Celebrating NTA Instructor, Cathy Eason: Watch the interview 

Celebrating NTA Instructor, Cathy Eason: Watch the interview 

On May 15, we had the extreme privilege of interviewing Cathy Eason, LMT, FNTP, AIP, GAPS, CFSP, BCHN®. She’s been a great asset to the NTA over the years and we couldn’t let her retire from the NTA without giving us the honor of an interview to showcase all the work she has done and how her legacy will live on through her students and colleagues.

Cathy Eason has been a Lead instructor for the NTA for 15 years and is currently teaching her 40th and final practitioner training for the NTA. A 2004 graduate of the first ever Portland class taught by NTA founder, Gray Graham and his remarkable assistant, Colleen Dunseth, Cathy has held many roles within the NTA including Board Member, Shareholder, Curriculum Developer, Director of Education, Lead Instructor, and Program Advocate. Drawn to the NTA by a plain white 4×6 postcard received in the mail a week before class began, Cathy went to a live info session and realized she’d found her people. She signed up the next day and the rest as they say, is history.

+ Watch the interview


Tell me about your proudest moments as an NTA instructor? What were 2-3 stories that you remember that made you most proud of making a career choice to be an instructor?

Helping build the NTA along with the handful of other early instructors. We were a very small but dedicated team of a director, an admin manager, and 5 instructors who had to teach ourselves to be teachers. We live lectured everything in classrooms, had to learn to be experts in anatomy and physiology, nutrition, healing tools, and touch. Three of us traveled across the country building venues and spreading word of the training. I’m so grateful I discovered this gift of teaching, and that I had the opportunity to grow myself in the process

Witnessing the personal and professional growth of so many students over the years, seeing the literal lightbulbs turn on and the look in people’s eyes when they finally “get it” and I know I’ve reached them with an important message. That’s when I know I’ve been a good teacher. I think I’m most proud of promoting the development of many of the current instructors who I know to be talented educators and practitioners and who once sat in my classroom as a student. To have them as peers and colleagues is an incredible honor.

Watching two students meet in class the first workshop weekend, the one token man in a class with 39 women. Before the second weekend I’d figured out they were dating when I busted them together on a conference call but knew they lived hours apart. By the midterm weekend they were a true couple sitting together at a table, and at the graduation party for their Portland class, they asked me to officiate their wedding. Of course I said yes, became ordained immediately, and with their permission to surprise them a bit, I wrote a beautiful One-Bowl bone broth experience into the wedding ceremony. I made the broth myself, lots of love went into it. We all cried at one point in the ceremony but held it together and I was super proud to announce Mr. And Mrs. John & Rosemary Fotheringham as husband and wife! Last December I had the honor of officiating the wedding of another NTP, my good friend and former NTA manager, Toni Blanton. She married her high school sweetheart in a lovely outdoor wedding. Who knows, maybe it’s my new profession 😊

Additionally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to reflect on my time spent with two beautiful people and fellow instructors for NTA who have unfortunately passed on. Our friend Jennifer Pecot, childhood friend of my dear friend and fellow NTA instructor Caroline Barringer, passed away of a sudden stroke as a healthy and vibrant 45 year old. I was on the phone with Caroline when she got the news Jen had passed, and days later we traveled to Florida together for her memorial services. Jen was a dragonfly, bright and flitting about and with an infectious laugh. She and I and Toni taught a crazy fun class in Austin together. Dana Brown left us 2 years later due to cancer, and she’s one of the smartest people I’ve met, super enjoyed spending time teaching with her and her dry wry humor had me laugh all the time. I miss them both but so grateful I knew them.

You have been an instructor with the NTA for over 10 years. What are some of the changes you’ve seen in holistic health both for the good of the world and things you think may be not so good?

I’ve definitely witnessed greater awareness of holistic health in general, and I’ve watched knowledge spread far wider in the era of the growth of the internet and social media. Water cooler talk has gone virtual, viral and global, and that’s a good thing when people are talking about ways to be healthier. Of course, not all of that is good information. It does seem there’s greater accessibility to a whole food diet and healthier lifestyle options, but we still are not serving those who need it most. There’s a large divide among socioeconomic and cultural groups who still do not have access to clean food and water, and these should be basic human rights in 2020.

I’ve also witnessed a loss in the art of the physical assessment in lieu of metrics to define health, which I feel misses a huge opportunity for healing. I will always contend that being with another person in session, seeing their physical presentation and observing cues from that, using touch to assess function and inflammation is necessary in addition to lab values and other information gathering tools. Healers are meant to lay hands on others.

