MICHELLE

DIDNER

 

Hi. I’m Michelle. I am a clinical nutritionist specializing in women’s and family health. 

I have a Bachelor of Arts in English from Boston College and hold a Masters In Science of Human Nutrition from University of Bridgeport. I am a Certified Holistic Health Coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and an RYT200 Certified Yoga Teacher.

I have 15+ years experience guiding people in functional movement and relaxation techniques and 6+ years experience coaching people to meet their health potential. Many of my clients are cancer patients and thrivers, as well as women making transitions, managing a stressful lifestyle or addressing specific chronic health issues.

 

So, a little bit about me and why I am so passionate about enhancing your life by guiding you to better health, awareness, healing and happiness using tools that are accessible to you both externally and  within your own body. 

As a child growing up in New York you could find me in the kitchen conjuring up recipes or making tinctures with flower petals and herbs from the garden. There were many epic fails but also some creative successes and my mom always supported my efforts. My mother was somewhat ahead of the times, a vegetarian who practiced yoga every morning, she had to explain to everyone what ghee was and why she made the choice not to eat meat, grew her own alfalfa sprouts, and did not welcome sugary snacks into our house. 

One of my earliest memories is from when I was around four years old.  One afternoon I decided to “run away” to the local A&P in search of the cookie aisle where hours later I was found sitting on the floor of the supermarket surrounded by open, partially consumed bags of various cookies! Lesson learned – You can take the sugar away from the girl, but you can’t take the girl away from her desire for sugar!  Oh the lengths we will go to get that food we are craving and our human innate desire to satisfy tastes that goes beyond logic to a primal place deep within ourselves. And if you are wondering, after that we did start having some sweet and chocolate treats in the kitchen! Life should not be about deprivation, but about balance and moderation.

Summers were spent in Sweden at my maternal grandmother’s home where we would forage for wild blueberries in the forest surrounding her home and harvest veggies and strawberries from her garden. I would watch as she magically transformed our bounty into jams and dishes that I can still imagine when I close my eyes and which to this day inspire my own palate. My paternal grandmother was born in Sicily, and was known for her talent to prepare a meal that would gather the whole family around her dining room table. My father did not own a cookbook and inherited her gift for culinary creativity saying that the success of any dish lay in the quality and freshness of its ingredients. 

After a career in womenswear that took me from sales to the design team, New York City to LA and back again, I found myself settling into life as a new mom that was challenged when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was one of the lucky ones, I found it early and my prognosis was good. But my world was rocked and I found myself going back to my roots as I turned to yoga for healing and empowerment, and began to take stock of my lifestyle – what I was eating, where it was coming from, and how I was managing stress. 

I began to explore alternative ways to support my health and healing, and was certified as a yoga teacher in 2006 before moving with my husband and children to Buenos Aires, Argentina and later Geneva, Switzerland. I began teaching yoga and mindfulness to an international community. But more importantly I was reminded by these cultures the importance of clean, healthy food and the value of joining your family for a meal or taking time away from your desk to enjoy your lunch. Food is seen as nourishment not only for the body, but also the soul. Food is something to enjoy, not a big business enterprise that seeks profitability in processed foods that are managed by chemicals and pesticides that are not adequately tested for their effects on human health, common to the Standard American Diet.

I was certified as a Holistic Health Coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and continued with more advanced yoga training to refine my knowledge of the human body and health. I ultimately received my MS in Human Nutrition with the University of Bridgeport, a science based degree steeped in anatomy, biology and functional medicine. I had evolved from exploring the body’s architecture from the outside as an artist, to discovering its inner workings with the curiosity of a scientist. 

For almost twenty years my classes, workshops and clinical work expand on research and experience in individual and group environments that integrate evidence based nutrition counseling, emerging and current health issues and mind/movement science.

I am in awe of the brilliance of the human body to respond to its environment and strive to seek balance. When we learn from our body’s example and listen to it’s cues, we can all be in a more conscious state of health. My vision is to educate, inspire and offer practical tools for living a healthier, happier life – a life that puts less burden on our bodies and on our planet economically and environmentally. 

 

I now joyfully make my home in Connecticut with my 2 children and our cat Lena

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