What is holistic nutrition?

Don’t underestimate the healing power of food!

For a quick definition, click here: VIDEO

Holistic nutrition is a natural approach to developing a healthy, balanced diet while considering each person as a whole. Holistic nutritionists do not view nutrition as one-size-fits-all. Quite the contrary. Our needs are as unique as our individual makeup.

Holistic nutrition is part of holistic health, which is an approach to treating a person’s well-being that takes all aspects of life into consideration, including emotional and spiritual health, and the physical body (commonly referred to as “mind-body-spirit”). For example, a holistic nutritionist looks at more than just the foods you “should” or “should not” eat. Factors such as stress, toxins, sleep and movement (or a lack thereof) can impact our diet and overall health. Did you know these factors can individually affect our blood sugar levels? Holistic nutrition is based on current research and best practice findings—a holistic nutritionist can help you understand the big picture.

We each have unique dietary needs. Holistic nutrition helps to facilitate long-term optimal health according to one’s individual, specific needs. Holistic nutrition is not a replacement for medical care or advice, but rather, it is part of complementary care. holistic nutritionists do not diagnose or treat diseases, dysfunctions or disorders, nor provide therapy to relieve illness. They do not perform any medical intervention and they do not recommend that anyone discontinue seeing a medical doctor or discontinue taking medications.

According to Canadian Action for Nutrition (CAN), “a holistic nutritional practitioner is a health professional who assesses health and vitality in the context of a client’s entire life experience, including their physical, emotional, social and environmental circumstances,
and who uses food choices, supplements, education and lifestyle alterations in a non-invasive way to empower clients to self-heal, build health and maximize vitality.”

The Approach

● No one-size fits all approach — every client is considered to be unique and individual.
● The person as a whole is always taken into account.
● Nutritional deficiencies, inefficiencies and excesses are examined and addressed using the positive attributes of nutrients.
● Tools of the trade centre on whole, natural food and supplements without harmful additives, with an eye on environmentally sound alternatives.
● Concentration is on preventing poor health or reestablishing good health, catching imbalances in the early stages, but diagnosis and treatment are not part of the Scope of Practice.
● An effective and lasting approach.
● Education of the client is of primary importance.
● Guidance so that the client remains control of his/her own well-being.
● Latest available research and clinical evidence is used to develop a personalized health plan based on individualized health goals.
● A practical approach focusing on food choices, lifestyle changes and supplement suggestions, expressed in terms that any client, regardless of knowledge level, can easily understand.

Why should I consider holistic nutrition?

It is estimated that upward of 80% of all chronic illnesses are due to diet and lifestyle. Proper nutrition is an undeniable key to good health, regardless of your age or stage in life. Food provides us with the energy and nutrients we need to build and regenerate body tissue, muscle, bone and blood. Nutrients also support chemical processes that take place in our bodies on a daily basis.

Over 90% of our immune system exists within our gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In fact, many health experts believe that our GI tract is our second brain. We need to protect it and realize the importance of nutrition with respect to disease prevention and management. When you follow a special diet, every bite matters. Not only do the kinds of foods we eat matter, but where they come from and how they are produced from seed to final product. Holistic nutrition addresses and assesses food and lifestyle beyond our typical perspective.

How can holistic nutrition help me?

Holistic nutrition can benefit our overall health in many different ways.
Here are a few:

  • Learn about proper nutrition for optimal health
  • Create holistic menus, customized to meet your needs
  • Incorporate natural and organic foods into your diet
  • Consider & correct nutrient deficiencies
  • Understand natural holistic supplements and their benefits
  • Address chronic health conditions through diet
  • Eliminate toxins and reduce your total toxic load, eat and live clean
  • Understand current nutritional research

What can I expect from a nutrition consultation?

  • Your confidentiality and privacy will always be respected and protected
  • An evaluation of your food consumption with particular attention paid to the proportions of fat, starches, sugar and fibre
  • An assessment of your nutritional excesses and deficiencies
  • Information about the benefits of sound nutrition and how the body can heal
  • Recommendations for food selection and preparation
  • Recommendations for supplements (vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, EFA’s
  • A program designed specifically for you, taking into consideration your age, gender, level of fitness, health goals, food sensitivities, food preferences and eating habits.

Are holistic nutrition services covered by insurance plans?

Yes! If you have a health insurance plan, your provider may provide coverage—you will need to inquire. Currently, in Canada the following insurance companies provide coverage for holistic nutritionists who are Natural Nutrition Clinical Practitioners (NNCP) and members of the Canadian Association of Natural Nutritional Practitioners (CANNP):
iA Financial Group, Blue Cross, Green Shield and Manulife.
More insurance companies will be following suit.

When you receive your receipt from your nutritionist (to submit to your insurance provider), ensure the CANNP is indicated, along with the CANNP logo.
For more information, click here.

What is a special diet?

If you have a food allergy, a food intolerance or a health condition, you may need to avoid certain foods, or you may need to do the opposite and ensure you include certain foods for optimal health. This specific diet that you have been advised to follow by your health care practitioner is commonly referred to as a “special diet” and it is based on your specific dietary needs. Examples of special diets include but are not limited to the Paleo diet, the ketogenic diet, the kidney stone diet and the vegetarian diet.

Lisa works with a functional medicine doctor. What is functional medicine?

Lisa works with Dr. Mordy Levy, an integrative and functional medicine doctor. Integrative medicine, in a nut shell, as the name implies is the intelligent integration of conventional western medicine with evidence based alternatives. As we already know, in the world of “alternative medicine” there are many dogmas and unproven remedies that in some cases might actually be harmful to the patient, harmful in cases when and where the patient chooses to utilize unproven remedies instead of a rational, conventional approach. For example, a patient might have an abdominal pain; without proper medical diagnosis, this abdominal pain might be an ulcer, appendicitis, or even cancer, but seeking and implementing unproven remedies from a non-regulated professional might put the patient at risk. With integrative medicine, a conventional approach is used both in diagnosis and in treatment, when indicated to do so. (Source: drlevy.ca)

Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. Functional medicine shifts the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach. It seeks to identify and address the root causes of disease and views the body as one integrated system, rather than a group of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. In sum, functional medicine treats the whole person’s whole system, not just an isolated set of symptoms.

Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, it supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.

Dr. Levy believes the medicine of the 21st century is a hybrid of both functional medicine and integrative medicine, addressing the root cause of the pathology, while enhancing performance on a physiological level. Often enough, Dr. Levy implements an integrative lab profile, in order to obtain further insight into underlying cause(s) of illness. 
(Source: drlevy.ca)

To better understand what integrative and functional medicine is, watch Dr. Mark Hyman of the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) in the 2 minute video below.

Watch Dr. Levy’s lecture to nurses about integrative and functional medicine below.

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