Wednesday, February 27, 2013

20 Health Benefits of Cinnamon!

Greetings wellness lovers!

Today I came across an interesting little gem of a pin, that I thought my fellow 'nutrition geek' peeps would enjoy! :)

Well, I am getting ready to embark on a road trip to visit my sister in Oregon... so I will keep this post short + sweet today! (Literally, haha... as cinnamon is actually "sweet!")


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Six facts you need to know about eating oils and fats

Originally posted Friday, February 15, 2013 by Jonathan Benson,

One of the most widely misunderstood food groups today, oils and fats can be both crucial and detrimental to your health, depending on what type they are and how they are processed. But with so many inconsistencies and mistruths emerging from health authorities and the mainstream media on the issue, it is difficult for many people to effectively decipher between the two. So to help clarify, here are six important facts you need to know about oils and fats that will change the way you view this food category, and hopefully improve the health of you and your family:

1) Saturated fats are important for brain health. Butter, coconut oil, lard, and various other types of saturated fat are constantly being demonized as artery-cloggers and heart-stoppers, but nothing could be further from the truth. A large percentage of your brain is composed of both saturated fat and cholesterol, which means this vital organ needs saturated fat in order to function properly. Omega-3 fatty acids, which have gained considerable attention in recent years for their importance in brain health, actually require the presence of saturated fats for proper assimilation. (

Similarly, your bones require saturated fats as well in order to effectively transport bone-building calcium and other important minerals throughout your body. And in the case of grass-fed animal fat and coconut oil, saturated fats impart natural antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral benefits to your body, as well as necessary lauric, myristic, and caprylic acids, all of which are crucial for boosting immunity and fighting off infections.

2) Most vegetable oils are unhealthy, cause systemic inflammation. On the flip side, vegetable oils like soy, canola (rapeseed), safflower, sunflower, and corn, all of which are touted in the mainstream as healthy alternatives to traditional saturated fats, promote chronic inflammation throughout the body. Science continues to show that mono and polyunsaturated oils are loaded with omega-6 fatty acids, an abundance of which can lead to chronic pain and disease. Substituting vegetable oil in place of saturated fat also deprives your body of the fat it truly needs to stay healthy. (

3) Many oils go rancid when cooked with high heat. Many Americans consider olive oil to be one of the healthiest oils available, and rightly so, as this plant-based fat can help prevent heart disease and protect bones. But olive oil can also go rancid or even become toxic when heated above about 374 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) because it is in a class of oils with a low smoke point. Other low smoke point oils include macadamia nut oil (around 392 degrees Fahrenheit) and flax seed oil (around 225 degrees Fahrenheit), and most unrefined oils. (

4) Canola oil almost always contains dangerous trans fatty acids. Canola oil was first introduced into the American market back in the 1980s, and major food corporations like Cargill have spent countless millions convincing people that it is healthy. But what the industry has failed to mention is the fact that the processing techniques used to refine canola oil almost always produce harmful trans fatty acids as a byproduct. In fact, tests in animals have shown that canola oil consumption can lead to vitamin E deficiency.

"[M]ost of the omega-3s in canola oil are transformed into trans fats during the deodorization process," explains a Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) piece on the dangers of canola oil. "[R]esearch continues to prove that the saturates (in saturated fat) are necessary and highly protective," it adds, noting that canola oil is a monounsaturated fat.

5) Many of the oils recommended by health authorities are genetically-modified (GM). Another factor to consider in the pursuit of healthy oils and fats is whether or not they have been genetically-modified (GM). Many of the oils and fats recommended by health authorities as superior -- these include canola, soy, corn, and cottonseed -- are made from GMOs, which are increasingly being linked to causing organ damage, digestive problems, and cancer. (

Most of the healthiest oils and fats available, on the other hand, are non-GMO, but some of them you may not have heard of as they are largely ignored by the mainstream. These include hemp, macadamia, sesame, pumpkin seed, walnut, almond, pecan, flax seed, avocado, and coconut oils, all of which have their own unique health properties. (

6) Many 'cold pressed' cooking oils have been heated, treated with toxic chemicals. The idea behind so-called "cold pressed" oils is that they are healthier and have more of their nutrients intact as a result of not being heated. But according to Dr. Udo Erasmus, author of the book Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, many cooking oils labeled as "cold pressed" have actually been cooked or treated with toxic solvent chemicals like hexane, rendering them potentially toxic.

