Do you know how amazing your body is designed to feel? Sadly, most of us don't... and worst of all, most don't realize that we are in control of this. We are in control of how we feel, but also how we look and perform- physically and mentally. In fact, most symptoms, disorders, and diseases can be traced back to what we put in our bodies. Put very simply, nutrition is a tool we can use to improve our lives. What we eat and how we eat it determines whether we thrive, or just survive. And when you think about it... isn't feeling good- living a long, fulfilled, happy life- the ultimate goal?
I believe that nature provides us with what we need to be healthy. Our bodies have an innate capacity to function properly, fight off illnesses, heal from sickness and injury, and be full of energy and vitality. We are meant to be strong, resilient, powerful beings. How? Our bodies are constantly working to maintain health by monitoring internal conditions- regardless of never-ending changes occurring both inside and outside of them. Collectively, these thousands of processes are summed up into one concept: homeostasis, which is what gives our bodies the power to regulate, regenerate, and repair. Homeostasis is how we achieve balance.
Our cells (the building blocks of our body) work to carry out these processes on a daily basis. Health occurs when proper cellular structure and function re expressed as optimal physical, mental, and emotional performance.Yet, cell structure and function, and ultimately our bodies' structure and function, is derived from nutrients. We have all heard the expression, "you are what you eat"- nutrients from our food literally build our bodies from the cells up. Nutrients are what give our bodies the power to run- to digest food, to eliminate waste, to make hormones, to fight pathogens, and much, much more. Good nutrition is crucial for health as cells need nutrients to not only carry out their jobs, but to maintain a healthy structure that allows nutrients in and helps get wastes out.
So when do we lose our health and vitality? When we lose our ability to properly maintain homeostasis. When we are out of balance. When our cells (for whatever reason) are not getting the nutrition they need. If the normal balance among all of the body’s processes is disrupted, the body’s internal environment becomes unstable. Any unusual change in the body- such as the presence of gut pathogens, dehydration, hormonal imbalance, high insulin, inflammation, or most importantly, stress- and cells cannot do the job they are meant to do. Therefore, organs and systems move away from healthy function, and disorder and disease set it. Health issues such as hormonal imbalances, digestive distress, blood sugar dysregulation, inflammatory diseases, autoimmune conditions, chronic diseases and many more can be traced back to some dysfunction within the body- yet function can be restored with the right nutrition!
(Read more about the philosophy I share with the NTA as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner.)
Well, what type of "diet" will I recommend for you?
A real approach...
Let's clear something up- unfortunately, the word "diet" has become synonymous with weight loss, deprivation, and hunger. Yet the true definition of the word "diet" is actually "habitual nourishment." We are not meant to restrict our food, nor deprive our bodies, which run off nutrients! Plus, there is just way too much confusing and conflicting information out there regarding what's a "healthy" dietary approach: low-fat, low-carb, vegan, pescatarian, calorie-counting, everything in moderation, high protein, ketogenic, and more! There are a million diet plans promising quick results- three week "fixes," body wraps, detox drinks, meal replacement shakes and bars, and pills that promise to burn fat, stop hunger, and even block absorption of calories (come on, really?)
But none of these things actually work!Why? Because none are getting to the root cause of the problem. None are designed to nourish your body. None are sustainable for the long-term. None are promoting health and vitality from the inside out. And none are actually enjoyable!
My focus, when customizing your diet, is on the latter, original definition of "diet": nourishing your body, giving it what it needs to function properly, in the way that is best for you. I don't promote anything that isn't natural or goes against the proper workings of the body. Instead of focusing on what you need to eliminate, I focus on what you need to add to your diet, to enhance your health. Instead of negativity, my approach is positive: what can you give your body each day in order to be your healthiest self? And how can you make your "diet" work for you, given your unique biology, circumstances, situation, preferences, and goals?
As Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I do more than just tell you what to eat and what to avoid. I don't tell you this food is "bad" and this one is "good." Yes, finding out just what foods are right for you is crucial for success, and this is where I specialize. However I do this a bit differently than most nutrition professionals- I work like a detective to find unique nutritional needs by pinpointing imbalances and deficiencies, and helping my clients support those issues with nutrition. For each person to be successful, this will be highly individual. We also focus greatly on the "how" of eating- the ways in which you consume food have a direct impact on your health.
Along the way, I aim to always educate you about your body and about nutrition- what food really is, how your body uses it, and how you can use it as a tool to reach your goals. I work to empower my clients to take control over their own health, while guiding them in the right direction. Education and support are necessary to having the knowledge, tools, and skills to live healthfully; this is where my role is important. I am determined to provide my clients with the facts- about nutrition and how our bodies function and dysfunction- so that they are able to make the best, most educated decisions about their lifestyle and health.
To real food...
So what is the answer? What is going to help us feel, look, and be our healthiest, happiest selves? Real, unprocessed, natural food- the best way to eliminate the stressors on your body and provide it with the nutrition it needs to thrive. It's actually fairly simple: food that is mostly unprocessed and closest to its whole state is richest in nutrition. Our bodies recognize it as food, as fuel, as nourishment. Processed foods are dead foods, void of nutrients. They interfere with our physiology. They rob our bodies of nutrition, confuse our systems, and lead to degeneration and dysfunction. The foundations of my philosophy therefore lie in real food: whole, nutrient-dense, minimally processed, properly-prepared foods. No gimmicks. No shakes or pills. No frozen fat-free meals. Just real, natural, wholesome food.
For real life...
Here's my favorite part: Although I am a believer in real food, for each individual, the right diet will be different. What one body recognizes as nourishing, another body can recognize as a toxin. While there are certainly foods that are health-promoting and foods that are inflammatory for all people, ultimately, no two individuals are the same. Regardless of what we have been told, there truly is no single way of eating that works perfectly for everyone. Diets are highly bio-individual- they are based on your environment, ancestral background, preferences, stress load, organ functioning, and most importantly, your body's unique physiology.
I work utilizing this concept of bio-individuality: each one of us has a unique physiology that requires a personalized approach. Nutrition needs are different for each person, and actually change from time to time depending on a number of factors.As a result, the foods I will recommend for you will be highly personalized. How many calories do you need to eat? How much protein/fat/carbohydrate do you need? Are you obtaining enough B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc... (the list goes on and on)? Are certain foods causing inflammation in your body? Is your body capable of digesting, absorbing, and utilizing all of your nutrients? How can you know all of this?Together, we figure it all out.
My outlook and expectations are not unreasonable- I'm never going to tell you to give up your favorite foods, forever, without reason. My aim is education- find what your body needs, show you why, and teach you how to eat the way your body wants you to- but also creating a sustainable plan- one that not only works to help you reach your goals, but one that you can follow for the rest of your life. Consuming foods that are appropriate for you is critical to feeling, looking, and being your healthiest self, but enjoying what you eat and having a healthy relationship with food is important as well. Therefore, I work to help my clients with whatever they need to do so- whether it be recipes, grocery shopping help, or and meal planning assistance. While we will work to support the body through nutrition, we also will focus on finding your individual food balance- not only one that makes you feel your best physically, but also emotionally and socially.