“Confusion over clarity” at schools of nutrition?

Including “the world’s largest nutrition school”

Describing themselves thusly, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) boasts 25,000 graduates from all 50 states and 90 countries around the world. But what exactly are they teaching? It depends on which one of their twenty-four experts is doing the talking.

Upon first discovering their website and seeing that three of my highly-respected plant-based colleagues were on their list of experts, I initially thought that the IIN would be a good place for me to help spread the word and further promote our book. But, the more I learned about them, the more skeptical I became.

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After reviewing my concerns with Dr. T. Colin Campbell, I decided to write a blog on this subject—and Colin told me that he would like to contribute a comment within that blog. (His statement included below)

But first I wanted to reach out to some of the IIN experts who had endorsed my book. Maybe they were seeing something that I wasn’t seeing. So I sent this note to several of them:

Dear fellow plant-based enthusiast and author:

I am writing you today about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I am a bit confused about what they are really teaching and what they expect their graduates to teach to their future clients. There seems to be a great deal of contradiction among their experts. The panel of 24 people on the website ranges from Dukan, Agatston, Sears and Fallon on one end of the spectrum to three people on the other end who have endorsed our book: Barnard, Fuhrman and Lyman.

I recently spoke with a young woman who is in her first year of the IIN program. When I asked her how the students are supposed to know which “guru” to follow, she said that she really didn’t know. So how is she supposed to counsel her clients when she becomes a “certified health coach?” What does certification from the “world’s largest nutrition school” really mean? With so much contradiction within their curriculum, it almost seems that the graduates are “certified to be confused about nutrition”—at least as far as promoting health is concerned. Best regards, J. Morris Hicks

My inquiry to them yielded only one response—“that I had raised some very good points,” but provided no further explanation. So, I spoke with Dr. Campbell again and decided to write this blog.

Joshua Rosenthal, founder and president of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition

Joshua Rosenthal, founder and president of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition

Highly profitable venture. My suspicion is that the IIN is a powerful money-maker. With 25,000 graduates at about $5,000 each, that adds up to a tidy $125 million of revenue over the past twenty years. And with a mostly-electronic delivery model, I would imagine that a big chunk of that fortune flows directly to the bottom line.

Where are Mr. Rosenthal’s credentials? You would think that the “founder, director and principal teacher” of the world’s largest nutrition school would provide a detailed summary of his educational background as well as his entire career. This is all I found on his extensive website.

Joshua Rosenthal has been working in the nutrition field for over 25 years and is the driving force behind the school. His experience spans the fields of curriculum development, personal coaching, business and nutritional counseling. He is an insightful healer whose simple approach allows people to quickly and successfully reach new levels of health and happiness. He is also the author of “Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health & Happiness.”

Survey Image jpg How HealthyI read somewhere that he has a masters of science degree in education, specializing in counseling. Why is there no mention of his educational background on the IIN website? Could it be that the head of the world’s largest nutrition school has had no formal training in nutrition? Also curious that he has no page on Wikipedia.

My Bottom Line. All of us are either part of the solution or we are a part of the problem. And in my opinion:

Confusion is a major problem. Clarity is the obvious solution.

At the IIN, the student is exposed to diametrically opposite points of view and is somehow expected to sort through it all and decide how to counsel their clients once they become certified. Perhaps their certificate should read:

Mary Jones is hereby certified by the world’s largest nutrition school to be thoroughly confused about nutrition. After learning from a panel of experts who disagree on everything, she will now venture forth with her IIN certificate to join the overall “confusion over clarity” emphasis that exists in our dysfunctional “system” of helping the citizens of the world learn what they should be eating.

Bonus Video. A picture is worth a thousand words, and this video says it all. Featuring several of the plant-based experts on the IIN panel alongside at least two of the meat-based members of the same panel—this 2-minute video may help the IIN students decide which “guru” they should be following.

Statement about IIN from Dr. T. Colin Campbell

Dr. Campbell as he appeared in the movie,

Dr. T. Colin Campbell as he appeared in the Forks Over Knives movie.

I lectured to a live IIN audience in New York City about six years ago and, subsequently, my lecture remained on the IIN website for a few years, only recently coming to my attention that it was still there (I therefore requested that they remove it and this has been done).

Although the audience for my lecture was welcoming and quite interested, I found the program’s mission to be most disquieting. My reason for giving the lecture was because a former student of mine at Cornell had signed up for the course a year before and was very confused with the purpose of the lecture series. She, in turn, worked to have me invited.

The speaker roster included a mixture of professionals and non-professionals, some of whom had serious conflicts of interests and some of whom pretended to be authorities when they were not. There is no question that there is a great need for public nutrition information but I strongly believe that this program does more harm than good.

Even though the enrollment fee for the course was exceptionally high, a surprising number of students were nonetheless enrolling, suggesting to me an intense interest in this topic. On the basis of the information that I had at the time, there is no way that this course should receive professional recognition in the teaching of the relationship of diet, nutrition and health. The fact that the students are led to believe that they are credentialed in this subject is a disgrace.

I am very much sensitive to the public’s participation and interest in this topic but enrolling in this lecture series is, in my opinion, a huge waste of time and money.

T. Colin Campbell (July 5, 2012)

Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus
of Nutritional Biochemistry
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

Looking for clarity and integrity in your nutritional training?  Click on the banner at the end of this blog. The T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies has partnered with eCornell, a division of Cornell University to provide this powerful online course in plant-based nutrition—now available all over the world. About 25% of the students are medical doctors who earn CME credits. I earned my certificate in November of 2010.

Ready for a hefty dose of Clarity? For less than $60, you can take charge of your health now and affect the health of your family for generations to come:

Handy 5-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com

Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to jmorrishicks@me.com

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J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

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Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member since 2012; click banner for more info:

Nutrition Certificate

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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94 Responses to “Confusion over clarity” at schools of nutrition?

  1. Pingback: Summer reissue: Sick kids, desperate parents and bad science | The Spinoff

  2. Lemali Pathirana says:

    When I wanted to turn my passion in to a career I was looking for a place to get an accreditation. I received an email with some videos which were more like TV drama material rather than professional output. With regard to the head teacher , he has no authority to teach so many people on nutrition as he has no formal education on nutrition or biology. Do we need to learn 125 different theories ? Aren’t we here to prescribe something worthwhile for our clients to be healthier rather than overwhelm them with a catalogue to choose from? I got certified with Dr Sears no frills programs based on real science nothing superficial. I still get mails promoting IIN in my mailbox. When I look st those mails the only feeling I get is scam spam !!!!

    • Milena says:

      Hi Lemali,
      How did you like Dr. Sears program? I am thinking about enrolling next week.
      How are you using the knowledge you have learned?
      Health and nutrition are my passion and I have been searching for months for the best course. I was considering IIN but changed my mind when they told me if I wanted to have a study buddy, email a friend a cc them, so they can offer a discounted price to my friend and a bonus for me. They also did not provide realistic examples of their former students. Then I found HCI, which I thought I would like better, even though they reminded me a lot of IIN. However, their setup didn’t work for me. It was more like a chat/entertainment style than learning and their website confusing. Support is from (former) students.
      So I would like to find a real course but it’s really confusing …
      Thank you!

  3. Jackie says:

    The China Study changed my life and my diet. My husband and I have adopted a majority whole food plant based diet recently after reading all 3 Campbell books. We eliminated all animal products but have brought back some fish as my husband has lost too much weight, including muscle. We do fish once a week. All in all we believe that a plant based diet is healthier and we feel much healthier. We are now working on being gluten free to address digestive issues and autoimmune issues that linger.
    I recently began the IIN program due to its approach. The only thing being “pushed” so far that I see is overall health and helping people get there. It has relit a desire in me to go back to my roots and study for my State license as a professional counselor, as I have a Masters degree in counseling psychology. I am looking to rebuild my skills around counseling and working with people (listening skills) and the business blocks aspects of the program.

  4. Jenna Maloney says:

    As a person who did the IIN program and experimented with my diet to quote on quote ‘find what works best for me’ I can say that IIN offers a beautiful health coaching structure revolving around listening, empathy, compassion and asking great questions to get people to think! But as for nutrition, Joshua states that we should listen to our bodies.. But something I heard him say several times was that he used to eat plant-based but then when we went to India all of the ayurveda couselors told him to eat dairy- so he did!!
    THAT is not listening to your body. That’s listening to a person from india- Indians eat a lot of dairy!!
    So that made me question him because he didn’t live his own teaching.
    Also Joshua Roesnthal went through the Landmark Forum which is famous for using NLP to ‘brainwash’ people into buying their services.
    I believe Joshua applies NLP to get people to eat animal products..
    It’s nice to think everyone is different but that’s like saying some sharks ar carnivores and some sharks are vegan. We are all human with the same digestive system!
    I think if IIN was promoting singlularily a whole foods vegan diet people would get a lot more healing from the program. Other than the nutrition teachings, there was some good content. Can’t completely bash it but I also don’t recommend people enroll

    • Rebecca says:

      I am currently an IIN student and have to disagree with your thoughts around promoting a single diet, especially a vegan one. That is a very narrow point of view. I am aboriginal, living in Northern Canada. People here have been sustained for thousands of years by getting the majority of their nutrients from animals, their organs, bones and fat. Mostly, people have access to berries, fish and wild meat. Still to this day, it is the primary part of peoples diets. People who are ill here are those who choose to consume non-traditional foods. Nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit are not common place here. To suggest a vegan diet for our people would undoubtably not allow us to sustain ourselves in this cold climate as we have done successfully for thousands of years.

