Prepared by: Bonnie Wisener, R.H.N. | bonniewisener.com
There are so many good reasons to visit a Holistic Nutritional Consultant. Chief among them is that you are making the decision to take a proactive approach to your current and future state of health. Holistic Nutrition provides a proactive and accountable approach to health care that helps you to take personal responsibility for your health. Proper nutrition is a key component in balanced health. It is essential to healing, quality of life and longevity.
A qualified Holistic Nutritional Consultant is trained to assess and identify any current nutritional imbalances, and to develop unique nutrition, lifestyle and supplement protocols that can help bring your body back into proper balance, thereby resulting in optimal health.
So, what might your first visit to a Holistic Nutritional Consultant look like?
When you book your first appointment, you will asked to complete a series of detailed forms. The information on these forms will provide us with insight into your personal goals, your main health concern(s), your specific health history, your current symptoms, aspects of your current lifestyle and eating habits. You will likely also fill out a multiple-day food diary.
During the initial consultation, you and your practitioner will discuss your intake forms in detail. Your Holistic Nutritional Consultant will want to get a sense of what has brought you to where you are today. There is no cookie cutter solution. Your practitioner will be using their finely trained skills to identify imbalances and opportunities by examining your diet and lifestyle to date.
In a following appointment, your Holistic Nutritional Consultant will present you with a customized nutrition and lifestyle plan that is designed to help you achieve your health goals and address your main health concerns. You will leave with an action plan designed specifically for you. You will likely be provided with a few key items to work on over the short term. Typically, this would be the beginning of a process that will involve a transition to long term changes, reduction in symptoms, and a path to increased vitality. Your Holistic Nutritional Consultant will become your educator, your coach and on some days, your conscience. Ultimately, you will have found yourself a partner in your health journey – someone who now knows and understands your needs.
It is interesting to note that a quick scan of the internet will reveal that most Holistic Nutritional Consultants entered that field of education and practice, because, like you, they were struggling with their own health at some point in the past. They were not finding answers in conventional healthcare, and intuitively knew that they needed to seek out more helpful answers. They were engaged and committed to finding a path to enhanced wellness.
Here’s an example of what you might expect in your initial consultations with a Holistic Nutritional Consultant. I will demonstrate this for you by sharing an experience with one of my own clients – we will call her Simone to protect her actual identity.
Simone was struggling with a recent medical diagnosis of a disabling autoimmune condition. She was 36 years old, a full time office administrator, and full time mother of 3 young children. Her condition was not only slowing her down, if her condition progressed further, her doctor suggested that she would likely find herself in a wheelchair in the next 5 years. Her medical specialist recommended some harsh immunosuppressant medications. Desperate for relief, she followed her doctor’s orders and took the meds. Unfortunately, they did not agree with her at all. The side effect of the meds , were more disabling then her condition itself. She suddenly found herself bedridden. Unable to work, or look after her children. She knew then and there that something had to change. Her doctor worked with her to take her off the medications. Within a few months, Simone was no longer bedridden but was still experiencing the severity of her condition’s symptoms. Pain and discomfort that would not allow her the physical agility she required simply to live her everyday life (forget exercise for now), plus she experienced significant brainfog and long bouts of constipation.
In her first appointment, I listened as she explained her personal history to me. Many things came out of that appointment. For example, an important question in the intake form asks clients about their history of prescribed medications. Simone’s history included a 4 year long “on and off” cycle of oral antibiotics that were prescribed for repetitive sinus infections.
This one aspect of her health history was important because it provided me with insight into her microbiome. Continuous antibiotic use, plus her symptoms (Irritable bowel, hallmarked by lifelong cycles of constipation, brain fog, bloating) led me to believe that her digestive system needed support. Her recent diagnosis by another medical professional confirmed that she had an autoimmune condition. An autoimmune condition, or reaction, will only express itself if digestion or gut health is impaired (i.e. gut hyper-permeability, or “leaky gut”).
In addition to the impaired digestion, the continuous bouts of sinusitis that she was being treated for led me to suspect that a food intolerance was at play, further exacerbating her immune response.
We completed a review of her history and her current dietary intake, and agreed to meet again in one week’s time. I gave Simone a few small things to work on to enhance her digestive process until a fully customized recommendation would be provided the following week. Over the course of that time, I reviewed Simone’s medical history, current lifestyle habits, reported stressors, and current diet and exercise practices as if I were looking at a puzzle and trying to move the pieces around so that everything would fall into place and fit. This lengthy process allowed me to create the most effective plan for Simone to start on a path to an improved sense of wellness, so that she could get her life back into working order, and live it to the fullest. This was her greatest desire, and her main goal.
In our next meeting, I presented Simone with her customized nutrition and lifestyle plan. It involved some significant changes to her current highly convenient and processed diet. There was a potentially long road ahead, and the plan laid out a 6 month outlook, and focussed on what we would concentrate our efforts on over the first 3 months. Most Holistic Nutritional Consultants will help ease you into changes over a longer period of time. After all, nutritional imbalances do not happen overnight. In addition, we recognize that sustainable change may take time. It is much more important to take the steps than to take them quickly. Our training and experience has taught us that it is better to walk than to run when it comes to changes that will garner meaningful improvement for our clients.
Simone’s plan included a gradual dietary elimination protocol so that we could assess which foods she might be intolerant to. The dietary protocol, supplements, and suggestions on how to relieve some stress were all designed with the main goal of enhancing her digestive process, and relieving the pressure on her immune system.
I am pleased to say that within a few weeks, Simone began to experience relief from a lifelong see saw of constipation, and from there, over the next few months, she gained more energy and relief from the inflammation that was causing such a limitation on her mobility. In Simone’s case, we had measurable markers of her disease that showed us that within the first 3 months of her protocol, her doctor reported improvements in some significant areas. That was over 18 months ago, and I am happy to report that Simone has had a complete remission of symptoms, has returned to her regular routine, and has even added a workout regime to her day, which she uses as a method of stress reduction as well.
In Simone’s case, we were fortunate to have the luxury of working with her doctor’s accurate medical diagnosis. So many clients see a complementary health practitioner, like a Holistic Nutritional Consultant because they do not receive answers about their condition or symptoms, or do not fall into convenient categories of diagnosis. Through this same investigative process, and by providing our clients with customized recommendations that incorporate foods with supportive nutrients, recommendations for lifestyle modifications and supplements, it is possible to experience a reduction in symptoms, a return to a better state of wellness, and help prevent illness down the road.
A quick google search of local Holistic Nutritional Consultants will reveal that most of us include a complimentary “discovery” session in our service offerings. These sessions are designed to help you to understand how holistic nutrition can help you reach your personal health goals.
After all, you are what you eat, digest, think and feel. A qualified Holistic Nutritional Consultant will help educate you about what your body requires and be your partner in helping you get there.