This week we're chatting with Lisa Holowaychuk - Holistic Nutritionist, Skin Coach + Deep healer based in Toronto but working with clients worldwide. Originally from the Ukraine, her life has seen her undergo the most epic healing journey and one of such self-discovery. She's the poster girl for staying patient in the healing process and she has the most infectious way of making greens look downright delicious. Read on to hear more about the skin-love essentials that she swears by, how she manifested the love of her life, and how her six year quest for answers to her own health crisis changed her whole world.
WARNING : this is a long one but it's literally jam-packed with pearls of wellness wisdom.
(ON HER HEALING JOURNEY)
In 2006 I was living in South Africa and started to fall ill. It started mildly and progressed with the most bizarre yet alarming symptoms. They would flare up, disappear and then reappear in a completely unpredictable way and quite honestly left doctors perplexed. Some thought I had MS and wanted me to wait until lesions started to show in a few years before they would test again. Then I was told it could be a spinal tumour as I was presenting very neurologically, but when the brain and spinal scans were clear the only only thing they could find in my blood was a slight B12 deficiency and Mono. The mono took months to clear, but months went by and turned into years and I wasn’t getting any better. In fact, more symptoms were presenting and at one point I had over 100 symptoms ranging from vertigo, body numbness, painful eye floaters, excessive weight gain (30 pounds in just two months), cystic acne, hair loss, brain fog and fatigue to name a few.
Fast forward and I had moved New York to study at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). This was supposed to be the most amazing time of my life, living in one of the greatest cities in the world, but I found myself at my sickest. I saw doctors, specialists, naturopaths, functional practitioners... most actually thought I was crazy, prescribing me anti-anxiety + anti-depressant meds, which I of course never took. A lot of my family and friends didn’t even know how sick I was, as I was afraid of telling people without having any answers, especially when doctors had said I was fine.
It wasn’t until September of 2012 that I had a purely angelic experience, and out of nowhere Lyme Disease popped into my head. Two weeks later I was in Calgary, at a Lyme Literate ND’s office. She couldn’t confirm if I had it, and actually thought I looked very healthy compared to other patients (probably due to my dedicated diet, lifestyle choices and the mind/body healing I had started). She gave me a test kit nonetheless, and the very next day my blood was fedexed to a tick borne illness lab, IGenex, in California. Sure enough, two weeks later my test results came back, and brought clarity to over six years of complete and utter confusion, pain and debilitating symptoms. I had chronic late stage Lyme Disease that had ravaged my body for over six years.
From that point onwards I knew it was my mission to help others heal. I studied holistic nutrition formally, did my own intensive natural healing for a year, and knew that to fully heal I would have to move away from home in Edmonton. It felt crazy, but I knew it was part of my journey and with the decision of Vancouver or Toronto, my heart led me to Toronto..
I've had quite the journey and I've definitely skipped a few chapters. I actually wrote a 140 page eBook on my as my health journey as it’s now spanned over a decade! So please feel free to go and check that out for more depth.
(ON SKIN HEALING)
My skin went through an absolute roller coaster as my body was fighting and healing from lyme disease. I had extensive breakouts all the time as my hormones were going wild, and the healing of my skin took years. Something I see so often in my practice, and on social media, is a big expectation around time. It’s no ones fault, we’re just taught that things come in an instant; money, success, relationships, alleviation of symptoms (I’m talking to you pain killers)… We’re taught a mindset of quick fixes and this is anything but sustainable. We’ve been taught as a society to band-aid, band-aid, band-aid. But when we come off of medications the symptoms always return / resurface which means that we aren’t truly healing. We aren't finding the cause, trigger, and source (which is what I love doing).
I believe without discovering these, long-term healing is near impossible. People don’t always like to hear this because it takes unblocking old patterns, beliefs + habits, trial + error, and mostly importantly time + patience. My own healing journey took over a decade which is why I do what I do every single day. I want to help others avoid that path. I want them to see that they already have the innate power to heal, as ultimately it's all our bodies want to do. It’s not out to get us, it’s out to heal with and for us. Once we start to co-create with our bodies and with the Universe, healing starts to take place, and man oh man it is such a sweet place to be. You regain confidence, energy, vitality, zest, vigour, happiness, glow, and your trust is strengthened. When we turn into the miraculous nature of the body and harness it, so many doors start to open not just in health, but in life. This is what I help my clients find: the trifecta of holistic healing = body, mind and soul.
