Integrative Nutrition graduate and Health Coach, Elham Simmons took a leap of faith and now lives the life of her dreams. Read her inspiring interview with us to find out how she did it.
What were you doing before Integrative Nutrition?
Before starting at Integrative Nutrition I had been a teaching assistant at a high school in South Africa, a paralegal for a non-profit in DC, and then worked for a couple years in helping train human resources to do grassroots spiritual community development around the Northwest. It was all interesting work and something about each job resonated with a core aspect of myself - and yet each time there was another important part of myself that wasn't present. Health and nutrition were a personal interest -- I was going to bed reading whole foods and macrobiotic cookbooks and conducting experiments in my kitchen with whole grains, green smoothies, and gluten-free muffins -- but they had nothing to do with my professional life. I now think back on this time as essential prep work. I was learning about my strengths and interests and about how I show up in the world.
When I heard about Integrative Nutrition I was at a potluck talking to a vibrant woman who I later discovered was Integrative Nutrition graduate. We first bonded over the vegetarian chili and were soon sharing muffin recipes. She told me about the school on a Saturday night. On Monday morning I was enrolled. It was as if the two parallel paths I had been walking - human and spiritual development in my professional life, and health and nutrition in my personal life - had come to a point in the road and finally merged into one!
How have you incorporated your Integrative Nutrition education into your life?
At every stage with Integrative Nutrition, from the warm up classes, to the Immersion Program and the Miami conference, to now being an alumna, I've found that Integrative Nutrition has helped me wind a little closer - like that spiral logo - to the very core of my life and purpose.
Immediately I connected to a stunningly clear vision of myself as a health coach working with individuals and groups to help people connect to their own light and heal their relationship to food and nourishment. I was calm and graceful and living somewhere bright and beautiful, right near the water. I didn't know where it was or how to get there, but that image became my 'compass'. Within the first month I started making food changes, getting off of coffee and sugar, and then, with the support and community of amazing friends I made in the program, I quit my job and was building a bustling coaching practice by graduation!
During Immersion I went deeper into my core belief systems and started a process of deeply connecting to my authentic self and what I want from life, healing old pains and limitations in my thoughts and in my body. Then, after getting home from the Miami conference I made a vision board that included the image of stucco homes with tiled roofs cascading down a green hillside towards beautiful blue water. Less than 6 months later I was living in Switzerland in a Unesco World Heritage site where I am greeted every day with the stunning view of sprawling vineyards, majestic Alps and the moody expanse of Lake Geneva. I go for walks or runs nearly every day through terraced hills that have been cultivated in the traditional ways for hundreds of years and eat fresh, unprocessed food that is grown right in this region. I never could have imagined being here three years ago.
“What it came down to, for me, was that Integrative Nutrition was seeing the whole picture of people's health, not just focusing on trying to control fragmented aspects of life. “
Why did you choose Integrative Nutrition’s Health Coach Training Program?
When I first looked at the website on that Saturday night my initial reaction was "Oh no, not a bunch of fad diets and self-help mumbo jumbo. People are already confused enough as it is!" Then I went back for a second look on Sunday. I watched some videos about Joshua [Rosenthal] explaining primary foods and started to realize "Oh! This is about helping people navigate past all the fads and gimmicks to connect authentically to themselves - to their own lives, to their own wisdom, to their own health and mission. I can definitely get on board with that!" What it came down to, for me, was that Integrative Nutrition was seeing the whole picture of people's health, not just focusing on trying to control fragmented aspects of life. Once I saw that there were no questions anymore. This was the program for me.
Is there a need for Health Coaches in your area of the world?
All my life I have considered myself a 'world citizen'. I was born in Finland to a Persian mother and an American father of Scottish and French ancestry. I've lived in Ecuador, France, South Africa, Washington DC, the Pacific Northwest, and now Switzerland. There is no tying me down. And that is the real beauty of being a health coach! I now see most of my clients over Skype and have worked with people in the Far East, Europe, North America, and Africa. I have a blog, a newsletter, twitter and all that - but most of all, I have a global community and a global presence. Being able to have my own business and operate from any place in the world has set me free to embrace that global nomad aspect of myself. And if there is one thing I have learned from IIN, it is be your truest, most authentic self, and that is the most powerful service you can offer your clients. I see it happening all the time. My courage and passion for life wakes up the memory of courage and passion in the people I work with and they start seeing miraculous transformations in their lives.
What are your future plans?
Oh my goodness I am so excited for this next stage of life! In my usual style, I am off on another grand adventure - this time to Barcelona, Spain! I long for the color, the sun, the art, the freshness, and the warm beaches. This is part of my soul calling and feels so right. To make it there I am ramping up my referral networks, building my practice, getting out my blog www.soulcarerevolution.com and planning to work 20 hours a week as a health coach then enjoy my time learning Catalan, basking in the sunlight and the art, and having a fabulous time in, what I feel, is the heart of the Mediterranean. Yeah, it's new and scary and means taking another huge leap of faith, but I learned at IIN that when my soul calls me forward I just can't hold it back. It all started with this question: What would I do if I knew I could not fail? So now I invite you to ask yourself. What would you do if you know you could not fail? The world is yours!
"My courage and passion for life wakes up the memory of courage and passion in the people I work with and they start seeing miraculous transformations in their lives."
Find out more about Integrative Nutrition's Health Coach Training Program.