Table of Contents:

What is holistic and therapeutic nutrition?
The definition of holistic is, "emphasizing the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts." This is generally seen in contrast to reductionism where the total system is taken apart and studied as individual units. A holistic approach to healing recognizes that the soul (emotions, mind and will), the spirit and the physical body are elements of a system, and attempts to treat the whole person, concentrating on the cause of the illness as well as symptoms.

The underlying premise of holistic nutrition is that our bodies have a design and part of that design is the ability to heal or self-regenerate for well over 100 years. It is a belief that aging brings change, but not rapid degeneration. Have hope, common degenerative health symptoms are not normal, just common. Holistic nutrition works within the design of the body to support your own healing mechanisms. This is done primarily through whole food nutrition, recognizing that we don't understand the synergistic way that the over 200 known vitamins, minerals and enzymes in a carrot work, but we do know that carrots feed the body and isolated nutrients can often cause problems. As you feed your body the building materials it needs, it gets back to the job of re-building you on a daily basis. This seems miraculous until we stop to consider that the quality of building materials is of critical importance to almost any system: computers, cars, airplanes, and yes, even you! Therapeutic nutrition simply recognizes that there may be a period of time that special nutritional therapies may be needed to strengthen areas of weakness.

Why do I need nutritional supplementation even if I eat well?
The concept of eating well can be quite subjective. Do you mean the USDA Food Pyramid? Low-fat? Vegan? Atkins, South Beach, Fat Flush? There are so many diet plans out there and so many ideas on what it means to eat a healthy diet that the first order of business is to establish what that means. The basic "eating healthy" plan asks the question, "What have healthy cultures across the earth eaten from the beginning of human history?" The answers give us the following basic principles:
  1. Real food is good for real people. Fake food (processed, enriched, homogenized, refined, bleached, hydrogenated, genetically modified, etc.) is not great for real people.
  2. Protein and good fats are a vital source of nutrition. They are like the "logs" on the metabolic energy fire.
  3. A wide variety of the color spectrum with vegetables is a great way to eat. Some cooked and some raw, but ideally most locally and in season.
  4. Preparation methods and the pace and attitude with which you enjoy your meal have a great impact on your health. Eat good food and enjoy it!

After we come to some agreement on what healthy eating means, we have to evaluate modern food production, agricultural practices and distribution of foods. There are many articles and links to other sites available on our website to get even more information about this topic, but the main issues are:
  1. Production engineered for maximum harvest decreases nutritional value.
  2. Transport of food decreases nutritional value.
  3. A result of ongoing destruction of the beneficial bacteria in the soil has led us to the following problem: A cup of spinach in 1955 contained the amount of iron that ____ cups of spinach contain in 2007. (see the end of this question for the answer)

Therefore, our conclusion is that IF you are able to eat a wide variety of high quality, organic foods on a regular basis and IF you are growing them yourself on land than has always been properly treated (or at least the last 10 years) and are eating based on what is available locally and seasonally then you are likely doing great! If not, there is a good chance you could benefit from whole food supplementation. We have a wide variety of specific whole food supplements to address specific needs determined by both subjective and objective testing. For more information see About Us.

Answer: 65 cups of spinach!

What is the value of nutritional counseling vs. just buying supplements at a health food store?
In the book, Why Your Doctor Offers Nutritional Supplements, Stephanie Selene Anderson writes a beautiful answer to this question. This is an answer that took me much time, money and health to find and so I make this book available to all of our clients in our lending library.

There probably hasn't been a civilization in recorded history that did not have dietary beliefs about food and health. But, to our knowledge, the health food store is a phenomenon unique to this current civilization and to our time. Apothecaries, herbal, medicinal and healing shops have occupied their place in business over the centuries, but a shop dedicated to selling "whole" foods or "organic", "natural", fresh", or "alternative" foods is evidence that we are split between an awareness of what healthy food is and is not.

Unfortunately, the original vision of health food stores supplying honestly whole, fresh, organic and unadulterated foods came and went with the sixties. What we have instead are new ways of marketing food that is still conventional and almost as adulterated as the common supermarket brands, peppered with some organic produce, grains, nuts, higher quality oils and, in some cases, healthier meats.

Another misuse of health food stores is asking for health advice. Health food employees are not health food practitioners and cannot be relied upon for medical or health information. It is difficult enough for the professional to learn all there is to know about the latest research and findings, as well as have the experience necessary to help others. It will be far more safe and intelligent to find an informed doctor or health practitioner to guide you.

