Online Course | The 12 Steps to Wholesome Nutrition



The 12 Steps to Wholesome Nutrition course is a no-nonsense educational approach to food, nutrition, and lifestyle. It is not a ‘diet’, but a powerful transition into a cleaner, healthier way of eating for the rest of your life. With a strong focus on your genetic uniqueness, we will guide you towards self-empowerment, as opposed to being reliant on a particular product or programme.


  • Participants will have access to a full spectrum of nutritious foods without unnecessary restrictions
  • Your experience will change the way you think about and relate to food and your daily living, and it is entirely unique to you
  • Undertaking this course will represent a sizeable step forwards towards a state of personal health, fitness, and vitality

Course layout

  • 30 to 45 minute 'live' presentation, expanding out on a chapter of Wholesome Nutrition 
  • 15 to 30-minute guest 'live' presentation
  • A recipe for the video demonstration
  • 30 to 45 min interview with an expert, discussing a relevant theme
  • A PDF worksheet that consolidates your learning for that step
  • A 'homework' exercise that expands your personal knowledge and experience from the step 

Step 1 | Individuality

The course will begin with a brief look at historical patterns of eating and understanding that food consumed depended on where you lived and hence your ethnic origins. 

Discussion of the main messages of Dr Roger Williams, who was the modern father of the concept Biochemical Individuality. 

Nutrigenomics and it’s modern impact on self-understanding of nutritional and health needs that are unique to you.

Within a dietary perspective, we’ll ask you where you lie on the low-carb high-fat to low-fat high-carb continuum (the shades of grey as we call it), plus what your unique health requirements might be. Genetic testing will be an optional extra at this stage.

GUEST SPEAKER | Dr Daniel Meyersfeld from DNAlysis Biotechnology genetics lab in Johannesburg, who tells us more about the genetics of health. 

INTERVIEW | Dr Yael Joffe from the CTG Centre for Translational Genomics in Cape Town. Her topic is on nutrigenomics.

RECIPE - Rachel Jesson demonstrates Super green juice

Step 2 | Beyond Calories

We’ll look at the dusty old paradigm of calories in vs. calories out and explain how the human body has no respect for such a simple model and how in many cases, it just does not work.

We’ll then go into all the various aspects of physiology that can influence weight management, including: hormone balance (such as insulin, estrogen, stress and thyroid hormones); detoxification (including the role of toxicity); exercise choices; sleep and genetic influences.

GUEST SPEAKER | A client of Ian's who successfully reversed himself out of a debilitating autoimmune disease by careful attention to his nutrition.

INTERVIEW | Dr Debbie Smith from Point of Origin in Johannesburg, who is a homeopath and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner. She talks about the complexities of health that we don't engage in with our simple calorie thinking.

RECIPE | Rachel Jesson demonstrates activated nuts.

Step 3 | The Facts about Fat

  • An explanation of bad fats, where they come from, what negative effect they have on your body and how to avoid them.
  • An explanation of good and essential fats, where they come from and ideas on how to incorporate them into your diet.
  • Balancing omega 3 and 6 fats to buffer inflammation in the body.
  • High fat versus high carb diets for sports.
  • Using this new fat information to tweak your diet that you set up at step 2.

GUEST SPEAKER | Stacey Holland, presenter of Real Health TV programme on the Home Channel. She talks about her own health journey. 

INTERVIEW | Hannah Kaye, a nutritional therapist from, who specialises in children's health, talks about food and mental health.

RECIPE | Rachel Jesson demonstrates sauerkraut.

Step 4 | The Cut on Carbs

  • An explanation of bad carbs, where they come from, what negative effect they have on your body and how to avoid them.
  • A review of insulin resistance and diabetes and the relationship with carbs in the diet.
  • Examples of good quality foods that are high in carbs and an explanation of their role in your diet.
  • Glycemic index and glycemic load as an aid to understanding the sugary effect of a food on your body.
  • Using this new carb information to tweak your diet that you set up in step 2.

GUEST SPEAKER | General practitioner Dr Leigh Wallace, from 247 GP, talks about the evolution of her clinical practice from conventional medicine into functional medicine. 

INTERVIEW | Antonia De Luca, owner of Leafy Greens café, talks about the benefits of including raw and highly nutritious food choices in your diet.

RECIPE | Rachel Jesson demonstrates stocks.

Step 5 | Powerful Protein 

  • An explanation of all the important jobs that protein does in your body.
  • Examples of good quality foods that are high in protein.
  • A discussion of meat-eating versus vegetarianism or veganism.
  • Required protein quantities for healthy eating and for sports.
  • Protein supplements - friend or foe?
  • Using this new protein information to tweak your diet that you set up during step 2.

GUEST SPEAKER | Nicci Robertson, a nutritional therapist from Reinvent Health in Johannesburg, talks about her three completely free ways of improving your health.

INTERVIEW | Craig Norman, gym owner and specialist in personal fitness training from Body Elite in Stellenbosch, talks about the role of protein in our bodies and he offers many other nuggets of health and fitness advice.

RECIPE| Rachel Jesson demonstrates Boerewors and vegetable soup.

Step 6 | Food Sensitivities 

  •  An explanation of food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities.
  • A modern-day trend among health-conscious: gluten-free. But is it necessary?
  • Dairy - should adult humans be consuming it, its effects on our health, and fermented alternatives.
  • Digestive health - understanding the relationship between gut health and immune health and how it can cause us to react to fairly innocuous foods.
  • Identifying food irritations through elimination-challenge testing or lab testing, which would be an optional extra at this stage.
  • Food substitution ideas and further tweaking of your diet.

