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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.

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