Steffi: Dietary advice in Munich
Steffi Dächsel is an integrative nutrition and health consultant in Munich. Her offices are called Wohlfühlkost (in English: Feel-Good Food). Her day starts at 7am with oil pulling and a green smoothie. Afterwards, Steffi deals with client requests, writes articles for her blog, manages her social media accounts or takes part in online conferences for advanced vocational training.
After doing some yoga she likes to meet clients for a healthy lunch. In the afternoon and during the early evening hours it’s time for nutrition counselling sessions before she ends the day with meditation or Yin yoga.
Originally, Steffi did business studies at university and worked within Human Resources for many big companies for nearly 10 years. However, "I realised that this wasn’t the right path for me”, she says.
"I’ve always enjoyed healthy food and been interested in everything connected with health, vitality and happiness, so I decided in early 2014 to take a distance learning course at the International Academy for Naturopathy to become an expert in health and nutrition.”
Distance learning courses for integrative nutritionists
The International Institute of Naturopathy (InN) is the first teaching academy for distance learning programs that is specialised in the holistic element of nutrition and health counselling. Since 2012 the International Institute of Naturopathy, which is based in Switzerland, has been training integrative nutritionists.
All participants study independently from the comfort of their own home using comprehensive learning materials. Yet, they are able to contact and consult with their tutors at any time via the online campus.
After 16 to 22 months the distance learning course to become a certified integrative health and nutrition consultant finishes with an exam, enabling the new nutritionist to follow their heart’s desire: advising other people about all things health, creating individual dietary plans for them, give relevant lectures, organise health and cooking courses, write articles for health portals and much more.
"The best decision I’ve ever made"
While doing the course Steffi Dächsel noticed a huge interest in the subject of nutrition and health in her personal environment. Lots of people had questions and were quite insecure due to the many different opinions that exist about healthy eating. This is what triggered Steffi to start writing her blog in March 2014.
"Later on, after completing the course, more and more people became interested in personal counselling sessions, so I decided to work as an Integrative Health and Nutrition Consultant. I hadn’t seen this coming at the start of 2014, but I have to admit it was the best decision I could have made.”
Jennifer: Specialist for healthy dieting
Jennifer Vukajc (from the Offenbach region in Germany) is another successful graduate of the InN. In her hometown Heusenstamm in Hesse, Germany, the 35-year old mother of two children opened her FigurPraxis (in English: BodyPractice) where she helps clients to reach their ideal figure without using the usual diet products.
Jennifer has purposely chosen to specialise in weight loss. She says: "Throughout my teenage years, basically since puberty, I had been battling against my body and my curves. I’ve tried almost every diet and all the latest trends, but only at the expense of my health. I didn’t want to accept this circumstance, so I took the course at the International Institute of Naturopathy to become a nutritionist.”
Thanks to her personal experiences, Jennifer is able to show her clients how to lose weight the healthy way and with tasty meals. She is always happy when her clients have their first successes.
"I love it to receive all this positive feedback from the people I’ve been able to help. It’s beautiful when they tell me that they have been able to reduce their intake of blood pressure pills, or that their blood sugar levels have stabilised, or that they fit into their old jeans from 15 years ago again.”
Time for family
There is another reason why Jennifer likes her job as a nutritionist so much: "It’s easy to combine the self-employment with my family life.” When Jennifer’s day starts with her first appointments at 8.30am her children are already in kindergarten. During lunch break, she has enough time to prepare a healthy meal and pick up her children again.
In the afternoons, she returns to her office for the evening appointments, which she offers to working professionals and which can take until 8pm.
Petra: Advice from home and in a naturopathic practice
Petra Maria Schmitt from Miltenberg in Lower Franconia, Germany, on the other hand also provides counselling from home as a nutritionist, at least in the afternoons. In the mornings, she teaches patients about healthy nutrition in the offices of an alternative practitioner. She says:
"We often organise smoothie days or offer little snacks to demonstrate to clients that you can prepare food quickly and follow a healthy diet at the same time.”
