"Food-related diseases are the # 1 cause of preventable disease.
"People are suffering needlessly. Primitive people don’t get headaches, heart disease and other [diseases of civilization]."
Bet you can guess. That’s where I was today. Yes, yours truly has gone back to school — well, sort of.
You see, over the course of 10 weekends, culminating this spring, I will have received some additional, intense training other than the four years I’ve been toiling on my upcoming book SUGAR SHOCK! and the 250-plus doctors, nutritionists, researchers and health advocates I’ve interviewed.
After finishing this program, I also will be able to call myself a holistic health counselor. (Right now, I don’t have any degrees like that. I simply call myself a journalist, former sugar addict, "Sugar Shrew No More!" and KickSugar Founder/Moderator.)
Anyhow, from what I could witnessed today, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition offers one amazingly popular program, full of interesting classes and people.
It was wild. A whopping 1,100 of us from all over the country — and even folks from other corners of the world, including France, Brazil and Costa Rica — congregated at the jazz club in the Time Warner Center on the upper West Side of Manhattan.
In case you’ve never heard of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, it is billed as "the only holistic nutrition school in the world integrating all different dietary theories, from the ancient traditions of ayurveda, macrobiotics and Chinese medicine to the most current concepts like raw foods, Atkins diet, blood type diets, the Zone and the USDA Healthy Eating Pyramid."
Sounds pretty fascinating, eh?
So what did I learn today? Well, put it this way. Joshua Rosenthal discussed how this school is different from all other nutrition schools. For instance, it integrates all different diet theories; it’s designed to "wake you up" and acclerate personal growth; it focuses on the fact that we’re spiritual beings in the material world; it’s very vocationally oriented; etc.
What most piqued my interest today were two comments and ideas:
- "The Crowding-Out Theory." Basically, this nutrition school emphasizes that when you want to make changes in your diet, it’s best not to focus on taking foods away; rather you should stress adding foods in — you know, things like water, vegetables and good protein. In fact, Joshua insisted, "by adding in things, other foods drop away by themselves." That concept appeals to me greatly. What a great idea to urge people to shift their focus in this manner. In fact, I already urge people in my free, online KickSugar group to start eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and quality protein and fat sources when launching on a stop-sweets program, but Joshua’s "Crowing-Out Theory" is gives the idea a fresh, unique twist. That, to me, was the hottest tip that I got today. It’s a concept I plan to promote more heavily with people I coach.
- "Deconstructing Cravings." Another intriguing point Joshua raised is one that I also espouse, but again, it was good to hear him reframe it. "Cravings are good," Joshua said. "As soon as you start saying they’re bad, it means you’re bad." This is another very telling observation about human behavior, but it also could help you to view your sugar cravings in a different way, thereby taking the power away from them. Instead of taking this woe-is-me attitude, you could approach your strong urges for sweets as a useful message. Perhaps you could even learn to welcome your cravings, because of what they tell you.
Anyhow, I have homework to do — I’m supposed to conduct a "Health History" with at least a couple of people.
Incidentally, if any of you readers would like to get a free health history, e-mail me and I’ll do one with you over the phone. Trust me — it’s really cool and fun. (I conducted two in class today.)
Now, I’m really excited about tomorrow’s program. Our first speaker is the pre-eminent nutritionist and health expert Walter Willett, M.D., head of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. I’m thrilled to hear Dr. Willett again — I had the pleasure of interviewing him for my book, SUGAR SHOCK! and hearing him talk at a conference in Arizona.
By the way, check out the food pyramid that Dr. Willett recommends we follow. It’s a far cry from the U.S. Food Pyramid.
And read about the fascinating Nurses’ Health Study, which illustrates the power of good nutrition to improve health. (More about that tomorrow.)
We’ll also hear from Marc David, author of Nourishing Wisdom: A Mind-Body Approach to Nutrition and Well-Being. (Just started his book tonight — reading it is one of our homework assignments — and it’s fascinating. More about that later, too.)