Thirty years ago, Melanie Albert stopped eating meat. This wasn’t a decision based on politics or personal beliefs about animals. She simply didn’t like the way her body felt after consuming meat. “My body was feeling full when I ate meat and I felt as though I could not digest it,” Melanie says about her longstanding decision to eliminate meat from her diet. Shortly after eliminating meat, Melanie began to focus on intuitive eating; listening to the cues her body was giving her about food and making decisions about what food to consume.
Little did she know that a few years later, nutrition and intuitive eating would be a daily part of her life and her work. After leaving meat behind, she began to eat organic, “way before it was popular in the media,” she says. Although her decision to go organic baffled some of her friends and family, Melanie enjoyed the results too much to listen to the naysayers. In 1995, Melanie started to educate herself about the true power of nutrition.
It was her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis in 1995 that spurred Melanie to focus her attention on food and nutrition. Her mother was given six months to live by allopathic doctors, so Melanie moved to Florida to care for her.
She would stay up late reading nutrition books, and what she was learning inspired her to encourage her mother change her diet to primarily plant-based and organic. The result? Today, Melanie’s mother is 85 years old and a cancer survivor. Melanie strongly believes that her mother’s health and longevity is due to her nutrition, as well as her positive outlook on life.
In 2004, Melanie moved back to Arizona to work in marketing and licensing with Dr. Andrew Weil, who is an advocate of food as medicine. Through Dr. Weil, or Andy, as Melanie calls him, she learned a lot more about food and nutrition. Melanie studied hard and in 2007 became a health coach. Becoming a nutritional health coach solidified Melanie’s life purpose and enhanced her passion for health and nutrition.
Since 2007, Melanie has been fortunate enough to work with children, families, non-profits and even NFL players, sharing her message and educating others about the importance of nutrition, food as medicine and intuitive eating. Beginning in March 2014, Melanie has been spreading her knowledge and cooking passion through the halls and classrooms of Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) as the instructor for the Whole Food/S.O.U.L. Food cooking course.
“I was very excited and humbled when KC Miller, Founder and Director of SWIHA, offered me the invitation to take the lead with the Whole Food Cooking course at the college,” says Melanie. “It is my joy and honor to now teach and share my passions and intuitive way of cooking to the students at SWIHA both on-campus and online.”
Melanie's segue into teaching nutrition was a bit unconventional. Before she became involved with the holistic nutrition program at SWIHA, she was working with NFL players, teaching them how to prepare simple dishes such as veggie stir-fry, whole grain breakfasts, and salmon on the grill, to name a few whole food dishes. "I learned about the serious health issues of former NFL players, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and pain, and I knew that healthy food would be a solution," she says.
Melanie's passion for nutrition and healthy eating shines through her petite frame. Healthy, whole foods, intuitive eating and cooking are a dominant part of her life and her work. Her eyes light up when she talks about the foods she loves, or how nutrition helped her mother's health and wellness.
"I love food and l love healthy whole food, so I love so many healthy foods. My favorites come back to eating S.O.U.L. – Seasonal Organic Unprocessed Local. I love all kinds of fresh roots and greens," she says excitedly.
S.O.U.L foods are what inspires Melanie to cook and create beautiful, tasty and healthy dishes. "The beauty of food inspires and energizes me," she says. Melanie enjoys shopping at local farmers markets, admiring the colors and textures of the different food and intuitively purchasing food that is visually appealing.
"When I prepare and cook food, I pause, feel and listen to my body to determine what I will create. To me, this is the intuitive way of eating healthy whole food."
Melanie’s next Whole Food/S.O.U.L. Food Cooking course begins Saturday, February 14th, 2015, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. To enroll in the course, or for information about SWIHA’s Holistic Nutrition programs on-campus or online, contact the Admissions Department at 480-994-9244.
About the Author, Melanie Albert
Melanie Albert, nutrition and food expert, author and speaker, has been active in the integrative medicine and nutrition fields for over a decade. She is the founder; CEO of Experience Nutrition Group, LLC, whose mission is to improve the lives health and nutrition of the sports community, kids and corporations through food and lifestyle education.
Melanie is an instructor in Whole Foods Cooking, Holistic Nutrition (Conscious Eating) and Entrepreneurship at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) in Tempe, AZ. She also teaches Intuitive Eating at Spirit of Yoga in Tempe, AZ. Melanie walks her talk and you can always find her at farmers’ markets, in the kitchen experimenting, and practicing yoga.
You can get more recipes, nutrition and food tips from Melanie.
Visit her blog: www.9Ways90Days.wordpress.com
Visit her Facebook: www.facebook.com/9Ways90Days