they’re already doing, as well as give them tips on being WELL.
Jessica Murnane is the creator of the One Part Plant movement and author of the One Part Plant Cookbook (which we have and love). She’s also the host of the One Part Podcast, and founder of Know Your Endo, the endometriosis education and awareness platform. Jessica’s contributed to/ or appeared in magazines and websites that include Bon Appétit, Goop, Shape Magazine and The Coveteur, along with being a speaker at SXSW, Apple, Wanderlust and Chicago Lit Fest, among others. And that all only adds to her disarming, open charm. She’s the kind of person you want to learn from in the wellness world, not just because she remains a bit skeptical about the ever-changing fads, but also because she’s curious enough to ask direct and informed questions. We’re so excited to welcome her to WELL Summit this year, where she’ll be hosting the meetup Thoughts on Food Trends, Periods, The Wellness Industry—And Anything Else You Need To Get Off Your Chest, on Saturday, Oct. 19. But before you meet her in person (you’re joining us in less than two weeks, right?), let’s dive into how she embodies 360 degree wellness.
Meet Jessica Murnane
What does workplace wellness look like for you as an author and podcaster, working for yourself?
Reminding myself to stand up, drink water and take breaks. Most of my day is writing, recording and editing… sometimes I forget to get my booty up and move it. So, I make sure I get my workouts accomplished in the morning. And when I’m writing or editing, I love working in spaces that don’t have WIFI (or turn mine off). It really helps me focus and stay offline… which always helps with my mental health/wellness.
You’ve started the organization Know Your Endo to help people understand the disease, to increase awareness around it and to help provide info on management tools. When did you see this gap in the info available and why did you feel you were the best to fill it?
I was pretty confident there was a gap, but after writing my cookbook (One Part Plant), I 100 percent knew there was. I included a small amount of information about endometriosis in my cookbook (I have Stage IV). It definitely stuck out among the pages of gluten-free cookies and lasagna… but it was important for me to share it.
The amount of women that emailed me and said that information helped them get diagnosed after 20 years of living in pain, made them feel seen for the first time, or were able to go to work because of my recipes—shocked me. It was amazing, but also made me mad/confused/sad that it took a cookbook for them to get answers. I wanted to do more.
And how did I know I was best to do it? I’m not sure I claim to be the B-E-S-T person to do this (and there are a lot of other great people raising awareness), but I also couldn’t sit back and watch women feel as sh*tty as I used to feel. Or worse, made to feel their pain is all in their heads. It’s my mission to bring hope, a little levity, and clarity to this chronic condition. We don’t need another “you got this” meme. We need facts, research, real life management tools and a community of women that are thriving with endo.
You’re one of my favorite people in the wellness world because you’re both very much in it (you’re always talking with other wellness luminaries on your podcast) and somewhat a realist-borderline-skeptic about many “trendy” wellness practices. How do you separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to what wellness routines you incorporate into your life?
Thanks so much. It’s crazy, because as much as I’m in it, I don’t always consider myself a “wellness person.” Maybe because I rebelled against healthy eating and wellness practices for so long (until they changed my life). But I do consider myself a super curious person that loves exploring new ideas and also challenging them. In terms of separating the BS from the real deal, I always try to think about the source of the information and how their values align with my own. Most importantly, how does it make ME feel? Wellness is not one size fits all.
What wellness products are you obsessed with?
Vegetables, fruit, nut, grains, seeds!
I definitely have a cabinet full of amazing serums, favorite natural makeup products, and wellness gear… but the number one thing that has changed my health is the good food I put in my body.
A Focus on 360-Degree Wellness With Jessica
What does 360 wellness mean to you?
Making change one part at a time—the way you eat, sleep, think, breathe and shop.
What’s your favorite way to move your body?
Rebounding and foam rolling (at the moment!).
What’s your money mantra?
STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT SO MUCH.
How do you tend to your emotions when you’re stressed?
Fit some sort of movement or stretching into my day (even if that means just laying on the ground and putting my legs up on the wall) and feeding my body the best I can.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How does that drive how you take care of yourself?
I’m an introvert that’s really good at being an extrovert.
I love people, but also have to be alone to recharge. So that looks like me saying “no” to things and taking time for myself (alone). And that also means making sure my family/friends know that my alone time has nothing to do with them.
What does community mean to you?
How do you incorporate wellness into your family life?
