Since I have been given the amazing opportunity to be a VIP blogger for the Mega Conference in Long Beach California March 3-4, I figured it would be a good idea to do a pre-post and let everyone in on the weekend’s amazing speakers and why I get a buzz just thinking about it. I seriously haven’t been this excited since I went on a cruise with New Kids On The Block. (Yes, that really happened.)
What’s crazy is that it's only been a little over a year since I began my education at The Institute For Integrative Nutrition. I started at IIN in hopes of finding ways to help other women with eating disorders. What I found was my authentic self. I was a junk food vegetarian who was still a slave to the scale. I was struggling off-and-on with depression and PMDD. I was addicted to coffee, and on medication for my ADD. Although I wasn’t actively practicing my eating disorder, the thoughts and behaviors were very much there; I just didn’t want to admit it. It’s surreal to me that a year later, my life has completely transformed. In fact, I just finished a 90-minute yoga class and I’m sipping on a homemade green juice. Thank you IIN! I freaking love my life now!!
My excitement is building so fast because I have already attended two conferences and I know how awesome they are. I won the Costa Rica Challenge last April, and also attended the NYC conference last September. Each time, I leave feeling inspired, grateful and ready to make the world a better place. These conferences are no doubt changing the consciousness of our society.
The conference will be headed by Joshua Rosenthal. He has such a commanding presence. He’s also the founder and visionary behind IIN. His mission to improve health and happiness throughout the world humbles me. If I had a penny for every life (mine included) that has been transformed by his vision, I’d be a millionaire.
I have to give a huge thank you to Joshua right now for doing a west coast conference. The location makes my happy light glow. I'm beyond thrilled that it's taking place in sunny California!! Did I mention our hotel is right on the beach? I cannot wait to bust out my shorts and coconut oil! Being a Montana native, and living in Idaho now, you have no idea how much I adore and cherish my time in the sun!
And of course, I cannot forget the speakers!! Although I’m always super excited for ALL of them, I have to admit that two in particular will have me on the edge of my seat.
David is the reason my green smoothies get doused with raw cacoa, maca and chia seeds each morning. He is my raw food guru. His knowledge and passion for super foods and the raw food movement are invigorating and inspiring. I’m not gonna lie; I’m a little afraid I might be his own personal paparazzi since I get VIP seating. I seriously love the guy. His energy and love for life is contagious. I’ve read all his books and I still remember the first time I listened to one of his lectures. It was like I had just poured a whole bottle of Denorex on myself. My whole body felt tingly and my heart jumped for joy with recognition at every word he spoke. He knows his stuff.
Oh my goodness!! Geneen Roth. I have goosebumps just writing her name. Her brilliant work is something I hope to emulate in my own business. She, like myself, struggled with and eating disorder for a good portion of her life. She has turned those years of pain into a priceless gift for the world. She challenges women to make the connection between the food they eat and their beliefs about life. Her book, Women Food And God was perhaps the most influential piece in my own recovery. Bursting with insight, honesty, and courage, she inspires me daily. Literally. I have a Geneen Roth daily quote calendar. She truly is one of my greatest role models and I hope one day we will collaborate. (Hey, it’s on my vision board and we all need dreams.) It’s seriously impossible to leave one of her lectures without a deeper insight and greater awareness into yourself and your relationship with food.
With all the amazing speakers, the gorgeous beach, and the yummy food, I really couldn’t ask for more. However, my favorite thing about the conferences is always the relationships I form. It’s inspiring to meet so many like-minded people. Of course I am most excited to see my destination BFF, IIN grad and fellow VIP Blogger Jenny Sansouci! We met in Costa Rica and had an instant connection. It’s rare that someone is as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside, but this is Jenny. She is truly my soul sister. I don’t know if you know this, but we also have a lovechild. His name is Kale. I can’t wait to hug her and get nerdy about all things holistic.
So, there you have it! My excitement in black and white. To be honest, putting my passion and love for IIN conferences into words was much harder than I anticipated. It’s like to trying to explain your wedding day, or the birth of your child and hoping everyone can feel exactly what you’re feeling. There really are no words; nothing tangible to explain the energy. It’s a feeling that you can only know once you’ve experienced the sheer awesomeness of a conference. The best part is that I know the posts I will be writing at the conference will cover so much more. The bottom-line is that you cannot top the collective feeling at a mega conference. There is a coming together and mutual understanding that people are capable of healing themselves, and in turn, healing the world we live in. What could be more inspiring than that?
