Prepared by: Jess Sherman, M. Ed., R.H.N. | jesssherman.com
We live in a time where more people than not are experiencing some sort of health crisis. Our risk of developing cancer is around 1 in 3, and autoimmune disease has become a leading cause of death, especially in women; overweight and diabetes are on the rise and 1 in 5 children is expected to develop a behaviour or mood disorder before they finish high school. The level of chronic mental and physical illness our population is experiencing is exhausting doctors and overwhelming our medical and insurance systems. And it’s only getting worse.
The good news is that the latest research confirms that the vast majority of these chronic health conditions can improve when nutrition and lifestyle are well managed. This is where Holistic Nutrition Practitioners come in to fill the role of health advocate, educator, food expert, and lifestyle coach.
Chronic and degenerative illnesses like the ones now on the rise typically develop over time as the body’s self-regulatory systems break down under the weight of various stressors. Holistic Nutrition Practitioners are trained to understand and explain how factors like poor eating, poor sleep hygiene, environmental and food chemicals, job and family stress, and sedentary lifestyle work together to stress body systems until eventually they become dysfunctional and symptoms surface. By helping people understand and reduce those stressors while at the same time helping them make positive choices to build those regulatory systems back up, Holistic Nutrition Practitioners help individuals prevent and reverse the symptoms of illness.
But this is easier said than done! As Einstein said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.” Taking a proactive approach to preventing a chronic health condition, or driving it into remission, requires that we change the thinking and habits that contributed to its development; it requires individuals to take ownership of their situation, understand their unique bodies, get in the driver’s seat, and make some profound changes. It’s a hard road to travel without someone leading the way; this is the gap Holistic Nutrition Practitioners fill.
It is becoming more and more clear as we move more deeply into this era of chronic disease that the future of health will require individuals to become active participants, require them to make sound nutrition and lifestyle choices, and understand how those choices affect how they feel and function. But in the age of the internet, it’s easier than ever to quickly get overwhelmed with information without feeling confident to implement appropriate change. There is a vast zone of confusion that lies between information and action, and there is conflicting, inaccurate, and incomplete information floating around about the impact of food on health and disease. It’s a landscape within which hundreds of questions and considerations float: Which foods are best? How can I get more sleep? Do I really need to cut out certain foods? How can I do that without risking nutritional deficiency? How do I get my picky child to eat this? Where should I be spending my money? How can I make healthy foods taste good? What about this new research or that new research? Is there any validity to this new food craze? Which nutritional supplements do I need?
Since the typical medical professional doesn’t have time to address all this, Holistic Nutrition Practitioners fill an important gap by helping the public navigate these questions and answer them in context of the unique needs of their particular bodies – it is an approach we call bioindividual.
As health educators, Holistic Nutrition Practitioners help people separate fact from fiction, understand what new science is actually telling us about the nutrition and lifestyle measures that prevent and manage chronic illness, while also equipping them with the plans, tools, and coaching they need to confidently implement positive change. It’s not often enough to know what to do; people need to know why they are going to all this trouble by understanding how their efforts are shifting their physiology.
The coaching of Holistic Nutrition Practitioners is based on ancient wisdom combined with cutting-edge research and the expanding scientific understanding of how the body works as an interconnected ecosystem. It can stand alone, to support the prevention of chronic illness, and it can be a perfect complement to the work of other medical and therapeutic practitioners in the management and improvement of health symptoms. Holistic Nutrition Practitioners can also be helpful to the health food industry in its recipe development and advertising, to schools and community programs to help families make positive health and lifestyle choices, and to private businesses wanting to improve the wellness and productivity of their employees.
Doctors, employers, industry, and the public will find that Holistic Nutrition Practitioners as health coaches, patient advocates, food experts, and educators promote a proactive approach to health so people can feel and function their best.
– Originally Posted August 2019 –
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Jess Sherman is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist™ professional who arms parents with a powerful understanding of nutrition and the body so their entire family can relax, learn, and grow. She offers dietary support for symptoms and conditions common to infants, children, and mothers including digestive disorders, food intolerance and allergy, picky eating, ADD/ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, anxiety, fatigue and overwhelm, and postpartum adjustment struggles. She has created a virtual clinic and community to teach parents the core dietary strategies for supporting physical and mental resilience, which are also outlined in her book, “Raising Resilience”.