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Meet Elisa

I received my Professional Holistic Health Coaching training at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC and have graduated from  The Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC, the #1 culinary school for health supportive cooking in the country. My focus is helping educate, inspire and empower women to use delicious food, stress management techniques and more to live an abundantly rich & healthy life.

What is Functional Nutrition?

I practice functional nutrition within the realm of functional medicine which means I work to find the root cause of disease and through various dietary, herbal and lifestyle upgrades, I work to bring the body back into balance and vitality. Too often in western medicine, health care practitioners focus in on just one ailment or one organ in the body but in functional nutrition I look at how all the bodily systems and organs are impacting each other. The human body works in perfect synergy, in sickness and in health, nothing is isolated.  Your digestive system plays a massive role in your immune, nervous and respiratory health so when one problem arises, you can bet all the bodily systems are compromised. The beautiful thing is that when we restore vitality and energy, the human body shows its amazing capacity to healMy approach is based on my education at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I studied over 100 different dietary theories and learned from some of the best minds in nutrition and functional medicine. I realize there is no “one size  fits all” when it comes to nutrition and wellness, that’s why for each client, I design a personal treatment plan that includes dietary and lifestyle upgrades that meets her specific needs and goals.

I am always learning and growing and am a graduate of  Full Body Systems by Holistic Nutrition Lab which focuses on the anatomy, function and physiology of the human body in healing.

 


Elisa’s Journey with Health

My road in health has not always been picturesque. I wasn’t always starting my days with Superfood Smoothies, and winding down with healing, Echinacea tea. In fact, my breakfast used to be Frosted Flakes and some sugary granola bar.

Long before I become a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Natural Foods Chef, I was a blind consumer of food, neglected healthful advice, and rarely challenged the status quo. I was always incredibly active growing up, and eventually earned a four-year full scholarship to play for the women’s basketball team at The College of St. Rose in Albany, NY. In many ways, I was a vibrant, fit and active young woman, but looking back it’s clear, I wasn’t the picture of health one may have mistaken me for.

Throughout high school and college my main health concerns were: sugar cravings, lethargy and chronic headaches. I looked at my friends, teammates and family and figured it was normal, so I never questioned sleeping through countless classes, being controlled by cravings, and using Ibuprofen to numb the constant headaches.

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My turning point

It was not until two years after I graduated from college that I started to take my physical, emotional and mental health more seriously. A perfect storm hit me, knocked me on my back (literally) and forced me to, over time, examine what health really meant for me by questioning the status quo and completely changing the way I saw wellness in the world.

In the span of one week, I was in a serious bike accident, lost my job, and the relationship I was in ended abruptly. I was bruised physically and emotionally and started to spiral into a chronic state of fatigue, anxiety and even depression. This wasn’t something I could just sweep under the rug, no matter how hard I tried, so I took the advice of friends, family and doctors and started taking the medications I was prescribed to get through the eye of the storm, if you will.

I wasn’t 100% comfortable with the prescription laid out in front of me, but I took it anyway. After all, I didn’t have a medical degree and had never dealt with such a devastating emotional and mental blow before. Besides, there were many people in my family who had dealt with, or were dealing with anxiety and depression. So, of course, I didn’t challenge the system, because hey, “it’s genetic, right?

A year after that “perfect storm” hit, I was still struggling on many levels and started to question how I was choosing to work with my chronic state of lethargy, anxiety and bouts of depression. I realized that my medication, for me, was more of a band aide on a stubborn wound, and before I could accept this prescription with endless refills, I wanted to explore  a more holistic approach to my health. I didn’t want to wait for a pill, a quick fix, or a doctor to help heal me, when deep down I didn’t believe any of which were reaching the real root cause. Consequently, I realized I had to listen to my intuition and seek out my own healing path.

I started to dive deeper into studying food and mood, working on stress management like breathing and meditation, and even found spiritual lessons hidden in my troubles, which were many ! The deeper I dove into studying the effects of food and stress management on our bodies at the cellular level, the more I saw clearly how everything we put into our bodies impacts our mood, energy, health and happiness. I was stunned that no one had ever addressed my diet as it became evident that certain foods were laying the foundation for chronic, damaging, inflammation. No one ever said, “Elisa, starting your day with two bowls of Frosted Flakes is a complete sugar bomb, causing hormone imbalance, which is ultimately contributing to your roller coaster of emotions.”

I started listening to my intuition

and became my own doctor. 

Food was, and of course still is, one of my biggest sources of nourishment, but I have to say it wasn’t a kale smoothie or a magical superfood that got me out of that deep slump. It was first having the courage to question the “healing” prescription laid out in front of me, believing there was another way, and finally understanding that, given the right ingredients, our bodies have an amazing natural capacity to heal. It’s been years since that “perfect storm”, and thankfully I’ve come to see it as exactly what I needed to jump-start my health, question the health claims/myths out there and find a healing path that worked best for me.

I use my experiences and my studies from IIN and The Natural Gourmet Institute to create a personalized road-map to health for my clients and provide the accountability they need to transform their lives.

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photo by Matthew Sussman

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