Do I Need a Nutritionist?
Would you benefit from seeing a nutritionist? After all, there is all kinds of information on the internet, right? What if you don't need to lose weight? Could you benefit from having someone walk with you on the path back to health from the nutrition perspective? The answer is a resounding YES!
A nutritionist can help you put into effect the recommendations from your doctor, analyze your diet as it relates to your health condition and help you recover faster.
In natural medicine, the body is treated as a whole system and nutrition plays a crucial role in recovery. A nutritionist can help you get back the balance that may be affecting your energy, mood, sleep, weight or causing you pain.
Here are my top 10 reasons for seeing a nutritionist:
1. Food allergy testing followed by an elimination diet:
Food allergy/sensitivity testing is a great tool to help you identify the foods that may be causing inflammation or symptoms of disease. Oftentimes when people see their test results their heart sinks because a lot of their favorite foods are on the list.
A nutritionist can help you make sense of the results of your food sensitivity testing and help you identify foods that trigger inflammatory reactions. Following an elimination diet with the guide of your nutritionist can help you make dietary changes in a simple way.
2. Digestive Issues:
Diarrhea, constipation, irregular bowel movements, heartburn and acid reflux are common symptoms of digestive disturbance and are often diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Perhaps you have been living with some of these symptoms thinking that this is just the way your body digests food normally.
A nutritionist can help you better understand your digestive process and improve your well- being by helping you identify the root cause of your discomfort. A nutritionist can help you come up with a well-balanced meal plan that includes the foods that your body can tolerate.
3. Weight Management:
Have you struggled with your weight for a long time? Perhaps you have tried many diets and ended up frustrated because the weight comes back. A nutritionist can help! Weight management is more than calories in and calories out. Together with your doctor, a nutritionist can help you get to the bottom of your weight issues, as they relate to your family history, hormone levels, lifestyle and genetic factors.
A nutritionist can develop an individualized meal plan and lifestyle program for you. The goal is to help you achieve your weight management goals in a safe, gradual, manageable way.
4. Abnormal Lab Values:
Nutritionists are trained to help you assess your dietary intake as it relates to the effects of food on your body. Abnormal blood tests like glucose, iron, cholesterol or thyroid function, may show you how the body is reacting to what you are eating or to lifestyle choices.
By carefully looking at your food and lifestyle, a nutritionist can make suggestions on how to get your labs back to a normal range. This, in turn, will decrease your risk of developing chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or autoimmune conditions.
5. Mood Disorders:
Studies in the last few years have confirmed what we already suspected: There is a clear connection between the body and the mind. When we are living in the "fight or flight" mode we secrete more adrenaline and cortisol. We also know that exercise helps us get to a peaceful state by burning off the stress hormones. We also recognize the beneficial effect of a restful night's sleep on the body and the positive calming effect of love and support.
Just like sleep, exercise and connection can help us feel calmer. Good nutrition is a key tool in the armamentarium your doctor uses to get you back on your feet.
For people experiencing mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism or other mental health conditions, a carefully thought out food plan can make a huge difference.
6. Fertility Issues or Planning a Pregnancy:
Meeting with a nutritionist can be helpful to optimize your health throughout conception, pregnancy and birth. A nutritionist is able to provide guidance with nourishing meal plans that will enhance your health and the health of your child. This is an excellent time to ensure you and your child have all the necessary nutrients for optimal growth and development.
7. Eating Disorders:
After a diagnosis of an eating disorder, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. At this difficult time, it is crucial to meet with a professional who can walk with you hand in hand as you recover and get back on your feet.
An eating disorder can have many faces, such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa or "disordered eating" where a person chooses to eat only certain foods with specific colors or textures. This can be seen in children who are described by parents as "picky eaters."
In some cases, there may be some inherent nutritional deficiencies that once corrected, could help the child go back to eating normally.
A nutritionist can assist you as you navigate this road, by providing you with ideas on how to deal with the transition back to a regular whole foods diet. A nutritionist can help you feel empowered to develop a healthy relationship with food.
8. Meal Planning:
A nutritionist is a key player on your team if you are looking to improve your diet and learn how to apply the principles of an eating plan, such as Paleo, Mediterranean, Ketogenic, GAPS, FODMAP, vegan, Wahl's Protocol or any other special diet. The internet is full of advice, but it is difficult to discern what is a fad diet vs following a diet based on scientific principles. A meeting with a nutritionist can help you walk this road with someone who is able to provide you with sound nutrition information.
9. Athletic Performance:
Athletes who need an edge or would like to boost their performance focus on nutrition intake. The amount of energy, macro and micro nutrients and meal timing can make a big difference in performance. Allow a nutritionist to analyze your food intake and provide you with an eating program tailored to your athletic and lifestyle needs.
10. Desire to Improve Current Eating Habits:
Every special diet has an impact on your health. Switching from a regular diet to a vegan diet doesn't necessarily mean you will be healthier. A vegan diet may be healthier than the Standard American Diet (SAD), but only if planned according to your nutritional needs. Otherwise it may lack key nutrients that could lead to nutritional deficiencies. A nutritionist can help you navigate the changes when eating out, traveling and socializing.
No matter what your nutritional needs or health goals are, a nutritionist can help you create a meal plan that will work for you. The power of a healthy diet can be life changing.