Sunday sermons inspire Agathe to swap career for calling
Since she was a teenager Agathe Holowatinc has been passionate about nutrition.
Her first summer job was at a public library in Vancouver where she spent much of her time in the natural health section learning how food can “make you run faster, feel better”.
So it came as a great surprise to many of her friends that she decided on a career as a law librarian.
“It took me around the world and I was crazy about it but I always felt the calling inside for natural health,” said Ms Holowatinc, who came to the island nearly nine years ago having been hired by “an awesome” legal firm.
“My mum was Polish and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her. I loved learning about food and mum would make natural remedies – I remember an onion remedy for a cough syrup. It was almost like it was a little seed that created this curiosity: how food helped people become healthy and be their best.”
She took it to heart when Oprah Winfrey spoke about people having “a job, a career and a calling”. And, although the advice wasn’t aimed specifically at her, she had a similar reaction listening to Rev Dr Ernest Peets every Sunday.
“He kept giving me sermons: what is your legacy? Heal to heal others; how bad do you want it?
“He would just keep giving these sermons and I was like, ‘I’ve got to do something with my calling because I’m going to explode.’”
Sometime around 2015 she enrolled in an online programme with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York and in 2017 became a certified integrative nutrition health coach.
“I was looking around in Bermuda – I love it here and the people have been so good to me – I had this great church community and I had great circles of friends and I had a great work environment at the law firm and I had a great landlady but I kept thinking, ‘Wow, so many people have diabetes type 2; so many people are overweight, suffering from obesity and the effects of that; so many people have health concerns. And the percentage was so much more than I saw in Vancouver.
“I felt, inside of me, that food, education, inspiration and great delicious recipes could help heal this; that we can prevent this. But it was seeing these people that I really cared about – and I really felt called because of that in Bermuda. So I got certified not knowing what on earth it would mean.”
Determined to put her new knowledge to use, she wrote a book, Fuelled: Transform Your Body, Enhance Your Energy, Supercharge Your Life and asked Teresa Perozzi if she would read and review it prior to publication.
The retired professional boxer, who was Ms Holowatinc’s massage therapist at the time, “loved it”.
“[She] said, ‘We have to do something more.’”
The pair formed Fuelled Bermuda Ltd with a mission “to inspire and empower the beautiful people of Bermuda to achieve massive and measurable success and results in their optimal health and nutrition goals”.
The company held talks featuring people Ms Perozzi met through her sports career. Meanwhile Ms Holowatinc, whose dinner guests often suggested she open a restaurant, was transforming clients’ health in other ways – as a private chef, coaching individuals and corporate teams and giving workshops.
While Covid-19 put some of that “on pause”, Ms Holowatinc is grateful that technology allowed them to continue other bits virtually. A workshop held last weekend with tips and tricks on how to “quit sugar” was a great success.
With her meals she seeks to achieve three goals: the food has to meet the health needs of the client, it has to be delicious and it has to be convenient for them.
Her challenge is in helping people understand that seeking out her help does not mean they will then have to completely change how they eat.
“It’s not like that. This is not a huge overhaul at all. To be successful, we go inch by inch, so that it’s a cinch.
“Week after week, I personally and carefully guide you to make simple, small changes that transform your life. So not only will you get your personal goals but you will renew your outlook on food and health, revitalise your energy and even leave believing that healthy doesn’t have to be hard – with recipes that prove it.”
Part of her job also, is clearing up confusion around the word ‘diet’.
“Here’s what sets Fuelled apart. I deliver an intuitive and integrative approach. In the west and in North America when you think of nutrition, you think of calorie counting. You’re either counting calories or counting macros or counting points; you’re weighing your food.
“It’s all fully abstract so there will come a time when you don’t know how much to count or it becomes too confusing. And it’s entirely impossible to do for a lifetime. And then there are tons of diets out there: the ketogenic diet, Paleo diet, Atkins diet ….
“So I don’t teach calories. I can teach calories but I think it’s a waste of time. It’s not intuitive, it’s abstract; it is a creation and honestly, it isn’t as accurate as everyone thinks it is.”
Instead, Ms Holowatinc follows an “intuitive approach” that began in India 5,000 years ago. Ayurveda encourages mindful consumption, that people eat when they are hungry and stop before they are uncomfortably full.
“The body is very intelligent so we don’t need to go to calories, the body knows how much to eat,” she said.
“I’ve seen all these different approaches from around the world, read about them, studied them and I’ve learned how to teach them so I’m willing to think a little differently from everybody else. Calories fail people, ketogenic diets fail people, Paleo diets fail people, low-carb diets fail people. This is all set to fail so you can get on the next thing.”
• Create your custom cleanse: one-on-one sessions
• Fast track to Fuelled: online one-on-one integrative nutrition health coaching sessions package
• I Quit Sugar: virtual class, back by popular demand on Saturday, March 20, 2pm until 3.30pm; $50
• Superfood smoothies: Fuelled virtual cooking class on Saturday, March 13, 11am until 11.45am; $25
• Baked feta pasta viral video recipe: virtual cooking class on Saturday, March 27, 11am until 12pm; $25