As many of you know I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I’ll refer to that as #IIN. Each week a new module opens up and I will be sharing a summary of what I learned, or rather some #IINsight. My last blog post (my story – part 2) outlines why I felt the need to enroll in this program. You can also read my About section which sums it up. Let’s just say I became OBSESSED with getting healthy. It wasn’t the “I want to lose 5 pounds” quick fix type of healthy (in which I am no stranger to). This time around it was different. For me, getting healthy meant completely changing my lifestyle and relationship with food. In order to successfully do this I needed to understand nutrition. Sure I know the basics: eat your vegetables, everything in moderation, limit sugar… but there is so much that I DON’T know. I wanted to enroll in this program so that I could hold myself accountable and I promise to document everything I learn along the way.
There were many concepts of module 1 that grabbed my attention. One of my favorites was the idea of crowding out. Adding healthier foods will gently crowd out the ones that no longer serve you. Cut the crap and your cravings will change. The secret: instead of focusing on what you’re cutting out, focus on what you’re adding in. Or as I posted the other day: “Create healthy habits, not restrictions.” This is so true! Once you grow accustomed to eating healthier, you don’t want to put anything that’s not healthy inside your body. Now “healthy” can mean many things. People can also have different opinions on what defines “healthy.” To me healthy means anything that makes me feel good and gives me energy. I have found this through real, unprocessed, unchanged, whole foods. Typically food that I buy fresh and make myself. However, we are not only nourished by the food we eat, which is referred to as Secondary food; someone striving for optimal health also focuses on Primary foods. Primary foods are your relationships, physical activity, spirituality, and career. To be healthy, we need to find nourishment through both primary and secondary food.
I also loved the 12 steps to better health. This is a great tool to remind us that health is a journey and we should take small, attainable steps every day to bettering ourselves and our health. It’s not about the end goal, it’s about the process. I do most of these already, but the idea is to implement them ALL and regularly. This first week I focused on #1: drink more water. It’s such a simple concept, but sometimes hard to do! When I don’t drink enough water I’m exhausted, irritable, and don’t feel 100 percent. I’ve started adding more water into my day by constantly filling a huge stainless steel water bottle. I use one from Starbucks, but Swell is a great brand, too! I also enjoy fruit infused water. It’s great if you want a little flavor and the vitamins are certainly an added bonus!
Another quote I loved was: “The human body has the ability to heal itself by itself.” IIN founder Joshua Rosenthal said it best: “We are a society that wants a pill for every ill.” This resonated with me because as soon as I was diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus, my doctor prescribed me to a daily dose of Prevacid. Now in certain situations medication is absolutely necessary. But in my case for example, I knew there had to be something else I could do to remedy my illness. By slowing down, allowing myself to rest, and really listening to my body and what it needs, I have weaned myself off medication.
To sum it up, my goal is to embrace IIN’s mission which is: to play a crucial role in improving health and happiness and through that process, create a ripple effect that transforms the world. IIN is doing a great job at living out its mission. It is the largest nutrition school in the world with over 60,000 students worldwide. Through helping myself and possibly encouraging others, I will be adding to that ripple effect.
Food for thought: We have one chance at life. What steps can you implement today to make it as healthy and happy as you possibly can?