Michelle Feldman, an esthetician, has long been familiar with clean beauty. Clean wine, however, has always been a bit more challenging to come by, which is why Feldman, also a sommelier, teamed up with Courtney Dunlop, a former beauty and health journalist, to create Good Clean Wine. Made in Italy with minimal intervention and biodynamic and organic farming practices, the wine is vegan and has no added sulfites or sugar and no dye, coloring, or added flavor. While alcohol isn’t exactly considered healthy, it can be healthier when it isn’t processed with a host of artificial ingredients. Here, Feldman shares how she listens to her body and prioritizes staying healthy.
What does wellness mean to you?
It’s how I balance and nurture my body, mind, spirit, and energy, so I can live a healthy and free life with structure, self-care, and discipline.
What are your favorite things to do to maintain your personal wellbeing?
Daily exercise that includes some cardio and some stretching, meditation, grounding, dry brushing, oil pulling, and making lists.
Is there a specific fitness activity that you love and why?
Right now, my favorite fitness activities are Treadformer, a hybrid class of 25 minutes of high-intensity training on a treadmill and 25 minutes of Pilates on the Pilates reformer, and Kangoo Jumping, a full-body cardio rebounding and dance workout that is gentle on the knees, hips, joints, and back. You wear specially designed boots with a patented spring system that absorbs 80 percent of the impact, so you can burn up to 20 percent more calories.
What is your favorite healthy food, and do you have a favorite way of preparing it?
I make a low-carb charcuterie when I’m avoiding sugar.
What is your favorite healthy beverage (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), and do you have any insider tips for preparing it?
Good Clean Spumante (made with Lambrusco grapes in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, famous for their high acidity and berry flavors). It tastes slightly sweet, but with no sugar added it’s a low-sugar and low-carb wine. Anything you can do with prosecco, you can do with Good Clean Spumante. Click the link for some sugar free ways to serve Good Clean Spumante.
What is your greatest wellness achievement?
Being able to exercise, stretch, and strength train from age 11 to working through injury and illness and wiring with aging continuing into my late 40s.
What person in wellness do you most admire and why?
Oprah because she’s always on her own personal wellness journey and on a mission to help people achieve wellness. She’s always inspired me to take stock of all aspects of my personal wellness, beyond losing weight and physical appearance. From watching her show as a young girl, I’ve been exposed to the idea that wellness equals balance of our body, mind, and spirit. She shows and teaches us that wellness is a lifelong journey.
What is the best piece of wellness advice you have ever received and from whom?
A life coach and energy healer I work with tells me to listen to myself, my heart, and my body. She’s helped me realize some of my physical pain is tied to emotions, and with her help, I’ve healed physical pain with talk and energy therapy.
What do you think is the most exciting wellness innovation you have recently discovered?
The Treadformer and Kangoo Jumps classes are high-intensity aerobic classes that are kind to my joints and help me burn fat and build muscle without putting me into fight and flight mode. I’m seeing results from these workouts, while I had not seen results from overdoing it in intense 60-minute cardio or hot and power yoga classes. These workouts are proving to be a good use of my time. They improve my cardio health and are an outlet for entrepreneurial stress.
What is your idea of balanced healthy happiness?
A balanced body, mind, and spirit. A balanced mental state is as important as physical health and often go hand in hand.
What do you think is the most overused word or words in wellness?
Journey and balance, which I’ve also used in these answers.
Do you have a secret health or wellness tip you would like to share?
I put olive oil in my morning espresso pre-exercise. If you are looking to add healthy fats to your diet in an interesting new way, the Italian twist on a bulletproof coffee includes adding olive oil instead of butter or ghee. Drinking olive oil in the morning can help stabilize your blood sugar levels throughout the day, satiate your appetite, lower inflammation, and give your skin a juicy glow from the inside out.
Here’s how to reap the benefits with a morning espresso: Make your espresso. Add one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil. Blend until frothy with a hand-held frother. That’s all it takes. The oil adds an earthy, nutty essence that creates a unique, elevated coffee experience. It has allowed me to eliminate sugar from my morning routine, and I find that olive-oil coffee provides me with long-lasting energy for morning workouts without the sugar crash. I feel fuller longer and experience a more stable mood.
What is your favorite place for a healthy vacation or escape?
Anywhere in Europe, specifically France and Italy. I walk more, drink cleaner wine, and eat better, local, and seasonal foods. I don’t exercise while traveling, and I tend to eat and drink what I want and lose weight and feel fit and great.
Is there a particular wellness company or brand that truly impresses you with their efforts and why?
S by Serena Williams. Her clothing is made for all body shapes and sizes to empower customers to feel confident and authentic. The tag line is #BeSeenBeHeard. She champions diversity and prioritizes family while managing many roles and jobs.
What is your favorite self-care routine?
My morning rituals of oil-pulling and then dry brushing before my shower and using jojoba oil as a full-body moisturizer post-shower.
What is your go-to for de-stressing?
Ten-minute guided meditations on YouTube and doing forward folds to stop a racing, over-thinking mind.
What aspect of your wellbeing do you struggle with the most, or would most like to improve?
Sleep. I’ve never slept well. I have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. I try not to eat or drink wine within two hours of my bedtime and don’t have caffeine past 11am. When I’m struggling to sleep, I take an Epsom salt bath, do a 10-minute guided sleep mediation, read a sleep mantra, and lay on my infrared biomat before bed to soothe aches, reduce stress, improve sleep, boost my immune system, and accelerate cellular renewal.
What wellness-related books or authors do you recommend, and why?
My business partner, Courtney Dunlop, gifted me Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream by James Altucher and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson, and they changed my life. Choose Yourself is about how it’s on you to make the most important decisions in your life. It’s filled with life lessons from the author’s roller coaster of a life, managing family and business, gaining and losing it all, and then gaining it all back again. It’s a guide to choosing and empowering yourself to take risks and make decisions that are best for you.
The other title led the “no f*cks given” movement. It’s an anti-participation trophy book. It promotes the idea of learning to be okay with losing. Suffering is universal, so our suffering is not unique. It also teaches readers to stop comparing their suffering to others’ suffering and to avoid saying, “I should just get over myself,” or “look how bad that person has it,” or “I have more of a reason to be upset than that person.” It makes you question how you’re prioritizing where you’re putting your emotional energy. It also reveals the importance of accepting certain things will never change. It taught me to focus on my reactions and my responses in life and to avoid destructive responses, such as blame, guilt, regret, and shoulda-woulda-coulda thoughts.
How do you celebrate small victories?
With a glass or a bottle of Good Clean Wine.
What brings you joy?
My husband, son, and dog all bring me joy as does feeling good, finishing a workout, successful milestones in business, and the idea that waking up each morning brings new opportunities.