The Integrative Nutrition Way of Life

July 27, 2009 at 2:21 pm 8 comments

This is the Integrative Nutrition food pyramid. WAY better than the USDA pyramid!

This is the Integrative Nutrition food pyramid. WAY better than the USDA pyramid!

Happy Monday, readers! I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

I graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition on Sunday, making me officially a certified holistic health counselor. I received my certificate, as well as the one from the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, and they’re ready to be mounted on the wall.  On Saturday morning, I stood up in front of 1500 fellow students and told them about my sugar addiction, and that I haven’t had a bout of binging or uncontrolled eating since I stopped eating sugar and sweeteners. I was completely freaked out to be speaking to a group that large, but it was also extremely cathartic and exhilirating. Needless to say, I finished up the weekend feeling very proud of myself for all I have accomplished (and grateful for YOU, my supporters, for joining me on this journey)

The school was an incredible experience. I can 100% confirm that my life has been transformed (for the better) and what’s even better that this is only the beginning! I already have my eyes on the next training I want to do, but nothing is official yet.  And in a week and a half, I’ll be done with my microbiology class and I’ll have  glorious month off from school Yessssss!

I had another post prepared for you, however, when browsing the Huffington Post website this morning I came across an article that the founder of IIN, Joshua Rosenthal, wrote.  In it he highlights the 12 steps to a healthy life, and these are foundation of what we learned at IIN (and is also my approach to health and wellness)

Article below, written by Joshua Rosenthal:

I’ve spent over 25 years observing how people eat and what they eat and it’s fascinating. What I’ve noticed is that people are confused and frustrated. One month there will be a study claiming the health benefits of eggs and the next month there will be a study claiming it’s a bad source of cholesterol.

I’m going to give you the non-frustrating approach to healthy eating and living. An approach that will be easy to follow for the rest of your life. It’s based on two little theories that have helped my clients, over 9,000 Integrative Nutrition students and their clients.


For several years I followed a macrobiotic diet and I counseled and taught others to follow these principles to improve their health. I experienced improved health so I truly believed my clients would too. I got very mixed results. Some people experienced better health, but not everyone. So I began to experiment. Some of them got better if they ate more raw foods, while others got better if they ate less raw foods. I realized that one person’s food is another person’s poison.

Primary Food
When I was experimenting with my clients on different ways of eating I came across people who experienced improved health by leaving a dysfunctional career or falling in love. It was fascinating! I realized that there’s more to health than the foods we eat. Yes, it’s good to eat your vegetables, but relationships, career, spirituality and exercise is food for the soul.

These are the two “big concepts” that I’ve found have the largest impact on my clients and students.

However, there are also a lot more detailed concepts you can play with. But remember, in the spirit of bio-individuality, these are not hard-and-fast rules that work for everyone. Try your own take on them and see if they might be useful for you.

1. Drink more water: There is no right amount of water to drink, but generally the bigger and more active you are, the more you should drink. By increasing the amount of water you drink you can significantly reduce cravings, aches and pains and increase your energy.

2. Practice cooking: You might hate me for saying this, but cooking is a fundamental step to healthier living. By making your own meals you know what’s going into them. Meals don’t need to take hours to prepare and involve multiple ingredients.

3. Increase whole grains: Trust me it’s not these types of carbohydrates that have led to the obesity epidemic, but rather the processed goods like doughnuts. Whole grains are some of the best sources of nutritional support and provide long-lasting energy.

4. Increase sweet vegetables: People forget that these exist and they are the perfect medicine for the sweet tooth. Instead of depending on processed sugar, you can add more naturally sweet flavors to your diet and dramatically reduce sweet cravings.

5. Increase leafy green vegetables: These are seriously lacking in the American diet and they are most essential for creating long-lasting health. More specifically they help eliminate depression, improve liver, gallbladder and kidney function.

6. Experiment with protein: The majority of Americans eat way too much protein and mostly in the form of animal meat. Try other forms like beans or soy.

7. Eat less meat, dairy, sugar and processed foods; consume less coffee, alcohol and tobacco: Did you notice I said eat less instead of don’t eat? If I told you not to drink coffee or chocolate you would want it all the more. By increasing your whole grains, vegetables and water you will naturally crowd out the more processed items.

8. Develop easy self-care habits: People get so wrapped up in their busy lives that they forget to take care of themselves. This can be something as simple as a relaxing bath and as nice as a day at the spa.

9. Have healthy relationships: I call love the ultimate superfood. A loving, supportive relationship can nourish your soul. What’s more is when you feel love and happiness you are more likely to eat better. Reach out to that one person who makes you feel loved and nourished.