I do my best to live by example. My son loves doing little workouts with me and we talk openly about the food/product choices we make. BUT I also make sure everything isn’t so serious all the time. We laugh and joke a lot (which usually involves farts and other bodily functions… he’s five). I really try my best to help him live a healthy life, but also let him be a kid.
What’s one sustainable lifestyle swap you recommend?
Swap: Ditching the paper towels for cloth napkins. We have a bowl of them in our kitchen and after we use them, we throw them directly into the dirty clothes/wash.
Please reconsider: Sitting in a running car, texting, looking at social or talking on the phone. Take care of your business before you get in the car or after you’ve reached your destination. More time sitting in running cars = more pollution/emissions in our air.
What part does spirituality play in your wellness journey?
I don’t really think a lot about my spirituality or define it. I guess it just feels part of me. But if I had to define it in my journey… I think spirituality is a sense of kindness to yourself and others—whether your spirit is the big G or your meditation practice.
What 360-Degree Wellness Looks Like In Jessica’s Life
We’ve talked to you before about your endometriosis and how you used food to help manage the disease. What’s your endo status now? Does it impact your day to day and how do you manage it?
My endo status is that I still have endo. I always will. #chronicillnesslife. BUT I work every single day to manage it through the food I eat, movements I make, how I manage my stress and how much compassion I give myself. These are nonnegotiables in my life and I work hard on making them a priority. And I constantly remind myself how far I’ve come and then celebrate as many endo wins as I can.
What is one wellness practice you have that you wish everyone could incorporate?
Compassion for themselves.
You’re hosting a meetup at WELL Summit entitled, “Thoughts on Food Trends, Periods, The Wellness Industry—And Anything Else You Need To Get Off Your Chest.” What do you need to get off your chest about the wellness industry?
You’ll have to come and find out…
What do you find to be your biggest struggle in prioritizing whole body wellness in your life?
Moving my body! It’s for sure the first thing I let slip when I am traveling or super busy with work or have a bad period. But I make sure I never go more than three days without doing something. I need movement for my physical / mental health.
You’ve had a number of career pivots in your life (I loved your interview on the Healthier Together podcast). How do you suggest other women go about managing, embracing and orchestrating a career pivot, in a healthy, WELL way?
I think we get so worked up about what our friends and family will say if we want to pivot and try something new. Or we think about the worst case scenario. Yes, it’s good to plan and I don’t suggest quitting your job if you won’t be able to pay the rent or feed your children/pets/yourself. But it’s also good to remember that trying something new doesn’t mean it has to be permanent or your full-time gig (yet). And most importantly, your career doesn’t define who you are.
How Jessica Brings 360-Degree Wellness to Technology
What’s your favorite wellness app?
Not really an app girl, so I’ll go with Whole Foods app. I open it, scan it, and save money. Saving money makes me feel very welllll. Oh, also Hotel Tonight. A nice hotel on the cheap makes me feel very accomplished.
What’s your favorite wellness podcast?
Bitch Sesh: Not technically a “wellness” podcast… but it makes me laugh a lot (which I definitely need as part of my wellness).
What’s your favorite wellness account to follow on Instagram?
I’m not a scroller. But in real life, these people make me feel more well when we’re together and also do inspiring work: Heather Crosby, Ruby Warrington, Daphne Javitch, Kathryn Budig, Kate Fagan, Rose Lazar, Kathleen Shannon, Serena Wolf, Phoebe Lapine and Erin Barrett.
What’s your stance on social media—is it helpful or harmful to our well being?
Both. It’s hard to make that distinction, because I only use it for business purposes. I find my best helpful/harmful balance by not giving a sh*t about numbers and likes and follows and taking giant breaks from social when I’m working on big projects. I highly recommend reading Cal Newport’s work (I did an interview with him last season).
What’s been most helpful for you in balancing the time you spend online vs. offline?
A kid. I stay off my phone around my son (no texting or social or email)—so it forces me to be offline. But that also means a couple fake bathroom breaks… pretending I’m peeing while taking care of a quick email for work.
What’s your top tip for creating healthy online communities, like the one on your Instagram account?
To always check your motivation for posting. Is your post to stroke your ego? Is your post designed just to get a bunch of likes/engagement (that makes you look good to brands/other people)? I understand why people do this, but that’s never felt good to me when I’ve done it. So I check my motivation for the real reason I’m posting. If that reason feels icky or thirsty, I don’t post it. I think that your community knows what place your posts are coming from. If it’s not from a good place, no one will feel good, especially not you.
Interested in more of Jessica’s thoughts on wellness? Join her at WELL Summit on Oct. 19 in Brooklyn.