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Academy of Culinary Nutrition Review

Below are my thoughts on becoming a Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert, or CNE. If you’re interested in the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, you can learn more about it here.

Academy of Culinary Nutrition Review & Culinary Nutrition Expert Program |

The last four or so months have been a whirlwind, with much of my time spent working towards becoming a Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert (CNE) through Meghan Telpner’s Academy of Culinary Nutrition.

Prior to enrolling in the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, I had been searching for several years for a program that would allow me to improve my abilities in the kitchen, but with a main focus on plant-based eating for health. That is surprisingly difficult to find, and I was only able to locate two schools in the entire country that had offerings I would consider. The problems though, were that they required moves out of Boston (one of them was cross-country), they were extremely expensive (like $30k+/year), and they would have likely required that I give up my day job to do them. I did ultimately give up my day job for other reasons, but I would not have been able to do that and pay tens of thousands in tuition.

Needless to say, I was so thrilled to find the Academy of Culinary Nutrition and the Culinary Nutrition Expert program. I already knew from reading UnDiet that I liked Meghan Telpner’s passionate approach to food and life, I could take the classes from home and on my own schedule, it was vegan-friendly (though not strictly vegan), and the price was really reasonable at under $3,000. Yes, that’s still an investment, but when I think about everything that was included, it’s actually a steal.

What the 3.5 month Culinary Nutrition Expert program looks like:

  • Weekly reading assignments from UnDiet (having already read this, it was a refresher for me)
  • Weekly live 1 – 1.5 hour classes with Meghan and frequent guest experts (recorded in case you can’t make the live class)
  • 1 recipe assignment/week (usually 2-3 recipes) with photos and a write-up
  • 1 more involved written assignment (like designing a 5-day meal plan around a certain condition, developing a food philosophy, putting together a cooking class or workshop, among others)
  • A weekly pre-recorded video workshop (ranging from 1.5 to 4+ hours) with handouts and a quiz
  • Home study to be completed by the end of the program, with 3 books to read and review, 3 films to watch and review, and 2 events to attend and review (Meghan requires some books, but offers a suggested list for the others, or you can always choose your own and run it by your TA)
  • A Get that Biz Rocking all-day workshop and a Make It Happen goal-achievement 1.5 hour workshop (both online and recorded if you’re not able to make the live workshops)

It’s quite a bit of work, but it’s spaced out in a manageable way so that even if you are working full-time and/or you have kids and other obligations that take priority, you can do the program around your schedule. I also appreciated that small groups of us were assigned to TAs (all wonderful and responsive), and there’s a private Facebook group where I always knew I could turn for support. Both the Facebook group and the workshops and handouts have lifetime access, which is awesome for continued support and reference. I still rely on the Academy of Culinary Nutrition Facebook group today.

My biggest takeaways from the Academy of Culinary Nutrition:

I’m the type of person who’s naturally self-motivated and always learning on my own, and having been blogging for several years now, I feel like I went into the CNE program with a solid grasp on recipe development and an understanding of the benefits of whole foods, plant-based eating. I personally didn’t get a ton out of the recipe assignments, and honestly, sometimes I resented having to follow them (just a little) because I’ve become a bit of a brat in the kitchen, wanting to do my own thing. That said, someone who’s newer to cooking and plant-based eating will learn a lot. Meghan’s recipes are simple and approachable, and nearly every ingredient in her meals is there to be health-supportive.

Academy of Culinary Nutrition Review & Culinary Nutrition Expert Program |

Where I did learn quite a bit was in simply doing the written assignments and seeing which felt exciting and effortless, and which less so and more like work. I also thought the Biz Rocking and Make It Happen workshops were excellent. Meghan is again, so passionate, open, and honest in sharing what’s worked for her and what hasn’t, and her advice, in particular, about identifying areas of personal brilliance and being bold and authentic, really resonated with me. She talks a lot about doing the things that give us boundless energy and joy and not forcing ourselves to trudge through work that we feel like we should be doing. It may sound like stating the obvious, but sometimes we need to be told to have fun!

By far, Meghan is the star of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition and the Culinary Nutrition Expert program—she was born to be a teacher. My most favorite classes were those she taught with clinical nutritionist, Josh Gitalis, who happens to be her husband. Josh has a more science-based approach and the two work off of each other’s energy perfectly (they are also a riot!).

What’s next?

