Hello and welcome to Second Nature!
I’m Denisa Ratulea, a plant-based chef, author, dreamer, foodie and explorer of the world. I’m Transylvanian-born, London based and eager to travel the world. I am deeply passionate about helping people fall in love with themselves, their bodies and their food.
My story starts in a not so far away place…I was born in the mesmerizing land of Transylvania, Romania where I got a real feeling of what it means to have your hands covered in soil and go through the year according to seasonal change, carefully following the crops’ development. My father was a farmer and it was from him that I learned from an early age to respect and appreciate mother nature. It is something I will always cherish, this love and reverence he inspired in me for nature and food from the earth.
This beautiful freedom has been tainted, when as a teenager, I underwent a Scoliosis correction surgery, that left me with metal rods and screws attached to my spine. Not the best thing for my already poor body image. I became the ‘Iron Woman’ and I started identifying myself with back pains. A lot of them. I thought they come with the package. Every a few months I would have to stay in bed because it would be too painful to walk. I was told to lose weight, but I could never drop more than 1-2kg. I believed that was the way I would go on my entire life. Up until one day, when I went in for a check-up and I found out that one of the rods broke! The fragility of the situation freaked me out.
More than that, I had just lost my father and that threw me in a black hole, battling depression for a few heavy months. It was in these moments that I faced a decision: I had to do something about the way I live.
Photo: This was me at 21, after an entire semester of booze and partying as an Erasmus Student. Overweight, my body and skin inflamed. I had fun though
Attending an event called Unleash the Power Within with Tony Robbins made me realise that I REALLY WANTED to change my eating habits. And I should do so for a very good reason, to regain my innate health and take charge of my body and prepare for a new spinal surgery, this time to remove the rods and screws.
I ventured into a new world without looking back and I was fascinated! I began exercising daily and focusing on developing and giving back to people. I’ve never felt better in my life. While transitioning to a plant-based diet I lost all the unnecessary weight – 15kg- which the doctor kept recommending – and my back pains occurred less and less. The whole process woke me up and helped me come alive again, in my body and mind. Ever since, I have embarked on a new journey of self-discovery and learning about my diet, nutrition and environmental influences and I continue doing that every day. I studied, learnt and qualified as nutritional therapist and I am constantly expanding my knowledge.
I went from the worst shape I could be in, to finishing a triathlon and finally removing those rods from my spine! I’ve never felt stronger and healthier in my life!
Now, after 10 years of dealing with pain and learning to love and treat my body with respect, I stand in front of you wishing to be of service and guidance in helping you reach your health goals.
I know that lasting change can be daunting and difficult and the Second Nature philosophy is to support you in slowly adding healthier routines and nutritious foods to your diet. By focusing on adding wholesome foods, you are replacing some older habits with just as satisfying, if not more, new ones! This allows your body to gradually tune in and let you know what is good for you, by building sustainable habits. Call it Intuitive Eating, falling in love with yourself or mother nature’s diet.
Therefore, I invite you to take a moment and think about your health and lifestyle goals. What is it that you want?
Whatever it is that you want to focus on, I wish to get to know you and walk by your side on your journey.
To your health and well-being!