What is Holistic Nutrition?

I’m a holistic nutritionist, but the practice is in its infancy and many people are not exactly sure what that means and how my practice is different than that of a “conventional” nutritionist or dietician?

Great question!

According to Merriam-Webster, holism is a theory that the universe and especially living nature is correctly seen in terms of interacting wholes that are more than the mere sum of elementary particles. In other words, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This means that all the fishes in the seas are interdependent and work together to create harmonious balance. This theory also implies that said fishes and said seas are similarly connected to the sky, moon, stars and planets in our solar system and beyond. Pretty cool, but maybe a bit too abstract for our purposes.

Within the context of the human body, holistic refers to the integration of body, mind, and spirit. We are one giant network of increasing complex and intricate connections between many biochemical, mental/emotional, and environmental/spiritual states, which contribute to overall health and wellbeing…or not.

A holistic practitioner recognizes the intricate connection between the body, mind, and spirit and helps clients overcome illness, maximize health, and connect vision with action.

A holistic nutritionist (me) specializes in the application of food and healthy dietary habits to promote physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. We promote a balanced way of eating that takes into full consideration one’s current health status, belief system, upbringing, heritage, environment, goals, and taste preferences. This approach facilitates the creation of a healthful and sustainable dietary and lifestyle routine that promises to enhance the food-body connection and how we respond to the internal and external events that might otherwise compromise our health, outlook, and capacity for greatness.

How is my approach different than a conventional nutritionist or dietician? Well, many nutritionists and dieticians use an analytic approach to reduce a system to its elementary parts in order to help support or treat a specific organ, illness, or disease. It might be appropriate to view this approach as similar to that which a medical doctor (MD) diagnoses and treats ill health. A holistic practitioner (nutritionist) uses a systemic approach that views all those elementary parts as interdependent and designs a therapeutic regiment to support the entire body in addition to the specific organ and/or illness that presents. This is similar to the approach a naturopathic doctor (ND) might use in diagnosing and treating ill health.

A lot of what I do is focused on teaching clients how to identify their “best” diet and helping them figure out the steps necessary to ensure their success. This often requires a lot of coaching – listening, empathizing, motivating, and inspiring – but it also requires a lot of teaching – these foods and habits may be best in supporting your physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.

Another point of differentiation is the scholastic/professional requirements that allow the use of designations such as nutritionist or dietitian. Dietitians must pass a 4 year program in dietetic studies from an nationally recognized institution and then pass an exam administered by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a federally funded organization, to become an Registered Dietitian (RD). Nutritionists do not have to complete such a program and the title is not “protected” by the federal government.

Holistic Nutritionists are organized and protected by the National Associated of Nutrition Professionals (NANP), which, in conjunction with the Holistic Nutrition Counseling Board (HNCB), verifies and validates the educational and professional experience of anyone using the designation with strict standards and the administration of a certification exam.

I have passed the HNCB credentialing exam and have met such professional standards to properly apply the designation Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition®.

My flavor of holistic nutrition coaching includes highly customized dietary guidance, of course, but also promises education and behavior modification to make said guidance relevant and sustainable. Learn more about the coaching packages I offer here. I’m also available to lead group discussions, demonstrations, and build/implement health and wellness initiatives for formal and informal groups. If you’re lookin’ for some unique service, just ask. I always love a good brainstorming session.

Think that about covers everything and hopefully answers the question, “what is heck is a Holistic Nutritionist?!”

If you have any questions about any of this or are interested in learning more about what I do, feel free to shoot me an email through my Contact page.


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All content on this blog is provided for entertainment purposes only. Information is based on research, discussions with health professionals and personal experience and in not intended to replace consultation with a licensed medical doctor or nutritionist.

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© Matthew Lovitt and TwelveWellness, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matthew Lovitt and TwelveWellness with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.