Manoli, can you please describe who you are (not what you do) in a few sentences or less?
I am a wellness enthusiast, a conscious entrepreneur, and a biohacker. I’m deeply passionate about helping others live a fulfilling and meaningful life. I feel a strong connection with nature and cannot live long without a visit to the beach. I love to dream big and have a fascination with the power of our mind and our thoughts. I enjoy bringing people together and I love trying new things and getting uncomfortable.
What are three things that you cannot live without in a ‘morning routine’?
Five minutes of stillness when I wake up, where I like to meditate, breath and stretch. A delicious cup of black coffee. A moment of gratitude.
What inspired you to join the health and wellness movement, did it come out of a personal journey/challenge that you had?
I dealt with cystitis, hypothyroidism, and heavy metal toxicity in my early 20’s. Some of these challenges lasted years, but they opened my eyes to the field of functional medicine and the power of food as medicine. During my early years, wellness was merely a hobby. When I decided to take my coaching course at IIN, I began to take it more seriously and so did others asking for my advice. So, I made a decision during the course to devote myself completely to this field for a year to see where it would take me.
Can you please give us your elevator pitch of what you do?
Currently, as a licensed health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I have launched my own e-business wellness consulting platform, The Living Fuel. The Living Fuel operates globally and works with businesses to develop custom wellness programs designed to get employees healthy and cut down on healthcare costs. Privately, I also work with professional athletes, entrepreneurs, and families, helping them optimize their lives through nutrition, sleep, movement, and sustainable change.
One of your services is helping ‘corporates’ create work-life balance. How did that environment inspire you to become a wellness coach?
As a former consultant for PwC, I saw the need for individualized care in big corporations. During those years, I experienced burnout from weekly travel, long hours and a stressful work environment and eventually developed a system to manage those stressors while on the road. I quickly began helping my peers achieve some of the same positive results I was seeing and it felt very natural. Now, the majority of my clients are big corporations and their employees, these are the people I can connect with because I have lived and breathed their day-to-day and know exactly how to help them avoid letting their health slip away.
What are some tips/wellness offerings that you can give to an employer so that they can understand the value of work-life balance?
If your employees are happy and healthy, you will get more from them in many ways, from increased retention to health insurance savings the benefits of corporate wellness go far beyond weight loss. Offering small benefits like discounted gym memberships, standing desks, incentivizing movement, having healthy snack options in-house all make a huge difference when looking at overall company health. Furthermore, these offerings give employees a feeling of being valued and that is what large corporations lack the most, so having a way to impact each individual goes a long way in retaining top talent.
Being a man who is so actively involved within the corporate health space, what is a common struggle that you see in other men in relation to health and wellness? And why do you think this is the case? (eg. Un-motivation, denial, lack of self-awareness) …
Food shaming is one of the biggest challenges I overcame in the corporate setting. Ordering a salad at lunch or being the one to ask for a side of veggies at dinner was sometimes more difficult than my day to day work! “Men don’t eat salads” was the unspoken code. Secondly, there is very little appreciation for food and it’s more a “eat to live” culture. Eating at your desk over a computer while answering emails is one of the worst ways to fuel your body. Eating in a stressed state prevents you from digesting and chewing properly and strips away your connection with your food, where it’s coming from and how it was prepared.
You’re at an event, speaking to a group of corporates who think that they don’t have enough time to focus on their health, what do you say to them?
Wellness doesn’t require time, it requires AWARENESS. It’s really about re-programming the way you think about things and unteaching some of the message’s society has engrained in our minds. Counting calories is the perfect example, we now know that it’s about the quality of the calories we eat not about the amount and each type of calorie has a different metabolic effect on our body. The second piece of advice I would give them is to start skipping breakfast and fast, this gives you more energy AND saves you time and money.
Stress causes inflammation because… (finish sentence)
It has the potential to put our body in a chronic fight or flight state if not managed properly.
What’s something that you religiously practice during times of high stress, where you almost always see results?
The 478 methods. It’s a simple breathing technique that only takes a minute, can be done anywhere and allows me to tap into my parasympathetic nervous system almost immediately.
What foods are inside your fridge at the moment? And why?
Lots of seasonal greens, fermented veggies, and some fresh grouper fillets. I love to eat seasonal foods from the farmers market since they are typically fresher and more nutrient-dense! I also love to fish, and when I go home to Florida I always make sure to bring some of my latest catch back with me to NY.
If you want to find out more about Manoli or his services, please find him here https://www.thelivingfuel.com/