The best and safest cooking oils, he says, are those that are expeller pressed using low temperatures, and pressed from organic seeds and nuts. True non-denatured oils will also be protected from light, oxygen, and heat during the production process, and usually come in solid, dark glass bottles that are labeled "unrefined." (

Sources for this article include:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Career in a Year? Integrative Nutrition Is Breaking the Traditional University Mold

Joshua Rosenthal, founder of Integrative Nutrition

by Cheryl Snapp Conner, originally published on February 4, 2013, Forbes

Here’s the story of a highly successful entrepreneur, Joshua Rosenthal, and his organization The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), who is actively setting a new direction for post-secondary education. With no prior business or MBA background (Rosenthal’s degrees are in academia), he’s breaking the rules of traditional management as well, yet his company is achieving phenomenal growth. In many respects, coming from a non-MBA background is perhaps a net plus—John Greathouse wrote compellingly about the reasons most MBA’s actually fail at startup companies here.

Now 20 years old, IIN is comprised of some 150 employees in the Flatiron District of New York. The program has produced 20,000 graduates worldwide. IIN has grown 30% per year over the past several years, even in (and perhaps especially in) the troubled economy, with a program that produces certified Health Coaches in the span of a year for a tuition cost of approximately $5,000.

What I find most interesting about IIN, however, is Rosenthal’s vision. His primary motivation is not profit (in fact at the end of his career he intends to give most or all of his assets away). Rosenthal is a quiet and spiritual individual whose driving agenda is to influence the world for good. The traditional model for post-secondary education simply got in the way. IIN consistently partners with similarly mission-driven organizations, and has already given $500,000 (so far) to charities and foundations around the world.

It would be fair to categorize Rosenthal as a full-on social entrepreneur. By his own admission he is not a capitalist, yet he is keenly aware that his school must meet traditional metrics in order to achieve his greater mission of promoting greater health and happiness in the world. For example,
the company just launched, a site with no advertising, to advance global wellness and health by providing cutting edge information on topics of nutrition, fitness, and relationships.

When Worlds Collide
Despite all the articles and schools of thought on the rules that make a company successful, Rosenthal is an example of someone who created a flourishing venture in a non-traditional process while generally ignoring standard management rules.

His sense of higher mission is certainly helpful. As we visit, I mentally walk through the rules I covered in the 5 Sure Signs a Startup firm will succeed – 1) has validated customers, 2) has a strategic perspective, 3) cash conservative, 4) operates with transparency, and 5) communicates well. I note the answers all appear to be yes.

However, Rosenthal describes his business strategy in a different way. When I ask about his model for business he shows me a Venn diagram on How to Be Happy in Business (the copy here included courtesy of Simon Kemp, @eskimon). The philosophy is simple and even obvious—the intersection of what you love with what you’re good at and what pays well is the area that produces the highest business (and personal) “win.”

IIN is privately held, but a little mental math of a profitable venture growing 30% per year produces impressive metrics by any commercial measurement stance. The company provided me with this information about the 20,000 students who have graduated so far:

 71% enroll with the intention of becoming a Health Coach
 64% enroll for personal development and enrichment
 56% enroll to improve their or their family’s health
 30% enroll to advance or supplement their current career

With their degrees:

 70% launch a health coaching practice while still a student.
 Of these students, 69% begin working with clients in a six-month program before graduation
 69% make an income through health coaching while still in school
 25% charge $100/hour

Out of curiosity, because I’m intensely interested in health and nutrition myself, I put the word out to my circle of fitness friends to see if any of them were familiar with IIN. I got an immediate response from a friend who graduated in 2012. She thoroughly enjoyed the program; so much so that she’s now continuing forward in the school’s Immersion Program that will provide her (free of charge) with advanced training on how to use her abilities to create her own business. The program is timely as she’s in the process of closing down a traditional brick and mortar business that is no longer profitable enough in the Internet economy—the IIN career training is helping her transition successfully to a new career.

Integrative Nutrition employees enjoy each other's company as they eat the healthy lunch IIN provides

Friends and Foes
Who wouldn’t welcome an organization like this? As I inquire, apparently traditional universities, somewhat understandably, resent the implications of a company that can produce graduates within a year that may be competing for jobs, in some cases, with graduates of their traditional 4-year programs.

Likewise, by its very nature IIN is destined to be at odds with purveyors of non-health products such as the tobacco industry and its commercialized cousins. However, the company’s alliance with traditional academia has become increasingly strong, even as the company upsets the economic apple cart on which they rely.

