"Your health is not a fad. Your health is not a trend. You have to make it work for you"
- Catherine A. Miller
Catherine Miller, MS is an integrative wellness practitioner in the Washington D.C. area. She became interested in nutrition due to illness as a child, first becoming a yoga instructor before learning reiki, becoming a health & wellness coach, & receiving her crystal healing certification. Her nutritional journey began at age 10 when she found processed meat to make her unwell; she decided to become a vegetarian & her mother joined her on her journey, looking to incorporate more produce into her diet to keep her healthy. "I would say I'm a vegetarian & people would bring me a plate of iceberg lettuce, so we needed to do something else" Miller recalls. She decided as she grew older to take wellness into her own hands, considering it her job instead of just talking with friends about it.
After stints dancing jazz, tap, & ballet as a child, Catherine Miller found that her hypermobility took a toll on her body. She was then confronted with constant migraines, which would continue to become focal seizures. At this time she would seek traditional western medical advice & would be informed a benign brain tumor was found. Her brain surgery would cause her to lose the taste for desserts & upset her sleep schedule. She would play the piano more, as it positively impacted her healing, & would add more Indian food to her diet, as the Tumeric helped with inflammation. Soon one of her yoga instructors would introduce her to a friend who performed reiki & Miler would experience a life-altering session that would lead her to begin her own reiki level-1 & level-2 training.
"People often use alternative healing to better their health. This year has shown us our medical system is broken, so when people say "wellness" they mean wellness & lifestyle factors that can lead to healing, wellbeing, & thriving" says Miller, before explaining that many of her forms of healing often fall under the category of "Woo-Woo" Wellness, a slang term used for forms of healing stigmatized as unreal or ineffective in western culture.
When it comes to food, Catherine Miller describes her relationship as fluid. She doesn't always eat healthy (she claims she ate french fries the week before we chatted), but she views her meals as more than something with good taste; she believes food has the ability to let one thrive & be well. She insists she is not living to eat, but eating to live. Miller states "It's fascinating how many different foods are good for us in different ways. Food is cool not just because it fills you up, but because it fills different services for you"
Speed round with Catherine Miller
Che: What’s the last good meal you ate, & where was it from?
Catherine: I had the best black lentils from this Indian restaurant called Pappe on 14th street
Che: Who is someone that inspires you right now
Catherine: My mom always. They say you can't have it all but somehow she does. She’s been successful, raised a family, & can cook the best meals ever. She’s so thoughtful & caring & giving & awesome. She is a constant inspiration for me.
Che: If you woke up as a fictional character or with superpowers, who would you be, or what powers would you have?
Catherine: I was going to say Hercule Poirot, but I would rather be one of the characters from the Children of Blood & Bone series by Tomi Adeyemi. If you haven't read it it's like Harry Potter, but set in Africa. They have characters who are healers, people who can make fire, some who read minds. I’d love to be a healer.
Che: If a person was interested in wellness & didn’t know where to start, what would you recommend to them?
Catherine: I would recommend they start small; perhaps learning a breathing technique since most people are not taught how to breathe well or effectively. Or if they have something they want to focus on personally, they should start with things that help & support that. You have to move intuitively in the wellness space. People will say "I heard this is healthy food so should I have it?" & I'm like why do you want it? Is it because someone told you to, or because you think it's good for you? When something says food is healthy they usually mean for the ideal person with no chronic health condition, the perfect weight, & no past history of injuries; none of us is that person. I recently learned that while frankincense has all these healthy properties, it isn’t good if you're on a blood thinner or anti-inflammatory meds. So you have to do what's best for you We don’t have to pay attention to sport's we don’t have to pay attention to the stock market; we have to stay healthy if we want to thrive.
Che: Any exciting events or projects?
Catherine: Nah it's Covid. No, actually I may be teaching a course on crystals in Q1 of 2021. Once it's safe again I really want to see my family, hug my nephew & see friends in California.
Che: What's your favorite Asana? (A 'yoga pose' is called an Asana. I learned that during this chat)
Catherine: I love the supported bridge pose. It's done with a block at your back. It's great for your back if you've been sitting all day.
Learn more about Catherine Miller & her practice on her Instagram @catherineamiller