Marshalee McIntosh Jinis a woman of infectious energy, and an even more infectious passion for healthy lifestyles. Our tribe connected with her at The Healthy Brand Showcase in NY this past spring and we knew immediately we were a match made in healthy heaven, inspired to share our passion with others.
Katie met with Marshalee recently to get to know her better, and to discuss our on-going collaboration. It should be noted that her faint Jamaican accent is adorable....and made this interview so much fun :)
Katie Schacht (Ks): It's so great to finally connect, Marshalee! I've heard so much about you and I'm thrilled to finally get to know you since I missed out on the fun in NYC last spring.
Marshalee Jin (Mj): Yes I know thanks for the time! I'm happy to get to know more about the ladies behind this awesome brand balm, thank you for your time!
Ks: Of course so I have to ask about your experience with the balm skincareregimen to start this off. I know you've been using the products for a month or so now. How is it going?
Mj: Yes I've used them all and I love them! I love that the products are completely organic and raw, because you can't get any healthier than that! I especially love the buffing grains with seaweed and the charcoal cleanser. That combination did wonders for my skin. I have pretty balanced skin but that extra detox in the charcoal cleanser really made my skin glow. The added exfoliation from the buffing grains was so awesome too! My skin is loving the regimen and I'm loving sharing my experience with products on my social accounts!
Ks: Yes! We've loved being featured so often on your accounts - thank you! We enjoy being able to show how you've transitioned your skincare products over to balm's regimen. Sometimes our bodies have to adjust to raw and natural products as we detox from those chemicals used in more traditional products so it's great to watch you use it all and talk about it.
Mj: Yes I didn't have anything scary happen as I transitioned or anything...they've worked great! I noticed a distinct difference from my first use!
Ks: So great to hear. So tell me about your lifestyle and your blog. How did you start blogging?
Mj: Well I began blogging about my health when I realized I needed to share my healthy lifestyle to help empower others. It started when the doctor told me I had a lump in my breast, and that’s when I decided I needed to lose weight and get in shape.
One night my husband and I were lying in bed and I felt a lump in my breast. After seeing my doctor, it was determined that it was in fact a lump that needed to be biopsied. In that moment, I knew I had to do something different, which was to change my diet. I right away thought; I should have been taking better care of myself. I was scared out of my mind. I did have a special procedure, which helped the lump to decrease over time, it wasn't cancerous thank goodness.
After I recovered from the surgery I did a completely 360-degree change. I lost 22 pounds, I started exercising regularly, I re-vamped my diet, started packing my lunch instead of eating out, and I even signed up for a 5K! Actually that 5K was my inspiration to get in better shape in time for the race.
Ks: That's so amazing. I'm so sorry you had to go through that scare. It sounds like you've used it to empower your life though, and make you stronger.
Mj: Yes definitely. I always stay in the positive.
Ks: So along with that diet and exercise change you mentioned, did you also start transitioning to natural products at that point?
Mj: Not exactly. It took a little bit of time. It happened gradually.
Ks: It usually takes people a little time to convert their products to more natural options.
Mj: Yes, but I wish I would have switched over sooner! The first natural product I tried was natural deodorant. Then I went on to use natural skin care products (and most recently) I converted my skincare regimen to organic products, obviously! I switched the balm! We're not a completely 100% "natural" household yet but my husband and I continue to work on things to move ourselves in that direction.
Ks: Well all great things take time! Tell me how you lost that weight! So impressive!
Mj: I really did my own research. My background is in Clinical Research, specifically cancer research. I designed my own diet, made my own meals, started juicing and making smoothies and that produced amazing results. That in fact was the biggest inspiration for my blog - I wanted to share these recipes and my transformation with others! I started putting my healthy transformation on Instagramand then it grew into my blog, and now I share natural skin care products and so much more on how to live a balanced and healthy life style.
Ks: Congrats on the success! Have you thought about sharing the specifics of your diet plan on the blog or something?
Mj: Yes it's coming! I actually tested it out with my sister-in-law. She wanted to lose weight so she followed my plan and lost 30 pounds in just 3 months so she was super impressed! She had been trying to lose that weight for 2 years. So stay tuned...the plan will be coming.
My family is another huge component of my natural health message. I've had family members pass away from cancer, specifically breast and gall bladder cancers so I really identify with balm's message and want to help further the cause of natural health so others can avoid that heartache that comes with these diagnoses.
Ks: Thank you for that. We love having you in our tribe. To that end, what keeps you inspired daily to spread that cause?
Mj: Myself! I'm sharing my experience to help others. This is personal. Seeing my progress and knowing that it can help others is what keeps me motivated. I also want to humanize my transition into a natural lifestyle....because like you said our bodies do react to the change. Like when I first tried natural deodorant I swear I smelled! But now my body has balanced out. People need to know that to understand that bodies will adjust, and it gets better....and more rewarding!
Ks: Love that! Tell me about your "day job."
Mj: I am clinical research supervisor, in cancer research. I studied biology and did lab research for years before I transitioned into clinical research. I've worked in cardiology and dermatology research also.
Ks: As the daughter of a cancer survivor, thank you for your work. Professionally speaking do you think all of these chemicals used in traditional products are contributing to the rise in cancer diagnoses today?
Mj: Yes. We know that things like diet and exposure to chemicals can impact your chances of having cancer. Without a doubt. People need to understand that. Working in dermatology for example I've seen patients with horrible psoriasis stop consuming caffeine for example and the appearance of the psoriasis goes away. When they pick up the coffee again, it comes back. It's just science, and we need to pay attention to our bodies to ward off the effects of these potentially harmful substances.
Ks: We completely agree with you. That's why we're here, right? To empower others to take control of their health and live naturally healthy lives. One last question....you mentioned your husband...has he been excited to go on this natural health pursuit with you?
Mj: HAHA! Yes! I think going through that cancer scare together helped encourage him on this journey. His doctors have also told him to stop eating so much red meat and things so the change in diets is something we've done together. Men can be stubborn, but when life gets real....they'll jump on board to support.
Ks: I'm so glad to hear that. Thank you for chatting with me! Please continue to share your experience with the balm products, and your healthy lifestyle tips. We're so glad to hear that you're healthy now and we look forward to working together for years to come.
Mj: I look forward to all the adventures where balm skincare goes because I know it will change people’s lives and I am glad I can be a part of balm's health message. Thank you for having me on board!
To get in touch with Marshalee, subscribe to her blog Healthy by M Lee, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter. We suggest you binge-read the blog - it's full of great tips! Keep an eye out - balm skincare products pop up on her accounts all the time!