Dr. Greg Braxton-Brown, teaching and learning coach for IIN, notes that the Health Coach certificate program IIN provides is an entirely different entity than the traditional programs that are predominantly science and research based. In contrast, IIN’s program is a practical and “integrated” (thus the name) analysis of nutrition programs that provides understanding, application, and applied learning of traditional and holistic programs. Its goal is to 1) help people identify the dietary principles that will be most effective for them, and 2) assist practitioners in applying their knowledge to a coaching or teaching job or to the independent business the program can help them create.
IIN does not eschew traditional education, Braxton-Brown notes, citing a fairly extensive list of college and university partnerships. IIN has submitted its curriculum to the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS), an agency of the University of the State of New York, who examined IINs curriculum and coursework and determined how it compares to traditional college coursework. The agency has concluded that IIN’s Health Coach Training Program (HCTP) is equivalent to 29 college credits.

Braxton-Brown reports that IIN has a continuing education partnership with the State University of New York and the California State University, the nation’s two largest university systems. Purchase College of SUNY and Long Beach of the California State University currently both grant 42 CEUs for completion of HCTP.

A yoga instructor conducts classes for employees on site

Many colleges and universities accept IIN credits in transfer. IIN also has a unique partnership with Goddard College for a fully articulated Bachelor of Art and Master of Art degree programs that build on IIN teachings. While it is still a few years away, he notes that IIN is building a PhD partnership program as well. Many students who come to IIN have a bachelor’s degree or even a graduate degree already in hand, he says, and are looking for specific subject matter to supplement their traditional training or to assist them in turning an avid interest into a full time or supplemental career.

From the Beginning
I asked Rosenthal how, as an academic whose interest and focus was never on business, he came to found and lead a rapid growth organization. He shared parts of his story with me. Other aspects are perhaps personal enough to warrant finding the opportunity to meet Rosenthal and his organization yourself. Perhaps I will share more of that interview on another day.

Rosenthal was always intrigued by different approaches to nutrition. After 10 years studying and teaching macrobiotics, he realized the very foods this protocol says are bad for you, such eating garlic, oranges, or drinking plenty of water, are considered supremely healthy by other programs. The dichotomy launched him into years of research to discover for himself what he could stand behind and advocate as true.

The academic side of his nature compelled him to scientifically research all major dietary theories—high protein, low protein, high carb, low carb, vegetarian, vegan, raw foods, etc.—in all, he has analyzed more than 100 prevailing nutritional methodologies.

In his quest for discovery, he concluded that most every program contains points of merit, but that for most people no single dietary theory will provide every answer. Likewise, the same diet that helps an individual achieve optimum health could actually become their downfall over time if followed too strictly.

He noticed that people following very different dietary theories were equally healthy. Nutrition is the only science where some people’s experience can produce outcomes that are opposite of what others have proven. Thus, the approach to his program (and the theme of his book – Integrative Nutrition—available from Amazon or from the IIN site) and his core principle of bio-individuality. Bio-individuality is what it sounds like. There’s no one-size-fits-all diet, IIN maintains, and one person’s food could be another one’s poison. In 1991 Rosenthal taught his first live class in New York City. The Integrative Nutrition program is now available online with students around the globe.
Students participate online and by phone making it possible to study anytime and anywhere. The school also conducts free live conferences several times a year in New York City.

This is the way to celebrate a graduation. Rosenthal and students enjoy a live IIN event.
A walking tour through the company’s headquarters unveils a culture like no other business I’ve encountered before. The atmosphere is quiet–even serene. The employees are energized and visibly healthy.

The sunny rooms are a surprising contrast to the Manhattan scenes at the street level below. In the main area there is a commercial kitchen, where the business prepares an organic breakfast, lunch and snack that it provides for the employees free of charge, every day. The open space lunchroom space doubles as a meeting and conversational area. And at 5:30 pm, they offer nightly yoga classes with specialized trainers.

Megan, the team member who guides me (everyone is on a first name basis at IIN)—notes that while it’s not required that employees stay on site, they are encouraged to enjoy the company provided amenities and to get better acquainted with each other as friends over lunch. A massage therapist comes regularly. On the day I visit, the company-provided chiropractor has just left, Megan tells me, and I can see various team members stretch in delight. This is clearly not a typical corporation in any respect.

