IINsider’s Digest: USDA retracts endorsement of Meatless Mondays, Alaskan Health Coaches Improve Corporate Wellness, and more...

This week, the USDA published a seemingly harmless endorsement for Meatless Mondays on its website. But when a social media firestorm revealed the outrage of livestock producers - and even a member of congress - the USDA quickly retracted the statement. (New York Times)

"Are We Sugar Crazy?" asks Integrative Nutrition lecturer David Katz, in search of a balance between the position that "sugar is poison" and the fact that Americans eat far more sugar than recommended by health organizations (US News). Katz also weighs in on bariatric (weight-loss) surgery, stating, "our problem is letting too many [people] need it in the first place". (Huff Post)

Inspired by the kick-off of the London Olympics, the British Medical Journal takes a hard look at the benefits of sports drinks. The verdict? Most of us don't need 'em. (

Health Leadership Award: Ambassadors

At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, we often talk about the “ripple effect” – the waves of change that can spring from the efforts of a single person. Our community is blessed with a wonderful team of Ambassadors, men and women who have dedicated their lives not only to their personal health coaching practices, but also to spreading the IIN mission. This week, I am honored to present the Health Leadership Award to five exceptional Ambassadors for their contributions to our collective future of health and happiness.

Maureen Wheeler WebsiteFacebookTwitter
When I first enrolled at Integrative Nutrition, my incredibly brilliant and successful attorney sister asked me what I was going to do for a career. I wasn’t sure how to answer, because I had no idea what a Health Coach was. I had a vision of being someone who inspired transformations by being one part Oprah (transformation queen), one part Martha Stewart (domestic maven) and one part Bill McKibbon (environmentalist).  My sister wasn’t sure that was much of a business plan, so I finally answered her by saying, “I just want to get paid for being myself.” As my career has evolved, it has become so closely aligned with my personal joys and passions that I can honestly say some days I am not sure if I am working or playing. When I learned that I had been chosen for this Health Leadership Award, I instantly thought back to that conversation with my sister and realized - I’ve done it! I am getting paid for being myself.

Integrative Nutrition Reviews: From Okay to Fabulous

Welcome to the latest installment of Integrative Nutrition Reviews, where we consider books, movies, and other media related to health, food, and personal wellness. Want to suggest something for us to review? Post it in the comments!

Millions of women are trapped in a cycle of yo-yo dieting and exercising, exhausted and dissatisfied with their physical and emotional health. Their efforts aren’t producing the positive results they hoped for, and it’s time to consider a holistic approach to health.

That’s where Health Coach Lisa Cummings steps in. “The Slim and Sexy Mom’s Expert” recently released her first book, From Okay to Fabulous, which provides readers with the tools to live a longer, healthier, and more fulfilling life. 

Her personal suffering, including a rollercoaster of starving, overeating, and over-exercising, started at the age of 13. Twenty years later, she decided to make a permanent change in her life. She left her unfulfilling career in Advertising and enrolled in the Health Coach Training Program at Integrative Nutrition.

A Healthy Mom Means A Healthy Family

If you’re a busy mother balancing your child’s activities with your work schedule, and trying to squeeze dinner somewhere in between, then Stephanie Merchant’s story is all too familiar. Stressed out and frustrated, she was packing on the pounds and losing quality time with her family. 

Age 40 was Stephanie’s turning point. A series of small changes brought big results, including a weight loss of 50 pounds. Since graduating from the Health Coach Training Program in February, she has transformed her family’s health, started her own business, and now, as “The Nutrition Mom,” she inspires other moms to follow in her footsteps!

What were you doing prior to enrolling at Integrative Nutrition?

I was over-worked, over-stressed and overweight, a typical busy mom who started the day off running. I would drop the kids off at school, go to work, eat lunch at my desk in front of the computer, then run to pick the kids up and get them to after school activities. Microwaved meals and drive-throughs were the norm. My medication list, weight, and frustration with my life were growing. We were too busy for any real family connection. When I hit 40, I decided that I needed to reevaluate my life. I made one small change after another. I lost 50 pounds, and some limiting beliefs about life. I learned about whole foods, left a career behind that no longer served me, and started to learn about self-care. I had found a new sense of clarity.

Tips for Summer Skin & Live Interview with Dr. Murad

Summertime means vacation, lazy weekends next to the pool, ripe nectarines… what’s not to love? Unfortunately, the scorching temperatures and blazing summer sun are less than kind to the largest organ of your body: your skin.

