Lessons I learned from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Lessons I learned from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition

In September I graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as a Certified Holistic Health Coach. I really enjoyed my year there and feel that I learned a lot! Since I didn’t go to college right after high-school, IIN was a great way to dip my toes back into a form of education. It was all online, so I was able to create my own schedule.

Other than the variety of health-related topics we were taught, we also learned many “real world” lessons. These are the life lessons that stuck with me after graduating from nutrition school.

1. My idea of healthy living isn’t always ideal for everyone else.

Because of my long history with digestive issues I’ve read a lot of gut healing books, websites, and articles. Nearly all of them recommend a Paleo style diet. That, for a long time, caused me to think grains, for example, were very bad for everyone.
At IIN we are taught many different dietary theories, as well as pros and cons of the different diets. The theory of bio-individuality, or “one person’s food could be another person’s poison” is something that was also instilled in us on many occasions.
I now feel much more open, mentally to different ways to achieve wellness.

2. The importance of listening to my body, and some tricks to understanding it.

My long stint of chronic illness has taught me how to listen to my body to know when not to push it. IIN has taught me more ways to understand clues my body could be giving.
For example, craving sweets could be a sign that you are actually craving positive emotional connection with someone.

3. How to be my own health advocate.

Over the past few years, I’ve learned to stand up for my health and what I need, but many of the IIN lectures have given me more confidence to do so for my myself as well as others.

4. Being confident in what I know.

I have spent a number of years researching holistic health for my own needs. I’ve learned a lot on my own but was not always taken seriously, because I didn’t have a degree. IIN has taught me a lot, given me even more resources to continue learning on my own, as well as provided me with a snazzy piece of paper that says I know things.

5. The desire to learn more.

At IIN we learn about a vast number of subjects, but do not go into great detail about all of them. With each lecture, they provide a few resources to help dive deeper into subjects that really interest us. There are also continuing education programs at IIN to learn more about digestive health, hormone health, business, writing, etc.

6. How to really listen to people.

The key to health coaching is to really listen. Not only to what clients say but also to what they aren’t saying. There are plenty of lectures that give tips on deep listening. The sample coaching sessions were also very helpful to observe correct ways to key in on what people do and don’t say.

7. It’s okay to not know all of the answers.

Not knowing everything is okay. Being honest about what you know and what you need to look up is better for everyone all around. It is also an opportunity to do some research and learn something new to share with your clients.

Enrolling at IIN last year was a decision I am really glad I made and I highly recommend enrollment for any of my fellow health nuts!

What are your favorite health-related topics to read about? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments.

-Lizzie

YL Essential Rewards Unboxing | April 2018

Essential oils are used in my home nearly every day in one fashion or another. We use them in our skincare routines, treating unhappy tummies or aching muscles, making the air smell lovely, and even when cleaning…

Young Living Essential Rewards, January ’18 | Unboxing

You’ve probably seen Young Living promoted by a few of your Facebook friends. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the brand, Young Living is a very successful essential oil company whose products are made from organic plants and processed on high-quality machines in the safest ways possible to maximize each bottle’s medicinal value.

Vapour “Mesmerize Eye Color” | Review

You can never go wrong with the high quality, luxe products from Vapour. The Mesmerize Eye Color does not fall short. Just like the rest of the brand, these sticks, creamy eyeshadows are made from organic and mineral ingredients and are just beautiful to use as well as have on display…

Lemongrass Spa’s “Pomegranate Body Polish” | Review

Winter is upon us. Often along with the beautiful, snowy scenes, and cozy clothes, we get dry skin. Exfoliating and moisturizing are two things that I forget to do very easily. But thank goodness there are products out there that can do both at the same time. I’ve just tried Lemongrass Spa’s Pomegranate Body Polish and was blown away by how well it can multi-task…

Find Me On Social Media

Four Months at IIN

Four Months at IIN

Since graduating high school in 2014 I haven’t done much to further my education. Instead, I took the time to focus on my health and to work on healing. Its been almost four years since I finished school, so it feels like a good time to dip my toes back into the school scene. I decided to enroll in IIN or the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

What is IIN?
IIN is an online school that provides its students with a certification in health coaching. The content is very holistic and offers a lot of great information on many health-related topics. They teach about over 100 different diets as well as digestion, exercise, lifestyle, emotions, relationships, and also include guidance in the vocational, business side of coaching.

