What is Nutritional Medicine?
Nutritional medicine is a holistic approach to the interactions of both nutrition and environment on human health.
When the body is supplied with the correct balance of foods, vitamins and minerals we remain healthy.
Naturopaths study nutrition extensively in their studies, in fact nutrition as a stand alone subject is studied in each semester of learning throughout our 3-4 year qualifications.
This 'food is medicine' belief system combines with traditional naturopathic practices of 'treat the whole person' to form nutritional medicine. A system of healing through nutrition.
While optimal digestion is essential to good health, there are many reasons you may also need to focus on nutrition and gastrointestinal health such as disease, chronic inflammation, parasitic infections, allergies and intollerances and past misdeeds (excessive alcohol consumption, recreational drug use, inflammatory food choices).
It is here that a Naturopath practicing nutritional medicine can support you to improve your gastrointestinal wellbeing, optimise nutrient absorption, decrease inflammation, erradicate parasitic infections, manage conditions and symptoms more effectively and improve overall mood, energy and wellbeing.
Healthy eating doesnt need to be bland, boring, flavourless or consist of just leaves. It can be vibrant, full of flavour and joy and good for you too!
"Let medicine by thy food ....
..... and food be thy medicine ..."
There are a million different diets out there, all with enthusiastic proponents and research backing the diet belief system. Its confusing sorting through the bombardment of mixed messaging, particularly when everyone is right and wrong at the same time.
What is universally agreed is that whole foods, in their most natural state possible sourced locally are the best sourced of nutrition. Its which wholefoods are included and excluded that the experts differ in opinion. We believe that each person is an individual with individual needs. Starting with a whole foods diet and adding and excluding different items determined by your health symptoms and how the foods feel to you.
You may undergo specific pathology testing to determine nutrient deficiencies or hair testing to determine food intolerances which may be contributing to your symptoms and underlying condition, to be determined together in consultation.
The Gut And Psychology Syndrome diet (GAPS) was designed for patients suffering from learning disabilities, psychiatric and psychological disorders, immune system problems and digestive problems. Originally derived from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride ( who holds masters degrees in Neurology and Human Nutrition), the GAPS Diet focuses on removing foods that are difficult to digest and damaging to gut flora and replacing them with nutrient-dense foods to give the intestinal lining a chance to heal and seal.
The GAPS Protocol is broken into three parts:
all specifically designed to heal and seal the gut lining, rebalance the immune system, and restore the optimal bacterial ecosystem within the gastrointestinal tract. The Nutritional protocol restricts all grains, commercial dairy, starchy vegetables and all processed/refined carbohydrates while focusing on easily digestible and nutrient dense foods. The Supplementation protocol needs to be tailored to fit the individual healthcare needs of the patient but generally includes a commercial probiotic to provide beneficial bacteria along the GI tract, essential fatty acids, cod liver oil, and targeted digestive support. The Detoxification Protocol enforces natural ways to cleanse the liver and colon through juicing, and supplementation while reducing the general toxic load by restricting man-made chemicals and heavy metals.
The Paleo, also known as Primal, Caveman, and Stone Age diet draws its core principles from our hunter-gatherer, ancestral lifestyle and combines those with modern scientific research. It has gained a huge following in recent years and as a result it is often scrutinised, misrepresented, and often misunderstood. The thing about Paleo is that it’s not really a new diet. The lifestyle – yes it’s much more than a diet – has been around for many years.
Paleo focuses on eating whole, unprocessed foods like grass-fed meat, free range poultry, wild fish, vegetables (including root vegetables,) fruit, berries, some nuts and seeds. It avoids grains, legumes, refined sugars and dairy. However, dairy consumption really depends on your gut health and whether you have any autoimmune issues. The diet avoids all these foods to control insulin sensitivity, repair gut health, increase nutrient absorption and reduce the negative inflammatory effects they cause.
There are several kinds of vegetarian diets: Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat milk products-such as milk, cheese, and yogurt-and eggs, but no meat, poultry, seafood, or fish. People decide to become a vegetarian for many reasons. Some people choose to become a vegetarian for environmental, religious, ethical (animal rights), and/or health reasons.
Vegetarian diets can be healthy and may even lower the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer according to current research. However, eating balanced meals and snacks requires some extra attention when you are a vegetarian. By eating a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, soy products, and whole grains, vegetarians can get adequate nutrients from non–meat sources. Vegetarians, especially vegans, need to monitor adequate consumption of protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega–3 fatty acids to prevent nutrient deficiencies .
We support the ethical decision to not consume or use any animal products 100%. However this is not a strong area of knowledge for me and outside of general nutrition support and information provision, long term optimal nutritional guidance would be done under a specialist in this area. I have a number of peers who i respect immensely professionally (and personally) who are either vegan themselves or specialise in the vegan diet, including sports performance, who i can refer to for either your complete care, or for nutritional care while we continue to work together naturopathically.