Category Archives: Lifestyle

Q&A Session: Becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

Hey friends! Today, I want to do something a little bit different and answer some common questions i receive about my career. I get contacted all the time from my readers about becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP, for short) and what that means exactly. There is a growing number of NTPs and NTCs (Nutritional Therapy Consultants) out there, which is amazing, and we are all doing our part to grow and expand the real food movement.

If you have any interest in becoming an NTP or NTC yourself, and you are curious about what it means and what you can do with the certification, I hope this post will help you!

Becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

What is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)?

A Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) is someone certified by the Nutritional Therapy Association (NTA), by going through the 9-month online course (with in-person workshops) and passing the exams. The course teaches real food nutrition and our body’s physiological responses to various nutrients, while covering how the body functions, both anatomically and physiologically. The NTP curriculum teaches students a foundational approach to functional, holistic nutrition.

The NTA focuses on bio-individuality, the concept that there is no one diet that works for everyone. We all have unique nutritional needs, depending on our genes, gut microbiome, our activity level, health history, stress, sleep, metabolism, blood type and the list goes on.

By the end of the program, I felt that I had enough knowledge on how to support the body so it can heal and balance itself, by focusing on the core foundations of health that the NTA teaches.

What is a Nutritional Therapy Consultant (NTC)?

An NTC goes through the same training that an NTP goes through, but without the hands-on Functional Evaluation (FE) and physical tests included in the NTP course. Because of this, the NTC program costs less and there are also reduced course materials. Also, there is only 1 in-person workshop for NTCs, while there are 3 for NTPs.

While I don’t use Functional Evaluation in my practice, I’m so glad I’m familiar with it, because I ended up gaining so much knowledge about how our body works and the tests are really fun and fascinating to learn about. They are an incredibly powerful tool that can tell you so much about your client’s health and nutrient deficiencies.

Have you gone through any other programs and how were they different?

I went through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), based in New York. This is a popular school and you may have heard of it if you have ever have looked into getting a nutrition certification. While it provided a good base for nutritional knowledge, I didn’t gain an in-depth learning about how food impacts our body and its physiological responses. Instead, the IIN teaching mostly focused on the different diets out there, the importance of bio-individual nutrition, and how to start your own business.

While those are important to learn about, I did not feel ready or confident enough afterwards to start working with clients. To be completely honest, I felt that the program was a bit overpriced for the quality of material.

I also considered the Bauman College, because I heard great things about about their program. However, I decided to go with the NTP program because the price was more reasonable for me, and I liked that they required in-person workshops so I can meet my classmates.

How is the NTA course material set up? 

Most of the course is online. Each week, you go through a module of various topics, which consists of reading materials, videos, audio files, and short and long essay questions you answer through the student portal. You also have group calls with your instructor and classmates each week where you can ask questions and talk about that week’s module. These calls were super helpful for me in clearing up any confusion I had that week about what I learned.

For NTPs, there are 3 in-person workshops that are mandatory. When you first register, you pick the location for the workshop that’s the closest to you. Mine was in Sacramento when I lived in the Bay Area. These weekend-long workshops are when you really learn how to do the Functional Evaluations and learn the course materials in-depth. The midterm and the final exams are also held during these workshops.

There is only 1 in-person workshop for NTCs, where you learn the client consultation process and review the course materials.

How many hours of school work can I expect?

It really depends on the module, but I think I spent about 10-15 hours depending on the workload. I worked full-time for most of the program, and many of my classmates did as well. So it’s definitely do-able to go through the program while working full-time.

What are the in-person workshops like?

For me, the workshops were really intense but so wonderful because that’s when you learn SO MUCH from the instructors and the group leaders. They provide all the amazing nuggets on how to practically apply everything you learned when working with a client, along with their in-depth knowledge of the the course materials.

It’s also really amazing getting to meet your classmates during the workshops. Even though you only meet for 3 weekends, you get to form strong friendships that continue even after you graduate. Most of the time, the people there have decided to become students after having some personal experience of healing their body with the power of real food. This connection alone is incredibly powerful because you can relate to each other and share a similar view when it comes to nutrition. I still keep in touch with my former classmates today, and I turn to them first when I need help with my practice and business.

Do you receive continuous support from Nutritional Therapy Association after graduating? 

Absolutely! There is a very active group for NTA graduates where you can ask questions when you need help with clients, supplements, and/or nutritional protocols, and you’ll be flooded with helpful tips and wisdom every time.

In addition, the NTA requires you to turn in 24 continuing education units (CEUs) every 2 years to hold your certification, to make sure that you are continuously educating yourself and growing as a practitioner. You can learn more about CEUs here.

Were you trained on how to start your own business during the course?

One of the last modules of the program was dedicated to learning all about starting your own business as a Nutritional Therapist, which was extremely helpful. The in-person workshops were also a place where we had a chance to ask questions to our instructors and group leaders about how they started their business, and I learned from them the most.

Did you feel confident taking on clients after you were certified?

Yes! The NTA really focuses on the step-by-step process of how to work with a client, from the initial consultation to nutritional recommendations. You also get to practice the entire process with your classmates, as well as your friends or family, so by the time you graduate, you are familiar and comfortable talking to clients and working with them.

Can I start seeing clients right after becoming a certified NTP or NTC?

It depends on where you live and your state laws. Most states allow NTPs and NTCs to practice, but some states require additional certifications if you want to provide nutrition counseling. I suggest you research your state to check to see if you have any limitations with opening up your own practice.

What can you do with the knowledge after you graduate?

The possibilities are endless! You don’t always have to do one-on-one nutrition consultations. Graduated NTPs and NTCs have SO MANY different jobs that I’m always in awe of their accomplishments.

There are many alumni who became students just to be more knowledgable about health and nutrition, and to learn how to feed their family in the best way. Others, like me, are bloggers who educate through healthy recipes and nutrition articles.

The RESTART program is a sugar detox program that another NTP created, and NTPs and NTCs can become instructors and start teaching small group classes. I’m actually one of the instructors and it has helped tremendously in getting my name out there and growing my practice.

Some have gone to create health food products, supplements, and essential oils. Others have written books and created online courses. Many actually created programs and courses FOR other NTPs and NTCs to help them grown their businesses.

There are so many paths you can take once you graduate, and it opens you up for further certifications, workshops, and even board positions.

I hope this was helpful! If you haven any additional questions, please feel free to contact me. I’m always excited to talk about how I currently have a job that I absolutely love and am so passionate about.

If you want to learn more about the program and are interested in becoming an NTP or NTC yourself, CLICK HERE.

Becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

How to Choose Quality Supplements That Work

If you are overwhelmed and confused about how to choose quality supplements that actually work for your body, this simple guide can help you pick out the right ones!

This post may affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my own, and I would never promote or endorse a product that I don’t fully stand behind. Thank you for your support!

How to Choose Quality Supplements

When you walk in to a health store, drug store, or even a grocery store these days, you’ll find a huge section of supplements with various minerals, vitamins, and concoctions, some you may not even have heard of. The supplement industry is a huge contributor to the US economy and it’s estimated that more than two-thirds of Americans take dietary supplements each year.

With hundreds of thousands of products to choose from, with countless number of manufacturers and companies promising similar outcomes, how do you know which supplements to choose from?  Just like any other money-driven industry, there are a good amount of poor quality products in the supplement industry that you need to watch out for that may do more harm than good for your health.

The trick is to choose quality supplements so you don’t end up wasting you hard-earned dollars on something that may not work for your body. But how do you do this with the overwhelming amount of products out there? Here are 6 questions to ask when purchasing your next supplement.

1. Can the ingredients be easily absorbed by the body?

When it comes to certain vitamins and minerals, they come in various forms and some cannot easily be absorbed and utilized by the body. This is why is it’s important to educate yourself on the most absorbable forms and always read the ingredients label.

For example, magnesium comes in so many forms, but I always look for magnesium chloride, citrate, or glycinate because they are the most easily metabolized in the body and incredibly fast acting, even when it’s absorbed through the skin. Magnesium sulfate and and magnesium oxide (the most common form sold in the market), on the other hand, have poor absorption rates and laxative effects.

Do your research with the various forms of vitamins and minerals, and check to see what may be the best for you and your needs, instead of impulse buying after reading a few reviews.