(ON THE DREAMY LIFE SHE'S CREATED
I’m engaged to my soul partner, and dream of a man. I 100% manifested him 5 years ago to the T. Everything I could of dreamed of and more. We live in a loft in downtown Toronto, where I see clients, and where we rest, rejuvenate, nourish, hydrate, and grow ourselves and our relationship when I’m not working / seeing clients. My home and environment are super important to me, as I’m a natural introvert, who finds the most healing when I’m alone. I’m a deep thinker, deep healing practitioner, and find solace in asking the hard questions, doing a lot of inner work, and constantly cultivating myself to grow into my most vibrant and authentic self. Which is something I work on daily, and is something I want for all my clients.
(ON BEING A HOLISTIC NUTRITIONIST)
This doesn’t define me, but it embodies my purpose, what I do, the energy I give into this world, and what truly makes me bounce out of bed at 5AM every morning. I love my work so, so, so much. Nothing gives me more joy than seeing others on their healing journey, witnessing them heal from the inside out, and supporting, guiding, coaching and advising them on this journey.
(ON HER FOOD PHILOSOPHY)
Back when I was in South Africa, my passion, devotion and complete love for nutrition had started. I felt that Western medicine was failing me and my body, and so I began to study informally trying to find my own answers! We are what we eat and I feel extremely lucky to have connected these dots. We are cellular beings, therefore what we eat, feeds our cells. There is no denying this. I went vegan overnight and while I’m not 100% anymore due to my intuitive connection to my body & mind, I was so for eight years. This cut out a lot of inflammatory foods straight away, so definitely helped, but there was still a lot of work for me to do. So I studied, read and researched for years, while trying to support and heal my body on my own.
My food philosophy is super simple, I literally tried all the “diets” when I was healing with lyme disease, and was trying to find what worked for me. I’m grateful that I did, as I truly got first hand experience as to what these diets were like, but it definitely took a toll on my body. And I think this is where people really get tripped up. There is a new superfood, fad diet, ultimate way of eating coming out daily, so it’s a very confusing world nutritionally. Should I be using this adaptogen, taking that supplement, should I go vegan, what about all those paleo people, should I just drink bulletproof coffee until 2pm? And it goes on and on. Plus we have access to literally everything - if you have a computer and an amazon account, the world is your Oyster.
(HER FOOD /LIFESTYLE PILLARS)
Copious amounts of greens
Lots of healthy fats
Healthy complex carbs (I’ve tried healthy, super high-carb diets in the past, and my body type (pitta/vata/mesomorph) doesn’t respond well to thid. Where as others need lots of healthy complex carbs to achieve optimal health + reach their goals
Pure / Alkaline water
Stress reduction techniques
Bring it back to basics
Tuning my supplement regime to my needs, wants, and current / future goals - I’m very intuitive with supplements
Introducing adaptogens when they feel right
Focus on eating the rainbow, instead of prescribing to any label
Cutting out refined sugars, as they truly were created to make us addicted / sick
These are my pillars and they work for me. But that's not to say that they will for everybody as we're all truly unique. When working with a client, I just want the best for them to set the scene for their healing to take place and for them to get the results they so desire, whilst going deep and it being sustainable. I see food as information, and love knowing that it serves a greater purpose than just eating! Mother Natures bounty is information for my DNA / cells.
(ON WHY WE GET SICK)
Our body doesn’t just get sick because, there is always a reason. Our body doesn’t make mistakes - it just doesn’t. It has X, Y, Z symptom because it’s trying to tell us something! Sometimes it’s a gentle whisper and other times it screams. But it’s up to us to listen. This is where I start with my clients. I resonate with humans / beautiful beings that are no longer willing to just accept status quo, or who are sick of getting tossed around by practitioners who tell them that to live with their symptoms without a “cure”! I don’t believe that for a second. I see people who really want to do the work; to dig deep, uncover root blocks, triggers, habits, and belief systems, and heal naturally on a sustainable longevity pathway.
