First off – the basics

I recently graduated from the National College of Natural Medicine with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition.

I love it. 

Chelsea Brinegar, MS, Owner, White Hot Wellness

My Former Life

I attended Indiana State University and received my undergraduate degree in Communication with an emphasis on Public Relations.

After graduating college, I accepted a marketing job and soon realized that I was 100% unfulfilled by it. This was frustrating because being passionate about my purpose in life has always been so important to me.

This quote by Roald Dahl has been a guide for most of my decisions in life…

I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.
— Roald Dahl

I was 100% lukewarm about my life at that point
And I knew I had to do something
I just wasn’t sure what.

 During this time, I discovered a love for fitness (CrossFit, specifically) and through this endeavor, I fell under the healing spell of a whole foods based diet.

As my passion for whole foods, cooking and health grew, I knew this is what I had been searching for over all of those years. It felt SO good.

On a whim, I applied to the Nutrition program at NCNM – not expecting anything. I got accepted (!!) and quit my job. A month later, my boyfriend and I sold everything we owned that wouldn’t fit in my Honda Civic and road-tripped across the country. It’s been a journey to get where I am now, but I am completely certain that I am doing exactly what I am meant to do.

To put it simply, White Hot Wellness is basically my dream come to life.

My existence has been changed by embracing food in its most natural form, and I want to share that with you.

A few more fun facts about me: a cherry tomato picked right off the vine – bright red in color and still warm from the sun – just might be my favorite food ever. I love traveling and spontaneous adventures; I once went to the airport with $500 and told the clerk to buy me a ticket to anywhere. I love CrossFit (the same kind of love that I love food with) and have been taught so many things about myself and life through it. I love deep conversations, local coffee shops, and my cat Riggs. Generally, I just love.

Passion, the white hot kind, fuels my life, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

It’s my hope that this website will serve as a place for me to share my journey as well as inspire and connect with you.

Thanks for hanging around. You’re rad :) 


My Food journey

Chelsea Brinegar, MS, Owner, White Hot Wellness, Portland, OR

The interesting thing about your personal food story is that it is constantly evolving. Mine is no exception to that rule. From a small age, I have loved food.

At family gatherings and various get-togethers, it was not unusual for someone to comment about how much I loved to eat. My parents would regularly cook dinners at home, and that was a time when we would all sit down together. I'm positive that the association between eating and time spent with my family impacted the strong feelings I developed for food. 

When I moved away from home for college, I was suddenly in charge of making my own food decisions. Because I was no longer involved in high school sports, I also became solely responsible for my physical activity. I was deathly afraid of gaining the infamous "Freshman 15," and this was the first time that I started to become fearful of food. 

My diet mainly consisted of things I considered “healthy”; there were a lot of Special K breakfasts, Fiber One bars, and Lean Pockets consumed during this time. I would hop from one diet ideology to another - avoiding sugar, avoiding carbs, eating only salads with romaine lettuce and no dressing, etc. Food was no longer something I loved.

I also was a slave to the treadmill and the scale. I would weigh myself every day, spend an hour+ in the gym doing mostly cardio and "abs", and religiously check my reflection in mirrors to see if I looked bigger than yesterday. I explicitly remember telling my best friend that I could care less about being strong or healthy - I literally just wanted to look good in a swimsuit. 

As you can imagine, these restrictive eating patterns combined with putting an incredible amount of pressure on myself to fit into what society had always told me was an "ideal" way to look sent me on a downward spiral. I would restrict food during the week, binge on the weekends, and then feel incredibly guilty and shameful about all of it.

Add on another dose of guilt when the number on the scale would increase. And, inevitably, it crept up every time I weighed myself. This cycle continued throughout the four years of my undergraduate career. By the time I graduated, I was more unhappy with myself and my body than I had ever been before. I went as far as to avoid pictures and mirrors because I didn't like the look of myself.

Physically, mentally, and emotionally, I was at my lowest.

A few months after graduation, I found a new exercise regime to try - CrossFit.

Long story short, I fell in love. I experienced a radical shift in thinking.

I began to appreciate my body. For the first time in my life, I started valuing strength and health over aesthetics. It is through CrossFit that I began experimenting with nutrition. I started fueling my body with whole foods, I began cooking a lot, and I let go of calorie counting and obsessive scale-watching. This practice single-handedly changed my life.

My body felt better than I ever knew possible.

The little girl who grew up loving food was falling in love with it all over again. And magically, as I let go of society's unrealistic beauty standards (the number on the scale/the pursuit of a thigh gap/a flat stomach), my body responded in the most beautiful way. Nourishing my body with real foods and cutting out those "health" foods I used to eat was the greatest act of self-love I have ever given myself.

This self-love led to many improvements in my life. I had a renewed sense of purpose, confidence (both in the gym and, more importantly, outside of it) and passion - so much so that I decided I wanted to make a career out of helping people discover this for themselves. 

Even today, I still have days when I re-examine my relationship to food and my body. Like I said, it is a constantly-evolving process, and despite a popular misconception, even nutritionists don't have it all figured out. 

But I whole-heartedly believe that defining your own food philosophy and discovering what works best for you and your body is revolutionary in countless ways. It is my goal to be a guide and support system for my clients while they take the first steps on that journey. It’s not always an easy process - but it is one that will reward you in so many ways.