Amy’s Road to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (+ Recipe)

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Amy recently graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition! We are super proud of her accomplishment and thought others might be interested in her story
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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!


Amy’s Story

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.

Taylor Family on 100 Days of #RealFood

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
  • Bio-Individuality
  • 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

If you’ve been in my shoes – relating to any part of my story – I highly recommend looking into IIN. In conjunction with my story and since they are an affiliate partner, they’ve generously offered readers of 100 Days of Real Food extensive savings on tuition if you sign up by May 9, 2014.

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!

Institute for Integrative Nutrition


I thought about it for so many years and am so glad that I finally took the plunge! If you have any questions about the program or my new health coaching business I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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!

amy's IIN photo

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107 thoughts on “Amy’s Road to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (+ Recipe)”

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  1. Hi,
    HI! Thanks for posting this article. I want to go back to school for a degree in holistic nutrition and I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of schools out there but I keep coming back to IIN. How many hours a week did you put into your studies including class time and studying? I am a mother of 2 so I need to know what I am getting my self into for time management purposes. Also after completing your education at IIN, do you have clients that you work with? If so, how did you get your name out to get those clients. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Libby. I would say that on average I would read, listen to lectures/modules, research, etc about 4-6 hours a week. It is very individualized. My business partner and I went through IIN together so that was helpful as far as keeping us both on task. :) We do have coaching clients and we also have gotten a lot of traction coaching in the eco-living niche. You can see our approach to our business at our website and on Facebook: http://spunkyavocado.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/spunkyavocado. We are having a great time and still defining ourselves. It is a process. We are just completing our Trademarking process, too. :) I have found it all to be very life enriching and am more motivated than ever to keep blazing a path! Wishing you the same kind of experience. Happy to answer any other questions, too.

  2. Amy, thank you for sharing your story! So many others have been through similar difficulties, but it takes a lot of courage to share that will us here. Stephanie, I would suggest looking into a degree in medical dietetics. I am a registered dietitian and love my opportunity to work with clients (in the hospital, out of my home, and at our local gym) to make healthy lifestyle changes that work for them! I follow my own intuition when it comes to my clients. Whole foods work for me and many others, but may not be the path for everyone. It is my passion to help them achieve their goals in the healthiest way possible.

  3. PS. What does your certification say? Does it state it’s from IIN or an affiliated college? I’ve read conflicting info about which school one actually gets certified from once completing the IIN program. Once again, thank you :)

    1. 4 stars
      IIN is not certified. I am a pre-nursing student in a clinical nutrition course, and I can tell you that ‘certified holistic health coach’ is not a title of someone with sufficient training in nutrition to over anyone medical advice.
      I do love the recipe though!

    2. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi again, Julie. Be sure to check out IIN’s FAQ page: http://www.integrativenutrition.com/admissions/FAQ. I have a certificate from IIN that shows I successfully completed their health coaching program. I continue to build upon my knowledge base daily but do not know that I will pursue any type of official credentialing beyond IIN. I’m quite satisfied. :) And, Devyn we are not offering medical advice. Our role as coaches is to support and mentor our clients by helping them make lasting changes that will that nourish many aspects of their lives, changes which inspire good habits tailored to their individual needs. Again, as coaches we don’t claim to be medical professionals. I can say, however, that most doctors will tell you they had precious little nutrition education in medical school. I’m happy to say that I think that is starting to change. An ounce of prevention, after all… And truly, is there a better place to start preventing disease than by having our medical professionals educating their patients on how to best nourish each and every cell in their body? Shouldn’t our collective mission, wherever we fall on the health/wellness career continuum, be to support each other’s efforts to create a healthier world? ~Amy

  4. Hi Amy. Thanks for sharing your story. I actually put myself on a strict candida detox program starting in July 2013, which included no dairy and gluten also, as well as no sugar, corn and much more. This all due to chronic infections that doctors couldn’t figure out and help. After then getting chronic hives, I put two and two together through my own research and turned to my knowledge in natural/holistic healthcare to heal myself. I am what I call “my own best doctor” and have improved quite a bit since taking over my own care. Having been a marketing professional for 20 years with long hours and lots of stress, I began to use the downtime off work to think about how to break the cycle and and live a healthier lifestyle. I now know I want to apply my personal interests in helping myself and others into a change in professional career. After becoming certified in Reiki, I began reading about the IIN program and have been thinking about it for a while. I came across this page and your post while researching IIN and other similar programs online. I like the basic areas IIN covers, but am concerned about the format. My mother and I watched the initial one-hour introduction video. We stared at a powerpoint presentation practically the whole time. Although the content is of interest, we found it hard to stay focused and engaged without seeing an actual person talking to us. I am curious if you actually get to see an instructor lecturing during the courses or are you always staring at a bunch of words on paper while listening to a voice without a face? Also, did you attend any live conferences related to this program? I appreciate any feedback that might help me finally start this program or determine it’s not for me. Thanks.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Julie. Thanks for your questions. My experience with IIN’s format was very little “just looking at words on paper or a screen”. Most of the lectures had visuals to go along with their presentations and it was almost always a full bodied person that I was looking at. :) You might have been looking at some of the support materials vs the actual lecture. As I’ve mentioned before, the wealth of information that I received from my time with IIN has been invaluable and so very readily applied to my own life, my family life, and as essential but gentle guidance for clients. INN does, in ways, challenge some conventional nutrition wisdom. You would have heard about eating real food, giving up processed food and sugar, returning to more traditional foods, integrating super foods, fermented foods, etc. long before it would be mentioned in mainstream health communities. In fact, there are IIN students building upon their traditional nutrition certifications with an IIN Certificate because they want a more holistic/integrative approach to their counseling. You have to decide if it is the right fit for you and again, you will get as much out of it as you are willing to put in. Let me know if I can answer any more questions. I’m also always happy to chat. Just let me know. :)