The Integrative Nutrition experience is more than just a yearlong program. It is a lifelong journey, inspired by the generosity, intelligence, and passion of our ever-expanding community of graduates. That is why, this week, I am presenting the Health Leadership Award to five of our Student Health Coaches, who provide priceless support and mentoring to students enrolled in the Health Coach Training Program. I extend this award as a thank you not only to these exceptional coaches, but to all those graduates who have served as Student Health Coaches, ensuring that our community grows brighter and stronger with each enrolling class.
Jessica McCleskey Hood
As a young teen, I experienced a mild eating disorder, which led to lack of nutrients and brain food, focus issues, and eventually being labeled “ADD.” I took Adderall for 7 years, and then one day, woke up and realized how damaging the medication was to my entire body, mind, heart, and spirit. It was during this time that I ran into some IIN graduates, and I knew, right away, that IIN was my next step in living out my life purpose. I have never had more respect for an educational unit as I do for IIN. I feel it creates the most ideal environment for one’s intrinsic motivation to thrive. Now, five years later, I am medication-free, focused, fulfilled, and 50 pounds lighter.
As new dietary trends continued to appear every couple of years, I wondered what, indeed, was the healthiest nutritional plan to be on. America was getting more unhealthy and out of balance, which mirrored my situation and I wanted to learn the tools to shift this. The IIN community helped empower me through my breast cancer experience as I learned to listen to and strengthen my body, mind and spirit.
Kara Martin Snyder
I was part of the last live program in NYC and on Day One I remember thinking, "If we have to sing Kumbaya, I’m out."Turns out, I sat behind a doctor from South America who wanted to incorporate holistic wellness into her practice. I sat in front of a corporate litigator who wanted to transition to food policy lobbying in Washington, D.C. My heart was melted by a big lug of an elementary school principle who was there to explore the food-mood connection. He was sick of disciplining children after their mid-morning sugar crash. How inspiring is that, right?
I was a very sick mother of two, suffering from anemia, low grade fevers, a lifetime of ulcerative colitis, and had been diagnosed with colon cancer. After two years and fourteen doctors of various specialties, I still had no answers. My illness inspired me to change my life and IIN was a catalyst in facilitating that change.
Up until IIN, I felt like the “weird one”, now I feel like one of the gang - and what an amazing, inspiring, and world-transforming gang it is! My advice to future health leaders would be to trust your inner wisdom. You are ready. You are more than good enough. You have a unique message, mission, and purpose to share with us. The world deserves to hear what you have to say and receive what only you have to give.