What exactly is Nutritional Therapy?
I am often asked what a nutritional therapist actually does. Most of us would agree that nutrition is the foundation for good health, and that nature provides us with the resources we need in order to build strong, efficient and resilient bodies. However, many of us have no idea how to maintain good health, or indeed where to find ‘nature’ these days. All too often, we rely on a few multinationals to supply our food and medicines, expecting both to be instantly effective and fit in with our “need for speed”.
We live in a culture of misinformation driven by commercial or political gain. In the last century, the dangers of lead and mercury, asbestos, radioactivity, DDT and thalidomide were underestimated or ignored. Things haven’t changed much. Companies and governments systematically understate the long-term risks of drugs, pesticides and processed food. It seems we are particularly bad at assessing the risks which accompany our own activities, and it’s becoming increasingly important to highlight evidence conveniently ignored by producers keen on promoting their own short-term interests.
Nutritionists may not want to, but have had to become embroiled in the politics of food production and retailing simply because the pressures these exert have become too great to resist – and are affecting our health. Apart from obesity and its consequences, we suffer from rising immune and mental health problems. Part of my job is to explain to clients that most of today’s health problems are based on underlying biochemical imbalances caused by our diet and the environment we live in. A toxic lifestyle, allergies, addictions, stress and bugs can be far more damaging to our health than the genes we inherited. It’s important to expose food manufacturers who are allowed to remove nutrients from food and add chemicals banned in other civilised countries. Or lambaste greedy sporting heroes who trade their reputation and the health of our children for a bag of crisps.
If you can’t trust the pharmaceutical industry or food conglomerates, who can you trust? I suspect the answer is – only yourself. Remember this when you next visit the Las Vegas style supermarket aisles. It’s where the great con is perfected, where shoppers fall under the spell of pretty packaging, hypnotic music and chemically manufactured aerosol aromas. An apparently logical reality created for the benefit of a precious few. Perhaps someone can tell me where the logic is in trading one’s hard earned cash for ‘fake’ food, then falling ill and spending money on medicine?
How can we resist being sucked into the Aladdin’s cave of convenience food? The more we educate ourselves and our children about nutritional science, the more actively we play a role in maintaining our health. A nutritionist will explain that quality fresh raw materials provide the ingredients for long-term health, drawing attention to the biochemical uniqueness of each person and the important role of the environment. How an individual deals with toxic exposure depends not only on their genes, but current state of health. It is our job to find out where potential problems lie and provide a personalised plan with practical guidelines on how to enhance immunity, intellect, improve digestion and protect from stress and pollution.
We can, if we try.
© 2011 Martina Watts MSc Nut Med First published Brighton Argus June 2004