Hey everyone! I'm Rachel. Born and raised in beautiful Billings, Montana, I called Boise, Idaho home for several years. As of June 2012, I've officially gone back to my roots and living in Billings once again. I'm married with two beautiful daughters. I often tell people if it were not for my them, I would be somewhere in India with my head shaved, looking for a higher purpose. Funny how our purpose in life is usually right in front of us, waiting to be unveiled.
Looking back, I grew up in a textbook breeding ground for an eating disorder. In fact, my childhood plays out like a bad after-school special. Today, I’m super grateful for this fact and wouldn’t change a thing. Really. As cliche’ as it sounds, it’s made me who I am today. I trust my journey.
As if a traumatic childhood wasn’t enough, I had other cards stacked against me. While others in this life may be missing a sensitivity chip, I seem to have gotten an extra one at birth. For me, the world was scary and something to be feared. I spent much of my life feeling exposed, judged and alone. I was always a very reflective, analytical and aware child. Because of this fact, there was always this odd distance between me and the rest of the world. I was certain I would be eaten alive without proper protection.
Enter eating disorder.
For more than ten years, I used food, pills and alcohol to numb myself. I turned off my emotions and strived for perfection; a vicious illusion that kept me sick. I led a double life to the fullest extent. My world revolved around scales, calories, laxatives, diet pills and binges. When that wasn’t enough, I turned to alcohol to numb. Depression was my norm. In 2007, when my oldest daughter was almost two-years-old, I broke down crying and told my husband what had been going on. He knew I had been to treatment at age 15, but didn’t realize things had gotten so out of control again. He said that was the day the clouds parted and all my erratic behavior made sense. So, I took a final crack at treatment. Doctors told me I shouldn’t be alive. Although at the time, I thought this was a vicious plot by the treatment staff to keep me there, I now know I had angels watching over me. I really shouldn't be alive.
At my core, I knew total healing was possible. There had to be a better way. Although treatment got me back on track, I still felt lacking and was not impressed with the notion of being on anti-depressants for the rest of my life. Then, in 2010, my journey towards healing led me to The Institute For Integrative Nutrition. While I set out to learn more about holistic health and nutrition in hopes of guiding other women towards wholeness, I ended up discovering myself and the missing links in my own recovery. Contrary to what I was taught, all calories were not created equal and my body needed more than processed food to thrive and heal. This was the final piece of my puzzle.
For the first time in my life, I don’t feel broken. My sensitive nature has become my greatest gift. Tapping into my own wholeness has allowed me to let go of any shame about my past and embrace the woman I am today. It’s also given me the courage to share my story of healing and hope with the world.
Although, my goal is to help others who struggle with the same issues I did, this website is also for my own healing. The more I write, the more I realize they are one in the same. When we heal ourselves, we find outlets to heal others. It’s just how the world works. It’s why we’re here on earth. The simplicity of that fact is overwhelming to me.
My hope is that this website will shine light on the missing element in recovery; whole, nutritious foods that honor and nourish the mind, body and spirit. While I am aware that recovery is about much more than adding kale to your breakfast smoothie, I will never underestimate the importance that learning to eat intuitively and mindfully played in my healing process.
With all that being said, thank you for being a part of my journey. I hope by sharing my truth, you can discover your own, and in return, shine your unique light on the world.
This weekend, at the Institute For Integrative Nutrition Health Conference, Deepak Chopra was also one of the speakers. He gave an amazing lecture on leadership and self-empowerment. The simplicity of his principals were overwhelming. He reminded us to think globally, but act locally- the underlying message being that we’re all connected and our experiences are only a projection of our consciousness. We must stop looking at the world through our eyes and start looking at the world through our heart. Sure, the people and situations around you may be what you see, but what do you feel?
He spoke about mediation and how the space between our thoughts is the doorway to universal intelligence. Meditation can be tricky because we’re uncertain what we’re supposed to be listening for or tuning into. When I first started my meditation looked something like this.
OK Rachel, quiet your mind and breathe deeply
“I totally should have made Presley’s lunch last night so I had time to meditate.”
Stop thinking. Gently push the thoughts out of your mind. Breathe.
“Maybe I should buy a meditation chair! That would make this easier.”
Deep breath. Pay attention to your breath.
