Hi! I'm Rachel
Rachel Ornstein Packer, MSW PN1-Level 1
When my son was diagnosed with food allergies in 2008, I was a complete deer in the headlights. At the time, there wasn’t a lot of information nor the variety of allergy free products that we are so grateful for today. Being allergic to eggs, not to mention citrus, peanuts and tree nuts made it extremely difficult to feed my family safely. Also, I was a huge bake-o-phobe and literally had to force myself into the kitchen in order to succeed.
Over the years, I made many mistakes, suffered from crippling fear, learned new skills and at some point, I fell into a rhythm and began blogging recipes and articles pertaining to food allergies. I had achieved a modest level of success, however, the more I learned, the more I realized the importance of nutrition especially with those who had to cut out whole food groups, like us. I began researching nutrition program certification, but my search came to a screeching halt when my daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease (a disease where the immune system attacks the small intestine) at age 12. Again, our lives were turned upside down as we had to adhere to an even more restrictive set of eating challenges.
The Crohn’s journey was difficult and very dark for a while, but we slowly got through it. It wasn’t easy and it tested my abilities in so many ways. My daughter was 35 pounds underweight, a vegetarian and couldn’t eat raw vegetables, dairy or gluten at the time, we were already so limited with allergen foods that it felt almost impossible.The food had to be interesting, nourishing even though it was very restricted. I’m happy to say that through nutrition, patience, great doctors and medicine she has been in remission for five years and counting.
When I finally got my Exercise Nutrition certification, I took a job in a fitness studio. In the two years I worked as a trainer, I spent countless hours coaching clients nutritionally, many of whom had food sensitivities, intolerance, allergies and other assorted health issues.
All these experiences brought me to the creation of MatzoBall Fitness. I found that people were frustrated with their bodies and felt guilty at every turn. Many were restricting their caloric intake to such a point that their desire to feel better was always out of reach. There just wasn’t enough time in the day to sit with all of them, so I decided to branch out on my own.
MatzoBall Fitness is an extension of my desire to help people enjoy their lives without guilt or frustration. Sometimes we are limited with our choices for various reasons, but if we choose to focus on what is unlimited, a whole new world opens up where we can eat healthfully and still have a ball.
MatzoBall Fitness focuses on three different levels:
Food Allergy Consulting
Working with those newly diagnosed food allergy/autoimmune special diets, I enable clients to organize their homes, meals, recipes, shopping, and prep to accommodate difficult food situations. We will develop a safe and comfortable plan for handling food allergies that work for you, and your family's lifestyle- helping to achieve a more balanced life of normalcy.
Focusing on workplace wellness by providing various types of programs ranging from cooking demos, lunch and learns and 4 week group seminars where we truly break down the meaning of wellness and how we can live more inspired lives-nutritionally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. These wellness groups are truly the future of workplace wellness because they heighten the employee experience with carefully guided assignments along with group discussion. It's basically changing your life, one lunch at a time. When companies work with me, I focus on the whole person, not just their nutrition, because there are so many facets of our lives that affect our wellness. My clients achieve success safely and realistically, while building healthy habits that will sustain them throughout while enjoying their life. I am also available for onsite health coaching.
Wellness Through a Jewish Lens
This is new to MatzoBall Fitness. As a former Jewish educator, I aspire to create a meaningful learning environment regarding wellness and tradition by promoting healthy living using Judaic sources/text. These seminars are customized to fit the needs of the synagogue, whether its adult learning, scholar in residence, teen programming, youth groups, along with Jewish organizations that are looking for workplace wellness seminars that are steeped in Jewish value.
Life is complicated enough, the way we eat shouldn't have to be!
Feel free to contact me at 301-351-5151 or . Join my mailing list at the bottom where I send out wellness newsletters 4-5 times a year. Tips, hacks and lots of recipes to help you create a life of health.