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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Nova: A health and wellness center that came naturally

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for our weekly newsletters, so our best stories will appear in your inbox every Monday.
Fernanda Toler goes daily to the Santiago market to fill her fruit bowl with healthy foods. Photo: Lee Steele / Yucatán Magazine

Fernanda Toler’s path to Yucatán was a long and winding one. 

But once she was here, her health and wellness business came naturally.

Born and raised in Brazil, Fernanda moved to the United States when she was in her very early 20s. She ended up living in Denver for around 20 years. Her time there, including 10 years running a pizza restaurant with her then-husband, taught her a lot about business. But she also learned something else. 

Fernanda Toler goes daily to the Santiago market to fill her fruit bowl with healthy foods. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

“You can get into a pattern of too much work,” Fernanda says. “That taught me that balance is everything.”

“All that work and not knowing how to pay attention to myself,” Fernanda recalls. “I just was in that pattern of you know, just make sure you work, work work, you make money, and then later in life, I can enjoy the fruits of my job.”

Then, at 33, the wake-up call came. She was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer requiring chemotherapy and radiation.

Fernanda Toler goes daily to the Santiago market to fill her fruit bowl with healthy foods. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

What she did next possibly saved her life. She found support from her family back in Brazil. She gave up scrounging on fast food including, yes, the pizza that was always within reach. And she began to adopt a healthy lifestyle. 

“My mom was the chef, you know. Every time that I did chemo, I would have my very nutritious most delicious food,” Fernanda says. Two aunts, one of them a nurse, ensured she had everything she needed. She engaged in active, outside activities, like singing and dancing lessons — something that’s generally recommended to divert your mind. 

Fernanda Toler defeated breast cancer and now shares her healthy habits with the public in a new wellness business. Photo: Courtesy

“I’m a different person,” Fernanda says.

Her operation, Nova Health and Wellness, is described as an integrative health and wellness center to align health, body, and mind. Through retreats, workshops, and consultations Nova leads customers toward better habits and an improved mindset. Her network combines medical professionals, nutritionists, and holistic practitioners, a response to what she criticizes as an overly compartmentalized health system. 

And for clients as captivated by Mérida as she is, Fernanda has a wellness package that includes help locating real estate, another field in which she has become proficient. 

Fernanda Toler goes daily to the Santiago market to fill her fruit bowl with healthy foods. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Her own airy and impeccable property in Santiago is newly built and has a roomy kitchen perfect for cooking demonstrations she has planned. The bowl at the center of the island is always filled with seasonal fruits from the mercado a few blocks away. She’s a familiar face at the market, where she also purchases fresh juices. 

Between the workshops and more comprehensive programs, Nova can be a resource for both residents and vacationers. 

“For people who want to come on vacation, let’s say here for a week, we are going to have someone that’s going to teach you how to cook, and what to buy, go grocery shopping,” Fernanda explains, indicating she has good sources for quality meats, vegetables, and fruits. “For people who are already here, we are going to have the workshops every month.”

Seven-day packages include a private rental home, and then are customized to fit the individual. A woman over 40, for example, will be set up with lab tests to check things like blood cell biometry, lipid and liver profiles, and ultrasound. That is accompanied by holistic work with an Ayurveda therapist, an hour-long full-body massage, two tours, a choice of activities such as yoga or workout, counseling, and a private chef or meal delivery. 

In other words, the healing combination of practices that worked so well for Fernanda back during those trying times in Brazil.

Learn more at Nova Health and Wellness.

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