Get out your crystal ball, where do you see the future of holistic nutrition going? What do you think will change for the industry, for practitioners and why?

I see holistic nutrition becoming more mainstream with less perception. This is a fringe movement. This pandemic has taught more people to wake up and pay attention to their health, and those people who are ready will be seeking more information so it’s time for us to step into that light even brighter. Virtual work with clients will become more standard, but again I worry this trend will miss some of the marks of healing I’ve found to be invaluable as a clinician. Holistic practitioners will need to step up their game in terms of validation of their information, we all need to do more research and be ready to show the science behind what we know, while also blending in our other skills in energetic medicine, psychology of eating, other tools.

As you move into the next phase in your journey, what are you most excited about personally and professionally?

Personally, I’m excited to explore more of myself outside of my career, with the use of a sensei or two. Everyone needs a teacher, even the teacher, and I have a couple in my life right now I’d enjoy spending more time with for personal and spiritual growth. I have a bucket list of goals including completing yoga teacher training at an intensive training in a tropical location.

Professionally I’m really excited for more time to devote to building the platform I started two years ago, Open Door Healing. I’ve also got about 5 books swimming around in my head that are needing to get on paper. And yes, paper, something you can hold, read, highlight, touch.

Tell us a little bit about open door healing. Where did the idea for your brand come from and what do you hope the impact will be on the world?

ODH is a platform for me to provide personal and professional development courses, where I will expand practitioner mentoring services, and where I will feature a collaborative cooperative healing community of people, products, services, education to serve the public. The inspiration came to me in meditation on the mat, funny how shavasana brings creativity swirling into my visions. I’ve developed a few more healing products to bring to market too.

If you could give a new practitioner one tip, one piece of crucial advice, what would it be?

It’s the same advice I’ve given every class I’ve ever taught: you have enough, just begin to do the work of nutritional therapy. There is no need to wait for more training, or until you have flashiest website or group program, you just need to start teaching others. You have been trained with an incredible gift, the power of the Foundations, and truly that’s the tool to bringing healing for others.

What is your hope for the future of the NTA community?

My hope for our community is that we continue to grow but stay grounded in the fact that what we offer is enough, we don’t have to be the Red Cross. That we continue to lead from a place of loving concern for others’ well-being, and that we develop greater diversity within our community as we also cast aside any divisions along party lines or opinions about the “right” protocol for leaky gut 😊 Our strength lies in our continued love and respect for each other, with a fair amount of gentle encouragement for all of us to learn more and be better providers of health information. I’d love to see everyone become Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition, as I believe we are going to need to align with other holisitic nutritionists globally and elevate ourselves professionally as the world sees it doesn’t have to just rely on allopathic medicine to be healthy.

Comments from our community:

“Cathy was my teacher in 2010 and has been my colleague for the past five years. She was inspiring as an instructor, she’s been inspiring as a co-worker, and she’s inspiring as a woman and friend. Cathy, I love you dearly. ❤️ “ – Victoria L. Jackson

“Cathy has been such an integral part of what the NTA is in my life. I feel so blessed to have had her as an instructor, be a group leader for her, and then be her assistant instructor. I was and still am always happy to pick her brain…she is brilliant, and knows how to present the curriculum so well. Her love for teaching this curriculum was always apparent, she believed in it, and helped us to understand and believe in it too. When that level is taught and cared for, the students go on to represent in a way that changes the world.” -Amy Lupton FNTP, owner Liferoot Botanicals

Want to stay connected with Cathy?

You can find her online at opendoorhealing.co and on Facebook
The Power of an Ancestral Perspective on Diet

The Power of an Ancestral Perspective on Diet


Home » Posts by Katie Merritt

The Power of an Ancestral Perspective on Diet

Guest post by Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac
Learn more about Chris Kresser’s new ADAPT Health Coach Training Program.

The evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky said, “Nothing in biology makes sense, except in the light of evolution.” What did he mean by this? All organisms are adapted to survive and thrive in a particular environment, and when that environment changes faster than the organism can adapt, mismatch occurs. This is a fundamental principle in biology—and it applies as much to humans as it does to any other organism in nature.

