Dining Reviews

New Leaf’s Community Educator Dishes Out Healthy Lifestyle Advice

Madia Jamgochian organizes free one-hour nutrition lectures and other events

Madia Jamgochian serves up wellness advice in classes offered at New Leaf Community Markets. PHOTO: COURTESY OF NEW LEAF COMMUNITY MARKETS

Tall, raven-haired nutrition consultant Madia Jamgochian is an expert on healthy lifestyles.

Her high-wattage smile and vivacious aura of calm help make her a natural teacher, which is exactly what she is as New Leaf Community Market’s community educator. A Mendocino native who went to UCSB for studies in environmental science and exercise sports science, Jamgochian continued her education and became a certified nutrition consultant. In the fall of 2013 she began working for New Leaf Community Markets. 

“I knew it would be the ideal job for me,” she says of her community educator role. “I jumped on it and have been teaching classes through New Leaf for the past five years.”

Jamgochian worked with me organizing workshops on food and wine pairings a few years back, so I’m personally familiar with her amazing sense of organization and ability to combine wellness concepts and sound nutrition with home cooking tips. “My primary focus is free one-hour nutrition lectures,” she says, “lectures that cover a variety of health topics from how to build better bones to how to get a good night’s sleep.”

Jamgochian is both hands-on and behind-the-scenes at New Leaf, scheduling all the community classroom events for a wide variety of health professionals cycling through the New Leaf calendar.

“January and February are popular months for people to get back ‘on track’ with their health and come learn something new,” Jamgochian believes. “Almost all of my nutrition classes are full this time of year, and it has been great to see some new faces in here along with my class regulars. One of our most popular classes is the Anti-Inflammatory Wellness Series I offer twice a year with my colleague Magali Brecke.” 

Currently offered every February and October, the four-installment class is important to Jamgochian “because we get to spend a whole month with the attendees and they get to really implement the tools we give to help control autoimmune conditions.”

The New Leaf instructor enjoys the point in her classes “when someone has an ‘ah-ha’ moment, or when they go try out something new they learned in class and report back to me about how it has changed their life in one way or another.” When her participants tell her they’ve had success with weight loss, sugar cravings, or lowering pain levels, “these are the times that make me feel like I’m making a difference—helping people feel their best, and showing them that healthy doesn’t have to be difficult.”

Busy is the word when it comes to Jamgochian. 

“The next free nutrition class I have on the schedule is Seeds, Beans and Grains, Wednesday, March 11 from 1pm-2pm,” she says. “We will go over how these foods can be an important part of a healthy diet as well as proper preparation techniques and nutritional benefits.” She typically offers at least one nutrition class a week at the Westside New Leaf. She is also involved with staff nutrition education at UCSC and works with Natural Bridges High School and the Homeless Garden Project.

Jamgochian’s personal consulting business My Healing Habits, online at myhealinghabits.com, combines her background in Traditional Chinese Medicine and nutrition to encourage a food-as-medicine approach to wellness. Look for her upcoming classes on the New Leaf events page at newleaf.com

Coming Up Fast

Watch for David Kinch’s French/Italian dining room and pizzeria Mentone to open up in Aptos Village very soon; ditto on Sean Venus’ new Venus Spirits Cocktails and Kitchen in the Westside. And eagle-eyed winemaker Ryan Beauregard has just signed the papers to lease the now empty Bonny Doon Vineyard tasting room, the one in the faux old schoolhouse perched on Highway 1 in Davenport. It’s a smart move, since it will help make Beauregard’s excellent wines more available to, well, shall we say, passers-by?

Christina Waters was born in Santa Cruz and raised all over the world (thanks to an Air Force dad), with real-world training in painting, music, winetasting, trail running, organic gardening, and teaching. She has a PhD in Philosophy, teaches in the Arts at UCSC and sings with the UCSC Concert Choir. Look for her recent memoir “Inside the Flame” at bookstores everywhere.

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