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Culture

Isabelle Razis: From Russia with Love

Isabelle Razis is half-Greek, half-French, raised in Athens in a happy but not traditional family.

Her values and life priorities are well-rooted: She first needed a strong education and a steady career. This led her to graduate Law in Paris and be a corporate lawyer in international organizations.

Later on, she fell in love and soon became a mother of three.

This was when they took the brave decision to move to Russia, outside their comfort zone.

The sense of adventure is in her genes, and a static way of living doesn’t work well with her. She continuously readjusts and reconsiders herself.

The National Herald: You have made different career moves. What triggered that, and what are you doing presently?

Isabelle Razis: After ten years of law practice and soon after moving to Russia, my entrepreneurial spirit struck. I created my real estate firm and successfully developed a niche marketing opportunity to promote Greece as an investment destination. I kept on juggling a family, career, and social life within a harsh foreign environment.

Intensive sports practice, personal development, healthy living, and exciting traveling were my ways out. It wasn't enough, though, and I lost track of what I was after.

Although I had a ‘happy life’, there were days that I felt drained and nervous. I burned Isabelle out slowly and to the ground.

This is when I felt the need to concentrate on my personal development and wellness. After receiving specific education and training at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and a Health Coach certification with the IAHC, my knowledge in the field was enhanced.

Today, I am a Health Coach and founder of the Balance Connect Method wellness method. As such, I find myself sharing what has now become a real passion, in good hope of touching other people's lives and health, hence there is a ripple effect on them too.   

TNH: Is sitting the new smoking?

IR: There have been contradictory articles in the scientific community on whether sitting is more harmful to health than smoking. We can’t compare the two. Smoking is one of the greatest public health threats, and, thankfully, the percentage of smokers worldwide has decreased in recent years and is expected to drop more.

On the other hand, too much sitting is a significant factor in chronic diseases’ increase. It is difficult to say which one is more serious and also impossible to measure it. Throughout my practice, I notice that physical activity offsets some of the negative impacts of smoking, especially when speaking of light smokers.

I don’t want to encourage active people to smoke! But if you are smoking, it gives you one more reason not to be sitting all day long.

TNH: How can we naturally lower our cholesterol?

IR: One essential way to lower cholesterol is through diet. But this doesn’t necessarily mean to cut off all fats and carbs. Instead, replace bad fats with good ones, choose healthy carbs, and focus on fiber-rich foods (soluble ones).

It is not always easy to keep track of the dos and don’ts. In brief, do eat avocados, olives, olive oil, macadamia nuts, almonds, seeds, fatty fishes such as halibut, mackerel, sablefish, salmon, sardines, trout, fresh tuna, flaxseed, soybean oil.

Avoid red meat, cheese, and butter. Avoid bread, pasta, white rice, refined carbs, and processed foods, which trigger cholesterol and other chronic diseases.

Say no to margarine, candies, cakes, chips, sodas, flaky pastries, cookies.

Include oatmeal in your diet since it is one of the best sources of soluble fiber. Eat white and black beans, but say no to beans in cans.

Eggplant is perfect, and so are carrots and cauliflower. Among fruits, berries and kiwis are to be preferred.

Probiotics can also prevent cholesterol from recirculating through the body. I always advise the consumption of fermented foods, which – among other benefits – can help to moderate cholesterol.

Apart from the culinary recommendations, regular exercise and stress management are also essential for controlling cholesterol.

TNH: How do we know if we have a Yin/Yang food imbalance?

IR: According to the Taoist principles, the body needs a balance between these two opposing forces to be healthy. When we often experience illness, feel tired or irritable, have muscle weakness, migraines, digestive problems, frequent cravings, or no motivation, we need to bring back the balance between those two flows. The two principles must co-exist harmoniously for our body and mind to be in a continuous flow of wellbeing.

TNH: How can we overcome our cravings for the wrong foods?

IR: We often view cravings as weaknesses, but usually, they come as vital messages. When experiencing a craving, we should ask ourselves, “what is my body trying to tell me?” We should navigate through our desires, and only then try to get over them. Cravings sometimes come from dissatisfaction in relationships, inappropriate exercise routine, or an unmotivating job.

They may come from a Yin/Yang imbalance; for instance, having too many Yin foods (cold and raw foods or sugar) and not enough Yang sources of foods (warm and cooked foods or meat). In this case, including some neutral foods helps. Other reasons can be related to our past – we often crave foods we ate in our childhood.

In some other cases, cravings are qualified as ‘seasonal cravings’; in summer, we crave ice-creams. Cravings are often linked with a lack of nutrients; when we train too much, we are craving salty foods due to sodium deficiency.

They are also due to hormonal changes or cortisol peaks and stress. Cravings can even hide a lack of water consumption, and by merely staying hydrated, we could avoid some of them.

The first step is to acknowledge our cravings by giving them space with no judgment. Their power will be reduced!

Then, by treating the cause and not the symptom. For instance, if they result from stress, we find natural ways to manage it. If they are linked with fatigue, we treat the sleep issue.

We should also increase our knowledge around the foods we crave; sugar addictions can be dismantled by understanding the trap we are falling into when overeating it. A sense of pride could then arise and an unwillingness to fall back into the vicious circle…

Last and not least, we need to replace the craving routine. For instance, if we want an energy drink, we could try fruit instead.

Write down successes and share them to create a belief system that will encourage you to better habits. Remember to proceed patiently, and feel the freedom once liberation arrives. It is all about finding the balance between body and mind.

TNH: Why do we give priority to materialistic dreams? What is missing in our life when we do so?

IR: We live in a world where the best house, the best car, the more expensive bag, etc., qualifies us as successful and happy.

But haven't we lost the sense of limits?

Money won't buy happiness. The more we attach importance to materialist values, the less we are open to experience wellbeing. When our dreams are linked with materialist objectives, there is usually insecurity in our inner self and a lack of self-esteem that we try to camouflage.

The more we show up with competitive signs of external wealth, the less space we give our interior to flourish.

When we look for inspiration through our materialistic acquisitions, doesn’t it signify we lack motivation from the inside?

Try connecting instead with nature, establishing genuine and loving relationships, bonding mind with body, enriching yourself with knowledge and creativity, simple things that will trigger magic and fulfillment.

TNH: Happiness or success?

IR: Happiness and success, together, since success is to live a balanced life, leading to satisfaction. As simple as that.

TNH: Do you make the most out of your life?

IR: This is synonymous with living consciously. I am continuously working on this and have succeeded thanks to everyday life techniques. I focus on my intention, my heart, and my strengths, and I drive away limiting beliefs while also getting out of my comfort zone once in a while to create more opportunities.

My motto: live my life to the fullest!

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Dear readers, let me briefly introduce myself, while wishing you "a summer full of positive energy and good health.

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