Milkshakes to Smoothies: A Health Coach’s Journey to Wellness

Health and Lifestyle Coach, Lydia Mendel, shares her own wellness journey. After eliminating confidence-crushing acne with medical intervention, she realized what her body was trying to tell her.

Growing up, much of my family suffered health issues including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, blood sugar dysregulation, stroke… you get the point.

Milkshakes to Smoothies: A Health Coach’s Journey to Wellness
Smoothies are great for keeping you healthy on the inside as well as looking great on the outside. Image provided by author.

I watched my family make their best attempts at implementing lifestyle shifts to improve their health, but none would last. They lacked the direction, momentum, and personal guidance needed to make changes that could have prevented their dependence on pharmaceuticals and further development of their disease.

I’m not off the hook here. In middle school, I struggled with the most confidence-crushing acne[1].

I mindlessly took countless antibiotics and used layers upon layers of medicated creams that deteriorated my skin. My face was raw and sensitive to the touch. It hurt to smile. It hurt to hide my skin under the cheap, chemical-laden makeup I bought with babysitting money, but I did it anyway. Not only was my skin inflamed, but the rest of my body was also too.

I was constantly bloated. My face and fingers were puffy. I remember hiding my hands in my sweatshirts because I was self-conscious. My body was crying for help and so was my self-esteem.

As I scoured the internet for instructions to become a naturally glowing goddess, I found at-home exercise videos, I learned how imperative it is to stay hydrated, I watched “Vegan What I Eat in a Day” vlogs (a very new idea to me), I found DIY face mask recipes which inevitably taught me that answers can be found in the kitchen– I wish I could tell you an impressive success story about healing my painful acne naturally… but that didn’t happen.

I wanted a quick-fix.

The only things I implemented were the DIY face masks and the shortest at-home workout videos I could find. I did these really inconsistently, of course. When I used these tools, I hid in my room.

I felt embarrassed about making positive lifestyle changes. “What if my family thinks I’m crazed or a wannabe health nut?”, a thought that crossed my mind.

Medication For Acne

Using cream or taking medication for acne may seem useful, but sometimes it may worsen acne. Shutterstock Images

So I continued drinking milkshakes every night and making my after-school snack of chips with cheese melted on top in the microwave. Gourmet, I know. And I continued taking medication that didn’t address my problems at a root level.

I eventually took Accutane, and it worked, no doubt. In the process, though, it made my skin brittle, sensitive and stripped it of its own ability to heal. I was free of acne, and still free of that refreshed, vibrant glow of a healthy person I desperately hoped to have. Only later did I realize that my external appearance is a direct reflection of my inner health and that if given the right environment, the body does heal.

In high school, my friends convinced me to join the cross country team. “Why am I here?” I thought. I would have rather watched Youtube videos of buoyant people eating salads and doing pilates on the beach as if that would actually help me become the person I dreamed of being.

I remained on the team, and after the drudgery of conditioning my sedentary body, a wonderful shift happened.

I started to enjoy…being active.

I started to have confidence.

I started to drink water and eat vegetables.

Before I knew it, I was making smoothies for myself every morning for breakfast… which caused me to be late to choir class most days. BUT, these new habits were becoming so easy and I began experiencing a vitality I never knew I could feel, with a luminance that shined from the inside out.

Symptoms are often painful, like with acne, for example– so of course, we try to eliminate them as soon as possible. However, when our symptoms are masked with one-off prescriptions, the underlying issues still persist.

When unaddressed for a long time, they can fester into something devastating. Which is why I am so thankful to have realized that my skin was trying to tell me something.

It was saying “Hey girl! Could this body get some nutrients,[2] please? And hydration? Stop watching Youtube late at night so it can maybe get some rest, too. Oh, and could you DITCH the inflammatory garbage you’re eating? Thanks! Yours truly, Inflamed Acne.”

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Clearing Out Acne With Clay Mud Mask

Eat healthy foods which help in clearing out acne. Shutterstock Images

It is so imperative to ask “Why is this happening?” when also asking “How do I make this go away?” As a young girl, I wasn’t aware that dealing with chronic symptoms and disease is NOT our destiny, and that most of it can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle.

The turning point for me was simply getting started, and from there the momentum kept me going. With that and the accountability of a team of girls that expected me to show up every day, I changed the course of my entire life.

I am now armed with the knowledge that food matters.

As does exercise, sleep, even mindset– it all matters. We have the power to change our lives by taking responsibility for our health.

I am so grateful for the acne. I am so grateful to have the understanding that modern medicine isn’t enough.

My internal flame is burning brighter each day with motivation to change the trajectory of health in this world, especially in the United States, and in my own family.

MY WHY is to empower others to lead lifestyles that allow the fulfillment of their life missions. I don’t believe that anyone’s passions, visions, or purpose should be dampened by crippling symptoms.

We are not here to suffer.

We are here to utilize our gifts. Living in a healthy relationship with our bodies can be daunting– we are a misled culture, advertised into unhealthy lifestyles from the day we are born. However, we all have a legacy to leave.

My mission is to help others navigate this world of conflicting interests and take ownership of their health so that the collective can be in accordance with their own purposes, which ultimately elevates the entire world.

You Can Also Check – The Power of Smoothies by Sarah Fader


Lydia Mendel

Lydia Mendel is a passionate Health and Lifestyle Coach, guiding people towards eating a primarily plant-based diet, and living an over

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