Learn how Grace Van Berkum, a plantpowered, detox nutritionist and tropical yoga teacher relies on nature to stay fit.
n 2010, while working as a registered holistic nutritionist and personal trainer in Toronto, Grace Van Berkum decided it was time to break up with winter. So she enrolled in a yoga instructor training program at an ashram in the Bahamas, and upon completion, she headed to Nicaragua for a two-month teaching opportunity. It’s six years later and she’s never left.
“I sold everything I owned and left everyone I knew and cared for, to follow my dreams of living off the grid in the tropics on a beach while teaching my passion and strong beliefs that conscious eating and conscious living will help you live your best life possible, physically, mentally and spiritually,” Van Berkum says. “This journey would not be possible if I didn’t have the courage to face my fears, follow my heart, embrace change and explore new ways of living.”
To help spread her message of plant-based nutrition and self-love, Van Berkum has hosted more than 100 Gracious Living Lifestyle Retreats around the world. And earlier this year, she opened Gracious Living Oasis, a semiprivate heal- ing retreat center situated in a remote location in northern Nicaragua surrounded by surf, wild horses and coconut trees. Van Berkum believes in the healing powers of nature, and she models her business around the paramount importance of unadulterated, fresh foods from the earth, connecting to nature, a yogic lifestyle and daily, mindful, physical movements.
“The best whole foods and plant foods combined with a healthy, balanced, loving mind and open heart can heal the body (and planet) of disease,” she says. “An efficiently running, healthy body enables us to use more energy toward our life purpose.”
Van Berkum’s mission is to help others who have been through abuse, drug addictions, eating disorders and depression. “I think this is why we are put on this earth: to heal ourselves and help heal those around us,” she says. “We are all connected. We are all here to help each other and learn from each other. Without connection, we cannot heal. And this is also a big part of my retreats ... creating community.”
Learn how this plantpowered, detox nutritionist and tropical yoga teacher relies on nature to stay fit.