Over the course of this year, I’d like to put the spotlight on some of the amazing health team members that are involved with the Ellwood Thompson’s health Team. This is a carefully curated list of specialized holistic health care providers in the Richmond area that offer expert care in a variety of areas and who also resonate with the Ellwoods mission of community, education and a commitment to sustainable and organic foods.
First up – the newest member of our health team, Alexandra Cenname! She’s a 2016 graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and specializes in personal health coaching for pregnant women as well as those trying to conceive and postpartum. She founded Mama In The Makin’ in 2016 because she believes every woman can have a healthy pregnancy and achieve the birth experience that she wants with the proper education, encouragement and empowerment. Her goal is to support you on your journey and transformation into motherhood with the right tools and resources, support and all the love.
Tell us a bit about your health journey. How/why did you decide to enter the health and wellness field professionally?
It was my senior year of college that I really started to develop a strong interest and passion for the health and wellness field. I started to become more aware of the foods I was eating, how they were affecting my body and also taking note of how they were being produced and the ingredients in my products. As I started to research a more toxic free and holistic lifestyle and incorporate small changes in my environment, I also started to realize that I had a voice that I wanted to share with others. Nothing brings me greater joy than cooking a healthy meal for family and friends or answering questions that someone has about a health product. As I transitioned to a holistic health lifestyle, the schooling at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition seemed like a perfect fit for me. I decided to enter the health and wellness field as a health coach 5 years after graduating from college because I am passionate about helping others live a healthier lifestyle, one step at a time. I get such joy in joining a client on her journey to a healthier lifestyle and seeing all of the cascading positive outcomes in her life with simple changes.
Who are your favorite people to work with?
My favorite ladies to work with are women who are trying to boost their fertility, conceive or are expectant moms. Age is not a factor in my practice, and I work with women who may not be considered low-risk either. In conjunction with a high-risk woman’s health care provider, I work with her to implement small, sustainable changes that naturally boost fertility and lend themselves to a healthy pregnancy and lifestyle that every woman can benefit from regardless of age or risk-factors. When a client is able to come to a session with an open-mind, a willingness to try and the ability to completely open herself up to the possibilities, I find that she has the most success.
What are some of the most important things you consider when working with clients and their health goals?
One of the most important things that I consider is what I like to call “primary foods.” What we are eating on our plates is secondary to what is actually showing up in our lives: how are our relationships with our loved ones; did we exercise or move today; do we love waking up and going to work – or does that feel like work; and, do we have a spiritual practice. When working with my clients, I consider these four non-conventional “foods,” and we work to achieve balance in these areas as they take steps towards their health goals because these are ultimately what lead to a lifetime of health and happiness.
One of the other major considerations in working with a client is making sure that she has the appropriate and factual resources and education for her health journey. Each one of my client’s is a highly individualized and unique person and what works for one client may make another one sick. My intention is to provide the client with the information so that she can make the most informed and empowered decision that she feels is right for her and her body.
What can people expect from their first appointment with you?
First and foremost, a client can expect a warm and comfortable atmosphere in a safe space that she can feel free to speak in and be heard. In a client’s initial health consultation, we will discuss her current health and lifestyle in addition to the health goals she would like to work towards. I don’t provide any recommendations in the first session. Rather, I listen intently on what the client is sharing with me. I’ll then share my approach to coaching, and as we get to know one another better throughout the session, we will determine together if working together is a good fit.
How do your offerings fit in with conventional health care?
My goal is to provide education, encouragement, support and empowerment as a client makes informed decisions along her journey to conceive or birth her beautiful baby. Conception and birth are natural human processes that can at times be complicated and “medicalized” by conventional health care. My 1:1 health coaching strives to help women understand and celebrate the changes that are occurring in their body and offer practical, straightforward resources and solutions towards natural conception and a healthy pregnancy that might otherwise be ignored or overlooked in conventional prenatal care.
How do you nourish yourself holistically and what do you do for self care?
I love this question because we often talk about health in terms of what we are eating, but our food is a small part of a much larger picture. I nourish myself holistically by tuning in to other areas of my life outside of the kitchen: am I getting movement in each day; am I getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night; am I connecting with my husband; and what is my stress level like? When I focus on other aspects of health outside of the conventional thought-pattern of “must eat healthy food”, I find the food I should be eating easily makes it way to my plate, and I feel well-rounded and nourished. My body, mind and soul.
Self-care is something that I fell in love with in 2016 and plan to prioritize even more in 2017. The thing I love about self-care is that it looks different for everyone, and it really forces me to look internally and recharge my batteries so that I can keep giving externally. Some of my favorite self care practices are dry brushing, essential oils Epsom salt bath, taking a long hike, hot yoga, reading a good book and watching television with my husband.
Do you have a favorite recipe??
Oh, gosh what a tough question! I love food so choosing my favorite recipe is kind of like trying to choose your favorite kid. 😉 If I had to pick one of my absolute favorites, it would be Brittany of Eating Bird Food’s Shredded Kale and Brussel Sprouts Salad. It is so versatile, the flavor is incredible, and I have found that even the pickiest of eaters and people who thought that they hated Brussel sprouts love this salad.
To learn more, and to get in touch with Alexandra, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN | HealthCoach@EllwoodThompsons.com