Health Coach Feature: How Christa Orecchio Has Helped Thousands of Individuals Use Food as Medicine to Improve Their Lives
Christa Orecchio has been a clinical and holistic nutritionist for the last 15 years. She is dedicated to helping individuals use food as medicine to heal from the root cause through her company, The Whole Journey. Taking a mind-body-spirit approach, she specializes in digestive and hormonal health.
Christa and her clinical team have taken over 20,000 people through her paid programs with astounding success and have had the privilege to help millions more in a meaningful way with their free content. She is also the bestselling author of How to Conceive Naturally, a sought-after speaker, and the host of three health and wellness TV shows.
Q: What were you doing prior to enrolling at Integrative Nutrition?
A: I worked in international relations for a few years out of college and then left to travel the world for a year while I applied to graduate school. I thought I wanted to become a diplomat and study international peace and conflict resolution because I wanted to make a difference. It wasn’t until I was in several different third-world countries during a time of world turmoil that I woke up to the realization that true and lasting peace starts with the individual.
Q: What led you to explore the Health Coach Training Program?
A: During this year of around-the-world travel, in a tiny South African town, the owner of a local health food store took me to a life-defining workshop called “Optimal Nutrition for The Mind” led by Patrick Holford of the Brain Bio Centre in the UK. Holford described the power of nutrition to transform lives. I was blown away by how much power and control we have over our full experience of life, influenced mostly by how we choose to address and maintain our physical health.
I put this new knowledge to the test and got off all sugar, caffeine, and refined foods. I limited my alcohol consumption and added in key nutrients specifically for my brain, nervous system, and, later, digestive system. I fell in love with yoga and worked out five days a week with joy. Because of an inextinguishable spark of inspiration I acted upon, my life completely transformed from the inside out.
For the first time in my life, I experienced energy all day long, enthusiasm for the little things, a profound sense of peace no matter what was happening around me, great digestion, and deep sleep – and I finally lost those pesky 15 pounds – all helping to boost my confidence. I couldn’t have imagined what true health really felt like. I wanted to share it with everyone I knew, so I went and did an online search for Health Coach Training Programs, and far and away, IIN was the one that stood out the most to me.
Q: How has your life changed since becoming a Health Coach?
A: I graduated from IIN in 2006 and have been doing this work ever since. My life, health, and career have transformed in the most powerful ways, and there really is no separation between who I am and what I do because this work is my life’s purpose. I’ve been able to help millions of people with my television shows and blog and with our paid clinical online programs that customers are saying are as effective (if not more effective) than working privately with a functional medicine practitioner. I get to do what I love every day, I am financially abundant, and I can provide many others with jobs they love as a result of following my passion. It feels that I am using my potential and creative force for powerful positive change, and I am eternally grateful for that.
Q: Which topics and modules were most beneficial for you?
A: While they all were beneficial, some really stood out. I went to IIN in person (not online) and flew to NYC from San Diego once a month to take class, so I took it very seriously and used my body as an experiment that year. The concept of bio-individuality really stuck with me because one month, we’d have Sally Fallon talking about the power of organ meats and fermented cod liver oil, and I’d try that for a month; then David Wolfe would speak on veganism and raw cacao, and I’d try that for a month. Marc David came in with the concept of true nourishment, and that really clicked with me. I loved pulling it all together in a unique way for what worked for me and then doing this for others. Bringing in the concepts of primary food and self-care in a way that really gets through to people and helps them improve their lifestyle was also profound and priceless as I still use those concepts today, almost 15 years later.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you now?
A: It depends. I work four days a week so I can have a special adventure day with my son. I might be doing webinars, Facebook live events, or podcast interviews. Some days, I’ll be creating or revamping new online programs, reviewing new research, or meeting with my team for quarterly planning, and then other days, I’m filming our Food as Medicine TV show or The Randy and Christa Show. I love how I can create my schedule according to what works best and that every day is different.
Q: What makes you and your practice unique?
