Monica: Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Mascha! You have such a unique background in terms of how you first came to the U.S. Can you share how that sparked the initial direction of your career?
Mascha: When I was seven years old, my family immigrated to the United States from Ukraine as political refugees. We came with almost nothing, and moved constantly for the first few years. Overcoming these challenges taught me resilience, and how being resilient can help us stay grateful and see the bigger picture. I think it can also inspire us to find motivation to take care of our health and strive to be our best.
Ultimately, it inspired me to pursue a career which allows me to give back and help others achieve their full potential through their health. After enrolling at the University of WI-Madison, I landed on my true passion – nutrition.
Monica: Wow, that experience must have really had an impact on you from a young age. How did that play into the way you wanted to help others?
Mascha: My personal experience as a refugee instilled in me the true meaning of gratitude. I realized that just by virtue of coming to the US, I was given opportunities that many people are not fortunate enough to have. I felt tremendously lucky, and also discovered a sense of purpose – a strong desire to make a difference and improve the lives of others.
Monica: That is incredibly true, there are so many privileges that we can often take for granted so this is such a wonderful perspective. How does that affect the way you think how our health plays into our lives?
Mascha: We are not meant to just live – we are meant to thrive. A purposeful existence is built on a foundation of vitality. Being mindful and knowledgeable in our approach to food and how we nourish our bodies can help us to truly step into our power and live a joyful, healthy life.
Monica: Is there one specific principle that you believe everyone can benefit from the most in their lives?
Mascha: Something that I have learned, and what I also work to instill in my clients, is that healthy doesn’t mean cutting out everything you crave. Finding balance is the true secret to health. Balance means filling your plate (and life) with luscious greens full of antioxidants, lean proteins, and wholesome grains – and if you want, having some dessert at the end.
Monica: I couldn’t agree more! Being healthy should never limit the way we live. How will you continue your work forward to help even more people?
Making an impact and giving back is what drives me forward. My journey has led me to health and nutrition, and helping people across the globe to lead healthier lives. From 2010-2015, I spent five years in Africa as a humanitarian aid worker. My focus was mainly prevention of severe acute malnutrition in children and women. Integrating this work into my private practice and ensuring I continue to give back was really essential to me. Last year, I joined the advisory council of the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation and continue to be involved in projects in Africa that I am passionate about, which include girls health and education.
I truly believe that we each have a gift and a responsibility to discover our purpose and use it to elevate others around us.
Monica: I love all the work that you’re working on to make a global impact, it’s so needed and I can’t wait to see what you do next. One last question: what’s the one thing you want others to know that will help them thrive in life?
Mascha: One thing that I have learned is that what we put into our bodies affects our physical, emotional and mental health. Diet can not only prevent disease, but it can also be the catalyst that helps us to thrive and reach our full potential in life.
Learn more about Mascha at nomadistanutrition.com.