This is a guest post by our blog team member, Amy, who recently graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition! We are super proud of her accomplishment and thought others might be interested in her story (including what she plans to do with her brand new Holistic Health Coach certification). A big congrats to Amy!
I have had a fairly contentious relationship with food for much of my life. As a child I was overweight and ate a lot of standard American junk food. As a teenager, I would often hear, “You have such a pretty face” which only left me wondering what was so bad about the rest of me. I went on a “doctor” supervised diet my sophomore year in high school which led to rapid weight loss as well as to boyfriends, which I had never really had before. And so began a 15 year struggle with various eating disorders; anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive exercise, which culminated with a stay in a treatment center when I was 28. While there, I interacted with many young girls not far from death who had so much to offer this world, but all their energy, creativity, and life-force was going toward this one thing…as was mine. At that point, I knew that I needed to heal my relationship with food so I could one day help others heal theirs.
In my thirties, I finally realized that food was not the enemy, but I was focused very much on eating no or low fat. During this time, I also became a wife and a mom. I was now feeding a family, and convenience was “king.” Then came my forties when I began to really take notice that much of what I was eating was leaving me feeling listless, foggy, bloated, and nauseous, and my younger son had also developed a problem with eczema. I realized how terribly disconnected we had become from the food that we were eating everyday. I knew it was time to transform my family’s eating habits.
Throughout my years of research, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) (sample the course here) would often pop up on my radar. It always intrigued me, but I already had a graduate degree in telecommunications and didn’t think I could, as a mom, ever find the energy to go back to school or change my career. However, a deep desire to help others end their struggles with food and find a path to wellness, coupled with a bit of serendipity (a job with 100 Days of Real Food and a conversation with a successful local health coach), helped me decide to take the plunge. Fast forward barely a year later, and I am an IIN graduate!
Getting Started With IIN
While finding myself a student again was a bit daunting, it was evident from the arrival of the beautiful welcome package, that IIN was committed to helping me be successful. My tuition covered everything I would need. The first few weeks were about getting acclimated, and I found myself anxiously awaiting the more pithy content. That content quickly came in the form of week-long modules (lectures, video, and powerpoint) which covered:
- Holistic Wellness
- Primary Foods (Achieving Balance)
- Whole Foods
- 150+ Dietary Theories
- Food Politics
- Cooking Basics
- Coaching Skills
- All Aspects Of Setting Up A Business And Launching A Meaningful Career
The first half of the program consisted of nutrition education, and the second half was business training. Once the ball was rolling, school simply became a part of my routine, and with the flexibility the course offers I never had any trouble fitting it in or meeting the requirements. IIN’s comprehensive resources, library, templates, and marketing materials eliminated so much of the creative guess work I would have had to have done on my own, which equated to a huge time savings!
In a nutshell, IIN is a flexible, online year-long program that provides holistic nutrition education and business training. There are no prerequisites required and you end up with a national certification and college credits.
Accomplishments By Graduation
As with most things in life, you get out of it about as much as you are willing to put into it – so for me, IIN’s program was satisfying and enriching from start to finish. In the space of one year, I became a Certified Holistic Health Coach and started a coaching business, Spunky Avocado, with my business partner as well as a beautifully functioning website and blog. IIN was there to help me every step of the way, providing support and even hand holding whenever and wherever it was needed. One of their tag lines is: “Could one conversation change your life?” Well, I can honestly say that it certainly changed mine. If you have any interest in a career in holistic health and wellness or if you just want to gain the wisdom for yourself and your family, I highly recommend the Institute For Integrative Nutrition.
Special IIN Offer
Update: Although this deal has expired, if you speak with IIN we suggest you mention 100 Days of Real Food and ask if there are any current promotions you might be able to take advantage of. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
Layered Jar Salad Recipe
On a another note, the other half of Spunky Avocado (Niki) and I are delivering our favorite mason jar salad to a friend who recently had her third baby. We figure she could use a break. This salad packs a nutritious punch and a lot of great flavor. We thought we would share it with you, too. Enjoy!
Southwestern Barbecue Grilled Veggie Mason Jar Salad
- 1 cup salsa, (this is the bottom layer)
- 1 avocado, chopped (the salsa acidity will keep it fresh)
- 1/2 cup cilantro, loosely packed
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped, and grilled
- 1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped, and grilled
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped, and grilled
- 1/4 cup orange bell pepper, chopped, and grilled
- 1/2 cup corn, cut fresh from cob and grilled
- 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 cup brown rice, seasoned with a squeeze of lime
- 4-5 cups romaine lettuce, chopped (this is the top layer)
To grill corn in the husk: Soak in water for a few minutes before placing husks directly on a medium heated grill. Turn the corn a few times to assure that one side does not get too charred. Then remove corn from direct heat - off to the side or to a top rack. Close the grill and allow it to continue to cook for 15 minutes. After the corn cools, remove the kernels from the cob with a sharp paring knife.
To grill onions and peppers: Quarter onions (removing the smaller pieces) and peppers (removing the ribs and seeds). Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and lightly season with sea salt. Grill until they begin to char on both sides.
Layer the ingredients as listed from bottom to top in a jar. Serve immediately or store in a refrigerator for up to 5 days.
You can add and subtract layers to this salad. You can also simplify it by not using grilled ingredients (though you should try this version at least once).
I make big batches of these and other grilled veggies and freeze what I do not need immediately. They are great to have on hand for adding a lot of flavor to countless dishes.
We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.