7 Steps to Whole Body Wellness at Food As Medicine

Food As Medicine is coming up soon! Join us this September 18-22 at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Healing in Stockbridge, MA.

Marti Wolfson.
Chef Marti Wolfson brings us her “food forward approach to optimum health”. http://martiwolfson.com/

Click here to register. Faculty members James S. Gordon, Kathie Madonna Swift, John Bagnulo, Cynthia Geyer, Aviva Romm, Stefanie Sacks, and Marti Wolfson will be sharing their expertise on a wide variety of topics, including:

  • Core imbalances: the root of disease and the opportunity to heal
  • Nutrition in practice: case studies and clinical pearls
  • Macronutrients, micronutrients, and phytonutrients
  • A holistic approach to digestive healing
  • Cutting-edge laboratory assessment
  • Detoxification of mind, body, and spirit
  • Evolution of the human diet
  • Women’s health and prenatal care
  • Dietary supplements
  • Mindful eating and the art of self-care
  • Lively cooking classes.
FAM Faculty member Dr. John Bagnulo answers one-on-one questions with FAM trainees at Kripalu.
FAM Faculty member Dr. John Bagnulo answers one-on-one questions with FAM trainees at Kripalu.

Earn CE credits and learn hands-on ways to bring nutrition‬ and‪ ‎integrative medicine‬ together in your personal life, professional practice, and broader community. 

Return home knowledgeable about recent research and prepared to confidently and compassionately guide your patients toward sound, practical nutrition.


Wondering what it will be like at Kripalu? We’re sharing 7 steps to whole body wellness that you can take advantage of while at Food As Medicine. Reinvigorate your mind with new integrative nutrition knowledge, relax your body in the welcoming natural environment, and refresh your spirit by forming lasting connections with other health professionals. 


  1. Take a yoga class – Get your mind and body in sync by attending one of Kripalu’s yoga classes. Taught by some of Kripalu’s best and most seasoned teachers, these classes cater to all different skill levels and needs. Find a class that fits you, and feel the tension melt away.

  2. FAM mindful eating exercise with Dr. Gordon – An integral part of all our programs, Dr. James S. Gordon teaches what “eating mindfully” means and how to do it. He’ll walk you through an exercise, where you learn firsthand how to truly experience food by using all of your senses.

  3. Go for a walk by the lake – Nestled in the Berkshires, you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful location to inspire revitalization. Connect with nature on one of Kripalu’s many hiking trails, or spend some time at the lakefront beach area. Take time to get lost in nature amid wildflowers, ferns, forested pathways, and rolling hills.

  4. FAM food demos & cooking classes – Ever feel overwhelmed by the concept of eating healthy at home? Our top-notch chefs will be on hand to answer any questions you may have, as well as share helpful tips and tricks for cooking easy and delicious meals at home. Evening cooking classes ensure that you see the how-tos from start to finish.

  5. Enjoy the sauna – To help with the detoxification process, pack your swimsuit and visit the sauna. If you’d prefer something different but equally relaxing, Kripalu offers a range of healing arts services, including several types of massage, energy work, and ayurvedic services.

  6. Eat delicious meals – One of the most popular aspects of our trainings is the incredible meals. Our delicious gourmet lunches are whole-foods based with an emphasis on fresh flavors to stimulate the palate while nourishing the body.

  7. Shaking & Dancing – Experience this stress-relief technique we teach all over the world, including in areas traumatized by war, terrorism, and natural disaster. Release endorphins and get the body moving in this easy and fun activity — a great tool to use in your everyday life.


5 Ways to Relieve Stress

For our ancestors, stress was a survival skill during brief, life threatening situations. Once the danger passed, their stress levels lowered. However, in today’s world, we are constantly bombarded by stressors, such as work deadlines, traffic, and family obligations. We rarely get a break long enough to relax and relieve the stress. The over-activation of our stress hormones have been linked to high blood pressure, heart attacks, lower immunity, depression, anxiety, and more.

So how can you relieve stress? Here are five easy stress relievers to get you started.

garlic honey mustard greens
Antioxidant-rich mustard greens are an excellent choice for lowering stress through diet. Attend Food As Medicine to learn more about nutrition and making smart food choices.

