Dear Nutritional Therapy clients past, present, and future,
You're doing an amazing job.
This isn't an easy journey. I know that first hand. But you're totally crushing it and, I promise you, it will be worth it.
I know it can be discouraging at times, though, so I thought I'd share a few thoughts with you.
I was reading a book (7-Day Detox Miracle) by doctors Peter Bennet, ND and Stephen Barrie, ND and they mention Dr. Constantine Hering, a pioneer in homeopathic medicine practicing in the 1800's. Hering had a really cool idea about how disease begins in the body. "We don’t catch diseases," he said, "we create them by breaking down the natural defenses according to the way we eat, drink, think, and live." What we're trying to do with nutritional therapy is address each of those factors. But I know it can feel like progress comes so slowly. That's where Hering's Law of Cure comes into play. (Important note: I'm not a doctor and I do NOT cure illness. Dr. Hering's law describes how the body heals itself when given the opportunity.)
According to Hering's Law, the body heals from the inside out (deep organs to the skin), from the top down (healing, like digestion, begins in the brain), and from the most recent illness/symptoms to the oldest.
The reason I think this is so important to keep in mind is because it reminds us that even if we aren't seeing results immediately, there is healing happening. It starts deep within and moves outward. It starts with our mental focus. If we don't believe we can heal, we won't. Simple as that. It also gives us insight into our body's healing priorities. Imagine you're cleaning your kitchen. There's a gnarly stain on the stove that's been there for a few days but there's a fresh spill on the countertop. I'd take care of the fresh spill before it dries and becomes more difficult to clean. THEN I'd move to the stain and spend some time with that. According to Hering, our bodies prioritize their healing efforts in a similar way.
Dr. Terry Wahls (The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles) echoes Hering's ideas on the beginnings of disease. She states that the root cause of most health issues is a problem with how our cells are built or how our cells work. The main factors interfering with the structure and function of our cells include toxin exposure in the form of infectious bugs, medications, and polluted food, water, and air. The negative effects of these toxins occur slowly, and sometimes over the course of many years, so it can be difficult to notice until it causes "louder" issues.
When our cells have the raw materials they need (from nutrient-dense foods) for proper structure and function, they have the ability to heal themselves! That's what we're aiming for. In nutritional therapy, we're literally changing the biochemistry of each and every cell in our bodies. Shifts like that don't happen over night. It can certainly take a little while. But it IS happening and it IS working!
I think one of the most discouraging aspects for some people is the dietary shift. In order to fully heal, we absolutely must address the foods we eat. If we're eating fake, processed foods, devoid of any real nutrition, our cells simply don't have the materials they need to do their thing. Imagine trying to build a fully functioning house out of Legos. It might seem easier from the get-go, but long-term, there's no way that house will last. We need lumber, concrete, copper piping. Proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals are our bodies building supplies.
But I fully understand how difficult it can be to change our dietary habits. On the date on which I'm writing this, I will have gone 645 days without any gluten, grains, dairy, or sugar (typical Lyme disease diet). I get it. It's hard to cut out our favorite foods, even if we know they are bad for us. It can feel unbelievably restricting. Do you have any idea of the things I'd do for a grilled cheese sandwich? No joke, I have intensely vivid dreams about pizza.
But the truth is, unless you're on a very specific mission (avoiding food allergies, killing a pathogen, dealing with autoimmunity, etc.), a slip-up or indulgence every now and again is completely fine. In her book Eat Naked, Margaret Floyd, NTP talks about her 80:20 rule. "If 80% of my food is naked - fresh, whole, organic, homemade - then for the other 20%, I don't worry about it." She continues, "what's important is what you're feeding yourself the bulk of the time. That's where to focus your energy."
Equally important is to not stress out or become obsessive about eating healthy. Those types of behaviors are just as unhealthy as binge eating a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos. If you're going to "break the rules", don't think about how unhealthy it is. Don't feel like you failed. Don't despair. No judgement. No shame. Just enjoy it! Jump back on the nutrition horse when you're ready. We're only human after all...
I still go through patches of frustration even after almost 2 years of being on my healing journey. In fact, I'm just coming out of one of those patches right now. That's one of the reasons I wanted to write this post - to remind myself of some of these principles.
For those of you who are feeling frustrated or hopeless in your own journey, just know that there are people in your life who are proud of you. Heck, I'M proud of you. Just showing up for yourself with a willingness to change and the belief that you can heal is a HUGE step forward. I'm here for you - to coach, to guide, to cheerlead - as you continue taking steps towards your goals.
One last thing. I've been toying with the idea of creating a chronic conditions support group at NECA. My hope is that it would provide a safe and compassionate place to talk about your experience or simply listen to others, to encourage and be encouraged. If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, get in touch with me at Facebook.com/AlexanderYoungNTP. I'd love to connect and hear your ideas.
*** The information found on this website should not be construed as medical advice or treatment of medical conditions. Only your healthcare professional can provide you with medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional regarding all matters of your health and before making dietary changes.