GUEST SPEAKER | Dr Debbie Smith from Point of Origin in Johannesburg, who is a homeopath and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, talks about food sensitivities from a fascinating Chinese Medicine perspective. 

INTERVIEW | Sedrick Theodosiou, Master NLP coach and practitioner in Johannesburg from Inspiritū-NLP, talks to us about the behavioural aspects of health from a psychological perspective.

RECIPE | Rachel Jesson demonstrates chocolate mousse.

Step 7 | From Soil to Plate

  • An explanation of commercial farming versus organic farming in all its various forms.
  • Local is lekker - reasons why local is so much better for us and our environment.
  • Identifying toxic chemicals in our food and understanding their impact on our health.
  • After the knowledge you have just received, you will obviously be encouraged to upgrade your food sourcing.

GUEST SPEAKER | Debbie Loggan, owner of Organic Emporium food shop in Johannesburg, talks to us about farming practices and the sourcing of our food. 

INTERVIEW | We visit Debbie Loggan's shop, Organic Emporium, to delve deeper into the all-so-important topic of food quality.

RECIPE | Rachel Jesson demonstrates Goji berry balls.

Step 8 | A Review of Popular Diets

  • This step consists of an exploration of several dietary approaches that exist today, with a strong discussion of pros and cons of each approach.
  • The ultimate outcome of this discussion is to expand your understanding of your own self, so that you can make very informed decisions in the future around which dietary books you may buy and be influenced by. 
  • You will be recommended to interview a family member or to consult Dr Google with regards to your family's historical eating patterns.

GUEST SPEAKER | Dr Simon Lawson, chiropractor, views health from the perspective of our nervous system. 

INTERVIEW | Heidi de Preez, from Natural Nutrition in Cape Town, is a Professional Food Scientist, who shares her clinical pearls of wisdom for the bases of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

RECIPE | Rachel Jesson demonstrates baby marrow hummus.

Step 9 | Lifestyle and Exercise

  • A review of typical South African lifestyle patterns that may impede our health and weight management, with stress as the central focus.
  • The benefits of exercise, exercise as an absolute health requirement, plus some balanced exercise suggestions.
  • The negative health ramifications of excessive exercise.
  • Balancing fight-or-flight responses with relax and repair restoration, and discussion of the yin-yang concept.
  • The role of sleep in a healthy body and mind. 

GUEST SPEAKER | Yoga instructor, Dave Gardner from, talks to us about the gears of life and how we should return to 'neutral' often.

INTERVIEW | Exercise physiologist Zac van Heerden, from Exercise Solutions in Johannesburg, delves into the technology side of coaching and training.

RECIPE | Rachel Jesson demonstrates Kefir.

Step 10 | Mindful Eat

  • Behavioural changes, such as eating better food and exercising more or less, requires a psychological shift, often away from cultural habituation.
  • The forgotten arts of intuition is a sense worth reigniting, because our body knows what it needs to eat even if our mind does not.
  • Mindfulness practices around your eating, especially when it comes to improving digestion and being more successful with your weight management goals.
  • The limitations of science. 

GUEST SPEAKER | Peri Zourides, from the Seven Star Energy Centre in Johannesburg, demonstrates his very healthy App called Just a Mindful Minute (JAMM). 

INTERVIEW | Yoga instructor, Dave Gardner from, expands on some daily mindful practices for an improved relationship with your food and your health.

RECIPE | Rachel Jesson demonstrates a snack pack.

Step 11 | Supplements

  • Nutrition supplements – do we really need them while eating a healthy balanced diet?
  • Genetic imbalances and individual nutrient needs, as opposed to what science might tell us we need.
  • Supplement quality - selection of good quality supplements, plus types of supplements: traditional vitamins and minerals versus food extracted superfoods. 
  • Health scenarios that might lead you to use supplements.
  • Use a questionnaire to come up with your unique nutrient needs based on your current health symptoms.

GUEST SPEAKER | Jeanne van Zyl, a dietary educator from Beautiful Balance, shares her expansive knowledge of nutritional supplementation with us. 

INTERVIEW | Tom Sheehy, natural health practitioner from Natural Health 21 in Cape Town, goes back in time to unravel some of the modern misconceptions about how we should be eating. 

RECIPE | Rachel Jesson demonstrates peanut butter smoothie.

Step 12 | Putting it all Together

  • Principles of healthy behaviours, reviewing the main points from previous steps – eating, lifestyle and exercise.
  • A discussion of what life changes are required to move towards vibrant health.
  • Notes on how to adjust these ideas based on individual health, genetic, ethical and exercise needs. 
  • Construct a mind map for yourself based on your unique take-home learnings from this course.

GUEST SPEAKER | Steph, one of the original students from the live 12 Steps course, sums up her personal learnings from her 12 weeks of progressive learning. 

INTERVIEW | Rachel Jesson, co-author of Wholesome Nutrition and co-founder of this course, gives her two-pence worth before we say goodbye to you.

RECIPE | Rachel Jesson demonstrates a frittata.


  • FREE BOOK: Additionally, South African participants (within easy courier reach) will receive a free hard copy of Wholesome Nutrition. Alternatively, you will receive a free copy of the Wholesome Nutrition e-book. On completion of the course, you will also receive a 12 Steps to Wholesome Nutrition certificate from the Nutritional Institute. 
  • A course that empowers you to stand in the centre of your daily health choices.

Pair with these tests

To find out about your unique genetic variations and/or biochemistry for insulin sensitivity and/or cardiometabolic syndrome; we recommend doing one of these lab tests: