Hello! I am Eleni. I am the health coach and founder of IASIS Health Coaching. If you want to see my short CV, check my Expertise page. If you have some time and you want to know me better, please keep reading for about 3 minutes.
The journey to environmental health
I was raised in a typical big Greek family, following the typical modern Greek lifestyle. I seemed to be a healthy kid, but I suffered from severe migraines since I was 8 years old.
Since I was 10 years old, I was passionate about science and communication (or science communication as I understood years later!). Chemistry hooked me from the very first experiment. It gave me the excitement of understanding this magical world we live in and it never stopped amazing me. During the first years of my bachelor’s degree, I realized that I was mostly interested in Environmental Chemistry and Biochemistry. In one of the presentations, I was taught about the history of Minamata Disease, and that was it. Heavy metals research, and the effects of toxic chemicals on planetary and human health, monopolized all my academic career for the next 12 years, taking me through a master’s and a Ph.D. degree, three European research projects, and 6 years of work at the Heavy Metals Laboratory of Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR).
Coaching & Science Communication
Throughout all the years of my studies, I was a chemistry and biology teacher, enjoying every minute of science communication in the classroom. I am proud to say that my students loved my way of teaching and their feedback is still today the most valuable personal development training I have gotten. In the classroom, I learned to use humor and compassion as the most helpful tools to educate, motivate and support the students that were going through one of the most difficult phases of their lives, the exams to enter Greek Universities. Looking back, I realize that through teaching I developed many skills that are necessary for the coaching approach I use today; I saw how a person can reform through compassionate support and education. Coaching to me is the new “classroom teaching”; a practice that brings out the best of my character and makes me feel fulfilled as a human.
Science Communication was obviously a big part of my life as an educator, but the turning point when I realized that I need to focus on this field was my last conference as a Ph.D. student during which I understood that scientists need to find better ways to communicate scientific evidence to the society. Science Communication is today one of my life’s goals, as it has been proved to be one of the most important tools to support a socially responsible and ethical science, which promotes health equity and bridges socioeconomic gaps.
From sickness to health
All these years of studying, researching, and teaching my health problems kept rising. At 30 years old I was obese, and I suffered from 6 different health issues. I tried a lot to find treatments through traditional medical practice, but I was not informed about the connection of lifestyle choices with my health problems. Thus, I decided to take my life into my hands. I used my research skills and my scientific background to dig into the field of the newly born Lifestyle Medicine and I was shocked to realize that most common health problems of today are preventable and treatable with a healthy lifestyle.
In about 6 months of finding out the truth about how important lifestyle is to our health, 5 out of 6 health problems that I had, including the migraines that had been torturing me since I was a child, were solved. To me, that was a life-saving revelation. From that moment on, I had no other wish than to devote myself to spreading that knowledge to as many people as possible and helping others to transform their lives by reclaiming their health.
And then motherhood came…
To me, motherhood was a tsunami. A tsunami that forcefully and painfully wiped off everything I knew about myself, and left me rebuild all my values, all my interests, all my priorities.
I got pregnant just a few months after moving with my husband from Greece to The Netherlands and I decided that I would not work during my pregnancy and through the first year of my son’s life. That was the best gift I ever gave myself. I dived into the research about children’s development (physical & emotional) and I discovered a whole new world that was coming in contrast with so many ideas I had till then. Breastfeeding, responsive & trauma-informed parenting, neuroscience, epigenetics, Developmental Origin of Health and Disease (DOHAD), 1000 first days, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), empathy, non-violent communication, Sustainability, Environmental Crisis, are a few of the research subjects I suddenly became so much interested in, as I realized that I have the moral obligation to (at least try) help this child live in a better world. Meanwhile, I turned to other mothers to find “the village” and I opened my eyes to see all the obstacles many mothers face in our days, from obstetric violence to gender inequity and parenting hostile business practices. Being a mother myself, struggling among sleepless nights and academic expectations while trying to find time to cook a healthy meal for the family, I felt the need to focus my voice on those mothers out there, who try to balance the impossible task they have been given.
So yes, although I am always glad to help anyone that needs my support, I mostly talk to mothers; to the women that hold the future of this world in their hands. This is how IASIS Health Coaching was born. A puzzle made by the pieces of my belief in science, my moral obligation for health communication, and the compassion I was blessed to find through my journey to motherhood.