A: For eight years, I had a by-referral-only practice with a six-month wait list and worked with 1,000+ individuals to help them heal and thrive in a lasting way. We worked on anything from simple life changes to adrenal and thyroid disorders to autoimmune disease, Candida, and chronic digestive disorders.
I started to struggle with the guilt that I couldn’t accept all the clients who were referred to me. So in 2012, I made the difficult decision to leave private practice to help more people than was possible in a one-on-one setting. I also wanted to make a greater contribution to the state of healthcare and become a voice for protecting and improving the food supply. That led me to create a weekly TV series on FOX called Food as Medicine, where I take complicated health topics and break them down in ways that are fun, motivating, and easy to understand. Later, I started the nationally syndicated Randy and Christa Show: News That Makes You Healthier, and most recently, I started my own online show called Food as Medicine TV.
I’ve also had the honor of sharing my work as a guest at TEDx; on The Doctors, The Real, and ESPN; and in SHAPE, the NY Post, and Redbook. What is unique about my work now is that I set out to create safe, effective, and affordable online programs utilizing the proven strategies I’ve developed over the last decade to help people truly get out of sickness and into thriving.
Our programs include the Nutritional Lifestyle Program; Kick Candida for Good; Gut Thrive in 5, the highly rated gut microbiome program that’s helped thousands of men and women reset their digestive system and end years – sometimes decades – of suffering; and The Adrenal ReCode, a cutting-edge food-based program that restores the adrenals, rejuvenates the thyroid, nourishes the entire nervous system, and balances hormones using food alone.
At first, I was resistant to taking my business online because I was so turned off by Internet marketing and the constant selling those marketers seem to do. I quickly realized that I could actually use the Internet for good. Now, having helped over 25,000 individuals truly change and improve their lives with our paid programs and millions more with our free content, I realize I made the right choice. It would have taken me several lifetimes to help the same number of people working one-on-one.
Q: How do you help your clients be successful? Is there a recent example that stands out for you?
A: We meet them exactly where they are, help them truly tune into themselves on a body, mind, and emotional level so that they can help themselves in a way they never thought possible. Our newest online program, The Adrenal ReCode, is very clinical and intuitive. Most people don’t realize the huge toll that living in a constant state of stress takes on their entire being until they really slow down enough to check in repeatedly.
Q: What do you love about your work?
A: I love how it’s always changing. I can’t even count how many times I have repeated the phrase by Hippocrates, “All disease begins in the gut,” in my work helping people overcome Candida and other digestive and immune issues. But now, with my newest research that comes from my own direct experience with my health on all levels, I realize that all disease begins in the nervous system. Our nervous systems are the foundation of our health. If both life and our minds and emotions take us in the direction of living in stress, fight-or-flight mode, versus where we should be living, rest-digest-and-heal mode, then our foundation is rocked and the other organs, glands, and systems will be adversely affected.
Q: How have you seen the need for Health Coaches change over the years?
A: There is an exponential increase in the need for Health Coaches as the food supply has changed, environmental toxins have increased, and stress is at an all-time high. We need Health Coaches to show people how to help themselves and empower them to create a lifestyle that keeps them healthy and thriving.
Q: What’s your tip for balancing your family, work, and personal wellness?
A: I am lucky to have a team of 10 amazing people who work for my company so I can delegate a lot more than I ever could. However, the one tip that works for anyone is how you start your day. Make sure you have a glass of water, make sure you eat breakfast, and make sure you do ONE thing for yourself, even if it is a 10-minute stretch, jog, or journaling session. Doing whatever it is that makes you feel like you have done something for yourself will ground you around the rest of your life responsibilities so you can choose them and respond to life versus react and be dragged through your days and weeks. I always ask myself the question, “Is this really necessary?” before I spend time doing something.
Having a child has helped me have more balance, believe it or not, because it’s set my priorities straight, and I don’t take any opportunities that I’m not 100% aligned with. I pass every business decision through three filters: 1: How much stress, energy, and time will this take? 2: Is it connected to my mission? 3: How much revenue will it produce?
Q: Tell us your favorite way to wake up each day!
A: To my goldendoodle and smiling baby boy!
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