2. What are the farming practices?

Just like food, it’s important to look at the farming practices behind each supplement. Were toxic pesticides used? Are there GMO ingredients? Are the farming practices sustainable?

These are just some of the questions to ask when picking out your supplements. Poor farming practices compromise the quality of supplements AND our environment. If the company does not provide this information on their website, you can reach out to them directly. If they refuse to disclose how they source their products, it’s a clear red flag and you can move on to the next company to research.

3. Is it Fair Trade?

I believe that promoting Fair Trade practices is just as important as farming practices, and the two go hand in hand. The supplements you buy should benefit not just your body, but for everyone involved in the production and harvesting of the ingredients.

Call it woo-woo, but I believe that food we consume carries energy that either harm us or do us good. And the entire process from how the food was grown to how it lands in our mouths (sourcing, harvesting, cooking) brings energy to the food. No matter how organic a food or a supplement is, if there were workers who were unfairly treated or underpaid while on its way to the consumer, I’d rather not put it inside my body.

It’s usually easy to spot a Fair Trade company because they will post some kind of certification seal on their website or the packaging. And why not? They should be loud and proud to be part of a great cause.

How to Choose Quality Supplements

4. Are there any fillers?

Additives, binders, and fillers are commonly added into supplements for various reasons. They make it easier to produce the product, sell more in a bottle for a lower price, give the supplements a more appetizing color, and change the texture and consistency to make it easier to consume. Just like how we don’t want to see additive and fillers in processed foods, the same goes for supplements.

Some common ones include artificial colors, inflammatory vegetable oils, magnesium stearate, propylene glycol, titanium dioxide, silicon dioxide, carrageenan and more. You will often find these in the “Other Ingredients” or “Inactive Ingredients” section of the label. These ingredients do not provide any health benefits, and may even cause allergic reactions and other health issues. Even if you don’t experience obvious side effects, why would you want to consume these fillers that may do more harm than good?

And to make things worse, while manufacturers are required to list all their inactive ingredients, no such law exists for the pharmaceutical industry. To avoid these fillers, find a company that’s transparent with everything that’s in their products.

5. Has it be tried and tested?

As with any drug or supplement that you are about to consume, it’s a good idea to ask what research has been done with the product and if it’s been properly tested. Has the product been tested to make sure its contents on the label are accurate?

A fairly recent study looked at common dietary supplements in the market for the presence of gluten, and found 23.8% of the investigated samples tested positive. This is bad news for anyone with a gluten intolerance, or even worse, Celiac disease, and they may be consuming supplements that are causing inflammation in their body without even knowing.

One of the certifications I look for in supplement companies is the cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Process) label, which is FDA’s regulations to ensure that products are manufactured to specific requirements, in terms of strength, quality, and purity.

6. Where is it sold from?

The tides are changing a bit, but I still avoid buying supplements from chain drug stores like CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and even Costco. The products sold in these places are usually poor quality and they are cheaper for a reason. Often, they contain fillers, the ingredients are not well researched or tested, and they are not as effective.

I always recommend smaller companies that you can get to know and ask specific questions to, rather than big conglomerates usually owned by pharmaceutical companies. If their supplements are what they claim to be, you’ll be able to sense their mission and philosophy fairy quickly, and truly see that they want to improve the health of their consumers with quality nutrients.

Some of my favorite companies are:

  • Perfect Supplements –> Save 10% off your entire purchase by using the code GREATGRANDMA10 at checkout!
  • Biotics Research
  • Metagenics
  • Thorne Research
  • Klaire Labs
  • Gaia Herbs
  • Pure Encapsulations

How to Choose Quality Supplements That Work (1)

How to Make Homemade Natural Deodorant + 5 Harmful Ingredients To Avoid in Your Deodorant

Learn how to make safe and toxin-free homemade natural deodorant, and which harmful ingredients to avoid in conventional store-bought deodorants!

Homemade Natural Deodorant + 5 Ingredients to Avoid in Deodorants

Ever since learning about all the toxins present in conventional deodorants, I stopped using deodorant for years. Luckily, I’m not much of a sweater so this was working out for me fine. If I felt a bit stinky, especially after a workout, I would just wash my underarms and was good to go.