According to renowned dermatologist Dr. Howard Murad, your skin is connected to all systems of your body, and a healthy complexion is a reflection of total wellness both inside and out.

You may already know Dr. Murad from his best-selling skincare line or his book The Water Secret: The Cellular Breakthrough to Look and Feel 10 Years Younger. We are excited to announce he will be joining our community as an Integrative Nutrition guest speaker, providing invaluable insight into his unique philosophy of Inclusive Health.

For those interested in learning more about Dr. Murad’s work, we will be hosting a live interview on Monday, July 23 at 2pm EDT. Tune in to to learn why skin problems are on the rise, how treating every cell in your body is more effective than spot-treating your skin, and what your skin can tell you about your overall health. Sign up now for the chance to hear directly from Dr. Murad.

IINsider's Digest: McDonald’s French Fry Monopoly, Crowd-Funding Farms, Restaurant Chains in School Cafeterias and more…

The Olympics kick off next week, and the games’ corporate sponsors are gearing up to cash in on their investments. Most notably, McDonald’s has finagled a french fry monopoly, in which no other vendor can sell “chips” unless they’re sold with fish (Huff Post).

IIN alumni in the news: 2003 grad Alex Jamieson promotes the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food on CNN, while 2005 grad Dawn Lerman continues her New York Times Wellblog series with “Weekends in the Kitchen with My Fat Dad”.

Marion Nestle clues us into two hot topics in food politics: an unexplained 18-month delay in issuing food safety regulations authorized by Congress in 2010 and the  pitiful state of the House's current draft of the Food and Farm Bill.

Health Leadership Award: Student Health Coaches

This week, we continue honoring outstanding Student Health Coaches from our alumni community. I would like to thank these five exceptional coaches, as well as those who were honored last week, for the guidance they have provided to students in the Health Coach Training Program.

Laura LehrhauptWebsiteBlog
Six years ago I was suddenly ill. It hit me from out of nowhere. After running frantically from doctor to doctor I still got no relief. I began exploring my natural options. By changing my lifestyle, I was able to heal myself. It was then I realized how powerful we are and how what we put in our bodies really matters. I knew I wanted to work with others and that led me to IIN.

Susan McDermott ReadeWebsite
After working many years in education (which I loved), I was ready to shift into a career where I could continue to connect with others, really make a difference and still have the flexibility I needed to take care of my young kids. I couldn’t believe my luck when I discovered IIN. Every day I have the joy and privilege of working with incredible women and I feel so grateful to love what I do every day – it sounds cliché, but it honestly does not feel like work.  My IIN mentors told me that our clients are like “mirrors for us”, and this has certainly been true for me.  Helping clients work through their health and wellness challenges has, in turn, helped me shine the light of awareness on areas of my own life that I had been ignoring. 

Announcing the Integrative Nutrition Board of Advisors

Today, on behalf of all of the staff at Integrative Nutrition, I am proud to announce the establishment of a Board of Advisors who will help shape the strategy, vision, and long-term direction of the Health Coach Training Program.

The board consists of 15 physicians, researchers, and leading authorities whose specialties span the fields of nutrition, health, and functional medicine.

Video: A Day in the Life of a Health Coach

Ever wonder what a Health Coach actually does? Get a glimpse into the exciting career of IIN Grad Elizabeth Rider, and how her life has transformed since graduating from our Health Coach Training Program in 2011.  

In addition to becoming a successful Health Coach, Elizabeth has published a vegetarian cookbook and founded Enlightened Living International, a community of successful wellness professionals dedicated to offering effective nutrition programs to clients around the world. Her video shows that it’s truly possible to balance a fulfilling career with a personal life rich in primary food.

Favorite Fitness Activities for Summer

Physical activity is one of key primary foods in the Integrative Nutrition model, as staying active year-round is vital for our health and wellbeing.

In addition to the aesthetic benefits, the release of endorphins after a good sweat session has the ability to lift our spirits throughout the day, positively influence the way we interact with others, and even help us sleep better at night. 

The summer season boasts longer days with plenty of sunlight, but with that comes significantly higher temperatures, which can make outdoor workouts more intimidating that IINspiring. However, with some creativity and planning, there’s no excuse to skip out on exercise!

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