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Second Shift: A health scare led to a huge life change

Meet a woman who recently gave up a steady full-time job to pursue her real passion: teaching others' healthy living habits.

For more about Samantha's health services, visit SimplySamanthaNYC.com. Credit: Provided For more about Samantha's health services, visit SimplySamanthaNYC.com.
Credit: Provided

Our Second Shift series features people who work more than one job or have creative ways of making money. This week, meet a woman who recently gave up a steady full-time job to pursue her real passion: teaching others' healthy living habits.

Name: Samantha Elkrief
Age: 31
Residency: Astoria, Queens
Lives with: Two roommates
Number of jobs: 2

Were you scared to leave your full-time job to pursue something less steady?

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Yes. It took me many years to make the decision to leave. The majority of my work experience is in social work and I was always drawn to food in some way. I helped with the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, I ran a food pantry, I did food stamps advocacy. ... In 2008, I got sick, so I had my own journey of figuring out what was going on. The doctors didn't know. Just by working with a naturopath andchanging my eating habits I was able to go off all medication and control my symptoms. It all sort of came to a head. I look back on being sick and think, OK, this happened for a reason.

What do you do now?

I'm a health coach, which is basically someone who can support you in getting healthier. A health coach focuses on what you eat, when you eat, your relationship with food and also exercise, your other relationships and your career. It's a mix between a nutritionist and a life coach. I teach cooking classes and also meet clients wherever they want - at their work, home or a cafe - sometimes we just talk on the phone and map out a meal plan. My other job is as a contractor with the Department of Health. I teach cooking and nutrition classes in lower-income neighborhoods.

Have you been happy with the way your work life has changed?

I love it. I'm so happy. Recently, I had a new client who works nights so her diet was completely messed up and she didn't know what to do. In 45 minutes, we came up with a completely new schedule with completely new food. She felt in control of her life again with one session. It's amazing.

Do you do any other things for money?

Yes. I'm a personal assistant to a meditation teacher. He was actually my meditation teacher when I was 16. I do his invoicing, scheduling, put together documents to keep him organized. Things like that. I also make my own deodorant which I sell at an acupuncture store in Jackson Heights and out of my apartment. It has no fragrance or chemicals in it.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence

 
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