What is Nutritional Therapy?
Updated: Dec 28, 2021
I expect if I was to ask you what you think nutritional therapy is you may say it is being told to eat more kale, being told to become vegetarian or its just mumbo-jumbo quackery! What if I was to say it is the most fulfilling thing that ever happened to me. Allow me to enlighten you…
Nutritional Therapists look at each person as an individual, assessing the body as a whole & using a variety of tools to address the underlying root cause of health conditions rather than treating the symptoms. It is an evidence-based approach with the emphasis on promoting optimal health through dietary & lifestyle changes. The beauty of this holistic approach is there aren’t the side effects associated with nutritional & lifestyle therapies we experience with prescription medicine.
Anybody can benefit from nutritional therapy whether young or old, suffering a specific health complaint or just wanting to live your life potential. The ‘one size fits all’ model of medicine doesn’t make sense any more as lifestyles, environments & dietary habits have changed so much over the years. I work very closely with my clients, putting them at the centre of every key decision & every protocol I design is tailored accordingly to each client’s needs & goals.
What Can You Expect?
Prior to, & during your consultation, a thorough case history is taken, going back to your birth & even looking at the health of your family. Often, & frequently overlooked, is the part our environment plays in disease. There’s so much evidence now to show that lifestyle choices we make can influence the expression of our genes & therefore our future health. This can be fascinating as sometimes the key to how you’re feeling now could have been initiated many years ago, you just haven’t made the connection. Typically, an initial consultation will last between 60 & 90 minutes with each body system being thoroughly investigated. Sometimes, where appropriate, Practitioners may also use further diagnostic tools such as nail & tongue analysis to delve further into how our bodies are functioning. With this information we can identify potential imbalances in body systems & work on restoring these in order to bring you back to optimal health.
This is where the exciting work really begins & one you’ll play such a vital role in – your steps to wellness. Your dietary habits will have been analysed before your consultation as you’ll have been asked to complete a food diary & from this your need for macro & micro nutrients is assessed. Of course, Nutritional Therapy focuses on the medicinal power of whole foods, nutrient-dense foods & going back to basics enjoying foods in their natural, unprocessed state. Occasionally it will be necessary to advise elimination of certain challenging foods for a period of time to allow for healing. It is a common misconception that Nutritional Therapists advise restrictive diets & although this may be the case for some people who’s conditions are exacerbated by certain foods groups, the ideal is to enjoy a nourishing diet wide in variety & diversity. Certainly the way I work is to encourage people to be mindful about the food they put into their mouths & to make more healthful food choices for the benefit of their health & wellbeing.
Dietary changes will be recommended to correct any nutrient deficiencies. Do you know how many nutrients essential for the body to function optimally are depleted by medications we take without a thought? Statins, the oral contraceptive pill, proton-pump inhibitors, ibuprofen & painkillers are just a few commonly taken medications that can all lead to depleted nutrients in our body. These are nutrients that play a role in the energy production cycle, hormone & neurotransmitter synthesis or the elimination of toxins via the detoxification pathways. As you can see it really is a complex process but one that is so rewarding when you get it right.
After your consultation you will be presented with a protocol & it will be explained to you why you’re being advised to carry out certain dietary changes, often with alternative recommendations, where you can find these & how you can enjoy eating or drinking them. As you begin to make small changes in your diet the cumulative effect will often be seen in areas you may not initially expect, for example improved mood, more consistent energy levels & better quality of sleep.
Another area Nutritional Therapists will explore with you & one which works hand in hand with nutrition is lifestyle habits. After all you can have the best diet in the world but if you continue to burn the candle at both ends it really is pointless! You may be asked to consider your toxic load, meaning what level of exposure to toxins are in your environment. Could your profession be contributing to your condition, for example nail technicians, hair colourists, traffic wardens, bus drivers are all working in an environment where they are consistently exposed to toxins. Although it is often not an option for somebody to change their profession Nutritional Therapists can certainly support the body to allow for more efficient clearance of pollutants. Other lifestyle therapy suggestions may centre around appropriate exercise, relaxation techniques, self-care & emotional wellbeing.
Depending on your goals or the severity of your condition, one consultation may fulfil your requirements but it is generally the norm to have a follow-up appointment which allows us to gauge your progress, make tweaks in your protocol, assess the need for private testing or recommend supplement support. Some people prefer to work on a more long-term basis with Therapists to keep them accountable or motivated in reaching their goals. This is often achieved with regular emails or telephone contact.
Considerations When Choosing A Nutritional Therapist
So how do you choose a Nutritional Therapist when nowadays people from Personal Trainers, to anybody with a computer can take a 30 minute online course, be awarded a certificate & begin to offer nutritional advice? You should always work with a qualified, registered Practitioner to ensure you are receiving the most appropriate advice that will bring about the most desired outcomes. Training bodies to look out for are CNM, ION, CNELM, IFM & most (if not all) Nutritional Therapists will be registered with one of the professional bodies: BANT, CNHC , ANP or NNA. A further consideration is trusting & liking the Practitioner you’ll work with & most nowadays will offer a free, no-obligation discovery call which is always a good idea to take advantage of before you commit to booking a consultation.
So there you have it, a little more complex than just eating more kale but one that is extremely rewarding for both me as a Practitioner & you as a client. I’m so passionate about the life-changing benefits of Nutritional Therapy, it has worked for me & I’d love it to work for you too & hopefully (if you stuck with me to the end!) now you know a little more about what it entails.
Thanks for reading & if you have any comments I’d love to read them below