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We The Women - Ioanna Nikolaou

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

Meet Ioanna

About 10 years ago Ioanna started her path of searching the natural ways to heal and balance her physical and emotional body. Her interest in nutrition was piqued when she was in high school whilst she learned about the whole foods plant-based diet. She discovered the relationship between what we eat and our health status and views food as medicine. She decided to major in the Nutrition field, and she obtained a BSc in Nutrition and Dietetics (Hons) from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, and an MSc in Human Movement Sciences, with a specialization in Sports Nutrition from the University of Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Ioanna also got specialized in plant-based nutrition and is a Registered Dietician in Greece. After her studies she decided to solo travel to Costa Rica to experience the natural ways of living, staying in an eco-community (Pachamama), for six months where she attended various workshops and retreats for holistic health such as emotional healing, physical rejuvenation, meditations, and ecological living. During her own healing journey, she knew that she wanted to be involved with the healing process of others. Thus, after her travels she decided to pursue Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), an ancient health system that focuses on the harmony with nature and the elements. Lastly, Ioanna got certified in TCM services whilst she is continuing studying acupuncture and the TCMways of healing.

The Interview

What’s the story behind Vibrant&Whole? Which is the mission of this project?

The story behind Vibrant&Whole is simple. I just want to share with people these amazing therapeutic methods I acquired over the years and the natural way of living to feel and look amazing from the inside out. Regaining your health, the right way can be quite challenging to achieve on your own and can be hard to figure out exactly how to start. My mission is to help you achieve your highest level of health in all the aspects of your life through guiding you and teaching you the tools you need to regenerate and bring balance back to your own body. I will show you how to move away from an unnatural diet and lifestyle on a simpler, more vital way of living and discover your own version of a powerful, whole foods plant-based eating style.

Tell us more about the plant-based diet.

There is not a precise definition to describe the plant-based diet. It’s not a diet but rather a lifestyle of eating that focuses on whole plant foods such as, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and herbs. This doesn’t mean that someone must commit to being a strict vegan (no animal products) or vegetarian. The definition is board and allows for everyone’s personal spin. However, is well known from the scientific community that by incorporating in your diet more whole plant foods you can gain tremendous health benefits, no matter what your personal health goals may be. A plant-based lifestyle in combination with adequate physical activity doesn’t only make you feel more vibrant and content but may also prevent life-threatening diseases from ravaging your body such as diabetes, obesity, depression, mental decline, heart disease, and even cancer.

In your opinion, what are the key components of a healthy diet?

Over the years I started to look at what we call “health” in a different perspective. The way I see food is as a source of vital energy that is necessary for maintaining our three bodies: the physical, the mental, and the emotional. In my opinion, there is not such a thing as perfect diet that fits everyone’s needs or a fixed method that will make you feel good. Each individual is completely unique, and it’s needs adjust and change according to the current status of his three bodies.

My key components of a healthy lifestyle involve around the idea that the more “alive” and colorful whole foods you consume the better you will feel as they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and tons of life force that keeps your body and mind light, flexible, and full of vitality. Something that we should take into consideration is that certain plants have their own unique compounds, and they affect the body in different ways, thus we need to consume a variety to cover all bases.

What does your morning routine look like?

My morning routine defers during each season. Usually, it starts with some cleansing techniques such as tongue scraping. I drink lots of warm water to gently wake up my body and I immediately stay in silent sitting (meditation) for quite a long time. Afterwards, I do some gentle movement and stretches, and breathing techniques. After I finish my practices, I prepare myself a delicious and vibrant breakfast to give me all the nutrients that I need for the day.

Have you drawn professional inspiration from other women? Tell us about someone who has inspired you.

I came across different wonderful women during my journey that motivated and show me how to cultivate the best aspects of myself. Due to my passion for alternative and holistic therapies I studied alongside my teacher Malamatenia Kaitatzi, who inspired me to see myself, each situation, and health issue holistically meaning taking into consideration not only the physical but also the spiritual aspect as well.

What advice do you have for other women that they want to start their own initiative? What would you like them to know?

My most valuable advice for all women that are opening this path would be to discover and believe in the power they hold within themselves and to don’t hesitate to share their truth and what they have inside their heart with the world. Be patient and trust the journey!

A few words about the project

We The Women is a key project under the umbrella program Women4Climate powered by IRIS Sustainable Development. Specifically, We The Women is an interview series project, holding inspiring discussions with climate actional leaders and pioneers in the social and green entrepreneurship field. Women with different backgrounds, experiences, and achievements, share their insights, know-how, opinions, and advice with the public, inspiring more people -especially young entrepreneurs and women- toward a more sustainable future.

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