“I should have made some tea so it would be cooled off by the time I was done meditating. I wonder if Fred Meyer is going to have the 2 for $6 sale on the yogi tea again? I hope my kids will drink green tea when they’re older. Shit, I forgot to check on that book I ordered from Amazon”
Focus damnit, I’m supposed to be meditating.
“I wonder what made New Kids On The Block decide to start touring again?”
Screw it. I suck at meditating. I’ll try again tomorrow.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. That’s why I found Deepak’s 10 questions to ask ourselves before we meditate super helpful. We can choose one a day. If you’re new to mediation try 2-3 minutes of sitting in silence. Even one minute is an amazing start. Take 3 deep breaths and clear your mind. If thoughts arise, compassionately release them. I like to imagine my thoughts are clouds and as i release them, they leave my consciousness. Most importantly, remember that meditation is like a muscle and in order for it to be useful, you have to build it up.
OK, enough fluff! Here’s the meat of this post:
10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Meditating
Who am I?
What do I want?
What is my peak experience?
What is my life purpose?
What kind of contribution do I want to make to the world?
What does a meaningful relationship look like to me?
How do I contribute positively to my relationships?
What are my unique skills and talents and how do I use them to serve humanity?
Who are my heros? (public figures, historical figures, religious figures)
What is my story?
If these questions seem open-ended and broad, that’s because they are. They are meant to be internally expanded upon. You will be drawing upon the universal wisdom that is accessible to all of us. Each time you ask yourself one of these questions, pay attention to how you feel. See if you find deeper meaning to your life. The beauty is that all the answers and peace we crave are accessible to us at any time if we choose to make the initial decent within.
As I write this, I am on my way to New York City for the first time! I’ll be speaking at a Holistic Health Conference; recounting my incredible journey at Institute For Integrative Nutrition. This is quite a change considering less than a year ago I was waiting tables at Outback Steakhouse because my husband lost his job. Not exactly a vegetarian’s dream job is it?
Only recently have I began to grasp the amazing events transpiring around me. Even as a small town girl from Billings,. Montana, I know that anything is possible. What’s truly incredible is that when you’re on the right path in life, all you have to do is show up and the universe will respond. Being a Type A, that was a hard one for me to digest, but once you let go of control, you really can have it all.
How do I know? Because I’ve spent my whole life trying to control anything that could be controlled. This need to be in control spiraled into an eating disorder at the age of fifteen. Three treatment centers and a painful past can bring clarity like you wouldn’t believe. I have been pushed by a power greater than me to be authentic and live in integrity. I know a piece of this is being open about my eating disorder. I’m a firm believer that sometimes you can’t change the world, but you can change yourself while the world watches.
Less than five years ago I was told by doctors I should not be alive. I was addicted to diet pills and abusing alcohol, laxatives and anything else that could potentially keep me thin and numb. I was sustaining my sometimes thrice hourly workouts with diet pepsi, rice cakes and fat free cheese. My depression overtook me and I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning without popping at least three prescription diet pills. The part of my life I tried so hard to control was now controlling me. Leaving behind my husband and one-year-old daughter, I took a leap of great faith into the unknown territory of recovery.
My experience there was bittersweet. I met amazing women, released years of pent-up hurt and put some meat on my bones. I was put on anti-depressants and told to trust the professionals. Although the medications made me sick, I was told the side-effects would subside. Because of food allergies, my digestive system was a mess and I looked five months pregnant. We were given, Lactaid, Miralax and Fiber One to force digestion.
During this time I became very aware of the disconnect between women in recovery and the food we were told we must eat. Cheesecake and twinkies and donuts for snacks? Really? I sobbed for an hour choking down a hamburger and glass of milk. I had never eaten a hamburger in my life. Being aware of factory farming, I didn’t believe in eating animals that had been abused and full of pain during their short lives.That being said, I had to eat it or I couldn’t see my daughter. I was not honoring my body’s need, but jumping through the hoops in order to recover and get the hell out of there. I was taught that “food is food” and all that matters is portion size. Wrong-o friends. Wrong-o
That leap of great faith eventually led me to Institute For Integrative Nutrition. I knew at my core this was my avenue to healing myself and others. The school is the perfect balance of education, inspiration and business building. I have managed to heal many parts of myself that I was told were anything but healable. Because of the damage I did, I am still working on it, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I thrive without medication despite my lengthy history of depression and anxiety. I have a healthy relationship with food and my body. I love my body and am eternally grateful for it’s resilience. I don’t own a scale because I refuse to be defined by a number. For the first time in my life, I don’t feel broken.
