Health begins with what’s on our plates, how we move our bodies and how well we sleep and handle stress. But, it’s really easy for things to get out of balance sometimes, and, for many of us who grew up on the Standard American Diet, we might always find ourselves fundamentally out of balance from the start. Having suffered through autoimmune thyroid disease and infertility, one of the most valuable tools I have found in addressing my own health has been nutrition, and, more specifically, properly prepared, nutrient-dense whole foods. Good food has been so integral to my own journey of recovery, that it fuels my passion behind this site, an my cookbooks.
It’s also why I’ve worked with nutritional therapists who have helped me to tweak my own approach to diet – helping me to balance my blood sugar, balance my thyroid and otherwise optimize my health. It’s also why, after years of writing about nutrient-dense whole foods, I decided to become a nutritional therapist, too.
What is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner?
Nutritional Therapy Practitioners (NTP) help people transform their health in a preventative and proactive way, helping to address or alleviate illness and disease through a mindful approach to proper diet and, when warranted, dietary supplementation. By addressing good diet on an individual level and correcting for nutritional deficiencies, nutritional therapists help clients to balance their blood sugar, optimize their digestion, and address clients’ health concerns with targeted advice.
Nutritional therapists aren’t doctors, and aren’t replacements for doctors. They can’t diagnose, treat or cure disease, but since good nutrition is the foundation of good health, they can help to provide you with supportive, individual nutritional guidance as you work on addressing any specific conditions you may have with your doctor. Nutritional therapists are also not dieticians, who are licensed and
Why I Use a Nutritional Therapy Practitioners.
Nutritional Therapy Practitioners are highly focused on the use of whole foods, and have a firm foundation and education in the value of properly prepared, nutrient-dense whole foods. Not only do they approach food and nutrition with a mindful eye toward the bioindividual needs of their clients, but also how good nutrition can be a therapeutic tool in getting people healthy and helping them to stay there. You’ll find nutritional therapists understand the value of healthy fats, seasonal produce, grass-fed meats, fermented and cultured foods, as well as other nutrient-dense foods. More importantly, though, they’re trained in helping to make connections between what you eat and how you feel, and provide an individualized approach in their recommendations.
What Does a Nutritional Therapist Do
Nutritional Therapy Practitioners will ask you to complete a food-and-mood journal that helps them to examine how the foods you’re eating might be exacerbating your symptoms. Further, you’ll fill out a questionnaire that helps them to dive deep into how well your body is functioning and any symptoms you may have, even those you may not think to mention. They also perform a functional evaluation that helps them to assess how well your body is functioning, and whether any organs – like the thyroid or the adrenal glands – are experiencing distress. Through their practice, they’re also able to pinpoint nutritional deficiencies, assess and prioritize your health needs to develop a personalized, thoughtful approach to your diet and lifestyle.
How Nutritional Therapy Helped Me
I’ve sought the support and counsel of a nutritional therapist several times of the last few years – just to get a little special guidance from time to time. Overwhelmingly, that guidance has been thoughtful, personalized and approachable. More importantly, though, that guidance has helped me to address my health concerns at the start, before they grew bigger. While I’ve worked with nutritional therapists to not only make sure I was on the right path, I’ve also worked with them to address very specific health concerns like blood sugar balance, nutrition for pregnancy, and thyroid imbalance.
During my most recent pregnancy, I tested my blood sugar periodically instead of undergoing the glucose tolerance test. Once or twice, during periods of stress and little sleep, my readings crept up and were borderline-high. Not too high, and not indicative of gestational diabetes, but higher than my midwife liked to see. I booked an appointment with a nutritional therapist who recommended a few small tweaks to my diet and coupled it with the recommendation to increase my physical activity and weight-bearing exercises, and, sure enough, after following her guidance I never had a high (or even slightly high) reading again.
I have a history of autoimmune thyroid disease, and, postpartum, I suffered from a recurrence. After looking at my lab work, which was borderline hypothyroid with antibodies that were through the roof, my doctor declined to treat it, suggesting that it needed to get worse before it could be treatable in a clinical setting. Not wanting to get worse before my condition became worthy of treating, I dove deep into the coursework I’ve undertaken at the Nutritional Therapy Association, and, after pinpointing a few allergens in my diet through this easy at-home test, I was able to completely optimize my thyroid function and drop those antibodies by 45%.
How to Find a Nutritional Therapist
You can find a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner that is certified through the Nutritional Therapy Institute here. If you work with one locally, you’ll be able to benefit not only from counseling, but a full functional evaluation. If you cannot find one locally, keep in mind that many nutritional therapists may be able to work with you remotely.
I’ve worked with Amy Love, NTP, of Real Food Whole Health, who has since become a close personal friend. She is currently accepting a limited number of clients.
How to Become a Nutritional Therapist
So happy have we been with the service and value of nutritional therapists, both my husband and I are training to become Nutritional Therapy Practicioners through the Nutritional Therapy Association. If you’re keen on helping people transform their health through an intensely bioindividual approach to nutrition and wellness, the Nutritional Therapy Association is a good place to start.
- The Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) program is a 9-month online program with 3 in-person weekend workshops that you’re expected to attend.
- The Nutritional Therapy Consultant program is a fully online program.
You can find a Nutritional Therapy Practicitioner (NTP) or a Nutritional Therapy Consultant (NTC) by clicking here.
If you’d like to become a nutritional therapist, the Nutritional Therapy Association is opens enrollment a few times each year and you can check out their programs here.