A little bit of a detour today to cover a topic many of you have inquired about.
One of the top subjects of email entering my inbox has to do with my professional training in the field of holistic nutrition. I'm thinking it might be useful to cover this topic right here, a simple way for me to chat with each of you at once I suppose!
This topic will be shared in three parts:
- How I discovered this field (and what exactly is holistic nutrition).
- The schools I’ve attended (my thoughts on both).
- Moving forward professionally.
Today I'll explain the role of a person in this holistic nutrition field, as well as how I became interested in pursuing this path.
The first time I heard of "holistic nutrition" was about six years ago. I was seated on my yoga mat waiting for class to begin, the teacher was giving announcements for upcoming events at the studio. We were told a women named Terry Walters would be leading a "Circle of Nourishment" at the studio - she was described as a Holistic Health Counselor and Macrobiotic Chef. I had never heard such a beautiful and more intriguing string of words before! Terry also taught cooking classes out of her home (she still does), as well as at places like Whole Foods.
Many of you know Terry Walters through her books, Clean Food and Clean Start. She's local to my (small) state and has been an inspiring nutrition educator in my area longer than either of her books have been on the shelf.
I attended a couple of her Circles of Nourishment and always left feeling inspired, grounded, and healed.
Terry’s work had a great impact on me, so much that I hired her services as a wedding gift to a friend. My friend and her new husband were busy urban school teachers, their energy reserves (both physical and mental) were not always primed at the end of the day when it was time to prepare dinner - yet they believed in clean, whole food. Terry came into their home and spent an entire afternoon teaching them the fundamentals of whole food cooking, including the ever important tips of being organized and planning ahead.
Terry’s in-house cooking classes include the following:
She brings the food, the pots, pans, knives, etc. She stays for about 3 hours and prepares alongside you several recipes, answering your questions and teaching many things along the way. When your time together is up, you are left with a bountiful meal to enjoy with friends or family, and great information to process as she heads out the door. Sounds great, yes?
There was a moment in June of 2006, standing in my yoga teacher’s kitchen, having just graduated from Yoga Teacher Training, that I knew pursuing studies in the field of Holistic Nutrition would be the next step for me. It seemed the perfect marriage, yogic perspective blends so naturally with how we eat and the lifestyle choices we make.
I waited. I taught yoga, I created a blog, I cooked, I made art, I lived.
For years, Terry was the only person I knew (in real life or online) that work in the field of holistic nutrition.
I would visit the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s website periodically... eventually I noticed there was a distance learning program! I couldn’t afford it. I waited some more.
Then one day I picked up the phone and called them, just to talk... I asked about student financing. They had a program that worked with my budget. I emailed Terry and asked if we could chat for a bit, I was curious to hear her perspective about the school (it's not a conventional school and is not the right fit for everyone, more on that in part 2). She filled me in on her experience and was very encouraging and objective.
I made my decision to enroll, and have been so pleased with that decision ever since. Currently, I am in year two with IIN. Health coach certification is earned in the first year - this second year places continued training on holistic health business practices and development, as well as deepening personal and professional growth.
At the end of this summer I enrolled in the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. This is a two year program resulting in certification as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. I'll talk more specifically in Part 2 about the two schools I've chosen to attend.
Over the last two years, I have seen many Holistic Health Coaches (the title changed from Counselor to Coach during my training) pop up online, through blogs and such. This is very exciting because the need is great, and medical professionals agree.
Health Coaches are entering private practice, working in doctor's offices, transforming school lunch programs, developing gardens and nutrition programs in inner cities, teaching classes in their homes, communities and online, writing books, creating their own food lines, leading retreats, and so much more.
The field is quickly growing, yet is still a new idea for many. Compare it to the early days of yoga teaching in this country... it is 1965 and you tell someone you are a yoga teacher, they'll likely have no idea what you are talking about! Today, yoga is recognized as a powerful healing modality.
What exactly is a Holistic Health (or Nutrition) Coach?
Please go right over to this page for a full understanding. Additionally, to know the role of a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (the certification I am currently pursuing), please read here. I'll be speaking more about how the two compliment and differ from one another in another post.
The food we eat is the single most powerful tool we have to prevent disease and promote health. Furthermore, a specific focus in the holistic approach to nutrition is that lifestyle matters. People who feel joy in daily life, find physical activity they enjoy, do work they love (or find a way to love the work they do), create healthy relationships and a fulfilling spiritual practice... those are the happiest and healthiest people.
Holistic Health Coaches help people along the path of healing and wellness, for years I've felt drawn to be a part of that journey.
This concludes Part 1 of my series, A Holistic Nutrition Journey. I'll share the other two parts over the next couple of weeks, mixed in with regular posting.
My hope is to share what I love, where I've been, and how I'd like to move forward. As I cover these topics, I'm also trying to address your excellent questions and curious minds. If you have a further question relevant to today's topic, please feel free to ask!
I hope these posts are helpful... enjoy the day!