If you ask me what Nutritional Therapy is, then the standard answer is – it’s about working with people’s nutrition to help them support their bodies in maintaining or achieving optimal health. Supporting the body through healthy nutrition enables the body to do its own normalizing and to regain its balance.
If you ask me what nutritional therapy is for me, well then, the answer must be – lots more than just that.
Let me paint you a scenario. Let’s just imagine for a minute you live a fairly normal life. You’re under a lot of pressure at work, and things at home don’t look much better. You hardly have time for yourself, you eat late at night, then convince yourself the gym will wait for tomorrow but the telly won’t, so you sink in front of it with a bottle of beer or a chocolate bar to forget about it all. You sleep badly, wake up once or twice (especially between 2-4am), and get up in the morning feeling tired and unrefreshed. You need to get into gear and rush to work, so there’s not really enough time to go to the toilet – never mind, it’ll wait for later. You grab whatever food you can whenever you can, and often skip meals, because there’s just no time to go out and get one. You’re over-weight, but manage to disguise it quite well, especially from yourself. You can’t concentrate very well, don’t really feel motivated, tend to be forgetful (and blame it on age) and slump seriously around 3pm; but, then, you’d happily spend a large part of your day asleep anyway. You’re just so tired. You get rid of headaches with a pill, and take a diuretic for constipation. You get nasty, big time colds too often for your liking, but nothing much helps. Everyone, including you, puts it down to stress. You’re under par. That’s just what life is like today.
good nutritional therapy is about understanding your personal puzzle, making sense of it and re-arranging your diet (and sometimes other puzzle pieces) to achieve your goals
The likelihood is, you don’t even realise the connection between the way you feel and the way you eat. Perhaps you blame your boss/partner/children/mortgage/the weather or the journey home for all or any of the above; partly because it’s easier to blame it on others than to own the problem, but also because this clear connection between what you eat and the way you feel is still a strange notion for most people.
Which is funny, when you consider than most people immediately see the link between filling their petrol-driven car with diesel, and having a car that just coughs up black smoke and won’t budge. Nor would most people fail to see that if they never filled their car with oil, their car just wouldn’t go anywhere. And they would certainly accept that if you remove three of the four wheels of this unfortunate car, it won’t go further than the drive. If it’s so easy to accept for a car, why not for the machine that is the human body?
Now switch channels and think differently for a moment. What would happen if you suddenly started running three times a day, three miles at a time? You’d find it hard at first, almost impossible, but you’d become very, very fit very, very quickly. Now think what would happen if you ate a super-nutritious meal three times a day. You’d find it hard at first, impossible at times, but you’d feel much, much better very, very quickly.
When you explain it in these terms, it’s easier for people to accept the inevitable link between the fuel and liquids they put into their car, sorry – body, and the results this input brings.
This is what nutritional therapy is for me. It’s all about making connections for people, about making them understand where they come from, and why they got to the stage they got to. I strongly believe that the better you understand how you climbed the ladder of ill-health, the more likely you are to want to try and come down it. The clearer the link in your mind between the contribution of your daily fare to the general state of your health, the more willing you will be to do something about it.
Making connections extends beyond the fuel you give your body. Your personal, emotional, physical, mental and medical health is equally important when attempting to understand your story. And that’s the thing – each person has his or her unique story. In my seven years of practice I have treated some people with similar symptoms, but I have never treated two people with an identical story. How we get to our own state of un-well-being is entirely dictated by the many pieces that make up our own puzzle. It would be superficial to treat you nutritionally without taking into account the other pieces of the puzzle; it would be wise to make you realise how large a role the food puzzle pieces play.
With this intimate understanding in place, it’s now a matter of tactics – how quickly or slowly you want to play the game, depending on your abilities and will-power. Together we put a plan in place that will enable you to come off the ladder of ill-health at the speed you choose. The benefits you will reap are just the same as those of the runner: the more you put into it, the better you will feel. It’s (almost) as simple as that.
So you see, for me working with nutritional therapy is about understanding your personal puzzle; giving it back to you in a form that makes sense; and working together with you to empower and educate you how to re-arrange the food and other puzzle pieces better.
Sometimes, people come to see me simply because they are trying to make sense out of all the different theories of nutrition (quite a daunting task!), and that’s great, too. Or you may come for help with detecting and managing food sensitivities, or using food supplements. My emphasis remains the same – helping you understand your personal predicament and make correct food and other choices for yourself, so that You as a whole – body, mind and soul – are able to function better.
Since our current way of nourishing ourselves puts a lot of unnecessary stress on our body, the advice given by a nutritional consultant is of benefit to virtually everyone. Especially to those of you who are least believing…
© Vardit Kohn, Natural Nutritionist, Feb 2005. No part of this article may be copied or reproduced without prior written consent