With so much conflicting information in the press, how do I select a health care professional that I can trust? The health care industry is undergoing much change. Do you remember when the airline industry, the phone industry, the power industry were under strict government regulation and we, as consumers, had limited access? That is much like where the health care industry was from the mid to late twentieth century. As of the mid-90's some aspects of health care have experienced de-regulation due to court cases where patients demanded their right to choose their mode of care. Simultaneously the battle rages on to increase regulation and tighten control of one group over another. A market controlled system can be very efficient when all the mechanisms of information, choice and review are in place. However, we are in the transition years and there is much confusion. There is an overwhelming amount of health data available. It truly takes a dedicated effort and a mind for medical terms, biology and statistics to really make sense of it all. If you are trying to decipher it all, see our website for Resources to get more information and our perspective.

We believe that when the holistic health industry truly matures, there will be a realization that there are MANY WAYS to achieve optimal health, not just ONE TRUE WAY, and that there are even MORE ways to poor health. Let's avoid those! We tend to avoid those who claim, "ONE true way with this ONE great product." Experience has shown that this is marketing speak for, "I just want your money for a few months."

We believe that you will naturally be attracted to health practitioners (of any background) who have lived through many of your own struggles and have overcome. Your heart leads you there if you will choose to listen. The basis of how you find someone to trust is the question, "Do you do this, yourself? If not, on what basis do you recommend this?" Most well meaning practitioners are only too willing to answer these questions.

What is the difference between vitamins, minerals, herbs, and bio-identical HRT (hormone replacement therapy)?
Whole food vitamins provide the nutrients that feed the energy cycle of your cells. Like foods, these naturally come packaged as living complexes with specific synergistic co-factors, enzymes, phyto-nutrients and organic mineral activators. Any one vitamin in synthetic form (even if a couple of "studied" co-factors are added) will not be as effective because each vitamin needs all of its synergists to function. There are literally hundreds of such synergists, most of which have not been studies but are nevertheless very important. For more information on this see our January 2009 #2 newsletter.

Minerals come in two forms: organic and inorganic. We can readily digest organic minerals that we get from plant food sources. The plants have already taken the minerals from the soil and bring them to us in a readily available form. Minerals are the activators that turn our food into energy at the cellular level. They also act to engage hormone systems throughout our body. They have been called nature's tranquilizers because of this role.

Herbal products have been used with great success for millennia. The main quality issues with herbs are the proper preparation of the herbal product (the part of the plant, the extract and the quantity of raw material used) and the therapeutic dosage of the product. Because there is no labeling law in the U.S. consumers have no idea what they are really purchasing. The products we use come from Australia where they have a strict herbal labeling law, allowing us confidence in the product and consistent results with our clients.

Bio-identical HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is a hot topic. Everyone wants to use hormones and many of them are available over the counter. We suggest great caution in looking to hormones for a quick answer. Ten years ago the greatest issue with female hormonal health was the use of synthetic or horse hormones. Today it is the misuse, both usage regardless of need and overdose, of bio-identical HRT. For men, the use of hormones are rarely needed as the body can be stimulated to balance hormones on it's own with the proper nutrition. The same is true of most women, even into menopause, although menopausal women often take longer to balance nutritionally and so we might recommend HRT support for the short term. (One exception is total hysterectomy. These women often need support for the rest of their life.) There is no doubt that there are hormone imbalances. Our approach is to test, utilizing saliva tests, to determine need and then utilize nutrients (whole food supplements and herbal products) to support the body in re-balancing itself. This process generally takes three to six months. After that time, you are no longer dependent on any support.

How do you determine what I need to take?
We utilize a full case history, subjective and objective testing and your own goals to guide what you will need and in what order. You can read more about this in About Us. The body has a priority schedule on what needs to be fixed from the beginning and what comes later. We work with you to give you what you need, as you can use it. The result is that you ultimately get results faster and with less expense than other approaches that may prove to just be temporary.

Why do I need to support my body in detoxification?
Our body is always in a mode of detox. The question is how effective are our major organs of detox (liver, kidney, skin, lungs, bowel) and what load are we exposed to every day? There are phyto-nutrients (vitamins), minerals, and herbs that support the natural detox of your body. Much has been written about the value of brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli and other green leafy veggies to support this process. However, you may not know that many toxic metals make themselves at home in your organs because they are "pinch hitting" for a need that there are no nutrient minerals to fill. They are like a key that fits just well enough to go in, but not well enough to actually unlock the process. As you replenish your body with good minerals, over time, the toxic ones will dislodge and your body will excrete them.

In today's world, we encounter many more toxins than our body was designed to handle and we are eating less and less of the nutrients that support healthy function of the detoxification process. Because of this, many people choose to support detox by going through the Purification Program or by starting on a nutritional program that incorporates detox as part of the goal. The results can be dramatic, especially if you have a high score (>40) on the Toxicity Questionaire. For more information, Contact Us.