| Mike: This is Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, and today I am joined by Joshua Rosenthal, founder and director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition,
talking about this unique school where students can learn to transform
their health from the inside out and at the same time be trained to
Let's begin by assuming that the readers have not heard about your
organization, they know nothing about your school, but they do know
something about health. Can you give a brief introduction to what
you're about, and why people might be interested in it?
Joshua Rosenthal: Hi Mike, it's a pleasure to talk with you
about Integrative Nutrition. We are a nutrition school that teaches all
the different dietary theories, from the latest trends to the ancient
traditions. We do not advocate one way of eating or being. Instead, we
teach students to understand the concept of bio-individuality, that one
person's food can be another person's poison. We also train our
students to become health counselors, sharing this information with
family and friends, communities and the public. Our mission is to play
a crucial role in improving the health and happiness of people in
America, and create a ripple effect that transforms the world through
Mike: What motivated you to found this organization, and where do you aim to take this?
Joshua: My parents worked in the medical field, so from the time
I was young I was in the company of physicians. I noticed that these
doctors didn't actually look healthy. It was weird. Many were
overweight and smoking. It was a puzzling thing to be growing up with.
Later, I had my own health concerns and they were not successfully
addressed by the medical system, so like many people today I had to
look for alternatives. I just knew there had to be a better way to do
Click here to visit the Institute for Integrative Nutrition website.
Mike: When was the Institute founded?
Joshua: In 1993. Before that, I had started a similar school in
Canada. I felt the interest growing, so I moved to New York City, which
I saw as the center of the world.
Mike: So did you envision, from the very beginning, founding an
organization that would help educate people to transform the health
Joshua: It was and is an evolving process. I have a Master of
Science degree in education, specializing in counseling. While in
school, I learned a lot about education and counseling and at that
point, I encountered someone on a vegetarian diet. I was not very
evolved in my own eating, but this person seemed remarkably different
than anyone else I had known. It was through him that I pieced together
the link between food and mood, and through that process, the
connection between food and health.
I realized that to help people with their emotions, I would also have
to help them improve their diets. By upgrading the quality of the food
they were eating, they were able to become more clear, optimistic and
healthy. I started to become clear that emotional counseling had to be
preceded by counseling on food and diet, because if the diet was
healthy and happy, the person was healthy and happy. If these people
are eating unhealthy food, they're never going to change.
Mike: At what point, then, did you decide to found an institution of learning about food and health?
Joshua: For many years I followed the macrobiotic diet. I
studied with Michio and Aveline Kushi. I traveled with them to Japan. I
was fascinated by a diet that was also a way of life. They didn't just
say, "Eat this, and avoid that." They also taught about me about world
peace, happy relationships, and how to live in harmony with nature.
They encouraged me to go out and help others; to share the news that
being healthy is a birthright.
To be honest with you Mike, when I began seeing clients, I was
surprised that the basic dietary recommendations I made could so
effectively help people heal themselves, by themselves. These were
usually people with insurance, with access to the best doctors and the
biggest hospitals, but they just were not getting well. Then there was
me, in my 20s in jeans, suggesting to people, "Well, why don't you cut
out X-Y-Z and add in more vegetables, and have three hugs a day?" And
suddenly, mysteriously they would start getting better. I was amazed.
Mike: So I assume you did a lot of counseling of individuals, helping them reshape their dietary habits?
Joshua: Yes, I counseled hundreds of people. I witnessed them
become healthier, happier and clearer, and I became deeply motivated to
train others to do this work. Today, I'm responsible for the quality of
the counseling of each of our students. When students come to the
school, besides having huge classes -- which are kind of like a rock
concert and very exciting -- we balance it out with one-on-one sessions
with an individual mentor. My job is to supervise that, but initially I
did all the sessions. It was absolutely fascinating. So yes, I've
worked with thousands of people.
Mike: In doing that, you must have acquired a lot of information
about typical patterns you see in people, for example, certain dietary
habits correlating with behavior or mood patterns. Can you share just a
few of the more common ones that you see?
Joshua: A common occurrence today is eating on the run. People
are in a rush, so they tend to eat on the run; whenever it's
convenient, whatever costs the least. Food is kind of an afterthought:
"Where am I going to get some food? Maybe I'll have a coffee and bagel
for breakfast." Sometimes people never catch up to eat until it's time
to go to sleep, and then they eat late at night. They're starving
because they haven't eaten during the day, end up overeating, and go to
bed on a full stomach.