However, after moving to Southern California, summers here can get pretty darn hot and sweating all day is just inevitable. I couldn’t just get away with not using deodorant anymore in the recent months, so I decided to make my own. I wasn’t sure if I would like my hippy-dippy version and if it would actually work, but I’ve been using it for over a month now and I absolutely love it. It gets rid of the stink and sweat, and it doesn’t stain any of my clothes like other deodorants I have a tried.

Homemade Natural Deodorant + 5 Ingredients to Avoid in Deodorants

But before I share the recipe, I want to share just WHY I stopped using conventional deodorants and the ingredients in them that I don’t want to apply on my skin ever. Our skin is our biggest organ and it absorbs everything we put on it, so being extra diligent about reading the ingredient labels is so important. After all, the toxins and certain chemicals in these products alter our hormones, burden our liver, and are linked to various types of cancers. Who wants that?

Here are the top 5 ingredients to avoid in conventional deodorants:

1. Parabens

Parabens are extremely common in the US, and it can be found in both skin care products and food. They are used as a preservative, but also are known to mimic estrogen and cause hormonal imbalances by accumulating in our tissues. A study showed a presence of parabens in 99% of the breast tumor tissue samples.

You can usually spot parabens on the ingredients list easily (They are found in 75-90% of all products on the market!), because they are followed by some kind of prefix like methylparaben, and propylparaben.

2. Triclosan

Triclosan is a type of pesticide that you’ll find in most deodorants on the market because of its ability to kill bacteria. It is also an endocrine disruptor and can also be carcinogenic when it comes in contact with chlorine in tap water. As we know, it’s not too difficult for our deodorant to come in contact with water, especially when we apply right after showering.

3. Aluminum-based Compounds

Aluminum-based compounds are used because of their ability to block the body from sweating by blocking the pores, which sounds ideal for antiperspirants. However, this ingredient is easily absorbed by the body and accumulates overtime.

This study has linked long term use of deodorants with earlier age of breast cancer diagnosis. Aluminum exposure has also been linked to interfering with estrogen levels, which increases the risk of cancers, and causing brain health issues like Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Fragrances/Pthalates

Chemical fragrances in deodorant products are very common and they usually come with pthalates, which help lotions penetrate the skin and fragrances last longer. Pthalates are a bit trickier than other ingredients to spot on the label, because they are usually listed as one of the following acronyms: DBP, DHP, DBP5, and DEHP.

Pthalates are also endocrine disruptors and known to cause kidney and liver cancers. While most studies I found on pthalates and their harmful effects were done on animals, I’d rather be safe than sorry and steer clear, especially when they are considered probable carcinogens by the EPA.

5. Propylene Glycol 

Propylene glycol is used to retain moisture in products, and it’s also used the auto industry in brake and hydraulic fluid. It is a form of mineral oil, which can block the pores and cause skin allergies and/or rashes. It has also been linked to liver and kidney damage.

You may be able to spot propylene glycol (also can be listed as PEG) easily on the deodorant label, because it is usually one for the first 2 ingredients on the list.

Are you surprised by the toxic chemicals that are present in our store-bought deodorants? Keep in mind that many of these ingredients are actually banned in Europe because of their harmful effects. Until our country steps up their game, I’ll gladly make my own homemade natural deodorant to avoid these cancer-causing chemicals.

If you don’t want to make your own deodorant, these are some my top favorite safer choices that actually work:

Native Deodorant

Primal Pit Paste

Honestly pHresh Magnesium Roll-On

Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant

Homemade Natural Deodorant + 5 Ingredients to Avoid in DeodorantsHomemade Natural Deodorant + 5 Ingredients to Avoid in Deodorants

Homemade Natural Deodorant
Prep time
Cook time
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  1. In a double boiler or a microwave, melt together shea butter and coconut oil.
  2. Remove from heat and add baking soda and arrowroot powder. Stir together.
  3. Add essential oils, if using, then pour into a glass jar and let cool. You can cool in the refrigerator to speed up the process.
  4. To apply, use your fingers to scoop out a small amount and rub on your armpits until invisible. A little goes a long way!

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

How to Make Homemade Natural Deodorant + 5 Harmful Ingredients To Avoid in Your Deodorant