Tag Archives: Nutrition

The Most Important Thing I Learned from My First Month at Nutrition School

The Most Important Thing I Learned from My First Month at Nutrition School | The Tao of Me

Have you ever gone into an experience expecting it to be a certain way? But once you got there it turned about to be different than what you anticipated?

That’s how my first month with the Institute of Integrated Nutrition went.

I enrolled in IIN® to further my education so that in turn, I could help others.

But four weeks in and I’m realizing that its all about helping me.

Here’s why.

One of the core principles of the school is a concept called “primary foods.” But its not food.

Its these four areas:

  • Physical activity
  • Your work / career
  • Spirituality (not necessarily religion)
  • Relationships

While many people have issues with food, when they peel back the layers, the root cause of their problem is not food.

Its often an imbalance to one (or more) of the primary foods.

When our primary food are in balance, so are we. When they are not in sync, problems in other areas may arise, and many people (me included) cope with food in some way – how ever that “way” may be.

One of our first assignments was to rate ourselves in each of the primary foods. As difficult as it was to admit, I was (am) not balanced and had (have) glaring deficiencies in some areas.

So in the spirit being vulnerable I have been working on balancing the areas that are lacking. And its hard. Like really hard.

Its challenging to acknowledge my deficiencies. I’ve had to swallow my pride to mend relationships. And learn to forgive and let go of grudges. And look past the faults of others, accepting who they are. Yet at the same time, not compromising my own values.

While it isn’t easy, I can already feel my quality of life improving.

I knew that my year with nutrition school would be interesting. I knew that my passions would ignited and my knowledge expanded.

What I didn’t know was how much personal growth I would feel just one month in!

I didn’t know how deeply I would feel what I’m learning or how much my soul would feel fed. But its a liberating process and can hardly wait to see what else is in store!

Tell me, how would you rate yourself in each primary food area?

Enrolling in the Institute for Integrated Nutrition

Institute of Integrated Nutrition

Eleven years ago I began my journey of a healthier, fitter lifestyle. I started working out with a trainer and changed my dietary habits. Before I knew it, I exceeded my own goals and expectations of what I could achieve. Not only in the amount of weight that I lost, but also in the realization that I was capable of so much more than I ever imagined.

I had no idea how life-changing this pursuit of a good health would be. It influenced every aspect of my daily life. I found confidence I never had before and expanded my social circle where I’ve made new life-long friends.

Ever since then I have had a desire to help others adopt a healthier lifestyle for themselves. This is one of the reasons I blog. But I have always wanted to do more.

Yet I wasn’t sure how. Until now.

I’ve raved about how much I enjoyed the Inner Health, Outer Shine program I participated in earlier this year. Well, through that program I learned about the Institute of Integrated Nutrition. And what I read intrigued me.

So I attended several free informational webinars that the institute offered. They piqued my interest even more.

It lit a fire in me to want to learn more. Not necessarily to make a career change (I love my job!), but to expand my knowledge of nutrition to help myself and those close to me.

I knew that this was something I wanted to do. But I didn’t feel the timing was right and I decided to hold off enrolling for another time.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

So I went for it and enrolled in the Spring session!

Coursework begins next week but I’ve already completed the pre-work readings and assignments.

And last week my welcome kit with my textbooks and other materials arrived and made it feel so real!

Over the course of the next year I plan to immerse myself in the curriculum and soak up everything I can. And I plan to share my learnings, thoughts and takeaways with you and hope you’ll find them interesting too.

I am so ready for this and can’t wait to get started!

Low FODMAPS, Week 1

Last week’s workouts weren’t much to write about. The week focused on (mental and physical) recovery from the Foster City 10-mile race. Yes, I needed a week to recover from a 10-mile race. Its humbling.

So instead a weekly workout recap, I’m recapping my first week on the Low FODMAPs program.


About a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with IBS and Adrenal Fatigue, and have been trying to find the best way to recover from it. I opted to focus on holistic care vs pumping drugs into my body. My doctors (PCP and holistic) conducted tests that indicated that my body did not process soy, dairy, wheat and corn. These foods contributed to my symptoms. So I eliminated those foods. In fact I eliminated grains all together and followed a mostly Paleo diet.

