One of the biggest questions I get is about where I went to school and how that knowledge landed my in a position to start my blog. My story starts way before I even went to Nursing school, but I told that part in another post: The True Story of My Nursing Career. Today I’ve decided to tell you about the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN), my school, and what students who attend learn there.
What is the Institute of Integrative Nutrition?
IIN started in 1992 as a small school in New York City but is now the largest nutritional school in the world. When I attended I actually had to commute to Manhattan every month, which was really awesome! I love the city! The curriculum is now all online, and over 100,000 students in 150 countries have gone through the program. I was actually interviewed on stage by the founder, Joshua, as a part of our Health History demonstration. That interview is now part of the online program! See the photo to the right…
The foundation of the curriculum is what I share here on my blog—whole, natural foods and shifts in lifestyles can change your life for the better. Instead of focusing on medication to fix a problem, as I’d been taught as an R.N., I wanted to teach others about how they could take their health and healing into their own hands by living naturally. I firmly believed that our bodies are the source of healing, and I sought out a place that would give me the knowledge I needed to understand and express this responsibly. That’s how I came to choose IIN.
I learned about over 100 different dietary theories from some of the world’s top nutritional experts, but that was just the beginning! IIN teaches holistic health—that true health comes from not just diet, but the connection between how we eat and how we living in the world. I was encouraged to understand that each individual is different and so is the way they need to nourish their bodies to live a balanced life in a way they can thrive, not just survive.
Someone was finally speaking my language!
IIN teaches six core concepts surrounding holistic health and nutrition, so in a nutshell, this is what you learn there:
As I mentioned earlier, the IIN philosophy is that every body is different. That’s why they teach a variety of nutritional theories. They encourage students not to judge or make assumptions about the various theories, but rather to think critically for themselves and to experience them to decide what is best for them, and potentially, for their future health coaching clients. They educate you on all of the major dietary theories so you are able to make a very comprehensive recommendation for your coaching clients, based on their individual needs! It’s awesome to learn all of these nutritional models!
When I say they teach holistic health, I mean the whole kit and caboodle. They teach that all forms of self-care, including meaningful relationships and careers, as well as movement, spirituality and whole, nutritious foods are the foundation of a happy, healthy life.
At IIN, students are taught a totally different approach to facilitate dietary change in their own lives and the lives of their clients. Rather than focusing on avoiding this and that because it’s bad for you, they emphasize adding more good things to one’s diet. Their philosophy is that once someone adds in the new food options, gradually, the “bad” foods will be “crowded out.” What a change! No shaming, no deprivation. Just gradual change that is fueled by knowledge and curiosity!
Even though IIN’s mission is a world wellness revolution, they teach being your authentic, beautiful self rather than evangelizing about eating and living a healthy lifestyle. Because, let’s face it, preaching at people to stop eating junk food and being a couch potato doesn’t work. The goal instead is to inspire others by the way graduates live their own lives—naturally and to the fullest.
This concept is most people’s favorite. It allows you to indulge every once in a while so you don’t feel constantly restricted and bored. Students are taught to “live a little” 10% of the time—maybe skip the occasional day of exercise or eat a fast food hamburger once in a blue moon. Then the rest of the time, live the healthy lifestyle they have committed themselves to. This gives you the experience of being in control of your life, not having it regulated for you.
Eat Real Food
As I’ve said before, IIN is all about offering you a variety of options and theories to explore without the need to judge or compare them. It doesn’t matter if you are vegetarian, vegan, paleo, omnivore, macrobiotic, Mediterranean, gluten-free, dairy-free or any combination. Students are taught the invaluable process of self-guidance towards wellness. The combination of theories, techniques and choices allows students to deepen their understanding of “health” that engenders greater patience and acceptance.
You probably caught me throwing around the term “health coach” and wonder what the heck that is. Well, one embodiment of it is what I do here on the blog. A health coach is a wellness authority who mentors others through food and lifestyle changes so they feel their very best. And as mentioned, a holistic approach to health is used, so while I focus on whole foods on the blog, I also discuss all kinds of natural alternatives, including ways of parenting.
At IIN, not only was I educated on all the wellness stuff, but I was also taught how to start my own health coaching business! They gave me real-world business training that guided me on my journey to creating the life I’d been craving—making a living doing something I love and wholeheartedly believe in! Students receive all the materials they need to start coaching clients, including a website, business cards, email templates, and more.
I can’t recommend IIN enough! If this sounds like something you’d like to investigate further, you can learn more and try out a sample class HERE, or click on the image below. It is one of the best decisions I have ever made, it literally changes the course of my life to one that I completely love every single day!