Eat well! According to Dr. Mark Hyman, eating whole, real foods restores balance and reduces the effects of stress on your body. Replacing harmful substances such as caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugars, with clean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats helps regulate your hormone levels, including stress hormones. Food As Medicine Education Director Kathie Swift, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND, EBQ cites the connection between the gut and brain in relieving stress. The gut and brain are constantly sending signals to each other, so by keeping your microbiota (the bacteria in your gut) healthy, your brain feels less stressed.

School children in Haiti have fun shaking and dancing. We teach this technique all over the world.

Shaking & Dancing – The quickest way to relieve stress is to release endorphins through exercise. An easy way to do this is through shaking and dancing, a form of expressive meditation that loosens your joints as well as clears the mind. It’s one of our favorite techniques to teach in conflict and disaster areas, such as Haiti. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, shoulders relaxed, and shake your whole body for a few minutes (we recommend 7-8 minutes). Then, stop for a minute or two and pay attention to your breathing and physical sensations. Finally, turn on fast music – anything that gets you energized, and allow the music to move you. Don’t feel the need to follow any specific dance moves, just do whatever feels good for you in the moment (it might help to close your eyes). Dance for about 5 minutes, or until you feel satisfied.

Get a good night’s sleep – Sleep and stress tend to cause a vicious cycle – if you’re stressed, then you can’t sleep, which makes you ill-prepared to handle the stressors of the next day, leading to more stress. To relieve stress before bed, try some relaxation techniques (see below) and disconnect from technology as much as possible an hour before bedtime. To ensure the proper amount of rest (7-8 hours is recommended), set an alarm reminding you to go to bed.

Learn more self-care techniques at our Mind-Body Medicine Fundamentals training.

Guided Imagery – The body responds in essentially the same way to made-up imagery as it does to real experiences. Positive, relaxing images can be an effective tool for relieving stress. Try it for yourself with this Guided Imagery podcast from our Founder and Director Dr. James Gordon, or check out Dr. Gordon’s book Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression for dozens more techniques, including scripts for guided imagery exercises.

Learn more about self-care with these basic techniques.

B R E A T H E – We do it all day, every day, and yet we often forget the healing powers of deep breathing. By slowing down your heart rate and lowering blood pressure, breathing deeply relieves stress. Our Soft Belly meditation is our go-to for relieving stress, but any form of slow, deep breathing can help you relax and stay calm.


Benefits of fasting

Guest blogger Nosheen Hayat, an MPH graduate student at University of Michigan and former Research Associate at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, explains the benefits of fasting during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.
Guest blogger Nosheen Hayat, an MPH graduate student at University of Michigan and former Research Associate at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, explains the benefits of fasting during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.

Author: Nosheen Hayat, former Research Associate for CMBM, has a B.S. in dietetics and is currently a graduate student at University of Michigan working on her MPH in nutritional sciences.

The Benefits of Fasting

Although Ramadan is mainly thought to be a month for spiritual rejuvenation, there are many ways we can benefit from it if we just take the right steps. One of these steps is to focus on our dietary habits, and how they can, in conjunction with worship, energize our mind, body, and soul.

Some benefits of fasting include:

Rest. Although by the time iftaar (breaking of the fast at sunset) comes around, we’re all pretty much exhausted, fasting actually allows your body to rest. When we eliminate food and drink, our body can direct that energy it uses to digest and process our food towards other bodily functions.

Detofixication. While the body gets rest from digesting all the food we eat, it can focus on cleansing itself of toxins, and repairing itself.

Reduces risk for chronic diseases. Recent research has shown that fasting intermittently during the week (much like the Islamic tradition of fasting Mondays and Thursdays) can decrease your risk for diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Protects your brain. Some research has shown that when you fast, you protect your brain. In one study, fasting promoted “neuronal autophagy,” which is scientific for cells detoxifying themselves by destroying damaged organelles and old proteins. In another study, fasting increases Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which plays a role in memory, learning, and thought process. Low levels of BDNF have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. There’s way more research out there, but I’m just highlighting some.

Normalizes main hormones linked to eating. Fasting helps normalize your insulin, leptin, and ghrelin levels. Insulin is the hormone that is responsible for controlling blood sugar levels, and leptin is the hormone that tells you when you’re full. Ghrelin is your “hunger” hormone–it tells you when you need to eat. Normalizing these levels means that your body will be more sensitive to them, and you won’t need more of each hormone to get the job done. Having an insensitivity to insulin can manifest itself as diabetes, and an insensitivity to leptin and ghrelin can lead to obesity because your body can no longer regulate your eating habits.