Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Ward, Plant-Based Nutritionist and Digestive Health Coach.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Julie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
How I got started with nutrition as a business is a long windy road. My life has always been about being healthy physically, mentally and spiritually. I was never a fan of having to deal with doctors after 18 when I could no longer visit my pediatrician. It broke my heart. After that, I made it my mission to never be sick again. I no longer wanted to take antibiotics and realized there was another way to support the body and heal if needed. In my early 20s, I studied herbal remedies, natural medicines, cultural healing modalities and foods to eat for optimum health.
Throughout my life, I suffered from depression, constipation and general moodiness. As a child, I was also sick with strep throat, and on a ton of antibiotics. At that time there was no correlation between antibiotics, gut health, prebiotics, food and mental health.
Today there is so much more information, and as I cleaned up my diet, cleansed and took supporting herbs, my depression and moodiness cleared. Of course, it was work, but well worth every moment.
In 2009, I closed a cultural fabric import business. I was importing fabrics from Africa, India and South America. In closing that business, I knew I wanted to continue with my entrepreneurship. In addition, I wanted my new business to be in alignment with who I am, and what is important to me. Being healthy, happy, able to move and have my wits about me at 90 to 100 years old is my goal for myself and my clients. I also believed that if my service as an herbalist, plant-based nutritionist and healer can help people gain a better quality of life, prevent major illness and reduce pain and suffering, then my next venture was a no-brainer.
I started Fresh Food Alchemy, to teach and educate people about their food, their digestive system, and how to make better food choices. In a sense, it is a culmination of healing my life to date. This business is also a homage to my mom. When I was a child, my mom was diagnosed with IBS. Back then the prescription was medication and a comment about reducing stress. I don’t remember the medication making it any better, it was just never talked about in the house. In the 70s/80s, there wasn’t a lot of conversation around digestive issues like constipation, IBS, gas and bloating, or food sensitivities. Most people thought then and even now, that digestive discomfort is normal. It is not.
It brings me great pleasure to help people change their perceptions of eating healthy and connecting through food while gaining more energy from the food they eat. I help people bring back the joy and excitement of good food by getting back in the kitchen excited to try new recipes and vegetables. I believe, tasty nutritious food heals, fuels and supports the body. By eating the right foods and maintaining a healthy lifestyle everyone can be healthy, prevent most major illnesses, and enjoy tasty easy nutrient dense meals. My mission through plant-based foods is to heal 1,000,000 million women in my lifetime.
I have a certificate in Plant–Based Nutrition from e-Cornell, am a certified ACE Health Coach. I have a Masters in Public Policy from USC and a B.S. in Mathematics from Spelman College. I am also an herbalist student at East West School of Planetary Herbology.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
As with any business and in life, things change. I would not say it has been smooth or rough. I am enjoying the journey and the challenges that arise. One major challenge/opportunity occurred with my own health. Every year I began to feel bad, headaches/migraines, bloating, gas, weight gain, dizziness, and overall lethargy. For a few years, I believed it was because I was getting older and there were signs of menopause. That was what my doctors told me because there was nothing wrong with my regular lab numbers and everything else in our society points to chronic ailments being a norm after 50. At some point, I realized I had to figure out what was wrong and try to fix it, or I felt like I was going to die.
What I really knew was that If I didn’t get to the bottom of this, I would get progressively worse, gain more weight, and ultimately feel chronically debilitated for the rest of my life. That was not the way I wanted to live the rest of my life. So I went out of my medical network, spent a large chunk of money, did testing, and found out what was going on in my gut. My gut was out of balance and I was not absorbing my nutrients, even though I was eating healthy and taking probiotics. My gut being out of balance affected the rest of my body. When the digestive system is not working properly a person can become chronically ill. My goal is to be 90, driving, exercising and still giving workshops about food and healing.
