All the successes that Annemarie enjoys were not attained easily, but the fact that she did not allow the obstacles and difficulties stop her from achieving these successes is a proof of her extraordinary resilience and dedication to her work. Even way back when the idea of the relationship of food and health were not yet accepted, Annemarie was already passionate in sharing this concept to people, and as such has achieved great things for our generation.
Annemarie Colbin was born in the United States. Her parents were significant in developing her passion for natural eating, as when she was still young her parents had already instilled in her a love for natural foods. Annemarie’s parents loved her and cared for her very much that it developed in her a love and compassion for others.
In her youth, Annemarie exhibited natural aptitude for cooking, as evidenced by how she could quickly learn the recipes of the foods that her mother or other family members cooked. In school, Annemarie was often praised by her teachers for her intellect, which allowed her to graduate in elementary and high school with high marks.
Setting up Her Own Cooking School
In 1977, Annemarie established the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts as a means of sharing her knowledge of cooking natural foods and teaching others what she knows. Since its establishment, the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts grew into a famous and successful institution, and was known to be the only natural foods cooking school to be accredited for having a Chef’s Training Program and licensed by the New York State Education Department.
Offering a wide range of cooking classes in the field of healthy cooking for the general public, the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts became Annemarie’s way to get people interested in eating healthy and cooking healthy. Her school even became very popular amongst the already established nutritionists and health professionals, who took up Food Therapy at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts, a course that was offered once a year and specially designed for them.
The success achieved by the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts brought Annemarie to the spotlight, earning her a reputation as one of the foremost experts in the field of healthy cooking. Because of this, aside from the Natural Gourmet Institute, Annemarie also became famous amongst many other culinary institutes, even becoming a professor of nutrition at several colleges such as the Empire State College and Touro College.
Promoting School of Food and Healing
From the eighties onwards, Annemarie’s reputation grew further as her ideas became more accepted not just by the public, but even by those in the professional health industry. One example of this was her being invited every year as a visiting lecturer at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a privilege she is able to do up to today. Not only this, but Annemarie has also held numerous workshops in various popular health and wellness institutions across the United States such as the Kripalu Yoga Center, the Omega Institute and the New York Open Center.
Anne Writes Books
In 1979, Annemarie wrote and published her first book titled “The Book of Whole Meals,” a cookbook that contained not only recipes of healthy foods but also guides on how to keep eating healthy. The book was well-received by both critics and the general public, making Annemarie a bestselling author in her own right. The success of The Book of Whole Meals was followed by the release of Annemarie’s second book, “The Natural Gourmet,” which became an even greater success by not only exceeding the sales of her first book but also won the first runner-up prize in the IACP/Seagram national cookbook awards in 1989.
From the mid-nineties onwards, there has been an increasing demand for nutritional diets due to the number of physicians and medical experts that have been open to the concept of how food can significantly affect our health. Because of Annemarie’s knowledge and expertise for healthy foods, she has become one of the most significant figures and has since appeared in numerous radio and television interviews, sharing her recipes and giving advice on how to live healthy.
In an interview made with her, Annemarie shared her delight in seeing how people have come to realize that what they eat significantly affects them:
“The idea that food can profoundly affect our health has now taken root in the mainstream. It was considered an odd idea forty years ago. What fascinates me is that many physicians, who traditionally do not study nutrition, have gone out on his or her own to study the subject and are now among the most popular teachers of healthy eating.”
One of the things that Annemarie has worked with all of her life is to encourage people to rely more on natural diet rather than processed food. For Annemarie, many processed foods have had the nutrients taken out already, thus making people more susceptible to diseases. She stated in an interview:
“The way I define them, whole foods are those that Nature provides, with all their edible parts—whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and small animal foods like eggs, seafood, small fish, and some small-sized fowl. The opposite of whole foods would be fragmented or refined foods, missing some or most of the nutrients. My assumption is that as our bodies are designed by Nature to live on the foods that Nature provides, they will detect a difference if they are given only part of those foods and then go looking for what is missing.”
In 2002, Annemarie received her doctorate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Wholistic Nutrition from the Union Institute and University after she submitted her dissertation entitled “Wholistic Nutrition: from Biochemistry to Chaos, Complexity, and Quantum Physics—applying some concepts from 20th Century science to a new understanding of how food relates to health”.
One of the people that Annemarie worked with frequently was Dr. Mehmet Oz, who was the founder of the Health Corps, a non-profit organization focused on promoting health and wellness in students. In fact, Annemarie currently serves on the Health Corps’ Board of Advisors, something that she has been greatly appreciative of. She has also volunteered her time and efforts in serving with other non-profit organizations, as proven by the interview made with her when she was asked about organizations that she could recommend:
“I am particularly fond of Health Corps, the organization founded by Mehmet Oz to bring information on health, nutrition exercise and such to high schools. I do a program on Train the Trainer for them. We also work with Project Aspire from Touro college, doing food demos in a school in Harlem. There are lots of others, as this field is becoming very popular.”
Annemarie has been married to Bernard Gavzer, a well-known journalist. Together, the couple lives happily in New York City, and have had five children and three grandchildren. Although Annemarie’s schedule has been busy due to the numerous invitations that she receive every year, she has never forgotten to give back.
Throughout the years, Annemarie has dedicated her life and efforts to helping people live healthy lives through the food that they eat. And although Annemarie encountered several obstacles along the way, it did not stop her from pursuing what she believed to be right. A lot of people today enjoy the benefits of healthy eating because of people like Annemarie, and that is what truly makes her extraordinary.
As Annemarie said in an interview:
“The ideas I have been teaching all these years are becoming more and more mainstream. In 50-100 years, the NGI may be obsolete, because by then everybody will know this information and it will be part of the zeitgeist. For our grads, as less and less people cook for themselves, and more and more eating establishments offer plant-based and healthy cuisine, I believe they will all have lots of jobs for the next 100 years or so.”
Organizations and Programmes Supported
- Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts
- Health Coprs
- What Doctors Don’t Tell You
- Source of Synergy Foundation
- Project Aspire
Awards and Achievements
- 1986: Named as a Maverick Nutritional Theorist
- 1989: Received the IACP/Seagram National Cookbook Award (The Natural Gourmet)
- 2011: Received the Fearless Food Advocate Award from the Green Guerillas
- 2002: Honorary Doctor of Interdisciplinary Studies from the Union Institute
- 2002: Honorary Doctor of Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Cincinnati
FoodandHealing.com (Annemarie Colbin Biography)
Wellness Made Natural (Dr. Annemarie Colbin: The Natural Gourmet Institute and Healing with Food)
The Huffington Post (Healing Yourself with Delicious Food: Q&A with Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D.)