I see three stages that we go on as we make the journey of nutritional healing:
Stage 1 - "The Health Nut".
Stage 2 - "The Health Coach".
Stage 3 - "The Nutritional Doctor-Healer".
Stage 1 - The Health Nut
This is the average healthy eater who has some nutritional know-how. They watch their sugar intake, may not eat gluten, and might do almond milk instead of dairy. Basic nutritional know how. Maybe they take a multi-vitamin or some vitamin D. At this level, you might also be balancing your macro-nutrients in your meals (watching your protein, fat, and carb intake.) You might aim to have a salad everyday. At this level, you also tend to think that the diet that works great for you, will also work great for everyone else too - which how we get fanatical vegans, or fanatical meat-eaters - you think everyone should eat as you do. So at this level, we know some things, but we still believe some myths too.
At Stage 1 - you might have the salad pictured above, and say, "I'm having a spinach salad, that's healthy. Spinach has iron and strawberries are rich in anti-oxidants."
Stage 2 - The Health Coach
At this stage, you don't just eat lots of veggies, you select them for their effects. For ex: onions are detoxifying, and greens are high in magnesium. You probably also do superfoods and fermented foods, and know the difference between the various fats. You may also eat more according to your blood type, and you know supplements: the difference between Magnesium Oxide and Magnesium Citrate, for example. There is a lot more nutritional understanding at this stage, and you're likely to reach this stage only through some kind of training, or a lot of reading or webinars. At this stage, you're not just watching your macro-nutrients but also your micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals mainly) - you're eating foods that are micro-nutrient rich and you are eating a wide spectrum of foods, to ensure you get a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. You may also buy organic and avoid GMO's, since you know enough to motivate that choice! You probably also eat mostly plants and cook a fair bit at home - since that's the only way to know what you're eating. As you can see, there is a lot more nutritional intelligence at this level.
At stage 2 - the salad above will definitely be organic strawberries, since they are highly sprayed, plus you might skip the feta, and have a home-made salad dressing of olive oil, not soybean or canola oil. You might also put different things in your salad depending on the season, including various herbs.
Stage 3 - The Nutritional Doctor-Healer
This is the level of understanding of a Naturopath or Functional Medicine clinician. At this level, you understand that each person is unique, and nutritional healing is complex. You literally understand biochemical individuality and how that interfaces with lifestyle. So you can help people overcome various conditions with the use of precise diet and precise supplements, and your own diet is very precise: you know what foods your body needs to be healthy, and you eat that way consistently, so you tend to exceptionally healthy.
People at this level also tend to do labs every 6 mo's or so, testing themselves to know precisely where their body is at (Vitamin D levels, hormone levels, and so on), in order to optimize their nutrition before ever seeing a symptom of any kind of dis-ease or illness. They are practicing truly preventive medicine.
There are still relatively few people at this level, and your doctor definitely isn't one of them, since she likely got only 6 hours of nutrition training....nutritionally most doctors are still stage 1.
At stage 3 every ingredient in your salad is chosen with awareness. It will definitely be all or mostly organic, and you may even buy from a Farmer's market or a local farm that you know. At this level you're probably choosing your salad with an awareness of the bigger picture of your day and week: you engage in meal planning to some extent.
Notice that at stage 1 our views contain more dogma/myths while at stage 3 our understanding is based more in science and wide observation.
My work and my blogs are an effort to get more people from a Stage 1 to a Stage 2 Understanding... and also to help develop an appreciation for the people who are at level 3 - how they think (*functionally*), and how they can help us create our best health.
The future of medicine is clearly "P4 Medicine": predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory, and we can see this very clearly in the Level 3 Nutritional Understanding, where science has replaced dogma.
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