Fad diets. The Internet. Self-help books. You’ve been there and done that but you’re still struggling with health and weight issues. Whether it’s knowing where to start or how to keep going, sometimes you need to call in a pro to help resolve your health problems and support your long-term goals.
Nutritional therapy can help with almost any kind of health issue: from IBS to acne and from cancer to heart disease. Your food choices either help or hurt your body and impact both your physical and mental health. A new diagnosis, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, underactive thyroid or allergies can be overwhelming and leave you uncertain about what to eat.
When it comes to food, everyone thinks they are an expert. The problem is some of these so-called healthy eating gurus might not have any nutritional qualifications. In fact, with an Instagram bio, e-book, or a website anyone can share dietary advice online. But just as you wouldn’t take antibiotics without seeing a doctor or wouldn’t trust a ‘legal expert’ who hadn’t been to law school, why would you take nutrition advice from anyone other than a properly qualified professional? Anyone can obtain a health “certification “and call themselves a nutritionist, yet some of these programs can be as short as a few hours and completely lack scientific background of any kind. Make sure your nutritionist has evidence-based training from an accredited institution and is not a self-styled “expert”, especially if you have a medical condition for which you are seeking nutritional guidance.
Cutting through the confusion
Is gluten bad for you? Should you go dairy-free? What supplements should you be taking and what diagnostic tests do you need to do? A properly trained nutritionist keeps up on the latest scientific research. Part of our job is to sort through the large amount of scientific information and use our training to apply research findings to your specific needs. Here are a few examples of situations in which seeing a nutritionist can be particularly useful:
- You suspect you have allergies: Only a licensed nutritionist (or dietician) has the professional experience and education to be able to make important recommendations, like cutting out entire food groups. We can help determine if your symptoms are due to an allergy, an intolerance or something else. We can also direct you on how to get a diagnosis and if you need to see a doctor, as well as making sure you don’t develop any nutrient deficiencies in the process.
- You can’t lose weight: The charlatans of the diet industry promote fad diets and “magic” potions aimed at losing as much weight in as little time as possible instead of steady, sustainable weight loss. You lose weight, only to put it right back on again – often more. A nutritionist helps you achieve lasting weight loss by identifying underlying factors and by showing you how to make permanent adjustments to your diet and lifestyle.
- Digestive issues: Gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea? It could be lactose intolerance, but it could be several other things too, including imbalances in gut bacteria and other disorders of the stomach and intestines that need addressing. A nutritionist gets to the root of the problem and helps you with dietary changes to relieve your symptoms, or can refer you to a doctor to make sure it isn’t anything more serious.
- You’re having trouble coping: Whether you have just found out that you are pregnant, been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, are suffering from adrenal fatigue or have decided to train for a marathon, a nutritionist can help you adjust to challenges by making sure you’re providing your body with the right foods to fuel your brain and your muscles and to prevent energy dips and crashes.
- You need a good detox: Most detox programs are essentially just rapid weight loss regimens that deprive you of crucial nutrients and calories, forcing your body into starvation mode so that partially detoxed substances are re-absorbed instead of eliminated. A nutritionist creates detox plans that effectively remove accumulated toxins by supporting your major organs with the right nutrients.
- Trying to get pregnant? A nutritionist can help prepare your body to have the healthiest pregnancy possible, and ensure your baby is getting all the nourishment that it needs.
- Your immunity needs a boost: A strong immune system protects us from infections and cancer. A nutritionist can help optimise your immunity by helping you focus on immune-boosting foods and supplements while avoiding dietary and lifestyle factors that suppress immunity.
- You have skin issues: Itchy skin, acne, or premature aging? Not sure what’s causing those problems? Chronic skin conditions can be managed by paying close attention to your diet and lifestyle and a nutritionist can help.
- You’re depressed: Depression may be triggered by stress or a traumatic life event, but can also be the result of chemical imbalances in the brain, thyroid disorders, nutritional deficiencies and poor diet.
- You have an immune or inflammatory condition: Modern-day environmental threats have our immune systems on red alert. This leads to chronic inflammation, which contributes to a wide range of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, including asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease and more. A nutritionist can help identify triggers and make sure you know how to follow an anti-inflammatory diet.
How it works
A good nutritionist helps their clients to understand the science behind how proper nutrition can benefit their specific health concerns. They set realistic and practical goals, anticipate pitfalls and help plan your meals. Progress and maintenance can be monitored with follow up visits to help you stay motivated, provide accountability and keep you on track.
For nutritional consultations on a wide range of health issues contact Susan Tomassini, Licensed Nutritionist BSc (Hons) Dip BCNH @ 06 17481114ot