UNPodcast 062 & The Happiest Day of Your Life?

TL;DR: Go listen to today’s podcast with holistic health coach and wedding planner Brenda Swann

Forget the whole “manipulating our emotions and our data privacy” hubbub: you know what really worries me about Facebook?

How big a deal it allows us to make about our engagements and our weddings.

Now, you’ll have to take this with a grain of salt, because I’ve never had a guy get down on one knee and invite me to an elaborate engagement photo shoot, so I can’t speak to just how empowering and wonderful it must feel for your entire friends list to hit “like” when you’ve said #yestothedress, but I just wonder about what this can do to the relationship once the wedding photographer has uploaded and tagged the last of the party photos.

This is not to sound like a total downer on engagements and weddings—in fact, it actually puts a smile on my face when I see old friends (and new!) finding love and deciding to tie the knot.* I think there’s something absolutely beautiful about long term commitments—and beautiful, and difficult, and complex, and so, so worth it—but what worries me is not the commitment-making. It’s the emphasis on “the happiest day of my life.”

Now, I know that this phrase was not coined in reference to weddings when Facebook started adding photo albums and engagement notifications. People have considered weddings to be the apex of the relationship since time immemorial…but I often wonder if the amplified public scrutiny (and the wedding Pinterest boards and the 140-character bridal breakdowns) leading up to the event doesn’t add to the sense of urgency and the need for perfection.

And I’m sure that we’ve all heard a joke about “bridezillas” at least once in our lives—scoffing at the idea that someone could get so upset and stressed about a party for goodness sake, until the wrong flowers arrive or our mother-in-law-to-be says something snarky or our partner books the wrong band for chrissake, and then we, too, fall to pieces.

What is is about this need to reach the apex of happiness that makes us so unhappy?

Untitled design-23

And why must the wedding day be the apex of happiness anyway? Isn’t it supposed to be the start of a long, mostly upward ascent to different heights of happiness while climbing alongside the one person with whom we’ve chosen to chart this path?

And if the start of the adventure is the happiest part…what happens when you’ve made it aways down the path?

Like I said, I can’t really speak from experience, but sometimes I wonder if the right instagram filter for our wedding dress is really what happy looks like.

The reason I, the dog-owning almost-cat-lady, bring this up today, is because Ito and I had one of the most interesting conversations with my friend and fellow holistic health coach Brenda Swann, who also happens to be the amazing wedding planner at the helm of Swann Soirees.

This week’s podcast is packed with so much insight and so many quotables, that I don’t even know where to start. Brenda is one of the incredible women whom I met through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and I wish I had 1/10th of her energy and positivity…

Instead, I’ll let her share it with you in her own words:

Go Listen Now! 


Stay hungry,



*100% not being sarcastic here. I am seriously excited for all of you, and I’m happy that you’ve found someone with whom you honestly and earnestly want to share the rest of your life. That’s beyond fantastic, and I wish you all nothing but happiness on this journey.

Reflections on the Institute for Integrative Nutrition

TL;DR: Big announcement at the bottom of today’s post! 

It seems almost impossible how quickly the time passes.

Just one year ago, I sat at my dining room table with my headphones in, anxiously trading Facebook comments with the IIN July 2013 Facebook Group while we waited for the call to begin.

Just one year ago, after having had my now-or-never epiphany delivered by the grill of a stranger’s SUV,* I ponied up the money and invested in my future.

Just one year ago, I started on my journey from health blogger to health coach, and tomorrow, I graduate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Becoming a health coach through the IIN was not an easy choice. I did a lot of research on schools and programs before I decided upon the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, looking at the relative benefits of becoming a nutritional therapy practitioner through the NTA or going back to school through something like Bauman College as they applied to my life and my circumstances.

I realized though, that I didn’t want to focus on nutrition, per se. I do that enough. I didn’t want to prescribe you supplements or give you a meal plan. And there’s always time to go back and study that.

What I really wanted to focus on was an area where I could make the biggest impact in my clients’ lives as quickly as possible: what the IIN called “primary food.” Those of you who have been following along with this blog have probably felt the shift away from worrying about n=1 nutrition experiments over the last year and toward a more holistic view of health and body image.

Here’s the thing: I still believe very strongly that food matters. It’s the foundation for good health. But there’s so much more to the picture—your relationships, your spirituality, your fitness, and you career, to name a few—in addition to how you speak about and view your own body in relation to all of those larger external pieces of your life.

Taking the online classes through the IIN really helped me to put that into context—and while there was no intensive deep dive on any one of the 100 diets they cover, they teach you how to coach people in the context of the diet that works best for their bodies,  in addition to helping you discover your clients’ own proper serving size for love and the recommended daily amount of positive self-talk.

One of the things I most loved about the program was that there were so many opportunities to connect with others all over the world who are taking the classes at the same time. Yes, there were some heavy MLM** shake-and-cleanse pushers in the Facebook group, but I actually had the chance to connect with some incredible women (and men!) who are really committed to helping people find happiness—and some who were just in it to learn for themselves and their families.

It was especially wonderful to connect with some of those coaches over the weekly coaching calls—and also in person at the IIN live event in March .(I think those connections were even more of a highlight at the event than talks by Ariana Huffington and Deepak Chopra, although those were pretty rad, too.)

And of course, I can’t forget to give a shout out to my amazing and wonderful peer coach, Celeste…how would we have made it through the year without each other???

It’s hard to believe that the classes are over, the tests are taken, the coaching circles are ended, and the only health histories left to do are the ones with my potential clients. I’m incredibly excited to be embarking on this next leg of the journey with my certification under my belt and a bevy of tools, resources, and connections to help make health coaching an even better experience than I ever could have imagined.

So much has happened over this past year, having finally gotten past the hurdle of “do I or don’t I?” Speaking engagements, guest posts, new podcast listeners, and the incredible success of my first client…I’m so grateful for all of it, and it wouldn’t have happened without the IIN. Tomorrow, I’m going to be sharing my story at the IIN graduation, and I couldn’t be more proud.

All of that to say….if any of you out there are thinking about coaching (or even just learning some new skills around your primary food), you should definitely check out the IIN. It’s not an intensive nutrition education—but it has a little something for everybody, and it might just help you uncover a whole new path on your journey.




If you have been thinking about working with a health coach, I have good news: I’m going to be opening up TWO spots in my 6 month 1:1 coaching program at a special graduation discount. To sign up for a free health consultation and claim your spot, click here.


Also, if you are thinking about becoming a health coach or using the IIN to help further your own health education, I can help you get a BIG discount on tuition through Friday, July 4. If you’re interested, click here!


Thank you all for being a huge inspiration on this journey—I’m looking forward to sharing more of what I learned here with you each week.

Stay hungry,


*read: I was hit by a car

**Multilevel marking