What is Nutritional Therapy?
Nutritional Therapy is a healing modality that works with the important role of nutrition in physical and mental health. Nutritional Therapy rests on the premise that optimum states of well-being are achievable through holistic approaches to nutrition and lifestyle.
At Villa Kali Ma we hold the role of diet and lifestyle very dear to our hearts, understanding the supreme relevance of nutrition to addiction, recovery, and mental health. Many contemporary health problems, including mental health troubles, can be more effectively treated when understood as deriving in part from imbalances in the physiology due to poor nutrition.
Just as plants need certain minerals to thrive, humans also need to be nourished by natural ingredients that are balanced correctly for our bodies.
Due to many factors, including the use of synthetic chemicals in pesticides and fertilizers, genetic modification, pollution of our air, soil, and water, as well as other implications of common agricultural and food manufacturing practices, most of the food available to us has very low nutritional value. To make matters worse, many of our foods contain ingredients and trace chemicals that have negative impacts on our physiological and mental health.
Nutritional Therapists seek to mitigate the negative impacts of modern diet and food problems through detoxification and re-balancing of body chemistry, restoring nutrient levels, and increasing nutrition awareness. Working with a Nutritional Therapist, you will learn how to identify nutritional deficiencies and imbalances, and to effectively use natural organic foods and minerals to make corrections.
Different from the more chemically-derived approaches to body change used by pharmaceutical products, Nutritional Therapy has the advantage of very few side effects, as most minerals and food supplements are safe for consumption, representing a low risk of overdose as well. Many minerals are widely available and relatively inexpensive to produce.
Nutritional Therapy addresses how to source the body with nutrient-dense whole foods, improving digestion, balancing blood sugar, and increasing beneficial minerals, fatty acids, and optimizing hydration.
How our diet affects our health
Diet plays a significant role in our health and lack thereof. People whose dietary habits center around eating fresh, organic whole foods are healthier overall, with less incidence of all forms of disease, including mental health problems.
Humans are complex organisms, and no single factor can explain away all health imbalances. Even so, clear correlation has been established between optimal physical, mental, and behavioral health and diets comprised of fresh, minimally processed, nutrient dense foods, such as organic vegetables, lean natural protein sources, and whole grains.
The so-called Standard American Diet (SAD) is particularly toxic to the human body, as it revolves around refined carbohydrates, partially-hydrogenated oils, saturated fats, chemical additives, preservatives, and excessively processed foods.
The American diet paired with large portions, sedentary lifestyle, living in cities and working in high-stress environments is positively lethal, as our many health epidemics suggest. Diseases linked to the SAD include diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, respiratory problems, autoimmune disorders, and cancer.
Foods affect mental states extensively as well. The body’s natural balance of hormones and neurotransmitters is disturbed through the addition of synthetic chemicals, and the removal of nutrients from our diet through large agricultural and food processing methods.
The chemicals used in pharmaceuticals as well as many household products have been studied as possible sources for the meteoric rise in mental, behavioral, and emotional problems across the American population. Chemical additives in drinking water and pollution of air and soil likewise contribute to the ways that our diets have atrophied since the rise of the industrial approach to life.
Nutritional Therapy assists to counterbalance the effects of any and all of these factors. It does so in part through paying especially close attention to the gastrointestinal tract.
Important neurotransmitters like serotonin, that help our bodies govern mood, sleep, and pain, are produced primarily in the gastrointestinal tract and distributed through neurons located our stomach lining. The ability to produce the right amount of positive, healthy neurotransmitters, therefore, is significantly impacted by diet.
The health of our gastrointestinal systems is best supported with good nutrition, as our ability to digest food in a way that we better absorb what we really need from it is vital. To that end, Nutritional Therapists look into ways to support what’s called your intestinal microbiome – the billions of beneficial bacteria located in your intestinal tract.
The “good bacteria” in our microbiome support health by protecting us against toxins and bad bacteria. They reduce inflammation and improve how nutrients are absorbed from food. A healthy microbiome is required for all forms of health, including mental emotional well-being, as the entirety of the nervous system is affected by what takes place in the gut.
