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Leap Into Happiness this Leap Day

Today is Leap Day - it’s like a 24-hour bonus to your busy schedule. An extra day that only shows up once every four years.

You could stick to your usual schedule: get up, go to work, take care of the kids, do some chores, work out, eat dinner, and go to sleep. Lather, rinse, and repeat.

Or, you could take the extra day to do something for yourself. Why not feed your body the primary food that it is hungry for by spending time with your family? Or take the day to pamper yourself with a massage or pedicure? Here are a few Leap Day activity ideas that you could do to celebrate this extra day!

Show Yourself Some Love

Schedule an appointment for a massage, a pedicure, a facial – anything that will bring you the relaxation that you have trouble finding time for during the other 365 days of the year!

Vitamin L: Loving You for You

iloveme jeWELLry by Be Well with Arielle

This month we have celebrated love through a series of posts dedicated to the most important nutrient for your health and wellbeing, Vitamin L. We've covered romantic love, family, friendship, and even the love for your pets, and now we turn to the most fundamental source of love in your life: yourself. 

Oscar Wilde said, "To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance," and we couldn't agree more! Loving yourself promotes confidence and fulfillment, and enables you to have deep, meaningful connections with others.

For many in the health and wellness sphere, self-love is tied to how we perceive our bodies. Criticism of our own figure can drown out positivity and leave us feeling undeserving. This perspective can make it hard to reach our goals, in life and in love.

The Power of Pairs: Two Florida Health Coaches Join Forces

What’s better than one Health Coach working to help professionals and veterans find time to bring health back into their lives? Two! Michelle Kramer, a 2010 graduate of the Health Coach Training Program, teamed up with her business partner Odette Worrell to coach busy men and women in their mid 40’s. Together they run Find Your Organic Soul out of Delray Beach, Florida, and have found a successful balance by listening to and supporting each other.

A career in health coaching had been a long time in the making for Michelle, who first learned of Integrative Nutrition over ten years ago. Years later, she’s following the career path she always desired, and has acquired a fantastic business partner. This interview highlights Michelle’s successful journey, and the unforeseen joys of working with someone who shares her passion for health coaching.

How has your life changed since enrolling in Integrative Nutrition’s program?

Since I enrolled in Integrative Nutrition I have had my seat belt fastened, and boy it's been an AMAZING ride! I have a clear sense of who I am and allow something new to unfold each moment! I have opened my heart to seven incredible women, the South Florida Health Coaches, and I am no longer a lone ranger. I no longer struggle with binge eating or IBS, and I’ve given myself permission to play!

What were some important things you took away from your time at Integrative Nutrition?

I learned at Integrative Nutrition that happiness lies in every choice that I make in my life. I learned that only I know what I need, and if I take a moment and slow down, the answers are within me.

Get IINvolved: Now is the Time!

If you are passionate about healthy, sustainable food practices, now is the time to take action!

This coming Monday, February 27th, you have a unique opportunity to join forces with national advocates of healthy eating. This is a chance to call for a healthier future. It's called Occupy Our Food Supply (OFS), and you can help now! Please 'Like' the OFS Facebook page and follow their newsfeed.

What can you do to help fight food practices that are destroying the Earth and our bodies? With your wallet.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Buy seasonal whole foods.
  • Prepare meals with the most basic ingredients.
  • Read packaging and nutrition labels.

Vitamin L: Loving your Fur-Ever Friend

Blog Team Mascot: Lola

They are cute and cuddly, greet you with a happy face and wagging tail when you arrive home from a long day; all they ask in return is a good scratch behind the ears, pat on the head, and regular feeding. Who is more devoted to you than your fur-ever friend?

For pet owners, there’s no doubt that having a furry friend is a wonderful addition to their life, but are pets actually good for you? Studies show that yes, in fact, there are multiple health benefits to pet ownership. Pets are proven to be incredibly effective stress relievers, reducing the incidence of stress-related diseases ranging from heart disease to hypertension to ulcers. 

A new study shows that among people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high cholesterol, those who owned pets enjoyed better cardiovascular health and more adaptable heart rates than those who didn’t.

This study only reinforces a solid body of evidence that proves the healthy benefits of pet ownership. A 2008 study showed that cat owners have a far lower risk of dying from a heart attack than people who’ve never owned a cat. And pets have long been proven to encourage a more active lifestyle – people who own dogs are more likely to walk more and walk faster than people who don’t.