Of course it is not only the nutrition that forms part of a healthy lifestyle. Other areas, such as physical exercise and relaxation, also play an important role. Often, people seek education, motivation, and practical suggestions in these areas, too.
This is why Steffi Dächsel is currently doing a course to become a recreational therapist. From March 2016 onwards she wants to offer courses for her clients about progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training, stress management, and mindfulness training to tackle stress.
Petra Maria Schmitt will also allow you to relax through foot reflexology as developed by Hanne Marquardt. Another bonus for Petra Maria’s clients are the "small homemade and delicious snacks which – where possible – are tailored to the client’s needs, e.g. something sweet without sugar for diabetics.”
Ideal blood levels through dietary changes
Diabetes is one of Petra Maria Schmitt’s areas of expertise due to personal experiences. After all, it was her personal health problems which got her to where she is today. Suffering from Hashimoto’s disease, diabetes and heart problems, she started looking for alternatives.
"The mainstream medicine had given up on me and I was told it’s all down to psychological issues, so I started to read a lot of specialist books, did some online research and dealt with subjects such as natural medicine, but in particular with healthy nutrition."
The results were astounding as Petra Maria tells us:
"Thanks to my dietary changes and various vital substances, I now have ideal blood sugar levels (I don’t need insulin or tablets anymore). My thyroid levels are also normal again which means the disease has disappeared! I just couldn’t get over these results and was so fascinated by all the knowledge I had gained that I wanted to learn even more about the subject of "healthy nutrition.”
Whilst looking for a suitable distance learning course I eventually came across the International Institute of Naturopathy.”
Julia Vaimann, who is now a successful nutritionist and alternative practitioner with her own practice in the city of Stuttgart, Germany, has got a similar story to tell.
Julia: nutritionist and lecturer
Julia, too, discovered the International Institute of Naturopathy due to personal health problems. Being a business economist, she used to work for big companies, but decided to quit in order to pursue her true passion and to become an expert for nutrition and healthy living.
Whilst doing the distance learning course to become a nutritionist, she also trained as an alternative practitioner. "I kind of absorbed all the knowledge”, Julia says.
"It was a very tough, but fantastic and exciting time in my life. For two and a half years I have now been self-employed, working in my own practice VitalWert (in English: VitalValue) in Stuttgart. My working day is currently split into two activities.
On the one hand, I have personal appointments in my office or prepare for these appointments by evaluating the analysis results, creating individual therapy and nutrition schedules and drafting personal packages of measures. On the other hand, I work as a freelance lecturer for the International Institute of Naturopathy where I’m looking after the online campus and answer students’ questions and manage the exercises.”
Julia explains the difference between integrative and conventional nutrition counselling very well:
"My nutrition counselling is integrative (=holistic) and is based on current nutritional scientific studies as well as naturopathic insights. This means you don’t only take into account which effects food has on a human, but also consider other significant lifestyle factors. Body, soul, and mind form an entity. A holistic approach considers all of these areas.”
You can hear Steffi Dächsel talk passionately about her dream job "nutritionist”: "It’s no ordinary job for me, it’s a calling. Every day I’m looking forward to exciting and diverse topics. I love it and enjoy being able to do what I always wanted to do: working with other people, advising them and helping them to adapt to a more conscious and healthy lifestyle.”
Julia Vaiman states very similar reasons why she loves her job so much: "It makes me happy to see that with my help people can reach their personal goals and feel healthy and confident again. It’s a very fulfilling feeling to know that you help people improve their lives through your work.”
The editorial team at HEALTH would like to thank all five nutritionists for their stories which show a great deal of enthusiasm and joy. We wish you all the best and lots of success in your work as nutritionists.
If you would like to find out more about Steffi, Jennifer, Petra Maria and Julia please feel free to visit their websites:
More feedbacks of international graduate of the InN you can find here.
You are welcome to visit the website of the International Institute of Naturopathy! There, you can take a first glance at the course’s modules as well as request our free info brochure.
Don´t forget to take a look at the trial chapter of the distance learning course to become an Integrative Nutrition and Health Consultant.