  5. Newtrition4U says:

    Thank you for this. I was close to enrolling onto the IIN course, until my bf googled it & showed me how ppl like Dr. T. Colin Campbell was debunking it & saying he wouldn’t recommend it. I spoke with Dr. Campbell on the phone a couple of years ago & because I live in the UK, he suggested I do a university degree in Nutrition with a particular professor who currently lectures @ King’s in London. It is a 3yr degree, so first I am looking to enroll onto an online/home-study course. I’ve found one through the Health Coaching Institute which is a 6 month course I can do part-time, which is ideal for me right now.

    • Alyssa B. says:

      Have you started doing the Health Coaching Institute yet? I’ve been researching it and I’m curious how you feel about the program so far and if it’s worth it.

      • Newtrition4U says:

        Hi, no I haven’t started the course, or any other just yet. I’m considering the HCI course, but also keen on the course from eCornell which is only 6 weeks long -I might do both! I think IIN is good too, just longer & more expensive.

      • Eva Lovisa says:

        I’m graduating from HCI’s Become a Health Coach program very soon (August 2016)… and the nutrition information is very, very disappointing. It is NOT a vegan-friendly course at all. I have a feeling T. Colin Campbell would have similar critiques of HCI since Carey and Stacey graduated from IIN and they carry over the bio-individuality approach. The Become a Health Coach program places a high priority on animal products and mention “vegans with their hair falling out” over and over again in their video lessons. They are very much on the gluten-free, paleo, low-carb bandwagon. Stacey even gets excited on one of the demo coaching calls when her practice client mentions the book “Grain Brain.” They also claim that fat and animal protein is KEY to balancing blood sugar, something we know in the science community is completely false. When I asked Carey and Stacey how they came to these blood sugar conclusions and was curious if they could cite studies, and instead of answering my question, I received an email from Carey saying that perhaps the course wasn’t for me. Which was a pretty big bummer. We were also assigned a sort of “teaching assistant coach” who was responsible for supporting our class. The few other vegans in my class quickly learned not to mention they were vegan, because she was not supportive of it and would even discourage us from wanting to coach others on a plant-based diet because according to her “it won’t work for everyone.”

  6. Why are so many people who want to help others live healthy lives spending so much time bashing others who are also trying to do the same thing…

    I went through IIN….. not to learn anything about Mr Rosenthal…. Honestly he somewhat weirded me out…..does the guy know anything about nutrition? I don’t care. It doesn’t matter!
    His job is to organize the structure of the education NOT the content.

    Rosenthal admits to not knowing it all!!! That’s why he let the “experts” go on stage and give their own presentation. Rosenthal gets people to ask empowering questions and create real relationships with clients – something desperately needed today.

    I wanted to hear many different sides of the story, I wanted basic business education around health coaching, and some website help….and that’s what I got from IIN

    Oh yeah and a certificate….which I guess some people need to see before they can do this thing called….TRUST another human being….. I was ready to help people well before IIN. IIN just helped show me HOW I could help people.

    If I want to go into the credibility of anything I learned from IIN I would simply find the expert themselves (through presentation given through IIN), look into their research… compare test methods, results, sample sizes, etc……….that is what any credible research requires.

    oh and that video showing the Experts….. hilarious cherry picking…..Have you taken a look at Mark Sisson? Yeah…. I think he qualifies as Lean….and what’s better is that he actually has MUSCLE ( and yes you can have tons of muscle following a strictly plant based diet or a Primal approach )

  7. Judy says:

    Hello All. Just got finished reading all of these posts. Wow! is all I am going to say.

    I am almost through with eCornell’s Plant Based Nutrition course and have my sights set on taking a course suggested by someone that works in eCornell’s office. It’s a course offered by the American Fitness Professionals & Associates called Holistic Nutritionist Certification. This course teaches a whole foods plant-based diet and sites research by Campbell, Esselstyn, McDougal and others. Has anyone taken this course? It looks amazing and is priced okay. I posted the link below to the course.

    I’m also considering taking the Forks Over Knives cooking course. Anyone take this one yet?



    • Judy says:

      I should have said that the Holistic Nutritionist Cert course teaches you to be a health coach that promotes a whole foods plant based diet.

    • Stephanie says:

      Have you done any further study beside eCornell. I loved the course and would like to continue learning hence coming across the IIN program. It is very pricey and do find even the website a little inconsistent. Just wondering if you took the AFPA course and if so did you find it helpful?

      • J. Morris Hicks says:

        Hi Stephanie,

        Since 2002, I have been studying and researching all about human food choices and their enormous impact on our health and the health and sustainability of our planet. The ecornell is the only “course” that I have taken. Since 2002, I have posted over 1,000 articles on my blog at hpjmh.com, created the 4Leafprogram.com and the 4leafsurvey.com and have published two books. I am not familiar with the AFPA course. Since late 2016, I have been primarily focusing on a software product that you can learn all about at archby4leaf.com.

      • Barbara says:

        I completed IIN 4 years ago. I’m looking into Functional Medicine Health Coach course. It’s only 2 years old, but had they had FMHC back when I was “searching”, I’d take that course,

  8. Sandra Q says:

    Hello, I am a graduate of the IIN program you chose to discredit based on speaking to one person and one letter you wrote. What you did was trash THE WORLD’S LARGEST NUTRITION SCHOOL to make room for YOUR OWN AGENDA. I can appreciate skepticism, but it has to be rooted in LOGIC. I read the letter you claim to have written to IIN. I can tell you that the board members you say are contradictory, because their approach to health is different from eachother displays a level of naive ignorance on your part. A coach is NOT a TEACHER. A coach is NOT a DOCTOR. A coach who graduates from IIN learns over 150 different dietary theories. IIN students are not tasked with picking which one to follow..That is ludicrous thinking. Being familiar with different approaches is simply an acknowledgement that there is MORE THAN ONE path to balance an out of balance body. Being knowledgeable with different approaches helps you to better customize a program most suitable for that individual. I motivate change. I put goals withthin reach. I address the whole person not just what they eat. Because there are plenty of unhealthy people who eat well. My educated guess is that you wanted to be on the advisory board at IIN and got turned down, because you sound like a child who wasn’t invited to play. May you be guided by righteous not self-righteous principles and may you do well because you are good not because you successfully trashed number 1.

    • sarah harvey says:

      I agree completely, and discrediting the founder because he does not have a wiki page…. because that is so credible. I would like to agree with that is the exact point of the IIN program is to show people the many different diets because everyone person is different. every expert that IIN uses is an expert because it works for them completely, so who are doctors and others to say what works for my body or someone elses when each diet can be scientifically proven to work.

    • Stephanie S. says:

      Thank you for this post! I second everything you said. I, too, am a graduate of IIN. I’d just like to add that the term “nutrition” at IIN is not just referred to as what you put in your mouth, but everything you do to your body, i.e. spiritual, relationships, life purpose (career), and physical activity. All of these are “nutrition” for the body and that is what the Health Coaches from IIN focus on in helping their clients. This approach is so much for valuable to the “individual” than some blanket-diet believed to help everyone. Thank you for so eloquently articulating what most of us believe after reading this article, who have graduated from IIN and understand the importance of the “individual approach” through coaching. It’s critical to recognize our bodies are different, based on our genetics, daily lives, general health, and habits and need an individualized approach to heal and deal! It was very obvious in reading this article that Hicks and Cambell have an agenda to promote their “one way” of healing, which, by the way, is not the best approach for everyone! Do they really believe it is in the best interest of those searching to heal and/or help others, to discredit a program they know nothing about, only to promote their own? This writer (Hicks) seems to have not done his research and therefore has very little credibility as a journalist. Cambell (not an M.D.), as well, uses his “credentialed status” to officially discredit IIN, has his own obvious greedy agenda to promote himself. Throughout the program, not once did Rosenthal discredit anyone or any way of healing. Thank you for your post!

  9. Jane says:

    IIN is total bullshit

    • MM says:

      I agree. (and a side note to “emelworth” posting in 2012 of Mr Hicks being self-righteous with no “credible” knowledge, then you mine as well apply that to Mr Rosenthal as he has yet to verify his validity…I dare anybody to ask him straight up and see if he will even answer or tell ya the truth..doubt it, or he at this point may have figured out some legal loophole to get out of his $hi!)

      I mean dig deep people, I know it may not be something you wanna hear- but do you wanna take “the blue pill or the red pill”..referencing the movie, “The Matrix”.