For 66,000 generations, humans ate primarily meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and some starchy plants. We were physically active. We didn’t sit for long periods. We lived in sync with the natural rhythms of light and dark, in direct contact with nature, and in close-knit tribal social groups. Our ancestors, as well as contemporary hunter–gatherers that have been studied, were lean and fit and remarkably free of chronic inflammatory disease. They were also superior to us in the industrialized world in every measure of health and fitness—from body mass index to blood pressure to insulin sensitivity to oxygen consumption to vision to bone density.




You might be thinking, “Who cares?! Our ancestors might have been healthy when they were young, but they all died when they were 30, so what does it matter?” Well, it’s true that our ancestors had shorter lifespans, on average, than we have today, but these averages don’t consider challenges that are largely absent from modern life, like high rates of infant mortality, high rates of warfare, trauma, accidents, exposure to the elements, and a complete lack of any kind of modern medical care. When these factors are considered, it turns out that our ancestors lived lifespans that were roughly equivalent to our own. But the difference is that when they were able to escape the difficulties of early life in the Paleolithic, like the trauma and the warfare and the exposure to the elements, they reached the older ages that we reach without the inflammatory diseases that characterize our old age. They didn’t get obesity. They didn’t get heart disease. They didn’t get diabetes, gout, hypertension, or most cancers.

Now, contrast this with today where:

  • -Diabetes and obesity combined affect a billion people worldwide
  • -600,000 people die of heart attacks each year
  • -Cancer is now the number-two cause of death in the United States, accounting for one in four deaths each year
  • -A third of Americans have high blood pressure
  • -Almost three in four Americans over 75 years old have high blood pressure
  • -More than 36 million people now have dementia
  • -Fifty million Americans now suffer from autoimmune disease

Just think about that last statistic for a second. That’s 17 percent of the population. More than 80 distinct autoimmune diseases have already been identified, and several new ones are being identified each year. So what happened? What transformed us from a healthy, vital people, free of chronic inflammatory disease, to a sick, fat, and unhealthy people?




Agriculture was the first blow. Hunter–gatherers were virtually guaranteed a healthy diet because of the diversity and nutrient density of the foods they ate. But once humans settled down and started farming, there was a major shift in our diet. Average carbohydrate intake shot up and protein intake plummeted. The quality of protein that we ate also decreased. Animal protein is significantly more bioavailable than any plant protein. Soybeans are pretty close to beef, but they contain phytic acid, which interferes with protein absorption. Our ancestors in the agricultural period also started to experience tooth decay, anemia due to iron deficiency, increases in infant mortality, and decreases in average bone density. We know from the archaeological record that all of these diseases were rarely experienced by our hunter–gatherer ancestors.

The second major blow was the Industrial Revolution. There’s no doubt that agriculture led to a significant decline in our overall health, but the Industrial Revolution was really the knockout punch. It brought us to where we are today, when white sugar, flour, and vegetable oil make up over 50 percent of the calories that the average person living in the industrialized world consumes each day. We’re more sedentary than we’ve ever been before. We sit while we work, and we sit while we play. We’re chronically sleep deprived. A third of Americans now sleep fewer than six hours a night, which is up from just 2 percent of Americans in 1965. We’re working harder than ever. Finally, many of us live and work in isolating and alienating social environments, where we feel disconnected from the natural world that we evolved in.

Now, it may seem like this has been going on for a while, but if human history were a football field, the period of time that we lived as hunter–gatherers would be 99 1/2 yards on that football field, and the period of time that we have been living with the advent of the Industrial Revolution is really just a few inches of that last half yard of the football field. So, when you look at the timescale of human evolution, the vast, vast majority of it was us living as hunter–gatherers. This profound mismatch between our genetic heritage and the environment we live in is responsible for the epidemic of modern disease, and it also explains why the Paleo diet and lifestyle has helped so many people. But despite the overall success of the Paleo movement, it’s not without its shortcomings, so I’m going to summarize them here. My book Unconventional Medicine addresses them in much more detail.




Paleo is a fantastic starting place, but it’s not always a destination. While some people thrive on a strict Paleo approach, others don’t. There’s really no reason to avoid foods that modern research suggests are healthy when they’re well tolerated just because they weren’t part of our Paleolithic ancestors’ diet. It’s true that our genes are largely the same as they were during the Paleolithic Era, but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t developed some important adaptations to agriculture or that human evolution stopped completely 10,000 years ago.

