Your Name: Cecilia Yu
Job Title: Culinary Nutritionist
What is your nationality and background?
I consider myself as a Hong Konger who at the core, holds my Chinese roots and values despite growing up, being schooled, and working in the US for most of my childhood and young adult years (20 years altogether). After leaving the US to purse my husband’s career in Seoul, I spent 6 years working in market research / market strategy consulting in Seoul and Hong Kong. In 2012, my Thai, American educated husband, my then 2.5 year old daughter and I moved to Bangkok for his new job. While I hold an American passport and legal residency status in Hong Kong, I have considered Bangkok our home the past 7.5 years.
What is your profession?
I am a certified Culinary Nutritionist (by Academy of Culinary Nutrition) and certified Integrative Nutrition Coach (by Institute of Integrative Nutrition). My core mission, in my lifetime here, is to empower parent to select and cook nutritious food to prevent and heal common ailments and chronic illnesses. Creating delicious, easy and satiating recipes with immunity building ingredients is my passion and a natural extension of what I do at home for my own family.
What are the key skills and responsibilities of this role?
My core mission translates to holding culinary nutrition classes (private and group) as well as private consultations. In all of these channels of interactions with my clients, oftentimes parents of babies and young children, I teach how to source, prepare, and cook immune building foods with the most nutrient densities intact.
Every moment I am working (internal operations or client facing), supportive, clear, and easy to follow communications and emotional intelligence are demands I put on myself. I really owe that to my clients. They often come to me, brave and yet (understandably) anxious about starting a new health journey for themselves and their families. That is a HUGE undertaking of CHANGE for many. I need to be their #1 cheerleader. I owe them my support and empathy to validate their concerns and to encourage them to implement their dietary changes, one small step at a time.
As for the responsibilities of my profession – well, there are the operational ones that come with many mompreneurships There are marketing, partnership development, sales, accounting, after sales support, etc. BUT, the one responsibility that I take extremely serious about (and have me staying up wee hours of the night / morning) is continuous professional development. Both nutrition and culinary nutrition (how to maximize nutrition in every bite) are evolving science. It is my obligation to myself as well as my clients, to keep myself updated on the RIGHT, well researched science.
How did you get involved in your profession?
It was my personal witness of how the power of the right, and diverse healing powers of whole foods that helped my daughter overcome 6 years of asthma and frequent respiratory illnesses. So frequent and severe sometimes, she would be on 6 medications daily, take 3-4 weeks to recover from a common viral cold, spend 1 week in the hospital, and be on the neubulizer 24-7.
The more I studied about natural remedies and translated them to our home cooking, the more obvious her immunity improvements became. Within 2 years of diligent culinary nutrition daily, my daughter recovered from colds within 3-5 days without any hospitalization. Within 6 months of that first 2 years, she was able to get off the daily asthma medication (with doctor’s approval of course).
I was just completely in awe of Mother Nature’s healing powers. So, I thought, if I can help my daughter, then perhaps this is my calling to do so for others like her (with immune concerns). I listened to that calling, prayed, knew I needed more knowledge from the best in the field, and off I went to begin my professional training.
How does your role enhance the wellbeing or experience of children?
It absolutely fills my heart when my clients tell me their children are eating more vegetables (amount and variety), that their or their children’s immunity have improved after working with me, that their energy levels have improved, and that they now embrace rather than be anxious about cooking. These feedbacks are what keeps me going; knowing that I am helping to shape / rewire the blueprints of children and parents’ immunities, instill an appreciation of homecooked, nutritious meals, and possibly helping to mould their epi-genetics (for the better) for their future generations.
What challenges do your face in this role?
I often think (beat myself up on this)….gosh, those food photos I take should really be better. The idea is to let people know healthy food can be delicious, and honestly, I don’t know if my photography skills (with my iphone) communicates that idea well sometimes!
What do you hope to achieve within your industry?
I strive to communicate to parents that every bite’s nutrient density, especially in the early years from the time their children transition to solids, counts. It sets the stage for a child’s palette and appreciation for diverse wholesome foods that will either strengthen or breaks their health, in the short and long terms.
Who or what inspires you?
My daughter, who is a healthy, active 10 year old palying multiple sports and an adventurous healthy eater. Without the struggles we had with her health, I would never have taken the path to doing what I do today nor be motivated enough to stay on it to bring others along.
Only a Bangkok local would know… Bangkok metro and the surrounding suburbs – all within 1-2 hours drive, have plenty of small organic farms, cafes, and eateries that cater to families who are seeking for fresh air and intimacy with nature. It is really a matter of inquiring with Bangkok local parents with young children and some late night due diligence scouting on Facebook.
You can contact Cecilia here:
Phone: +66 851329786
Email: sayhi [at] ceciliavitaminl [dot] com
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