Venice Nutrition's Medical Board
Leaders in their individual fields joined together to form the International Board of Nutrition and Fitness Coaching (IBNFC). The IBNFC oversees all Medical Parameters of the Venice Nutrition Program and in addition continues to add fresh, cutting edge research to each wellness presentation and program. The IBNFC also governs and confirms the validity of all testing material for each Nutrition Coach Certification. The IBNFC Board members are below:
Mark Macdonald Creator of the Venice Nutrition Program Chair of IBNFC
Mark's Bio: There is a saying that some of the greatest things in life are created out of frustration. How do we eliminate the frustration when there are so many unanswered questions regarding nutrition and health? How do we separate fact from fiction? When Mark Macdonald created The Venice Nutrition Program, he never imagined that it would revolutionize the entire nutrition and fitness industry. His goal was simply to provide people with a solution. Mark grew up tall and lanky, and like most kids, ate whatever he wanted. Adept in sports, his athletic abilities soon earned him a collegiate soccer scholarship, driving him to exercise and train for hours each day. It was during this time that he noticed his Mom struggle with her weight. He saw how she attempted diet after diet, always losing weight and then gaining back what she lost and more; her constant struggle never made sense to Mark. Why couldn’t she stay lean and healthy? Why couldn’t she eat well consistently? Was she exercising enough? Mark thought that his college education would answer these burning questions regarding nutrition. He soon realized that the educational system did not provide the answers he was looking for. He distinctly remembers speaking to one of his professors, "I was an athlete and always lean and fit. I was talking to a Registered Dietician one day and asked her how could I be considered overweight on a BMI (Body Mass Index) chart if I have never been above 10% body fat? She said the chart was not for athletes, because it does not take my lean muscle mass into account. I then asked her what I should eat and she said she didn’t know. At that moment I realized how out of touch the entire nutritional education system was. It didn’t make sense to me that there was not a philosophy or system that worked for everyone, the moms out there as well as athletes like me". Mark’s second big lesson in nutrition came when he finished college and stopped playing soccer. Despite the lack of activity, Mark continued to eat the food he was used to; fast food, pizza and ice cream. He realized that without constant exercise, his body became a fat storing machine and before he knew it, he had gained 60 pounds of body fat in a 6 month period. Mark remembers "I just thought I was putting on muscle. I remember saying to my wife Abbi, 'Can you believe I’m 250 pounds and I still have a six pack stomach?" Abbi replied, 'I love you baby but to be honest with you, I just don’t see your abs anymore!'" It was a true awakening for Mark. Mark began researching and experimenting with every diet in the industry. He thought he found the answer in the Ketogenic Diet, a high fat, high protein and no carbohydrate plan. Mark followed the Ketogenic Diet diligently and went from 250LBS, 24% body fat to 180 LBS, 4% body fat in a 4 month period and thus began his fitness modeling career. For 4 years Mark read every fitness magazine, every nutrition book and tried every natural supplement on the market. Mark remembers, "It was an interesting time, I kept searching for answers. I looked great and felt horrible. I lived for my cheat days and was grumpy 6 days a week (the days without carbohydrates) and happy one day a week (the day I ate carbohydrates). It was not the life I wanted or the life Abbi wanted. Then Abbi once again sparked the next phase of my research. Abbi told me she couldn’t live like this anymore; my obsession over my body, food and the control it had over me was putting a dent in our relationship and wasn’t healthy. She said things had to change. Abbi was, is and will always be my sounding board and voice of reason. She was absolutely right." Mark began to seriously study his medical books and research endocrinology, the nervous system and the digestive system. His research gave him a true understanding of the science of blood sugar stabilization. Mark recalls, "I was at a point in my life where I could not find the solution that would let me look great and feel great. I wanted lots of energy, I wanted to be lean, and I was sick and tired of the sugar cravings. I was truly frustrated. My college education provided me with a thorough understanding of human physiology & anatomy. The gap in this education was in the area of nutrition… I was taught very little about it. Most of the information I came to know relating to this was had to do with Body Mass Index and the food pyramid, neither of which made much sense. My years of fitness modeling taught me about starvation and deprivation – this wasn’t a healthy way to stay nutritionally sound. I decided that I should go back to the basics and study how the human body regulates and stabilizes blood sugar. I took out my medical dictionary and started reading. I realized that if the answer was going to be found, it was up to me. I took the knowledge I learned in school, my years in the fitness industry and my research on blood sugar stabilization and Venice Nutrition was born." Venice Nutrition received its name because