For most if not all of human history, people have recognized the importance of nutrition in healthy living. What we put into our bodies has a clear effect on how feel, how we look, and ultimately how healthy we are. However, while this has always been apparent, we face unique challenges today. We’ve developed and created so many different foods, drinks, supplements, etc. that in ways it’s more difficult than ever before to figure out what’s truly healthy.
Fortunately, along with a more complicated diet, the modern era has introduced social tools that help those spreading strong nutritional strategies and values to reach wider audiences. For this reason, even though nutrition has long been emphasized among the health-conscious, the 21st century has begun to feel like the most nutritionally focused era in history.
Some of this is because of the prevalence of independent nutrition blogs and fad diets across the Internet, some of which make it big for a short time. But for the most part, it’s due to the rise of professional health and nutrition coaches, which is something the Intent Blog covered a few years ago in the article The Coming of the Health Coach Revolution.
In this article I wanted to take a more in-depth look at what it means to be a professional health coach, and what a thorough nutritional education can allow such a person to accomplish. In doing some research, I came across the success story of Jil Larsen, a paralegal-turned-small business owner who opened the Magic Mix Juicery in New York City.
As she made clear in her interview with the NY Daily News, Larsen didn’t start the business because she saw juicing and healthy foods as a fad. Rather, it came as a result of her own struggle with getting healthy. Apparently she was diagnosed with a skin disorder known as melasma in 2006. It caused brown patches to show up on her skin, which made her realize that she had to make a change.
In speaking with friends and researching her own eating habits, Larsen told the Daily News that she was “basically overfed and undernourished.” This led to a six-month-long series of juice cleanses, during which she stopped eating meat and diary. Sure enough, her melasma was reversed, but her passion for juicing and embracing a healthier lifestyle didn’t end there. Following her graduation from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she earned her certificate as a health coach, Larsen opened her health food business in 2012 in the Financial District.
The location was important for her, as she soon realized there wasn’t anything like it in the area. Now, she provides the Wall Street folks with the chance to grab something quick and healthy as opposed to resorting to not-quite-as-healthy options. And it’s not just juices that are available, as she also sells food such as a fruit-forward take on French toast along with sunflower-filled veggie burger with Asian influences.
Larsen’s story is just one example of the results that can be realized through modern wellness programs. It’s also an inspiration for those exploring new ways of improving nutrition and lifestyle.
Elizabeth Burton is a freelance writer and journalist from Boston, MA. When she is not writing she can be found trying a new vegetarian restaurant or practicing yoga.