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Shooting the Breeze with Rachel Kaplus

Rachel Kaplus talks shaving her head for charity, losing weight and music

STB-rachelkaplusOn May 2 Kaplus is shaving her head to raise money for St. Baldrick’s for children’s cancer research. She is taking part in the St. Baldrick Foundation's Headshaving Event at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

Make a donation in her name BY CLICKING HERE or drop off cash or checks at Natural Market Place

in Jasper through May 1st. The store is located at 69 North Main Street.

 Rachel Kaplus works at the Natural Market place in Jasper and is a musician and animal lover. She has a boyfriend named Jeremy and a 10-year-old half-schnauzer named Maggie.  

You are shaving your head to raise money for children's cancer foundation. What motivated you to do this?

The head shaving fundraiser seemed like a fun way to raise money for a really important cause - and it makes it easier to ask for donations, something I'm kind of awkward at doing.

You've lost over 70 pounds, from your peak weight of 251. How have you lost so much weight? What advice to you have for others trying to do the same?

The top thing I can recommend to people is to track everything they eat. EVERYTHING. If you don't log it there's no way to know for sure, and I was overeating by as much as 1500 calories without realizing it. The other factor is regular exercise - either 30 minutes of activity or 3 miles of walking, biking, cycling every day is key. Adding in strength training as you get more in shape really helps to speed things along.

What are some of the biggest lessons you've learned from working at a health food store the last five years?

I've learned how important nutrition is to every aspect of health- from weight to preventing illness to joint pain and everything in between. So many ailments can be improved if not fixed by changing to a more healthy diet. The other main thing is the importance of probiotics - 70% of the immune system is in the gut, or digestive tract, so regularly taking probiotics doesn't just help digestive health, it prevents you from getting sick as much and just feeling better overall.

What has changed about you most over the last 10 years?

I really feel like an entirely different person than I  was 10 years ago. I struggled with anxiety and depression for almost as long as I can remember, and while I still have occasional bad days my entire outlook is much more positive and hopeful. I feel really happy with who I am as a person and where I'm going in life. My job, relationship, where I live: I couldn't ask for it to be any better and I'm thankful everyday!

What is most important to you in your life?

Most important to me right now is trying to be as positive a force as I can- I want people I talk to, whether at Natural Market Place or just out in the world, to feel better after talking to me. There's so much negativity out there in general that it's a struggle, but that's my goal. A less abstract thing that's equally important is the fair treatment of animals. I don't buy products that test on animals, and have volunteered at shelters. If I ever have more money than I know what to do with I'd love to open a sort of animal haven for dogs, cats, pigs, any kind of unwanted animal.

What are your pet peeves?

I can't really think of many pet peeves, although I find that phrase adorable. I really dislike the word "hubby" though.

You play guitar, sing, write your own music and have performed quite a bit locally. What draws you to music?

So many things about music are vital to me. My boyfriend and I met at a festival we were both performing in, so without that we'd never have met! Music is also a great means of expression- there's no better way for me to get out emotions, good or bad, than with a song, whether or not it's mine. I love the feeling of frisson - those goosebumps and tingly feeling you get from certain songs or note combinations.

Who or what inspires you?

I'm inspired by anyone with passion and convictions - people with dreams who don't give up on them, no matter how hard it can be, and people who try to build up others rather than tearing them down.

What's the best concert you've ever been to?

It's hard to pick just one concert, but probably the best experience was the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee. I saw Gogol Bordello (one of my favorite bands), Mumford and Sons, Ted Leo, The Decemberists, The Black Keys, Jenny Lewis, And so many more over three days.

If you could have any career what would it be?

My ideal career would be a touring musician or a songwriter for other people, with my animal sanctuary on the side. Or maybe a touring animal sanctuary.

What are your guilty pleasures?

My top guilty pleasures are pizza (and calzones), and pop music - particularly the song “Uptown Funk”. So good!