I’m often asked what Nutritional Therapy involves, and what my process looks like. With so many new readers this month, I thought it might be helpful to overview the big ideas and key concepts that I focus on when working with clients. Keep in mind that I see clients with a variety of presenting problems. For some it may be the health of a child with Autism or ADHD, for others it may be gastrointestinal disturbance, depression & anxiety, chronic fatigue, frequent illness, skin irritation, severe migraines, hormone imbalance, weight loss…. The list goes on. My overall process is the same with everyone, but the actual recommendations I make vary greatly. There is no one approach to nutrition that works for everyone, and I tailor my recommendations to the unique bioindivideal needs of the client before me. 

1. Start with a Comprehensive Assessment

At intake, clients complete a variety of forms, a 3-4 day food & mood journal, as well as a lengthy questionnaire assessing over 300 symptoms. I pair this information with an extensive clinical interview. In some cases, I also conduct a Functional Clinical Assessment (a hands on palpation of the body), to determine what is going on at the organ level. 

2. Cleaning Up the Diet

My primary recommendations are to remove chemicals from the diet. Food additives, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, MSG, nitrates, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, pesticides, and GMO’s all make this list. Basically, if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, don’t eat them. These ingredients are not healthful for anyone. 

3. Nutrition Basics & Evolving the Diet

Working on filling the diet with healthy, nutrient dense, whole foods comes next. Making sure that clients are getting the right amount of macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins) from healthy sources is key. Fats are not to be feared, and the majority of us are getting far too little protein. Incorporating traditional healing foods comes into play here as well… think sauerkraut and bone broth. 

4. Choosing a Foundational Diet & Addressing Food Intolerances

For many clients, there may be offending foods that need to be avoided in the diet. This is determined at the individual level, and is highly dependent on symptom presentation. Specialized diets that I work with include the Gluten and Casein Free diet, Grain Free diets (SCD, GAPS, Paleo), Anti-yeast diets, the Low FODMAP diet, and more. I am able to incorporate lab testing to look at our health and potential food intolerances/allergies/sensitivities, but I always encourage you to go over these things with your general practitioner as well.

5. Refining the Diet

At this point, emphasis has been placed on cleaning up the diet, adding in health boosting nutrients, and removing food sensitivities. For any lingering symptoms, we can then turn to more specialized diets if need be. These include Lectin free, Low Oxalate, Low Salicylate, Low Phenol, Low Amine, Low Histamine, Low Glutamate diets and more.

6. Supplement Basics & Cleaning Up the Gut

For many who have been consuming the Standard American Diet (SAD), nutrient deficiencies are highly likely. While my approach is always food first, it may take a while to build up nutrient status and there are a handful of nutraceuticals I find beneficial for almost everyone. Quality probiotics, fish oil, vitamin D, magnesium, and zinc often top that list. At the bioindivideal level, I may also recommend specific digestive supports to help ensure the breakdown and assimilation of nutrients, adrenal or blood sugar supports, detoxification supports, or mitochondrial supports, etc. For significant gut imbalances, an antimicrobial protocol for the overgrowth of opportunistic “yeasties and beasties” in the gut (as I like to call them) may be warranted and there is a need to focus on healing intestinal permeability and rebuilding the microbiome. In addition to proper diet, certain supplements can also be used to help support proper immune function. 

7. Cleaning Up the Home

In our modern world we are surrounded by toxic chemicals. This extends far beyond the food that we eat, and places a large burden on the body’s natural detoxification system. I work with clients to remove toxins from their day to day life such as fragrances, plastics & phthalates, VOC’s, chemical cleaners, etc. I urge clients to think about water quality, as well as the cookware and personal care items/cosmetics they use regularly. It’s also helpful to keep stress & emotional toxins at bay here as well. We talk about it all. 

8. Supporting Natural Detoxification Pathways

In addition to managing toxin exposure, we may need to further support detoxification. The body is a powerful machine and is always detoxing. Your liver, kidneys, lungs, GI tract, and skin are all major detoxification organs. That said, sometimes these systems can be burdened and need some support through lifestyle and or supplemental tweaks. Making sure that the necessary precursor nutrients required for Phase I and Phase II detoxification are present is crucial here. 

All along the way, we are reassessing to see what is working and what needs tweaking. I also provide comprehensive written recommendation plans for clients. 

If this process sounds like something that you or a loved one could benefit from, I would love to hear more about your needs and explain further how Nutritional Therapy can help. Reach out today for a FREE discovery call. Until then, wishing you wellness!

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