Welcome to your guide on how to thrive in Shanghai.
Hi, I'm Iza! I'm a life-long learner, a Certified Primal Health Coach (PHC) & a Positive Psychologist in the making. My goal is to use my personal experience, nutritional science, tools of positive & coaching psychology to help YOU figure out your challenges with food, sort through confusing diet advice, and help you build a strong, loving and supportive relationship with yourself. If you are ready to ask some bigger questions and do some deeper work then you’ve come to the right place and I couldn’t be happier that you’re here!
I work with people both online and in-person. I find that free information is a great start, but it's personalised support and accountability that really make the difference. Find out more here.
I chose to do Primal Health Coach certification over all the other holistic courses as Primal Course by Mark Sisson isn't just a diet - it is a way of life that is ruled by 10 laws, which provided me with the foundation during my transition. Remember though this is just a start…
The 10 laws
1. Eat plants and animals
2. Avoid poisonous things
3. Move frequently
4. Lift heavy things
5. Sprint once in a while
6. Get plenty of sleep
8. Get plenty of Sunlight
9. Avoid stupid mistakes
10. Use your brain
I am not saying that after completing my Primal Certification course I have all the answers, but what I do know is that going Primal has done great things for me and others around me. On my journey I have read many books and listened to many podcasts of cutting-edge thinkers, medical professional, body hackers and researchers. Even though, at times some of their views on certain topics contradicted one another, they all agreed that to reach an optimal health we need to start with a whole foods diet. They also support the argument that our optimal diet should include plenty of vegetables and fermented products in order to optimise our gut health.
Although, during my own transition period of shifting from a sugar burner to a fat burner I experienced detoxification flu-like symptoms and at times I was ready to give up, now after two years into it, I am glad I didn't. Primal way of life has nourished my body in all the right ways and made the best quality of life possible. It takes around three weeks to see the full benefits of this Primal lifestyle programme and you can rest assure that by choosing this particular way of life you are not only fulling your body with the right foods but also supporting sustainable farming, fishing and grazing practices. Kickstart your transition today by working with me.
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Currently, I live in Shanghai but my journey began in Poland, in a small village next to the Baltic Sea. I was fortunate enough to be raised in a pollution free environment and on organic produce from my Granny's farm. Sadly, my Granny stopped raising animals and growing her own vegetables when I was 15 and that’s when my family and I discovered processed food, coated in vegetable oils and sugar. My favourite food to eat became chocolate and because I’ve never struggled with weight I felt invincible and thought it was OK to eat it in unlimited quantities daily. I was also a carb addict eating so called ‘healthy’ foods. My breakfast consisted of cappuccino and croissant, followed by freshly squeezed orange juice. For lunch, I would often opt for a sandwich (made out of ‘healthy’ whole grains, of course!), a pack of crisps and a chocolate bar. For dinner, I would have homemade pasta or a rice dish cooked in vegetable oils. I would often end my day with a dessert and a glass or two of wine. This high carb and sugar diet left me hungry so grazing throughout the day on chocolate and fruits to sustain my energy level was also a daily occurrence.
Being too preoccupied with studying, working, partying, drinking, travelling and staying up late throughout all of my teens and twenties, I failed to consider what was going on inside my body, my spirit and my soul. Finally, in my late 20’s, I hit rock bottom with all sorts of health issues and this desperate “ah ha” moment brought me to the Primal Lifestyle. I finally realised that my dress size had nothing to do with health and simply being skinny didn’t equate to being healthy. Even though on the outside I was British size 8 (American size 0) on the inside I was skinny fat with numerous health problems. I was sick of feeling sick all the time. Constant migraines, bloating, cold after cold, low energy levels and lack of concentration were all I knew at that time. In fact, I was most probably on my way to become another victim of modern diet type 2 diabetes. During my “ah ha” moment my father was also diagnosed with malignant gastric cancer which left me devastated and confused about the lifestyle my family and I were leading. I took this “ah ha” moment as a very loud wake-up call and decided to embark on a journey that would heal my broken relationship not only with food but also my soul.
For the past years I have been studying, researching and experimenting with the healing properties of different foods, essential oils, and relaxation techniques. Thanks to my new found application for a healthy lifestyle I managed to overcome my health challenges. During my healing journey I had to restore my insulin sensitivity, treat my leaky gut and cure my insomnia. Staying away from my best ‘friend’ chocolate and other man-made carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, chips, cookies and cutting out refined sugar wasn’t easy, but these were the first steps I needed to take. Luckily, I just happen to love food and was eager to bring everything I learnt about nutrition into the kitchen and create new meal plans without sacrificing the flavour. The food I make nowadays is gluten-free, vegetable oil-free and sugar-free and it tastes scrumptious. When choosing ingredients for my meals I focus on locally grown, organic vegetables, fruit, wild fish, and grass-fed meat. I love to cook using plenty of anti-inflammatory herbs and spices. Through healing properties of food, yoga practice, and mindfulness practices I overcame my health problems. This new lifestyle changed the way I look at food, stress, relationships and exercise.
Of course, these changes didn’t come easy and I met a lot of resistance surprisingly mostly from people who I thought, at that time, cared for me the most. This new lifestyle among other things brought changes to my social life, some of which were too big for some of my ‘friends’ to handle or understand. Instead of happily going out for late nights drinking, all I wanted to do, was to be active during the day and go to bed at 9:30 PM with my favourite book. My true friends were happy to meet up, go hiking or play other sports and then make dinner together, something I really appreciate to this day. Now I understand that having a lot in common in every relationship is key as without it love or friendship will naturally fizzle out.
“Don’t die with the music still inside you”, is one of my favourite quotes by Wayne Dyer. This journey made me rediscover parts of me which I thought were lost forever and gave me the courage to embrace the music within and get to know the person I truly am.
My mission is to empower women and men just like you to become the best version of yourself by guiding you through your journey to physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. However, to undertake this transformation, changes such as eating real food, having meaningful relationships, getting adequate sleep and everyday movement are all vital. Initially, making these changes might not be easy, but will be well worth the results in the long term. On my blog you will be able to find simple nutrient-dense recipes, DIY beauty products, insightful articles on health, and realistic tips on how to make healthier choices in Shanghai or any other city you happen to live in.
I am looking forward to connecting with you and personally guiding you on your journey to becoming the best version of yourself.
With lots of love,
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P.S. Feeling very honoured to be included the HuffPost write up about upcoming wellness websites to follow in 2017 and even more honoured to be featured in Mark's Daily Apple Success Stories and in the Urban Family Magazine.