A lot of these people are very educated yet eat very uneducated diets.
It doesn't matter what their level of schooling is. Almost nobody in
this country has any schooling about what to eat. Their behavior and
schooling is either cultural -- from their friends and family -- or
stuff they picked up from the government.
Something that boggles my mind is that the life expectancy of
people in the United States is about the same as people in China and
Cuba, but America spends so much more on health care than either of
those countries. In America, there are more people on medication, more
operations, and earlier rates of cancer and other food related
diseases, from diabetes to ADD. It should be clear to anyone who looks
at the facts objectively that America's current eating habits and
medical system are broken.
(Want to learn more about Joshua's philosophy on health? Click here to visit the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.)
Mike: And that's, in part, what's so exciting about your
Institute of Integrative Nutrition. It is part of a revolution in
healing and medicine, almost like a Copernican type of revolution. In
my view, it's that monumental -- teaching people how to activate their
own healing potential, rather than treating them as victims or patients
who must be healed from the outside.
Joshua: Exactly. Humans are mammals. All mammals, all species --
if they're not well -- get well by themselves. If you see hurt animals
in the wild, they'll just lie still, or they have an internal intuitive
knowledge that they probably should eat this bush, or this berry, or
this plant. The plants in my home will lean toward the light, because
they want to make themselves as strong as they can. For sure, we as
human beings have that innately within ourselves.
Given half a chance, all beings want to live and live healthy. We
simply have to get over listening to the outside forces that try to
tell us what to eat, such as advertisers, big business and government.
Millions of dollars are spent every minute of every day trying to
influence people's food choices.
People must learn to listen to their body, understand the
messages it sends about what to eat and what not to eat, and then the
body will learn to balance itself, by itself. This process of
unraveling old patterns and adopting new, healthier ones takes time.
People need support along the way, which is why the system taught at
Integrative Nutrition works. We teach our students to address the
individual needs of each client, based on his or her age, sex,
ethnicity and lifestyle. Then the clients have consistent support in
transitioning to a healthier diet and lifestyle in a process that is
joyful and rewarding.
Mike: So, today your Institute of Integrative Nutrition has
grown to quite an organization. How many graduates do you have who are
actively educating and counseling?
Joshua: All of our graduates are health counselors. Some are
active with friends and family, some are active in their church group
and local community. Some do it part-time -- they have a day job, and
see clients on weekends and evenings -- some are full-time health
counselors who work with very famous people like heads of major
corporations, politicians and movie stars, and earn more than $100,000.
These people increasingly choose our graduates because their position
in life demands the highest health possible, what we call high-level
We have alumni improving food in schools, doing group programs
with low-income families, working with new moms, even working within
the FDA and many government organizations.
Just yesterday I bumped into a graduate and she said, "You've
got to come to my office." She's working with a well-known physician in
New York City, an OB-GYN, helping women who can't conceive, and they
work side-by-side. All the doctor's clients go and see her to talk
about nutrition and lifestyle.
Mike: Can you describe, in more detail then, what exactly your graduates can offer these clients?
Joshua: Two things are unique about our school. One is that
we're the only school in the world that teaches all the different
dietary theories. Almost everyone in nutrition only teaches the theory
that they are into, so the raw foods people teach about raw foods, the
macrobiotic teachers teach about macrobiotics, the blood type diet
teachers are into blood type. They all say, "My way is the right way.
"If you're going to work in the field and want to reach and influence a
lot of clients, you need to have a broad understanding of the world of
nutrition. So our curriculum covers all of the different dietary
theories and talks about the pros and cons, what's right for whom, and
for how long. (Click here to learn more about the Institute's curriculum.)
The second unique concept is our distinction between primary food and
secondary food. Undoubtedly, the food you eat is incredibly important
to your health. You digest the food, it gets assimilated into your body
and into your blood stream, and that is what creates your cells, new
tissues, organs, skin and hair; even your thoughts and feelings are
very closely linked to what you eat and drink.
This food that you eat off a plate is just one source of energy that we
call secondary food. Most people today consider this the only aspect of
nutrition, but the philosophy of the school is that this food is
secondary to other elements in life that nourish us on a deeper level.
Those are healthy, happy relationships, physical activity, a fulfilling
career and a spiritual practice, what we call primary food.
