August 30, 2012
Last Updated:
March 4, 2021

How Gary Appelsies Became a Champion for Children’s Health

The Integrative Nutrition Health Leadership Award celebrates the successes of exceptional graduates of the school. This week I am thrilled to present Gary Appelsies, a recent graduate, with this honor. Gary excelled during his year in the program, establishing his business, making lasting friendships, and supporting his classmates. Always a positive influence and dedicated to his mission to be an advocate for children’s health, Gary exemplifies what it means to be a true health leader in the world today.

IINspired to Educate Others About Health and Wellbeing

After culinary school, not wanting to work as a chef in a restaurant, I knew I wanted to educate people through food. I began to look at how people socialized around food and noticed that when people gather at someone’s home they always gather in the kitchen. Fast food, junk food, and quick fix diets just did not cut it.

People would always ask me questions about health, diet and how they connect.  I was always studying and educating myself but it was never enough.  After the birth of my daughter, I started to become more interested in health and nutrition for children and families. I talked to my daughter’s pediatrician about children’s health and I knew that this was an issue I needed to be a champion of. Without teaching our children how to be healthy, how are we able to raise well-educated, well-nourished adults to live happy, healthy, productive lives?

In the meantime, my father had undergone quadruple bypass surgery, was diagnosed with colon-rectal cancer, and had to have major surgery. He was told by his doctors that he needed to change his diet and increase his exercise as a preventative measure. He has survived and is doing extremely well and is cancer-free. It was at that point that I realized I did not know enough to educate people properly. I enrolled in IIN so that I could intelligently educate people on their health and wellbeing.  I am now dedicated to being a champion for children and family health as well as being a champion for cancer patients and survivors.

Establishing Lifetime Friendships

IIN has been a wonderfully rich experience. It helped me to really focus on my passions and grow professionally and personally. I have met so many amazing passionate people through this program, many of whom have become close personal friends and part of my family. The staff and teachers imparted information and education in a way that made the learning process easy and fun.

Gratitude for a Chance to Encourage and Support

Words cannot express how honored I feel to be receiving this award. I am so grateful and appreciative. This year has been a great journey and I need to thank Joshua, IIN, my Health Coach, and my entire IIN family who constantly gave me encouragement, feedback and support. They allowed me into their lives to let me help, encourage, and support them. They let me be their voice of reason, help them build bridges, and take walls down. I would not be where I am now without them. I am truly blessed to be part of such an intelligent and passionate group of individuals who are dedicated to the future of nutrition.

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Advocating for Children’s Health

I have accomplished so much –  becoming an advocate for children’s health and developing my Become Your Best Self™ program to work with families, local schools, the YMCA and local farms on educating our children on the importance of good health and nutrition through healthy foods and sustainable living.  Additionally, I have developed a radio talk show, a healthy cooking show that will be focused on farm-to-table education, and a cookbook that I am currently photographing pictures for publication. I now have 24 clients.

Everything You Need Is Right Inside You

Find out what you do best in life. Embrace it, and figure out how you can do more of it. Become a student of your successes. Make a list of your proudest moments and accomplishments.  You may be surprised at what you come up with.  Pick out traits or skills that seem common to all that you have achieved and look for situations in life that play to those strengths. We work so hard in life to correct our weaknesses that we neglect to build on our strengths. Everything you need is right inside you; I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. Put your best food forward and believe that you can change lives, including your own.

Connect with Gary

On his website:

On Facebook:

On Twitter: @4ahealthypalate

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