Building Healthy Bones with Irma Jennings

Our bones are crucial for optimal health and longevity, yet we don’t spend nearly enough time learning about how they affect our overall wellbeing, and how to support them. Irma Jennings, a 2004 graduate of the Health Coach Training Program, claims her bones are the strongest they’ve ever been, at age 60! Her first career was financing infrastructure for roads, bridges, tunnels, and schools, building infrastructure for our cities and states. Now as a Holistic Bone Coach, she works on the infrastructure of her clients: their bones.

Irma, who lives in New Hope, PA, enrolled at Integrative Nutrition as a result of her own health issues. Now she has a thriving practice, Food For Healthy Bones, helping others build strong bones through eating well and living a healthy lifestyle. This interview highlights Irma’s work, and the unique niche market she has created for herself.

The Myth of the Perfect Health Coach

Many of us have a very specific idea of what a Health Coach looks like. We imagine them as fairly young, attractive, fit, healthy, and happy. If it were any other way, would they still be in a position to guide others on the path to wellness?

While it’s certainly true that Health Coaches should walk the walk when it comes to having a healthy lifestyle, there’s more to the story. Not all Health Coaches started out in peak physical condition, knowing the nutritional benefits of kale or how to best motivate others. In fact, many of Integrative Nutrition’s students enroll with the primary goal of addressing their own health concerns.

Weight loss, digestive distress, autoimmune disease, and depression are just a few examples of the health challenges that are stabilized or even conquered by IIN’s graduates. Many continue on their healing journey - even as they begin to work with clients - and this experience puts them in the unique position to help others with a similar struggle.

Health Leadership Award: Cooking up Advocacy for At-Risk Youth

This week, I am grateful to have the opportunity to present the Health Leadership Award to 2011 graduate Alissa Bilfield. She is the co-founder of The Cookbook Project, a non-profit that provides underserved youth with experiential education in food culture, cooking, and sustainability. The organization is growing immensely, and is now gaining international recognition. Alissa even had the opportunity to meet with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” staff in Washington, DC! Her success is an inspiration to all of us striving to create sustainable change.

Listening to Life’s Whispers

I actually heard about IIN six years before I enrolled, at a Kripalu Center yoga retreat. I can remember reading Joshua’s book - hesitantly at first, and then wholeheartedly - realizing that this was it! Working with various food justice organizations in Boston and Oakland, I saw a real need for teaching at-risk youth about healthy eating, cooking, and lifestyle choices. I also had the experience of traveling abroad and witnessing the disturbing extent to which the industrialized food system was being exported. I wanted to formalize my own studies through IIN so that I could help young people around the world to become empowered to be healthy, support their communities and help to safeguard the environment through their everyday food choices.

Are You Productivity-Obsessed?

The mantra of success these days seems to be "more and faster." As professionals raise productivity to be the highest standard of achievement, we find ourselves wondering if the drive to maximize efficiency is hurting more than helping.

This week, The New York Times explored the idea of productivity as it relates to the economy. Author Tim Jackson argues that we are running, no sprinting, ourselves out of our jobs, and simultaneously depriving ourselves of quality, artisan products. We live by metrics instead meticulousness, by timers instead of talent, and the toll isn't just on the economy and production, but on ourselves.

It's hard to take a step back and relax when we believe that industriousness is the only way to reap rewards, but neglecting rest and leisure time is an ideal recipe for burnout. Work-a-holic behavior can lead to fatigue, insomnia, joylessness, irritability, and can even trigger chronic diseases that will ultimately reduce productivity.

The Road to Wellness: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

Sara Seinberg, who recently graduated from the Health Coach Training Program in May, was stuck. She was working a good job, and doing some freelance writing and photography, but her health was a different story. For her 40th birthday she made a big move and signed up for a marathon. Recognizing a powerful inner strength upon completing the race, she made the decision to get her health back on track, and the rest is history.

Sara is one of the most creative and authentic Health Coaches I’ve encountered, and she has a real knack for relating her own story to how she now helps others. She coaches people, out of her San Francisco practice, Seinberg Holistic Health Coaching, around nutrition, but also emotional eating and self-awareness. I got a chance to catch up with her recently, and her method of developing the inner critic into a useful tool, and her ability to attract the right clients are fascinating. This interview highlights her successful journey and what she’s up to now.

IIN Grads Join Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

Amazing students and graduates who learned how to become a health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition gathered at farmer’s markets, health fairs, and cooking classes to spread the word about the Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Here are a few amazing projects that our thriving wellness community created:

Sarah Mawson, current student, and part of the Los Angeles Food Revolution

“We were at the Pico Farmers Market in Santa Monica in the morning, talking to everyone about real food, the added sugar in popular drinks (this was very popular ... and shocked many), and also holding a number of cooking demonstrations.

Rallying Against the GMO Labeling Scam

The news has been buzzing lately with consumer anger about GMO labeling, and many people are slamming it as a deceptive scam that tricks people into eating potentially unsafe “frankenfoods.” Though the production of genetically modified food is a widely debated issue, the labeling of GMO products is broadly agreed upon – over 90% of Americans agree that genetically modified foods should be identified as such.

Legislation calling for GMO labeling was shot down in Connecticut this month when food producers threatened lawsuits. A similar bill failed in Vermont in April, and fifteen more states are considering GMO labeling legislation soon. Will Big Food get the better of all of them?

Health Leadership Award: A Mama Glows

This week, I am very excited to present the Health Leadership Award to Latham Thomas, a maternity maven who has inspired and supported a countless number of new and expecting mothers.

Latham graduated from IIN in 2006, and went on to found Tender Shoots Wellness, a boutique holistic wellness practice. Based in New York, her practice catered to the needs of busy female professionals, but when Latham herself became pregnant, she recognized the lack of holistic resources available to busy moms. She has since founded Mama Glow, a maternity lifestyle brand that helps modern mothers tap into the abundance of this exciting stage in their lives.

Listening to Her Inner Voice

I was inspired to enroll in IIN because I knew, deep inside, that I was being pulled to work in wellness. I felt called to be a source of light and a living example to inspire others- but I lacked the tools and confidence to reach this goal. Joshua’s comprehensive program provided the support I needed to launch my career in the wellness space.

Trans Fat Scam: When “Zero” Doesn’t Mean Zero

Everyone agrees that trans fat is terrible for you. So why are so many Americans falling victim to the trans fat scam—a hoax that’s leading them to unknowingly consume this harmful substance?

Unfortunately, a deceptive labeling loophole approved by the U.S. government allows many companies to market their products fraudulently as “trans fat-free.” The truth? These products are actually anything but.

What’s So Bad About Trans Fat, Anyway?

Stop Craving and Start Living with Lindsey Smith

You’d never guess that 2011 graduate Lindsey Smith is in her early twenties: with a successful health coaching practice in Pittsburgh, PA, a published a book, and a completed an international book tour, she’s  thriving in a self-owned business that she built in less than three years. That’s the sort of achievement our graduates are capable of. They posses an unwavering dedication to transforming the world.

The start to Lindsey’s journey is a common one: an okay job, struggles with her body image and self-confidence, crappy relationships, and a life lived pleasing others as opposed to herself. After enrolling in the Health Coach Training Program, she’s discovered what it means to be healthy, to love herself, and to stop craving and start living! Here’s how she got started and how she’s accomplished so much.

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