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Shelley Butler, your Carolina health coach

Updated: Mar 27, 2019

What is your occupation?

What is your education or training background?

Business Administration degree from UNC-Chapel Hill

and Health Coach certification from Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

What is unique about your occupation?

I get to help people find balance, health and happiness in their own lives.

How did you get into your line of work?

I healed myself of migraine headaches and I wanted to help others heal themselves.

What are you passionate about?

Healthy eating and cooking, healing the gut

How did you become a Health Coach?

I was a migraine sufferer, and had been since I was a child. I still remember my first migraine and the intense pain I felt- I think I was about nine. These headaches would come and go over the years, and many times they would be debilitating. They became more and more frequent as I aged into my forties, and I was getting prescribed rounds of steroids in order for them to go away. They would always come back and when the steroids stopped working, I decided it was time to make a change in my life. I decided to change my way of eating by eliminating gluten, dairy, artificial sugars, processed sugar, caffeine and alcohol- what I now call the “troublemakers.” I started feeling better pretty quickly after changing my diet, and the brain fog from the migraines slowly lifted.

I also found relief from TMJ (which I didn’t even realize I had until about 5 years ago) through massaging my jaw and seeing a chiropractor. I started taking natural supplements that would replace some of the things my body was lacking, like magnesium and vitamin D. Over time, the headache frequencies diminished, and I was taking less and less medicine. Now, I get about 1-2 migraines a year, and I feel amazing! I also used this journey to work on other parts of my health, like reflux and IBS. I find that I rarely get sick these days and if I do, it is short-lived. I view my health as a moving target that I am always trying to make better, because as we age our bodies are always changing. The most important thing is to listen to myself and my intuition as it relates to my health. So many people are out of touch with what their bodies are asking for, and I was one of those people.

After going through these changes myself, I decided I wanted to start a second career as a Health Coach. I went back to school and loved every minute of it. I realized that I could help people become better versions of themselves through coaching, listening to their health story, and offering step-by-step recommendations.

What do you do for exercise?

I love pilates, cardio funk classes, and walking outside. Sometimes, I just go outside my front door and walk up and down my street until I feel my body loosen up and my heart rate starts to rise. It feels amazing! I like to think of exercise as movement– it doesn’t matter if you are a marathon runner, or if you take the stairs instead of the elevator. As long as you keep adding as much movement into your day as possible, your body will thank you for it.

Where do you shop for food?

Everywhere. I realized that I love healthy food so much that grocery shopping had become more like a hobby, which can be very time-consuming and expensive. My favorite place to shop is the local farmer’s market. I like that in addition to local, seasonal vegetables, many farmer’s markets are now carrying grass-fed beef and pastured chicken and pork. After learning about factory-farmed meat in school, I am particular about where I buy meat for my family. I always try and buy local as a first choice, then organic, then conventional if that’s the only option. I also like shopping at Trader Joe’s. It’s not local, but their products are made with integrity and they seem to use less preservatives and sell less processed foods than other grocery stores. I find that the specialty health food stores are great, but they can be very expensive, so I only go to them on occasion, or if I am looking for something very specific.

What are some changes you would like to see happen in the food industry?

I would like to see a regulation that allows no GMO’s in our food, because these foods are made from seeds that were created in a laboratory. I wish people would go back to eating “real” food made in nature. I would like to see new norms in American food culture– less sugar and processed foods, and more whole foods like fruits and vegetables. I would also like to see schools partnering with local farmers to create a sustainable, healthy school food system.

What is one health tip that you would recommend for our readers?

Drink water! It sounds so simple, but it’s easy to forget to do. A good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight in half, and drink that much, in ounces, every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water per day. That’s a little over 2 liters. It may seem like a lot if you’re not used to it, but it really helps the body with so many functions, and will help keep cravings at bay. Just don’t drink too much water in the evening, or you may be up in the night going to the bathroom.

For more health tips, you can check out my blog: Carolina Health Coach

I try and post at least one new health tip or recipe each week.

What motivates/inspires you?

Seeing positive changes in people and know that I had something to do with it.

How long have you been in the Carolinas?

I am from Charlotte and have been here all my life, except when I lived in Hong Kong for a summer after college.

Family stats (including the furry members)?

Husband Hank, sons Stuart (9) and Jack (8), and Maine Coon cat Carmo (2).

What do you love about the Carolinas?

I love the landscape – beautiful, rolling green mountains as well as white, sandy beaches – with lots of beautiful scenery in between. I also love the people. Carolinians are some of the most down-to-earth, special people on the planet! And, we have amazing accents.

Where do you vacation?

Folly Beach, S.C.

What are your proudest accomplishments?

Piano competitions in high school, and raising my two boys

What struggles have you faced in your life?

Death of a parent at age 21.

Where do you see yourself retiring?

Charleston, S.C., which is also my favorite spot to visit in the Carolinas!

What causes/charities are you involved with?

Church and school. I have been teaching a 6-week class at church that focuses on faith-based health and wellness, and will be joining the Wellness Committee of my church. I am also co-chairing the Health and Wellness committee at my boys’ school next year and hope to help implement some healthy changes within the school. A mission trip with my church is on my bucket list, and I would like to take my boys when they get a little older.


Dark chocolate and homemade potato chips

Favorite TV series?


What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I want to write a book someday.

If money wasn't an issue, what would you do with your time each day?

I would cook healthy meals for my family and shop at all the expensive grocery stores for the food! I would also like to be on the board of a non-profit that I felt passionate about.



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