(ON DEFINING A SUPER-HIGH VIBE LIFE)
A high vibe life means having authentic genuine love for yourself. It’s only when we believe we are worthy of love, nourishment, time, money and all the energy that goes into being more conscious and curious, that we take survival-based living to optimal-based thriving. This is our birthright. We were not just put on this earth to survive, staying stuck in our comfort zones and unfulfilled in our dreams. We were made with our own inner desires, dreams, and goals for a purpose - it’s not a coincidence. I believe every thing is our teacher and it’s what we do with the lessons that matter. We either choose to see greatness, or choose to be defeated. I see high vibe living as choosing this greatness every. single. time, no matter how dark it seems. There is always, always, always light in this darkness. When we start to embrace the dark and the light, we’re able to step into our high-vibe authentic selves and ultimately do the healing deep within our cellular structures.
(ON HER COACHING PROCESS)
The nature of my practice is a streaming from the consciousness above. I never work on a surface level and I go very deep as I believe this is where all the magic resides. This magic is the source/triggers/belief systems/symptoms/root cause of ANY ailment. I call it magic because I truly believe there is a reason for everything, and when we can begin to heal, we get these magical healing moments.
I start with my nutrition knowledge base, and infuse it with in-depth coaching, empathy, guided healing, reiki energy work, unblocking and unconditional love! I tend to ask questions that aren’t always easy to get the root. Sometimes we have to resurface painful memories and thoughts, but this is where the healing exists! This is where we connect the mind and body together. I don’t believe anything lives in isolation, so we must dig deep to heal.
I don’t do quick-fixes or focus on the external. Most symptoms do present externally but they're a by-product of deep healing (skin clearing, weight loss, hair growth, leaning out, balancing hormones, strengthening collagen, having more energy, etc…) but I will always and only start internally. We must look within to treat outside, as the internal body and mind are where everything starts. I work from a mind/body approach, as I’ve seen in my own healing journey that food can only take us so far. If we’re super-stressed, anxious, depressed, negative, pessimistic or fearful - our hormones are crazy. If we’re unhappy, unfulfilled or in a abusive relationship, it doesn’t matter if we’re eating the most pristine organic, diet in the world. In these states the body just can’t heal. Which is I treat everyone as a bio-individual, as there is no other human on the planet like them, therefore they need different things. There are of course similarities in protocols and treatments, but I find that no two client are alike, and therefore neither are the treatment plans.
I work exclusively with women. I’m not opposed to working with men at all, I just find with my nature, essence and message, I’m more geared towards female energy, and health.
I can’t guarantee results, as I co-create with my client, the universe, and their body, and results truly depend on the work they do when we’re not together, and their bodies own innate healing mechanisms. If they have been suppressed for years, and years it will take a little longer to heal.
(ON WHAT CLIENTS CAN EXPECT FROM HER)
I'm their number one support, coach, practitioner, fan, advisor, guide + friend. The friendship part is so important to me, as I don’t just see them as a client, I see them has a beautiful human who is ultimately just wanting and trying to grow, evolve, heal, and live their best and most authentic life. When we are confused, unwell, frustrated, ill, not living our best life, we’re in a state of lower energy vibrations and when we need the most love. This is what I infuse into every session, and every human that I meet. Love and kindness, will forever be apart of my practice and self
DEEP COMMITMENT / DEEP HEALING / DEEP COMPASSION / DEEP EMPATHY
All my private clients have access to me via text or email, anytime, and I really encourage them to utilize this! When I was going through my healing journey and saw endless, endless practitioners, this is what I saw lacking. They meant well, but I just felt a disconnect from them, outside of appointments. I had to wait until the next session for any extra questions! With my clients I give them my full attention, support, and love 24/7. I also give them homework after each session and get them to keep a journal during our time together. Their commitment isn't something that I take lightly. I get very connected to my clients and I will give endlessly because I care so, so, so deeply. I truly only want to see them heal, glow and step into their most authentic light.
Ultimately a deeper healing experience, than what some might be used to in conventional medicine and sometimes even natural medicine. -I want clients to feel like they can heal, that this is their birthright. Healing is available to all of us! It’s not an appointment, or just a booking, it’s a safe space and experience where healing takes place. When they show up, are ready to do the work, trust, and step into their worthiness, true magic can happen. I know this because I healed my own body, and if I can do it, so can anybody else. I hope to give them this hope, so in years to come they can shine their light, and continue to emit their inner radiance to the outside.
