During the last 25 years, we’ve certified over 110,000 professionals. To celebrate, we’ve selected 25 grads to showcase. Meet our next featured grad, Amilia Brady, an AFPA Holistic Nutritionist and an inspiring mom who reinvented her career path and built her own business.
How did you become interested in health and wellness?
I'm probably the last person who ever would have gotten into health and nutrition. I was raised eating junk food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and never had a home-cooked meal. I wasn't guided as far as exercise and nutrition and had a very unhealthy upbringing.
When I found out that I was pregnant, I really took the initiative and wanted to be healthy since it wasn't about myself anymore. My son had a lot of health issues for the first three years of his life, and I just felt pretty helpless. Although I was going to the doctor, I wasn't really getting any of the answers that I was seeking. Most of the time, the answer was: “There's nothing you can do about it; this is just the way it is.” I wasn't going to accept that. I was seeing my son struggle with his health, so that's when I decided I was going to take it into my own hands. I started researching holistic health and alternatives to healing the body. Long story short, we had a 100 percent success with him. He went from being a child who was on the spectrum in special needs classes to speaking and having a healthy body. When I saw that transformation, it sparked a passion within me, and I wanted to share that with other people.
Why did you choose the Holistic Nutritionist Certification?
Because it's a full lifestyle change, it's not just about the food. You're learning about the physical and emotional aspect of food and the connection to the body. It is a whole and full body approach, which is exactly the avenue I knew I needed to go. It completely ties into my philosophy, how I'm raising my children, and how I help my own clients.
Why did you choose AFPA as your certifying organization?
I chose AFPA because they’re accredited. I researched left and right and found that there are a lot of health coach and nutrition certifications out there that are not accredited that cost double the price of AFPA.
Also, as a single mom, budget is number one for me. Time is huge too. AFPA was accredited and affordable, and I would be able to do it in my spare time. So the fact that it was self-paced was also a huge factor.
What was your favorite part of the certification program?
My favorite part about the program was that I could do it from home, hands down. I could literally have the kids sleeping right next to me, and I'm over here learning about holistic anatomy and studying clinical nutrition. That was something that surprised me, that I was able to get so much done inside of my house. It was doable pretty much anywhere. So, I loved that.
What was your experience like with the AFPA customer service team?
It's been amazing. When you're doing the course, it's self-paced online, and you're interacting a lot with instructors and with customer service because typically you're going to have questions. I always got a response immediately within the same day. It never took longer than 24 hours for me to hear back from someone. So that was a really great experience with AFPA.
What is your career now?
My main focus is working with families, focusing on women's health and children's health. I'm also a birth doula, so I work with a lot of pregnant women, women who have little ones under the age of five, who might be dealing with allergies or digestive issues. I've also worked a lot with fitness competitors lately, and I’ve also been helping to harmonize hormones in females’ body through nutrition.
My passion is definitely more targeted toward women and children, and it's what I've studied the most. I like to help people learn, teach them how to cook, teach them how to enjoy eating and how not to restrict themselves so much. You don't have to conform to the trends that are going on. You can really customize and intuitively plug into whatever your body is telling you. I like to say symptoms are the body's messengers. It's a message, and you just need to follow it and see where it's going to take you. So that's what I do.
How did getting the certification impact your life?
Prior to getting certified, I was always the person that people would come to and ask what should I eat? What recipes do you have? Why don't you have a practice? Why aren't you doing this professionally? And honestly, initially, I just felt like it's just another thing on my plate. I didn't feel like I had the time but getting the certification, honestly, it gave me a piece of myself back. I've dedicated all of my time to my children, and as mothers, I feel like we always come last. We don't do things for ourselves. Once you become a mom, a lot of times, you feel like you're limited. You think that you can't go to school anymore, or you can’t start a career. So, getting my certification was just that little spark that I needed for myself and to set the example for my kids. It's never too late. You can always start fresh at any point in your life, and anything is possible if you put the time in. So, getting the certification gave me the confidence I needed to push myself to grow my business. And then on top of that, just being able to have that credential and tell my clients that I am an accredited board-certified holistic nutritionist. Having that title gave me more confidence for sure.
This also gave me the opportunity to actually add value to my name. Like this is what I'm worth. This is what I charge. This is my fee. And having somebody actually pay me that fee for my time and for my knowledge was super empowering. It was also really nice to have that paycheck and to know that I am in control of how much I make. If I want to make $100,000 a year, I'm in control of that, I have the capacity to do that, and I have the credentials to do it as well.
What was your career prior to getting certified?
I actually worked in the investment advisory services industry. My plan was to work in finance, have that "corporate job" and be financially stable. But when I got pregnant for the first time, my priorities changed. I definitely didn't want to leave my baby, and I knew that I wasn't going to be able to do what I had done prior to having children.
So, I thought, what am I going to do with my life now? It took me 11 years of searching and seeking, just trial and error and trying to build the confidence that I could build my own business and do the things that I'm passionate about. But I had to go through my journey to get there. Once I did, and I took that step to get certified with AFPA and start building my own business, it was such a good feeling. Having the credential, educating myself, pushing myself in that direction toward my dreams, it just like, it changed me, you know. It made me feel like I could honestly do anything.
What advice do you have for someone considering getting certified?
My advice would be to go all in. Like jump in full force. My only regret is not having done this 11 years ago. I had so many doubts and fears that I wasn't going to know enough or that I wasn't going to be able to make a difference. Like, what really could I do? It's just me. I think that's what holds a lot of people back. Maybe it's that nine to five job. Maybe you feel you have self-limiting beliefs that you can't financially do it, but once you take that leap and you build that confidence and you have the credentials, honestly anything is possible. It's really the worst thing that you can possibly do is wait. You have to just do it. It's totally worth it. My best advice would be do not hesitate, like go for it because anything is possible, and you don't want to regret not doing something where you have an opportunity to make a huge difference in this world.
I would say research left and right and look for something that's accredited. AFPA is clearly an accredited program, and many of the programs out there are not accredited. Also, find something that's going to be self-paced at home. Being able to do things from the comfort of your own home is pretty dang awesome in my opinion. You could literally do this anywhere. Look at all of your options, but obviously, I have had absolutely no regrets about the AFPA program. It's been such a gift in my life, and I personally wouldn't recommend anything else.