Academy of Culinary Nutrition Review & Culinary Nutrition Expert Program |

I’m someone who struggles with clarity in knowing what I want to do, because I have to make a conscious effort not to do what’s put in front of me or most practical, if those are not things that really excite me. The Academy of Culinary Nutrition and CNE program gave me the insight I needed, but more than that, the confidence to charge ahead and not be afraid to pursue or ask for what I want. I look forward to continuing my education through The Academy of Culinary Nutrition and I now have a strategy in place to reach my goals. Exciting things ahead!

If you’re interested in signing up for the CNE program, you can do so here, and I would love it if you mentioned my name as your referral. xo Amanda


Leave a Comment

  1. Lyn McCormick says

    Hi Amanda,
    I’ve been enjoying your blog for quite some time, I’m a bit of a lurker, I’m afraid! I’ve looked at this program before and wondered what it might be a springboard for, aside from personal knowledge/growth. Any thoughts on that?

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Lyn! I’m glad you de-lurked. 😉 As Meghan would say, the sky is the limit for what you can do with the program! After completing the program you would be fully qualified to run cooking classes, teach cooking at community centers, youth centers, schools, etc., create customized and balanced meal plans with specific conditions in mind, cook/cater private dinners, events, or execute a meal delivery service, develop recipes, develop cookbooks, assist in research on food/nutrition topics, test recipes, host community dinner parties, or go on to become a better nutritionist, dietitian, naturopath, doctor, etc. Feel free to email me if you have specific questions or ideas in mind of what you would hope to do and I can give my input, or I can put you in touch with someone from the program.

    2. Amanda says

      Also, if you scroll down on this page of the ACN website, there’s a green button to download the course curriculum. That provides a ton of info (46 pages!) that will give you a really accurate idea of what to expect. It’s a very well-thought-out course.

      1. Lyn says

        Thanks for that in-depth response! I guess what I was wondering was if the certification you get from this program is Megan’s certification, or if it’s part a nationally recognized certification. For example, if I took yoga teacher training at a recognized studio, I’m qualified to teach yoga anywhere. I’m not sure I’m explaining myself well…

      2. Amanda says

        Hi Lyn! I’ve copied this from the ACN FAQ page:

        This program grants you the certification as a Culinary Nutrition Expert, which enables you to practice as a Culinary Nutrition Expert. There are no government certifying bodies or regulation boards of any kind in Canada or the US that govern nutritionists whether they attended a holistic nutrition school, integrative nutrition school, natural nutrition college or natural chef’s college. There is only regulation on university degree-level dietetics programs. At this time, this program does not fall within the professional guidelines as set by self-run, self-governed professional groups, and Meghan Telpner Inc. has chosen to stop pursuing this avenue as our students’ success after completing this program proved that such associations were unnecessary for professional success and credibility as a Culinary Nutrition Expert.

        I would recommend reaching out to Jaclyn for further information if you need it:

        Hope this helps!

      3. Lyn says

        Thanks, that answers it perfectly, and makes me feel a bit of a slacker for not searching that out myself!
        I look forward to hearing about your future plans!

  2. Caitlin says

    congratulations, amanda! i am so happy for you. the program sounds wonderful and i cannot wait to see what you decide to do with your certification.

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you, Caitlin! xo

  3. Kait says

    “I now have a strategy in place to reach my goals. Exciting things ahead!”

    You big tease you… 😉

    In other words: congrats! Isn’t it the best when you find a program that gets you and is just what you needed right then? Mmmmmm I’m relishing in the mere memory of such experiences. They are so wonderful…its like that saying about the people you need showing up but only when you’re ready to receive them.

    1. Amanda says

      Well, I have to keep a bit of mystery, no? 😉 I’ll be sharing more as things happen.
      That saying you reference was so true for me this week. It’s a great feeling for sure.

  4. Sounds interesting. Congrats on your new cert! xo

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Susan! xo

  5. Jess says

    I finally got around to reading your review of the course. First of all, congratulations on getting through it all! But really, what I’m most excited for is to see what exciting surprises you’ve got on the horizon! 😀

    1. Amanda says

      Aww, thank’s Jess! xo

  6. Shelley says

    Hi I just came across your beautiful and inspiring blog but I was really interested in reviews from this program! I’m on a journey just to be a healthier me and I’d like to share anything I’ve learnt with others whether blogging or teaching! I’m really interested in how the program enhanced your brand! I’m not a foodie and I can’t say I really love cooking (problem one in my health struggle) so I’m wondering if this is for me! At the same time who knows I might get into the groove of things and realize that it’s easier than I thought! So I guess I’m asking if it helped you; do still use your knowledge from this program? I know it’s a stupid weird question but I wanted to know how things turned out 2 years later! Thanks!

    1. Hey Shelley! I just sent you an email with my thoughts (all good!). 🙂


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