Why I am an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
After watching my father and other family members meet an early death from heart disease and cancers, I started a path of taking a closer look at lifestyle and eating habits, as well as the differences between our habits in Europe and the USA. I've now practiced a vegetarian lifestyle for over 30 years.
I was born and raised in the Netherlands and we moved to the USA when I was a young teenager. In a nutshell, the infrastructure in Northern Europe is set up to promote healthy living. As a child in the Netherlands, my earliest memories are of walking in the local woods on lazy weekend days, gathering wild blackberries, picking apples. We walked or rode bicycles everywhere or we traveled by bus or train. Our produce was seasonal, fresh and purchased daily. Our breads were made of whole grains and baked daily and our milk delivered fresh in glass bottles by our neighborhood milk man. Chickens and eggs were purchased at a local farm. Meats were a delicacy and purchased with care from a local butcher.
It was not until we moved to the United States that our family was introduced to an abundance of "junk foods". The sugar, fat and salt was everywhere!! I do mean everywhere!! After about 8 years in the states, I watched my father go from a vibrant healthy and fit man to suffering from heart disease and cancer. Our family meals switched from nutritious fresh foods to unhealthy fast food. To be fair, my father also smoked unfilterred, home rolled cigarettes and am certain that it contributed heavily to his illnesses. Ultimately, the best thing he did for his health was to move back to Europe and to seek treatment there. He continued to live a full life for another 15 years, but his cancer returned and he died at the young age of 65. Other family members were stricken with the same lifestyle illnesses but were non-smokers so I became vigilant and made some pro-active choices, making lifestyle and eating habit changes early in my twenties.
Today, I see how we moved smack into the middle of an era where some very creative marketing was happening with schemes by a food industry ready to get the masses hooked on fat, sugar and salt. When my father was ill, I began to practice mindful eating habits and started growing organic vegetables, ditched the processed sugars and flour and began a long, long journey into figuring out how to undo the damage that I knew might catch up with me as it did other members of my family.
Fast forward a number of years. I found myself in a situation where I had the opportunity to choose a career path I've always desired. To become an advocate for living a holistic lifestyle. After doing a significant amount of research on which institutions were offering integrative nutrition and lifestyle education, I enrolled into the Institute for Integrative Nutrition® because they offered a philosophy that matched my own. A philosophy that not only addressed how food choices effect our bodies but also how personal relationships, spiritual lives and physical activity has a profound effect on the body, brain and heart or, if you will, our bodies, mind and souls.
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) was founded in 1992 by Joshua Rosenthal. Once a small classroom of passionate students in New York City, it is now the largest nutrition school in the world. Through its innovative online learning platform, Integrative Nutrition has provided a global learning experience for over 100,000 students and graduates in over 150 countries worldwide.
Health coaches are holistic practitioners who mentor and guide clients towards nutritional and lifestyle changes to help them reach their personal health goals. As the only school in the world to confer the title of Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I was blessed with access to a rich diversity of leading instructors committed to improving global wellness through education and prevention.
Some of my instructors include:
Neal Barnard MD, Author and Founding President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Walter Willett, MD, Chairman of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health
David Wolfe, Authority on Superfoods and Raw Foods Nutrition
David Katz, MD, Director, Yale Prevention Research Center and Guest Speaker
Bernie Siegel, MD, Bestselling Author and Expert in Healing and Patient Empowerment
Joan Borysenko, PhD, Leader in Integrative Medicine, Mind-Body Connection Expert, and Bestselling Author
Andrew Weil, MD, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona
Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition at New York University
My focus on Whole Food Plantbased lifestyle coaching leads me to credit Neil Barnard MD, founder of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and Michael Greger MD, founder of nutritionfacts.org with providing credible, scientific evidence based nutrition information. Both are also working hard to provide nutritional education to physicians and medical students as well as providing evidence based efficacy of whole food plantbased lifestyles. These two non-profit organizations have become my final check-point whenever I need validation of sourcing my own material.
I've made it my mission to address my own dependence on sugar, fat and salt and coach others on how to transition to healthy plant-based eating and lifestyle habits. Trust me, it is not easy and it is an ongoing process but once you make a genuine commitment and begin to feel the difference of well-being, your body becomes your guide and will let you know what it needs. You'll also be participating in creating a more sustainable lifestyle than one that includes meat and dairy.
I am here to coach you through that process. To read more about how I coach and my scope of practice, click here