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Inspiring Conversations with Jenna Volpe of Whole-istic Living

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenna Volpe.

Hi Jenna, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Not in a million years did I think I’d grow up to be a nutritionist! As a kid, I was a very picky eater. I had ZERO interest in trying anything deemed “healthy”… until 2004 when everything changed!

I was volunteering at a hospital coffee shop when my journey began. A customer started sharing the multitude of benefits linked with drinking green tea regularly because of its high antioxidant levels. I remember thinking it must have been too good to be true! (Why didn’t more people know about it?)

Low and behold, when I got home that day I searched and stumbled on LOTS of articles about green tea and its antioxidant power. It was true – green tea consumption seemed to help reduce/prevent aging and lots of diseases! That really hit home for me because at that point, I had watched a few family members go through cancer, and it was horrifying. Learning about green tea’s antioxidant benefits gave me a glimmer of hope and empowerment, and I also felt connected to a new sense of purpose.

Green tea led me to blueberries, which spiraled into pretty much anything and everything with some kind of health benefit! Still, I knew that was just the tip of the iceberg. From that point on, I committed to learning everything I could about the potential healing powers of food and herbs!

I started reading all the holistic healing books I could get my hands on (typical teenage hobby, right?), then I completed a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and eventually, I got my “RD” credential as a registered dietitian.

Things took another turn in my early 20s when I got sick with gut health issues, food allergies and an autoimmune condition. I hid these issues pretty well but still felt ashamed and mortified; I was supposed to be the picture of health, coaching clients around healthy eating, teaching multiple workout classes a week, and drinking green tea daily! I felt like I was being punished.

Those health issues turned out to be a “blessing in disguise” in that I was left with no choice but to keep searching until I found answers. Leaving no stone unturned until I got better, I fell head-first down the rabbit hole into the world of integrative functional nutrition, gut health/immunity, Reiki, herbal medicine, energy healing and more.

Working with holistic health professionals to heal myself first and then get the continuing education I needed to help others in this way has taken my sense of purpose to a whole new level!

After reversing heartburn and digestive issues, almost 20 allergies at this point and no longer needing endoscopes with dilation to keep my esophagus from clogging with scar tissue (all just by changing my diet and lifestyle)… there’s no way I will ever look back.

I never would have believed it was possible to do that unless I went through it myself – now I know there’s a better way than the options we’re offered in the mainstream world, and am on a mission to share this with as many people as possible!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I wouldn’t say it’s been a smooth road, and at the same time I believe we are not given anything we can’t handle or figure out. I’m a big believer in Marie Forleo’s philosophy that “everything is figureoutable!”

My health issues were certainly no picnic. However, in spite of that journey, I now identify with the archetype of the “wounded healer”. That is someone who walks through fire, and must figure things out the hard way so that many others won’t have to.

Being able to pave the way for others feels like a badge of honor to me! But still, I know there’s always going to be more to learn and I’m humbled by my ongoing journey as it continues to unfold. I believe things happen for us, not to us.

From a business standpoint I’m convinced there’s no such thing as a smooth road! Looking back I’d say the biggest challenge as an entrepreneur was re-locating my brick and mortar practice from Woburn, MA to Austin, TX in 2018. I had to take out a bank loan and work three jobs to get the practice off the ground all over again (in a city where no one knew me), and it brought me to my knees at times.

Again, that turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it pushed me to become a more confident and empowered version of myself! My 1:1 practice is now full with a waiting list, and I’m currently in the middle of a group program beta launch so that I can help exponentially more people to make quantum leaps in their health.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Yes! As a registered dietitian, holistic nutritionist, clinical herbalist and energy healing practitioner, my ultimate mission is to guide and empower people to crack their own unique health code, so they can heal themselves and enjoy life again.

I’m a big believer in the power of “food as medicine”, the wisdom of nature, and the principle that one size does not fit all! Through my integrative practice, I strive to bridge the gaps between clinical and holistic, physical and metaphysical. Most people don’t know what they don’t know, and it brings me a lot of joy and fulfillment to introduce people to the things they didn’t know they needed to finally feel better.

I work most often with people who are seeking freedom and relief from symptoms of digestive distress, fatigue, bloating, pain, allergies/food sensitivities, nutritional deficiencies, and/or autoimmune disorders. (All of this stuff is often inter-connected!)

My outcome-based programs are offered 1:1 (in-person or virtual) and also via online group settings. Clients are always met with an exceptionally holistic, customized approach.