IINsider's Digest: "Chocolate Girl", Farmers Markets, and Trans Fats on the Decline

The IINsider’s Digest gathers all the hottest nutrition topics around the web in one place for you to easily digest. This week it was reported that trans fats are on the decline after years of warnings. Integrative Nutrition graduate and chocolatier extraordinaire Vanessa Barg touts the health benefits of chocolate, farmers markets are cropping up at hospitals, and a preschool makes a healthy food faux pas.

Trans fats on the decline
Featuring IIN speaker Michael Jacobson
USA Today
Years of warnings about the dangers of artery-clogging trans fats seem to be paying off: The amount of trans fats in the blood of white adults in the USA dropped a "dramatic" 58% from 2000 to 2009, a government study shows. Read more.

Got a Health Complaint? There May Be a Chocolate for That
Featuring IIN Grad Vanessa Barg
TIME
Most chocolate lovers are well aware that the dark stuff is naturally packed with antioxidants, the health-boosting compounds that are thought to protect against heart disease, cancer and stroke, but with the right ingredients, the benefits don’t have to stop there. Read more.

School Replaces Student’s Packed Lunch with Chicken Nuggets
Fox News
A North Carolina preschooler came to school with a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, apple juice and potato chips – and her lunch was promptly replaced with chicken nuggets from the cafeteria. According to reports, a state agent who was inspecting lunch boxes that day decided the girl’s packed lunch did not have enough nutritional value. A regulation put into place by the Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires that all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs meet federal nutritional guidelines. Read more.

Integrative Nutrition Reviews: 9 Apps for Sustainability & Wellness

If you just use your phone to make calls and play Angry Birds, you could be missing out on some great new tools to help you live a healthy, happy life! If you liked our previous posts, 23 Apps for Health & Happiness and More Apps for Your Health & Happiness, you're sure to love our latest list of IIN-approved apps!

Sustainability

 

Clean Plates - iPhone

Find your next healthy, sustainable restaurant pick with this app! Browse for organic meats, vegan or vegetarian fare, gluten-free options, and naturally sweetened desserts, alongside more standard restaurant filters, like price and ambiance. We're so excited about this app version of 2005 graduate Jared Koch's essential guide to New York dining, Clean Plates! Currently, only restaurants in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Los Angeles are included in the search, but we'll update when the app expands! (FREE)

 

inBloominBloom - iPhone

Like to buy organic? Or gluten-free? Paleo-friendly, raw, or local? This customizable app will help you find food to suit your dietary and environmental preferences, whatever they are! Based on your location, the app can direct you to the nearest of any of its hundreds of listed farmers markets, grocery stores, CSAs, green hotels, biodiesel and electric charging stations, green supply stores, and clothing stores. Finding your favorite sustainable products will be a piece of organic cake. (FREE)

IINsider's Digest: The Whole Truth, Healthy Valentine's Day, No GMO and more!

IIN speaker Michael Jacobson and the Center for Science in the Public Interest tops the news this week calling for the real truth about whole grains. A country-wide debate hits Manhattan, when farmers from all over fill a New York courtroom to protest GMO crops. A new study claims a chocolate breakfast can aid weight loss, while the NY Times explores mindful eating. And as a special Valentine's Day bonus: skip the unhealthy sugar laden chocolate treats and opt for some healthy substitutes for your sweetie. 

The Whole Truth About Whole Grains
Featuring IIN speaker Michael Jacobson
ABC News
On Wednesday, February 8, the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to stop letting manufacturers label their foods “Whole Grain” when they really aren’t and to start putting the percentage of whole grain on the packaging. The government has encouraged Americans to eat more whole grains because they help prevent heart disease, but the FDA has never established a legal definition of what constitutes a whole grain. Read more.

Vitamin L: There's Nothing Like the Comfort of Family

Last week we kicked off our new Vitamin L series, which celebrates the various relationships in our lives throughout the month of February, with a post on friendship.

Next up, we’re talking family. That’s right, those crazy people who drive you nuts, and at one point (circa age 15) you didn’t want to be seen with, but at the end of the day, you love ‘em anyway.

Unlike some other relationships, we don’t get to choose our family members. Who we marry, yes; but that mother of yours who made you take those really awkward photos on the first say of school, you know, the one who is constantly reminding you that she’d like grandchildren someday? Well, you’re sort of stuck with her.

At times it’s easy to be harsh or brutally honest with these people, as we know our family will love us unconditionally. But that’s also the reason that we cherish them so much. On our good days they’re our biggest fans, and on our bad days there's nothing quite like the comfort a family member can provide.

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