They have been around for over 20 years and have produced many great professionals such as the creator of Purely Elizabeth granola and even my own Functional Medicine Dr.

What is the commitment level?
It can be taken as a part-time course alongside other college classes and/or work. I find it to be pretty common sense information while being interesting and new at the same time. On average it is about a 5 to 8 hour a week workload.

Why have I enrolled?
Just after I graduated, when I was at my sickest, and just getting into learning how to care for my body myself holistically, a friend of mine was enrolled here at IIN and told me all about it. I was very interested and keep them in the back of my mind (and email inbox) for the future. When I saw that they were having a little deal on tuition this fall I thought it would be the perfect time to enroll. I’d been feeling slightly fidgety with where my life was at… or rather wasn’t at, and was ready for something new, but not overwhelming. I am taking this as an opportunity to learn more about health and wellness to continue my healing journey as well as help my family and friends on theirs.

Over the years I have known many people, friends, family, and acquaintances, who have dealt with similar digestive issues as I have. I find it fascinating listening to their story and what has worked for them. I also enjoy offering advice when I can. I’d love the opportunity to help more people in similar situations.

I also hope to grow my confidence to share healthy living tips here and write about topics a bit more serious than makeup. Don’t get me wrong! I do love makeup very much and will not be cutting it out of my posts, but I’d love to offer help to others virtually via my blog.

Have you taken any courses like what IIN offers? How did it go? To get in the spirit of health coaching comment one area of your life that you would like to improve.

~ Lizzie

YL Essential Rewards Unboxing | April 2018

Essential oils are used in my home nearly every day in one fashion or another. We use them in our skincare routines, treating unhappy tummies or aching muscles, making the air smell lovely, and even when cleaning…

Young Living Essential Rewards, January ’18 | Unboxing

You’ve probably seen Young Living promoted by a few of your Facebook friends. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the brand, Young Living is a very successful essential oil company whose products are made from organic plants and processed on high-quality machines in the safest ways possible to maximize each bottle’s medicinal value.

Vapour “Mesmerize Eye Color” | Review

You can never go wrong with the high quality, luxe products from Vapour. The Mesmerize Eye Color does not fall short. Just like the rest of the brand, these sticks, creamy eyeshadows are made from organic and mineral ingredients and are just beautiful to use as well as have on display…

Lemongrass Spa’s “Pomegranate Body Polish” | Review

Winter is upon us. Often along with the beautiful, snowy scenes, and cozy clothes, we get dry skin. Exfoliating and moisturizing are two things that I forget to do very easily. But thank goodness there are products out there that can do both at the same time. I’ve just tried Lemongrass Spa’s Pomegranate Body Polish and was blown away by how well it can multi-task…

Find Me On Social Media

My 23andMe Experience

My 23andMe Experience

For many months I have been thinking about doing 23andMe genetic testing. Or any genetic testing in general for that matter. There are many companies that test DNA for many different reasons.

A few years ago 23andMe was focused on the connection between health and genetics. They also offered a lot of information on genealogy. In 2013 the FDA stopped 23andMe from providing health results, or “diagnoses” as they saw it. It took almost two years for the FDA and 23andMe to come to an agreement on what they could and could not share with their customers.

At this time, there are some health results available directly from 23andMe. They have a pretty good system for genealogy and connecting with distant cousins, etc. You are also able to download your raw genetic data (a file of just the scientific codes assigned to each gene) to run through third-party companies. These companies can provide incredible results.

Why did I decide to have my DNA analyzed?

Here and there I have mentioned my health battles, trying to heal my leaky gut. I have yet to go into great detail about it, well because I’m not sure how to just yet. A few years ago I discovered a wonderful Functional Medicine Practitioner. At my first appointment, she requested a rather large batch of blood work (14 vials!!!). Part of that batch tested me for the two most common variations of the MTHFR gene mutation.