(ON WHAT SHE'S MANIFESTING IN2 018)
Ohhhh a lot , but I will share some from my list for 18’ : Launching my bespoke skin formulation creations for my clients! Focusing on the inner + outer glow through food, and then organic products. Making an online *video*. Deep Healing + Glow Workshop for people around the world, who can’t work with me. Growing my holistic nutrition + healing practice. To do more interviews + be on a podcast or two, or three - No limits. Reformation clothing ;) My wedding dress (I know exactly what I want). A trip to NYC this Spring. Linen bedding. A cream couch.
FOODS SHE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT...
Avocado (obvious but necessary)
-Cucumber (underrated but so beneficial to skin + hair + nails)
-Red pepper (high in Vit C)
-Sauerkraut (natures probiotics)
-Tahini (rich in Calcium - stellar for women)
-Romaine (rich in protein - my favourite green)
-Wild Blueberries (too many benefits to name!)
-Cauliflower (rich in sulphur)
-Radishes (Vit B’s)
-Wild salmon (omega 3’s)
-Organic Rose Spray
-Natural + plant based oils (I have oil + combo + sensitive skin so I tailor my skin regime to my needs)
-Clay masks in the summer
-WATER! So basic, but vital for hydrating skin - I believe skin health is 80% an inside job-
-Vitamin C serums
-High speed blender (I have a blendtec)
-Juicer (I have the Omega 8600)
-Ankle weights / resistance tubes / light hand weights / gliders (For my exercise regime!)
-Baths / epsom salts / essential oils
-My books on natural healing + medicine
-Coconut wax / beeswax natural candles (Boysmells, Overose, and Fenwick are my faves)
-Organic facials (My treat + guilty pleasure) it’s worth every penny to me, as I believe we spend money on what we value. I don’t drink, smoke, or party, and we rarely go out to eat (I cook a lot!), so I don’t feel too guilty getting facials, all my witchy adaptogens / potions, organic food, quality skincare, and seeing healers (Acupuncture, Courses to greater my education, etc…). My health is my # 1 investment, as if I’m not functioning optimally nothing else matters. I don’t take it lightly, as I’ve been super ill before, and I will never go back.
ANY WORDS OF WELLNESS WISDOM... Health goes way beyond trying to be healthy. I see health as achieving optimal healing, vibrancy and happiness, and truly living as our most authentic selves. Holistic health encompasses your mindset + subconscious beliefs, how you treat others, the relationship you have with yourself & others, the environment you live in, your sex life, your career path + how fulfilled you are, your daily habits + stress levels. And while food is an important element, we have to look deeper as nothing happens in isolation. I want you to not just survive, but to thrive. Don’t accept mediocre health or unhappiness. We were all meant to live the life we want and become our most vibrant and authentic self.
MORNING ROUTINES... I wake at 5AM, keeping my phone on airplane so I don’t look at my phone first thing. I don’t switch it off until I’m ready to intake for the day. I really feel a need to pour into my health and energy first thing, instead of allowing my phone to take, take, take on a conscious and subconscious level. I hit snooze for about10 minutes and think about my day, set an intention, give gratitude, snuggle my fiance, and bounce out of bed ready to tackle the day. I start with a litre of lemon water and Genmaicha green tea, before heading to the gym in our building to do Pvolve or some other form of workout that uses my own body weight/ light weights. My body doesn’t like high intensity workouts as they're too taxing on my adrenals so nothing too intense.
SELF-CARE SUNDAY... Everyday is self-care day for me as I believe in infusing everyday with bouts of self-care. I make time to do a sheet mask, light candles, have a bath, etc. as these things are so healing and bring me so much joy. And almost everyday I make organic dinners for my partner and I. That to me is self-love: nourishing my body, mind and soul every day. Even when you’re pressed for time, I believe you always have time to care for yourself.Even if its a five minute meditation, a 1 minute cold shower, a 5 minute dry body brush, a face-mask while you’re making dinner for the Fam! There is always time + resources for what you value, and I think if we don’t, then there is a much deeper issue at hand.
WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE?