Nutrition and Nutritional Supplements
“You are what you eat” is a straightforward way of looking at how your regular food intake can affect your health. Proper nutrition ensures your body is functioning optimally to fight illness and maintain wellness. Your diet plays a significant role in your health, whether it be for allergies, weight loss, digestive disorders, heart disease, hormonal balance, inflammation and many other conditions.
Working with Jennifer, she will review your diet and make recommendations based on your health concerns and goals to strengthen your body and prevent and treat illness. Changing one’s diet can often be one of the hardest things to do so Jennifer aims to make the treatment plan doable, yet therapeutic.
Nutritional supplements can be a great way to help steer the healing process in the right direction, but is in no way a substitute for a healthy diet. Supplements may be recommended but are kept to a minimum, based on your needs.
I grew up on chocolate bars, soda pop and Neapolitan ice cream. Often, my hard-earned allowance would end up being spent in the convenience store across the street. I had a regular food intake of canned vegetables, canned pasta and bologna sandwiches with margarine.
I ate a lot of sugar and have the cavities to prove it.
I never thought too much about my dietary habits growing up, it was just the way it was. My parents both worked long hours and while the four basic food groups of nutrition were emphasized a bit in school, we really never gave it a second thought.
So, I’m not sure how or why it happened when I turned 14, I decided to give up on chocolate bars, fast food and pop. And given my stubborn or perseverant nature depending on how you want to look at it, I have pretty much kept it up. But, I’m human and so there can be the odd mini-feast on Hallowe’en chocolate bars (though since I ended up with a headache right after eating them the last time, I will hopefully remember to refrain come next Hallowe’en).
I think it was in my second year naturopathic nutrition class when I realised how far I had come. We were looking at examples of food intake diaries and my group began gasping at the foods written down on this example. Lunch consisted of a can of pop, cookies, chocolate bar and processed meat on a white bread sandwich. I interrupted their gasping to tell them that this could have easily been me in grade four. This was very typical of what I ate daily and to not be so shocked as this can be typical of many people unfamiliar with the naturopathic bubble we were in.
We worked on suggestions for improving this dietary example and it taught me the importance of small consistent changes. Changing one’s diet is a huge endeavor, often being one of the hardest things in any naturopathic treatment plan. So, I like to begin with what is reasonable and doable for the person. If we can reduce the coffee intake from 5 cups a day to 3 cups a day, rather than cutting out coffee entirely, that alone can have a great effect. Often, I will be surprised on the next visit and learn that coffee is now down to once a day or not at all.
Sometimes we find that it is a certain food that is the culprit to many ailments. We work together to figure this out in a variety of ways, either by elimination of a suspected food or through specific testing to see if there are other foods that may be problematic.
Working with nutrition, we can often solve a great percentage of a person’s health concerns. If the digestive system is working optimally, a lot of the other health problems fall to the wayside and this is both fantastic and empowering.
At times, I do recommend some nutritional supplements, though I try to keep this to a minimum. I admit that I am not that great with being consistent with supplements myself so I only recommend what I feel is necessary for a person’s treatment plan to be successful. Nutritional supplements are great to help steer the person’s innate healing process in the right direction, but nutritional food intake needs to be addressed first.