A few years ago I discovered a wonderful Functional Medicine Practitioner. At my first appointment, she requested a rather large batch of blood work (14 vials!!!). Part of that batch tested me for the two most common variations of the MTHFR gene mutation.

The results are in… I don’t have MTHFR C677T… BUT… I am homozygous (two copies … one from Mom and one from Dad) for MTHFR A1298C. OK, cool. I guess I’ll take my fancy, methylated B vitamins and that’s that.

About a year and change went by before I really started to wonder about this MTHFR thing. I wasn’t feeling any better, so I decided I needed to look into this and maybe manage it a bit better. What I learned was quite scary, overwhelming, and amazing.

I can become quite obsessive when my mind is set on something, so I set out to learn everything I could about what MTHFR means for me, my body, and my healing.

On several occasions, I found myself on Dr. Ben Lynch’s website, mthfr.net. From what I understand, he is one of the top MTHFR experts on the internet. One article from his website, about managing MTHFR, highly recommended doing 23andMe testing. So I shifted my obsessive researching to genetic testing.

My research concluded that 23andMe was the most cost-effective, consumer service available for what I was looking for. But the argument with the FDA was discouraging and left me nervous about spending so much money on something I wasn’t 100% sure I could trust, rely on, or totally benefit from.

It was many months later, after putting a hold on that research adventure, that I joined Dr. Axe’s Healing Leaky Gut Program. Included in that program was access to a private gut healing Facebook support group. I took my MTHFR questions to that group page. On several occasions, it was suggested that I do 23andMe. Once again my obsessive researching took off.

This time, it led me to Sterling Hill of mthfrsupport.com. We had an incredible phone conversation about how crucial it can be to know your own DNA. She helped me to understand that there are several possible gene mutations that can interfere with the MTHFR mutation and create kind of a perfect storm (wich was what I felt was going on with my body) .

Sterling sold me! After all that time I finally decided to do it!

I bought the kit!

After I ordered my test I was so excited to receive my results. I was constantly checking my 23andMe account, Looking for this image:

I also searched Google high and low for any indication of how long each step of testing would take. There weren’t any good answers. Some people received their results in a few weeks. Some took the average, estimated amount of time, and other had to wait even longer.

Since I didn’t have much luck finding the answers I wanted, I decided to create a timeline of my wait for the next person wondering:

Day 1: Purchased kit online.

Day 3: Kit mailed.

Day 5: Kit received and registered online.

Day 6: Mailed the kit back.

Day 11: Box logged in at lab, quality inspection started

Day 21: DNA Extraction

Day 27: DNA Analysis

Day 28: Quality review, Initial Raw Data Processing

Day 32: Woke up to an email saying my results were in!

Because I was so anxious and excited, this process felt like it took about 4X longer!

The Results Are In!

I learned a LOT from just the results available on 23andMe’s site. I have two copies of the lactose intolerant gene. (I was diagnosed with a low lactase enzyme count via endoscopy several years ago, at the beginning of my health struggles.)

I am more likely to have a sweet tooth. YEP!! It’s a Fox thing.

I can also smell asparagus metabolite in my pee.

23andMe was pretty spot on with my appearance too: Most likely to have brown eyes, no dimples, no unibrow, light-colored, wavy hair, ring finger longer than the index finger and light skin. Cool!

Even though most of the genealogical stories that have been passed down on both my parent’s sides are French/German, my DNA is actually more British/Irish. I also have a smidge of Asian/Native American in me too!

Third Party Analysis Programs

There are many companies who offer more in-depth analysis programs for your raw data. The few that I came across that look pretty good are:

Free:

Athletigen: A sport focused program. It explains how your body and mind react to athletic activities. It gave me recommendations like yoga, hip strengthening, and get more omega-3s. I can agree with all of those. I didn’t need to do this one but I thought it was fun to learn from it.

