2016-07-07No Comments

Why I Chose Maryland University of Integrative Health

There are many places to learn and get training to become a nutritionist or health coach; loads of places in fact. I know because I spent hours and months of research to find the right place for me.

A major factor in why I chose Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) to pursue an M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health is that the degree and coursework will qualify me to sit for the BCNS CNS exam.

What is the BCNS CNS exam?

If I pass … no, when I pass the exam — ahem— I become a Certified Nutrition Specialist, “the best clinical nutrition” credential. [Source] From what I've read, it is the highest level, nationally recognized credential for clinical nutrition practitioners.

And, why is the CNS credential important?

I was surprised to learn that not all states recognize nutritionists. Only RDs (Registered Dietitians) are recognized by many states and the (U.S.) government to be qualify for licensure to practice, get reimbursed for insurance due to health care laws, and I'm sure other forms of legal protection and benefits. [Source] So, that means it would be illegal for someone who doesn’t have the RD licensure to practice in states such as Maine, Ohio and Montana. [Source] States regulate nutrition practices so, your mileage, er training varies. This could affect where you practice and how you label and market your services. For example, if you call yourself a Health Coach and you are in a state that only allows licensure for RDs, a clear disclaimer should be on your website and marketing materials. As The Health Coach Group advises, it is vital for you to do your due diligence and “hire an attorney”.

What other factors influenced my decision?

There are so many but here are a few others:

Remote, online training

I live in Syracuse, NY. My husband loves his job. A remote marriage, living apart for me to go to school? Uh, not for me. MUIH offers courses online, in a classroom or a hybrid version. Flexible for everyone, especially professionals looking to make a career change.

Cooking labs

I love to cook and I want to be better at it. I want to learn techniques, develop recipes and most important, learn the science behind foods and how the body uses food. While there are plenty of culinary schools and nutrition schools that have a solid cooking sequence, most did not offer a remote option if at all. It sounds odd to learn how to cook remotely but I was assured it goes well. I’ll let y’all know how it goes. Stay tuned.

Areas of Study

My area of concentration is Nutrition and Integrative Health but MUIH also offers Yoga Therapy, Health Coaching, Health Promotion, Herbal Medicine, and Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine. This excites me because the nutrition track requires taking electives such as Food Systems and Policy, Herbs for Home Use, Health Education, Sports Nutrition, and more. As a future “whole health” practitioner and advocate, exposure, understanding, and training in other areas seemed a no-brainer.

I researched a lot of schools and programs. I talked with so many people, attended webinars, listened to podcasts, and seriously, I spent hours reading and comparing programs. It made my head spin. The entire process led me to this: choosing where and how to train is about being honest with yourself.

Questions I asked myself:

  • How do I learn best?
  • Can I handle a remote, online course?
  • How does my husband feel about this?
  • Why do I want to go back to school?
  • Can we afford it?
  • What could my future look like?
  • What would be my dream job or work environment?
  • What would I need to do to make this happen?

My decision arrived after a ton of soul searching for I think 2-3 years — hot mess —but I’ll save that for another time.

For now, I hope this helps those of you who are in the process of figuring out where to get your training. Please let me know if you have any questions. I’ll do my best to share my experience and information.

I’d also love to hear from others who are in school or have graduated. Why did you choose your program?


2016-06-302 Comments

3 Favorite Food & Nutrition Podcasts

Last year I hurt my lower back — mulching.

At first, I thought: Wow, here’s a chance to binge-watch all my favorite shows and movies while laying on my back with a heating pad. Cool. But then I received orders from my physical therapist to move — two times a day. Movement helps keep the blood flowing which helps heal the body. Who knew?

I walked like a 95-year-old at first; snail-like and utterly self-conscious but I was determined to feel better. So every morning and every evening I went for a walk no matter if I only got half a block away from my house.

(Note: My back pain became chronic and took one full year to heal.)

Perhaps I’m weird but I don’t keep music on my iPhone. So, I decided to listen to podcasts. At first, I listened to marketing, design and business podcasts but I quickly got annoyed. They made me frustrated. I wasn’t sure why at the time but now I’m thinking it was because I was on a path toward something new.

Hmm … something to mull over for another post but let’s move on to my favorite three podcasts, shall we?


Insatiable Podcast LogoMy friend Reese Spykerman (a stellar designer, btw) indirectly introduced me to Insatiable. One of her posts came up in my Facebook feed and there Ali Shapiro and I struck up a brief conversation about Dr. Kelly Brogan. Me being the curious cat, I went to her FB profile, checked out her website and voila — became an Insatiable listener. What I love about Insatiable and really, Ali and Juliet, is that they. are. real. I love their no-bs talk about how they think and feel about life, food, fitness and well, a slew of health-related topics. They share personal, intimate stories about themselves and get people to share their stories; some which have made me cry! Both are downright hilarious at times; their laughter so infectious I’ve found myself laughing out loud during my walks (thankfully no one has been around — crazy Asian lady!) Anyway, the more I listen, the more I get encouraged to live whole and eat whole; not obsessively. OK, that last bit … it’s a work in progress but they are on my team even if they don’t know it.

Listen to Insatiable by Ali Shapiro and Juliet Burgh

Splendid Table

Splendid Table Podcast LogoThis podcast is new to me. I discovered it on NPR on my drive home from Wegmans. I had no idea listening to people talk about food (no pictures — hello) would be incredibly engrossing and how is it possible I had never heard of it until now?! Hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Splendid Table takes me into peoples’ lives, kitchens, farms, and pantries; restaurants, markets, gardens and more. I love the depth and richness of the interviews because they make me think about my relationship with food as well as food as community, business and well, identity. Physically I was in my neighborhood walking the familiar everyday route but my mind, heart, and stomach were taking a journey across the country and the oceans. Yum …

Listen to the Splendid Table podcast

FoodBlogger Pro

Food Blogger Pro Podcast LogoI’m not sure if food blogging is something I want to do as I navigate this career shift toward becoming a holistic nutritional consultant and coach but after listening to episode after episode I realized how much we self-employed people have in common. No matter our niche, running a business — individual or a small team — is a TON of work. I’ve learned a shit ton about what goes on behind the scenes for food bloggers, and the interviews opened my eyes to the dark side of blogging: trolls and well, mean people. But the yummy side? The episodes are full of techno-weenie goodies (Yay — I can be such a geek!) mixed with business strategy, productivity tips and plenty of great stories: how people got started, their struggles, their fears, successes, etc. Bjork does an incredible job with follow-up questions and the results are helpful, useful episodes with plenty of humor and just enough tangents to keep it real. Thank you, Bjork and Lindsay Ostrom (Pinch of Yum).

View the latest episodes and listen via iTunes or Stitcher (app)

Voila. I hope you’ll check them out and if you have a podcast you love and would like to share, I'm all ears (tee-hee). Let me know in the comments below.

Always, in health,


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