My Education

Credentials

Nutritional Therapy Consultant, 2018  | Nutritional Therapy Association (Affiliated with NANP)

Holistic Health Coach, 2016 | Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Interested in starting your own Nutrition Education? Read more about my experience with both schools.

INSTITUTE FOR INTEGRATIVE NUTRITION

How I Knew It Was Time To Go Back To School…

In 2015, I knew I needed a change. I had already started Foodbymars.com and became more and more passionate about healthy eating and really wanted to go back to school to learn about holistic nutrition. I was helping sick family members and my friends make healthier choices, I was answering whatever questions I could from my blog followers and figuring things out as I went along for myself and my husband. It became a calling, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it.

Finally, a good friend of mine and successful health coach said to me… “you’re already acting like a health coach, why not go get certified?” — sometimes you just need someone to wake you up and this was my wake up call! My eyes widened and I asked him where he went to school, and low and behold it was the same place I had bookmarked at least 3 times on each of my devices… thinking “one day, I’ll go there”. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. After my friend dished on how much he loved it and how huge of a network he was able to build with the alumni, I went home to do some final research and enrolled the very next day. Since he referred me, I got a discount, and since I get so many questions here about my schooling and my experience – I’m sharing and I’m linking each reference here with my own referral link so if you’re reading this and decide to go back to school — you’ll get the same discount I did.

The Experience

I remember being nervous but so excited to start. In November’15, I started my very first IIN Module and LOVED it. It spoke to everything I was looking for. A module usually takes about a week to complete, and you’ll have a new one each week for a year. With engaging videos, a mobile app, easy downloads, and open-book quizzes, modules are very reasonable to complete. I worked full-time, had my blog part-time, and still never had trouble completing the lessons, quizzes, and assignments. The work is very manageable and easy to listen to and watch on your commute, at home after dinner, and on weekends. This is when I found time to do everything.

As for the content itself, you’ll learn a spectrum of valuable information such as:

  • Diets – what they entail, what they’re good for, who might benefit from them, their origin/logic behind it, etc. You’ll be an expert on more diets than you ever knew about before. From veganism to paleo, to macrobiotics – there’s over 100 you’ll touch on.
  • Mind, body, and soul – through something called “Primary Food”, you’ll learn much more than just nutrition and what diets could help someone. You’ll learn that there’s so much more to health and well-being like relationships, spirituality, career, exercise, etc. You’ll learn about practices for each and how to help clients (or just yourself and your family) with identifying weak spots of each of these crucial pieces and help them through targeting them little by little.
  • The science behind diseases plaguing our country – it is no secret our country and our globe is very sick. Autoimmune diseases are on the rise, it’s projected that 1 in 3 people will have cancer at some point, Diabetes Type 2 is a lifestyle disease that is spreading like wildfire because of excess sugar consumption and sedentary lifestyles, Alzheimer’s, Autism, ADD, ADHD, and other brain dysfunction is all to commonplace in our nation. It’s so important to understand WHY and HOW to prevent it and treat it holistically.
  • How to run a successful Health Coaching Business – by the time you’re nearly through with the curriculum, you’ll begin to learn the business tools on how to make money at this if you choose to. The world needs more health coaches, there are sick and unhealthy people everywhere and the more knowledgeable professionals there are to help, the better. There is no shortage of clients if you want to take them on. Working with Integrative Doctors, in Wellness Centers, or for yourself online are all major possibilities. And on the flipside, you could just walk away having had an amazing and transformative year to better your own health and the health of your loved ones. You’ll know how to help others make small but lasting changes. You’ll also have your 1-year Health Coach Certification.

