Prepared by: Eleanor Healy, R.H.N. | trulyme.ca
Becoming a Registered Holistic Nutritionist™ changed my life. Not only was I able to greatly improve my health issues, but I was better equipped to help people. How? In a nutshell, learning about holistic nutrition allowed me to do what I hadn’t done previously: take my power back.
My early years were spent listening to everyone else, not being able to speak up for myself and having a very difficult time figuring out what I really wanted or needed. Until I discovered how to take responsibility for my health—including mind, body and spirit—I felt miserable.
In 1995, my physical health was, to say the least, undesirable. I suffered from the debilitating symptoms of my undiagnosed condition of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Without going into a lot of details, suffice it to say, I spent an unacceptable amount of time in the washroom and/or doubled over in pain and desperately seeking an available washroom. My life revolved around coping with my dysfunctional digestion and trying to manage my pain. During my flare ups, there were times when I couldn’t leave the house or even my bed.
After years of taking tests, going through invasive procedures and answering endless humiliating questions, my doctor patted me on the shoulder and said, “You have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. There is nothing you can do about it, but don’t worry, dear, it’ll get better, eventually.” I walked out of the office determined to find answers that were better than just “deal with it.”
My quest involved me trying meditation, yoga and various diets; I became my own guinea pig. Nothing stuck for long and when I became stressed, all hell broke loose in my bowels again. It wasn’t until I discovered holistic nutrition at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in 2007 that the root causes of my experiences became clear. I was encouraged to take charge of my health in ways that I hadn’t realized were possible until then.
Here are the four main ways that I finally took responsibility for my own health, using holistic nutrition:
- Listening to my body. This is the biggest piece and creates the biggest change. We aren’t taught to think about, observe or listen to our body. Most of the time we mindlessly reach for certain foods, while rushing from appointment to appointment or grabbing sustenance that will be the fastest way to get the job done (i.e. fill us up). While taking the Natural Nutrition program, I began journaling about the foods that I ate. I watched to see how I felt after eating certain foods or food groups. I began to ask myself, “Am I really hungry or am I just feeling sad or thirsty?” I recorded my answers and implemented the changes with amazing results!
- Research. I began looking at what ingredients were in the foods I purchased. I was shocked and appalled that the peanut butter I ate every day contained icing sugar and the ketchup that I bought had lots of added sugar in it. Based on what I discovered, I began to choose my brands and types of foods more carefully. My health began to improve even more.
- Holistic approach. To find the root cause of my IBS flare ups and triggers, I needed to study what was going on in my life. Yes, foods are extremely important, but I had to examine other aspects of my life. How did I manage emotional stress? How much sleep did I get? What were my interpersonal relationships like? Was I cultivating my spirit with practices like meditation and/or prayer? My physical symptoms were a culmination of my mind/body/spirit aspects functioning together. One or the other aspect could not be left for me to find the answers.
- Honouring my individuality. I learned a lot about the different ways to eat in the Natural Nutrition program. I discovered that there are almost as many ways to eat as there are people on this planet! I became aware of the fact that I didn’t have to follow a rigged, one-size-fits all diet that made me sick; I could choose! This was a revolutionary thought for me. I could choose to eat in a way that made my body feel good. I could even change the way I ate over time, because we all adjust and have different needs as we age. I had freedom. I had personal power. I didn’t have to listen to practitioners who told me to eat in a way that made me sick. I wasn’t meant to fit into a mold, I was meant to stand in my own individual power and find something that worked for me.
Today my IBS symptoms are barely noticeable. I manage most days without any pain and my digestion is relatively normal. I won’t tell you what specific foods I eat, because as I’ve been saying, this is something that you need to find out for yourself. What makes YOUR body feel good?
Eleanor Healy is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist™ professional, Podcaster and Personal Transformation guide who helps women who struggle to be themselves take their power back so they can become who they are truly meant to be. Meet Eleanor and get your FREE gift at trulyme.ca.