There’s really no one-size-fits-all approach. You hear diet gurus claiming that everyone should be on a low-carb diet or everyone should be on a low-fat diet, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the key to long-term success is personalization, or customizing the diet to meet your needs or your patient’s needs. We share a lot in common as humans, but we’re not robots. We have different genes, different gene expression, and different lifestyles, health issues, activity levels, and goals. All of these influence what an optimal approach might be for us, and since these factors change over time—for example, if you develop a chronic illness or move to a new climate or start training for a competition—your ideal diet should change over time. In fact, it should even change seasonally throughout the year. It certainly did for our Paleolithic ancestors. They didn’t have the ability to eat food that was shipped from 5,000 miles away from a completely different climate. They ate what was seasonally and locally available, and there very well may be something to that for us biologically.

Here are some factors that will help determine how you customize your diet or your patient’s diet:

  • – Genetics. Some of us have genes that predispose us to problems metabolizing glucose, for example, while others have genes that make it more likely that we’ll have problems burning fat.
  • – Season. During the summer, we naturally crave different foods than we crave during the winter. Geography and climate is another factor. If you live close to the equator, fruits or vegetables with high water content, raw foods, and cold foods will probably be more suitable and appealing. If you live in a northern climate, meat and fat and warm, nourishing cooked foods will probably be more suitable and appealing.
  • – Health status. Women who are pregnant will often crave more carbohydrates and become slightly averse to protein during pregnancy, and there are definitely evolutionary reasons for that. If you find yourself getting the flu, you will probably lose your appetite, at least to some degree. If you have irritable bowel syndrome, you might do better with a low-FODMAP type of diet.
  • – Activity level. A construction worker doing manual labor for eight hours a day will have different needs than a sedentary office worker who comes home and watches three hours of TV on the couch.
  • – Goals. If you’re training for the next Mr. Olympia competition, you’re going to have one set of needs, and if you’re trying to get rid of your love handles, that’s going to require a different approach.

The truth is there’s no single formula for everybody to follow to get the best result. It would sure be nice if there were, and it would make it a lot easier for everybody, including us as clinicians, but the reality is it doesn’t work that way. Personalization is the key to success.


Chris Kresser M.S., L.Ac., is the CEO of Kresser Institute and the co-director of the California Center for Functional Medicine. He’s also the creator of ChrisKresser.com and is the New York Times best-selling author of The Paleo Cure and Unconventional Medicine. Chris was named one of the 100 most influential people in health and fitness by Greatist.com, and his blog is one of the top-ranked natural health websites in the world. 

Learn more about Chris Kresser’s new ADAPT Health Coach Training Program.


Join us for a Live Webinar with one of our Instructors and Admissions Advisors!

During this call, you’ll explore and learn:

  • How to create a rewarding career in holistic nutrition that will give you the confidence and competence to replace your full-time income (whether you’re new to nutrition or or using it to enhance your current services)
  • How our unmatched education and instructor support sets our NTP program apart from other nutrition programs​​​​​​​
  • How graduates are successfully using their education and the many career opportunities available to you
  • If the NTP program is the right fit for you and how to move forward in financing your education


Learn More From Our Annual Conference Speaker, Kris Vaughn, Certified Clinical Herbalist

Learn More From Our Annual Conference Speaker, Kris Vaughn, Certified Clinical Herbalist


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Learn More From Our Annual Conference Speaker, Kris Vaughn, Certified Clinical Herbalist

Speaker highlight

Kris Vaughn Headshot Circle

Kris Vaughan is a certified clinical herbalist and owner and Program Director of Herbal Wisdom Institute in Arizona.  Kris began her study of herbal medicine in 2008 and now teaches students who seek certification in western herbalism. Her clinical work and teaching has been focused on the areas of complicated, chronic health issues such as digestion and autoimmune conditions. Kris also works with a prominent herbal product manufacturer as the Director of Practitioner Experience.

During our Annual Conference, Kris will be leading the workshop, A Herbalists Guide to the LNT Process. This workshop will offer a basic foundation of herbal knowledge and how to apply this to the LNT process. Learning herbs by their energetics and actions allows you to assist in achieving balance within the body that facilitates the innate healing process while keeping bio-individuality in mind. 