Here’s why I’m an ambassador of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition

All I knew when I started this year-long transformation was that I was hungry to learn and wanted to see what I could do career-wise with this knowledge. Since graduating in 2016, my life has changed in so many ways:

  • I was able to finally get answers to my own health struggles I had for YEARS that no conventional doctors could help me with. That’s when I put it all together for myself and went on to find a Naturopath doctor (something I barely understood prior), and I knew how to properly speak to my symptoms. I knew what tests to ask for. And before I knew it, my graduating week, I had my diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Disease and was able to start on medication which was the beginning of a whole new journey. I’m convinced without my education, it would have taken me even longer than it already had to find these answers.
  • I was able to more properly and strategically help my loved ones to make lifestyle changes that have lasted and they still till this day are thankful to me for. Helping others is a huge calling for me, and this only solidified it.
  • I have met and continue to meet AMAZING PEOPLE. I learned later on in life, that when picking any institution like a school, to ALWAYS check the alumni/network benefits. At the end of the day, you can get an education anywhere, but it’s how you can use your network that will be the most beneficial at times. I’ve met dear friends locally and across the globe from going to IIN and we all have so much in common – this alone has been invaluable.
  • This propelled me to continue my education further. After IIN, I knew I was ready to further commit to this as it would be my future career. It enriched my blog, my recipes, my life and health and it solidified my passion and calling to become a Holistic Nutritionist (I will share more info about that soon). IIN was crucial in me coming to this decision.
  • Lastly, everyone I’ve recommended this program to – have loved it. And it’s my pleasure to help others and spread the word. As I said, we need more of it in this world.

Please email me with any questions if you are in the midst of considering going back to school and want more information about my education and about IIN in particular. I’d be happy to discuss further. You can contact me at alison@foodbymars.com.

I’d also recommend reviewing the curriculum here.

And check out a Sample Class.

NUTRITIONAL THERAPY ASSOCIATION

After completing my Health Coach certification and started practicing, I was able to hone in more on the types of clients I loved working with. I started to crave some deeper-rooted scientific knowledge and wanted to work with clients dealing with Autoimmune diseases, hormonal imbalances, and harness my health coach skills together with more scientific data-based training. I researched EVERY school out there, and realized what I really wanted was to be a Holistic Nutritionist. And to be Board Certified under NANP, it required me to attend a school that was approved. I kept finding myself really liking the NTA curriculum which is based on the Dr. Weston A. Price findings and traditionally prepared food, and a foundational root-cause type of approach. I was able to chat with a friend who attended the school and she gave glowing reviews so I was even more ready for it!

At the time I enrolled in the NTC program, it was essentially the same curriculum as the NTP with the exception of the hands-on testing since many of my clients are remote. Now the NTC program has evolved and has amazing new offerings (including more health coaching!), so it was a very complimentary program for me.

We learned about foundations of health, how to test and address symptoms and were trained on protocols and supplements to help support the natural healing process. We had an onsite weekend which was highly valuable and it was a small class with a lot of attention from professors. The exams (midterm and final) were very comprehensive and true proctored exams. There are required textbooks, projects, and assignments throughout the entire time, and I was devoting around 20hrs per week to school while working full-time and keeping up with the blog. It was challenging, but I loved it all so I was up for the challenge! For me, this education gave me an immense sense of confidence and template to working with my clients.

One of the most amazing things about going the holistic route, is you can really shape your own education and experience. It’s not as institutionalized, so you can do some soul-searching to determine what education you really want and how you want to work with people and tailor your learning to that. That’s what I’ve been able to do and am so grateful I found the NTA.

Each year, NTA holds a conference with amazing speakers and there are also more events coming! If you’re curious if this could be right for you, I encourage you to attend a webinar to hear more about it! And as always, feel free to reach out to me if you have more questions. If you’d like to add me as a referral, I earn a small commission for it, which you can also do after graduating when referring your friends!

One of the best things about the NTA is the amazing, tight-knit community, and the fact that I was able to help myself in my own healing journey on a deeper level through learning this curriculum. I no longer get overwhelmed by symptoms, and have a strong system for prioritizing what area to begin with in order to heal at a deeper level.