Munich Expats - Interview

Whether it´s reducing your chronic inflammation, balancing your hormones, weight-loss or just healthy eating you´re looking for, search no further.

Monika Bock arrived in Munich to teach at one of the International Schools in Munich. Two years later she found herself battling unexplained weight gain, sleeplessness, and a host of other ailments including inflammation. Doctors were very quick to react by prescribing medication, but what had caused the disease to begin with? Monika took her health into her own hands when traditional western medicine failed to treat the underlying cause of her illness.

A branch of medicine called Integrative Medicine addresses the fundamental causes of health and chronic illness. It considers all factors influencing health and wellness, such as diet and lifestyle as well as conventional treatments. This is what inspired Monika to follow a different career path and she is now helping her clients to feel healthy, energized and balanced by addressing their individuals health concerns.

Health

Here is her story:

1. Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself.
I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area in California. However, I spent the last 12 years before moving to Munich, living in Lake Tahoe, California where the forest and two mountain streams were in my backyard. I have my own business and work as a holistic nutritionist here in Munich. Things I enjoy: being outside, exploring Munich as well as the Alps, hiking, cycling and skiing in the winter (ski touring as well as cross country). The proximity of Munich to the Alps and the ease of getting out of the city is one of the main reasons I ended up here.

2. How long have you lived in Munich? And why Munich?
I moved to Munich five and a half years ago for what I thought would be a two year international teaching contract. After which, I would be ready to head back to the mountains in California. However, Munich (and Bavaria) surprised me. The city was a good choice for me. Not only does it offer things that a big city has, Opera, Restaurants, Museums (every Sunday only 1 € entrance fee), Shopping, etc., it also has a small town feel. It’s true when they say Munich is “Millionendorf/Village of a Million”. The other main reason was that it is close to the Alps and I have to say mountains are in my blood.

3. How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
I found the transition to be both exciting and overwhelming. Not owning a car for the first two years made me dependent on public transportation (which is excellent). However, when you are used to having a car, it is a transition. There is plenty to do and see (check out the “In München” magazine available for free in most cafe’s) and groups like: Internations , Meet-up and Toytown are all great communities to meet people and make new friends.

4. Do you speak German? Describe your process for learning the language.
Yes, I speak German. It was my mother tongue growing up in San Francisco. Both my parents immigrated to the United Stated in the 1960’s. I feel very fortunate to have learned it at such a young age. Besides speaking German at home, I also attended a German Saturday school. My advice for learning a language is to find a class that challenges you. Use your German as much as possible (although most everyone speaks English when asked). Even if someone switches to English, continue to practice your German with them. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, I still do (on daily basis)! I do think it’s important to learn the local language as it opens up so much more of the culture for you.

5. What would you have liked to know about Munich before moving here?
Munich really is so central in Europe. You can hop on a train and be in Austria in 90 minutes and you can be in Italy or the Czech Republic in less than 4 hours. The public transportation system really is something that works well and allows you to experience different cultures and countries quite easily. The Bayern ticket is a great (and quite inexpensive) way to explore Bavaria both near and far!

6. One thing no one tells you about moving abroad.
Moving abroad takes courage and resolve. It’s not easy moving to a new country with a new culture and customs. Acclimatizing to this new culture takes time. Giving yourself a break and not feeling the need to do everything at once is what I wish someone had told me. Take small steps and try not to rush it and I think you’ll find the experience of acculturation to be less stressful.

7. Do you miss home and family sometimes? What do you miss most about your home country that you can not find here in Munich?
Of course I miss my family and friends at home, but have met some amazing people in Munich with whom I am very close. I have been fortunate enough to make it back to the States at least once a year to see family and friends. The one thing I do miss is the Ocean, being able to go to the water’s edge and walk in the sand and watch the sunset. It´s something that walking along the river can’t compare to.
I also miss my local Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, but in the last five years things that I would usually bring over, (ie: Coconut Oil & Coconut Sugar) can now be easily found here. Sometimes you need to search a bit to find what you need, but you’ll almost always locate it.

8. What is your favorite (restaurant, museum, shop, cafe…)?
As a nutritionist (and someone who has an autoimmune disease who regulates it with diet), I am always on the look-out for clean fresh food around the city. The first thing I always share with my clients is the abundance of local farmer’s markets in Munich. You can find a market in all areas of the city almost any day of the week (besides the daily Viktualienmarkt ).

