Back when I was in high school, taking a foods and nutrition class, I became fascinated and obsessed with learning about nutrition. I thought about going to school to become a registered dietician but I took a different direction, not totally off path, but not my day-to-day. So researching and learning all I could about nutrition became my hobby. I couldn’t get enough of it.
Through all of the research I was doing, I learned that it’s not as simple as the magazines and diet books make it seem. It’s not about eating less, counting calories and exercising more. That approach might work for a short period of time, but it’s not sustainable, and to be totally honest, it’s not a fun way to live either! The more I learned how the quality of what we eat really makes a difference, not the quantity, the more it made sense to me. I began experimenting with a few different approaches on myself and I am still experimenting with things. I’ve tried counting calories, paleo, macro counting, Whole30 and the ketogenic diet, just to name a few.
Through this journey, there has been a lot of trial and error and I now know how to listen to my body and I have been able to figure out which foods I have bad reactions to, what food gives me more energy, and how to still enjoy foods that I love, but know aren’t great for my health. I try to not label what kind of “diet” I am on because what might be working for me at this point in my life, might not be the best approach later on. People around me began to inquire about what I was eating or how I was able to avoid the donuts in the break room. I love sharing my knowledge with others and I wanted some credibility so that I could answer their questions confidently. I wanted to know more!
I want to know more because I have family members and friends who struggle with their health and I want to be able to help them in any way that I can. I want to know more because I see people with busy lives who reach for fast foods that send them on a blood sugar roller coaster. I want to be able to speak confidently about why I make the food choices I make and with scientific knowledge to back it up. I want to teach people about food and how to gain optimal health. I want to create and share those recipes with others so that maybe it will spark a movement to include more whole foods in their lives. I want others to be able to experience food freedom, lots of energy and a balanced, vibrant life!
All of this led me to the Nutritional Therapy Association. I chose to go through the Nutritional Therapy Consultant Program through the Nutritional Therapy Association, which is a 9-month, distance learning course with one, in-person workshop weekend. They also have a Practitioner program that teaches a functional evaluation, but I chose the Consultant program because it fit better into my schedule and budget. The NTA teaches the importance of properly prepared, nutrient dense, whole foods, which include animals and plants, paired with a well-balanced lifestyle. They are building a tribe of Nutritional Therapists who focus on the foundations (hydration, blood sugar, digestion, fatty acid balance and mineral balance) that help clients understand their health struggles that are brought on by the modern diet. Nutritional therapists do not diagnose, treat or cure diseases, replace a primary care physician and are not dietitians.
Nutritional Therapy is the concept of bio-individuality. Bio-individuality is so important because of the many fad diets out there, all with conflicting information. One day you hear about low fat diets and the next low carb is all the rage. The truth is that there is no perfect diet out there. As, I mentioned before, it’s not as simple as eating less and exercising more. If it was, there probably wouldn’t be so many fad diets out there! Nutritional Therapy is all about how you can create healthy lifestyle, that is sustainable, and right for you and your body. The NTA doesn’t give their students a diet or template to follow, because nutrition isn’t black or white. They give you the tools to help empower each client to find the right approach for their bio-individual needs. This is where the foundations come into play.
Learning how to create a holistic and sustainable lifestyle using nutrient dense whole foods, all comes back to the foundations. This is where I think the NTA really stands out when it comes to nutrition education. I think I learned the most, just learning about the foundations. You learn about how the body works and what nutrition really is. The foundations are: a nutrient dense diet, hydration, blood sugar balance, digestion, essential fatty acid balance and mineral balance. Hormonal imbalances, poor immune function, cardiovascular problems and poor detoxification are all signs that the foundations need to be addressed. Much of these imbalances come from the Standard American Diet, yo-yo dieting, living in a chronically stressed out state, not enough movement, overexercising, poor lifestyle choices, etc. Once the root causes are addressed, rather than just putting band-aids on the symptoms, the healing begins. When all of the foundations are working properly, you will experience lots of energy, glowing skin, more restful sleep, more resilient to stress, and a strong immune system.
I will go into more detail about each of the foundations in the next couple of weeks because there is too much that I can’t fit into one post. The information for each foundation is so valuable and I think that anyone can benefit from learning about them, even if they are not ready to take the plunge into a completely new holistic lifestyle! Tell me, which foundation are you most excited to learn more about?
If you have any questions about the Nutritional Therapy Consultant program you can visit the NTA’s website or feel free to reach out to me with any questions!