For the final installment in our "how i created my dream job" series, please meet Mikaela Reuben.
Midway through her physiotherapy degree three and a half years ago, Mikaela realized it was the overall holistic nutrition of the physical body she was most passionate about. Since then, Mikaela has traveled the world as a chef, conducted health clinics and acted as a nutrition coach to clients all over North America. Her greatest gift is making healthy food taste so good that even the most dedicated junk food addict wants a second helping (*Editor's Note: that junk food addict would be me. Ahem).
What is your name and what do you do?
My name is Mikaela Reuben and I am a Nutrition specialist, focusing on health coaching and nutritional cooking.
How did you come up with the idea for your business? Why did you decide to be your own boss?
I had always been obsessed with cooking, nutrition, human physiology, travel, health, and food. But most of all, the effects of food on health and the adventure behind each meal.
I found myself taking my Masters in Physiotherapy, half way through the masters program, one day when I was driving to school. I snapped. Realized I was unhappy and decided to jump off the safe path I was on. I packed up my stuff in the next few days, withdrew from school and bought a one way ticket to Europe, carrying 10 yrs of University debt with me, where I went to explore more of the food world and myself. During this next chapter I was trained as a nutritional chef and began working privately for celebrities, and yet again found myself wanting more.
Both of the jobs allowed me to only deal with just one of the things I loved but not all.
In my business I am able to passionately design healthy recipes and life strategies for my clients, using food as a tool to affect overall health, healing, and happiness.
I decided to be my own boss because I was able to create a job that I was passionate about that didn’t really exist with the expansiveness and freedom that I desired. And in some ways I needed to create something that encompassed who I was because I didn’t seem to fit in the molds that I was told to work in. What I put in, I get back, a cause and effect for my science nerd brain which keeps me inspired.
Why is nutrition and health important to you?
I have seen people’s lives change because of alterations to their nutrition and health and I think it is important to honour the health we have before we lose it. I first became aware of it as I watched my father heal himself after a heart attack when he educated himself and took responsibility for how he was choosing to treat his body.
It inspired me and I started focusing more on how food is our fuel and can really alter all aspects of life, from mood, to immunity, to weight, to beauty, to inflammation, to clarity, and overall quality of living. He is now the healthiest person I know.
If you had only five (or fine, six) ingredients in your kitchen, what would they be and why?
This might be the hardest question, ever. I am going to assume that I have a good quality olive oil, sea salt and pepper in this sad, bare kitchen, and maybe some quinoa, smoked paprika powder, and turmeric...
Seaweeds – I love seaweed. All types. I always keep dehydrated Wakame on me to throw into salads and soups. I consume spirulina everyday and Kelp noodles are my new favorite! I couldn’t live without seaweed, they have unlimited positive affects on the body and are easy to use, prepare, and take with me.
Avocado – I could add avocado to almost anything. It has beneficial fats and protein and is diverse in its uses, adding creaminess to sauces, smoothies and salads.
Apple Cider Vinegar – I use apple cider vinegar for dressings, to flavour vegetables, and to make morning tonics with. I make an amazing spicy garlic chili sauce with apple cider vinegar that I put on everything. Apple cider vinegar has been linked to better metabolism and fat breakdown.
Lemon – I like to put lemon in my water, in my smoothies, in my morning tonics, in my dressings, and on my vegetables. Full of vitamin C and has an alkalizing affect in the body.
Kale – Kale makes me feel satisfied. When I eat kale salads I stay noticeably full for a long period of time. I guess it is my favorite way to get fiber and essential minerals, along with chia.
Canned sardines (or wild salmon) – I crave fish. I don’t eat a ton of other meats but I do love fish. Must be a west coast thing but I like to know that I have access to a high quality, omega3 packed, protein. Sardines are a go to for me because they are full of vitamin D, and other major minerals.
What is your favorite way to sweat?
I like yoga for the stress relief component of it. I live in my head a lot so it is good to focus inwards whenever I can.
I also love running, preferably in the woods, hopping over logs and over rocks. And if there is a game to play, any sport, and type of ball chasing, ground wrestling game, I am in. I love most physical activity especially when it is in the form of a game, hide and seek, kick the can, soccer or baseball, doesn’t matter.