Coffee is also something I enjoy as a treat so I need to make sure it’s high quality to be worth it! Most restaurants and cafés have allergy menus but you must ask for them and will, if prompted, make a substitution. Even the Chinese Tower Beer Garden has a big binder detailing all the ingredients in the goods they sell. Coffee, is something I take very seriously & this is just a sampling of some of the great places Munich has to offer when it comes to a good cup of java (and clean treats):

  • Viktualienmarkt Kaffee Rösterei – Freshly roasted and prepared while you wait pair your Espresso with the most delectable (gluten free) Florentines. I always choose the dark chocolate!
  • Café Aran – Theatinerstr/Pasing Arcaden/Tegernsee – The boast delicious coffees, and a delectable assortment of teas as well as fresh breads (if you tolerate gluten) and also homemade Florentines! The cafe at the Tegernsee is directly on the lake and the views don’t get much better!
  • Cafe Morso – Great Italian coffee in the heart of Schwabing
  • Patolli Kaffee – Just inside the Sendlinger Tor, this coffee bar takes their coffee seriously! A perfect stop for caffeine while shopping!

Fresh Eats: This selection of cafés and restaurants host seasonal and local ingredients with changing menus:

  • Das Maria – Nestled in the Glockenbach neighborhood, this cafe/restaurant is a great brunch spot with a wide offering that is sure to tempt many tastes.
  • Café Ruffini – Not only a great place for a delicious Italian breakfast, but the café also boasts a large wine selection and has a changing menu in the evenings as well as wine tasting/pairings.
  • Ooh Baby I Like It Raw – A fresh vegan café behind the Viktualienmarkt.
  • Bowls & Blenders – A clean eating café that includes both superfood smoothies and bowls that are sure to make your mouth water.
  • Landesdorfer u Innerhofer – A classy Bavarian Restaurant with fresh, seasonal and local ingredients with a changing daily menu. You won’t be disappointed!
  • Burger Lobster Bank – Delicious Burgers and great cocktails (try the gin and tonic served in a teapot!)
  • Noun is a relatively new restaurant near Gärtnerplatz. They have a changing menu that is seasonal and fresh. They work with your allergies and also have a vegetarian option. A great value for delicious food.
  • Theresa Grill – Beautiful cuts of meat as well as seasonal fresh vegetables with daily specials.

There are many more, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at info@nourish-alo.com

9. Tips for newly arrived expats (learning German, settling in…)

  • When I first moved here I taught at an International School. They did a great job of introducing us to the city.
  • Coming from living in the mountains of California, I also joined the DAV ( Deutscher Alpenverein) German Alpine Club so that I could explore the Alps with other like-minded individuals.
  • Take courses at the MVHS (Münchner Volkshochschule). They have a fantastic offer of all sorts of classes, from cooking classes to wine seminars; to sewing and language classes.
  • Join different Meetup groups as well as Internations. Both these groups are based upon your likes and I have found the people to be very welcoming. I have made some good contacts and friends through them.
  • Visit the English Garden! It’s such a great refuge to get a dose of green (apart from being huge – over 900 acres!) in the city. This is a place that I frequent to go for a walk, ride my bike or relax with a good book on a warm summer’s day under a tree.

10. Tell us about your latest passion/business.
My passion/business is all about teaching people to be their healthiest, by working towards attaining their individual health goals. This looks different for every person. The three cornerstones of my holistic nutrition consulting business are: Nourish, Thrive & Sustain. Nourish yourself with whole foods, Thrive in attaining your goals and Sustain wellness in your life. Helping people who have recently moved to navigate the overwhelming task of grocery shopping and reading labels, to supporting clients with nutritional analysis, menu plans and cooking lessons are just some of the few things that I do. Ensuring that my clients are balanced in both diet and lifestyle is my goal.

Expat Interview

Summer Workshops include:

  • Clean Eating for Summer

  • Fueling for Sports Performance

  • Sugar & Effects on Body

  • Optimal Nutrition for Those with Hypothyroidism & Hashimotos

For more information on workshops, individual nutrition, to receive fresh recipes or if you have any questions in general, visit the website or email Monika Bock at info@nourish-alo.com.

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