      I totally believe in the need for health coaches to help guide the average person, but not under less-than-integrous leadership.

      To be taken seriously amongst other “healthcare professionals”, it starts with as Mr Rosenthal likes to say: “Transparency”.

      I just hope his 2020 vision for IIN..and as the “World’s Leading School of Nutrition” that we are on the same page as transparency.

      As far as I can see, his transparency equivocates to being invisible, flying under the radar…and being unethical behind the scenes…did you see the postings of how he treated previous employees? And the various lawsuits he tried to impose to squash anybody “speaking out” against him..I don’t know if he won as I didn’t follow that path.

      To me, transparency means to be HONEST & REAL…

      so if we all want to be acknowledged as the true helping professionals that we are…it does not, AND I REPEAT, DOES NOT BEGIN WITH IIN.

      …see my previous posting here on 7/06/14

  10. Barbara says:

    IIN is connected with a NY University that will give credit towards graduation from their school.
    I enjoyed Dr. Campbell’s training and hope to soon be presenting on PBN. Thank you! Barbara

    • Hi there.. i live in NJ and own and run a delicatessen .. I want to bring theese teachings to help others ( like my customrs ) and do it online on teh days we are not open .. I have heard so much bad and good about IIN… did you attend? … do you thinkt he carriculum is overpriced? should i just attend and or go to ISSA with a health and nutrition certificate … how does IIN help you with a degree? .. Can i get this while in NJ?

  11. MM says:

    Hello All,
    It has been over a year that I have held my tongue in response to this blog debate over IIN. This is my insight thus far if you choose to read. I researched going to IIN spring of 2013 as I run a Wellness Center and was dabbling in adding holistic nutrition as one of the modalites we offered. I was so excited when I came across IIN’s website and I was ecstatic to sign-up despite the price tag- gosh darn it I was going to find a way.
    But after talking to a close colleague who is a plant-based educator, she told me to do some more research as she had seen some things that were disconcerting with IIN. After my research I came to the same conclusion.
    I also, came across Mr. Hick’s blog which also was a deciding factor to not purse IIN’s program. I feel like Mr. Hick’s post already speaks enough so I don’t need to regurgitate the info. I don’t disagree that prospective students of IIN or any of their graduates mean well and are passionate about wellness, unfortunately I do think they are being misled. And that is what is so disgusting. It is one thing to be one of the major corporations that blatantly, in our faces, outright do bad things…it is another thing to hide under the disguise of trying to help others when really it is just about the money for them.
    Tell me, why doesn’t Mr. Rosenthal state his credentials? Is it really that hard? He has a whole team of social media people writing things for him, this easily could be fixed…why is he ok with promoting bio-individuality? I think, and this is my opinion, that it is easier to not disrupt major authorities by just having a “blanket curriculum” and it also fits in with American culture..the need for us to all be different and individual. But it has already been proven scientifically, that we can get all of our nutritional needs met via plant-based. And why is it that some of these “plant-based” authors and authority figures close their mouth when being asked the hard questions? Is it their fear of ridicule, social defamation, harm to self, or that the money source will close?
    I mean, if we really are about promoting wellness..than do that..and don’t do it half-heartedly.
    You also, got his brother heading up the American Association of Drugless Practitioners:http://www.aadp.net/
    which seems to be another money-generating machine. He or it has been around for over twenty years..but the only benefit I see is them listing people on their site directory..besides you paying a nice fee for their pretty certificate to display on your wall..cuz that’s what it’s about right? Consumers don’t always do their research but a nice, shiny thing..they must be reputable right?
    Or how about this one…
    You can join for free and become a member of the International Health Coach association; where WITHOUT VERIFICATION you can get a fancy logo to post on your website and materials, get liability insurance, health insurance and more…schemy to me it seems again. Try it yourself, I made a fake profile a year ago but couldn’t remember my sign in and password..but I tried again recently and sure enough, immediately after registering I was good to go..interesting thing is this association says they are based out of Washington D.C. but when you read their terms, any legal disputes are to be handled out of New York county, New York…interesting..as IIN is based out of New York county too. https://www.iahcnow.org/terms
    Also, why is it when joining that they ask you if you are an IIN graduate? And if you click on their link “Find a Health Coach”…it directly links to IIN? Weird coicidence? I don’t know..I’m not officially an investigator but this is me just digging than the average Joe.
    I think what bothers me most is that I do believe there is a valid need for Health Coaches in the Health/Wellness Sector…but not at the price of lies.
    So, please everyone, yes lets change…but lets do it right..stop uplifting those that are in cahoots with the wrong kind of green.
    With that said, in all my learnings thus far, I have decided to take things to the next level..and make a plant-based food business…stay tuned 🙂 Be Well

  12. Charlie says:

    It’s easy. Unlike most schools in most sciences for that matter there’s no 100% firm answer and dietary advice that would fit everyone in the whole universe. Regardless of what your belief is her what works for you it’s very important to know why some people do well as a vegan while others do well on a Paleo style diet. The integrative nutrition format should be followed by more schools. they speak of primary food which a dietitian would never touch. But watching episode of the biggest loser , those people are fat because of incidences in their life they haven’t dealt with… primary food! Since our heritage culture in blood type are all different our diet will certainly be different. By the way health includes much more than humans diet.

  13. Darianna says:

    All those FAT people that are not plant based simply DON’T EXERCISE, and I could notice that all that “lean” people don’t exercise either they are not lean, they are thin or saggy thin but show no muscle and have a visible bad posture (close chest, pelvis retroversion), thy also are so so intense and nervous speakers, their shoulders are up to the sky, they seem tense all the time. The others, the fat, seem more relaxed but not healthy. On contrary, IIN speakers that are not mention or showed here but that are more open, relaxed and respectful of the nature of the human being, the BIO INDIVIDUALITY, and that obviously preach about the dark leafy veggies that are high quality necessary food for all of us, but also eat small or adequate amounts of animal protein for their activity and life style and respect who is doing good that way, they are more sound in their appearance and speaking, including Joshua Rosenthal. The doctor of this blog is simply whining because his doesn’t feel a star anymore when he found out about IIN. Doc, the Universe is huge, there is enough room for so many stars, don’t suffer like this if another star shines as you or you feel like is opaquing you. Be well, doctor!

    • Registered Dietitian, PhD says:

      Darianna, this is a simple concept. Ask yourself why Cornell, Tufts, Baylor, Johns Hopkins, UMAss, Boston College, Univ of CA, Harvard, TX A&M, Univ of AZ, Yale, Lehigh, etc. have not affiliated themselves with the IIN program? All those listed above are examples of clinical nutrition programs each with various programs that, when you are finished, you have an actual Degree that means something. Try to get a job at a hospital as a “health coach” with your piece of paper from IIN, or go and try to work in a Registered Dieticians office. You will not get hired. So, you are left to fend for yourself, get your own clients and lean on duping the uneducated that are looking for a quick fix pill … which is EXACTLY what the IIN program has done for you in direct contrast to what you could have done with that money … put it towards an actual degree in nutrition sciences.

      • Corey says:

        Registered Dietician,

        I am currently searching for where I want to further my education after high school. I have a keen interest in health and nutrition, but I gravitate towards holistic and or natural medicine before pharmaceuticals/surgery, etc. I do think these have their place, but usually these things are needed when one is not aware how to prevent certain illnesses from occurring, although some disease may be inevitable.I am curious what these clinical nutrition programs at those various schools teach? Have you heard of Bastyr University located near Seattle? http://www.bastyr.edu/academics/areas-study/study-nutrition
        What do you think of this school and their programs?

  14. Megan says:

    If I want training in a variety of dietary theories, learn how to counsel and encourage people’s healthy lifestyle choices, create meaningful client sessions, and learn how to create my own small business with tech support, then IIN is the place for me? Is this an accurate assumption? I’m not trying to be an MD or get into the nitty gritty science of health related disease, but I DO want to expand my already strong base knowledge of nutrition to help people from all walks of life make healthier choices in every aspect of their life. Is IIN a good investment for someone like me?

  15. suzanne shaw says:

    You’re missing the point. IIN teaches a variety of viewpoints. It’s not “confusing” it’s based on Bio-individality. One mans medicine can be another mans poison. The importance is focused on teaching and informing it’s students all the different information/studies etc so it can be deciphered/catered to INDIVIDUAL needs. It’s INFORMATIVE. To focus on only one modality would be a disservice to all. Then there would be a blog (like this one) focusing on IIN’s ignorance for only teaching “One way”. This article, quite frankly, appears close-minded, bordering on ignorance.

    • Ari says:

      One can go to the library or internet for the same information for free. IIN is almost a cult…and certainly is a joke in the EDUCATED world. All they did was bring old theories to those who little to nothing about nutrition/health, which is fine, but suggesting they can coach others without an education in biology/physiology is the real joke.