What you’ll learn:

  • – The five herbal flavors and how they correspond with herbal actions  
  • – Herbal actions to facilitate foundational balance in the body systems
  • – How to choose and test herbs using the LNT process (hands-on application) 

+ Learn more about this workshop
+ Register for the conference


Watch Kris on Facebook

Want to learn even more about Kris and advancing your herbal knowledge? Watch the replay of her Facebook Live:


Graduate Author Book Review: Real Food Keto

Graduate Author Book Review: Real Food Keto


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Graduate Author Book Review: Real Food Keto


Graduate Author Book Review: Real Food Keto by Jimmy & Christine Moore, NTP 

Many people in our community know Jimmy Moore. He’s a best-selling author of several books on Ketogenesis, has a popular blog,  Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb, and a long-running podcast under the same name. What many may not know is that his wife, Christine Moore, recently became a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Years of health problems including gallbladder trouble, heavy metal toxicity, several autoimmune conditions, and fertility issues took their toll on Christine. In 2016, she came across the Nutritional Therapy Association and was impressed by the comprehensiveness of their nutrition programs. She decided to go through the NTP program to learn about ways to heal her body through a nutrient dense, whole-foods diet. She also wanted to pass on this knowledge to others in similar situations who were suffering more than they needed to due to misinformation or a lack of information about their diets and their health.  

After learning about the benefits of a nutrient-dense, whole-foods diet through her education, she and Jimmy realized that a large percentage of the population, including many who believe they are leading a healthy lifestyle, are in fact not. Christine and Jimmy decided to write Real Food Keto to educate the keto community about how eating real, whole foods, along with a ketogenic approach can heal, restore and bring your body back to health. 

Christine and Jimmy designed the book for three types of people. The first group is people that are already following a ketogenic diet and want to incorporate a more healthful way of following the diet. The second group includes people that are already eating a real food diet and want to learn more about keto. Lastly, they designed the book for people who want to learn more about nutrition, its healing abilities, and the keto diet. 

The book starts by making the case for eating real, whole foods. It discusses what makes food “real” and how many commercially-available processed products are not the health panacea that the general public has been led to believe they are. It goes into the concept of bio-individuality and the idea that the same diet and lifestyle don’t work the same for everyone. Next, the book goes into the case for following a keto diet, explaining what keto is and the benefits it brings to your health while emphasizing that even a one-size-fits-all keto diet doesn’t exist. One person’s macronutrient ratio on the keto diet will look different than their friend or family member’s. 

After providing some easy ways to optimize your diet and lifestyle and breaking down how we went from the traditional diet to the modern diet, the book goes into each of the three macronutrients, explaining misconceptions, diving into how they are utilized in the body and the best real food sources of each. It then provides an explanation of necessary vitamins and minerals and their best sources for optimal health before going into the topics of digestion, blood sugar balance, the endocrine system, detoxification, and what you can do in each of these areas to improve your health. Lastly, the book contains some real food keto recipes from international best-selling ketogenic recipe author Maria Emmerich. 

I found the book to be easy to follow and chock full of important nutrition information, whether you plan to follow a ketogenic diet or not. Christine and Jimmy did a great job explaining the nuts and bolts of keto while also stressing the importance of using real food and nutritional therapy to heal, restore, and bring the body back to health. I appreciated the focus on a bio-individual approach to their Real Food Keto path. It is a great read for people looking to transition to a whole, real food way of eating while also looking to adopt a low-carb, high fat diet, and serves as a good nutrition reference book to come back to time and time again. 

Graduate book review by Stephanie Selinger, NTP


Watch Dr. Terry Wahls, Autoimmunity and food

Watch Dr. Terry Wahls, Autoimmunity and food


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Watch Dr. Terry Wahls, Autoimmunity and food

Dr. Terry Wahls is a professor of medicine at the University of Iowa where she conducts clinical trials. she has secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), which confined her to a tilt-recline wheelchair for four years. Dr. Wahls restored her health through a diet and lifestyle program she specifically designed for her brain and now pedals her bike to work each day. She conducts clinical trials that test the effect of nutrition and lifestyle interventions to treat MS and other progressive health conditions.

During this interview, Dr. Wahls shares the important link between autoimmunity and food. She discusses:

  • – Her story
  • – More on her research program
  • – The link between autoimmunity and food
  • – Key parts of her dietary plan and how it’s different from other therapeutic diets
  • – How the protocol influences the microbiome
  • – How the microbiome influences the risk of MS and other autoimmune issues
  • – How the microbiome influences mood and behavior
  • – Information about her seminar and retreat
  • – Three things that you can do right now to help improve your health, regardless of whether or not you are dealing with an autoimmune diagnosis
  • – The single most powerful intervention to lower all-cause mortality and morbidity
  • – Her certification program and who would benefit from taking this program

Are you an NTA graduate and interested in Dr. Wahls certification program? They’re waiving the $97 application fee! Visit terrywahls.com/ntagrad for more details.