Codegen: I really like this one! It is very easy to search by gene, mutation, keyword, disease, condition, etc. You do have to reconnect your 23andMe account every time you want to “log in”, but that only takes a second. There is an option to email a time sensitive (accessible up to one week) file of results to your doctor as well. They provide links to many research references.

Genetic Genie: This service provides you with two PDF files. One with methylation genes and the other with detox genes. I chose to use Genetic Gene to first get a feel for what I might be finding in relation to the MTHFR mutation (MTHFR falls under the methylation and detox categories) . It was not as extensive as I was looking for, but it is a great place to start.

NutraHacker: Nutrahacker is a more nutrition based service. They offer great results via “free sample” You can also pay and receive extended results. I downloaded the free portion but have yet to purchase the full results. Do any of you know if they are worth it? I think the free results are pretty interesting. It would be amazing if the full, paid results were twice as interesting!

Paid:

A common one is Promethease for $5. I did not do this one because I had already purchased one that I felt was more extensive.

MTHFR Support at $30: Sterling (previously mentioned in this post) has a very thorough app on this site. The app provides a crazy amount of SNPs. They have educational YouTube video’s linked to many of the gene mutations, along with SNPedia links. Sterling also offers one on one consultations (at an additional price) to go over and understand your results.

I recently discovered Dr. Lynch has created Strate Gene for $45. I haven’t purchased this on but upon first glance at the website, it looks similar to Sterling’s App. Have you used Strate Gene?

There are many others available. Some I didn’t like the looks of, and others I just couldn’t figure out.

What other programs are out there that you would recommend?

I recommend any and all of the free ones. Sterling’s App from MTHFR support was really worth it for me. At first, I was really overwhelmed with all of the scientific codes and words, but it forced me to learn something new. I am really glad I did. I can almost understand it now! 🙂

I am happy I did the 23andMe testing. They are constantly updating their website and releasing new studies. Customers are also encouraged to participate in their surveys, which help with their research projects.

The family features are really neat as well! I was contacted by a distant cousin who told me her last name translated to fox in Russian. I don’t know of any Russian roots in my family, but that was still a pretty cool bit of information.

I would recommend 23andMe to anyone thinking about DNA testing. You get the most for your money. There are also umpteen million third-party analysis programs available.

Have you done any DNA testing before? Did you find it valuable? Are you thinking about doing it now? I look forward to continuing this conversation in the comments!

-Liz

YL Essential Rewards Unboxing | April 2018

Essential oils are used in my home nearly every day in one fashion or another. We use them in our skincare routines, treating unhappy tummies or aching muscles, making the air smell lovely, and even when cleaning…

Young Living Essential Rewards, January ’18 | Unboxing

You’ve probably seen Young Living promoted by a few of your Facebook friends. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the brand, Young Living is a very successful essential oil company whose products are made from organic plants and processed on high-quality machines in the safest ways possible to maximize each bottle’s medicinal value.

Vapour “Mesmerize Eye Color” | Review

You can never go wrong with the high quality, luxe products from Vapour. The Mesmerize Eye Color does not fall short. Just like the rest of the brand, these sticks, creamy eyeshadows are made from organic and mineral ingredients and are just beautiful to use as well as have on display…

Lemongrass Spa’s “Pomegranate Body Polish” | Review

Winter is upon us. Often along with the beautiful, snowy scenes, and cozy clothes, we get dry skin. Exfoliating and moisturizing are two things that I forget to do very easily. But thank goodness there are products out there that can do both at the same time. I’ve just tried Lemongrass Spa’s Pomegranate Body Polish and was blown away by how well it can multi-task…

Find Me On Social Media

Spring Cleaning and Spring Changing?

