First and foremost, What is Nutritional Therapy?
Nutritional Therapy is an evidence-based approach to maximizing one’s health potential though individually formulated nutritional and lifestyle changes.
My (peasant) definition:
Nutritional therapy focuses on the link between overall health and diet – identifying the root cause of health issues.
For example: Say you’re suffering from chronic fatigue. As a nutritional therapist, the goal is to discover the root cause of the issue (no treatments, no administering medications, no diagnosing) – fatigue could be caused by food sensitivities or a blood sugar imbalance, or perhaps caused by an under-active thyroid or adrenal imbalance.
Work is done with lifestyle and diet changes to reprogram the body’s system. Since no one person is alike, there is no one-size-fits-all approach – which is what makes nutritional therapy unique …. And sometimes controversial (more on this later).
Why Nutritional Therapy?
Being raised in a pretty holistic household, (my dads a chiropractor), conventional medicine was rarely a part of my treatments for childhood sickness. (I can count on one hand the amount of times I was taken to a family-care physician.) I grew up with a father who’d have fresh cut fruit, supplements and a glass of water waiting for me in the morning and a mom who’d make most meals from real, whole ingredients. Granted, this is not to say I ate this way indefinitely. Believe me, I ate a lot of TacoBell and pizza; and lunches in high school usually included a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cosmic brownie, Doritos and a water. Although I was stubborn to it, the foundation was there; and ignorance would never be a viable excuse for my health.
Fast forward to college, where my diet went out the window. Consuming mostly carbs and vodka, I was destroying my body from the inside out. Luckily for me, I was running track at the time and didn’t physically feel the side effects. But what I didn’t realize at the time was how my performance was suffering due to the “fuel” I was consuming (think: honey buns, fried chicken and burritos).
After my sophomore year of college, my track career ended. Unfortunately, the eating (and drinking) habits did not. I gained a solid amount of weight and felt like complete shit. Around this same time, I started experiencing severe fatigue and skin issues. After a handful of incorrect diagnosis, I caved and made my way to an allergist, where I was told I was allergic to gluten and dairy. Fun times. This prompted a “give me all the knowledge” saga and thus, the story officially began.
From self-diagnosing, researching, learning and constantly tweaking and improving my diet, I was fascinated. Everything about it intrigued me and I wanted to learn as much as I could… I started feeling great. Friends and family noticed and began asking questions and seeking out help. At the time, I passed on a lot of articles and links. But I wasn’t satisfied.
Which brings me to present day. For the last year, I’ve been throwing around the idea of starting a nutrition program – not only to further my education and knowledge base, but also to be able to work with people to functionally improve their health from the inside out. Then one fateful day, I contacted a therapist and asked to meet for coffee. To my surprise, she agreed. So, I got in my car, drove two and a half hours and had one of the most compelling, passionate conversations with a complete stranger…. And everything clicked (thank you, Rachel!). From that moment, I kind of knew it was what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be.
Back to this question: Why is it controversial?
to keep it real…
There’s no hiding it. It comes from a very unorthodox approach for starters. It’s also not yet regulated or protected by law. And in some states, Nutritional Therapists are unable to perform individualized counseling.
NTP’s can and do work in the health coaching arena or practice under a primary-care physician (all of which is totally acceptable). And of course, a big component is to spread the word and educate people – blog, write, publish nutritional content.
I know it’s a risk – but the biggest risks often produce the greatest rewards.
The start of my journey
The flexible plan is to start the program on February 22. Upon graduating, the hope is to a.) Work directly and complementary with a primary-care physician b.) Educate and inform the community c.) Develop a more robust online presence for enlightening those on nutrition and wellness — of course I’ll be sharing my journey and learning’s as I go along. Stay tuned!
Post is based off my personal opinion. I understand and acknowledge the need for clinical/medical attention is warranted for specific conditions and health issues.
The information on my blog is not intended for personal or medical diagnosis or treatment and is offered as general information only. Please consult your medical doctor if you have direct concerns about your health or specific health issues.