When I had a natural food store, I noticed that a lot of people who
came into my store did not look that healthy. And a lot of people who I
saw on the street who didn't eat health food looked really healthy.
Being a scientific-type person, I started to think to myself, "How
could that possibly be?" And that's how I started to piece together
this idea of primary food and secondary food.
People who exercise, have healthy, happy relationships,
fulfilling careers and spiritual practice are by themselves going to be
healthy, and they are less dependent on the quality of food that
they're eating. It's a really interesting concept that almost everyone
can resonate with.
Mike: I saw this in your food diagram. Food is surrounded by
these other elements: the spiritual, career, relationships and so on. I
was really happy to see that, because too often in nutrition people
focus on the cold facts of phytochemicals. It really is about much more
Joshua: Exactly. If someone is in an abusive relationship, all the broccoli in the world isn't going to solve their problems.
Mike: That's right. So how do you teach this part of the curriculum?
Joshua: I'm one of the few people in the field of nutrition with
a degree in education. That's been the love of my life, how to teach
things to people creatively and effectively. You see, just because
something is taught doesn't mean that something is learned. The magic
of our school is actually in our unique educational methodology, which
is unlike anywhere else. It's very avant-garde, and is based on the
concept that we are all born as spiritual beings in a material world.
When you see a baby, even the most casual observer can tell that baby
embodies everything. They have a certain knowledge and wisdom that they
come into the world with.
What happens if you actually study the education process, is
that unconsciously, the educational system takes that away. We strip it
away step-by-step. So the child, instead of being in the big-picture
world -- what we'll call the macro world -- is pulled into the micro
world at five or six years old. The micro-world says, "You're going to
go to sleep at this time, you're going to wake up at this time, you're
going to go to this classroom every single day, you're going to sit in
this same chair, and we're going to call you Mike." And then you start
doing, "C-A-T, cat. D-O-G, dog. Three plus three equals six."
Before that, children don't have the concept of themselves as
individuals, separate from everything else. It starts to build a part
of the brain that is undeveloped, which we'll call the logical side, or
I call the micro side. That develops at the cost of the macro side.
Much of our curriculum is designed to reignite to the macro side; to
help people remember their original self and once that connection
happens learning happens at a remarkable pace.
Mike: Is it fair to call it holistic education?
Joshua: We are a holistic organization. The foods we recommend,
the educational method, but also the way we interact with our students.
Mike: And so in practical terms for those reading this, when
they attend your institute, will they be sitting down in desks for
eight hours a day listening to boring lectures from stodgy old
Joshua: Human beings all learn in different ways. Our school
incorporates diverse educational approaches, including exciting talks
by world-class faculty and one-on-one coaching by mentors. Tuition also
includes a library of books, CDs and DVDs as well as optional
instruction by phone and on the internet.
Some people like reading. Some people like writing. Some people like
talking. Some people like listening. Some enjoy watching videos, while
others like listening to classes on their iPod. We present an array of
learning methods so students can pick and choose which is most matched
for them. It is very creative and well thought out. We're big on
details and student satisfaction. I hope you come to the school and
Mike: Well, I like hands-on experiences, and I notice that you have a strong emphasis on that in your curriculum.
Joshua: Our goal is to have students creating health for
themselves, their loved ones, their clients and their communities for
many years to come. Telling everyone how to do it won't instill lasting
change. They have to figure it out for themselves. So, it's the old
"teach someone to fish" scenario.
Mike: I saw the list of all of the dietary systems that you cover. It's quite a list, of maybe 40 different systems or so?
Joshua: We cover close to 100 dietary theories in the school. (Click here to see what else is offered at the Institute.)
Mike: I even saw five element systems from Chinese medicine. I'm
very happy to see that as part of the coverage as well. It reminds me
of some of the books of either Paul Pitchford, or Dr. Elson Haas, I
think he has one called "Eating Healthy with the Seasons." Are you
familiar with that book?
Joshua: Yes. Both of those authors are on the faculty of the
school. You can go to other schools, and they cover certain material
and the teachers are people who are the local nutrition experts. At our
school, we bring in the best and the brightest of the teachers. I am
personally very appreciative that Walter Willett, who is the head of
Harvard University's School of Nutrition, teaches at our school. If you
look at our faculty, we have the who's who: Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil,
the very best, most inspiring teachers.
