WHAT IS NUTRITIONAL THERAPY?

What is nutritional therapy?

Nutritional therapy is a holistic approach to wellness. At the intersection of modern science, ancestral wisdom, and experiential knowledge – nutritional therapy blends cutting edge and ancient knowledge to give your body the unique fuel it needs. This is a completely personalized experience.

 It is about using food as medicine and empowering you with actionable knowledge to be your own health advocate. After all, you know your body best, and given the right fuel, your body’s amazing innate intelligence has the capacity to heal and renew itself. 

We play health detectives and gather a ton of info (probably more than your doctor has asked you) and put all the pieces together. Believe it or not, everything from where you grew up to whether or not your were vaginally born can impact your current state of health. Looking at all these pieces help us address the root cause instead of chasing symptoms. 

“Nutritional therapy is a functional, foundational approach to nutrition. We give the body the right fuel it needs – nutrient-dense, properly prepared whole foods, and  honor the body’s innate healing potential.”

vegetables, veggies, farmers market

Here are my guiding principles as a Nutritional Therapist: 

1. A food first approach

Food is the primary medicine and THE biggest thing we can focus on to create health in our bodies. Sure we will talk about lifestyle, stress, supplements and some more advanced therapies but we will always start with food and dial in your diet to work for you. 

2. Always look upstream

We don’t chase symptoms but rather always address the foundations of health (more to come on that) and look upstream to what might be causing the symptoms in the first place. Symptoms are sacred messengers and we need to listen to these signals the body sends us but instead of trying to get rid of them, lets look to where they might be pointing us. We always ask WHY. What is causing the imbalance in the first place and address that. 

3. Respect for ancestral wisdom and your own experiential knowledge

Traditional cultures had a different approach to food than the hyper-palatable experience we have today. They inherently ate seasonal nutrient-dense foods that was perfectly adapted for their genes. There were not processed foods laden with sugar, chemical additives, pesticides and rancid highly processed vegetable oils (I’m looking at you Canola oil). 

All cultures did not eat the same diet but have some commonalities or pillars  of a traditional native diet. According to Dr. Catherine Shanahan in the book Deep Nutrition, the four pillars of Traditional World Cuisine are:

1. Meat cooked on the bone 

2. Organs and offal 

3. Fresh (raw) plants and animal products

4. Fermented and sprouted foods

Until the dawn of the agriculture revolution about 10,000 years ago, all humans were hunters, gatherers, and foragers. Our genes have not changed dramatically since then. Respecting the tenants of a traditional diet and ways of living will give our bodies the raw fuel it needs to function properly.

 All that said, your own experiential knowledge (what you experience in your body) is the ultimate litmus test for is something is working for you or not. 

4. You are totally unique but also not at all

This is the philosophy of bio-individuality. There is no one right diet for everyone. The unique needs of nutrients for an individual changes with seasons, physical activity, lifestyle, age, and current cycles of the body. The state of our current health, our genetic heritage, metabolic type, and constitution greatly affects our needs for food intake, specific food groups eaten, and ratio of macro nutrients, and how nourishing foods are for our body at that moment. 

Only our bodies know what exactly we need right now, which is why it is so crucial to tap into our body’s instincts and wisdom to help us make food choices. We can do this by honoring desires for particular whole foods (like cravings for raw greens, hot broth soup, or avocado), slowing down to smell, taste, and look at our food, and reducing the amount of hyper-palatable foods we eat that dull our taste receptors and mess with the hormones that regulate our hunger. 

So even though we must respect the bio-individuality of each person, we humans are all physiologically more similar than different. There are some fundamental factors that must be in balance for optimal health, though the details will look different for each person. 

These Nutritional Therapy Foundations are: 

1) Nutrient-dense whole foods diet
2) Digestion
3) Blood Sugar regulation
4) Fatty acid balance
5) Mineral Balance
6) Hydration

These are all necessary but not sufficient for wellbeing. We also need sleep, deep rest, relaxation, stress management, movement, structural alignment, spiritual practices, community and social support. 

 

Want to find the best foods for you? 

Kelleigh Kincaid

Kelleigh Kincaid

Kelleigh is a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner in Portland, Oregon. She loves all things wellness but definitely has an inner wild child. Equal parts street and spiritual, adventurer and homebody.

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