of its location next to Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach,California, known by many as the mecca of the nutrition and fitness industry. Mark thought that he had finally discovered the answer to optimal health and well being and used his findings to create a system to teach others on how to achieve permanent results at his nutrition center. Then a defining moment occurred in his wife’s life, Abbi sustained an impact injury to her neck. The injury seemed minor at first, and slowly and surely her body began to deteriorate. Mark remembers this painful time all too well: “It seemed initially Abbi would recover in a couple of weeks. But the weeks stretched into a year and Abbi was not getting better. We saw 10 orthopedists and 3 rheumatologists. No one had an answer. She was eventually diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. She had trouble walking more than 5 minutes at a time, was in pain all of the time, and couldn’t sleep well throughout the night. The pain and frustration soon took over her life. "It was the hardest thing for me to deal with; I helped people everyday and could not help my own wife." Mark hit the books once again in attempt to discover a solution for Abbi, studying the human body in relation to sleep, psychosomatic syndrome and stress. He realized that stabilizing the blood sugar is only one part of the equation. Mark learned that sleep, nutrition, exercise, supplements, water intake, and stress all must be maintained and balanced in order to achieve optimal health. Within six months, Venice Nutrition's Body Confidence Plan was born. Abbi began implementing the Body Confidence Plan and her condition started to improve. Her comfortable days grew more frequent and her pain lessened each week. Within 6 months she was completely off medication and had her life back. Mark vividly remembers Abbi’s recovery: "I recall the tremendous relief when I realized that Abbi could live her life to the fullest again. We had thought she might never get better. Several years later she had a pain free pregnancy with our son Hunter, and we knew at this point that her body had made a full and permanent recovery. Today, she is Chief Operations Officer for Venice Nutrition, LLC. and a driving force behind our company. We are living a life now that neither of us ever thought would be possible. I thought at that moment how amazing it would be to teach everyone we could all about how to incorporate nutrition and the Body Confidence Plan into their lives. I finally found the answers I was looking for." To date, Mark has personally coached over 25,000 clients. The diversity of his clientele is amazing to say the least. Mark’s clients are young and old, healthy and unhealthy, athletes and beginners, male and female, etc… His dream of creating a nutrition system that could improve anyone's quality of life has truly been achieved. Mark knew that in order to reach the vast amount of people who needed help with nutrition to improve their quality of life, he would need to create a network of nutrition centers, a certification program to train and educate new coaches, and a software system that could be used from any computer anywhere in the world. This inspired Mark to create a Licensing Package which would achieve the goal of expansion, and provide the platform for Venice Nutrition's overall mission. Venice Nutrition launched its licensing system in 2003 and now has hundreds of Venice Nutrition Locations across the country. Also in 2003, Mark founded the IBNFC (International Board of Nutrition and Fitness Coaching). He and his team of two doctors and a registered dietician combined their years of professional expertise and knowledge of the human body to create the most dynamic nutrition certification process in the industry today. Now anyone can learn about nutrition, fitness and the science of blood sugar stabilization and find the answers that took Mark so many years to uncover. In May 2006, Mark's ultimate dream came true. He worked with the VN medical and management team to create a virtual replica of his one on one coaching system. The official launch of Venice Nutrition Online was a tremendous feat. Since then, anyone in the world has the opportunity to take a complimentary health assessment online and get immediate results, choose to enroll in the system and have a complete customized Body Confidence Plan created according to their personal nutrition and fitness goals. Venice Nutrition continues its steady growth daily with new members enrolling in every state, nutrition centers popping up nationwide, health professionals getting certified in nutrition and licensing the system as well universities inviting VN coaches to perform lecture series and corporate America enrolling in courses and programs to boost employee wellness. This tremendous growth is due to the goals and dreams of Mark Macdonald and his powerful team, and our members, who continue to spread the Venice Nutrition message of great health daily. March 2011 will be when Mark and the Venice Nutrition Community reaches the Next Level. March 29, 2011 is the Highly Anticipated World Wide release of the Venice Nutrition Book. It is time for a New Level of Thinking in the Industry. Together, Mark and the One Million Strong Venice Nutrition Community, will Lead this Change and finally provide realistic and attainable health answers and solutions for the millions of individuals who search desperately day after day. Click Here to learn about the history of Venice Nutrition.