It is now officially spring and a good time to clean, get rid of junk and refresh. That is exactly what I have been doing for the last few weeks. What I have been dejunking are my lifestyle and the things I put in and on my body. As a household, we have made a major change in our grocery shopping. After watching several documentaries and reading many articles we are finally starting to understand all of the chemicals, GMO’s, hormones and antibiotics that are used in, on and around the food we eat and the effect they can have on our bodies. Learning all of this, I am realizing those chemicals are a big part of why I have been so sick over the past five years. One of the contributors to my illness is a mutation of the MTHFR genes (Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase). Part of having that mutation is being unable to detox efficiently. All of these chemicals in my food, cosmetics, household products and environment have overloaded my system and have caused things to basically break. Now that I am finally starting to understand all of this, I am on a mission to not only detoxify my body but also my lifestyle, and keep it that way. This means I am eating as organic as I possibly can. I am on the hunt for cleaner household products to gradually incorporate. I am weeding out my beauty products, researching the ingredients. Almost all of the makeup I own is pretty heavy on the chemicals. Your skin absorbs a high percentage of what you put on it so a lot of those chemicals are getting trapped in your body. With my inability to get rid of those chemicals properly it’s not very surprising that I am having a hard time healing my body. I am not willing to just give up makeup. I really enjoy it! So I am on the hunt to find cleaner brands to experiment with. What does this mean for my blog? I will not be deleting my past posts. My opinions still stand even though I now prefer not to put those ingredients on my body. I also put a lot of time and hard work into each of those posts and am proud of them.  My blog is going to take a more natural, health focused turn from this point on, while still including everything  that I love, in a way that is healthy for my body. Do you have any ideas on what you would like to see from me with this new-found direction to take my blog? Please leave me a comment or send me an email with any of your thoughts or opinions!

Thanks!

Liz

YL Essential Rewards Unboxing | April 2018

Essential oils are used in my home nearly every day in one fashion or another. We use them in our skincare routines, treating unhappy tummies or aching muscles, making the air smell lovely, and even when cleaning…

Young Living Essential Rewards, January ’18 | Unboxing

You’ve probably seen Young Living promoted by a few of your Facebook friends. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the brand, Young Living is a very successful essential oil company whose products are made from organic plants and processed on high-quality machines in the safest ways possible to maximize each bottle’s medicinal value.

Vapour “Mesmerize Eye Color” | Review

You can never go wrong with the high quality, luxe products from Vapour. The Mesmerize Eye Color does not fall short. Just like the rest of the brand, these sticks, creamy eyeshadows are made from organic and mineral ingredients and are just beautiful to use as well as have on display…

Lemongrass Spa’s “Pomegranate Body Polish” | Review

Winter is upon us. Often along with the beautiful, snowy scenes, and cozy clothes, we get dry skin. Exfoliating and moisturizing are two things that I forget to do very easily. But thank goodness there are products out there that can do both at the same time. I’ve just tried Lemongrass Spa’s Pomegranate Body Polish and was blown away by how well it can multi-task…

Find Me On Social Media

I’m doing a little research

I have recently had the opportunity to learn a lot more about the chemicals we use in our cosmetic products and how they affect our body, health, and even the planet. I am curious about what others think about this general topic so I put together a quick, 10 question survey. It would mean so much if you, reading this could help me out and answer my few questions!

Thank you so much!

Liz

YL Essential Rewards Unboxing | April 2018

Essential oils are used in my home nearly every day in one fashion or another. We use them in our skincare routines, treating unhappy tummies or aching muscles, making the air smell lovely, and even when cleaning…

Young Living Essential Rewards, January ’18 | Unboxing

You’ve probably seen Young Living promoted by a few of your Facebook friends. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the brand, Young Living is a very successful essential oil company whose products are made from organic plants and processed on high-quality machines in the safest ways possible to maximize each bottle’s medicinal value.

Vapour “Mesmerize Eye Color” | Review

You can never go wrong with the high quality, luxe products from Vapour. The Mesmerize Eye Color does not fall short. Just like the rest of the brand, these sticks, creamy eyeshadows are made from organic and mineral ingredients and are just beautiful to use as well as have on display…

Lemongrass Spa’s “Pomegranate Body Polish” | Review

Winter is upon us. Often along with the beautiful, snowy scenes, and cozy clothes, we get dry skin. Exfoliating and moisturizing are two things that I forget to do very easily. But thank goodness there are products out there that can do both at the same time. I’ve just tried Lemongrass Spa’s Pomegranate Body Polish and was blown away by how well it can multi-task…

Find Me On Social Media

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