      • Shelz says:

        I guess it is confusing….to someone who isn’t all that bright
        IIN was THE BEST DECISION I ever made

  16. I believe some discredit Health Coaching essentially for being unofficial (bogus certification according to some), non-mainstream, not teaching one specific way of doing things, being online and expensive (which it is). As a doctor and a Health Coach in training I believe the tools thought in HC programs make a huge difference in people health outcomes. Making nutritional/behavioral changes IS NOT EASY and most people NEED constant support, time, understanding, accountability and unbiased recommendations to achieve their goals… Doctors, RD, RN, etc. do not provide that in the current health care system (lack of time, conflict of interest, lack of knowledge, lack of interest), SOMEONE ELSE has to do it ! Its actually very simple… some of the greatest transformations in human civilization have been powered by non-fancy and even non-certified but very eager, well intended, hard working and committed people. When choosing who to work with, titles matter but ATTITUDE weighs in much more believe me, so keep up the anger cause all the certification in the world won’t make you more successful or actually meaningful; besides its not about seeing hundreds of clients/patients in a short amount of time, that is actually one of the reasons health care is so messed up, it’s about deep, meaningful changes in people and families all together.
    Don’t even waist your time and energy arguing with people who just refuse to consider anything else but their own “truth”.

    • Ari says:

      I believe in BIO INDIVIDUALITY when it comes to maintaining health/nutrition, but you need a DOM or IP to assist with it. A health coach is good idea as a support group leader or a lifestyle coach, not a health/nutrition teacher. I thought about going to Clayton then IIN about 12-15 years ago, but I just felt like they weren;t the real deal…and they aren’t.

  17. Barbara Montgomery says:

    I have taken both IIN and T. Colin Campbell’s Plant Based Nutrition course. I owe a debt of gratitude to IIN for their teachings. I have benefited as a person with heart disease and I’ve helped my son in overcoming several issues resulting from surgery. I am not a Dr. I do not claim to be a Dr. I would never prescribe to anyone, but the confidence I have received from IIN as well as from the PBN course has been invaluable. I enjoyed hearing the different dietary theories. I am not a fan of one specific, however, because of listening to the various lectures, I decided that a Plant Based Diet is the one I would follow and was the reason I took T. Colin Campbell’s course. It is not a lifestyle for everyone (even thought for a variety of reasons I wish it would be!). Both schools opened my eyes to healthy/nutrition/exercise/the way our government does not support our health, the drug industry, treatment of animals…my eyes were opened to all of this through IIN, Campbell’s program and a variety of organizations that I might never have experienced had I not attended these schools.

    • You are Awesome Barbara

      As a fellow IIN alum I appreciate what you have to say

    • Cindy Ellen says:

      Thank you, Barbara, for your honesty and I too am a graduate of INN, and Loved it all in 2013! I now understand that one who is in the Health Care Field needs to dig deep into what is acceptable as a “Health Coach” and wow, it is a Minefield out there! My biggest take away from INN is Bi-individuality as this is very real! But at the same time, The Gorilla who is most like a human eats only plant-based! Everyone has to find the balance in the wholeness of life! Every person on earth has their weaknesses and needs to accept this in order to be their best for themselves! Again Bioindivivuality! Always listen to your clients and respect their culture, their environment and find ways to move them forward to healthier lifestyles not only for them but their family members also. Sometimes the smallest changes in daily habits can make a ripple effect too making bigger changes for the better for all! This has worked well for me in my Health Coaching for sure!

  18. K. Joy says:

    “Biochemical Individuality” by Roger Williams was published in 1958 by John Wiley and Sons. What is sad about IIN is its lack of scholastic integrity. Credit should have been given to the originator of the thought process, Roger Williams. Instead J. Rosenthal blatantly stole this idea and claimed it as his own. Instead his ‘minions’ come to his defense due to the brain-washing that takes place in the form of ‘training’ (his silence compounds the problem).

    Likewise when discussing macrobiotics, credit is not given to the decades of hard work and commitment of George Oshawa or Michio Kushi. Macrobiotics as a topic is minorly addressed, but no mention is made of their years of contributions. [Opinion: This, to me, is shameful.]

    Contraindications are never mentioned and thus passed off as an opportunity to ‘refer to a specialist’ for any detailed issues. Bravo! IIN got that one right. What this underscores is the lack of an ethical standard, something which any program of merit has in place before proceeding to ‘teach’ people (things they already know).

    And as for “teaching” – this idea that individuals are actually learning from what is offered damns the education profession. From ***’emelworth’ “IIN teaches us to constantly be learning and questioning. Which is a place I would much rather be in contrast to a school that teaches only one mind-frame. We are not taught to claim to heal and we are taught to be very modest in our knowledge and approach.” These are not the ideals of IIN alone – again, a flagrant violation of not giving credit where credit is due – If ’emelworth’ really had to spend $5,000 to ‘learn’ this, then I hope he/she got their money’s worth.

    What is being said here is that “you already know these ideals to be true” and all IIN can do is to remind you of what you already know. Try this – try to explain the “how” of their teaching methodology. What school of thought is used to support it?

    Then address the issue of interweaving the word “counselor” throughout the presentations – the training is not that of a counselor! If you truly are as open-minded as you say you are accept that you are not, I repeat NOT counselors! The training required to become a counselor is far and above what you will ever receive from IIN! It takes years of coursework, psychological training, ethical standards, supervision, and internships under direct guidance and consultation! THIS IS NOT HAPPENING WITH IIN!!!!!!!! You can humbly and openly accept that you have been duped, but remember – keep an open mind, you might consider asking for better accountability from the administrators of the school. This adherence to such a practice continues to threaten any future credibility of IIN. A school or program that seeks to provide guidelines for self-responsibility, ought by its very mission statement, to turn the lights on super-bright to examine itself and its practices.

    Think about it.

    And, yes, I am enrolled in this program because I have an interest in coaching, not necessarily about nutrition. In fact, I am getting sick and tired thinking about food.

    • Robbie says:

      Really K. Joy?
      When I was at IIN, I listened to an entire lengthily presentation by Michio Kushi’s son discussing his parents journey with Macrobiotics, and he certainly talked about George Oshawa. You must have missed that.

      And Ms. ever so critically observant, biochemistry and bio individuality are, in fact, two different terms. Are you certain that Mr. Rosenthal was aware of Roger Williams published work? I didn’t think so!

      I was a counselor at summer camp when I was 17 years old! The dictionary defines counselor as one who gives advice. That seems pretty broad to me.
      We are not trained at IIN to prescribe or actually to even recommend, but rather to advise clients as to how to be more aware of what is happening with and within there own bodies. It certainly is not presented as a study of in depth nutrition or psychology training, but rather the VERY important need for people to understand that taking their health in their own hands is an extremely valuable approach.

      I understand IIN to be a study of “less is more”. Living a healthy life is often not easy for many people. IIN teaches students to deliver that message offering support to those who are happy to make guided lifestyle changes, simple lifestyle changes with the support of a coach/counselor/consultant/guide/mentor. We are drugless practioners. Let’s not imagine it to be something it is not.

      The option to opt out is always an option at IIN. Having such dislike for the school is perhaps not a healthy choice for you. Perhaps you will learn to appreciate what is being offered rather than what is not being offered.

    • Just Another Dame says:

      I looked into this program, but without any information given freely from their website, I figured it was a con of some sorts, especially when they want to get you involved with a SALES REP immediately. There methods of recruiting remind me of a modeling school that has commission only sales people who will say and do anything to get paid…and those folks make a very good commission. So, as a secondary educator it seems ludicrous to me that a “Health Coach” does not have a hands on education of biochemistry and nutritional science. Perhaps their certificate should be “Food or Diet Information Coach” instead.

    • This is sad – the whole blog up there and especially this comment, K.Joy. This is exactly what I have always found simply sad, for lack of a better word – in edcuation as well as in health care: big words, expressing simple things in such a language that it’s hard to follow – and attacking things with claims that are simply not true. The whole “tone” of all this seems simply to discredit, not to inform. Everyone and every institution has flaws – but when it comes to education or health care, we should all have the same goal: to well and truly help and support from different directions, instead of attacking each other in such a way.

      More and more people are getting sick – doctors rarely help, dietitians rarely do, and what does a PhD really say? And people keep getting more and more sick. So, obviously, something is VERY wrong with the way things were approached – no matter any great credentials!

      What is really behind all this here on this page?

      To me, the proof is certainly in the outcome, the fruits! You CAN judge a tree by its fruits – and as flawed as IIN is, like everyone else and every other institution – the fruits are INCREDIBLE. People actually HEAL! Just like people actually heal by following the advice by ALL the controversial authorities and even non-authorities. Science can NOT explain that yet, but I am convinced one day it will. And in the meantime, people helped along by health coaches keep healing, sometimes as quick as one health coaching session – and GREAT that there will then be no need for health coach anymore, that IS the goal!

      As a teacher, mother and coach I am deeply saddened by stumbling upon this site – since when must “you have an actual Degree that means something” to truly help people to better their lives? THAT is exactly what’s wrong with our system! I am CERTAINLY for credibility – but since when do credentials say more than the fruits of your work?

