During the last 27 years, we’ve certified over 130,000 health, nutrition, and fitness professionals. Each month, we recognize one of our distinguished graduates who are using what they have learned to inspire others and make a difference.
Meet our featured graduate for the month of June, Meral Jibouri, a AFPA Certified Holistic Nutritionist.
How did you initially become interested in health and fitness?
I think I’ve always had an underlying interest in health and fitness with my approach to my wellness in a holistic way. I’ve always believed that it’s not one thing that makes you healthy or unhealthy and that it’s important to be aware of what you eat, your mental wellbeing, healthy human connections, and so on. About a couple of years ago, I read How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger, a book recommended by my sister Nehal, and the rest is history. Once I learned about a plant-based diet and lifestyle, it immediately resonated, and the journey began from there and continues to evolve.
What certification did you choose, and why did you choose AFPA?
I successfully completed the AFPA Certified Holistic Nutritionist certification. I researched and compared different options but eventually chose AFPA because the nutrition certification being offered focused on a predominantly whole-foods, plant-based diet, which is what I believe in. For me, it was very important to pursue a certification that was based on the latest evidence-based nutrition and, therefore, also making it ethical to promote and teach others.
What was your career like prior to becoming certified?
I am actually a business graduate with a double major in Marketing Communications and Communication Management with over ten years of corporate experience in PR. I took a few years off after that to grow my family and then switched industries.
What is your career like now?
Today, I am dabbling in a few things, including plant-based nutrition coaching and content creation.
What are your favorite parts of your career?
I love the possibility of helping to empower someone out there with their health, confidence, mindset, and just overall quality of life.
How has becoming certified with AFPA impacted your life?
The initial aim of this certification was to benefit my personal development and that of my immediate family, with the possibility of pursuing it as a career as well. It has certainly solidified my knowledge, understanding, and beliefs in the health benefits of a predominantly WFPB diet. It has also equipped me with the tools and credentials to help improve the way my family fundamentally eats, coach others, and formulate recipes using healthier ingredients for content creation to spread awareness of this diet in the Middle Eastern region.
Do you have any client success stories you would like to share?
Yes. My brother-in-law Zaid has type 1.5 diabetes and, over the last fifteen years, has continuously struggled with ever-increasing blood sugar levels, leading to a constant increase in his insulin intake and other heavy meds, weight gain, and overall deteriorating health. He also experienced two heart attacks, despite his many efforts to eat a clean carnivore diet.
Upon switching to a WFPB diet and responsibly keeping his doctors in the loop, he managed to reduce his insulin dosage by over 60% after two weeks, dropping his overall HB1AC from 6.5 to 5.4 after a year and a half. His basal insulin reduced from 70 units to 28 units per day, his cholesterol meds were reduced by more than half, and he has now lost over 15 kilos during this short period of time.
Today, after over a year, not only is he in his best shape with his diabetes, but he also continues to raise the bar and pursue even more exceptional goals with his overall wellbeing, including his food, fitness, sleep, and many more positive lifestyle changes.
He went from being someone struggling with his deteriorating health to becoming a successful health enthusiast. Being able to change the narrative of your life is the biggest blessing of all.
What advice do you give others thinking about becoming certified?
To make sure you do it for the right reasons, whether for personal development or to pursue a career. This certification will certainly empower you with the knowledge and tools you need to really delve into a WFPB understanding, and it is really up to you to choose what path you want to pursue from here.