Even though we try to do our bodies justice by eating 'properly', for some people a balanced diet is not enough. Ironically, in today's convenience, fast-food world we have become increasingly malnourished. Too much fat and sugar increase the likelihood of obesity and its attendant problems and consequences. Use of preservatives, E numbers, and additives in processed supermarket foods can have a disturbing effect on health and behaviour, particularly in children. And hardly a week goes by when some long-held belief is replaced by conflicting 'new research' on topics such as alcohol and fibre. No wonder we are confused.
Developed over the centuries as our understanding of body chemistry grew, today's nutritional therapy endeavours to take a pro-active, preventative approach to health. Practitioners will advise on the best (often the plainest, least adulterated) foods, vitamins and minerals to aid good health and balance any deficiencies. They can also advise on possible causes for conditions such as headaches, lethargy, skin problems and allergies and advise you to adjust your diet accordingly.
What to Expect
Consultation with a nutritional therapist will involve an in-depth look at your lifestyle, diet and habits, and your skin will be examined for clues. In some cases, samples of sweat, hair and urine will be taken as these can provide a valuable 'read out' of your body's state. Some practitioners use Vega testing or applied kinesiology to allow your body to 'speak' of its intolerances. You should consult your doctor before following any strict diet, course of supplements, or megadosing on vitamins - especially if you are on medication. You may also be asked to keep a food diary, which will be checked against symptoms at each visit.
Training & Colleges
Current educational requirements for membership of the nutritional therapy bodies range from 4 years full time to 2 years part-time. The Nutritional Therapy Council has recently been set up to focus on standardisation of education it is based at:
Plaskett Nutritional Medicine College
3, Quoins House
British Association of Nutritional Therapists
tel:0870 606 1284
(Largest of the associations.)
The British Society for Allergy, Environmental and Nutritional Medicine
PO Box 28
Southampton SO40 2ZA
Society for the Promotion of Nutritional Medicine
PO Box 47
East Sussex TN21 8ZX.