      I hope and pray that we all put our energy not in discrediting each other unnecessarily but put it into well and truly helping people, which the overwhelming majority of IIN graduates does to a truly amazing degree – just listen to “the fruits”!!!


    • Shelz says:

      I remember Joshua specifically talking of Michio Kushi and the role he played in his life, that was my introduction to macrobiotics.

      Get your facts straight, are you purposely making things up to make a point?

  19. Sunshine says:

    Guys, ( If I may say this )… You might want to take it easy on each other. This is just a discussion group, we all have different opinions and need to help each other. Speaking of..
    What is the general recommendation for those who want to get into the nutrition field? What can you do or where can you work with an IIN Certificate? Any suggestion about other programs that may allow you to work as a nutritionist or RD but that would not take 5 or 6 years in school? Thanks!

    • Ann Onwhymouse says:

      The last thing we need is a bunch of non-trained quacks who think a cracker jack box certification from the AADP will lead us out of the medical crisis. Taking shortcuts like attending IIN to avoid real training is an indication that you should find something else as a career choice. The dedication and hard work of trained, licensed professionals deserves respect. Suggesting that people avoid Dr’s altogether is plain ignorant. There are plenty of ethical, effective practitioners. Replacing the well trained with health coaches is a ridiculous notion. Practicing medicine without a license is a crime.

  20. victoria says:

    This has been a very interesting discussion I empathise and identify with all writers in some respects .the last post identifies exactly why I joined IIN ,I am an NZRN ex coronary care intensive care ED nurse.i follow a vegan raw food plant based diet and have done so for the past 3 years with a few hiccups along the wayI have also trained as a Raw/living food chef.
    this way of eating along with daily yoga practice has transformed my life mentally physically and emotionally for the better.I have something to share .that will benefit people who need to be well.
    I have graduated from DR Campbell’s plant based nutrtion course and wholly identified with the message therein .following on from that I wanted to be able to enable people to take charge of their nutrition.
    as a health coach and the only course I could find that remotely resembled what I was looking for is the IIN course that Ihave recently enrolled in. I am taking the course for what I can personally gain fromwhat is offered.i
    I am a proponent of a whole food plant based diet and that is my focus,however there are many points of view in life .this course will give me information that I may use , some I will forget forever .yes it’s expensive and II m not sure who will ‘recognize’ my “qualification” when I complete the required materials.however this is another step for me in my intention to have skills to be able to point people in a direction that will only be of benefit to their health and their quality of life.it is up to them to become armed and informed with help from information I can lead them towards.
    I am looking forward to learning the business component of the course as well as I have few marketing skills. I am adult enough to see the smoke screens also to realize that nothing is the truth!
    I have been a little disappointed with the calibre of some of the course so far however I go forward with an open mind and can’t beat myself up for making a mistake it’s all to do with expectations as well. The money issue Iknow many people will not pay huge money to get health advice because they can go to their pharmacy for. Quick fix.however I believe armed with knowledge and intention my business will evolve as I will target a market that wants what I have to offer ,that will be later when I have constructed my business plan!,,,,

    • Leo S. says:

      What is the truth?
      Here is an e-mail received after forwarding the following videos to a friend whose granddaughter has Type 1 Diabetes. It would be interesting to know what it is they consider to be true. At least they acknowledged receipt of the e-mail but did not mention if they watched any of the videos. Everyone who eats and anyone who has children or will have children should at least watch these. Diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate.
      Please don’t send any more e-mail like this to us. We thank you for sending this to us but it isn’t what we know is true. Once again thanks but don’t send us any more items on this subject.

      Here are some videos which discuss Type 1 Diabetes which you and others might find worth your time.


      The following (2 parts) are from the DVD “Simply Raw, Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days” available in the library. Go to 44:30 in the second half which shows a person who had 1200 blood sugar and was classified as a Type 1 Diabetic. He returns to his doctor after 60 days and his pancreas is now producing insulin.


      Go to 17:30-23:00 for a discussion of the cause of Type 1 Diabetes in the following video:


    • Just Another Dame says:

      I have practiced a macrobiotic diet for nearly 30 years, and from what a friend told me about her classes (at IIN) it sounded like a half-baked, yet informational, diet class covering many dietary theories. Thanks for your honest imput about “the calibre of some of the courses” at IIN. No matter what most of the students probably feel it helped them with their own dietary lifestyle choices. No one wants to feel like they got ripped off.

  21. Lisa says:

    Just a couple of random thoughts. I am not an IIN student although I came across this blog searching information about the program.

    – Many people spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for a college education and are still unable to get jobs in their field of study. Or, are unmotivated to get jobs worthy of their college education. Definitely a travesty either way, but a fact that can be seen in practically every educational setting.
    – What is the general feeling about personal trainers who offer nutrition advice after taking the nutrition courses and certification provided by fitness organizations?
    – Doctors of Chiropractic are often still viewed as charlatans themselves. My personal physician balked when I asked about seeing a chiropractor. Nevertheless, I have been treated by several – one of whom I trusted greatly and sought treatment with for an extended time, another I never visited again after two visits because I was wary of the things he was saying.
    – Does anyone have any suggestions on how to be accepted to Dr.Campbell’s Cornell certificate program? I applied but received no response. Website suggested if I was not accepted, I should try again. However, I am curious what criteria they use. Although I am very interested in the program, I feel as if I don’t have a compelling enough “story” to be accepted.

    • Jon Epstein says:

      I am a graduate of the Plant-Based Nutrition program offered through Cornell University. I don’t recall having to provide any compelling reason for applying. All I had to supply was money. I can only speculate, if you were rejected it is because the class you applied for was full. Simply re-apply for future time period. There is no conspiracy. Anyone who can afford the tuition will eventually be accepted to the program.

  22. Good health discussion. A group of intelligent people has made it more interesting.

  23. emelworth says:

    I don’t understand the hostility. Wouldn’t someone who recommends a plant-based diet be supportive of a school that promotes holistic nutrition and, in turn, a peaceful world? Honestly this blog sounds like that from a spurned lover. I am a student at IIN and some days I questioned my decision and the curriculum. Who, in any focused learning program, doesn’t? But I can say that being a student at IIN changed my own ways of eating and quite possibly saved my life. The take-away message is that we all have to make our OWN changes in our lives. And as health coaches we are taught to guide our clients to do that. And if health coaches can help a client save their own life, why is that a bad thing? Any holistic practitioner would see that as a success, I would venture. As for all the various theories by different experts, I loved it! Why wouldn’t you want to learn about each dietary theory and how it is beneficial for its target market? To me, that is the most forward-thinking concept a school could provide. For one person to think they are all-knowing is where the danger is. IIN teaches us to constantly be learning and questioning. Which is a place I would much rather be in contrast to a school that teaches only one mind-frame. We are not taught to claim to heal and we are taught to be very modest in our knowledge and approach. And this is coming from someone who actually attended the program. For J. Morris Hicks to speak about a curriculum in which he is no way knowledgeable is about as self-righteous as an IIN grad claiming they know more than any other nutrition expert, which is NEVER what we were taught. As for me, I will continue to pursue my career as a lifetime student in the hopes that I never become so dangerous as to think I know the one and only right answer. And I hope to continually work in harmony with those who support that mission rather than those who feel threatened by other holistic practitioners when truly our goal should be the same; empowering people to heal themselves.

    • CeliacVegan says:

      The idea that anyone would be threatened by a health coach is just more of the same “poof you are health care professional” brainwashing. Outside of the health coach community, health coaches are not even on the radar. Many real health care professionals are not threatened at all by so called health coaches, but they certainly don’t have any professional respect.
      You can say that changes were made and people were helped by learning about nutrition. The dietary theory library is really stretching the boundaries by allowing some things to be called theories. Their list of pros and cons is through the filter of bio-individuality, the head charlatan’s favorite word. Reading a few sentences about a theory hardly makes you a dietary theory expert. Again the idea is to simplify our understandings of proper nutrition, not confuse people and create more questions.
      Any change is good and helping people get more involved in their health is great, but there is a limit to what can legally be treated. Reading a book doesn’t make you an expert or a researcher and all too often on other health coach websites, there are words like researched, which is not the same as being in a lab, but to them means they read a book and now are the expert.
      The issue that is most concerning besides the content and how it is presented is the marketing tactics of the school. Make $200 per hour as a health coach the IIN ad says. How many hard working, single Mothers out there gave their last savings to join IIN because they thought they would be able to change careers and earn a great living while having lots of free time to be a Mom? What percentage of IIN grads go on to run successful coaching businesses? what percentage of students complete the program even? These are the stats they don’t share with you. They don’t tell you the certification comes from somewhere else. They constantly compare themselves to top schools and conclude that IIN is both superior in the information and superior in the quality of the educators. The word snake oil salesman comes to mind. The big ripple effect based on the latest marketing campaign is not to help existing coaches reach 100,000 clients. It’s to create another big ripple in IIN’s bank account by convincing students to recruit new students for a bonus and the new stuidents get a discount. It is just a big pyramid scheme that preys upon innocent people who truly want to create the change the school states they will be creating.
      I forgive the other students because they are just following their hearts and got suckered. The tireless defense of the school by the students and grads shows very well how much they believe what they have been sold.
      I say take the enthusiasm and desire to help people and go back to school to become a Nurse or an RD. There are lots of professions in health care that deal with diet and nutrition. A program that spend so much time putting down other programs to continually convince students they made the best choice does not exude the confidence or class needed to make real changes. Outside yourself and your family and maybe a few friends, nobody’s health really got so much better because they went to a health coach. If the idea is to make big changes in health care and prevent disease, then we need the proper training and IIN falls short. If it was such a good training they would be accredited and the course materials will be transferred to the other schools. As it is, they are not accredited by any organizatioon and the AADP certification is a cracker jack box toy prize at best, that is not recognized by any scientific entities.
      I applaud the efforts and energy of the students. My issue is not with the students, but with the school.
      Playing in the imaginary world of make believe is nice, but for some mocvement to make real changes, they need more credibility than IIN offers.

