You most certainly have heard of Nutritionists and Health Coaches—but not of ‘Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches’. Despite it’s long, teasing title the work that an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach does is quite simple, though unique, in it’s philosophy. Our job is to cultivate in our clients habits conducive to long-term good health. In place of ‘quick fixes’, our programs substitute slow, incremental fixes, that invest our clients with the capacity to become advocates for their own health.
These programs can be from a 3 to 6 month commitment depending on the client’s needs. The uniqueness of these programs is two fold; firstly, the ideology behind this program is to work with each client as a bio-individual, whose needs are specific and to unravel the confusion that everyone should have the same generic health goals. Each individual has his/her own anatomy, metabolism, genetic makeup and hence specific nutritional needs for their bodies to function optimally. For example, to be eating super foods or going onto a carb free or a plant diet is not equally useful for every individual. It is meant to relieve people of the daunting impression that they do not have to follow the numerous trends of popular diets to achieve good health, that are introduced ever so often. Secondly, through these programs the myth that, to achieve sound health and fitness is an overwhelming task, is negated. The program is designed in a way
that enables the client to make small yet achievable changes which have a
profound effect on their health and well being.
The client’s ‘needs’ can be food or lifestyle related. In the first consultation the client rates his/ her level of satisfaction in various domains of life called the ‘Primary Foods’ such as sleep, exercise, spirituality, career, education, relationships through a tool created by the world’s largest nutrition school and pioneers of the field of ‘Integrative Nutrition’, the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York. This tool is called the ‘Circle of Life’. The ‘Circle of Life’ allows for a line of thoughtful questioning and discussion in which the client and the Integrative Nutrition Health Coach are together able to determine the main reason for their illness or just lack of well being. Together with the ‘Primary Foods’ or these lifestyle domains in the client’s life, their diet is also reviewed and this we refer to as the ‘Secondary Foods’. Research has shown that the ‘Primary Foods’ and ‘Secondary Foods’ work in synergy to achieve well being. That is why a health professional needs to be able to evaluate a client’s needs through both lenses. This is where the name ‘Integrative Nutrition’ comes from, the philosophy that it isn’t food alone that ensures good health but, also a person’s lifestyle habits. This is indicated well on the Integrative Nutrition Plate above.
In this fast paced world increasingly our food and lifestyles have become incongruous with a healthy and balanced life. Food is also not as pure as it used to be – with the use of toxic pesticides and additives on agricultural produce, hormones and antibiotics use on livestock and depletion of nutrients from our soil. This is further complicated with ever changing food related trends. It is therefore necessary to begin to just consider your body’s needs and work on improving your health.
The discussion so far has been indeterminate on the point of the audience for whom Integrative Nutrition programs are intended. This is because there is, in fact, no such audience—Integrative Nutrition programs affording people of all kinds a chance to focus on preventative healthcare by making headway on their nutritional and health goals. And yet, Integrative Nutrition programs might be of particular value for people who are suffering from chronic illnesses (Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis) and hormonal imbalances. The primary cause of these illnesses is poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol, poor diet, lack of physical activity and the inability to manage stress. Or even not being able to determine the foods that nourish your individual body or a primary food that maybe the root cause of their health issue. The mainstream medical practice is predisposed to treat the symptom of a disease. They are not equipped to provide lifestyle and nutritional advice to support their patients through these diseases. And in some cases to overcome them.
In a similar vein, I believe deeply in the importance of cultivating healthy habits in young children. This entails their eating nutritionally rich foods and developing nourishing life habits early on so that they are able to set the grounds for a vibrant future. I work with Young Adults ages 12 to 18. This period can be a difficult one as their bodies are developing rapidly and with that their body’s needs are changing. This is the time to enable communication about developing healthy habits and making the right food choices that will nourish and support their growing bodies. We are noticing a detrimental trend in young teens of becoming conscious of body image, mostly influenced by peers or social media. My program helps kids develop a healthy mindset about weight and encourages them to enjoy food, eat well and to include more healthy foods into the diet rather than having to focus on eliminating foods from their diets.
These programs, it bears repeating, promise no sudden transformations—and all for the better. What they do promise, however, are lasting changes in life habits and behaviours that ensure an abiding, lifelong good health.
Should a program of this type appeal to you, please consult my website for further information on the variety and duration of programs offered: