It’s hard to remember what life was like before I embarked on this journey. I’ve been interested in health and wellness for a long time—growing first from a need to “look good,” then into a need to feel great. I began to realize that healthy and skinny were not the same thing. I’ve never been on a diet per se, but once I realized that feeling amazing is where it’s at, there was no looking back.
And so my journey began…
The truth is I love food. A lot. Thankfully eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet is all you really need to feel vibrant and balanced from the inside out. No calorie counting needed.
I read a lot of books on nutrition and experimented in the kitchen, but I was hungry for more. I already had a Bachelor’s degree in art and design. I didn’t have the funds or the time to go back to school for another 4-6 years. I wanted a program to take my love of food, cooking and nutrition to the next level. At the time there was no program that offered what I was looking for in an online platform.
1. Doable Anywhere
Then along came the 14-week Culinary Nutrition Expert (CNE) Program. I had already been following Academy of Culinary Nutrition director Meghan Telpner for quite some time. I loved her energy, approachability, humor and no-nonsense approach to health. The program was doable while continuing to work my full-time job and offered exclusively online. I could watch the course videos whenever and wherever I wanted and get the assignments done in my spare time. I won’t lie though; it was a lot of work and at times pushed me outside of my comfort zone. (That’s when the real magic happens!)
2. One Amazing Tribe
Looking back at my decision to join the CNE Program and how I’ve grown over the last year, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Not only did I learn a lot, I also became part of an amazing tribe of like-minded, encouraging and inspiring people from all over the world.
3. Life Changing
My experience inspired me to start this blog and develop new ways to share my growing knowledge with the world. Food and nutrition is something that touches each and every one of us deeply on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. We are all passionate about our food choices (whether we realize it or not). At the same time, many are confused about a seemingly simple daily choice—what to eat.
Going through the program I learned to be more fluid about my food choices. “Labels are for tin cans,” or so I’ve heard. It’s more important to listen to our bodies instead of living by a strict set of rules dictated by the dietary labels we have assigned to ourselves. Our nutritional needs change throughout our life and in response to our environment—through the seasons, stresses of everyday life, what we come in contact with, etc.
4. Skillz in the Kitch
I’ve always had trouble following a recipe without making my own tweaks (especially being dairy- and gluten-free), but now I don’t even need a recipe—the CNE Program ignited a creative spark in me. I love to gather whatever is freshest at the market or ready for harvest in the garden and see what kind of tasty magic I can create. Whether it’s reinventing old favorites or experimenting with new flavors, healthy food must be delicious! (You’ll find the special ones end up right here at sheenascott.com.)
I’ve also discovered that I’m somewhat of a food geek, which should come as no surprise. Whole foods are so amazing! I won’t bore you with the details, but damn, Mother Nature sure has things figured out!
One of my favorite modules was the Herbal Elixirs course taught by Meghan and her husband Josh Gitalis. Josh has a very different teaching style than Meghan: The dynamic between the two is engaging and entertaining. This course, in particular sparked a keen interest in herbal medicine. (I have since taken several classes taught by Josh, outside of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, which I highly recommend as a follow-up to the CNE Program).
5. Mind Your Mind
Something I didn’t expect to learn was the importance of minding our thoughts and being grateful. We are blessed to be stressed. It’s important to not lose site of that. When we go forth with an attitude of gratitude our whole world shifts and we are open to new possibilities. It’s okay—and necessary—to slow down sometimes and just be thankful for all that you are, all that you have.
6. In for Life
One of the best parts about the program is lifetime access to all of the classes and materials. This year, the classes have been re-shot and new content has been added—I can’t wait to see the new material! Additionally, all ACN alumni have the opportunity to create a profile page, write for the Academy blog and sell products in the Academy online shop.
7. Laugh and Learn
Meghan has a unique teaching style that had me laughing out loud—she is a hoot to watch! She truly cultivates an engaging and fun learning experience, so if you’re looking for a serious and stoic (read boring) experience, look elsewhere.
8. Today is the Day!
If you are interested in the program, the Academy of Culinary Nutrition just has made a sample class available. You’ll have to sign in to view the class, but you can also download the full course catalog and view all of the course information. While you’re there, check out the Expert Profiles, Academy blog and shop.
Who Shouldn’t Consider the CNE Program?
Like I already mentioned, if you want a traditional learning experience, this program is not for you. Also this isn’t a culinary program that will teach you fancy, traditional chef skills. Being a longtime cook, I found the recipe assignments to be pretty easy (although a novice cook will emerge kitchen confident). I did learn about new ways to use healing ingredients to make easy, delicious, nourishing meals. Food as medicine at its best! This isn’t a cooking school as much as it’s a marriage of nutrition with everyday life—cooking, eating and nourishing our hot bods! The way it was meant to be.
As you may have guessed, the Academy has an affiliate program of which I am a part, but I wouldn’t be sharing this information with you if I didn’t believe 100% in the merits of this life changing program. If you decide that the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program is right for you, I would be thrilled if you applied using any of the links on my site. If you have any questions about the program, feel free to share them in the comments below or drop me a line.
All of the photos in this post were taken during my term in the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program.