Tag Archives: Integrative Nutrition

One Woman’s Path to Wellness Through Integrative Nutrition


For most if not all of human history, people have recognized the importance of nutrition in healthy living. What we put into our bodies has a clear effect on how feel, how we look, and ultimately how healthy we are. However, while this has always been apparent, we face unique challenges today. We’ve developed and created so many different foods, drinks, supplements, etc. that in ways it’s more difficult than ever before to figure out what’s truly healthy.

Fortunately, along with a more complicated diet, the modern era has introduced social tools that help those spreading strong nutritional strategies and values to reach wider audiences. For this reason, even though nutrition has long been emphasized among the health-conscious, the 21st century has begun to feel like the most nutritionally focused era in history.

Some of this is because of the prevalence of independent nutrition blogs and fad diets across the Internet, some of which make it big for a short time. But for the most part, it’s due to the rise of professional health and nutrition coaches, which is something the Intent Blog covered a few years ago in the article The Coming of the Health Coach Revolution.

In this article I wanted to take a more in-depth look at what it means to be a professional health coach, and what a thorough nutritional education can allow such a person to accomplish. In doing some research, I came across the success story of Jil Larsen, a paralegal-turned-small business owner who opened the Magic Mix Juicery in New York City. Continue reading

Finding Comfort Beyond Your Plate

Food and the impact it has on us is fascinating. Some of us have an emotional connection to certain types of food. For example a slice of apple pie might remind you of your grandmother’s cooking. In this case food brings up good feelings and memories. You might be the type to turn to pie, ice cream or other comfort foods because you’re feeling stressed out or sad. Maybe you just can’t turn down the gooey chocolate chip cookie or creamy cupcake that your neighborhood bakery makes. Or you might be the type to just eat to feel nourished and don’t have any emotional attachment to food. Wherever you are, it’s good to be aware of your relationship with food.

A recent New York Times article looks at the science of why we overeat and more specifically why it tends to be the highly processed food. In a newly published book The End of Overeating, the author David Kessler, MD finds that the food industry creates food in a way that taps into our brain and stimulates our desire for more. The more processed the food, the more stimulating it will be and the more we’ll want. You might think you’re weak if you overeat, but really your brain is reacting to the many different flavors and telling you that you want more of everything.

It’s good to have an understanding for why you crave certain foods and to check in with yourself.

Do you love apple pie because it reminds you of your grandmother’s home cooking? This is fine if you can stop at one piece and it’s every once in a while. If you find yourself wanting baked goods often check in with yourself. Are you unhappy in one of your relationships and needing comfort?

Is food a source of comfort for you and you turn to eat when you’re stressed out or unhappy? Instead of turning to food to relax, it’s good to find some other hobbies. If you feel stressed try a yoga class or go for a walk. If you are unhappy or lonely call a friend or a relative and spend a few minutes connecting

Take a few minutes now to journal what your relationship is with food.

A support system for health

When most people think about losing weight they envision the ugly act of dieting. They imagine all of their favorite foods being taken away from them. No fun! No fair! Most people find that dieting is not sustainable. They can do it for a month or two and lose a few pounds, but after a month they gain that weight back and sometimes more. What about a more sustainable way to lose weight, eat healthier and enjoy life?

Whenever you consider making changes in your life it’s always best to have a support system. Think about any major life decision: applying to college, getting married, etc. Did you consult with your friends and family about which college you wanted to go to or your future spouse? The same applies to healthy living.

I have found that Integrative Nutrition students are able to change their eating habits, get more exercise, have balanced relationships and careers because they are surrounded by people who want to support them through the process. Whether that’s through their own health counselor, myself or their peers. The school provides such a large network of health counselors so people can work together towards optimal wellness, but what about the rest of the world?

I recently launched a 14 Days to a Healthier You campaign that includes free personal coaching emails from me. It’s an opportunity for those who are not a part of Integrative Nutrition to get some of the benefits that students and graduates get. Those who are a few days in are already seeing changes in the foods they eat and their energy levels.

If you are looking for ways to increase your health and vitality I encourage you to sign up for the 14 Days to a Healthier You emails and get the support you need. You can share with me here how the process is going, but I will be checking in with you at different points of the program. Enjoy!


Living a Holistic Life

Some people wonder what a holistic lifestyle entails. It is more than just eating organic foods and practicing yoga from time to time. It means paying attention to all aspects of your life: relationships, career, health and spirituality to be sure that you are living a life in balance. This might mean making some adjustments. The important thing to realize is they are not quick fixes.

Take a minute now to think about all areas of your life:

Relationships: Are you surrounded by people who stimulate you? Do your friends and romnatic partner make you laugh and are they kind to you? Are there people you can be spending more time with or less time with? Make an effort to spend more time with those who fill your life with joy.

Career: Are you satisfied with your day-to-day job? Do you feel challenged by your boss and your coworkers? Do you feel that you are well-compensated for your hard work? Are you happy more than stressed-out? Make a list of the things that you love about your job and the things that you do not.

Spirituality: Do you have a spiritual practice? This can be anything from meditating to going to church on a regular basis.

Health: Pay attention to the foods you eat. Do you enjoy whole grains, fruits and vegetables every day? How often do you consume junk food? When you crave sweets write down what you are doing. Sometimes when we crave junk food it means that something else in our life is out of balance.

Everyone could nourish their relationships, career, spirituality and health a little more. By nourishing all aspects of your life you will live a healthier and happier life. What are you going to do today?

Health Coaches for America

It is no surprise that Americans need to change their health habits. Even though there has been an increase in sales in organic foods and natural food stores have received more business, there are still millions of Americans who consume large amounts of chemicalized, artificial junk foods. Something is not clicking.

Eight out of 10 Americans suffer from chronic ailments because of unhealthy lifestyles. People continue to see their doctors and spend an exorbitant amount of money on health care, but they continue to get sicker. What’s up with that?

We need to rethink the system so Americans are spending less on medications and operations and are actually seeing improvements in their health.

This month, the Senate has been reevaluating this system and what that reform would look like. It has been suggested that health coaches would be a tier of health care providers that don’t cost a lot to train, but could provide the infrastructure for people to make it easy to eat right, exercise and incorporate other lifestyle improvements like spirituality, a stress-free career, etc.

In a CNN interview, Dr. Mehmet Oz reported that health coaches should be a part of every public clinic, medical office and hospital wellness center. These health care providers should be reimbursed by insurance companies, corporate wellness programs and so on.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could have their own health coach to make dietary changes and lifestyle adjustments so they can stop putting their hard-earned money into medications and operations?

This is exactly my mission for America. Thousands of students have been trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to be health coaches so they can go out into their communities and improve health and happiness across the globe.

This is an exciting time. Jump on board for a healthier world.




Try The Breakfast Experiment

Many people have a love/hate relationship with breakfast. You either love your morning cereal or eggs with toast or you are totally bored with the typical breakfast options. Some people get so sick of their morning meal that they just skip it and wait until lunch or even dinner to eat.

Study after study has shown that eating a good breakfast is the key to health. It boosts your metabolism, keeps you energized and helps with weight loss. It literally breaks your fast after sleeping all night.

I never tell people what to do, but if you are not eating breakfast, ask yourself why? Did you eat too much the night before? Do you not have enough time in the morning? If breakfast fuels your day, can you see the difference between whole grains, protein and veggies versus a doughnut and coffee?

Try expanding your idea of what breakfast should look like. It doesn’t have to be fruit and cereal or waffles and eggs. Vegetables, whole grains, fish and other highly nutritious foods can be eaten at any time of day, including morning. You’ll find recipes here, that will help you broaden your breakfast palette.

Try this "Breakfast Experiment." You can find the complete exercise in my book: Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health & Happiness, but the idea is to try something new every day for one week. Immediately after you eat scrambled eggs, for example, journal how you feel. Wait for two hours and then go back to your journal and write down how you feel. This exercise helps a lot of people tune into their body to find the foods that work best for them.

Sample diary:

Day 1: Scrambled eggs
Right after eating I felt:
Two hours after eating I felt:

Day 2: Bagel and coffee
Right after eating I felt:
Two hours after eating I felt:

Day 3: Fresh vegetables
Right after eating I felt:
Two hours after eating I felt:

Love is the Ultimate Superfood

shutterstock_2297877Have you ever thought of love as an essential nutrient in your life? That’s right. It takes more than just food to keep us healthy.

I call all the parts of life that feed us, primary food. Relationships, spirituality, career and physical activity all fall into that category. Think about it. Exercise keeps you fit and energized. Spirituality keeps your mind balanced and relaxed. Your career can keep your mind stimulated and engaged. And love and relationships feed the hunger in the human soul. When our primary food is balanced and satiating, what you eat becomes a secondary concern.

Think about the first time you fell in love. You were so excited by life. You were floating on air. Sometimes, we call this condition the love diet, because people forget to eat and lose weight. They are fed by the love in their life.

We all have a need to give and receive love, because love is a basic primary food that nourishes, energizes and heals us. Even modern science is catching up to what ancient traditions have said for years: love is good for your health.

A University of North Carolina study found that hugging lowers blood pressure. The University of Iowa found that cancer patients with satisfying relationships had more white blood cell activity than those with few social connections. A study of Harvard students showed that only 25 percent of those who felt loved by their parents developed a major illness later in life, while more than 90 percent of those who didn’t feel loved developed a major illness.

So this Valentine’s Day think of love as more powerful than any other vegetable. Think of it as the ultimate superfood. And remember that no matter what kind of relationship you are in, whether you are single, married, living with your parents or partner, that giving and receiving love will feed your heart and soul.

Barack Obama is Calling on You

In last week’s inaugural address President Barack Obama addressed the economic concerns of millions of Americans. His main message was that the government is going to do everything in their power to make a change, but the real change happens when the American public and the government works together.

I think this point is important, not only with the status of our economy, but also our health. We have the power to control the health of our economy and the health of our bodies. You don’t need to wait for a new drug to come out to fix your ailments. The time to act is now.

Being healthy is really quite simple. The first step is to ask yourself, "Why be healthy?" Do you want to be healthy so you can live a long life? Do you want to feel energized to play with your children, or to run a marathon?

Now ask yourself if you are feeding yourself the foods that will contribute to your goals? The next time you sit down to a meal look at your plate. Is it filled with mostly processed foods or fruits, vegetables and whole grains?

We don’t need to wait for the government to come out with a magic pill to cure what’s ailing us. What are you going to do today to improve your health?

Yes, Happiness Is Contagious

Lately, I’ve noticed a lot more research coming out about happiness. It’s refreshing with so many headlines focused on what’s not working in our world.

Just like whole foods feed our bodies, happiness feeds our soul. It gives us the energy to go out every day and live life the way it was meant to be lived—whatever that may be for each individual. Happiness gives us the motivation to take care of our bodies through exercise and proper nutrition so we can continue to be happy for longer.

The over-arching question is: What makes us happy? What makes us happy in our day-to-day lives may be different for each one of us, but studies show that "social relationships are the best predictor of human happiness," says Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness.

According to this growing body of research these social relationships go beyond the people in your immediate circle. They might include people who are connected to your spouse, children, friends or coworkers as well. Results show that if friends of your friends are happy, you are more likely to be happy. Or in other words, happiness is contagious.

In the beginning of my career, I thought health and happiness was all about eating the perfect diet. I had this one client who ate all of her veggies, but was still unhappy. It wasn’t until we started talking about her unhealthy relationships that I realized there was so much more to health.

I realized that a key ingredient in personal fulfillment is community. Having high-quality friendships adds depth and meaning to life. Friends who truly listen and care and are open to new ideas can be difficult to come by, but you can take steps to create a positive, supportive community in order to achieve ultimate happiness.

I encourage you to take a look within your own community of friends and reach out to people who add happiness to your life. It’s a new year and a new you. Can you spread happiness?


Is a Cleanse Right for Me?

Now that the holidays are over and we are a few days into 2009, you might be thinking of ways to cleanse your body from the pies, hearty dishes and alcohol you consumed in the last month or so.

Cleanses come in many forms including fasting, liquid diets or juicing, increasing vegetables or cutting back on junk foods.

The way I see it, I fast half my life. Pretty much every day, I fast from 8:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. I have my last meal around 8:30 at night and don’t consume anything until the next morning. This process has improved my digestion and my sleeping, and allows me to wake up in the morning with a greater appetite for food and for life.

If you feel like you want to cleanse after the holidays I encourage you to do the 8:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. fast. If you still really want to fast, the best way is to cut out a specific food, like sugar, rather than reducing the overall quantity of food you eat. Just try it for a week and see how you feel. You can also fast by adding food such as freshly cooked vegetables every day. This will crowd out other, less healthy foods. If you have success adding and subtracting things on your menu, you can begin to cut more undesirable foods, one by one, and add more health foods.

Some people choose a more extreme fast, like the Master Cleanser, also known as the Lemonade Diet. This is a liquid mono-diet, consisting of water with fresh lime or lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. The creator of this cleanse, Stanley Burroughs, recommends drinking the mixture 6 to 12 times a day for a minimum of 10 days and a maximum of 40 days. Doing this cleanse can work wonders for some, but other people experience weakness, dizziness, nausea or even vomiting.

Cleanses should be approached with caution. I suggest taking the middle path, doing things in moderation and realizing that what works wonders for one person may wreak havoc on your body.

Let me know if you’ve tried a more extreme cleanse and if it worked for you. Have you tried the 8:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. cleanse? How do you feel the next day?

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