Saturday, October 27, 2007

Finding a Quality Holistic Nutrition Practitioner

The field of nutrition is a quagmire. Contradictions abound. One source of information tells you that you need to consume all raw foods for the best health, while another extols the benefits of animal protein. How are you, the consumer expected to navigate through this maze of contradictions?

Do you know what foods work best for you? It is always helpful to have a guide. There are many practitioners claiming to have the answers for every ill. When you are choosing a practitioner, it is important to weigh your options and choose the person with whom you feel the most comfortable. If someone is trying to sell you a product… beware! Many practitioners who deal with nutrition only work with supplements. Assertions that they have the best supplement regime for your needs is a red flag. You want more than a pill. You want someone who can educate you about real food. (*Supplements can be useful in your nutrition plan, but you also need to address the foods you eat.) Below you will find my top five tips to finding someone who can guide you with your food choices.

Find someone who has a solid education and personal experience. Your guide should know how to do research on themselves with food. They should also be able to provide you with new information and new perspectives about food. Even if you have a degree in nutrition, you want your guide to be up on the latest research and be able to guide you to new insights about your body and food. Although a solid education is important, it is not the only thing that makes a practitioner reputable. They should be able to provide you with testimonials from previous clients. They should have a depth of knowledge and well-rounded perspective that surpasses something you could read in a book. (Otherwise, you could just read the book!)

Search for a guide that looks healthy. This is important. If you are getting your information from someone with dark circles under their eyes, you may want to reconsider their advice. Health comes from the inside-out. I understand that no practitioner is perfect; however, if your guide is suffering from a health condition, you may want to broaden your horizons to find someone whose appearance suggests that they know what they are doing. You want to work with someone who knows how to get themselves well and who knows how to maintain their health.

Put your trust in someone that walks their talk. Piggy-backing off number two… Look for a practitioner who takes their own advice. Find someone who understands the importance of taking care of themselves and eating well. If they aren’t eating well and caring for themselves, how will they teach you to do it? Your practitioner of choice should be competent to take care of their own health so that they can guide you with yours.

Find someone with whom you can share openly. Are you comfortable with this person? The food you eat creates who you are. It is intimately intertwined with every aspect of your life. You want to feel comfortable sharing intimate details of your life with this person so that they can help you access deeper healing in your life and with your food. A good practitioner will listen to what you have to say first before jumping into “prescription mode” or a outlining a plan. They should know some things about you and your life so they can steer you in the right direction for the implementation of your plan.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, look for a GUIDE that can help you form your personalized plan. You are looking for a facilitator to discover your deeper potential. You can get advice from a book. You can research on your own via the internet. You can get a pill from a doctor. To achieve deeper healing within yourself, you want to find someone who can guide you to look within yourself. Take responsibility in developing your plan with your guide. With responsibility comes empowerment. The food that works for your neighbor may not be the food that works best in YOUR body. Seek out guidance from someone who can help you access your body’s wisdom. Each practitioner may have their own unique methods, but the message is to find someone who can help you get to your core issues around food and empower you to make the changes you want to make in your life.

Top five guidelines to consuming quality food:

Buy organic whenever possible.

Consume whole foods rather than processed and packaged foods. (Whole grains versus a bagel, whole tomatoes versus sauce from a can, eat the orange rather than drinking only the juice)

Buy from a local farm- it is fresher and it helps to preserve the earth.

Pay attention to your emotions and your body’s response after eating.

Savor and enjoy each delightful bite!


Melanee said...

Thank you for this post: it is packed with some wonderful advice! I have been into healthy eating for years, and this year completed a transition into veganism. I am considering becoming a Holistic Nutrition Practitioner not only to better hone my own dietary skills, but to guide and empower others in doing the same.

Susie Beiler said...

Great Melanee!
Let me know if you would like info. about the school I attended. Amazing curriculum!!