Our Health Coach Feature series shares the inspiring stories of Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches who are cultivating positive health choices and educating others to live more wholesome lifestyles. Join us twice per month on the IIN Blog to read more about what brought our grads to IIN and what they’re up to now!
Mia Russo Stern is a Health Coach, raw food chef, author, entrepreneur, and breast cancer survivor. In early 2013, her entire life changed when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 42. Determined to survive, Mia changed her life and career. She went back to school for nutrition and wellness while recovering from a double mastectomy; her goal was to heal herself and create a digital platform where she could help others do the same. She founded two companies – Brooklyn Culinary Arts, an online wellness/cooking school, and Organically Thin, a personalized and group coaching program that helps clients reach their wellness goals. Mia graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, is raw food certified with David Wolfe, holds a certificate in Plant Lab Culinary with Matthew Kenney, and is certified in plant-based nutrition with Dr. T. Colin Campbell through Cornell University. She is also certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP).
Q: What were you doing prior to enrolling at Integrative Nutrition?
A: Prior to enrolling at IIN, I was blogging about food and doing some small acting jobs on the side while taking care of my two children, being a busy mom but still sort of searching for something.
Q: What led you to explore the Health Coach Training Program?
A: I was led almost directly to IIN after a breast cancer diagnosis in 2013. After I was diagnosed, I was working with Maryann Jones, an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, who was helping me with nutrition, and she opened my eyes to IIN.
Q: How has your life changed since becoming a Health Coach?
A: My life has completely changed! Taking the course, while going through such a difficult time, was exactly what I needed; it was the perfect distraction and empowered me! It gave me the tools I needed to go down a positive and healthy path.
Q: Which topics and modules were most beneficial for you?
A: I loved learning from Joel Fuhrman about cancer-fighting foods and from T. Colin Campbell about plant-based nutrition. I also was fascinated by the teachings of David Wolfe and superfoods and raw food nutrition.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you now?
A: A typical day may include meditation, a walk in the morning, shopping the farmers’ market or my favorite grocery stores for unique ingredients, recipe testing, shooting food photography, consulting with a client via Skype, creating meal plans, shooting a new video recipe for YouTube or Brooklyn Culinary, making dinner for the family, watching the news in bed, and falling asleep.
Q: What makes you and your practice unique?
A: I guess what makes my practice unique is that I am coming from a place of recovery and doing everything I can to give back and help others. I seek to work with those who simply want to live a healthier life, and lose weight (so many of my clients are looking for weight loss), and I also have the honor of working with those affected by cancer. I try to share what I did, while always teaching them to empower, read, research, ask, and include your doctors in all things.
Q: How do you help your clients be successful? Is there a recent example that stands out for you?
A: I think that my greatest asset that has helped my clients is my connectedness and unending love for them. I love them all. I want to help them all. I am there for them always, and I will never give up on them. I am always in their view, popping in, texting, saying hello in a private forum, emailing, constantly checking in and letting them know that I am here and that I believe in them, and that I care.
Q: What do you love about your work?
A: Everything! I love my clients. I love the feedback they share with me, I love the success I see, I love that just about each one of my clients over the years has said pretty much the same thing to me, “You have changed my life.” This leaves me so humbled, overwhelmed with love and thankfulness. I can’t help but be a “helper.” I always have been this way, and it’s how I thrive.
Q: How have you seen the need for Health Coaches change over the years?
A: The manufacturing of processed foods is off the charts!! We need ambassadors to connect, listen, and share the news that these foods are not healthy. People need people, and Health Coaches help create connection and accountability.
Q: What’s your tip for balancing your family, work, and personal wellness?
A: Organization! Make a chart; print out a calendar. Make time for family, and work, and self. Balance is key. Just make it so!
Q: Tell us your favorite way to wake up each day!
A: With my bedroom windows open, listening to the sound of the birds. Hands down, best magic for me!
Are you thinking about becoming an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach? Click here for more information!