My client sessions are unique in that I’m also an empath, clairsentient and intuitive so I tend to pick up on subtle details that others may miss.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
OH my goodness! What a great question. I’ve had more mentors, supporters, cheerleaders, advocates, etc. than I can count. I probably can’t fit them all onto this page! But so cool to look back and reflect on the ripple effects people have made in our lives.

Gotta give a shoutout to my fiancé Michael, my parents and sister, my best friend Christine, all of who I talk to every single day, who have supported me and loved me unconditionally no matter what I’m up to! Having people who love you and believe in you that much is so underrated. Pretty much everyone in my family and circles of friends have been wonderful cheerleaders along the way, whether through social media “likes”, or positive feedback or client referrals. I’m very lucky!

I wish I knew the name of the man who told me about green tea; who knows where I’d be today if it wasn’t for him! We all need someone to give us the “lightbulb moment” and he totally did that for me.

I’ll always cherish my memories from BU undergrad and UNH dietetic internship with my classmates/fellow RD-to-be’s, teachers/mentors and preceptors!

My 4 years at Winchester hospital were also memorable and fundamental. I consider each and every one of my Winchester hospital colleagues to be a mentor who played a role in my journey. They all took me under their wing and collectively taught me the ins and outs of clinical nutrition. Those experiences prepped me in many ways for what was in store!

I’m beyond grateful for holistic nutrition consultant Gena Mavuli in the Boston area. Gena definitely had the greatest impact on my personal nutrition healing journey! We worked together for over a year and that is where most of my physical healing happened. I was already a dietitian at the time but I specialized in eating disorders. Gut health was a different world to me. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Gena. I will always be forever grateful that our paths crossed; she changed the trajectory of my life! We are still friends to this day.

Shawna Pelton, transformational coach, healer, author podcast host, and a great friend, has also had a profound impact on my life! Shawna’s healing and coaching services have served as catalysts for transformation, contributing to major breakthroughs on my path personally and professionally over the years.

I’m lucky to have been a Reiki student and friend of the late Starr Beauvais, Reiki master and Jikiden Reiki Shihan. Starr was a wonderful person, mentor and friend. One of my fondest memories with Starr was learning Reiki from Tadao Yamaguchi sensei of the Jikiden Reiki Institute in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2017. I appreciate all the mentorship and support I’ve received from Starr, Tadao sensei and everyone in the Jikiden Reiki institute and community!

Corrinne Archibald at Walden Behavioral Care and Nicole Taveras at Behavioral Nutrition were my first two mentors as a dietitian – they both helped me to build my skills and confidence as a young clinician working in a pretty challenging field. These ladies believed in me before I believed in myself, and I’ll always appreciate their incredible support, coaching and wisdom.

I love having friends and colleagues in the health field – you have all enhanced my wellbeing, clinical knowledge and my practice in various ways over the years, and I’m so grateful!! Including but not limited to – Nicole Russo, Wynne Huang, Theresa Citarella, Johanna Hattendorf, Matthew Herrold, Alex Pitkin, Eleni Ottalagana, Sophia Maines, Austin TX herbalists (SJS) & holistic practitioners, my Momentum ladies, BNI friends, MMS initiates, Walden colleagues, St. Vincent Medical center RD’s, South Austin Medical RD’s, & Texas Total Health RD’s… thank you for all of the amazing heart-to-hearts, clinical wisdom, teamwork, and incredible client referrals!
My business also obviously wouldn’t be where it is now without help from LOTS of guides/coaches/mentors/teachers! It takes a village. We can’t get to where we want to go without investing in and learning from the right mentors who have gone before us… Jordan Bain, Ginger Webb, Maria Noel Groves, Sajah Popham, Evan Sylliaasen, Robin Hamilton, Megan Huber & team, Tony Stephan, Susan Linke, Erica Julson, Jen Hernandez, Amy Porterfield and more.

Last but not least, my business would not be what it is without my kickass CLIENTS! I’m so lucky. The people who choose to work with me are a bunch of really awesome folks who I would totally hang out with, even if they weren’t my clients because we have so much to talk about! My soul clients. Whether our paths crossed a few times or many times over, you guys are why I do what I do… THANK YOU is an understatement!

Okay this is getting really long. I should probably stop here. I apologize if I left anyone out!

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Image Credits
Alicia Leigh Photography

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