Nicole Hilburt, MS, RD, LDN, CNSD Director of Dietetics
Nicole's Bio: When Nicole began this journey over fifteen years ago, all she knew was that she wanted to be in the health care field. She lost her mother at a young age and didn't fully understand what happened to her because at the time, Nicole was too young for any technical explanation. She felt helpless and powerless to do anything to change the outcome of that crisis. That's when she made up her mind to never again be in the dark with regard to her own health or the health of the people she cared about. Nicole chose nutrition and dietetics as her career path for two reasons: first, she wanted to gain an understanding of the general mechanisms of the human body, and specifically, the relationship of good food and good nutrition to positive health outcomes; second, she has an insatiable passion for it. She knew after she finished her first nutrition course that she had found her niche. It is an ever-changing field that offers constant stimulation and opportunity for new growth and learning. Nicole is fortunate to practice something every day that she truly enjoys. Her client's victories are also her victories, so it's always a thrill to see how she's made a difference in their lives. As a result of the education she's received and the experience she's gained, she is now in a position to offer her skills and knowledge to those who need it. For Nicole, being capable of filling the position of Director of Dietetics for the IBNFC is an honor and provides her the opportunity to help educate thousands more people each year about nutrition and fitness than she could before. view/download resume pdf >>
Dr. Steve S. Lee, DO Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine | Director of Medical Affairs
Dr. Lee's Bio: Dr. Lee has always been interested in nutrition and fitness, expressing this interest in his years as a competitive athlete and a personal trainer. He maintained this vision during his training in internal medicine, the medical specialty that focuses on several branches of medicine including cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, immunology, rheumatology, nephrology, alonside preventive medicine and health promotion. Since he became a physician, he brought his dedication to nutrition and fitness by seeking out paradigms of good health to promote in his patients. Dr. Lee received his education from Western University of Health Sciences and Loma Linda University Medical where his training in internal medicine took place then he became certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He is currently a practicing Rheumatologist/Internist at a leading medical institution and holds faculty appointments at Western University of Health Sciences and Loma Linda University School of Medicine. Dr. Lee has extensively reviewed the Venice Nutrition Program for its sound basis in medical, physiological, nutritional and scientific foundations. As he promotes great health and well-being in his patients, he continually contributes his medical expertise to the IBNFC and to its certified coaches as well as fully endorsing the principles of the system.
Dr. Bryen Bell Director of Spinal Wellness and Rehabilitation
Dr. Bell's Bio: At the age of 20, Dr. Bryen Bell faced a tragedy that forever changed his life. While playing in a competitive collegiate rugby game, he suffered a serious neck injury. When traditional doctors and medical procedures proved futile, he sought out the help of a local chiropractor. After an exam, x-rays and a series of corrective spinal adjustments, Dr. Bell’s pain, numbness and dysfunction disappeared and his health was restored again. He was amazed that his recovery was due to opening the nerve channels through corrective chiropractic adjustments and spinal alignment and thus his career path was born. Dr. Bell began his studies with an undergraduate degree from the University of Portland in Business Management (B.S.), and a Chiropractic Degree (D.C.) as well as a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology (B.S) from Cleveland Chiropractic College of Los Angeles. Today, Dr. Bell owns and operates BAC To Health Chiropractic Group of Beverly Hills and serves as the Clinic and Wellness Director. He is the founder of BACfit, an elite ergonomic program for business and corporate professionals. Dr. Bell is also the current President of the California Chiropractic Association, LA Metro Division. Additionally, he is the sixth-year Head Chiropractor for the Los Angeles Avengers of the AFL, the Team Chiropractor and Medical Director for the Angel City Derby Girls, L.A.’s premier Roller Derby Team and Ergonomic Consultant to the World Famous USC Trojan Marching Band. He has also been featured on Fine Living, the Style Network and the TLC Cable Network as one of the nations Top Health Specialists. Dr. Bell is dedicated to making non-drug solutions the first choice in health care and strives to help as many people as possible, including professional athletes to live a pain free, productive lifestyle. He is loved by his patients not only for his professionalism, but also for his warm, caring nature. Dr Bell practices with his Wife Dr. Alithea Corter-Bell in the Heart of Beverly Hills. They have a one-year-old daughter named Mikayla and another child on the way.
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