Mike: What is a graduate able to take with them when they complete your program? What happens next?
Joshua: Different people come to the school, like I said, for different reasons. Some people really just come to get themselves well.
You can go to law school and not really live your life in a
legal way. You can go to medical school and not really be looking after
your own health. But a basic premise of the school -- for me, for the
staff and the students -- is to walk the talk. A big thing people take
away is that their own health, no matter how good it is when they come
in, is significantly improved while attending our school. We do that
through the one-on-one sessions with the mentors. If you ever meet our
graduates, you've just never seen a healthier, happier group of people,
because it's a basic foundation of the school.
If graduates chose, they also have all the tools to start a
practice as a health counselor, sharing this information with others
and developing a career that is in alignment with their personal
Mike: It also seems to me that it's a basic credibility issue
when you have so many doctors graduating from medical school who aren't
able to demonstrate that level of health.
Joshua: It's the norm to have what I call "burnt-out" health
care providers. They're giving, giving, giving all day, and they don't
know how to create a sense of balance.
The yin-yang, five elements is a huge thing for me. When you have that,
you have a compass. You can triangulate where you are and how to get
back to center. If you don't have that, you don't know where center is.
You just think climbing higher and higher up the corporate ladder -- or
up the knowledge ladder, whatever it is -- is best. People just think
bigger is better, higher is better, but they don't have the compass of
Mike: With these kinds of advanced or progressive ideas, what
has been the acceptance of either your school or your graduates from
the conventional medical practitioners?
Joshua: It's huge. We're definitely a New-York-based phenomenon,
but we're starting to be more. That was my focus. There are, I don't
know, about 30 million people in the New York area. The focus was to
think globally, act locally, so my focus was to start here. But in New
York, you go anywhere -- we give out these red bags to people at each
weekend -- and whenever I'm out on the street, I see people carrying
these red bags. It's kind of a phenomenon here.
We have graduates in many yoga studios, health spas, doctor's
offices and government offices. We have people working in Whole Foods,
and mainstream corporations. Just this week I got a call from a woman
from a major food corporation. Something like Kraft, but not Kraft. She
said, "We've decided we want to work with you. With all of the
nutrition people, the medical people, we always end up in the same
place. We realized, we are the problem, and we want to fix it."
She went on to say that her daughter has certain diseases that are not
going away, and they were not inherited from her or from her husband.
Nobody knows how to help them. So whenever something like that happens,
I think, we are definitely getting our name out there, and people are
Mike: That's an opportunity for tremendous positive influence. I
understand that you also have students attending from all over the
United States and even around the world. That seems unusual, that
people would fly to New York to attend classes. What's the explanation
Joshua: People are hungry for this information. People
understand that there is a global crisis looming. Some of it is
environmental, some of it is nutritional, and some of it is political.
On the nutritional side, many people see us as the future of nutrition.
If we can get this message out, then instead of seeing rising health
problems, we can find a lid, and then gradually get people to be
healthier. We have a lot of people coming in from Europe, Asia and
South America. We're all spiritual beings in a material world, so at
some point you wake up, like you did, and you're like, "Okay, I get it.
I want to dedicate my life to who I am and what I'm about, and have no
separation between my work and my spiritual practice. All is one." When
people get that, then they mobilize themselves, and they do what they
We give huge discounts to people. There's a $2,000 reduction in tuition
for people traveling from overseas and anyone who has to travel more
than 500 miles to get here within the United States gets $1,200 off. We
really do what we can to encourage people to study and develop a new
career. Then they go home to their local area and make a big impact on
Mike: It seems to me that even beyond the impact you're already
having in New York, eventually we could see your institute in every
major city. Imagine the impact of that, if it were that much more
accessible to people. Is that in the works?
Joshua: I don't know. The school expands so much every year. We
don't have a five-year plan. We have a one-year plan. I want to do what
is sustainable for me and for the staff of the school. We've been
unwilling to expand out of New York because the demand here is so
strong, and we're not willing to compromise on quality.
Mike: That's a relief to hear, that you're not about just cookie-cutter corporate expansion.
Joshua: Yeah, we're not Starbucks.
Mike: Who are your students?
Joshua: Our student community is very diverse. We have rich
people, poor people, white people, people of color, young people and
old people alike. It's a fascinating mix: people with Ph.D.s and M.D.s
studying with yoga instructors and massage therapists. We have native
New Yorkers and people who fly in from all over the world and are shy
to speak English. (Learn more about the students and classes at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.)
