My name is Isabelle Simon and I first grew up in Paris, France, but my family moved to a small village in the Brie region when I was 10. There, we learned how to grow our own vegetables (organic, before the word was cool!) to complement the dozen fruit trees the garden already had in order to sustain our needs. Raw milk, eggs, free-range chicken, grass-fed beef were bought from the two farms in the village. Everything was grown naturally, with no chemicals or pesticides, just the way Mother Nature intended it to be in the first place. Every season had its own flavors. Every special occasion was a feast of the palate! As a child, I would always ask “why”, and I know I drove my parents crazy. But I wanted to understand the mechanics of things, why things happened the way they did, but most importantly, how they impacted us and the role our actions and our environment played in the process. My dad told me I would become either a private investigator, or a scientist/researcher, but definitely a problem solver.
In college, I first was drawn to the research field and prepared a Bachelor’s in Public Health. But, I wanted to travel the world, and thought majoring in foreign languages would help me accomplish that better. So, after getting my Bachelors’ degree, I switched my major and prepared a Master’s in English, with a minor in French education, as a foreign language. This choice changed my life forever, and in 1992, at age 22, as I was finishing my first Master’s degree, I was selected to come to the United States as part of a student exchange program to teach French at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
I realized that I loved teaching and wanted to pursue it. But my degree from France would not transfer in the U.S., so I prepared a second Master’s Degree, in K-12 Education this time, on this side of the Atlantic. I was starting a new life in a new country, in a new culture, speaking a new language. I must say that the absolute most challenging part of the North American culture for me to adapt to was, by far, the food. Being French, Italian and Spanish, fast food, over-sized everything had no appeal or taste to me. Fast forward seven years, I was seriously injured in a car accident that could have left me crippled. I was rear ended at 65 miles per hour while I was at a full stop, and braced for the hit. My journey to recovery took almost two years, during which, I saw seven different types of doctors and specialists.
My second shock with the North American culture came during that period: not a single doctor ever asked me what I ate, how much water I drank, what type of work I did, who was my support system, how much stress there was in my life, if I had pets. No personal questions. They strictly focused on putting a band aid on my symptoms. Long gone was my family doctor back in my small French village who knew everything about me, my parents, my siblings, my dog, and my two cats, and the grades I was getting in school. This is when I realized that I could make a difference in the world. Use my passion for healthy living and for education and combine them for the greater good. Thus I studied once more to become a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner a Wellness Consultant, and a Certified Health Coach and became whom I was meant to be: a health educator at heart with a mission to empower others to take ownership of their vibrant health, and my motto is that good health is a CHOICE, not a chance. The choices we make (and don’t make) on a daily basis will impact how we feel either positively or negatively. That car crash was no accident after all. In a way, I feel that I have become both what my dad thought I would: an investigator, and a problem solver. As a holistic health practitioner and health coach, I don’t diagnose, treat or cure diseases. Rather, I help people identify the ROOT CAUSES of their chronic health problem(s), the “why” if you will, and educate and motivate them to align their behaviors with their health goals. With the right education, tools and resources, people feel empowered to make small sustainable lifestyle changes to help repair what’s dysfunctional and once the body functions the way it is designed to, symptoms go away naturally, health is restored, and quality of life regained.