While I felt so much better, there were still some symptoms that didn’t go away. But I was well enough to get the green light to train for a marathon last Fall, which in hindsight I wasn’t ready for yet. As I mentioned in this post, the stress of marathon training and holiday sweets set me back. My digestive system went into a tailspin – again.

At around this time Sarah announced a 28-Day Inner Health, Outer Shine Group Program that she and Marissa were holding. I had been following Sarah’s blog for a long time. She suffers from digestive diseases and has made it her life’s mission to educate herself and others on ways to heal from them. She was also recently diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue. So I thought I’d be able to pick up some tips and advice from her and Marissa and the other women in the group.

I shared my background and how I was trying to follow an Adrenal Fatigue recovery diet and it wasn’t working. She recommended starting with the Low FODMAPS diet and focusing on dealing with IBS first.

I spent the first few days reading up on it and it was overwhelming. It was a lot of scientific jargon that I didn’t (and kinda still don’t) understand. But Sarah armed me with a few key but simple resources that spelled everything out for me.

The biggest eye opener for me was that all the foods I had been eating were foods that I shouldn’t have been. Apples, almonds (including almond milk and almond butter), sweet potatoes, etc were on the “no” list. No wonder I still wasn’t fully recovered – these were my primary foods! Yes they are healthy foods, but not recommended when recovering from IBS.

So I decided to give Low FODMAPS a try. I fumbled through a few days of not knowing what to eat. I was lost, overwhelmed and hungry all-the-time. This was harder than Whole 30 and it wasn’t even close! Thankfully I had Sarah to learn on. She armed me with meal suggestions and recipes that I assembled into my weekly meal plan.

Here’s what Week 1 looked like:

Mon, 1/19:
Breakfast: Ground beef sauteed in coconut oil with kale, arugula and spinach
Lunch: Tuna on butter lettuce wrapped in nori
Snack: Sarah’s smoothie
Dinner: Lemon basil spaghetti squash with macadamia nut cream salmon
Snack: Bone Broth
Before Bed: 2 hard boiled egg whites (I eat a bit of protein an hour before bed to regular my blood sugar which was also off-balance.)

Tues, 1/20:
Breakfast: Same as Monday
Snack: Sarah’s smoothie with cacao nibs/powder and cinnamon added
Lunch: Roasted chicken sauteed in coconut oil with kale, arugula and spinach
Snack: Bone Broth
Dinner: Same as Monday
Before Bed: Monday

Wed, 1/21:
Breakfast: Same as Tuesday
Lunch: Smoothie- same as Tuesday + ½ banana
Dinner: Same as Tuesday
Before Bed: Same as Tuesday +: Bone Broth

Thurs, 1/22:
Breakfast: Roasted chicken sauteed in coconut oil with kale, arugula and spinach
Lunch: Same as breakfast
Snack: Smoothie
Dinner: Beef stir fry (carrots, sprouts, bok choy, ginger, coconut aminos)
Before Bed: Same as Wednesday

Fri, 1/23:
Breakfast: Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes
Snack: Smoothie – substituted blueberries with pineapple
Lunch: Beef stir fry
Snack: Hard boiled egg white + a slice of smoked salmon
Dinner: Beef stir fry
Before Bed: Same as Thursday

Sat, 1/24:
Breakfast: Paleo Banana Pancakes
Lunch: Lemon Pepper Tuna on butter lettuce wrapped in nori + smoked salmon
Snack: Hemp Seed Flatbread + Plantain Poppers
Dinner: Beef stir fry
Before Bed: Same as Friday

Sun, 1/25:
Breakfast: Banana + Plantain Poppers
Snack: Smoothie
Lunch: Hemp Seed Flatbread + Plantain Poppers
Dinner: The Counter Burger Bowl
Before Bed: Same as Saturday

Summary / Thoughts:

+ Yes I repeat the same meals a lot. While this doesn’t work for many, it works for me – cost and time effective.

+ My body responded so well! After YEARS I finally say the bloat reduced – almost immediately.

+ That is until I ate the paleo pumpkin pancakes. I assumed that pumpkin was on the approved list but its not and my gut told me this immediately. It was a setback and it took me a couple of days to get it out of my system but once I did the improvements continued.

+ After just one week I’m a believer. Its recommended to stay on this program for 4-6 weeks. It will be a challenge but after seeing improvements after just one week I’m committed to this.