      • Ken says:

        Yes, I also pick up on the hostility. Celiac is an angry person. No one wants to come to an angry person for healing. Do you really see 100s of patients a week? Hmmm…maybe your anger is just passion, redirected at those you feel are doing a really bad thing. From that point of view, I can feel you a little bit on that. But Celiac, I challenge you to read your posts to yourself in a mirror…and ask yourself how it feels to listen to you. That’s the burden you impose on us. Calling Rosenthal a charlatan is unnecessarily disrespectful. What if, just possibly, there’s some value in accepting that there is something of value in all or at least most theories of nutrition…just as there is some value in most political theories and religions? Who says that science and reductionism is the best way to deal with health? Do you think that doctors understand holistic health. Really?? I can literally take hours of your time relating stories of just how idiotic and damaging so many medical professionals are, especially doctors, in “treating” patients. Open your mind. When we angrily and judgmentally take one side and then castigate everyone who doesn’t share our view, we create hate, schism, disconnection…and ultimately violence and war. That’s not the world I choose to make. I’m no monkey…and I don’t follow Joshua or IIN blindly…I’m as critical a thinker there as I am in my formal graduate studies (about to complete 2nd masters degree). I even run a support group for IIN students. We often discuss the viability of the theories we are presented with as well as JR’s position (or perceived position) about them. Do I think he is a saint and a savior, trying to heal the world with grace and love? Hardly. He’s a damned good businessman, that’s for sure. But is he a liar and a cheat? Hardly. And the impact IIN is having on our world is greater than you will allow yourself to admit…once you get over your misplaced anger. I’m not sure what you expected when you enrolled…for $4 or $5K, completely online…did you really expect to win the lottery? Chill out, plug in, and try to feel a little love…a little goes a long way to healing…yours and those who encounter you. Best of luck with that.

      • Celiac Vegan says:

        When referring to Rosenthal as a charlatan, that is an indirect comment towards him without being personally directed at him since he is not part of this discussion. Hurling insults at me and commenting about my personality which you could have no idea from a post, is ridiculous and aggressive. I imagine you as a nice person actually, despite your aggressiveness and criticism of my criticism. The very heart of the IIN program is respecting that we each have a different point of view. Your insistence that I accept that the good outweighs the bad is kind of hypocritical of you since you assert an individuality dogma.
        I wish somebody had told me these things before I started. Therefore, my warning to others and my literal explanation to others of what happens may run counter to your hyped of view of the program, but is wholehearted and sincere. If I was the egomaniac you accused me of being, I wouldn’t care about others and take the time to provide some good critical feedback.
        I have also commented in private e-mails with the author details not revealed in this discussion. You have a small glimpse of the whole picture and your summary of me and what I stand for are judegmental and inaccurate.
        It is quite clear that you are a big fan of IIN and a strong denouncer of modern medicine. Replacing well trained professionals who toiled and struggled to complete pre-requisites for graduate programs and then long graduate programs with not well trained health coaches is anarchy. Eating healthy may not be rocket science after all, but some measure of science based college and graduate school are the factors that make people Doctors and Nurses, or Physical therapists, or nutritionists. What if a school was started to unleash a whole legion of physical trainers who are certified because they took a 6 month class or 12 month class? Would they be able to replace physical therapists, and occupational therapists who went to years of school?
        Something needs to change for sure and it’s not really that difficult, but we have to have standards and ways of holding people accountable, plus ways of passing along new information to existing students as it becomes the new norm. Your idea of casting the whole system in the trash in favor of a legion of health coaches is not realistic. Who do you want treating Cancer? The lady who sat next to you at the IIN conference, or the well trained specialist? I want to be healthy and avoid Doctors and hospitals all together.
        So maybe what’s really needed is not the massive replacement a syou suggested, but the retraining and re-prioritizing within the existing system? If you don’t like the highway, what are you gonna do, build a new highway and stop using the old one? No, you are gonna fix the existing one and make it how it needs to be.
        IIN is not what it appears to be and it is not the be all end all solution to change the world. There is a difference between a small ripple and a big one. Good luck and I hope you find success in whatever you do. Is IIN gonna help you out legally when the ADA or the state you live in fines you for giving paid nutrition advice without a license? Look it up Mister. The ADA is going hog wild right now working to enact laws in all 50 states making doing what IIN is telling you can do, illegal. It is potentially very dangerous if ungraduated IIN students are listing themselves as cancer treatment specialists and so on with nothing more than a strong belief in themselves. Reading a book is not research and doesn’t make one a researcher. Researchers work in labs and conduct experiments. Almost every IIN student I have spoken with or read posts from were using the word researched to back up their specific claims of experience.

      • Graciela Dixon says:

        Hi everyone… lots of hostility, lets be more respectful of each other’s opinions, more graceful shall we… To contribute, here’s my opinion: I’m currently half-way through the IIN program, and I AM A MEDICAL DOCTOR already! and as a doctor I learned a lot of important things that are imperative to health care (in depth understanding of bodily functions, effects of medication on the body, ability to diagnose and treat disease, etc), but what none of those years of med-school, internship, etc thought me (nor would have any of the current available residencies in this continent) was how to effectively PREVENT disease, how to make healthy choices, discernment!, KEY topics in health care that I am learning through the Health Coach training program, and the reason I enrolled in the first place. I must say, I have always had interest in disease prevention, counseling, natural real food, fitness and such things, but I’ve always had to figure it all out on my own, on the internet, doing my best with the time I had. IIN is weak in some of the science, but the awareness raising, decision making, community and coaching skills thought there are very valuable to me. If you ask me I’m taking in the best of both worlds… and through the program I’ve learned of other sources of further knowledge.

      • Just Another Dame says:

        I believe it is a questionable education too. A con of sorts, but some people to commit to something to help themselves, which is probably the motivation of most who attend.

      • Ari says:

        You hit the nail on the head. I don’t find you hostile at all, and you are exactly right about considering a health coach as anything other than fluffy. Unfortunately, a lot of women who practiced bad, crash, and drug-induced dietary choices have turned their heads to plant-based to lose weight. It seems “Health Coach” is the flavor of the month for these women. No one I know would pay a health coach from any online institute without a BS to back it up.

    • Ari says:

      It is the lack of hands-on training that is missing from their program. Otherwise, it is an expensive visit to the virtual library. I don’t think people feel threatened by other practitioners…we just wanted them appropriately educated.

    • Cindy Ellen says:

      Perfect! I do have the same opinion and every day I just try to ask our higher power to let me help one person every day of my life! Yes, I have done this, as I have so many clients/patients who I sparked a light in and moved forward to making better lifestyle changes! My even bigger goal is to help save “Mother Earth”!! in order to save everyone from chemicals in our foods! So Many people do not even understand what “Processed Foods” are, as they believe that the Goverment would never allow all the chemicals in our food! It is the reality that chemicals such as prescription drugs, “Naturally Ingredients” are slowly killing us! I so appreciate what I learned from IIN! So is Hitler’s concept still alive? God, I Pray we all are learning from our mistakes in our History!

  24. LisaB says:

    CeliacVegan The knowledge that I received from IIN has helped several people I know to change their eating habits to healthy eating. One in particular was a 26 year old female who is a friend of my daughters. She had been going to a physician for several years with the same gastrointestinal symptoms and diagnosed with alopecia areata. As a 26 year old female, she was very self conscious of the hair loss and the doctor told her that there was nothing that could be done about it because it’s a hereditary auto-immune disease. She talked to me about it in a general conversation as the Mom of one of her friends who she knew was going to be a health coach. I had just finished two on-line lectures with Cheryl Harris and Chris Sandy and I talked to her about gluten-free and dairy-free eating. Within three days of changing her eating habits, she noticed an improvement in her gastrointestinal problems. I don’t pretend I am a doctor or know more than a doctor. However, I do know that doctors will write a prescription and never discuss nutrition. My husband is a living testimony of that after having to have two stents and taking blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication, and anti-depressants all prescribed by his physician. If I as a health coach can discuss healthy eating with someone over popping a pill and them avoiding heart disease or diabetes, then that $5000 tuition is worth it. That young ladies hug when she saw me last night after two months of changing her eating habits and no prescription drugs, was worth a year of learning different dietary theories. The problem is on a whole that people do not relate health conditions to nutrition and they will spend way too much time believing the media and the pharmaceutical companies over eliminating dairy, sugar or meat from their diet. We live in a processed fast food consuming obese country and if I as a “health coach” can help open peoples eyes, than I will use that title to do it.

