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Meet Trailblazer Elena Stophel

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elena Stophel.

Elena, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am originally from Moscow, Russia and I moved to the U.S. over 13 years ago. Growing up in Russia, I cooked with my grandmother from the moment I started walking, helping her make dishes using fresh vegetables and herbs from our garden. In my culture growing up, food always took center stage, with family and friends sharing a freshly prepared meal or cooking up a feast for special occasions.

My education and background are in language science and marketing. I am a native Russian, with fluent English, working knowledge of German, Spanish, and some French. After graduating from a university in Moscow, I worked for a Big 4 consulting firm, offering professional education solutions to international and Russian companies.

We had our first son, Matthew, in 2007, and he had some food intolerances and sensitivities, which, as a new parent, were an alien concept. Utilizing my knowledge of cooking with fresh ingredients and given no or very limited high-quality meal choices for Matthew, I began preparing fresh organic baby food for him. I was also diving deeper into the food industry at that time (12 years ago) and was blown away by the ingredients the industry was putting into our food chain. What really went into the food and ended up on our table was not real food and I wanted to know how that was impacting my family’s health.

After having Matthew, my understanding of cooking, ingredients that I use, the nutritional value of my dishes, what is best for little bodies, in particular, and human bodies, in general, has taken on a completely different meaning. Matthew and his siblings, Charlotte and Benjamin, set me firmly on my journey to “whole, real-food” based lifestyle for me and my family.

Ten years later, I found myself pondering what was next for me, and felt compelled to share everything I learned and mastered around food, health, and nutrition with a wider audience. I saw a need for delicious, whole-food based, organic meals, prepared from the best local ingredients, without shortcuts and compromises. I also saw many friends and family members around the world, struggling to establish healthful habits and routines around their family’s nutrition habits and how it impacted their health, lifestyle, and wellness. For me, if I made a difference in just one person’s quest to eating and feeling better, I would consider my endeavor a success. This whole journey has been the one of passion, and not the one of pragmatism. I started doing what I knew how to do best, and indeed, it was needed and has been well received.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Naturally, as with anything new, there are many challenges along the way. I was and, to a large degree, still am a “one-person shop”, with great support from my family. You start with basic branding and marketing and go on to creating a company and working out all the logistics and regulations. Then there are practical challenges, from sourcing high quality, organic and seasonal ingredients to building many different menus, that are diverse, innovative and appealing, to executing the said menus within 2-3 days, in a multitude of servings, that require spending those 2-3 days in the kitchen with little sleep, and delivering meals on day three… — all to wake up on Monday and start again! It is a pretty grueling and labor-intensive process, but it is all worth it when my customers are happy and their days are a little easier, a little less stressful, but a lot healthier and so much more delicious!

I think for anyone, and for young women, in particular, it is important to just take the leap, to take a chance and to start doing what you believe in. You may not have a perfect plan, or perfect time, or a perfect set-up, but you just have to start. The first step is often the most difficult one, then the puzzle pieces fall into place. You also have to be ready to work a lot and to work hard. You have to have a strong sense of why you are doing what you are doing, and you have to have passion for your work. Hard stuff and obstacles are inevitable, but they always provide so many opportunities for growth and learning. Remember, that no matter your experience, you never know it all. You are here to make a small, discernible difference in someone’s life and that is all that matters.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Well Fed by Elena LLC – what should we know?
I am your chef and coach at Well Fed by Elena.

I offer diverse, nutritious real-food meal options based on my experience with nutrition and fitness, my international background, as well as our travels, for those looking for an easy and convenient way to support their health and fitness goals. I am here to help you and your family with delicious, healthy, flavorful meal options that are the very definition of “eating clean”. I use the best of organic, seasonal and local produce, pastured meats and wild, sustainable fish and seafood.

Well Fed by Elena meals are:
 Seasonal
 Sustainable
 Organic
 Free of gluten, sugar, soy, grains & dairy
 Paleo friendly
 Whole30 and 21Day-Sugar-Detox compliant
 Supports your fitness & wellness goals
 Makes delicious eating healthful & effortless

As a coach, I offer long-term solutions for you and your family on how to adopt and stick to a healthful approach to living. I am here to support you through lifestyle changes that are effective, manageable and easy to implement for yourself or your entire family. I will work with you individually, to help you determine what your needs are and how to best address them. Additionally, I will share and pass on all my knowledge of food, shopping, meal-prepping, planning while managing a busy life and a multitude of commitments. Cooking classes and demos are included!

As a 21-Day Sugar Detox Certified Coach, I’m uniquely equipped to walk you through the program of kicking your sugar cravings for good, from preparation before you begin, through the program, and post-detox. You can also extend this program by subscribing to a plan with weekly coaching sessions, personalized shopping tours, and cooking classes.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
For me, culturally, I do not view opportunities as related to the ones reserved for a particular group of people, men or women. Traditionally, in Russia, and growing up, I have always witnessed women as smarter, stronger, more capable than any man around, so I was not exposed to the same stereotypes as perhaps many people in other cultures have experienced. I believe that nothing is off limits for women, as long as you work hard and believe in yourself. I understand that there are many unique challenges in various cultures, both socially and economically, that put women in a disadvantageous position. But if you are able to overcome the limiting beliefs in your environment and the society you are in, the opportunities are limitless and women can achieve anything and everything they set their minds to.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Elizabeth Bettis

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