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3 questions with Mishelle Holladay, owner of Energy Café 

Healthy eating is a major component in Mishelle Holladay's lifestyle. The owner of Energy Café (www.energycafecharlotte.com), a "healthy food fast" eatery with two locations in Uptown Charlotte (at the Bank of America Plaza and Duke Energy Center), Holladay consumes as many whole foods with natural ingredients as possible. In return, she's experienced overall positive wellness necessary for the physical endurance needed to complete a tough workout regime. She's a former NPC (National Physique Committee) figure competitor and Olympic weight lifting competitor who has participated in numerous crossfit competitions. She's also an avid runner who's taken on the challenge of full and half marathons. Holladay's move into the food biz was aimed at providing nutritional meal options to habitants of the Q.C. At her dining quarters, she uses organic and local ingredients whenever possible for a variety of well-balanced meal and snack options. The menu at Energy Café is welcoming for even the pickiest food eater (not counting the fried fanatics and junk food minded, of course). Carnivores, vegetarians, vegans and those with gluten and dairy allergies can all find welcoming chow down options. This includes an array of soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, smoothies and more. "We wanted to make sure we were keeping it somewhat mainstream and that it wasn't too hardcore with protein," says Holladay. "We didn't want to scare off anybody that wasn't used to eating a healthily diet."

Creative Loafing: Why did you decide to open Energy Café under the philosophy of "clean eating"?

Mishelle Holladay: I'm really passionate about active healthy lifestyles. And I think nutrition is a huge part of that lifestyle. It's like 80 percent of what you do, so it was really important to me to get that out to the public to let them know that healthy food can taste good and it's easy. It's not as hard as everyone thinks it is. I feel like with everybody on the go, it would just be so much easier if they could grab something quick and still be getting something healthy. "Clean eating" just means as much unprocessed food as possible, so you just want to be eating whole foods mostly. That's pretty much clean eating in a nutshell.

How has eating healthy helped you to become a better athlete?

I feel better. I look better. I perform better. It has definitely increased my performance level at work and at the gym. I have more energy. I just feel better, really; that's the biggest thing.

The menu has a lengthy roster of smoothies. What's your personal favorite?

My favorite is the "Doc" Holladay. It's the one that's got peanut butter, chocolate and banana.

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