Sipping on a “green basic” (kale/parsley/celery/apple) at Plant Café Organic in San Francisco, E. Chloe Lauer ’01 insists she is not a health fanatic, just a person who has learned how to eat appropriately.

“There isn’t one food group that I would demonize,” she said. “You have to figure out what helps you operate at your full potential and what impedes your progress.”

Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at an early age, Lauer did not want to live a life tied to drugs and potent medicines. She was determined to find natural solutions for her ailment.

“I had to learn how to take care of myself,” she said, and eventually she has weaned herself from all medications.

A key component of her journey was working with a health coach, someone Lauer describes as a person “who looks at all aspects of one’s life—a life coach with a nutritionist’s bent.”

“What you eat is very important,” she said, “but that’s only part of what you’re doing. You need someone to really listen to you and to help you develop habits and patterns that will work for you.”

Lauer was so impressed with the results in her life that she has trained to be a health coach as well through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She has a website called “Zest for Life Today” that chronicles her observations and insights.

She was intending to work as a health coach full time, gradually adding clients and cutting back on her other vocation as an urban planner for MKThink, a San Francisco company that helps businesses and organizations optimize the use of buildings and available space through asset management studies, analyzing daily patterns and creating master plans. After earning a German degree from Calvin, Lauer received a master’s in urban planning from Harvard University.

In her work, Lauer has helped universities reconsider building new by discovering that they aren’t using their current structures efficiently.

“You also want to have the client think long-term—ponder what kind of activities and functions will be in a building’s future,” she said.

“What I found was my time away from urban planning and toward health coaching was a needed refresher, yet once I had established my own business, I realized I was very happy at MKThink, so I retained my position but worked four days a week instead of five,” she said. She still does coaching on the side and found time to publish her first health-related e-book, The 14-Day Easy Elimination Diet.

Lauer remembers her Calvin days fondly and said that language professors Wally Bratt, Barbara Carvill and Larry Herzberg are “treasures,” while art professor Charles Young introduced her to the concepts of urban planning—and in the process, changed her life.

Her “zest for life” continues into 2013. Lauer has been granted a leave of absence from MKThink to fulfill a life goal—a solo trip around the world. She’ll start in Thailand in January and wander, purposefully of course, until Thanksgiving.

“One might call this soul education,” she said.