Anna Zieger is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and medical student, she focuses on an holistic approach towards lifestyle changes. Her website Ahila Health is full of inspiring health and wellness tips, along with nutritious recipes, all of which encompass her philosophy of listening to the body and learning from it. Below she shares some of her favourite things with us, and her amazing Mexican Bowl recipe.
What did you study and what was your favourite class?
Ooo choosing one is tough. I studied Business Management which I found rather uninspiring apart from a module we did in entrepreneurship. Several years later I did my licensing as a health coach and a paramedic and it rebooted my interest to study! These days I really enjoy learning about anything involving neuroscience, GI-health and the endocrine system.
What are you studying now?
Currently I'm studying Medicine in Vienna, Austria
Tell us a little about your journey to becoming a health coach?
After my BA in Business I worked in business operations and recruitment for 5 and a half years. As character building and as brilliant as the experience was, my overdrive and intense working hours took a toll on my health and wellness. The silver lining was that I became more and more curious of how to get my health and wellness back on track. So whilst applying for medical schools I started my training as a health coach. A dear friend of mine was studying at the Integrative Institute for Nutrition (IIN) in NYC at the time and after speaking with her and doing lots of research I was very impressed with the teachers, content, layout and flexibility of IIN.
Originally I had no intention of health coaching professionally since I was also a paramedic and applying for medical school. Once I started my training as a health coach it completely changed my perspective, and honestly added so much value to my skill set, knowledge and boosted my passion for holistic healing. I couldn't not coach with the knowledge and skills I had learnt, it felt unfair!
I also thoroughly enjoy working with people and as a health coach it is so rewarding and such fun working towards long term lifestyle changes together!
What do you love most about health coaching?
Having been in difficult places with my health, diet, and work life balance I really understand and empathise how hard it is to initiate and then maintain changes, as well as getting to the root of the problem. So I love sharing my knowledge and working together with others towards their goals. I really thrive on the excitement of helping someone to achieve their goals and positively improve their lifestyle.
What are your 3 tips for feeling healthier and happier every day?
- Self-care! If you're not feeling happy, good about yourself and fulfilled, neither are the people around you.
2. Work out what food makes you feel great inside and out, our skin is truly a map to our gastrointestinal tract, and our gastrointestinal tract to our mood and immune system!
3. My third is drink more water, you're not drinking enough!
What is your morning routine?
A huge glass of water, 15 - 30 minutes of either working out, stretch in bed or meditation depending on how I feel and how much time I have. Then a big breakfast, shower, floss, coconut oil pulling for approx. 5-7 minutes, brush teeth, get ready and then off to start the day.
How do you relax?
Naps! I love a good old power nap or if possible a massage!
What are you reading?
I'm re-reading 'Do No Harm' by Dr. Henry Marsh as I am interning in Neurosurgery in India at the moment (partly also because I have a terrible attention span and never finished it the first time round). Whether you're a Medic or not it's an exhilarating, and at times, humorous read. I highly recommend it!
What are you listening / dancing too?
Kygo - Raging (feat. Kodaline), and Milky Chance - Blossom
What are you watching?
Mountaineering documentaries, TED talks, medical related YouTube videos, and when I don't want to concentrate, Netflix.
Tea or coffee?
Tea (coffee only as emergency fuel)
Dog or cat?
Dogs, lots of them!
Where have you had your favourite travel adventure?
Kashmir and Kyrgyzstan
Favourite place to hike?
Kyrgyzstan or Hong Kong
Favourite place in the world?
On top of a mountain
What are you drinking?
Water, and for a thirst quencher, fizzy water with freshly squeezed lemon.
What are you eating?
My Mexican Bowl, with peanut coconut dressing
125g Kidney beans
7 Cherry tomatoes
dash of Salt
1 tbsp Olive oil
Additional Sauce (Optional):
250ml Coconut milk
2 tbsp Soy sauce
3 tbsp Peanut butter
Sprinkle of pepper
(This sauce is a big portion and will last you a week, just store in fridge)
- First lets make the guacamole. Mash 1 and a half avocado (add the lime for taste + it delays the browning), sprinkle in salt and pepper, chopped tomatoes and then keep to one side.
- Spiralize (or if you don’t have a spiralizer just use a peeler and make thicker noodles) lightly toss in olive oil in a pan on a low heat.
- Now assemble the bowl! Add the half avocado left over on the top and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
- If you want dressing with it, just mix all the dressing ingredients together. (For a thicker consistency pre make the dressing and leave in the fridge for 1 hour before using)
Anna coaches one-on-one, and organises cooking workshops, find out more at Ahila Health.