Antonio and Heather DeRose are on a mission – and if their athletic ambitions are any indication, they’re tackling that mission with a fierce passion. In 2017, the husband-and-wife powerhouse founded Green House Healthy, an educational platform and global advocacy group dedicated to raising awareness of plant-based medicines and nutrition, holistic healing and eco-friendly living practices. Since its creation, Green House Healthy has sponsored and hosted healthy retreats and athletic events across the globe and provided personal training and health/nutrition services to countless individuals seeking to improve their lives through plant-based medicines athletics.

Over the years, Antonio and Heather have evolved and expanded their thinking surrounding alternative medicines, and you could say they’ve competed in a race or two (or 20). Their mission: To change the world by proving that plant medicine can be part of a healthy and active lifestyle.

“I first tried [plant-based medicines] when I was a freshman in college and have been using it more frequently for about 10 years now,” said Green House Healthy’s CEO and founder Heather, who uses the medicine to manage her epilepsy as well as for general wellness. “I spent a lot of time researching the plant and the industry and started incorporating it into my life for my health and wellness. I also found benefits for anxiety symptoms. When I became a plant-based athlete, I discovered hemp as a sustainable super food and it is now an integral part of my diet.”

Along the way, something amazing happened: Heather’s epileptic seizures stopped occurring; she hasn’t experienced one in more than two years. She attributes the relief to her use of plant-based medicines as well as her healthy lifestyle.

“I grew up in Missouri and believed the misinformation surrounding the plant. It wasn’t until I tried it in college and learned more about its benefits that I changed my thoughts,” Heather said. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many people where it had an important effect on their lives or the lives of their friends and families. Hearing stories about how this plant saves lives and improves the quality of life for so many people is a driving factor in my daily mission to make it available for everyone without stigma.”

The couple regularly uses plant-based medicines for pain management, athletic recovery and sleep assistance. And when you combine all that they do, they’re among the most active people on the planet.

“I like to think of the Earth as my gym,” said Antonio. “I’m a trail runner, so obviously I spend a lot of time running on trails, preferably surrounded by wilderness. But I also hike as part of my endurance and elevation training. This includes summiting 14-ers – and I managed to summit two last year during my race season.”

As if that’s not enough, Antonio also trains with free weights and kettlebells, rotating through various training routines to keep his muscles and nervous system guessing. Heather maintains a similar rigorous training schedule, regularly hiking, skiing and running trails when she’s not working as CEO of Green House Healthy. Both Antonio and Heather are certified trainers through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and provide training services as part of their offerings through Green House Healthy. In 2017, Antonio and Heather became the first man and woman to both complete an entire 420 Games National Tour (now called the Civilized Games).

The couple make a powerful team, and boast some impressive athletic accomplishments. Both competed in all five races of the former 420 Games National Tour across California, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado – with Antonio placing consistently in the top 10 and Heather reaching 3rd place, 2nd place and 1st place in Seattle, Portland and Denver, respectively. In 2017, Antonio and Heather competed in the La Sportiva Colorado Trail Running Series. As part of their duties running and managing Green House Healthy, the former banker (Antonio) and financial planner (Heather) work as sponsored competitive athletes.

“I’ve been consuming cannabis for more than 17 years,” Antonio said. “I started consuming to help me deal with anxiety and depression from situational stressors, although I didn’t know it at the time. Now that I fully understand the medicinal properties that help with overall health and wellness, I’ve come to see cannabis as a daily supplement to help me achieve my personal health goals.”

Both natives of Missouri, Antonio and Heather are excited to return to their home state to compete in a marathon celebrating the state’s recent vote to legalize medical cannabis. They believe that Gofire has a strong role toplay as novice markets adopt plant-based medicines.  

“The community of the Gofire App helps people find products for a desired outcome, based on the ailment or condition they’re trying to relieve,” Heather said. “It’s an amazing tool.”

Antonio appreciates the simplicity and convenience the app provides.

“Being able to scan a product, enter my dose and go about my day makes it the most convenient way for me to track how much I’m consuming, as well as keep a log of different products I’ve tried,” he said. “It has really simplified my experience with the plant. The map feature of the app actually allows me to search for products available in my area, as related to my specific needs for use, like athletic training.”

“Remember, we’re from Missouri,” he added. “When we moved to Colorado and started getting involved in the industry, we began to hear personal stories about how this plant has helped improve the quality of life for so many people struggling with so many different conditions. And I’ve witnessed first hand, how it has helped Heather’s epilepsy.”

As a result, the couple is devoted to spreading the truth of plant-based medicines. It’s why they’re committed to sharing the news around the world with as many folks who will listen.

“Unfortunately, it’s still illegal in many states, and is banned by most major sports leagues and players associations,” Antonio said. “This makes it difficult for athletes restricted by these leagues, with the fear of losing their livelihood. However, every one of us who steps out of the ‘green closet’ providing real-life examples of healthy, professional, upstanding citizens is doing our world a favor by proving [the plant] can be part of a healthy and active lifestyle.”