For the future—Rosenthal acknowledges that he fully expects his personal vision for IIN and the traditional constructs of capitalistic business will continue to bump and collide. He is up for the
challenge, although he anticipates the need and welcomes the help of others who are like-minded. He views the additional press his company’s growing presence will bring with mixed emotions. “I’m not sure I like the attention,” he acknowledges—“But if it gets people thinking about ways to live a healthier and happier life, then that’s good. Maybe my mother will see it, and if she does—it’s my hope she’ll be proud.”

Cheryl Snapp Conner, founder and managing partner of Snapp Conner PR, has more than 22 years of experience in public relations for leading technology firms.

Joshua Rosenthal has also published a book called "Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health and Happiness." It's available for complimentary download here!

If you have any questions about The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, or would just like to talk to an alumni of the program, I am always happy to share my personal experience + insight! My email is


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Aphrodisiacs for Valentine's Day!

Well, hello there!

In celebration of the upcoming Valentine's Day, I wanted to share with you a few aphrodisiac foods that you might be interested in enjoying. ;) I've always thought it was just completely awesome to learn about the nutritional benefits of various foods...

Years ago... in college, I would often find myself typing in "benefits of ________ " in the Google search bar, when I probably should have been doing homework instead. Garlic is antiviral? Lemons are great for detoxing the liver? Onions reduce inflammation? This is so cool! And this was just the tip of the iceberg...

"Why didn't they teach me any of this in health class?!" I would always ask myself. This strange fascination with learning about what foods were beneficial in what ways ultimately lead me to enroll at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Anyways, here are 8 foods to well, let's just say it... spice up your love life! this Valentine's Day!

Garlic: stimulating to the circulatory system, the taste and smell have a calming effect
Honey: the sweet taste can awaken your senses, provides an increase in energy
Pineapple: supporting to reproductive health, packed with antioxidants
Oysters: an excellent source of zinc, which boosts libido
Chili peppers: stimulating to the circulatory system and the production of feel-good endorphins
Cacao: (the unprocessed beans used to make cocoa) rich in antioxidants as well as libido-enhancing hormones
Almonds: an excellent source of libido-boosting vitamin E
Bananas: increase the production of sex hormones, as they provide a high level of potassium and B vitamins

If you want to read about even more of the aphrodisiac properties of these foods, as well as strategies to open your heart to happiness this Valentine's Day, then you might be interested in checking out this complimentary ebook, created by the fantastic people at at my beloved nutrition school!

I also want to share with you today.... one of the first websites that started feeding my obsession with learning about the benefits of specific foods:

World's Healthiest Foods

If you haven't yet checked out this site yet... I highly recommend visiting it! (It's sponsored by a not-for-profit foundation with no corporate interests or advertising!) Love that.

I wish you a very happy Valentine's Day!!


Integrative Nutrition® and Institute for Integrative Nutrition® are registered trademarks of Integrative Nutrition Inc.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Dreamy Valentine Dessert!

Hello everyone!

I’m Max from Fork the Cookbook. Ashley’s been so kind to allow me to guest post on her Taste for Healthy and I have a treat for you! Valentine’s day is around the corner and I’m sure everyone is busy searching and pinning recipes for this occasion. Well, look no further as I have a dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free AND sugar free dessert for you this Valentines day!

I love forking recipes. Nope, forking is not a dirty word! It merely means to create a variation from original recipes. On my quest to live a little better, I’ve been forking recipes so that I won't miss out on treats and feel better at the same time. We change recipes to suit us all the time, Fork the Cookbook's focus is on making it easy for us to tweak recipes and keep track of what others have done differently to our recipes.

Here’s an easy floating island recipe I’ve forked to be healthier. Floating island or snow egg is a French dessert consisting of poached meringue floating on vanilla custard. I’ve only used 2 eggs, almond milk and vanilla beans to make this simple dessert. The egg whites are beaten with honey instead of sugar and cooked gently in hot almond milk. I’ve made the custard with egg yolk that I’ve saved from making the meringue, almond milk, honey, vanilla and a touch of xanthan gum to thicken it. I finished this off with some fresh passion fruit for its tang and crunch.

Healthy Floating Island or "Snow Egg"

This is a truly refreshing dessert, one you can whip up in advance if you want to serve it cold. One bite of this pillowy soft, almond flavoured meringue will make you and your loved one feel as if you’re on cloud 9...

Do check us out at Fork the Cookbook and let's fork our way to a healthier us!