IMG_9417 3.JPG

So many people have asked me about IIN (Institute for Integrative Nutrition) and how I became a Holistic Health Coach, so I thought it would be best to write a full post about my experience.

Twelve months ago, I launched my website, Jacintha Akkerman. During my darker days when I spent my 20’s and early 30's binge drinking, binge eating, smoking and taking drugs, I wished I had somewhere to go for inspiration to build a better life for myself. I wished I had a community I could turn to. And this is what Jacintha Akkerman is. A space to be, where people can come to heal. A community where we all inspire each other, through kindness, to discover our true calling and not be fearful to do so.

I knew deep within my soul that this was the direction my life needed to head. I simply listened in to my intuition and just knew it was something I needed to do. For me, writing is very healing, but what I didn't realise while writing my website was that I was healing some deep, dark, suppressed emotions. When I opened that can of worms, I realised I had a hell of a lot more healing to do. This was just the beginning of my journey to enlightenment.

What I was missing when I launched Jacintha Akkerman was one thing - a qualification. I knew deep in my soul that I wanted to help people find their purpose and to mentor, inspire and empower them on finding their true path, but I just didn't know how I would go about this. Many of my articles were picked up by publications, including Huffington Post, Thrive Global, The Grace Files, Kidspot, Babyology, Daily Mail and Yahoo7 Be, so I knew I had enough knowledge. And that was all well and good for credibility, but I didn't actually earn any money from being a published writer. I wanted my site to be monetised but I just didn't know how.

A week later, I was speaking to a girlfriend who suggested I enrol in IIN, which is based in New York. At this point, I had never heard of it, so I did all the research. I was quickly disappointed to learn the course was online, so my dreams of living in NY were quickly squished (haha).

The IIN course to become a Holistic Health Coach runs for 12 months, and there are 40 modules. Each one drops weekly on a Monday (Tuesday in Australia). There are four tests (open book) and six Health Histories (comprehensive health assessments) to complete. During the sessions, you learn more than 100 dietary theories. IIN founder and director Joshua Rosenthal teaches us about bio-individuality; the idea that each of us has unique food and lifestyle needs. It is the understanding that no food philosophy or diet can yield the same results for everyone. That every person is different. This is something I have always believed in, and thank goodness this information is being taught.


What I also love is that you become part of IIN’s community. Each intake is added to a private Facebook group so you can connect with peers and be accountable to each other. I am a more emotion-based person so I love that the content isn't so science-heavy. But I did wish there was more theory and less about health coaching. It goes into great detail about the role of a health coach, which can be good as it literally gives you EVERYTHING you need, but it can be quite repetitive content at times.

But I did like being able to access “classes” on my iPhone or iPad, so that meant that I could listen while driving or walking my puppy Cookie, all while listening to lectures. Although I didn't do this often (I like to write EVERYTHING down) it was so great to have that option available. I also loved that I could learn in my own time. So if I fell weeks behind (‘cause life, motherhood, two businesses, clients, a household to look after, a family to feed, daily exercise and meditation, and the odd social night out), it was OK because I could pick up whenever I could.

And what really sealed the deal for me was the teachers at IIN. Deepak Chopra, Gabrielle Bernstein, Arianna Huffington, Mark Hyman, Pete Evans, Sarah Wilson - the list goes on. Many of my heroes in one place and I had the opportunity to learn from them!? If this wasn't a sign I was on the right path, I don't know what was.

The course is structured in a way that makes it very hard to fail. At the conclusion of the 12 months, I became a qualified Holistic Health Coach. What is a Holistic Health Coach? A wellness advocate and mentor. We nurture emotional wellbeing and support clients to achieve their health goals, through lifestyle and behavioural changes. Everything from losing weight, to de-stressing and gaining lost energy, improving nutrition, and even helping with the basics of gut health and autoimmune diseases. We're not nutritionists or dietitians, or qualified GPs. We're not qualified to prescribe medications, nor take the place of a psychologist, counsellor or doctor. We're essentially the glue that brings everything together. The middle person that listens and guides our clients in the right direction so they can heal. We are there to help people be accountable to their chosen goals, objectives and life decisions. We are there to hold your hand and tell you everything is going to be OK. We got you. We hear you. We see you. 

The most important message IIN drilled into us from day dot was that “food is medicine”, which I am 100% on board with. I am a firm believer that we don't need to medicate as quickly as we do to get better. Our bodies are designed to heal. Our theory is about prevention not intervention. Yes, traditional medicine has its place, but many illnesses can be healed by proper diet, nutrition, rest and emotional support. You can eat all the kale in the world, but if you're in a shit relationship, you're not going to be happy. The guidance works on relationships, physical activity, home cooking, joy, creativity, spirituality, finances, just to name a few things. This is what they call the Circle of Life. We need to work on all elements of life to be happy. A lot of sicknesses are emotion-based, so let’s get to the root of the cause. It's about a healthy mindset. We want to stop diseases BEFORE they turn into something more serious. Prevention, not intervention.

I'm such a firm advocate for IIN that I became an ambassador so I have the opportunity to pass on discounts to others wanting to study there. The standard price of the course is $5995, which sounds like a lot, but considering the amount of content you have access to for three + years, it is very reasonable. You can get a discount for paying up front, and they offer payment plans. If IIN is on your radar and something you would love to study, please drop me a line, or click the links on my homepage. I'm sure you will love it just as much as I do. For me, each session was just like watching a documentary or listening to a podcast.

The course is about a holistic approach to health and it promotes positive change in the world, and I'm all for that. We have coaches for sport, school, life and business, but why don't we have coaches for our health? Well, here I am - your holistic BBF to guide and support you in your dreams. And if your dream is to help other humans, we welcome you and we'd love to have you join us on the ride.

IMG_9423 3.JPG