Holistic Nutrition & Cooking Year

Course Overview

This Holistic Nutrition & Cooking Year course provides high quality training in holistic nutrition, physical and emotional healing and whole foods cooking. It includes the study of Oriental philosophy and medicine, body work, emotional healing and personal development and lots of cooking classes with a completion certificate.


The IMS’s professional training is divided into three parts:

  • Year 1 – Holistic Nutrition & Cooking Year (foundational studies).
  • Year 2 – Health Coach Year (qualify in three healing arts – Health Coach, Whole Foods Chef & Wellbeing Shiatsu).

  • Year 3 – Macrobiotic Health Consultant Year (qualify as an accredited Macrobiotic Health Consultant & Medicinal Cook)

The dual purpose of this first year is to support our students in creating a solid understanding of their own health and healing needs whilst simultaneously allowing them to step into creating a new career.

This is an exciting year where you can expect to experience changes in your own physical and emotional health. This is the first of two years to qualify as a Health Coach, Whole Foods Chef and a Wellbeing Shiatsu Practitioner. It is also a pre-requisite for those wanting to go on to become a Macrobiotic Health Consultant.

“The empowerment and self-awareness I gained during these years have made me a new, happier person. It is a life changing programme, and a very nourishing experience “

Silvia Bifaro – London plant-based chef and food styler (salvialimone.com)

What You’ll Get

At the end of the Holistic Nutrition & Cooking Year you will receive a Certificate showing that you have studied macrobiotic approaches to health and healing, macrobiotic cooking, Do-in exercise and the meridian system, listening and basic emotional supportive skills.

Continuing onto the Health Coach Year you will gain professional qualifications in three healing arts – as a Health Coach, Whole Food Chef and Wellbeing Shiatsu Practitioner. We then have a Macrobiotic Health Consultant Year giving a very thorough training in giving individual health consultations to help people recover from a very wide range of illnesses and problems, and give deep life guidance.

After gaining qualifications from the school at the end of the second and third year courses, you can gain accreditation with the Macrobiotic Association and enter its professional register.

In 2018 the International Macrobiotic School had its training and assessments ratified by the Macrobiotic Association. This means that its second and third year graduates are exempted from the Macrobiotic Association theory and cooking exams, and only need to sit an interview.

Why Study Macrobiotics & Oriental Medicine with IMS?

  • We use a person-centred approach with an emphasis on embodied nutrition and the health and deep transformation of our students.
  • Solid, in-depth training and practice-oriented study leading to confident and successful practitioners.
  • We keep our student numbers small to guarantee high quality care, support and mentoring to support students in their personal growth, learning and professional development.
  • We offer a transformative, holistic approach which includes the study of life on a physical, energetic, emotional, mental and spiritual level.
  • Excellent advanced & post graduate studies for continuous professional development.
  • Flexible, lifelong learning with options to study online or in person.

You will be taught by a team of teachers led by Oliver Cowmeadow who has over 40 years experience of teaching as well as guiding thousands of students and clients towards greater health and is one of the country’s leading practitioners of macrobiotics. Find out more about Oliver and the other teachers for this course here.

Other members of the team have all studied the full training at the school, and have gained wide practical experience through their own professional practice.

Prerequisites for IMS’s Holistic Nutrition & Cooking Year

The main requirement is a basic knowledge of macrobiotics and an enthusiasm for studying and practising this holistic approach to eating and living.

If you are not familiar with macrobiotics, please take a look at our home study course Macrobiotics Made Easy. This will give you a simple idea of what macrobiotics is about. If you purchase this course and decide to go on to join the Holistic Nutrition & Cooking Year course, you will get the full £95 deducted from your course fees.

“The training offered at the International Macrobiotic School is unique in that it integrates emotional healing along with the physical, mental and spiritual levels. It provided a deeply held support structure for me to develop personally in order to take this level of healing out in the world on a professional level.”