  25. Kimberly Shearer says:

    As an IIN grad, I will tell you that just like everything else in the world, there are folks who dislike, or disagree. Of course IIN is a money making business…I was never misled to believe it was a charity. I enrolled because I wanted to be exposed to different views. Sure they could have just offered one view, but that is not an education, that is a box. I would rather live a life of wonder, than to have a firm belief in just the one side I was exposed to. Not a waste of time. Even if I only helped myself, and my family to become healthier…then it was worth it. I can afford 5K – what I can’t afford is diabetes.

    • Just Another Dame says:

      I think many of the students who attend IIN are exactly like you, which is clearly an investment in you and your family’s health.

    • Cindy Ellen says:

      Perfect! I too made some major lifestyle changes even before I had taken the IIN program! But what I learned in IIN was life-changing in my personal life and supported my career! Sometimes I believe it is all about the credentials and so not about life experiences! How many people in our world seek out “Life Coaches” Doctors, etc and sometimes have great results, and other’s are not satisfied as They all have a Drug for their Signs and Symptoms! I personally feel that every Health Care Provider needs way more education on nutrition and learn to understand that the Pharmaceutical Industry is not only killing us but they have our health care plans supporting “The Standard Plan of Care!”

  26. CeliacVegan says:

    Thanks for the post. The biggest unasked question is about the ADA and RD’s who are the folks who are licensing and licensed to give nutrition advice. The ADA is now working hard to enact laws in all 50 states making it illegal to give nutrition counseling or advice without a proper license. Not that they are giving the proper advice, but as a current student in the IIN program, there is a cult like collective mentality that certified health coaches know more about nutrition than anyone else. It is dangerous as Dr. Campbell indicated.

    As a mesmerized believer in the IIN philosophy and hype, I was giving lectures and seeking out clients to help them transition to a gluten free diet if they have Celiac Disease. I believed in the holy monaker, health coach and was pumped up to become certified like Pinoccio becoming a real boy until I encountered another graduate from IIN who acts like she is medically trained to treat patients and charges $380 per month for two one hour sessions.

    While I have issues with the way it was described and the way it actually turned out. I wish someone would have said the job description is one of an RD, not a health coach from an online program for 12 months followed by a cracker jack box certification by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP.)

    Even though I have been vegetarian for 25 years and Vegan for 23 years, I have lost over 20 pounds while in this program since I have made changes in my diet and exercise. The information is great and it challenges you to decide what is best, but they say they don’t take a stance. They ask the questions, but don’t restate the answers. Their goal is to get more students, not heal the world. The ripple effect is their bank account going ding ding ding like a Vegas slot machine.

    I am not embarressed or ashamed for falling for the hoax, but I will be happy to help discourage people by allowing my story to serve as enough reason to avoid it and go to school to become an RD, Nurse, or, a Doctor. I realized my training is not enough for my interest and a license will be very helpful. I could go on and on about how it is a scam and how it should be avoided, but I think you get the point. We have such positive work to do that once we pass along this warning, we can get back to the real important stuff.

    Columbia University was tied in with IIN at one point and broke off ties after too many people complained. I am not suggesting a witch hunt or anything, but we have to have some better regulation of online schools and the claims they make. If there are going to be certified health coaches then they should be held to the higher standards of the International Coaches Federation (IFC) who have a very strict and rigorous certification process similar to that of Nurses and RDs. There should be no doubt about the qualifications and legality. Health coaches could be an important way to educate more people about proper health, but sending a whole legion of untrained, unlicensed coaches is dangerous. We need to eliminate risk factors for poor health, not increase them. We don’t give guns and badges to everyone, so we shouldn’t give bogus health coach certifications to anyone like me.

    • Robbie says:

      Oh please! Eating good food is NOT rocket science! Helping people to become aware does NOT require the certifications you are referring too. IN FACT, the ADA is in complete opposition with what Colin Campbell studies suggest about the relationship of dairy and cancer. BLAH BLAH BLAH, you apparently failed to grasp the concept that IIN teaches. We all learn from different teachers; those who claim to be the “experts” perhaps have missed the biggest lesson of all. Graduates of IIN are NOT “untrained” as you recklessly state. Health coaches are trained to coach people to think for themselves, to help people understand that diversity in our approach to wellness is our birthright, that what works for one person may not work for everyone, that reading labels and understanding that many people with “certificates” are part of a huge political stand. A good health coach inspires people to see the whole picture. to listen to their own body, and to embrace feeling fabulous and connected to this great big universe filled with diversity and culture

      • Sunshine says:

        Robbie, I totally agree with you… All we need to do is inspire people to eat healthy so they can stay away from doctors and hospitals!!! 🙂

      • Ari says:

        In every field we require proper education and credentials to guide others (i.e. psychiatry, counselors, doctors, etc.), why would we the expectation change when it comes to health coaching? I was a crazy health nut long before all of the this food madness hit the mainstream. We all know not every diet is for everyone, but I find it disturbing that a health coach would attempt to guide dietary needs based on THEIR own ideas of what would “heal” someone. What do we know about the coach’s psychological background in reference to food/life? Who knows what they are really selling? Just something to consider.

    • CeliacVegan says:

      Thank you Ken and Robbie for showing the other readers what I meant by mesmerized cult mentality. You are entitled to your opinions that confusion and anarchy are better. If you had your way, you would just replace the whole medical system with health coaches.
      By the way, the “Certification” as a Health Coach does not come from IIN. Another misleading and confusing statement.
      Let’s see who is in business in 10 years still treating patients. You with your “Certified Health Coach” status, or me as a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in plant based nutrition. How many health coaches are seeing 100-200 clients per week? Why are all the successful graduates from IIN who are running the program not currently working as health coaches? The ripple only goes so far when you drop a pebble in the water. Some people are perfectly happy doing only the basic small things. Other people want to drop the Moon into the Ocean and see what kind of ripple happens. I guess it’s just a matter of big dreams vs small dreams. If that’s what you mean by biodiversity of thought, then well, ok.

      • Ken says:

        Celiac…sadly, I must say that you are a pompous individual…truly a braggart/bully and a bit of an egomaniac. How old are you? You sound like you’re not 25. I feel sorry for your patients, b/c clearly you think you know better than they do what they need. Why in God’s name did you choose to study at IIN? That was YOUR choice, and you weren’t lied to. You can obviously read and do research. And did you know that digestive issues are related to emotional issues? I hope you find some peace somewhere in all that resentment…this conversation has become quite boring, because I don’t feel I’m speaking with a mature, kind-hearted adult…so I won’t continue from here.

      • CeliacVegan says:

        Wow Ken, then I guess me and all the rest of the arrogant, pompous Doctors will just have to take a lesson from you in how to do things? It’s just the reality that we have to change the system from within, not abandon it for a dream world fairy tale notion of just letting people decide what’s best because you believe the bio-individuality mantra IIN uses in every other sentence.
        It is out of my whole hearted intentions to help heal people and change the system that drives me to discuss my experiences with IIN. Like Dr. Campbell, I think the confusion is more dangerous than the clarity he offers, but my discontent with exploitive institutions is hardly an indication about my personality.
        I enjoy healthy discussions and never use conditionality as a basis of continuing them. When you start making your participation in discussions based on conditions that I don’t say things you disagree with, then your counseling and listening skills need more practice. Are you going to call one of your clients an arrogant unhearted person because they disagree with you? Are you only going to work with clients who think like you or are you willing to allow the diversity of thought and culture you previously advocated? You see why integrating so many contrary theories is strange and you sound like the double speak Joshua Rosenthal is famous for?

      • Robbie says:

        GROW UP!

      • Just Another Dame says:

        Just because an argument is powerful doesn’t mean the the writer is arrogant or a bully…it is called a strong argument and some are better at it than others.

      • Ari says:

        You are awesome Celiac Vegan! I too am a celiac vegan.

    • Ari says:

      Thank goodness! Hopefully, we can eliminate the nonsense! Has the ADA made any progress?

  27. Maggie says:

    Thank you for your post. I am currently enrolled in IIN right now and have had some major unease about some of the material. I checked and Dr. Campbell’s lecture is still in my curriculum. I don’t know about other classes, but I’m done this month. I am planning on looking into Cornell’s program. Thanks again.

  28. Pingback: I’m not the only one… | Holistic Nutrition Scam

  29. MikeR says:

    The handy four-piece take-charge health kit I found each in my local library. I would also add “Eat to Live” by Dr. Joel Furhman.

  30. Jim – I posted the link to your today’s 5-star on-target “IIN bad nutrition guidances” blog and the link to Dr. Greger’s today’s on-target “Dead Meat Bacteria Endotoxemia” blog for the paleo/hunter-gatherer/Atkins/etc. crowd:


    We are getting our oars in for optimal human nutrition in an accelerating way!
    Re the reader’s low-rating comment on the “Forks Over Knives” — WRONG! for most of viewers!!

    I did see the poor review on an Ebert-related TV show. But Roger Ebert himself has a supportive review and changed his nutrition!!!

    “Here is a film that could save your life. So you’d better stop reading now, because you don’t want to go to the trouble. . . . . Etc.

    P. S.: I have recently decided to ditch my canned nutrition and switch to a liquid diet based on fresh fruits and vegetables. Yes, I consulted my physician.”

    For our part in educating for plant-based nutrition, we held a Vegan/Fun 4th of July party and we also graduated five participants from our 4th “Healthy Lifestyle Education & Support 10-sessions Course.” Plus: read more of my posts on the above Amazon link — helping heart maladies persons avoid surgeries!

  31. Jon Epstein says:

    Mr. Hicks – Thank for writing a great book and hosting this blog. I appreciate your activism. I am a graduate of Colin Campbells’s plant-based nutrition program at Cornell. I do what I can to spread the plant-based message in my community. I am surprised you are recommending the film Forks over Knives. I watched this film when it first came out and was disappointed. The message of the film is all fine and good but I just thought it was a lousy film. Poorly produced, boring, and not very effective is how I describe it. I didn’t feel that watching the film was going to convert anyone who wasn’t already eating a plant-based diet. Personally, I recommend other films to people who are interested in changing their diet. Films like Supersize Me, Food Inc., Fast Food Nation, and Earthlings come to mind. Again, the basic message of Forks over Knives is one we both agree with but I find the presentation of that message lacking. I’m interested to know why you recommend this film over some others I’ve listed. If you are only going to recommend one film – why that one? Thanks again for all your hard work to save the world.

    • J. Morris Hicks says:

      Jon, Thanks for the comment. I am surprised at what you say about “Forks over Knives.” Are you sure we’re talking about the same film? The two primary stars are Colin Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyn and the movie has already changed the lives of millions. In my opinion, it is the single most powerful movie available on this topic—and it was produced by a group of prominent Hollywood veterans who were inspired by the message in “The China Study.”

      • Ken says:

        I agree. The movie was not a Hollywood drama or an action flick. It was a documentary…and a powerful, succinct one at that…levered with lots of science and little hoo-doo, which was its point. And Ebert liked it…3 stars. 3 stars is fair…powerful message…maybe a little dryly delivered…but right to the jugular of the Machine…which is nothing less than awesome. Drs. Campbell and Esselstyn have a lot of b*lls to make such a film…condemning the medical establishment, the government, the drug/food industry (one and the same now)….etc.

        PS, I am an IIN student and run a veg*an support blog for IIN students active in the program. Most of us are around 1/2 way through. There are many of us who are troubled by the seeming bias in the program against exclusively plant based nutrition. The prevailing philosophy seems to be that some animal food is needed…the founder himself confesses to be a failed veg*an. And yes, it is a business…as are ALL universities…most of which treat their students like cr*p compared to IIN. As a vegan and a student myself from top universities, I sometimes question the rigor of the course…and yet there are some positives that I don’t think I would find at an RD or nutritionist university program…both of which embrace the medical model…which I believe sucks.

        In general, my experiences in American graduate schools has been poor from the perspective of feeling cared about and personally engaged. That is not true at IIN. I will have a clearer picture as I approach the end of the 1st year…and then will be offered a free 2nd year of individual support to grow my coaching practice…again, unheard of in a formal graduate program. Stay tuned for a later update…

      • CeliacVegan says:

        Please stop referring to IIN as a graduate program. Graduate programs require a college degree and anybody can join with or without a degree.
        IIN does a great job pumping up the students to feel the 12 month online training program with no hands on experience included is superior to medical school and superior to a Masters in Nutrition program. The key to being part of a big group like IIN has is that you have to believe what they are spoonfeeding you. I am almost done with the program and think it is a pure joke. While in the middle like Ken is now, I too believed the rhetoric of IIN. I too bought it hook line and sinker. Then I woke up one day.
        For the readers, it’s a perfect example of the mesemrized cult like effect that comes from joining the program.
        In my local community, the IIN students have formed a Facebook page. This is where the real story gets clear. To their patients they are health subject matter experts, but in reality, the daily post for information about conditio0ns they plan to treat would send patients everywhere running if they knew that was how it was being done. It’s group collusion. They are in on the big secret. The big secret is like a golden star you got for being good in school as a kid. Here’s your gold star, now go out there and be whatever you want to be. If you believe it and you can get your clients to believe it, maybe someday you will actually get there. Let’s all hug now and sing a verse of Kumbaya.
        If Doctor’s had to post questions to each other to be able to treat people, there would no credibility. This degrades credibility, not enhances it.
        Licensing and Board Exams are there for a reason. Maintaining licensing involves ongoing education to be maintained

      • Ken says:

        Celiac…you sound quite resentful and appear to be holding a lot of anger. I hope you can work that out, for your own health and happiness. I’m sorry you feel cheated. I wonder…did you bring up any of these issues to the program during your stay there…to your coach? to Joshua? in forums? to customer service?

        You appear to be like the guy in the Matrix movie who stabs Neo in the back and basically says, “I can’t take it. I just love the way steak tastes. I don’t want to know the truth.” Why do you worship people with licenses? Why do you think they’re so right? Look around. They’re part of the problem. They’re owned by the Matrix. When you accept your license, you basically agree to follow the rules of the Matrix.

        This is critical…can you get it? Doctors don’t know diddly about nutrition, and deiticians and nutritionists HAVE to follow MDs and the medical model. The whole machine is broken. I’m also finishing a graduate program leading to national certification and licensure (in counseling), and I’m not impressed at all with my colleagues nor with my professors. My colleagues at IIN appear to be far more educated…as well as the speakers.

        I’m getting the license because I’m on scholarship, it’s a personal goal to complete the program, and it will add credibility for people still stuck in the Matrix who don’t completely get it yet. I have to say that I’m learning more about counseling at IIN than I have in graduate school. Graduate school is always about control, obedience, kissing the Man’s a**, etc…you are constantly made to subject yourself to authority, do busywork. It’s always on their terms, and if you don’t like it, they don’t care. They just move on. Of course, anyone can bail on IIN as well…like you are doing. But really…look deeper. Open yourself to the good about the program…are you judging a bit too harshly? On the other hand, I’m not done with it yet…so I’ll be more qualified to argue with you in 6 months. I hope until then you can work out some of your anger in productive ways…best of luck.

      • Just Another Dame says:

        It is annoying how he implies or compares the IIN to grad school…sorry not even close in any shape or form.

  32. Leo S. says:

    It is good to see you repeating your 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit. Wonder how many people have taken the time to learn the messages they contain. Money might be holding some back but libraries might offer free access to them all. How many people take advantage of the video link in your header?

    Here is a link to The Starch Solution video.

    A highly respected nutritionist said “It’s not about nutritional value–a dessert should be fun and enjoyable.” Why not healthy too? Another comment made was “Lighten up and have some fun. Everyone needs a treat during difficult economic times.” What about wasting money on products that can bring disease and increased expenses in the future? Don’t they hear what they say?

  33. Lester Sukenik says:

    Jim, Thanks for another informative blog. I have seen many advertisements for the INN and came away with the same opinion as you, Dr Campbell and Dr. Barnard. Is there a course available for health coaching beside the T. Colin Campbell Foundatiuon online course? Education is the answer to our health problems in western societies and I would like to be a health coach. / Les

    • J. Morris Hicks says:

      Thanks Les. Sadly, to my knowledge, there is no such course. Since there is no money to be made by people getting healthy, there is not a single for-credit course on plant-based nutrition at a single school of nutrition in the United States—and possibly the world. As for health coaching, my son Jason is a certified personal trainer and will soon be certified in plant-based nutrition (Dr. Campbell’s course). That’s about the best that you can do. But teaching people how to take charge of their health can be hazardous to your income. Read on:

      For 3 or 4 years, my son worked with a client whose primary goal was weight-loss. And although Jason told him repeatedly that his food choices had much more to do with his weight than “working out,” he continued with his “meat and dairy” habits—-until recently. About 18 months ago, he (a doctor himself) finally decided to adopt our 4Leaf Program. Since then, he has lost 46 pounds (207 to 161) and has discontinued ALL of his meds. He has also fired his “health coach.” But they still remain very good friends. In fact, he often tells Jason—and others—that Jason saved his life. For an update on Dr. Hurley, check out this link: https://hpjmh.com/2011/12/11/our-4-leaf-champion-for-2012-and-some-sunday-movies/

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