Fundamental to our school is the fact that students attracted to us tend to be unique, exceptional, intelligent people.
Mike: What is the total time commitment for a student to complete your program?
Joshua: Our course begins each year in the Fall and ends in
June. There are 10 weekends in all. Our classes meet from 9 a.m. to 4
p.m., but the time commitment while in the program is different for
different people. We have a lot of people who come and have no time to
put in time.
It's a single mom with three kids, she's just happy she's there. She's
getting information she needs, she has a counselor, and she's creating
a community of people who are her partners in making her life work.
Then we have other people, young people who do our school instead of
college, and they have all day every day to focus on this. They're
reading, they're doing all of the optional courses and assignments, and
getting out there and practicing, working with others while they are
still in school. On average, a good measure would be 15 hours a week.
So part of the motto of the school, we always say, is, "Use me, and use
the school in whatever way works for you."
Mike: So it is essentially a nine- or 10-month course? And are there assignments that people do?
Joshua: The course is given in a variety of ways. Some of it is
in person -- the weekend classes take place in New York. The counseling
sessions happen by phone. You don't have to be in New York for that. A
lot of it happens on the internet; where there are classes, chat rooms
and things like that. There are recordings you can listen to on the
internet, and there are optional teleclasses.
A lot of the course occurs outside of our walls, where people are
fine-tuning and upgrading their daily diet. They are reevaluating their
existing relationship patterns. They're increasing their exercise and
going to the gym. They're looking at their career. They're remembering
their spirituality and looking for ways to build it into their
lifestyle, and they're seeing clients.
The philosophy of the school is, rather than wait for graduation before
you share your wisdom with others, the time to begin doing that is
while you're in the school, because then any challenges or questions
can be answered while you're in the school. Most students start seeing
clients while they're still in the school. A lot of them pay for a good
portion of their tuition before graduation, because they start seeing
clients, and we encourage them not to do it for free. This is America.
If they're giving it away, people want to know why.
Mike: I find that very interesting. It's certainly the way I
like to learn, because teaching and sharing is part of learning as
well. This may be a redundant question, but where do you see the
institute going? You said you only have a one-year plan, but with the
growth rates you're experiencing, how do you handle that?
Joshua: We are a very subtle and sophisticated organization.
We're not naive. We're very good at what we do, and part of what we do
is to stay in the present, and not build castles in the sky. There are
many options, but we take it one day at a time, step by step.
Part of the way we set up graduates is training them to teach
people what they learn in school, so they're spreading a lot of the
information just in their work. We set them up with a whole variety of
resources. There are a number of optional programs for students who
have more interest or time.
Since our weekend classes are in New York City, we created local study
chapters where successful alumni work with students in their home
regions to facilitate community and delve deeper into the content of
the course, like how to do an initial health history, where to find
people they want to work with, and the wide range of options they can
work with -- everything from group programs for disadvantaged
populations to helping large corporations provide better health care
options to their employees. This way people in all parts of the country
get localized learning with people who understand the culture of their
Mike: Well, we are about out of time, but Joshua, I just want to
thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. The website is www.IntegrativeNutrition.com,
and you can find out more about the school, its methods, and how you
can get involved. Joshua, again, thanks for talking to NaturalNews.
Joshua: Thanks for having me, Mike. I really value the work you are doing.
About the author: Mike Adams is a
consumer health advocate with a mission to teach personal and planetary
health to the public He is a prolific writer and has published
thousands of articles, interviews, reports and consumer guides,
impacting the lives of millions of readers around the world who are
experiencing phenomenal health benefits from reading his articles.
Adams is an honest, independent journalist and accepts no money or
commissions on the third-party products he writes about or the
companies he promotes. In 2007, Adams launched EcoLEDs, a maker of energy efficient LED lights that greatly reduce CO2 emissions. He also founded an environmentally-friendly online retailer called BetterLifeGoods.com
that uses retail profits to help support consumer advocacy programs.
He's also a veteran of the software technology industry, having founded
a personalized mass email software product used to deliver email newsletters to subscribers. Adams is currently the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center,
a 501(c)3 non-profit, and pursues hobbies such as Pilates, Capoeira,
nature macrophotography and organic gardening. Known by his callsign,
the 'Health Ranger,' Adams