Health challenges/opportunities occur to let know our bodies need our attention. I am a firm believer that if we listen to our bodies it will tell us, what we need to do to heal. One thing consistent in the healing process is diet modification. Our bodies are wonderful machines and can heal if given the proper nutrition and tools.
On the business side, I realize I can always use marketing and sales help.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Fresh Food Alchemy, LLC story. Tell us more about the business.
Fresh Food Alchemy, LLC was created in 2016 as a mechanism for fostering new eating habits that relieve digestive discomfort, aid in the healing of chronic illness, and teach people how to eat for optimum health. Ultimately, the business was created to teach food is also medicine and that we truly need to eat differently to not get sick. Most people live on the Standard American Diet, consisting of processed foods high in sugar, drinks high in sugar, meat three times a day, and we wonder why Americans are overweight, undernourished, and chronically ill.
I work with people in a variety of ways. I offer online group programs, ranging from 4 week courses, (A Taste of Heaven: Spice & Herb class discussing the medicinal properties of culinary herbs and spices; The Vital Food Blueprint: The Cornerstone of Eating a Whole Foods, Plant-Based Diet; and the 30 Day Digestive Reboot: 30 days to reboot your digestion and eliminate symptoms in 72 hours) to my signature 10 week program The Digestive Makeover.
I support healthcare practitioners and their patients with needed diet changes for prevention and recovery from chronic illness through health coaching and trainings. I also run wellness programs, workshop and trainings for businesses, focusing on their employees getting healthy and preventing major illness; improving company morale; decreasing absenteeism; and reducing employer health care costs.
In addition, I am available to speak at events, which I absolutely love. My mission to ensure that people have the correct information about the food they need to stay healthy and be happy humans. I am often told that I am a great health coach because I listen to my clients and meet them where there are. I gently help my clients reach their goals as we address their fears, their thoughts about new healthy foods, and together make a plan that works in their life for lasting behavior change.
I enjoy guiding people and helping them understand that eating healthy is not as daunting, difficult or expensive as they originally thought. Seeing my clients finally understand the effect that food has on their digestive system and thus increase their energy levels and mood has been really wonderful. What I am most proud of is my clients. They come to me with real challenges. As they begin to take their food into their own hands and become responsible for what they eat, they become so excited. Actually thrilled. They realize they are not starving, their food tastes amazing, and it doesn’t take forever to make an easy, healthy meal. They are hooked on healthy. They also realize that life happens in the meantime, and they may get off course. We talk about it, they are prepared and have a few tricks to get back on course.
I think what sets me apart, is a couple of things. In the Digestive Makeover program, there is still a personal touch. It is a group program, but I am with them every step of the way. The most important thing is that the client is successful and understands how to integrate all the new information into their life. Our program also has a mindset component that works with people to release old thoughts about health, healing, commitment to self and adjust the vibration of the body to prepare to receive the higher vibration of healthier food.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is an interesting concept. I believe in preparation meeting opportunity, and being mentally prepared for success and service. We create our luck by being open to the vibration of goodness and our hearts desires. I work on staying open to my intuition and make sure that my digestion is working properly so that I can maintain proper health.
When my digestion is good, I am happy. Things go well in my life and I feel as though I am in alignment with my work and life’s purpose. It is in that body, mind and soul alignment that things always fall into place.
When I am out of sorts with myself, things move slower. I feel slightly out of balance and potentially misstep. When really unexpected great things happen we call it luck. It’s really everything our heart desire’s lining up in a magically unexpected way because we are ready to receive. I don’t believe in bad luck. When things aren’t going the way I’d like, it’s time to reset my vibration, energetically focus on the good and get to work on changing things.
- 20 minute free consultation
- I have a one-time 90-minute consultation for $295. This includes a plan of action, foods to eat, and researched answers to your biggest questions.
- Website: www.freshfoodalchemy.com
- Phone: (310) 880-0165
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/freshfoodalchemy/
- Facebook: https://business.facebook.com/freshfoodalchemy/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/PlantBAlchemy