Methods for supporting the microbiome to flourish include eating in ways that limit chemicals, toxins, and sugars, detoxifying and cleansing the microbiome, as well as proactively introducing probiotic nutrients.
The importance of nutrition during recovery
The role of good nutrition during recovery cannot be overstated, as nutrition is a powerful ally in recovery from any form of illness. Nutrition is a direct and effective way to balance our moods, support our physical bodies to thrive, and to maintain a state of being that supports sobriety, healing, and feeling better by any definition.
This is because, when we feel good at the basic biological level through nutrition and lifestyle changes, we experience far less negative emotion and have less use for chemicals or negative behaviors and coping strategies to manage our suffering. A happy body resonates to the frequencies and energies of a happy soul.
For those of us with a history of substance abuse, it’s important to understand that mood altering substances have strong negative impacts on the physical stores of hormones and neurotransmitters.
People who use drugs and alcohol will likely have atrophied their digestive systems in significant ways, through organ damage and gastrointestinal disorders. The impact of poor eating choices, low blood sugar, and inadequate nutritional intake has long-lasting effects which are best counterbalanced through proactive Nutritional Therapy work. The good news as that Nutritional Therapy does work to help the body recover deeply.
Those of us who are working with mental health imbalances, like tendencies towards depression and anxiety, do well to learn about the ways we can promote well-being through diet and lifestyle, as well.
The body is a resource for feeling happy in life, and it can be supported in its true role as the vehicle for experiencing our life optimally, aligned with our true intentions for being here. The body can be reset to its naturally self-balancing state when we understand the nutritional needs of our nervous systems and glands, as our brain, organs, and endocrine system are all involved in feeling well or unwell in our minds, spirits, and emotions.
The benefits of nutritional therapy
The list of benefits associated with Nutritional Therapy is long. Developing a specialized diet plan to target your specific case can result in any or all of the following outcomes:
- Increase your energy levels, bringing more stamina, enthusiasm and activity to your life. When supported with good nutrition, the body naturally wants to exercise, spend time outdoors, which in turn supports better sleep and healing cycles.
- Regulated mood and emotional life. Nutrition is closely connected to many mood states, particularly depression and anxiety. When we receive the right nutrients for our brains and nervous systems, our body responds with positive feelings, thoughts, and sensations at all levels of our being.
- Stabilize your body at its naturally ideal, healthy weight. Each body has an ideal healthy weight which will arise naturally when eating healthily, exercising sufficiently and spending time out of doors.
- Optimize your immune system functioning and other natural body processes, such as digestion. The body’s complex and intricate systems require optimum nutrition to function at their best.
- Reverse, slow down, or eliminate symptoms of existing diseases. Many diseases are mitigated or fully healed through nutritional support in combination with mineral supplementation.
- Prevent future diseases from appearing. Maintaining an optimal nutritional state in combination with a healthy lifestyle with movement and exposure to nature is the best prevention against future illness.
- Lowered cost of healthcare and medicine. The significant financial impact of illness can be curbed through proactively maintaining a baseline of physical health through diet and lifestyle.
Nutritional Therapy program options
More and more, evidence-based treatment programs helping people recover from addiction, trauma and mental illness are recognizing the vital role of nutrition in regenerating health.
Villa Kali Ma integrates Nutritional Therapy into our many life-changing programs for women, so if you choose to receive support in the form of treatment with us, you will experience the benefits of Nutritional Therapy as a part of your path to recovery.
It is also an option to find and work with a Nutritional Therapist in the community. A Nutritional Therapy provider will meet with you for a thorough health history to assess for levels of nutrient deficiency, then help you tailor a specific diet plan that will restore and replenish your nutritional condition.
Overall, working with a Nutritional Therapist is a powerful way to harness the significant benefits available to us when we choose to make changes in nutrition and lifestyle. As the saying goes, the body is a temple, and we can learn to love caring for it well through the choice of what we ingest and decide not to take into it.
To learn more about the ways that Nutritional Therapy works to support addiction recovery, healing from trauma, and well-being at every level of your being, connect with Villa Kali Ma and learn more our many transformational programs for holistic healing.