At S.A.G.E., we are all about these four holistic pillars: nutrition, body movement, mental health and spirituality. Nutrition is one of our main pillars here at S.A.G.E. and we really believe strongly in this. Nutrition, as you may know, is not some simple thing, otherwise we would all be living it up in our ideal healthy bodies. But it’s not simple and it’s also not JUST about calories in and calories out. There’s so much more to it, especially when you’re looking at it through a holistic lens.
So the question is, what is Holistic Nutrition and what is Nutritional Therapy, the nutrition service that we provide here at S.A.G.E.?
Well, nutritional therapy is at its core holistic nutrition, and holistic nutrition is nutrition that supports the physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual health. It also addresses lifestyle factors, diet and how these things work together to influence health as a whole. Nutritional therapy tries to get to the root cause of what isn’t working for you. We won’t say that you should follow a certain diet or you need this amount of calories because not every diet works for every body. When we work with clients utilizing nutritional therapy, we really look at the individual as a whole and assess their bio-individuality.
What is bio-individuality? Basically, bio-individuality is the concept that you are the only version of you out there and what works for you nutritionally won’t work for everyone else. As diverse as we look on the outside, that’s how diverse our physiology is and our nutritional needs as well. And our bio-individuality changes over time as we age. Holistic nutrition meets you with where you’re at and really looks at you with an individual lens specifically made for you.
With holistic nutrition, we are really looking at the whole picture of a person; we’re not just looking at the food that you’re eating, but we’re looking at the lifestyle, environment, stress that someone is under and even what area they are in their lifespan, as far as how their nutrition might be impacted differently. We look at your mental health in general, your digestion, whether you have allergies, and it’s so much deeper. Food is a main part of nutrition, but with nutritional therapy, we’re looking at so many different lifestyle factors and how that can affect eating habits, and the food you choose to eat plus so much more.
Let’s talk about stress for a bit here, because this is something that everyone experiences and it’s important for us to share how stress impacts holistic nutrition. Stress affects your eating habits and nutrition a lot more than you would really think. When you’re eating in a stress state, you’re actually not going to digest your food as well, which means you could have digestive symptoms like bloating or gas which could be related to stress alone and not an actual allergy or intolerance. Plus, if you’re stressed before, during and/or after eating, you won’t be able to reap all the benefits of the food you’re eating. So get this – even if you are eating a nutritionally dense and healthy diet, you’re won’t be able to absorb it fully if you are in a stress state. If we’re in fight or flight mode when sitting down to eat, our body actually thinks we’re in danger and our brain gets the message that we need quick energy thus causing our body to crave more carbohydrates, which can make our food choices be jeopardized by this strong biological urge to get those carbs in – it’s for survival and those urges are strong! Even if we fought the urge to eat carbs and ate that nutritionally dense diet as we mentioned earlier, your system will not create as much stomach acid and it doesn’t have the time to process the food properly and put it in the bloodstream, so the food just goes to waste, even if it was the healthiest option for you.
Nutritional therapy is about meeting you where you’re at and looking at you on an individual level. It’s a way to make long lasting changes by receiving consistent and helpful guidance and support along the way. Changing your lifestyle and eating habits is not an easy task – we know this from just being human and being alive.
How to Start Implementing Holistic Nutrition
So we will leave you with a few different tips on how to start implementing holistic nutrition into your daily life:
- Plan time into your day: Think about eating as not just a chore, but as an action with purpose. Spend even just 15 minutes for each meal as like a great place to start. Take the time and allow yourself to get into that mindset of reducing stress and it will do wonders for you. We have to eat, it’s not just a physical need…it’s so much more than that.
- Create a food experience: Digestion begins in the brain and if you’re in a stress state and you begin eating, you’re not going to be able to reap all the benefits of the food that you’re eating, even if they are very nutrient dense. Take deep breaths or bring mindfulness into your day right before you eat.
- Stay in the Rest & Digest Food Zone as long as you can: Don’t just rush off to the next thing on your list after you slowed down to really take in this healthy food. Make it last by going for a walk, playing with a pet, calling a loved one and remember to stay in that calm place while you are digesting.
If you’re the one that had read all of this and really feels pulled to take care of yourself, Nutrition first, give us a call to schedule your initial consult with our Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. The first session is so in depth and you get a lot accomplished, especially after you complete the over 300 questionnaire and a week long food and mood log prior to the appointment. Our Nutritional Therapy Practitioner will be able to help you understand your bio-individual approach to getting your nutrition on track. We can’t wait to support you and believe wholeheartedly that you can do this!