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“Productivity goes up when people are happy” with Chef Alina Z and Akemi Sue Fisher

Focus on each person’s strength and what brings them joy and pleasure and then delegate projects so that each team player has the most fun doing what they do. They will perform better and be happier. Also bring healthy and tasty treats to meetings! Productivity goes up when people are happy and fed. As a part […]


Focus on each person’s strength and what brings them joy and pleasure and then delegate projects so that each team player has the most fun doing what they do. They will perform better and be happier. Also bring healthy and tasty treats to meetings! Productivity goes up when people are happy and fed.

As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Alina Z, an award-winning, Board-Certified Health Coach, Detox Specialist, Chef and Creator of the #1 Best Diet in America, as selected by Harper’s Bazaar Magazine. Alina’s passion is in bridging the gap between healthy and tasty food. ​Alina’s unique approach to food begins with first finding self-love and then creating a healthy diet that reflects your unique personality and lifestyle. Alina teaches that finding foods that fit you is a lot like choosing the fashions that fill your closet. It’s a philosophy she calls “Couture Nutrition®” and sharing it with others is her passion. When you fall in love with yourself and understand food through fashion, she says, you learn realistic ways to boost your energy, control your weight, and look simply fabulous. Or as Alina likes to put it, “you blossom.” Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and unafraid of new challenges, Alina Z came to America alone at only 15 with a dream to start a new life and launch a fulfilling career. She became board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners after she completed her studies at the Institute For Integrative Nutrition . Alina now coaches clients of all ages, both in person and across the world on how to achieve vibrant health and happiness with a teaching style that’s both fun and easy to follow. If she can do it, so can you!


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

For nearly 4 years I was a Vice President of Marketing at Windows Catering Company, one of Washington DC’s Largest Catering Companies and my entire days were wrapped around talking about food, writing about food, designing projects around food, thinking about food and tasting food! You can only imagine the toll it took on my health and my relationship with food overall!
 
 I also had to work many hours and was always on the go. From early morning networking breakfasts to late-night cocktail receptions and galas, I barely had time to eat healthy. That busy lifestyle was so hectic that I gained my share of unwanted 20 pounds, which I struggled to lose with traditional diets. Diet book after diet book, my shelfs were getting fuller and waist wasn’t shrinking. As a last resort, I chose to take the matters in my own hands and enrolled to study nutrition at the world’s largest nutrition school — Institute For Integrative Nutrition, in New York City.
 
 The experience was truly life-changing — I found my unique way to health and fell in love with the field of nutrition. I felt my calling to help others find their own ways to vitality and happiness and so I took a plunge. I followed my passion, quit my job at the catering company and started my own business. I know how challenging and confusing it can be to navigate the world of healthy eating alone and now I am happy to be the support my clients’ needs to reach their goals of radiant health. I know that if I could do it, so can you! 
 
 The only things that I saw missing in the health market were FUN & EASE! I saw food was either healthy or delicious and with my background in marketing for luxury brands I chose to promote the best of both worlds — food can be healthy, delicious, on the budget, quick and easy! Life is short and you have to have a great time! Why settle for less than that?

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

I launched a food line that was named #1 Best Diet in America by Harpers Bazaar Magazine and People magazine called it The Best Post-Thanksgiving Cleanse! I also started my own TV show in Santa Barbara, where I showed people how to eat healthy and delicious foods around town.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I transform relationships that people have with food and relationships they have with themselves. I show them how to fall in love with food and with themselves, how to change their perspective on cooking and show them how to make everything easy and fun. People who come to my classes are amazed how quickly they can make a brownie and a chocolate mousse and how tasty it is.

I am also a big believer in energy and I think the energy and joy I put into what I do shows.
 
 Additionally, I have a fun way of teaching — I teach how to look at food through fashion, so you can find your personal eating style without falling prey to fad diets that don’t love you back.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am working on my sizzle reel to pitch to networks to have my national TV show that will transform how people look at themselves and at food. It will make people healthier and happier and our planet better!

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

It all starts with YOU and your self-love. You can’t pour from an empty cup.You have to take care of YOU and your body with foods that love you and nourish your body, so you feel fueled to lead and inspire others. Your performance at work is directly related to the foods you put into your body.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Focus on each person’s strength and what brings them joy and pleasure and then delegate projects so that each team player has the most fun doing what they do. They will perform better and be happier. Also bring healthy and tasty treats to meetings! Productivity goes up when people are happy and fed.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My mom. She came with me to trade shows, tastings and even the grand Food Network Wine and Food Festival where we made and served 2000 cookie dough bites! She helped me every step of the way and encouraged me to keep moving forward with my dreams.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I am teaching people how to fall in love with themselves so they become happier. I show how to eat better for their health and for our planet and for the animals.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

1. FALL IN LOVE WITH YOURSELF. Find your own joy, peace and pleasure. When you love yourself so much, you can love others so much more and when find peace in our own hearts, we can bring peace to the world.

2. Try some meatless and dairy-free alternatives instead of meat and dairy. Your body, planet and animals will thank you. You don’t have to go vegan, but being veganish and healthyish will make a huge difference! A study by Oxford University found that eliminating meat and dairy could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73%.” Imagine the impact if everyone made small changes by reducing consumption by just 50%?

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Don’t Die With Your Music Still in You — by Wayne Dyer. Your life is NOW and you have to LIVE it fully. When I heard it and the story behind it, I quit my full time corporate job and started my own business that helps change our world.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Yes — OPRAH!!!! I want to cook for her and have my TV show on OWN network. I love that Oprah inspires people to make a world a better place while being happier in our bodies. I can show viewers how to make delicious food attainable, good-for-you and good-for-the-planet without sacrificing taste or spending too much time in the kitchen. I am a coach and teacher at heart that loves great food and would love teach my approach on her channel.I am passionate about transforming how people see food and see themselves. It is all about food that you love and that loves you back.

Thank you for joining us!

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