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Living the dream

We catch up with Eliza Bacot, nutritionist, wellness coach and founder of The Organic South, who lives at Serenbe with her husband Benton and their two children, William and Emmeline


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When did your interest in health and wellness start?
My passion for wellness really started as a child, when I became fascinated with the inner-workings of the human body and all its complexities and systems – it really blew my mind how detailed and perfect the human body is as an organism. When you love anatomy and physiology, a natural path is to pursue a career in healthcare, and I wound up with Masters degrees in both nursing and critical care.

I worked in intensive care, with a goal of learning how to restore and fix the problems of critical illness, but I soon realised how many of my patients in ICU were sick with preventable illnesses.

In 2008, I started investigating our food system, learning about nutrition, as well as pesticides, genetic modification of food, processed food and the dangers of sugar, and I soon began to change my own lifestyle.

How did you come to live at Serenbe?
When I was pregnant with my first child, I started thinking about toxic products and chemicals in my own home, and began incorporating essential oils for wellness and cleaning. I started my blog, The Organic South, in 2012, and my first piece was going to be about the organic farm at Serenbe. After spending a Sunday afternoon here, we fell in love with the community, and within six weeks we had a contract on a home.

In 2016, I left my job as a nurse practitioner – I hated watching people die in the hospital; instead, I wanted to help them learn how to stay out of the ICU to begin with. I love that my background gives me the tools to help people be well and that I have been able to pivot into such an amazing space.

What’s your favourite thing about living at Serenbe?
It has truly taught me about the pillar of wellness that I was missing in my life: community. Community and socialisation are such vital parts of wellness, and it opened me up to those values so I can now translate that to others.

How has the community helped you?
We love being surrounded by people who teach us and make us better. We find so many varying ideals from different people here, but we respect and learn from each other. We find that a community like this offers the opportunity to have many friends from all different walks of life, with different viewpoints and even different life stages. It enriches our life and really fits a growth mindset to be surrounded by that kind of diversity.

How have you incorporated wellness into your life since living at Serenbe?
Serenbe has really enhanced our thinking about the value of nature and being outside on a daily basis. And there are so many educational opportunities to learn about other facets of wellness: mindfulness classes, music events, yoga and meditation classes, community gatherings – it’s just an opportunity to keep learning.

What is it like to raise children at Serenbe?
This is the best part. My kids have such a unique opportunity to continually view the outdoors as just a part of their daily life.

We walk often and discuss the beauty of our surroundings. They get to cultivate relationships with the friends they play with and also have the opportunity to go to school within their neighbourhood. I get the opportunity for other parents to know my children well and also have other adults in their lives.

We believe that growing up in Serenbe will cultivate an appreciation in them for wholesome food, the outdoors and great relationships. I hope they will learn to value those simple, but important things in life.

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Serenbe offers a varied fitness programme that includes group yoga. A growing body of research suggests that exercising outdoors is better for you than working out indoors
"We love being surrounded by people who teach us and make us better. Serenbe has also really enhanced our thinking about the value of nature and being outside on a daily basis"

Eliza Bacot and her husband Benton talk about living at Serenbe with their family

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Living the dream
When Eliza Bacot and her family visited the pioneering community of Serenbe in the US, they knew they had to move there. She tells us how living there has transformed their lives @serenbe