We’re bringing you a special edition of our graduate Q&A this week, as we take a look into the life of not one, but two Health Coaches! Jeff and Cindy Berkowitz have been married for 26 years, and both are 2011 graduates of the Health Coach Training Program. They live in Pittsburgh, PA, with their three children.
Cindy was working in a high-pay, high-stress position as a family law paralegal when she took a fall that injured her back and ruined her knee. She underwent total knee replacement surgery, which left her unable to live a normal life, let alone go back to work. That’s when she enrolled at Integrative Nutrition, the start of a major life transformation.
With a background in physics and food chemistry, Jeff was a chef for 25 years before he began suffering from a variety of inflammatory diseases. At age 48, he was on 15 different medications, plus narcotics to treat the pain. He enrolled at Integrative Nutrition hoping to gain a sense of control over his own life. One year later, he is off all medication and 40 pounds lighter!
Cindy and Jeff graduated together this year and now find themselves leading a completely different, significantly healthier lifestyle. They’ve discovered a new career as Health Coaches in their practice, Intuitive Holistic Health. The couple specializes in autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases and endocrine problems, working to help clients take control of their health. In addition to their practice, Cindy and Jeff teach cooking classes, hold corporate workshops and wellness programs, develop healthy recipes for commercial production, and write a food blog. Read more about this dynamic duo below!
Why did you choose to learn at Integrative Nutrition?
Cindy: The program seemed the most comprehensive with not only the information but the business building skills, too.
Jeff: My wife introduced me to them and they have a great holistic approach that shouted at me, I needed it!
Why do you think nutrition education is important?
Cindy: It affects everything you do and can be in life.
Jeff: The world has changed, food has changed, and our mothers and grandmothers no longer know how or what to cook so they cannot pass it along. We have to start from scratch again!
How has your life changed since becoming a Health Coach?
Cindy: I no longer live in a rat race and my profession and personal life are integrated now. My profession and how I live my life reflects my values.
Jeff: I am happier, healthier and have a career that I can really believe in.
What do you love about Integrative Nutrition?
Cindy: I love how comprehensive the program is. You are given everything you need to succeed.
Jeff: Integrative Nutrition's focus is spot on – primary foods, eating whole foods, teaching people how to pay attention to their nutritional needs. This will change the world!
What is the biggest risk you have taken since enrolling in the program?
Jeff: Rejecting the current American way of life, the SAD (standard American diet), the 9-5, and living my life in a holistic way.
Cindy: Saying yes to being a substitute for someone else's raw food lunch and learn even though I had no experience.
What do you love about being a Health Coach?
Cindy: I love the high I feel after each client session. Helping people is my greatest passion. Affecting change in people's lives gives me great personal satisfaction.
Jeff: I now know, in my gut, what people should be eating. I love helping my clients make their lives better and it is so easy. I am making real connections with people.
What do your clients love about your program?
Cindy: The empowerment they feel and the delicious recipes from our chef.
Jeff: It is so easy, kind of like falling off a log.
What has been your biggest challenge as a Health Coach?
Jeff: Not walking up to people I see on the street, handing them my card and telling them they need my help.
Cindy: Staying motivated.
What has been your greatest success so far?
Cindy: Getting my husband off all of his medications and getting my daughter who has an autoimmune disease to see the connections between what she eats and how she feels.
Jeff: Getting myself off of all of my meds and feeling good.
What are some health concerns you’ve cleared up since beginning the Health Coach Training Program?
Cindy: I no longer have chronic joint pain or adult acne.
Jeff: Psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, lung inflammation/asthma, mild Crohn's disease, uric acid kidney stone disease, and hypogonadism.
How are you making a difference in your community?
Cindy: I talk to people every week at the farmer's market and teach them how to eat more fresh vegetables.
Jeff: I am teaching people how to cook wholesome food at home, eat more vegetables, and be kinder to the world we live in.
What do you see yourself doing in the future?
Cindy: Giving lectures, seeing clients, and traveling the world.
Jeff: Speaking to huge groups, helping thousands live better, and writing a book.
What is the message you want to get out?
Cindy: You don't have to be sick! You can take control of your health!
Jeff: As long as you still breathe there is hope for the future.