Melanie – yoga Instructor, cooking teacher, and macrobiotic nutritional consultant based in Hertfordshire (nourishinglife.org.uk)

Course times, fees & booking


Next residential course runs from October 2024 to May 2025 (course code 10.24.1)
Next online/intensive will begin in February 2025 (course code 02.25.1).


The course fee for the online/intensive is £2995.00, and for the residential course £3,900. A deposit of £750 is payable to secure your place. The course fee includes all teaching, course materials, small group tutorials, and three meals each day.

We frequently get couples, good friends, and sometimes mothers and daughters or sons joining our Foundation Year Course. To make this easier financially we offer a 25% reduction for the second person. This reduces the residential course fees for the second person from the usual fee of £3,900 to £2925, saving £975, with 10 monthly instalments of £222.50.

The Online/Intensive course fees drop from £2,995 to £2246.25, saving £937.50 with 10 monthly instalments of £154.62 (after paying your £750 deposit and adding a £50 administration fee for paying by instalments).

If you want to use this joint discount, please complete two application forms below for our Holistic Nutrition & Cooking Year and contact the school office to ask for this discount.


We have three accommodation options on site, please email us to request accommodation and prices.

Course syllabus

Cancellation Policy

All courses and accommodation are subject to the school cancellation policy, which includes changing dates. Please click here for details before booking.

Apply or find out more

To secure your place, complete the Holistic Nutrition & Cooking Year Application Form. If you’d like more information, or to arrange a meeting with a teacher before applying, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

“The school enabled me to realise a path with natural food cuisine and expand health for many others, which is hugely fulfilling for me!”

Anna Freedman – author of Pure Baby and founder of London cookery school Wholefood Harmony.

Meet our graduates

Our graduates have created successful businesses, using their cooking, health coaching, teaching and health counselling skills. Here is what a few of them are up to in their new careers.

Gilly Webber – proprietor at Hut Therapy (Bed & Wholefood Breakfast).

“The school’s course revolutionised my approach to food. It elevated my understanding of food and cooking and my skill level immeasurably. I have mastered how to create a balanced plate of food using the Five Elements – a plate that is delicious and satisfying to eat, visually attractive, and leaves my guests smiling after they have left the table.

However, this course is definitely not just about food – I made valuable connections at a physical, emotional and spiritual level during my time in Devon, and whilst previously I had led my life in a fragmented way, I was helped to reconnect and live my life in a healthier, more authentic way. The philosophical teachings, specifically the 12 macrobiotic principles, have given me a much broader context with which to live life, to view change as a force for good (rather than fear) and have given me the tools for living a bigger, more fulfilled life.”

Hut Therapy is an unusual B&B serving macrobiotic quality whole food at East Chiltington, a small, rural hamlet at the foot of the South Downs in the South Downs National Park.

Bini Sharman – Macrobiotic natural foods chef, nutritional consultant, and shiatsu therapist.

“Coming from a background as a chef, this training programme helped to expand my repertoire in holistic vegan cooking. I discovered tremendous variety in cooking with whole foods, learning how to use every bean, grain, and protein that exists. I also enjoyed mastering the art of making quality vegan sweets and treats. It has been so exciting for me to work with the Five Transformations and discover how to combine them to create nourishing tasty food. Balancing different ingredients for optimal nutrition, I adjust meals according to the seasons and the local availability of fresh ingredients.

On a more personal level, I was also able to connect more with who I am, discover my talents, find ways to deal with my emotional challenges and grow in confidence. Studying at the International Macrobiotic School helped me to continue on the path I wanted to take and establish myself in my life and profession.”

Currently based in the Netherlands, Bini supports individuals and groups that want to make healthy changes in their lives. She also offers holistic health retreats in France and the Netherlands, providing introductory courses to macrobiotic cooking and theory, and as a retreat chef at Puyssentut centre for people dealing with or recovering from cancer.
Bini has recently developed her own line of Bini’s Balls, bite-sized healthy snacks, which she sells in health food shops in the Netherlands and ships on-demand.

More from our current & past students

Training pathway