10. Find physical activity: You don’t need to spend hours at the gym. What gets you moving?

11. Find work you love or a way to love the work you have: So many of us spend 8 hours a day in a job that is unfulfilling and end up stressed out which leads to a slew of health problems. Ask yourself if your job is aligned with your values.

12. Develop a spiritual practice: Some people freak out when I tell them this, but it’s really about connecting with yourself. You don’t need to start going to church or praying every day. Maybe being spiritual means taking a walk in nature. Finding a spiritual practice can help you slow down and appreciate the non-material things in life.

This is the most laid back health program ever, but it really works. You don’t need to follow the steps in order and you can do one step a week. Pick the step that you are most interested in trying. Have you wanted to try a pilates or yoga class? Go for it! Maybe you’ve wanted to experiment in the kitchen.

I also recommend that you don’t do it alone. Everyone has someone in their life that also wants to improve their health. Who is that for you? You can be each other’s supportive coach and hold each other accountable for making the small changes to improved health.

I look forward to working with you on this journey to improved health and happiness.


Entry filed under: nutrition. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

This week’s nibbles e-Universe

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Abbs  |  July 27, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Bravo! I am so proud of you!

  • 2. Sheri  |  July 28, 2009 at 1:44 am

    I remember you speaking in class on Saturday. You go girl!! I am one of the “quiet” ones that never spoke up. Congrats on taking that step and happy graduation!!!

    • 3. Amanda  |  July 28, 2009 at 1:23 pm

      Thank you, Sheri. I think the “quiet ones” have the biggest roar, don’t you think?? Please keep in touch, and let me know if I can support you in any way on your journey!

  • 4. Lina  |  July 28, 2009 at 1:49 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your story this weekend! You are a beautiful and phenomenal woman and I commiserate with you so much, I only wish I had the courage to have stood up this semester and shared my story, because it’s funny how we are all more alike than we think. In the last four years, starting on my 21st birthday, I knew I had to change my life. I intuitively turned to a whole foods lifestyle and have lost over 100+ lbs.Along the way I battled binge eating as well, sometimes eating 6-10 candy bars in a night or a box of cookies. It wasn’t until I accepted that I was addicted to sugar and that moderation would not work, that I truly left behind my sickness.
    On my journey I fell in love with nutrition and enrolled in Rutgers program hoping I could teach others what I learned, only to find they have no clue what true nutrition means and that I was discouraged with sharing my story with fellow classmates and future patients. Depressed I decided I HAD to enroll in IIN. It is incredible, and was so touching to hear your story, and how similar it was to mine. So keep strong, and continue to share your story, we truly must learn to use our voice as a tool to help shape a happier, healthier future for our world. 🙂

    • 5. Amanda  |  July 28, 2009 at 1:22 pm

      Thank you for your support…you, my friend, are an inspiration to ME. I’d love to hear more…I’ll send you an email!

  • 6. Larie  |  August 4, 2009 at 2:54 am

    Congratulations on completing your program at IIN! I appreciate how you share your enthusiasm for all things healthy, which is very loving of you. 🙂 I agree with Lina’s comment — the world needs a voice like yours on healing and promoting healthier lives.

  • 7. Julie  |  August 10, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Hi, congratulations on completing your course. I am a nutritionist from the UK, and I have been looking at Integrative Nutrition’s approach to healthy eating, and I feel that it is a much better one than what I learnt in the UK and healthier one too. I like the emphasis on the eating less of certain foods rather than avoiding them completely and not one diet suits all people. We are taught that people should avoid certain foods such as dairy, wheat etc. and it is difficult to get people to comply – not surprisingly. i like the fact that other things are mentioned such as spirituality and relationships are vital for health – it completes the picture in what I have been taught and intuitively I always thought there was something missing from my studies.

    I would be interested to hear whether there were other people from the UK on the course? Also do you know anything about the Distance Learning Course – as I wouldn’t be able to fly over to NY for tuition.

    Best wishes


    • 8. Amanda  |  August 11, 2009 at 12:33 pm

      Hi Julie,
      Thanks for commenting! Integrative Nutrition has a wonderful approach to nutrition, so different than the clinical views that dietitians study (I’m sure it’s the same in the UK as it is in the US) I think that the program would be a really great supplement to your studies, since your philosophies are right on track with IINs. We had a lot of people in the class from other countries, but of course, the travelling can get really expensive. Quite honestly, I’m not sure how that distance program is going to work, but I know Joshua (the founder), and he will take every step to ensure that you are getting the same education we got while going “in person.” I’m sure there is a lot of online support, as well.
      Julie, let me know if you want me to answer more questions about it….you can email me at
      Best of luck to you!


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