When I tell people I work in holistic nutrition, I get a lot of responses like, “Oh, cool, good for you! I could never do that – I love my wine (or chocolate) way too much!” I smile and say I understand, but really, I don’t truly understand because I eat the way I do because I dream of a long life where I can still travel well into my 90s. The cost of poor food choices isn’t worth it to me – I’ve seen family members and friends get diagnosed with nutrition-related diseases and I just don’t want that for myself (or anyone, for that matter). And, because I don’t want to see anyone else get needlessly sick, this is why I started working in holistic nutrition.
I love and believe in the idea that food is our medicine; our bodies need specific nutrients for very specific processes, and without those nutrients, the organs, tissues, and cells will not do what they’re supposed to. Thus, disease and imbalances set in, and we get sick, tired, fat, bloated, and hungry! Nutritious, whole foods are the fuel that our bodies need – when we don’t give our bodies the right fuel, they retaliate against us! You may say, well, I don’t have any issues and I eat burgers all the time (I know my husband says this…); the problem is that our bodies ‘adapt’ to the crap we stuff into them, often extracting the few nutrients they can to fuel the important organs, leaving behind a host of waste. This waste then ends up as fat cells, in joints as aches or arthritis, gallstones, allergies, and other symptoms.
Now, I know that the word ‘diet’ freaks a lot of people out – who wants to deprive themselves of their favorite foods? Well, in my experience, when it comes to addressing health through food, attitude is a major factor. It took me 3 years to finally tell myself that I was going to eat healthy and lose weight, and I really had to remind myself that the process wouldn’t be complete in 1 week. It took me 6 months to lose almost 40 pounds strictly by adjusting my diet and exercising. Admittedly, this process was much easier for me back then because I was single and living alone, so I was able to keep temptations at a minimum. Today when I try to stick to a healthy diet, I either have to commit to a specific program for a couple of weeks or really, really, really concentrate on extracting myself from certain situations. And, it sure doesn’t help when my husband buys treats like chips and trail mix.
Eating a holistic diet is tough!! It means some major changes to your usual meals and it means taking a lot of flak from family and friends when you do decide you want to eat for your health. I struggle every time I have to go to my husband’s family’s dinners because they do not understand why I eat the way I do; then I get questioned for my choices so I end up eating something because I feel guilty for not eating what they’ve prepared and I pay for it later. No sleep, skin breakouts, stomach issues…it is not fun.
I won’t tell you my holistic eating journey has been easy. I find it best for me to be very strict in my diet if I want to stick to a program. When I stuck with it and began to see health changes within days of eating some foods, that’s what kept me motivated. If I deviated, I felt the effects rather quickly and I did not like it. It did take me months to associate a particular food with a particular symptom, too, so there were weeks of frustration while I tried to figure out what kept causing my skin to breakout, for example.
Today, I feel quite balanced in my holistic eating journey. I am now at a point where I know what to expect when I eat specific foods so I either avoid them altogether or I simply eat them in moderation and then consume something that counteracts the symptoms they produce. For example, my forehead breaks out within hours of have more than 2 glasses of wine in one evening; because I do enjoy wine and spending time with people drinking it, I accept this problem and make sure to have lemons on hand for lemon water for the following 3-4 days. This is what works for me – it won’t necessarily be the same for everyone.
I know my trigger foods and I know how to offset them. I know what breakfast foods keep me full in the morning and which leave me craving something else within 1 hour. I have always loved experimentation– this journey has been my own personal experiment with food. It’s exciting!
I know most people see holistic nutrition as a great idea but when it comes to actually practicing it, they shun it as too hard, too strict, or too much effort. Well, I am here to tell you that, yes, at first it is hard, especially if you are looking to use food to help address a major health issue. Many people use food as a reward or entertainment (guilty!) so they see the removal of certain foods as punishment. But, food will always be there – that chocolate brownie will be there today, tomorrow AND in 1 month. Once you’ve taken the time to balance your body nutritionally, you will be able to eat your favorite foods again, in moderation, and not feel as though you are depriving yourself. Holistic nutrition is not a fad diet – it’s a lifestyle that allows you to play with your food, test out new recipes, see what makes you feel happier or sicker, and figure out what foods work best for you! It’s amazing!
If you work with me, you’ll find out quickly that my philosophy isn’t about deprivation. Sure, I may suggest you eliminate some really bad things but mostly I will start by giving you ideas on how to ADD more healthy foods to your meals. It’s not just about the foods you eat either – it’s about optimizing your overall digestion so that those essential nutrients get to where they need to go. THIS is the key to a healthy, balanced body!
If you’re curious about my journey, I began working with a naturopathic doctor in 2013 after I went of birth control pills. My hormones were a mess – irregular periods, acne like I’d never had it before, PMS symptoms I’d never experienced before, mood swings, and insomnia so bad I had to call in sick to work a lot. It took over 1 year of testing out foods to eliminate and foods to add in before I started to see a real change. After that, there was another year or so of fine-tuning the diet to meet my expectations. Since then, I have used the knowledge to combat symptoms by eating nutritious foods and knowing that if I have too much wine, a pizza, or a lot of coffee, I can reduce or eliminate the potential symptoms simply by ensuring I eat the foods my body needs. So, I feel no deprivation now whatsoever. Sure, there are times when I feel like I am out of control of my eating – I consciously reset by forcing myself to follow a clean meal plan for at least 7 full days, which usually does the trick. I refuse to starve myself; I refuse to give up wine and coffee. I am happy! And, I want you to be too!
I hope this post has stimulated your brain into thinking maybe a holistic nutrition package is right for you. If you’re curious and have questions, please, please, please, email me or set up a free 15 minute phone call to have your questions answered and find out more!