There are several aspects of good health.
Activist Halie Thomas approaches health from a broad perspective, working towards a happier and healthier world. Her non-profit, The HAPPY organization, constantly inspires others to be their best selves. I am so honored that I got the chance to ask her a few questions about her amazing accomplishments.
HelloFlo: What is the HAPPY organization?
Halie Thomas: The HAPPY Organization is a non-profit with the mission to inspire healthier generations through hands on plant-based nutrition education and cooking classes in schools and at summer camps nationally, and soon globally.
HF: What inspired you to create your organization?
HT: The inspiration behind, not only my non-profit, but also the work I do stems mainly from the diagnosis and reversal of my father’s Type-2 Diabetes. As a family, in order to help my dad get better, we educated ourselves about the food industry, how food affects the body, and how to read labels. Once I became educated, I discovered just how much schools and communities across the world were lacking nutrition and culinary education for youth and their families. That’s when I knew I had to do something, because everyone deserves the right to know what they are putting in their bodies and how it can change them for better or worse.
HF: What have been some highlights of your journey?
HT: Some of my highlights from the past six years definitely include getting to work with, meet, and introduce First Lady Michelle Obama at the Kids State Dinner, as well as meeting both President Obama, President Clinton, and several other influencers like Dr. Deepak Chopra, who have all inspired and motivated me over the years. I have also had the opportunity to do several TEDx talks, be on the Food Network, and travel abroad. I am headed to Dubai next week to speak at a health forum and tour schools.
HF: What lessons have you learned through your organization?
HT: Through my organization, I have learned that passion can really take you anywhere. No matter how hard it may be to fundraise or how stressful it may be to put together a program and make it perfect, I always have this feeling in my heart that lets me know it’s worth it. I want to inspire healthier generations and help create a world where kids eat healthy and fully understand why they should. I want to help people prevent food induced diseases that can completely change the course of their lives. HAPPY has taught me that when it comes to teaching youth, you have to make it fun, interactive, and a positive experience. The more we make our lessons into educational games or show videos to get a message across, the more impact our message will have.
HF: What are some simple things people can do to improve their health?
HT: The simplest thing individuals can do to start improving their health is cooking at home. When you start cooking at home, you have a new awareness of what goes into your food and how much of it. Plus it’s fun to explore and experiment with different spices and ingredients! Being aware of what you put into your food while cooking at home leads to more investigation as to what could be in meals outside of the home.
HF: What are some simple ways to stay active?
HT: Honestly, doing what you love is the simplest way to stay active. I love tennis, so when I play I don’t even feel like I am “working out.” It is important to find joy in taking care of yourself.
HF: How do you remain positive when facing life’s challenges?
HT: I have an affirmation that I place everywhere and say each day: “Amazing things are happening.” Saying this gives me a certain assurance that with pure intentions and with my desire to continue to do good in the world, amazing things will come. In a way, this saying keeps me encouraged. Over the years, I have come to fully believe that amazing things are always happening- and they do.
HF: What does purpose mean to you?
HT: Purpose means offering something good to the world, and feeling fulfilled while doing so. You know you’ve found this purpose when you can’t imagine doing anything else or loving anything more.
HF: Where can we learn more information about your organization?
HT: Visit my website for more information. You can also visit my personal website for vegan recipes and videos. Feel free to also stay connected with me and my organization on social media! You can find us on Instagram or Twitter.
Cover image courtesy of Haile Thomas.