Vista McCroskery, a 2011 graduate from Nacogdoches, TX, grew up on a small farm where she planted her own seeds and enjoyed organic fruits and vegetables. When she moved away, her diet and lifestyle drastically changed, and consequently she became overwhelmed with serious health problems. She did not seek help for a long time, but years of medications and stress forced her to make a change.
After rediscovering whole foods and primary foods through the Health Coaching Training Program, Vista was able to move away from her medications and lose an astonishing 100 pounds. She launched her own health coaching business, and currently has three books in the making. Most importantly, Vista has returned to a state of happiness and self-confidence, and after a long, difficult journey, she’s finally living to her full potential.
What were you doing before Integrative Nutrition?
I was between jobs, having resigned from my position as a history professor, struggling to recover from a catastrophic fall and recently ruptured gall bladder. I weighed 220 pounds and was being treated for depression and neurological, gastric, respiratory, thyroid, and autoimmune problems. My struggle with systemic candida had lasted a lifetime and I still had flare-ups in stressful situations.
What led you to explore Integrative Nutrition's program?
My family owned a small cottage farm, and the organic production of food was a daily part of my life from birth. I spent each growing season planting seeds or gathering vegetables, fruits, and nuts for preparation. It was primarily for home use, though we bartered with neighbors and family members. Many of my problems, especially the candida, exploded when I went away to the city for my college studies. A holistic physician explained the connection, but was unsure how to undo the damage. Things exacerbated, and by my forties I was in a very bad way. But I had become a seeker. A reiki practitioner told me about Integrative Nutrition, and I was anxious to check it out. Luckily, my great aunts were natural healers, so I was very open to the concepts.
What happened since you enrolled in Integrative Nutrition's program?
Heavenly intervention! I rediscovered my youth and my inner self. Reconnecting with primary food was the first step that started me on the right path. The theories and concepts introduced me to new ideas and reinforced the country lifestyles of my family in East Texas. I started drinking herbal teas, using essential oils, replacing the trash in my body, life, and soul with purity, gentleness and love. I got out the recipes I had written down as a child and began to revamp them with unrefined sugars and grains. Coconut oil has been a miracle for me. I take no candida meds. My ailments are gone, and so are 100 pounds of pain and edema. I have a new life and am starting my coaching business. I have three books in the works.
What did you learn at Integrative Nutrition?
The most important things I learned at IIN were that you must truly love your neighbor as you love yourself. That gives you no "out." If you don't love yourself, you cannot love or give to anyone else in the universe. This realization has allowed me to give up so much to the higher power that is part of each of us. Whenever I become anxious, I just have to close my eyes and say, "If you want this for me, I know it will happen. I'm going to let it be, so I can be here now." Be here now. That has become a huge part of my life. Primary foods have to be met in order for the right secondary foods to be something we crave as well. And for the first time in my life, I truly feel free and comfortable just being myself.
What do you love about the school?
That it opened my eyes to my self-made prison and the path leading to a healthy, open heart. Joshua is amazing. Where else would I have had the opportunity to hear people like Andrew Weil, John Douillard, Deepak Chopra, and Bernie Siegel speak in one place? My classmates are phenomenal people; I have forged bonds with many of them that will last a lifetime. I feel like I have spent a year involved in one big "love-in." And I will be back for the Immersion Program. Thanks to all that fabulous support, encouragement, and knowledge that others have shared, I have so much to give.
How has studying with an international Health Coach Training Program benefited you?
Once I acquired the information, I wanted to share it. I have a doctorate and taught at the university level for many years. I see coaching and holistic counseling as extensions of that. The Training Program definitely supports that belief. Having never been involved in the business side of things before, I got a true education. I have started Hearts in Bloom, my coaching program, specializing in diabetes, weight, and candida issues. I began my blog almost immediately, and the response has been fantastic. Now I have also launched Vista’s Garden, a website that currently offers essential oils and organic teas. More is on the way. The potential is incredible. I didn't even have a Facebook page when I started IIN!
Is there a need for Health Coaches where you live?
Absolutely! I live in small-town East Texas, which is a rural, farming area. These people are in genuine need. While older residents remember the ways their grandparents did things, with teas and balms, younger ones are burning out on quick fix antibiotics and the arrival of the fast food craze. Diabetes and weight gain are catastrophic problems for them. The major problem among the elderly is the inability to pay for costly factory healthcare and medications that exacerbate their problems. They no longer live into their nineties, as their parents did, because they don't have access to the same pure herbs and oils. They want to do things the "old folk's way," but aren't sure where to start. That's where we come in.
What do you love about your work?
Everything! A lot is changing here. There is a great health food store. People are interested and tired of being sick. I love reminding them that their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents used food as medicine. Each time I share a new baked goods creation with someone and see that look in their eyes, it is as joyous for me as it is for them. And this calling provides constant renewal. Because of the bio-individual nature of our clients, we can never, ever get bored!
Tell us about your practice.
Whole foods are a huge part of my practice because of my background. I grew up baking with my mother, using the foods we had available on the farm, so I just revamped many of those recipes for healthier uses. My mother was fearless in the kitchen, so if I think it might work, I will try it. Experimenting is so relaxing and allows me to be creative in an unusual way. My Double Chocolate Cherry Fantasy is probably the most popular success locally, but my remodeling of the traditional family Peanut Butter Cookie recipe is a favorite on the farm. I always introduce myself with samples. The foods helped me overcome so much, and I am able to suggest replacements in such a pleasurable way. A recipe book is on the way so stay tuned!