The first week of school we set our intentions. Mine are laughable in comparison to what is actually transpiring. Although I haven’t even graduated yet, I am too busy for my own good. After only four months at the school, I won the Costa Rica Challenge and an invite to a private conference for my vision with Whole Figured; a website dedicated to shifting the way women are guided through recovery. I’ve written a course on Eating Disorders for the highly anticipated app MyOmBody. Although I am taking paying clients. I actually had to wait-list some because I still have two small children that are my priority. I received and accepted an offer to be the head holistic nutrition person at a Spiritual Retreat Center set to take form in 2012. I also received a seed grant from IIN hat will allow myself and members of the community to build a greenhouse for poverty stricken families in the Boise area.
I’m so excited for my future and the future of our world. Things are shifting. People are waking up and choosing to live their life’s highest purpose. I hope to open a holistic recovery center for women with eating disorders and empower women to take back their own power. I also plan on continuing my work with the homeless population by shifting perceptions and incorporating more love and organic foods into their lives and bodies.
Until the universe provides the people and tools to make these things happen, I will be busy empowering two very special young women who happen to be my daughters. I may not change the world on my own, but I will inspire the women who will.
IF you want to learn more about Institute For Integrative Nutrition and the latest scholarships, feel free to contact me!
Looking For Information On The Institute For Integrative Nutrition?
You came to the right place!
The Institute For Integrative Nutrition changed my life and the way I look at recovery. That's why I'm so stoked to be an ambassador for the school! I've improved my relationships, taken charge of my own health, and spread the gift of health and happiness to my friends and family. It was by far one of the best decisions I have ever made. There is no better feeling than empowering others to change their lives.
The mission of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) is to “play a crucial role in improving health and happiness, and through that process, create a ripple effect that transforms the world.”
IIN students are inspired by experts who are at the forefront of wellness. These distinguished speakers are the leading doctors, PhDs, researchers and authorities in nutrition today. You will learn from the best of the best, and the nutrition theories they teach will give you a broad palette of information to draw from when you start working with your own clients as an Integrative Nutrition health coach. Paired with our online course, you will receive exclusive lectures and training from these experts and friends of Integrative Nutrition.
A few of the experts:
- Walter Willett, MD: Chair of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health
Chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health as well as the author of Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating.
- Andrew Weil, MD: Director of Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona
A best-selling author whose books include: Spontaneous Healing and Eight Weeks to Optimal Health. Dr. Weil is a Harvard Medical School graduate and world-renowned expert on medicinal herbs, mind-body interactions and healing systems. He also started the Integrative Medicine program at the University of Arizona.
- Deepak Chopra: World leader in the field of mind-body medicine
A holistic healer and author of more than 50 books translated into over 35 languages. Deepak is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and one of Time Magazine’s “Top 100 heroes and icons of the century” and “the poet-prophet of alternative medicine.”
- Joy Bauer MS, RD, CDN: Nutrition Expert for The Today Show
The health and nutrition expert for The Today Show, Yahoo! and Self Magazine, as well as the author of New York Times bestseller Food Cures.
And many more. Click here to learn more about the IIN experts.
Because of the amazing impact IIN had on me, I want nothing more than to spread the IIN love. That's why I offer the latest and greatest scholarships as well as special offers to help you reach your career goals.
I have wonderful news! To celebrate Memorial Day, Integrative Nutrition is offering a chance to save on the cost of enrollment if you enroll between Tuesday, May 21st – Memorial Day, Monday, May 27th. You’ll be able to save $500 + an additional $500 if you pay in full. That’s up to $1,000 in savings!
The next class begins in July and this is the perfect time to enroll because you’ll be able to get started on your materials and get to know the community before the course begins, so you’ll be ahead of the curve. This is a very rare opportunity since IIN has greatly reduced the frequency of these savings offers so give them a call if you don’t want to miss out. Let me know if you have any questions about the school, I’m happy to share my personal experience with you.
The Institute For Integrative Nutrition is growing leaps and bounds every year. New students even have the option to study from their very own iPAD! (I'm a little jealous considering I had a teeny little ipod.)
There really is no better time to join the holistic health movement. Just think, a year from now YOU could be an AADP board certified holistic health counselor!
Trust your gut and follow your bliss!!