It’s a familiar story for many Integrative Nutrition graduates: leaving the corporate world to pursue a career in nutrition and wellness, a field they are passionate about, and have always kept in mind, but never imagined they would work in fulltime.
For Amie Valpone, a 2008 grad who currently lives in Manhattan, the story began a little differently. She suffered from many health issues including gluten and dairy intolerance, which led to an interest in nutrition and then to enrolling in the Health Coach Training Program. As this interest in nutrition increased, so did her desire to follow a new job path. With experience as a culinary marketing consultant, a recipe developer, a brand ambassador and now a publisher, the blog she used to work on late at night and on weekends years ago has flourished into an entirely different career. Read more about this incredibly successful graduate below!
What were you doing before Integrative Nutrition?
I held many corporate jobs: design at Ralph Lauren Corporate, advertising sales at VOGUE Magazine and marketing at the NBA (National Basketball Association). It all started while working in these corporate jobs here in Manhattan. My jobs were ‘glamorous’ to everyone but me. I loved the idea of my jobs but at the end of the day, I was not fulfilled nor inspired. I became interested in food and nutrition when I was faced with gluten and dairy intolerance. I went to Integrative Nutrition to study nutrition and spent my days, nights and weekends walking the aisles of Whole Foods Market and health food stores throughout Manhattan, jotting down names of brands and researching new products.
What led you to explore Integrative Nutrition's program?
I was having odd health issues, such as chronic low white blood cells and leg swelling. I exhausted every doctor in NY, NJ and Philadelphia who told me that I was a medical mystery along with going out to the Mayo Clinic for an entire week for an extensive work up only to find NOTHING. They told me I was perfectly fine and that there were simply no more tests they could possibly run on me. It wasn't until I made the leap from western medicine to eastern medicine and began working with an MD who specializes in integrative medicine where I finally for the first time in my entire life, received an answer.
What happened since you enrolled in Integrative Nutrition's program?
I started my blog, The Healthy Apple over three years ago and since then, it’s grown into so much more. I realized this was my passion when I’d sit home on Friday and Saturday nights writing my blog, researching companies and coming up with creative strategies to work with them. Before I knew it, it would be 1:00 AM but I was fired up and on a roll because I loved what I was doing. I decided on this specific spin as a culinary marketing consultant because my repertoire is in a variety of things: conference presenter, brand ambassador, food store tours and pantry makeovers, recipe creator, publisher of an online gluten-free magazine and brand consultant for companies in the food and beverage industry.
What did you learn at Integrative Nutrition?
So much. It changed my entire life; it inspired me. I loved meeting the other students and chatting about our lives, corporate jobs and how we wanted to get healthier and heal ourselves with food.
What do you love about the school?
Everything. What's not to love about IIN? It changed my life. The people, the community, the bonding, and the feelingthat there is a sense of welcome and comfort within all the graduates. I still to this day connect with other IIN grads who find my blog and connect with me or I find them and it's so great to connect and chat; you feel like you've known them forever-IIN is like a family and I loved it.
What do you love about your work?
I love everything. I'm a Culinary Marketing Consultant for my blog, The Healthy Apple where I work with brands on marketing techniques, travel to events, speak on panels and give presentations. I counsel clients to eat 'Clean' which is my food philosophy. In addition, I was the culinary nutritionist for the NBA Fit Program. My experience as a marketing consultant spans the hotel, spa, restaurant and FMG sectors—creating menus, developing marketing and PR efforts and building brand awareness for clients. I serve as a brand ambassador for many well-known healthy living companies such as Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bread and Musselman’s Applesauce, contributing to their websites, attending conferences and food expos across the nation on their behalf.
Tell us about your practice.
I created The Healthy Apple through networking, attending conferences, expos and events where I wasn’t afraid to call/email people until they responded. Along with The Healthy Apple, I recently launched an online gluten-free magazine, Easy Eats with the editor-in-chief who launched "Everyday with Rachel Ray" Magazine. Are there days when I thought I was going to hit rock bottom and be broke? Of course. Were there days when I asked myself why I sat home networking on a Friday night? Definitely. But, now I realize those connections lead me to become a brand ambassador, which led me to the event where I met my Easy Eats business partner, which led me to becoming the Publisher of Easy Eats. And there's nothing better than doing what you love.